Rob R. wrote:Larry, how has your system been working in the winter months?
Just about as bad as the spreadsheet indicates. You can't cheat mother nature. But as long as I don't use the energy that is stored in the batteries, it is there for emergency use.
That said, I have stubbornly continued powering my refrigerator and deep freezer off of the solar system straight through the winter, and in doing so I've had to charge the batteries daily on the cloudy days (which means on most days). I'm charging them from grid electricity. If I didn't have that, I would need to charge them via a generator. What I have learned through my stubbornness is that I have not had a single instance where I've tripped the lowly 1,500 Watt budget model inverter due to the fridge and the deep freezer kicking on at the same time. This tends to validate my initial assumption that for those having this problem it is mainly a matter of having insufficient battery amps available, with the resulting voltage drop tripping the inverter.
The one thing I have learned is that in the winter if there is enough solar panel surface exposed (free of ice and snow) to begin generating a current, the heat that is evolved melts off the ice and snow and clears the panels nicely.
As we progress through February the system should begin to provide sufficient sunlight to run my fridge and deep freezer without having to resort to much (if any) external battery charging.
In the end it looks like I have insufficient panels to accomplish running the fridge and deep freezer strictly off of sunlight derived energy from about mid November through most of January, and partially into February. I could mitigate some percentage of this problem by steepening my panel angle.