Now that I've packed everything into the truck and am using Build, RVA as my home base, I've decided to shift focus from interior building to solar. Once I have power, it will be much much easier to work on the rest of the build. To that end I am about to push 'order' on a big shopping list:
- Charge Controller: 60A, between panels and batteries
- Inverter: 3000w pure sine wave, between batteries and outlets
- Breakers: one 50A for the charge controller and one 120A for the inverter
- Panels: four 270w to be mounted on the roof. Still trying to find a local source for these - shipping is insane because of the size. 1 panel = $225, shipping = $221
- Batteries: Four Trojan 6v deep-cycle FLA golf cart batteries - local pickup yay - arranged in series.
Est. Total (without shipping or wire): $2,444
I'll have a 24v system, because a 12v system ended up being so much amperage that everything got icky expensive (Things I Learned: volts * amps = watts. More amps = less volts, vice versa. Pretty sure I learned this is high school but had no reason to remember it.)
Initially I thought I'd have a 12v system, which would allow me to easily switch between charging the batteries with solar and charging the batteries with the truck's engine. I'm actually a little relieved that this is no longer the plan because the truck's engine doesn't seem... particularly reliable. Obviously this is a bigger problem than just for solar backup which I'll be dealing with soon, but designing a system to include something I know has problems was giving me some pangs. Also, now I have to return the cool charging switch I bought previously :P
Wish me luck!! This will be the most expensive part of the project so far, second only to the initial cost of the truck itself.
Bert Green of SolarMill is a huge electricty/electronics/solar/design nerd who was kind enough to basically walk me though this whole figuring process. He had marvelously patient explanations of what and why and how, and he'll be helping me put things together once I have all the parts. SolarMill is very close to launching a kickstarter for one of his made-from-sunshine products, so keep an eye out!