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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / House Sold. Moving off-grid. Systems Design
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Scott G
# Posted: 17 May 2019 10:40 - Edited by: Scott G

We live in NB, Canada and are going off grid. Our house sold and closes June 13, 2019. We are moving to a 38 acre property that currently has a 20x20 4 season cabin (that I built). I am going to add an addition of 12x20 - starting next week. This size keeps us under 625sq' and complies with a 'camp' permit up here. It's all good.

We are empty nesters. 45 and 48 yrs old. Just the 2 of us.

So many things to sort out.

We currently have an old cookstove. It heats the space and cooks great but doesn't hold a fire for more than 3 hours. No fun getting up twice overnight to load wood. We are upgrading to a Kitchen Queen 380 cookstove. I have been researching thermo siphoning as the stove has a built in water coil. My hot water tank has to be 8 feet away from the stove and therefore I will place it up high (cold water outlet at 5') to achieve the siphoning.

Will also have propane hot water on demand and plumb a bypass so as to switch from stove or propane as the seasons change. With a solid 6 months of winter here it makes sense to try and heat water with the 24/7 stove.

We have a well, a deep well (static water level is 45') however I have yet to uy or install a pump. I am looking at Grundfos pumps as they are soft start.

We have a $3000 CAN budget for plumbing. Can stretch to 4K.

I am only now trying to figure out what size solar system we will need. The system will have to operate:

• Deep well pump (Grundfos)
• Fridge: I have been looking at converting a vertical freezer into a fridge.
• We would also like to have a very small deep freezer.
• LCD TV (4 hours/week)
• DVD player (4 hours week)
• Charge cell phones
• Charge laptop
• Small radio
• Approx 14 LED lights in various rooms and outside
• Ceiling fan (haven't purchased one yet)
• Washing machine - looking for a 5amp eco unit
• Considering a propane clothes dryer - line for summer and possibly just hang dry for winter.
• My wife wants use of a flat iron and hair dryer. I know these are big no-nos. I'd run the genny if need be.

The cabin is already wired for 120 with a 60amp genny panel. The kind where you can switch between a generator as input or 'grid' input. I also have a genny plug outside and run a 3000w princess auto generator to power the camp. (usually just a few lights and charge cells). Also have a 6800w champion genny that I use for running power tools etc... when building. It's a gas pig.

We have a $10,000 CAN budget for a solar system. I can stretch it to 12K if I really have to. Up here we pay 15% sales tax so $10k spent is $11,500 with tax.

Simply posting to try and sort this out and see what you think/see that I should be considering/investigating.

Many thanks.

# Posted: 17 May 2019 11:31

Northern Arizona Wind and Sun has a really good calculator that is easy to use to help with solar sizing... under resources.

Cheers and good luck on this new journey! The soar electric journey in itself is quite a learning curve!!

Scott G
# Posted: 17 May 2019 11:32

Great, thanks for the link.

Scott G
# Posted: 17 May 2019 12:06 - Edited by: Scott G

So according to the solar calculator I'm looking at an average watt/hour per day of 5000. Crazy.

So if I consider a 24v system:
5000w / 24v = 208 amps.

And seeing i can only use 50% of that then I would need a minimum of 420 amp hours in the battery bank - and that's just one day.

Does this make any sense? Would a 3K watt inverter work in this scenario?

The calculator is using generic watts for each appliance. I have a freezer, fridge and well pump added. Removing the stand alone freezer drops requirement to 3K. If the fridge has a freezer we're good with that alone.

# Posted: 17 May 2019 14:41

Your plans / config sound very close to my own setup with a few minor differences.

I have a 120V Danby "Apartment" fridge which uses less than 530kwh per year, very efficient and no issues at all. The current version @ Costco (where I bought mine) is here: oduct.100325105.html

My Water Pump is a Grundfos SQ5, 120V Soft-Start sitting @ 250' deep and 75' from cabin. Pump House is built over the well and also incorporates the Powerhouse, the 50 USG Pressure Tank and primary sediment filter reside in the Pump House. The building is hyper insulated & also has a Direct Vent LPG Furnace recovered from an old Terry Taurus trailer and uses 12V as a power source (connected to it's own 12V battery & Solar Panel with charger [independent of my system but can be flipped over with a switch]) set to 50F / 10C. I also have Radiant Pex in the concrete slab for future solar powered heating.

