Can I build a Small Solar System And Expand on it?admin
This is a very common question, most people are under the impression that you have to go big the first time or not at all. Well that is not the case when it comes to a solar system. I might have a lot of Solar companies climbing down my throat for sharing this article but that is their problem.
The Answer is YES you can start small and expand as you budget allows it. There is just a few things that you would need to determine/decide/know before you go that route.
When designing/building a solar system there is a choice we all face and that is what size inverter can we afford to start of with. Inverters can become very expensive and most of the time be the reason why we don’t build a solar system. The inverter you choose to start off with will also determine the starting cost of your battery bank you need to buy. Let me explain this in more detail.
When you buy an inverter you will be faced with the 4 most common choices of a 12v/24v/36v/48v Inverter.
- 12v Inverters require at least one 12 volt Battery to work;
- 24v Inverters require at least two 12 volt Batteries to work;
- 36v Require at least three Batteries;
- 48v Require at least four Batteries.
So what is the difference between these inverters?
Well there is a lot of technical talk about this, but in layman’s terms it boils down to the wattage they can deliver. A 12v inverter usually only has a power rating up to 1600VA, you do get up to 2000w 12volt inverters. The bigger the inverter voltage the more power they can deliver. Except for that there is basically no other major differences.
Your first budget small solar system?
Lets take the most common approach when building a small solar system.
Lets look at some small/Cheap Components that we will need to build a small system that can power a few appliances during a power outage. Keep in mind these are not the smallest or cheapest this is just a good example of a good cheap solar system.
- 1 x 600w Inverter (Example) – R1,650.00
- 1 x 12v Battery (Example) – R2,399.00
- 1 x Solar Panel (Example) – R1,440.00
- 1 x Charge Controller (Example) – R900.00
That is a total of +- R6,400.00 and that will give you your first backup system. What can this system run? Lights, laptop, tv, fridge, phone charger, Wi-Fi Router, Internet Connection for an hour or 4. That is a good start for a cheap price.
Now it is time to expand your Small solar system.
- You want to add a few hours to your system to keep it running longer. That is easy you just add extra batteries and connect them in Parallel.
- Your Power outages occur more often and your big battery bank does not fully charge in one day. Then you add an extra solar panel or three.
On the system above you can add up to 4 Solar Panels of the given size and a lot of batteries.
Its been a few months or even years and you decide you want to go BIG and Change your inverter.
Well that is simple you can upgrade to a 24 volt system without changing any of your components except your inverter and a good choice for a 24 volt inverter is this one.
Why don’t you need to change any other components? Well because by now you have more then one battery that you can wire in series to make 24 volts and you have more then one solar panel.
What to do with the old Inverter? That is the good news, we will buy back the inverter from you at a good price within the first 18 months from purchase. Hence you looked after it well.
If you want to go up to a 48 volt system then you would need to change the controller as well to a 48 volt one.
So yes you can expand a solar system systematically as your budget allows it.