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Solar Electrical Design

A tried & true, time tested off-grid electrical system.

1 Kilowatt System

This system will power an efficient cabin or small house. The design concepts from this system are easily adapted to meet just about any electrical need, big or small.
1 kilowatt solar array on single axis tracker
Single Axis Manual Tracker
single axis tracker
Uni-Strut Frame
single axis tracker
Azimuth Adjuster Bar
single axis tracker
Azimuth Adjustments Listed By Month.
A pin through the Uni-Strut holds the array in the desired position.

Energy production starts at the solar array. Panels could be mounted on a roof, but a single axis tracker has an extremely large advantage. By changing the azimuth angle of the array to match the suns declination (which changes drastically throughout the year), we can harvest a whole lot more energy than we ever would if the panels were mounted in a stationary position. This can be very important, especially in winter months. Also, solar panels produce significantly more energy when the panels are cold than they do when they are hot. On a roof, they get hot. Trackers allow airflow to cool the panels while also minimizing snow or ice buildup in the winter. A steel pole is ideal, but wood will work if need be (make sure to run a #10 copper wire from the frames of the panels to earth ground).

DC (direct current) Breaker Panel

dc breaker panel

Standard 200 amp box that's been gutted & fitted with a din rail & DC breakers (DC boxes can be purchased as well, they are just pricey).

dc breaker panel

Midnite Solar DC breakers mounted on din rail.

midnite solar dc breaker

DC breaker mounted on din rail, an extremely simple installation method.

It is imperative that special DC breakers are used to protect wiring & components in the charging system, as well as branch circuits. These breakers have much larger gaps between contacts to handle the added risk of ark that direct current exhibits. DC boxes can be purchased for a price, but a standard box from the hardware store is easy to gut, & din rail is sold by the foot for next to nothing.

Charge Controller

Midnite Solar Classic charge controller

Midnite Classic 150 Charge Controller

Midnite Solar Classic charge controller

The Midnite Classic 150 is an excellent charge controller that's quite easy to set up.

The charge controller is the heart of the system. An MPPT (maximum power point tracking) charge controller is a must in many systems, & ideal for all. This type of controller allows for a high voltage (up to 150 volts) on its input side coming from the solar array which ensures a minimal loss of energy in the wiring. Losses could be substantial otherwise if any significant length (more than 10 feet) of wire is necessary between the solar array & the charge controller.

Battery Bank

weatherproof battery box

Weatherproof Vented Battery Box

US battery L16 6 volt batteries

US Battery L16 Batteries

battery maintenance instruments

Instruments Used For Battery Maintenance

Energy storage is key to a successful solar electrical system. Flooded (wet cell) lead acid batteries offer a major advantage over any other type of battery. The only reliable method of testing a battery's state of charge is to sample the electrolyte with a hydrometer. A flooded (wet cell) lead acid battery is the only type of battery in which this is possible, & it is a very simple process that only requires a $10 hydrometer. Also, these batteries allow for long term maintenance that will keep them alive for many years to come. L16 golf cart batteries are the model of choice for most systems.

Contact us for a consultation & be on your way to a more sustainable lifestyle.

World leading off-grid consulting & design team.

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Our Mission

"Mississippi Foundation for Renewable Energy's mission is to promote sustainable lifestyles. We accomplish this by providing informative assistance in the form of consultation, as well as providing a unique product line geared toward homesteaders & "big city" dwellers alike. We are world leaders in off-grid renewable energy & alternative communications system design. We support the preservation of natural, non-GMO, open pollinated plant life, & donate tens of thousands of seeds each year to seed library programs across the USA. All proceeds from our website https://www.backwoodsenergy.org are utilized in our effort to fulfil our mission of promoting sustainable lifestyles worldwide." 

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