All water filters come from RainFresh and is the wisest of purchases to be made ! BTW not many can compare to what these filters can do.

Here's my solar setup:
- 8x Canadian Solar CS-260P solar panels. (set @ 45deg, fixed ground mount)
- Midnite Classic 200 MPPT Controller
- YiYen APC-3024 Inverter/Charger combo unit which has 120V input for external power source to charge & ATS remote function to auto-start a genny.
- 8, Rolls Surette S-550 batteries set to 24V in Series-Parallel (apprx 1000 Ahr) *NB*

*NB*: these are now discontinued by Rolls and replaced with a new improved model @ same pricing. When you do the math, consider that LifePO4 Battery Packs compete with such at a slightly higher cost but NOT outrageous. See the other thread which has discussion on this.

see attached diagrams w/ details
I'm also including the Logical Diagrams for our wiring, which is 120V, no 240V. Also shown is the Actual Powerhouse setup at the end.

Lessons Learned Dept:
1) Should have gotten the LifePO4 batteries but were outrageous when I was setting up, no longer the case.
2) Classic 200 is maxed with current setup but as I am hedging margins it's within tolerance. Should have considered a charger that would handle more capacity. DAMNED GOOD MACHINE & EXCELLENT SUPPORT THOUGH !
3) The Inverter/Charger I have is fine and quite capable, also like the added safety shutoffs built I, saved my bacon a couple of times ! NOTE that it is 88% efficient but it's "sleep / power save" mode can be annoying as it requires 25W to trigger ON state and so LED lights will blink till 25W demand is reached. (no problem for heating [radiant floor] or fridge) don't use a clock radio, it will blink to eternity !

Special Notes for things happening NOW.
- Solar panels are a bit short on supply BUT Hanwah QCell 305's are available and selling for $275 +/- CAD ea.
- Rolls having discontinued the S-550's and others, current stock is being sold off cheaper than normal.
- Cotek Inverters have gone BAD ! Change in mgmt. + manufacturing has resulted in product quality issues and extremely difficult to get any warranty, service or replacement. I know 3 dealers who had to lawyer up to get any result.

Lastly, I purchased my Inverter/Charger from a Marine Supplier in Montreal (it is marine class) but he sells much more as well. Yves site is in French but here it is in English Translation: SEE KIT 16 @ Bottom ! Here is the Inverter Page translated to English, manuals & diagrams which can be downloaded are in English.

I would be looking at 2KW of Panel, maybe a bit more if your using a Fixed Mount. 3kw inverter is good but 4kw gives you a tad more room... remember to adjust AC breaker sizes accordingly !

Solar Angles ! Ohh the joy BUT here is a link to a great site that will give you the info you need, goto the Bottom Left hand side of the page and enter your info.

Hopefully that answers many of your questions, if I can help more, let me know but it may be a few days before I respond as I am not online regularly, these days.
Our Solar System
Our Solar System
Power House Panel (logical)
Power House Panel (logical)
Main Cabin Panel (logical)
Main Cabin Panel (logical)
Actual Powerhouse setup
Actual Powerhouse setup

Scott G
# Posted: 17 May 2019 15:52

Steve, dude. Thank you. OK I'll sort through and come back with a plan to revise, lol.

I really appreciate this group. All you folks. Been reading here for a long while. Crazy but now it's real. Full time. I have a budget and I can't screw this up. There is a local 'guy' that setup a really nice system at my in-laws camp. I want to talk with him too but I'd prefer to have a system to propose to him if you follow me. Ramble over.

# Posted: 17 May 2019 19:38 - Edited by: rockies

These articles may help with the stove. y-queen/885-kitchen-queen-reviews y-queen/888-kitchen-queen-380-puffing-smoke-from-front-and-flue-damper-binding-up

As to mounting your water tank high up t create a siphoning effect, remember that water weighs about 8 1/2 lbs per gallon (plus the tank) so it's going to need a lot of support (maybe even beefing up the floor joists if you're using posts between the floor and the tank platform).

For the well pump have a look at this article.

