Aquaponic Setup

Aquaponic Setup

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Complete by: 31/03/2017 Budget: $2,500 Cost Tally: $786 Status: Active

4 Days since my last post... Wow.

I can only image what time will be like once we actually get out onto the property and start this project.
Fun times ahead methinks ;)

Anyway, over the past couple days I have been sorting out what power requirements we need.
IE which way we will go with Solar Panels - Make VS Buy.
The idea was to purchase a lot of Solar Cells from eBay and then assemble the panels ourselves.
However we have found that with using new materials (not recycled) the cost exceeds that of a similar spec'd commercial panel.
Not that it's all that surprising, but it did give us a rough idea of which way to go.
Of course it would be cheaper if we sourced the Wood (for the frame) and Glass from recycled sources (costing near nothing hopefully), but you can't always count on that.

[UPDATED]

The eBay seller we found is solarauswholesale whom sells 250W solar panels for only $340 AUD.
Not too shabby when I compare my build costs; $384.22 AUD - That is with an Aluminium frame... A wood frame panel is substantially less; $265 AUD ~there abouts.

Here is a show of what my panel would look like;

120W Solar Pane...
120W Solar Panel 120W Solar Panel

The image is for a 120W Panel, but that can be scaled... My costs were factored for a 250W Panel.

 

Then came the additional costs as were expected;
2kW Inverter : $570 AUD (Pure Sine Wave)
4x 120Ah 12v Deep Cycle Batteries : $1,195 AUD @ $299ea
8x 225Ah 6v Deep Cycle Batteries : $1,584 AUD @ $198ea

I haven't looked at a charge controller yet but they are around $150-$250 each for a good brand.
Now, when I tally all the costs, the solar panel cost breaks down like this;
Commercial Pack: $2,695 AUD for a 2kW array and 2kW Inverter - 10x 190W Solar Panels
Remove cost of Inverter ($570), divide the remaining by the number of panels and... you get $212.50 AUD per 190W Panel.
Whereas with 250W panels, you'd only need 8 vs the 10x 190W. Much of a muchness there I think.

Now comparing singular 250W panel costs and inverter...
8x 250W @ $340ea = $2,720 AUD
Plus the inverter = $3,290 AUD

Here is the conundrum, do we just outright purchase the 2kW kit system (cheapest option), or do we buy the Solar Cells and build as we need?
Well, there are a few things to consider on this decision.

Initially, what will be requiring electricity?
Fridge, Freezer, charging stations for power tools, power tools, lights, laptop, chargers for mobile devices.
Initially... Really? I need all that at the start of the project?
Fridge most definitely, otherwise greater cost will be expended on produce wastage and fuel costs to obtain new produce.
Freezer - No, I suppose we can skip that one INITIALLY, but it will be needed in short order, so that goes to the top of the 'Next on the List' list.
Charging Stations for Power Tools and Power Tools in general... Yes, otherwise, how will we construct this beast?
Lights - Don't use that much power so they can be snuck in without much consideration -- An extra 100W (LED) big whoop :)
Laptop - Mmm, I would like say yes because that is where all my construction plans are! - I could print them and save that extra bit, but considering the laptop has its own battery... Ok, second on the 'Next on the List' list.
Mobile device chargers - Yes - definitely, I intend on replacing the main function of my laptop with my Motorola Xoom. From that I can reference all my building plans.

Now the plan is to get a fridge that uses only 1kW of power per 24hr period, otherwise our battery bank costs increase exponentially.
I have calculated that 4x 120Ah 12v 8x 225Ah 6v batteries will supply 2kW of power per day, for 3 days, without charge to 70% capacity (recommended).
Quick calculation shows; 24(v) x 450(total Ah of batteries) = 10,800 Watts of TOTAL power.
Considering I can only use 30% of that safely, we have a usable capacity of; 3,240 Watts or 3.2kW of power.
So that is our limit... 2kW per day 3.2kW per day.

This should be fun...
I will make another post in the future of all the devices that we intend to use with their power usage so that you can get a clear picture of where our power will be going.

 

So it would seem that our best option is to go out and buy the panel kit system.  Of course I will need to source out some local recycled material suppliers first... If I can get all the pieces I need now very cheaply, then it may just be worth building it ourself.
I will update the progress on this decision when we have decided which way to go.

 

Brief recap;

Solar Power initial costings: $2,695 for 2kW in 190W panels and a 2kW Grid-tie inverter.
Battery Bank: $1,196 for 4x 120Ah 12v Deep Cycle AGM.
Battery Bank: $1,584 for 8x 225Ah 6v Deep Cycle AGM.
Charge Controller: $500 for 2x 1000W 24v Controllers.
Total Cost: $4,391 AUD.
Total Cost: $4,779 AUD.

That is BEFORE wiring the system... Eek.
This however, is the MOST expensive part of an off grid system and you want to get it right first time.

A decision needs to be made... Buy VS Make.
"Need more input!" - Johnny 5

Being a 2kW system, in the area of our property, it is a mean solar duration of around 4.5 - 5 hours. This system has the ability of producing near on 10kW of power per day.
Now what I intend on doing, is adding in solar tracking, which will have a gain of around 20 - 30%... Bringing us close to a possibly 12 - 15 kW of power generation per day!
Of course we have no way to store that amount of power at the moment, but it should give us more than enough juice through the day :)

In future posts, I will also look at alternate means of power generation... And I am not talking just Wind Power.

 

[UPDATE]

I have since discovered that I do indeed need to have a complete 24v system in order to supply our power needs.

For this I have revised the battery requirements which has thus slightly increased our costs.
We will now hold a 4x2 array of 6v Batteries, specifically Trojan 6v T105 T2.
Each battery costs $198 AUD and weigh in at 28kg ea.

I now have to figure out placement and requirements of cable lengths to determine wiring costs.
However, I have determined 6 gauge cable to be sufficient!

No doubt, more updates to come.

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