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PV Systems for On the Grid Camps

camp on grid PV systemWe treat each PV system as a separate design project with unique requirements to give a firm quotation. But, to give an overall idea of the money involved, sizing and cost estimating for PV grid-tie systems goes roughly like this.

System Size
PV system size is measured in KW, or thousands of watts of solar panels. A 200 watt (0.2 KW) rated panel nominally makes 200 watts per hour in full sun. Panels make more power when it is cold and less when they are hot. Simplisticly assuming 5 hours of full sun per day, this panel would generate 1000 watt-hours of power daily. With a $0.10/KWH electricity price that would be a dime's worth of power a day and $3 per month (30 KWH) off of an electric bill.

A system with ten 200 watt panels would be called a 2 KWsystem. The average estimating price of $10 / watt of installed panel for grid-tie systems would give a rough price of $ 20,000 for that system making $1 worth of power a day and $30 (300 KWH) per month. (Costs simplified for ease of calculation. System prices have been trending lower and electricity prices higher than shown.)

As you see, things get very, very, expensive in a hurry without rebates and incentives. A PV system big enough to take $100 per month off of a utility bill would cost around $65,000 and use 60 3'x5' panels. The payback periods for domestic PV systems in Alabama is around 25-30 years with current electricity prices. Payback periods are a lot less in parts of the world that might pay 40 or 50 cents per KWH.

Battery System Costs
The costs for adding batteries to a PV system for backup or off-grid are dependant on how much backup you want and how long you want the batteries to last. Batteries last longer with lighter discharge cycles. You only get back out 80% of the power you put into batteries, so that must be factored in, too. You must decide whether you want maintenance-free AGM or gel batteries or conventional lead-acid ones that will last longer and hold more power. All these considerations make battery selection a case-by-case situation that can't be addressed with an estimating rule of thumb.

PV system 4Package # 4
The XWSystem from Xantrex
Starting at $11,995.00

If you only use your camp on weekends and vacations or just in the summer months this system will pay for itself in a few years, and with the recent tax breaks that time is cut in half. This system not only turns the meter backwards but also gives you electrical backup when the power goes down. The more panels you add, the more the return.

This system includes:
1 - XW6000 watt Inverter/Charger 120/240 Volts.
1 - Pre-wired DC disconnect panel.
16 - Trojan T-105 225 Ampere Hour 6 volt batteries.
1 - Digital display battery monitor
2 - 170Watt Solar Modules w/ 25 year warrantee. (Shown with 6 additional, optional, panels.)
1 - Module frame for mounting
1 - Solar charge controller
1 - Array combiner box with PV breakers.
1 - Set of MC 4 Connectors 10’ long.

sharp 224 w panelPV system 5 Package # 5
Enphase Micro Inverter System
$200.00 for the Micro Inverter
$500.00 for your Solar Module

Inexpensive - modular - scalable

Add our roof or top of pole mounting system and your on your way! You can now build your Solar system over time with this new Enphase Micro Inverter System. You can start with one Solar module if you like. No more need for a large inverter, this mini inverter easily attaches right to the solar module, allowing each panel to work on its own.

The Enphase Micro-Inverter shifts DC to AC conversion from a large, centralized inverter to a compact unit attached directly to each solar module in the power system.  Distributing the conversion process to each module makes the entire solar power system more productive, reliable, and smarter than traditional inverter systems.