Depending on the condition of your water you'll also have to clean and store it and may have to install circulation pumps as well (you will probably need electricity for your filtration system too if it needs a UV bulb). ab

For converting a standing ffeezer to a fridge it would be better to get a chest freezer since all the cold air falls out of the box with a standing fridge when you open the door. You can easily convert a freezer to a fridge using this. =nloah-20&linkId=c4a1f00d6df86ed7164fbc0f183f2a50

A propane dryer can dump a lot of moisture into the interior air. Invest in a good bath fan on a timer to clear the room.

Led lighting is great as long as you put the lights in the right places. Don't just do one central ceiling fixture. For example, in the kitchen you'll get far better illumination with a light centered over the sink and under-cabinet lights over the countertop prep areas.

Lastly, buy a Kill-a-watt meter to see how much energy your electronics and appliances actually use.
Then you'll know if you can use an iron and a hair dryer.

Scott G
# Posted: 17 May 2019 22:25

Fantastic resources. Thank you. I'll dig in.

# Posted: 18 May 2019 08:42

Scott, sounds like an exciting time in your life, after all the dust settles, you will look back and have zero regrets. Congrats.

# Posted: 18 May 2019 08:58

Quoting: Scott G
We live in NB, Canada and are going off grid

Not sure if you know about the Off grid store(Cabin Depot) in NB....close to the Airport....

# Posted: 18 May 2019 09:48

I had a couple of thoughts I figured I should add... more of Lessons Learned type of thing.

Re Generators: Of course I have to have them, a necessary evil IMO but having backups is essential when offgridding. (I apply Rule of 3, triple redundancy). If your looking to buy a respectable Backup Genny seriously consider one of the Champion Stand-By units that run on Propane ! The Inverter/Chargers & some Controllers can auto signal start & fire them up if batteries get low... They come on sale often at TSC Stores & Canadian Tire and are a Very Good Deal !
REF: ith-50-amp-indoor-switch/ Right now @ CTC $3,299.99 Product #074-0876-0 not on sale. I've seen them on sale for $2,799 which makes it almost irresistible and is in current consideration due to the past winter showed up some unpleasantness's...

I've killed my 3kw King Inverter Genny (my fault) and replaced it with an Energizer 3200p (don't buy these = crappy) so that's $2K on both PLUS I have a big genny for my welder, compressor etc which is a Champion 7200/9000 & remains so ! But that isn't a backup type and drinks fuel like nuts.

The link to the Marine place in Montreal I bought my inverter from ( ) has refrigeration & freezer kits to build your own as well. I want to point out that my Inverter/Charger is not CSA certified and I accept that as my own risk, if you will.

If you want CSA Certified kit, it will up the cost a bit but still you don't have to go crazy. The AIMS brand is certified CSA & ULC and is essentially identical to what I have, also readily available on Amazon & Ebay for excellent pricing. REF: OR for $150 less without Charger:

A final thought on batteries, I have FLA and they work but are a PITA ! they require maintenance & care plus can be fiddly to say the least. Lithium is great but Li-Ion is mucho pesos unless your upcycling like Creeky can do with EV Batteries, which is a great way to go IMO. There are commercial companies doing similar things but I dunno much about them. Alternatively, there is LifePO4 batteries with BMS systems built in that stand in place of FLA batteries, and you get the benefit of 80% DOD versus 50% DOD with FLA batteries. LiIon can go to 100% but best not to... (DOD - depth of discharge) LifePO4's are cheaper than LiIon by a fair margin and bigger capacity batteries are now available from several sources.

I lived in Moncton & Fredericton for a while and know what the weather can be like out there and can relate to some of your upcoming ponderings. As you'll be working with local suppliers / installers etc, they'll know the particular tweaks for your spot and depending how deep you want to get into your solar system, some may resist using non Big Name Brand equipment, so don't be surprised. One item I learned sadly, is that some dealer/installers who are vested in grid-connected systems tend to shy away from off gridders and "low profit margin customers". If they an charge "Full Pop" to a client pitching the Rebates & Grid Tie feed-in payback etc, it's a lot more bucks in their pockets... sad but true !

Have a Terrific Day and now I'm off to do some logging work for a couple of days.... Ohhh YaY ! whispers a Fred Flintstone, ruckus, stuckus...

# Posted: 18 May 2019 17:51

Since you seem to be pretty much on your way with the electrical plan what are you doing for heat, water, and sewage?

