Let's Talk Grid Tie Inverters! - Thoughts, Experiences, 12 volt or 24 volt. Which way to go?

NOTE: I had posted this in another thread. I decided that I was thread hijacking and that this topic really is important enough that it should have its own discussion. So, here we go, Let's Talk GTI's !!

Hey Guys n Gals,

I guess it is time for me to enter my next stage of my Solar Education. Like many, I started about 18 months ago (maybe less) with a single HF kit. I got a blow out deal from a manager for $125 and have not looked back LOL. So here is what I am looking at. I will have my initial 45 watt Kit on a 400 AH battery Bank that also has a 30 AMP Sunforce Controller. (Learned quick that the HF Controller, as Ray calls them, was to be my 12 V PDU lol.) Then I will have 4 or 5 of the DM 145s and probably 4 of the SAMS Club Golf Cart Batteries on a second controller, probably a XANTREX C60 (love to hear any suggestions there as well).

So the question is, is that enough info to give me an idea as to what size GTI I can get away with for an effective starter and can upgrade easily by adding another. What do people like? What should I definitely stay away from.

01

BTW, my Solar is cujrrently more of a Power Backup for my Amateur Radio / SHTF Emergency Power kind of thing. Im not running my home, although as a single middle aged man that does most of his activity in his big office, I could probbly do it easly, except AC/ Refridgeration/Freezer and Hot Water (Whats left right?)
So once again, whats a good way based on my life story above, for me to break into the GTI game? Main concern is what brand and size. Money is not a huge concern (I cannot believe I said that, you know what I mean lol. I can assure you, once I get the Make and Model established, "Super Shopper Ron" will emerge), not as much as doing it right from the start. .

(Sorry for the novel, but I didnt wanna be one of those psoters that asks a question and tells you nothing about his circumstances, dont you love that? LOL

 

Thanks in advance to all,

Ron

 

 

Tags: Freight, GTI, Grid, Harbor, Inverter, Panel, Power, Solar, Tie

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IMHO, not unlike where you've gone with your standard inverter, go big, 600 or 1200 watts, and personally, I am a tried and true believer in the SUN GTI's....you'll have to decide on input voltages (d.c.) either 12 or 24 volts, and usage balances (see my post, "all this power...and no where to put it")....

Other then that, have at it....

I would recommend the higher voltage GTI and I too prefer the Sun models. Higher voltage will allow for smaller wire and will be more efficient. Also consider putting extra fans to keep the GTI cooler. You can find fairly quite computer case fans. I run mine from the solar input side of the GTI.

I have had bad luck with Power Jack inverters. 

Thanks to both of you guys for such prompt responses. Now I see in my infinite wisdom that someone had started a similar topic almost a month ago. Like everything in life, HASTE makes waste. I was going to pull this thread off, but now that I see two responses maybe I will let this stay. The first thread seems to focus on WHAT MAKE / MODEL. Maybe we can let this thread focus on principles and practices. It really is a possible subject of confusion so I don't think we will "over -discuss" the subject.

Also, to throw a monkey wrench in this, let me also ask, I am at a crossinbg point here. I have the Small 45 Watt HF Kit with the 30 Watt Sunforce Controller. I am going to follow the previous posts and keep that as a stand alone system, really as Power Backup for my Amateur Radio Equip. But now that means I need to get a new Charge Ciontroller, and the GTI (s). Do I want to go to 24 Volts or stay at 12V. My Panel to Controller / Battery Bank is currently less then 25 feet. Although I may wish to go down to the basement due to growing size and that may take me to 50-75 feet between panels and controller/battery bank.

 

I know if I go with a XANTREX C60 it will do my 12-24 so I can getv that and not worry. But GTIs I need be voltage specific. Once again, do I go to 24 now?

 

 

Ron,

I had the same dilema...12 or 24! I decided to go 12for two reasons:

 

1): I can get more amp hours out of a 12V bank than a 24V bank with fewer batts.

and the piesta resistaunce...

2): I can wire my house with automotive fixtures and go pull a bulb out of any car and have light!...Works in an  emergency!

 

I don't know though really...it's a matter of opinion and preference (and money)! The truth on the matter is that I am told 12 stuff is getting harder to find; don't know if that is true or not but I hope this has not made matters worse.  I am just a noob with an opinion so take that with a grain of salt.

 

Luck to you and your project!

 

Chuck.

Ron, I went 12 volt only for the simplicity of it, knowing I was going to add, and, add, and add panels, and that there had to be multiples of two panels together to get 24 volts, well, a parallel system had to be....and I have been working with 12 volt systems for many, many years, it came as a normal and natural thing...12 volts also melds well with other 12 volt devices, outside of the solar pool, mainly Ham Radio, so you can see where I'm at.....your choice will be your own...

