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Old 04-28-2016, 12:09 AM   #1
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Location: Colorado
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Year: 1990
Engine: GMC 350 V8
Solar AC or Solar DC

Hi there,

I am looking for off-grid solar only options (with some propane appliance backup) for my 1990 Mini-bird breadbox bus. I'm seeing that DC kits are a lot cheaper. I know that AC is better for bigger spaces and large appliances but I'm wonder if I can get away with a DC system with 3- 160 V panels, and an AC system with 3- 45 V panels. My fridge is electric/propane optional. I don't have any other large appliances. I mainly need it for lights and an a couple small kitchen appliances.

Electric stuff is like a foreign language to me, so any advice is helpful. Oh, also I am in the 1800 zone as far as sunshine. 300+ days of sunshiine a year and no trees blocking or shading my bus or property.

Thanks a bundle,
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Old 04-28-2016, 02:11 AM   #2
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Off grid as opposed to grid tie? Is this a test? Are we on Candid Camera? How do you think you get AC from a solar panel? Start with a DC panel and run it through an inverter.

I'm not sure what the 1800 zone is. Is that what you call the state someone is in after consuming this?
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:56 AM   #3
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Welcome Morgan!

The AC kit likely comes with the solar panels, a charge controller, some wire and an inverter to take the DC electricity and convert it to AC. The DC kit likely has all the same things minus the inverter.

You don't need two different "solar systems" to get both AC and DC power. Solar panels only provide DC electricity, which goes through the charge controller and into the batteries. The inverter pulls DC electricity from the batteries and converts it into AC for those few appliances that use it.
Your bus already runs off of DC. All the lights, blowers, stereo are DC.

To run an air conditioner you will need much more than 3x 45 watt panels. I would say 600 watts is the minimum you would need. 600 watts accompanied by a sufficiently large battery bank should happily keep up with a small window air conditioner unit while the sun is shining.
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Old 04-28-2016, 03:25 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info...i'm not going to be using air conditioning. I'm in a cool enough place to where I don't think I will need it.
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