Scott G
# Posted: 19 May 2019 07:08 - Edited by: Scott G

Toyota - thanks. Crazy fun times.

Jebediah - yes but haven't visited them yet. Plan to.

Steve - thanks. More to read and get back to you.

Rockies. Heat from a Kitchen Queen 380 woodcookstove. Water from well that's already dug at 120' deep and static is at 45'. Hot water from propane on demand and Thermosiphoning thru stove in winter. Sawdust composting toilet. Been using that at the camp for 4 years and we both are fine with it. Grey water will have a drain into small drain field under frost line.

We're in zone 4 and winters last 6 months basically, lately. I'm likely gonna build a 'boss of the swamp' insulated chest fridge vented outside. It will keep the milk cold and removes demands from the fridge during winter. We also have an 11x7x7 root cellar. It gets buried this summer. I'll make a separate post on that but basically it's a 3000 gallon septic tank I bought. Unused but had a few small cracks. It's 4' down, covered in torch-on and drain tiled with 3/4 gravel. It'll get buried.

Lots on the go over the past 4 years.

Just returned the uhaul. Closing is June 13.

Scott G
# Posted: 24 May 2019 13:44

My plumber is recommending the Grundfos SQ10. productnumber=96160143&qcid=548526369

Or should I get the SQ5?

# Posted: 24 May 2019 17:51

230/234V @ 50Hz ! Not in Canada you don't ! @60Hz then OK but WHY do you want 240V ? You gain nothing but more headaches.

240V Split Phase is 2, 120V @ 60hz legs with a Single Common which is what we use. In Europe / elsewhere 210-123 VAC @ 50Hz & Single Phase.

You gain nothing with 240, except higher cost in wire and copper is incredibly over priced ! Unless you have other things that "must" have 240V don't bother.

Also of note... For a solar system Inverter, be it 4000 Watts, 120VVAC OR 240 VAC makes little difference as to the amount of power it will consume, all it does is provide a dual coil (low frequency) vs single coil (makes it a tad heavier).

The 240V is more power is a wives tale that never let's go... Volts are irrelevant, it's the amperage behind it that is the key to living or not.

Love my SQ-5 120V Soft Start... It ramps to just under 1000 Watts when pushing the water. It has to come up 260' pressurise a 50Gal (40psi) Pressure tank and push another 75' to cabin. Never an issue and my 3Kw Inverter Charger barely blinked and registered it at peak running 29% of inverter capacity. Also I am running TWO Rainfresh Filters, one for Sediments (my well is in Banded Granite) and one CF1, which barely reduce pressure.

This One for the Sediment:
This one In Cabin:

They have a new UV one coming that uses LED-UV which is considerably less power hungry & more reliable... due out sometime this year apparently.

I Very Highly recommend Rainfresh & Strongly suggest you have filter's installed ! BTW You can get big packs of filters cheap @ Costco.

BTW: Excellent use of a Nasty Septic Tank ! Being cracked you likely got it for delivery cost eh... Good Plan that!

# Posted: 24 May 2019 19:09

Scott G: does that pump have a surge when starting?

# Posted: 25 May 2019 09:43

Scott, looking at your needs you should look at my "grey owl" system. At bobolinksolar dot com.

I've posted here quite a bit. smile. And sold quite a few of the grey owls to SC participants. Its spring and I'm getting lots of happy reports.

You probably need an advanced version of the grey owl. Looking at $6-8k depending on gewgaws (extra bits). 10k gets you into the Golden Eagle territory and we could discuss some of the 4 season advantages there.

I build with NMC lithium batteries from wrecked electric cars. They are superior to Lifepo4 in most regards. I tend to build 48v. Its easier, cheaper and smarter. Particularly if you look longer term.

I use Victron solar controllers alone. As they are more expensive than the chinese but a very good price compared to others. And have a lot of great features. Not to mention an enviable reputation for longevity.

You can use either Victron inverters/chargers or go chinese. I use CNBOU inverters from china. I do some SW Schneider installs. Rock solid once you get them programmed. For flexibility I prefer dual Quattros from Victron... at a slightly higher price. The XW+ series is also awesome. But now you're in the 15k-20k range.

Are you planning to go "off grid" like Steve or do you need an electrical inspection. It makes a difference in what equipment you can use.

