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portable solar array and large battery to charge up volt?

7342 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  edk-austin
I rent a house and can not add solar panels or a home battery to the house. I do have a large and very sunny yard to utilize. Anyone looked in to hooking up a solar array to a storage battery and then using the battery to charge up the electric car (Volt and Bolt in my case) during the night? I drive about 6 miles a day and my wife will soon get a Bolt and be driving 12 miles per day. If we have to use the home's outlets sometimes, no big deal.
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There are things like this:

Not recommended, they aren't really UL or code approved, but do allow you to offset utility power with small panels.
I actually have one, but for experiments only.
No battery required.

To make an off-grid solar to vehicle power supply is quite complex, due to the minimum input power requirements of the OBCM.
"Not recommended" - tell me more, since you piqued my interest with the link.
At 8A L1 charge, the Volt needs 1000W, or about 1100W input to the inverter. 5x 250W panels can cover this, but only for a few hours around local noon, if the panels are directly facing the sun. And if a cloud passes by and reduces output, your inverter output will drop out completely, as the input is insufficient. Batteries and more panels can compensate, but costs go up further.

$1200 can buy 12 MWHr of power (@ $0.10/KWHr). Enough for some homes for an entire year. But at a 1KW peak rate, not enough to recharge your Volt in a day.
How have you been using it?
I've been curious to it's operation off grid. It does have "anti-islanding", which means it will turn off if there is no AC voltage at it's output, but I haven't been able to characterized how well it regulates yet. I wanted to see how well it could supplement a regular off-grid inverter.

Since it's only 120VAC, it's going to unbalance the legs of your home L1/L2 current, but not a big deal, as long as you understand what's going on (a second unit should be able to sync up to the other leg, but haven't done that yet). Eventually, I want to enable my 5KW grid-tie system to operate in utility fail conditions, without local storage. Actually, Volt can serve as local storage, but it shouldn't be necessary.

And agree, you can plug these things in, and go unnoticed, but I wouldn't make a habit of it.
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