This was interesting to set up. Not difficult but I didn’t order everything to go with the kit we purchased, thinking it was all “normal” stuff that I could just pick up locally. I was wrong. I should have ordered the stuff online. So after spending 2 days running around and calling various stores we decided to do what we could with what we had and upgrade things later as needed. We had everything that was necessary to start the system, even if we didn’t have all the perk accessories.
Without further ado – in all its starter glory!
We purchased a Renogy 100 watt kit from Amazon. Honestly I can’t give a fair assessment on how it rates on the scale but the price was good, the reviews on Amazon and Google were positive. It looks sturdy and solid and it charges the batteries quickly.When I ordered the panel I called a local battery store and asked them to hold any 6v golf cart batteries they had returned. The seconds are half the price but fully checked to ensure they work properly. We were suggested by multiple sources to start with replaceable batteries – either seconds or marine batteries from Walmart with the warranty. Most people mess up their batteries in the first year or two. Don’t want to get the best batteries just to have to replace them a couple of years later! The 2nd golf cart batteries were cheaper and held more energy than the marine batteries, so that’s what we went with.
We had originally planned the ability to lay it flat against the wall for severe weather. I’m sure its sturdy and all but we wanted to limit the chances against 60+ mph winds and hail.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so well. So he just semi-permanently mounted it.
Super simply plug and play. Except the fuses. Those had to be wired in because I didn’t buy that with the kit… Just so you know 😉
The landscape light panels for some of our lighting.
Mr got these cabinets out of a house that was being torn down. This isn’t the permanent home but they work for now.
Really crappy pic of the charge controller that came with the kit. Sorry about the quality! The batteries are run in series to make a 12 volt system. Don’t ask me. I don’t understand the why, I just know that’s how it has to be done LOL.
After the charge controller, it goes to the inverter. This is just a regular car inverter from walmart. Another “thought we could find a decent one locally but couldn’t”. It has been a nice adjustment. We were running an inverter from the truck, so every 3 or 4 hours we had to let the truck run to charge the batteries up. The first few days we would kind of panic “Has anyone started the truck… oh wait, we don’t have to”. Not now. Granted we don’t run a lot of electronics, it’s mostly charging things – phones, tablets, Ryobi batteries, laptop – and light at night. But now we also don’t have to alternate what gets charged, running out to the truck to switch it around. It’s all charged in the house! Glory glory!
Another upside – now that we have consistent power, we can get a refrigerator!! A whole world of possibilities opens up with that beautiful solar panel.