I would go with a basic regular 18 cu ft fridge. The power ratings are under 350kwh now. And even lower. A decent solar system will have no trouble with this.

Good luck.

Scott G
# Posted: 26 May 2019 11:10

Thanks Steve. OK the 120v pump is fine.

Yes I believe it has soft start Rockies.

Creeky, I'll have a look. 10k is pretty much my max budget.

# Posted: 26 May 2019 12:10

If 10K is the budget then you have a lot to consider when it comes to the power needs. Conservation is worth 5X the cost of generation & storage, easily.

To give you an idea, I've got over 12K into my system by now, if not a bit more. But it has been revised a little here & there as time went, just like now with the inverter change over, there's another 3K... so... My cabin is 20x24 , 1Br, Kitchen, washroom, plus a 12x10 loft (storage).

I don't know how big your place is but, I have the following setup:
- 12 hardwired light fixtures (cabin & pump house)
- 7 regular 120-15 plugs in cabin
- 1 120-15 in Pump House (for well pump) *
- 2 regular 120-20 kitchen plugs
- 1 regular 120-15 in kitchen (fridge only)
- 3 CGFI plugs (one for on-demand water heater - LPG)
- 2 Switched 120-15 Plugs in cabin (Radiant Heat system, Communications system)
- 2 Switched external Lights & Plugs, front & side (CGFI)

* = The pump has a 12/2 Wet Cable to plug, so "if" a situation arises I can immediately flip it directly to a genny.

I'm well wired and it is all to code. It seems like a lot considering the power I have available but it's the fact that I use little that it's moot. Even so, if I turned everything on I still likely wouldn't trip the breakers.. I can never exceed that which is available because a 30A breaker feeds the cabin sub-panel. With the new inverter that changes up a bit but I have all that I need.

I rarely have more than 2 LED lights on, the fridge uses little, the radiant heat system is off in summer (except for 20 mins maintenance), all comms can be switched of when not needed, hot water heater (EcoTemp FVI-L12) is just for the sensing pressure change and only .3 amp ?

Now I don't use my 1000W gaming computer anymore and went low power and lost nothing. I don't leave anything on unless I have to (fridge being one).

Lessons Learned item though... As I am a MidNite Classic Charge Controller owner & very happy with it, I wish I had made my life simpler & easier by buying a complete E-Panel with the charge controller & the appropriate Inverter/Charger. It seems like a big bite up front BUT when you put one together after the fact piece meal, it's more costly ! and I made that goof up BUT lesson learned, so passing that on. I did plan ahead on my underground wiring and installed both #6/3 & #8/3 into the service conduits running from my powerhouse to cabin, so any potential upgrade there is easier, some might say overdone but that provides a heap of leeway to change to whatever 120/240 and up to 200A if need be. I dunno what the future will be for this place so... I doubt that my "system" would be certified as it stands but likely pretty darn close, that's my risk but everything is done to code spec with one exception at the panels, an easy fix if needed.

REF: Midnite Inverter Systems, Pre Wired - Off Grid

Last point to ponder & plan for. Regardless of what you decide on the solar system and how you'll go about it, be sure to reserve an extra 20% of the cost for miscellaneous. Murphy's Laws have a weird way of applying themselves to people trying to do positive things.

Scott G
# Posted: 26 May 2019 19:29 - Edited by: Scott G

Thanks Steve,

That water heater. This one?

Those Midnite solar prewired systems look nice but puts me over budget pretty quick.

Our place is going to be 20x32. It's 20x20 now but starting a 12' addition this week.

Really our setup / needs sounds just like yours.
I can go 10K plus like 11500 - 12.

My brother in law has a small system with 2 Surrette S6-460AGM batteries and midnite solar charger, ebay 1500w inverter, 2 330w panels. Using it only for lights and TV at his camp.

If I assume a 24v system and go with 8 of those S6-460s I'm up to $6K already (end up with 460 ah at 50%). Add on $800 for the Midnite Solar charger, $1500 for 4, 330ishW panels - and an inverter ($3K) and I'm at $10k. No wiring, no install, panel mount etc. etc. etc.

But with that said we are not electricity pigs. Denise and I both can live really basic. A light to read a book, charge a phone up... It's the fridge and pump (and clothes washer) that are the real needs. If I can manage a very small freezer too that would be a bonus.

