Originally Posted by peacebeourjourne
How do I know how many I will need?! Hello everybody my name is Jonathan and I'm soon to begin a long journey with my family of 4. When I came across the solar panel portion of my research, obviously you want as much free power as possible right? Could you have to much? Any help will help thank you very much.
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Your electrical loads determine the size of your battery bank. The bank size determines how many panels you'll need to effectively charge them. So, first make a list of your loads, using a Kill-A-Watt meter to accurately measure them, not just relying on whatever their specs say. FLA batteries should ideally be charged at between 5 and 13% of their 20-hour rate. How many days of self-sufficiency do you want if the sun isn't shining? Remember to derate - only about 3/4 of a panel's rated power will ever make it to the batteries, at best, and only about half the panel's rated power will become AC after factoring in inefficiencies in the charge controller, batteries, DC cables and inverter.