Maverick's "Electric Cooperative"

Item Description Current Production

My Current System Summary

We built this system to provide a portion of the electricity we use each month.

1. Outback Power GVFX3524 Grid-Interactive Inverter, PS2AC/DC, MATE, HUB, AC & DC disconnects
2. Solarex 60W Polycrystalline Silicon Panels, 52 each for 3.1kw, plus 9 each 60W Kaneka Thin Film Modules
3. 4 each Rolls S-530 FLA Batteries for 400Ah at 24 VDC.
4. I added a Trimetric 2020 Meter.
5. I added a second MX60.
6. Being able to see our power production over the internet is good dream. It worked for a while.
   [The Outback MATE does have data Output.]

Learn More about My RV System, Solar Powered Lawn Mower

Learn More about Grid-Interactive Systems in general.

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The Solar Array

The growth of the Solar Array, from 4 to 52 panels...

I used the Solarex 60W Polycrystalline Panel, I bought the first two in 2001. Now I have 44 of the panels. Solarex was bought by BP. Some of the Panels are Solarex 60W, 64W. Others are BP 60, 65W. Some have 1" frame instead of the normal 2" frame. I added 1" spacers made from 1/2" hollow Aluminum Tube cut with a Pipe Cutter. I used this panel only because it was the first one I bought. I wanted to use the same size panel to make the array look nice.


 Tip:  How to buy used panels??? I bought the first four panels new. The rest of the panels are used or sold as not-new. If I were to grade the panels on appearance, I have panels from grade C- to A+.

The C- panels don't look like new, but they have comparable output power to the A+ panels. I cleaned up many of the C- panels buy washing them like they were a car, wax and all! Use the same mild detergent, cleaning with a mild scrubby, rinsing, drying, waxing and buffing (before mounting into the rack). This cleaning help remove the build up of crud that forms over time either with the panel in action or in storage. By the way, the Voc & Isc are normal on C- Panels...

The B panels are cleaned just like the C panels.

The A+ panels come in two types; hardly used and never used! That is the beauty of ebay. People have stuff they don't want. Other People buy it from them...

Don't buy broken panel panels or those with stated damage, there are plenty of good grade A, B & C+ panels available.

Also, always add insurance to a PV panel purchase. Always ask about bubble wrap or the packaging technique. If  you are paying for shipping, you should get what you pay for.

Lastly, also look for other sizes of panels to find a consistent source for your used panels. The other more popular size is the Siemens 75W panel. Shell bought Siemens, so they are also called Shell 75W. They are available as 70W, 75W and 80W in the same outer dimension.

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The Solarex/BP 60W panel.

4 Panels Roof Mounted
The first four in the "Take the bedroom off the grid" System...
8 Panel Ground Rack 16 Panel Ground Rack 28 Panel Ground Rack 32 Panel Ground Rack 32 Panel Ground Rack
Then I moved to the "country" and started to build out the system!
40 Panel Ground Rack 8 Panel Ground Rack
Building up some momentum...

Outback Power PS2

My PS2 System uses one GVFX3524 Inverter, and includes the components of a complete Outback PS2 combo (Now called FLEXware). This is expandable with up to two inverters and many other breakers, and a couple more Charge Controllers, etc. Learn More about the PS2DC and PS2AC and Battery Box installations. The photos show the before, during and after status: chaos-to-green-power...

The System is based on the Outback Power PS2. It was replaced by the FLEXware System. Another good choice is the MidNite Solar e-Panel. The e-Panel easily fits one inverter. I recommend the e-Panel Stretch version.

This sequence shows how the PS2 is wired. Start with the PS2MP. Add the PS2DC + the breakers and Charge Controller Breakers. I use at least 6 gauge wire for all the internal wiring.

Move on to the AC side and wire up the Bypass Assembly and add some AC breakers. It is not too difficult. Notice the Pink Highlighter marks on the installation instructions indicating the progress in the wiring PS2AC. The inverter was not mounted during this step due to the weight of the PS2 + Inverter making it difficult to carry and mount on the wall.

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PS2MP Mounting Plate

Wire the DC side...

Wire the AC Side...

Ready to mount on the wall!

Mounting and Installation

Lift the inverter (with two people) into position. One trick is to thread the self-tapping screws while the unit in on the bench using a cordless drill. Then, when the unit is mounted on the wall the screws are much easier to turn...

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Photo of OutBack MX60 MPPT charge controller in action.

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I tried out the Apollo T80. This is an awesome Charge Controller. At the time, it was the highest capacity charge controller on the market (now tied with the FM80).

The Apollo has a built in Trimetric Meter making it STILL THE HIGHEST FEATURED CHARGE CONTROLLER on the market... Learn More about the Apollo T80.

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My Future Plans

1. Install a Solar Hot Water System (Solar Thermal) see my SDHW System Journey here.

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Updated: July 02, 2010