So much to consider.

# Posted: 27 May 2019 09:26

I can easily build you a sub 10k system that will also easily run the loads you describe.
Please contact me through the website. Happy to help.
Lithium batteries will outlive lead 3x or much more depending on how you treat them. And you instantly receive 20% more power from the system just in efficiency gains (peukert effect of 1 vs 1.3)
But its your money.
My customers with your brother's system, but using lithium batteries, are running microwaves, dishwashers, induction cooktops, fridges, freezers. Etc. With a Victron inverter they will be doing same for 25 years.
Two things I don't recommend. Cheap inverters. Lead batteries.
And thanks to all for your support and good wishes. I appreciate all the emails!

# Posted: 27 May 2019 09:49 - Edited by: Steve_S

Scott, Yes, that's the one I have, it works BUT not ULC/CSA Approved and is not a direct vent with air-intake... means it pulls air from the house and that's not so good. I also had an "extreme" time getting a Z-Vent for it

I'd suggest this one instead: Similar but wit a few extra features, CSA/ULC approved and properly vented. _1_32?qid=1558957874&s=gateway&sr=8-32&srs=19083760011 ** Note you can buy it at & as well, complete with "Bundle" including the venting system (do get it that way, much cheaper)

RE your solar system requirements... I spent some time pondering your specs and potential future needs. I think you are in the same ballpark as I am and having the same issues. Of course we would all love to spend whatever and so dream big but the $$ reality is one that we can't escape is it... The bottom line always takes control. I ended up with a system that fit my budget, which came out to about 12K at the time (that included a few non-solar thing like my AC stuff too) - built everything from scratch.

Here's what I came up with... SOME WOULD ARGUE but opinions are opinions and here is mine.

2000+/- Kw Solar Panels.
*8 Hanwah Q-Cell 305 60 cell panels. 2440W gross*1
* 1 Racking Kit (Kinetic rails, brackets etc)
* Cabling PV to Combiner
* 1 combiner (2 strings of 4 panels)
* 1 Charge Controller *2
* 1 Inverter/Charger
* Battery Bank 24/48v ? 48v = +$
* DC Panel: DC Breakers for PV-in, PV-out, Main.
* AC Bits ! 40A Input AC breaker from Generator.
40 / 45A Output AC breaker to Panel.
ea requires own AC Sub-Panel.

*1 You will never max the panels, at best you'll get 80%, so 1990W ish. BEST DEAL around $245cdn per panel .

*2 Charge Controllers. I personally like Midnite but all Name Brands are good, they vary a bit in feature & function but do the job well. This is one item NOT to skimp on, it's the Heartbeat of the system. Midnite is MidRange pricing for high end product and great support too.

Inverters... OK this is one where everyone goes a tad wonky... Let's start by saying that the Chinese Inverters are a Good Value for what they are, they do the job, are pretty efficient and have the basic features needed. Some are more advanced but still have their limits. One of those limits is lack of programmability and configuration, especially for battery cut off points, they are basic. I would suggest nothing LESS than 3Kw/120Vac but you would really be better to go 4Kw/120Vac.

Batteries ! ugh !
12V is absolutely NOT a part of the equation.
24V is appropriate up to 4Kw without strain.
48V is better but far more costlier too. Better for 4Kw to 8Kw or so, then things get trickier.

AGM, FLA or ??? IF Dollars is the issue, which is always is, FLA is still the cheapest to buy BUT there is a tradeoff of maintenance, low tolerance for abuses and other quirks. I would not pay more for AGM as that's crossing a line to other battery types. Lifespan also must be considered too and this is where the "investment" really takes a turn. It's a BIG Topic and was covered somewhat in another thread. BUT have a look at this catalogue as there is a great breakdown on batteries in it. ing-2019-Web.pdf I will not "TELL" you what to get, you have to decide on that relative to your budget, some will insist on one thing or another . Of course you likely already picked up that a 24V bank is cheaper than a 48V bank. I'm on 24 because I ain't rich and it works! The Rolls S-550 which I use has been replaced by the Rolls S6L16-HC I believe. Selling @ $415 +/- ea X8 = $3320

The next biggy that affects the $$, is are you going to have a system that is ETL/ULC/CSA Certified & TSSA approved by an electrician ? Depending on how that is done this can really affect the prices.