I am also a ham radio guy.  I am just getting started.  I think I will go 12v due to most equipment in the ham world needing the same.  I hope to turn my 31 foot camper into a ham shack. I am not using it for anything else, except to store all the solar and ham equipment I have been buying. Please post your ideas and what works, no need to re-invent the wheel. So many old timers who have been there and done that, they have the knowledge. No need to go down the dead end street, and give your money away, when you can buy the best toys the first time....

OK, what I have...

Aside from the 24, HF 15 watt panels, two Wellsee controllers (10 and 15 amp), and four, 125 Ah battery bank (which I use exclusively on sunny days to run appliances in the house), I have a SUN 300 watt, 10.8-30 dc volt input GTI...I wish I had gone to a 600 watt  from the start, but I  won't drop the cash for that now, as I don't use the GTI very much, it is used on cloudy days to recover some of the power usage, and is switchable between the GTI and the 15 amp controller, from about 2/3's of the panels, the other 1/3 of panels go to the 10 amp controller to charge the batteries...at about 4:30 p.m. everyday (sun days) I will switch to the GTI to recover power usage and it stays that way until sundown...

Now, so you know, I have found that if you are trying to reduce or stop power usage in your home, the batteries/inverter combo will do the best job, yes, the GTI is basically hands free, but I have a Centronics Smart Meter that measures my power usage from the power company and if I give the GTI full power from the panels, it is too much power (unless the frig is running, which it isn't all the time) and I end up sending power to the grid and being charged for my kindness by the power company...

Therefore, running the house on the batteries thru my PowerBrite 1100 watt inverter virtually stops all power company power usage in my house (except for the ghost, which is another story) by running everything on the battery bank, configured for 12 volt (parallel connections),,,,500 Ah bank total...

So, again, Ron, it is your choice, but I vote for a big battery bank and a big inverter, a very easy way to "kill the dragon"...

And just as a sidebar, Ron, the plan described above has dropped a $125 electric bill per month down to about $30 a month..."die dragon!"....

Wow, great input. And to think I was gonna kill this thread because I thought I was being redundant.

Well the good news is that before I even saw Bills last entry, I ordered a 10.30 Volt 600 Watt Sun GTI last night. So I will not have to suffer from "Wish I had gotten a 600 Watt right off the bat" syndrome. LOL I just had a feeling. I saw too many people with 1 x 250 and a 300 or 2 x 300. etc. I knew that a 600 would be a good kick off point. So for right now, Im going to say at 12 volts. After all I can always keep a small 12 Volt setup and then go to a seperate 24, and just reconfig the Panels.

I have 3 x 15 HF and 2 of the 145 Watt Dms right now. As soon as the "time delay DM link" goes hot  Im going to get two more, maybe even 3.

So I think Im heading the right way

Keep the info coming guys. I like the way the forum is developing a group of Basic HF Kit Hobbysits who are moving up the ladder to more advanced systems. I think this is a good place for Beginner, Intermediate and even the Advanced Hobbysit as time goes on.

Ron

Your powerbrite  1100 inverter, is it pure sine wave or modified?

I have heard of issues with cell phone chargers and various motors having issues with non sine wave type inverters.

Have you have any issues?

I would like to get the freezer and ref. on an inverter/battery bank method.

I have no issue with a grid tie method until the sun goes down, then go with battery/inverter method.

Ideas/comments?

I went the legal way myself. if something happens and your home burns down those units are ul listed. I used the PowerComusa SLK 2000 models. I had a SLK 1500 that was bad out of the box. they replaced it. The second one lasted a month two months before it went bad. the third replacement was bad out of the box. the two SLK 2000's I had have been working from day one. powercomusa up graded me from the SLK 1500 to the SLK 2000 at no charge becuase they know they have some kind of problem with that model. I'll try to get a picture of them up soon. the power company does only know about one grid tie, I have the other two wired up in my garage and out of sight. everything passes inspection and was approved, I just turned in one of the grid ties to the power company.

I had to get net metering becuase our smart meter is charging us for the power we produce that we send back to them. that meter isn't so smart, just greedy!!

 

harold,

The PowerBrite 1100 is modified sine wave, it runs my refrigerator, TV, satellite box, laptop, Sirius radio and speakers, wireless landline phone, window fan, propane wall furnace fan and a few other low input power supplies (and other stuff I can't think of at the moment)....of all that, the only ones that complain are the two fans, they have an annoying whin when running on the inverter, but i have been running them a long time on the inverter with no damage, so I just turn up the volume on the stereo or TV and the whin "goes away".....

Granted, pure sine would be better, but they are more expessive and have a higher no load draw on the batteries, so I went this route...it works...

I also have another of the same 1100 watt inverter in my Jeep, that one was installed and designed to be my backup to the backup...should we have an extended power outage, and the solar battery bank goes down until we have sun again, that Jeep inverter will run most of the house without starting that noisey generator...

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