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Subject A Basic PV System?
Author Sascha Deri
 
 
> Can I construct a basic PV system using e.g. an BP 75W panel,
> connected to a Trace C35 35A Charge Controller, connected to 12V lead acid
> batteries, connected to a Trace TS 512 500w 12V inverter? and could I just
> add PV panels as needed to keep the batteries charged? I would only be using
> the system on weekends with the rest of the week for charging.

ANSWER:

Hello,
Yes it is fine to start with a very small system and gradually increase it as you need. Adding solar panels gradually is perfectly fine and safe but adding new batteries to older batteries is not advisable since the older batteries may have slight charge imbalances which will decrease the charge of the newer batteries.

The only issue with adding panels as you go has to do with proper fusing. Technically each series string of panels should have its own fuse but with a 12 volt system each series string is an individual panel so this is not as important. However you should have at least one fuse or circuit breaker between the solar panel array and the battery bank. If you keep adding panels you will have to keep also increasing the size of your fuse which seems slightly wasteful. An alternative is to do some kind of an array combiner box with individual circuits that you can fuse as you add panels. Otherwise you can just start with an oversized fuse for the entire array but make sure that the wire is correspondingly oversized.

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