Upgrade Paths: Ohhh this is nasty BUT some lessons learned too... Whatever you decide on, you have to consider that your needs may & likely will change, got kids ? gonna have grandkids ?? (kids - power hogs LOL) Thinking of a possible EV in the future ? A simple upgrade (like I am doing, going from 3Kw Inverter to 4Kw Inverter) also means spending on DC Breakers, AC Breakers, replacing 2/0 Battery wires with 4/0 Battery wires and as a result, it is NOT cheap !

Racking / Mounting.
Fixed Ground Mount is cheapest & you can build it yourself out of wood. You still need the rails, clips & bolts to mount the panels, regardless of which way you go. Roof Mount is possible but wise ? (not for our climate, OK, seriously) Manual Directable Ground Mount or Tracking Mount... 2 is a bit more $ and 3 is insane ! I built my Ground Mount - Sea Can out of PT Lumber (14' wide x 10' high) and it handles my 8 panels nicely. Premade Ground Mount kits are not unreasonable in $ and do save time but, that's for you to ponder on. (Grab a mouthful of Swish or Screech when pondering, lmao)

Now... I installed everything myself and spent 6 months before buying anything doing the hard ground pounding & research (anal retentive Virgo attribute). I went from estimates of 22K down to 11K and added a few things along the way.

NOW for some more info ! Oivey !!
I have my standard supplier and so I will put a Package he has, which includes inverter/charger etc... it is a VALUE system and the price reflects this BUT you should be able to source similar yourself... it is for EXAMPLE PURPOSES.

This is a 4 panel system but double it to keep it simple.

Here is another supplier I know in Quebec with good "Value" systems and again, have a look.

Here is a fellow I have done business with in Montreal, he's good and fast BUT also VALUE systems... Have a peak at Pkg 16 at the bottom.

Lastly, here's a company in Toronto who sells the kits with batteries too ! sCsid=ddeht5mj8c9tjhfc5cviin0n81

** Not all have batteries, as that's a separate point. These should give you a rough but fair idea of what your looking at.

NOW, just to add more reading & pondering... Here is another Canadian bulk vendor you might want to check out... Pay Attention to the details, some include batteries so the price is not a shock when you look at it. 4v-battery-magnum-inverter/

DIZZY YET ? You ought to be, I was for about 3 months. There are so many options and things to consider BUT some things can cost you heaps if you don't work it out in your planning. Ohhh and then there is the issue of how to monitor, what can be configured & adjusted and more and it all depends on the "package" you put together. Unlike Computers etc... There are no set Communications Standards & Interfaces, mostly all proprietary to their brand & let me tell ya, it is a huge pain in the caboose ! requires 1 or more shots of screech OR a puffy or two ! which is better.

Well, Im off to get my new inverter & gear... ouch $ but happy to get it.

Just returned with my new kit and gee wiz.. They were just unloading pallets of Hanwah Q.PEAK DUO G5 315W Solar Panels, $248.85ea ! I mentioned your situation and he feels they could set you up reasonably and arrange it so you could pick up batteries locally from Rolls if you wanted those, others if possible. That's, the owner is Rob Beckers.... One thing, their "Value" systems use Samlex Inverters but that can be discussed with him. He knows your looking for a similar setup as I have (updated to 2019 specs though) so shoot him an email and see... At least you'll have a fair idea of what to look for and consider.

IF you can, go with something better like a Lithium Pack than FLA and don't bother with AGM, not worth the extra cost and for no good real reason. AGM's are great if they are outside & in miserable conditions but Lithium is better. I cannot speak to Lead Carbon.

REF:Q.PEAK DUO-G5 information

Scott G
# Posted: 27 May 2019 18:44 - Edited by: Scott G

Dizzy? Insane.

That's a great wealth of info, thank you. I've got reading to do before a decent reply.

As far as CSA etc... We are hoping to put some insurance on our place once done. Between solar and thermosiphoning hot water I'm not sure if we'll qualify. By selling our house and developing this cabin we are putting all our eggs in one basket for sure.

Fixed ground mount for sure.

# Posted: 28 May 2019 08:46

Built a few CSA/ESA systems. Its about breaker details and conduit. Not hard. You should have no problem.

