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Solar electric design and instalation

I have designed and installed several Solar Electricity systems.
Each situation is different and all were tailored to suit the locality, type of dwelling and budget of the customer.

Here I am installing a PV panel on Mangaone Hutt in Te Urewera National Park for DOC

This is the control panel installed inside the hut. It contains a solar controller to monitor and charge the battery, and provides a digital voltage readout.
We installed two deep cycle batteries in parallel, a single 12v panel on the roof and LED strip lighting inside the hut.

Solar panels are brilliant, have zero moving parts and last for 40+ years !!
The price of electric solar panels now is 1% of what it was in the 1970's.

It's commonly thought that 12v batteries are always 12volts.
Their voltage actually changes all the time, from up to 15v during the charge cycle, to 12.25v at 50% discharged.
How can this be ??
Well they are a chemical storage of electrical energy, and thus are rather complex. The above table shows how the voltage changes with the amount of charge remaining in the battery.

Battery life is directly related to how deep the battery is discharged, and how often. If a battery is always discharged 50%, it will last about twice as long as a battery always discharged 80%.
If only discharged 10%, it will last about 5 times as long as one discharged to 50%.
Deep cycle batteries are designed to be discharged as much as 80% time after time, however the best lifespan vs cost method is to keep the average discharge cycle less than 50% discharge.
Discharging them more than 80% hurts them and severely reduces their life.

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