Solar Systems Sizes


The six examples below are not packaged kits, but flexible suggestions to find your starting point easily. These examples fit six different levels of life-style or budget. Each example shows the cost and the watts of solar modules required in a northern US climate. Each is a well balanced system, but still gives a range of choices in quality. It's easy to use one of the examples or make small changes for your own needs. Prices include mounts for the solar modules and cables for batteries and inverter where required, but these items may vary with each installation.

The solar watts recommended are calculated for the northern US, and are about 60% higher than needed in the desert Southwest or the Caribbean. In really sunny climates, you can use the equipment list and cost from one example, and expect to receive benefits more like the next larger example.

Solar modules range from under 50 to over 100 watts each. Examples are based on total watts of solar modules installed, which applies to all sizes of solar modules or any system voltage.

Backup generators cost from $400 to $9000. Many of our customers already own one. That cost is NOT added to the total in the examples, and you may need to allow for purchase of a backup generator.

Beginner Solar System

$1000 to $3500
Electricity Production: 0.25 - 0.75 usable kWh on a sunny day

Minimum solar power for a small cabin, motor home, boat, or weekend retreat. A very conserving person can start with 60 to 120 watts of solar, to power a few 12 volt lights and stereo. Closer to 240 watts of solar allows lots more lights, a 12 volt TV, 12 volt pumped water pressure system and a small inverter for some power tools. Northern winter weather requires backup charging with a generator. One or two pairs of 6 volt deep cycle golf cart batteries make a 12 volt set.

SOLAR 65-260 WATTS (one Kyocera KC65 up to two Kyocera KC130s & mounts)
CHARGE CONTROL (C-12 or Shell 20 & box, plus fusing)
BATTERIES: (2 or 4 Trojan T-105 & cables)
DC BREAKER BOX (QO612 with two 20 amp breakers)
INVERTER: (None; or any unit up to Xantrex DR1512, cables & fuse)
Add Battery Booster engine/alternator kit, or Honda EU3000 AC generator.
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Small Hut System

$3600 to $6000
Electricity Production: 1 - 1.5 usable kWh on a sunny day

Cottage power system runs high efficiency lighting, TV, stereo, & DC water pumping. The AC power inverter runs color TV, VCR or satellite receiver, stereo; and limited use of vacuum, sewing machine, hand held power tools, computer, blender, DC powered deep well pump. An AC generator is used for large appliances like clothes washer, AC deep well pump, or a table saw, and it charges the battery at the same time. Battery is usually 12 volt but can be 24 if expansion is intended.

SOLAR 340 - 520 WATTS ( four KC85 or four KC130, & mounts)
CHARGE CONTROL: (Xantrex C40DD or Morningstar Tristar 45DD)
METERS: (TriMetric Battery Meter, optional but recommended)*
HARDWARE: (solar and inverter fuses, and connecting wires as needed)*
*(consider a power center kit instead of the two lines above)
BATTERIES: (4 to 6 Trojan T-105, & cables)
INVERTER/CHARGER: (Xantrex DR1512 or DR2412 and cables)
Recommended generator: Honda EU3000
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Small Home System

$6100 to $9000
Electricity Production: 2 usable kWh on a sunny day

Year round home for 1 to 3 people. Provides 120 volt AC power for lighting, vacuum, washer, kitchen appliances & microwave. DC or 120 volt AC well pump, color TV, VCR, satellite receiver, stereo, computer, and hand-held power tools. There can be enough power for a small DC refrigerator in southern climates. In northern winters, the generator supplements battery charging while doing laundry. This system could be set up with either 12 or 24 volt battery.

SOLAR 650 WATTS: (five Kyocera KC130 modules on pole mount)
POWERCENTER: (with charge control and cables)
BATTERIES: (8 T105 or 4 Trojan L-16HC, & cables)
INVERTER/CHARGER: (any 1500 watt to 2500 watt)
Or consider complete pre-fab Outback Power System PS2-OBK
Recommended Generator: Honda EU3000 or larger EU5000
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Medium Family System

$10,000 to $13,500
Electricity Production: 3.5 usable kWh on a sunny day

More power suitable for a family of 3 or 4, or home office. This covers all of example #3 plus power for a SUNFROST refrigerator and energy efficient chest freezer, and extensive computer or TV use. Washing machine and 120 volt well pump run from inverter AC, with generator backup if winter is extended overcast. 24 volt battery is recommended especially if future expansion is planned to example #5. For 24 volt remember to order solar modules in multiples of two, 6-volt batteries in multiples of 4.

SOLAR 1040 WATTS: (eight KC130 watt modules on pole mounts, & wiring)
POWERCENTER: (with charge control and cables)
BATTERIES: (8 to 12 Trojan L-16HC)
INVERTER/CHARGER: (2000 to 4000 watt, true sine wave preferred)
Or consider complete pre-fab Outback Power System PS2-OUTBACK-2
Recommended Generator: Honda EM5000i or EM7000i
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Large Home System

$18,000 to $26,000
Electricity Production: 7 usable kWh on a sunny day

A true Sine Wave inverter runs washing machines and power tools. Stereos, ceiling fans and appliances donít hum. Includes automatic generator start as batteries or loads require. Battery voltage of 24 volt or 48 volt is recommended. 24 volt battery bank requires 6-volt batteries set up in multiples of 4, while 48 volt requires multiples of 8. This is simplified by factory assembled equipment.

SOLAR 2080 WATTS: (sixteen KC130 watt modules on two mounts of eight)
BATTERIES: (12 - 16 Trojan L-16HC, and cables)
OUTBACK POWER SYSTEM: PS2 with 1 or 2 inverters...$4,690-$7,680
Recommended Generator: Honda EM7000i or larger
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Extra Power System

$27,000 to $34,000
Electricity Production: 10 usable kWh on a sunny day

Quality plus higher power for a very large family home and business, cottage industry, art studio, or shop. Backwoods Solar home and business eventually upgraded to 3,000 watts of solar to relieve our sun-less winter power shortage, and reduce generator running time. Resulting summer surplus allows a small window air conditioner during peak sun hours. True sine wave 7,000 watts of AC power with both 120 and 240volts AC. Battery voltage of 24 volt or 48 volt is recommended. 24 volt battery bank requires 6-volt batteries set up in multiples of 4, while 48 volt requires multiples of 8. This is simplified by factory assembled equipment.

SOLAR 3120 WATTS: (twenty-four KC130 watt modules on 3 mounts of 8)
BATTERIES: (16 - 20 Trojan L-16HC or larger types, & cables)
OUTBACK POWER SYSTEM: PS2 with 2 inverters
Recommended Generator: Honda EM7000i or larger
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