I also have a seasonal adjust ground mount. Kinetic. Great racking. I have CS 345s at 220 ea. That's 880 for the 4 you specced.

Yup. Helping out. Building the best systems. Doing it right. smile.

Scott G
# Posted: 7 Jun 2019 09:15

Well the insanity continues. We are currently in a mad dash to get out of our house which closes next Thursday.

I'm just about ready to make a decision on which direction to take for solar and leaning very hard towards a lithium 'creeky' solution.

I've priced out buying 'local' from the cabin depot and an AGM based system would cost me as much, if not more than Lithium. The only, only advantage is that local is local as far as support goes... but with the interwebs that distance is all but eliminated.

Trench is dig from the well to the cabin - hoping the plumber calls today. I'm having him order a Grundfos SQ5 and he'll take care of getting water from well into the cabin.

I really should post some photos.

# Posted: 7 Jun 2019 14:23

Good luck on "The Mad Dash" and related insanity... Good time to dump a pile of stuff you been dragging about for years ! LOL but you know, you'll chuck item X and after being at cabin 6 months, you'll say, "Damn ! Item X would have been perfect for …". Always happens BTDT ! (I dumped a 3500sq foot house + 2 garages [minus vehicles, just the overflow] down to a 14' Cube Van ! )

Lithium is the best option to go with when it's close to or comparable to the older tech. I think Creeky's battery system with recovered EV batteries is a good fit. Local is a relative thing in a sense these days and given what your going to be using, support is most unlikely till the day you have to replace them, which would be a long time from now ! & shit will be different by then anyways.

BTW: I dunno how much "geek" you got in you but, I'm in the process of writing some software to interface with my Classic Controller and Inverter. It comes with it's own software but it's pretty basic. I'm using a Raspberry Pi 3B+ running Raspian (Debian Linux), Node-Red with Modbus & dashboard, InfluxDB (Time Sql Database) & Grafana for visualization & stats charting. I'm in process of trying to get Samlex to release their Modbus info and it's proving to be a tad frustrating. This is a project for rain days & winter, as I can when I can or feel up to it, but it will be opensource (ie free like beer) and available to people. Hopefully, I'll be able to include a library of different controllers, inverters etc but that will depend on outside info, help/testing.

The lesson learned from the above exercise... While you may not consider the Monitoring & Statistical value of what a solar system is doing (regardless of it's size) at this time, when it comes to tweaking, adjusting and knowing your usage VS your generation it makes sense. If you have software that can adjust, administer & notify you if something is amiss that's even better. When looking at your Solar Controller, Inverter/Charger and related goodies, you may want to put that into your consideration. Most manufacturers have such facility but they are not necessarily open OR able to interact with each other. There are protocols like Modbus which allow such. Some vendors require an "add-on" module or device to allow you to access these functions.

Yep, photo's are nice ;)

# Posted: 9 Jun 2019 12:17

Makes a good old gas generator seem so extremely user friendly.

# Posted: 10 Jun 2019 10:00

Ah, just buy one of my systems. Plug and play.
I've done all the fiddlin' already.

And no noise, smoke, poison gas, or fuel bills. smile.

PS-just added a new Battery Monitor and control system (BMS). Blinking lights!

Scott G
# Posted: 30 Jun 2019 16:30 - Edited by: Scott G

2 weeks in now full time. So far so very good. Simply running a generator and living in an 07 Sprinter camper while I add a piece on the cabin.

Garden is 1 day away from all in. Big enough garden. All this rain has been good. MusSkeeters don't like it so much.

Got a pump in the well. Hallelujah. Went with a normal 110 pump. Runs at 9 amps. . It was $400. Not a Grundfos Softstart pump. Here, it was like $1600? Anyway. It works. Have 5gpm from 120' well. Testing it this week. Clean cold water. Our first well had arsenic and was foul. It was only 50'.

We're going with a Bobolink Solar System from Creeky. Excited to finally have decided and moving forward. I took my time and had a quote from a local, really good, guy. He quoted me FLA. He was more than Bobolink with less battery, same pv, higher end epanel. He also had zero markup. Just a guy that's starting up helping folks.

So yeah. Gonna try and upload a photo. Cell data.

Scott G
# Posted: 30 Jun 2019 17:47


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