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45 watt solar power panels

Post in 'The Green Room' started by smabon, Oct 12, 2009.

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  1. smabon

    smabon New Member

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    So I know nothing about solar power and electricity. I was looking through my HF catalog and they have a solar panel setup that says 45 watts. What will 45 watts power. Would that be enough to power my blowers on my stove 24/7 during the winter?

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  2. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Chime in, please, because I'm thinking solar for hot water in the main house.

    Semi hijack :)
  3. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Do yourself a favor and avoid the HF panels, they are quite pricey. The short answer to your question of using solar for backup for your pellet stove is yes it can be done but there are better ways for less dollars. In order to feed a pellet stove you would need panels, a charge controller, a true sine wave inverter and a battery suited for deep discharge, preferably a AGM type so that you dont have to worry about watering the battery. Generally most folks who are off grid and therefore need to supply their loads 24/7 assume a cost of electricity is in the 40 to 60 cents per kW range. If you have grid available you are probably paying 12 cents, so the economics dont line up, unless you are frequently without reliable power and not around to run a generator.

    There are "hybrid" grid tied solar systems availlable that have a small battery bank for short grid outages, there is a cost premium for this option but the federal 30% rebate would apply plus if you have state incentives they should apply. A typical grid tied system is about $8 to 10 per installed watt and probably add a 15% premium for the hybrid system. Dependent upon state incentives and local power rates, the grid tied option may have a seven or eight year payback.

    I have a couple of small grid tied systems and realistically I have them for other reasons other than saving money. I have 6000 watt generator, a can of gas, a wood stove and homeowners insurance for long duration power outages.
  4. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    To the OP--Peak Bagger killed it.

    To Dixie--

    The 'return on investment' for solar DHW in the northeast is marginal--it really comes down to the cost of your current water heat source, whether there are local installers that are experienced and have enough business to keep down install costs, the current tax rebate environment (good), and whether you'd be happy making a pretty big investment with a long payback. If your current source were expensive (e.g. elec), your usage was high, and you got a cheap installer and fat rebate, you could get a 8-10 yr payback. Remove some of these factors and your payback could go to 20 years or longer (assuming that energy costs don't increase).

    Alternatively, like a woodstove, you could say the cost is spread over a long service life and this is something you'd like to do for non-financial reasons--like greenness.

    Probably the most helpful suggestion would be to find a couple local solar installers, and have them quote out what they would use in your application, what they think you would save--and then check their math closely. When I looked into it, the thing that bothered me is that most systems were sized to provide less than 60% of demand (to avoid overheating in the summer), so the maximum you would save is ~60% of your current fuel cost of hot water.
  5. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    What is your specific goal?
  6. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    You should definitely talk to some local installers.
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