for those w/ solar..

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by okiemom, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

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    How long do your batteries really last? I like solar and would install it but only if the house we were to buy.build was more than 1/2 mile from the electric. If electric installation was the same as a solar install ie $10,000 or more, I would choose solar. Most place we look at have electric. but if we found a place w/o electricity I would not want to dismiss it because of no electricity.

    My husband works with industrial electronics for public works. He understands most of the theory of solar. He is very cautious about costs due to battery maintaince. I am too. I see some use car batteries and wonder how they do it. I am very cynical about batteries for cars. I am lucky to get 3 yrs out of a car battery even if it is rated for 5. :soap: :soap:

    I figure our solar cost would be $15,000 to install not including the gen. $5-8,000 in batteries. Replacing batteries every 5yrs. would average out to a modest monthly electric bill.

    How long do larger batteries really last? what is the yearly cost for battery maintaince/ replacement? The battery bank is almost half the solar cost. give or take some. It would be horrid to have to replace the bank every few years.

    How do you make them last longer? How long have your batteries really lasted?
     
  2. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I'm on solar.I use deep cycle marine/rv batteries from Walmart (this time). I expect them to last for a couple of years. Not a bad expense at about $65 per for about three years, imo. Car batteries are not the type of battery for a solar system. You need something than can completely discharge and accept a full recharge. There are batteries that are way more capable of providing power and they are more expensive than what I am currently using but will last longer. Battery cost is definitely a consideration but imo, not something that would have deterred me. The high cost of bringing electric to my homesite and the ever lingering monthly bill and power outage threats were a greater deterrent.

    On a side note, I am currently experiencing decreased battery storage capacity in this cold weather. It has given me some unexpected challenges as I continue to wait for my third solar panel... btw, battery cost is not half the cost of the system unless you have a very small system and a very expensive battery.
     

  3. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    We just upgraded our battery bank to bigger batteries. We had what i think my DH called something 27 batteries. They are deep cycle rv type batteries too. We used them for the past 5 years and they still all test as real good. We just wanted something with more storage space so went with Trojan L16-HC which provide twice the amp hour storage of our rv batteries. We did check the water each month and took real good care of them. The rv batteries were about 60 bucks each and the new ones were about 194.00 each!
     
  4. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Okiemom
    Go solar only If Solar is What you want---------Not because it will be cheaper. Going solar would mean you will have to Cut WAY back on your electric usage, unless you want to spend alot more than $15,000 to $20,000, ALOT MORE. If you go solar---you would probably have to get a gas stove, hot water heater, refrigerator, because trying to run them off of solar-----COST, or you would have to run the generator alot.
    I went solar because---You Guessed it---Because I wanted to. I could have hooked to the power company for almost nothing compared to what I have spent on solar and what I will spend in the near future. Sure I would have to pay a small electric bill(If I use the same wattage as my solar set-up produces), but there would have been no up-keep to on-grid like there will be on solar. I just LOVE the feeling I get by being off-grid---Knowing I can produce what electric I need--Even if it does cost me more and is some up-keep.
    Sure There is remote places that has no Electric company to hook to, so solar is IT for them, but If you feel going solar will save you alot of money---You better do some/alot research. If I was to win the lottery tomorrow-------I would still be solar-----------Just a whole lot Nicer Solar set-up. Its a feeling thats hard to describe. Randy
     
  5. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    I have 6 years on my L-16s as a backup system.BIL has 10+ years on his L-16s,full off grid solar,he only discharges 20%,smaller draw down,more life cycles.

    We both have 8 batteries.

    BooBoo
     
  6. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Yep,thats the story.

    8 trojan L16s,or L16 HC (slightly more amps),1600 U.S. Dollars for a battery bank.

    Maintenance is keep them clean,distilled water monthly,and an occasional equalizing charge,which is a high charge given by charger to mix electrolyte and reduce sulphation on plates.You can see the cost for that is very small.

    BooBoo
     
  7. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Marcia,next batteries get Trojan t-105s or equivalent.I have the walmart battery marine in Motorhome,not worth it compared to T -105s,but they just barely wont fit MH tray,1/2 inch or so too tall.Costco has a version of them too,I think they are Interstates,but not sure.Nephew used them,they were good batteries,way outperform Walmart marines.

    BooBoo
     
  8. reitenger

    reitenger Well-Known Member

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    in my personal experience, the 6v batteries have always outlasted the 12v versions and give you more running time before coming down. We had 2 group 27's in our travel trailer, but when I switched to the 2 6v's I stayed at a higher charge most of the time compared to the 12v setup.
     
  9. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our first set of batteries in 1977 or so was a set of used telephone company batteries, soon replaced by a much larger set that were 10 years old when we got them. We used them until 1989 when we moved--they were still useable, but we didn't want to move 22+ year old batteries because we felt the jiggling of moving would probably short them out due to the accumulation of debris within the cells.
    We then used a smaller old set of telephone company batteries for a few years but they were too small for our needs. (We made money when we junked the telephone company batteries because the value of the lead had increased over the years.)
    Our current batteries are fork lift truck type 2 volt cells, about 1500 amp hours each, almost 200 pounds each, and I expect them to last 20+ years because I have better charge controllers and bettery battery monitoring system including a TriMetric meter to monitor discharge of the batteries. The are now 6 or 7 years old and I can't detect any change from when they were new.
    However, I am not sure if I could recommend getting a $4000 set of batteries like mine for your first batteries, as there is a lot to learn about them, and you would hate to wreck an investment of that size before you figured out what you were doing with the batteries. I would recomment L-16 type of 6 volt batteries for a first time user in a serious installation.
     
  10. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Certainly nothing more than that for a new user.

    BooBoo
     
  11. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Anyone got a Real Good source for these L-16's. I just checked and they are $209.88 + tax --Like $220 each at a local store. Do that x 8----$1760----Mercy that's alot of Cash. Seen them for less some time back, but Don't know what shipping would be. Thanks Randy
     
  12. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Yes to the t105's or better the L16's.
    How long do they last is a loaded question.
    How deep do you discharge them ..??
    What all (equipment) do you have to recharge them ..??

    For the system I just installed (customer) the 2volt Surrette batterys were $14,000.