My Solar Backup Review

Being a solar enthusiast or general electronic nerd, I was intrigued by the ads for solar backups. Specifically the solar backup system from “Solutions from Science” drew my interest. I thought it was a nice clean system but was very surprised when I got to the price. A scam is probably a pretty strong word, but it’s probably enough to just say that they’re taking advantage of people with the prices for the solar backups they offer.

Homemade Solar Backup

Item Price Shipping
90 Watt Solar Panel $260 $30 Buy
Personal Hand Truck $30 $8 Buy
1800 Inverter $260 $0 Buy
Charge Controller $17 $0 Buy
Panel Extension Cord $21 $8 Buy
Battery $100 $0 Buy
Total $688 $46

*All Prices rounded up as on 1/19/2012

The purpose of this post is to illustrate how a homemade solar backup compares with the cost of the flagship “solution from science” solar backup from MySolarBackup. The cost for that system is $1,797.00 plus “only” $150.00 Here’s the rough price list for MY SOLAR BACKUP that has the same specs:

To be fair these systems are different. The main loss with the homemade solar backup would be that you wouldn’t have the terribly overpriced all-in-one battery & inverter. You can always go to Walmart and get 2 $8 crates: one to store a battery and the other for your charge controller and inverter. There are better things you can do as well to organize your solar backup, but if you’re looking to go real cheap crates will provide the same amount of energy and functionality from your system. The other difference is that solutions from science provides a 50 ft cord. The one I found was a 12 FT extension cord rather than 50 ft. cord but you can always connect 5 cords together for a price of $145 shipped. Chances are you won’t need more than 12 ft. Not to mention your solar backup system is actually more efficient with shorter connections. You loose a lot more energy with extension cords when you’re dealing with a direct current system.

 

Battery

The battery is the most important part of your solar backup. I was surprised to see that this system offered only a 51 AH battery. The battery in the solar backup from solutions from science is a SLA (sealed lead acid) battery. SLA’s are the most common in small systems because they have the cheapest upfront cost per AH. You can get a 100+ AH Deep cycle battery from a local store for under $100. So with the money you save you could get 10x the battery storage.

2 Responses to “My Solar Backup Review”

  1. Could I connect a solar generator to my water pump so it will draw water from our well? If we don’t have electric, we don’t have water. Thanks!

  2. You can! With a 12v battery and inverter you can power just about anything as long as the capacity on the battery is high enough to do the job and the inverter is rated to have the wattage run threw it.

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