I have a very small cabin in Colorado that is off the grid and currently I have nothing there to provide any kind of power. I’m needing advice on a good inverter to buy that would primarily provide power for nite time lighting and possibly a small electric cooler or refrigerator. Where do I start?
having lived on a boat for many years, and having been completely devoted to 12V living, I have to say that you should consider going with all 110V rather than 12V. The market for 12V devices is somewhat smaller than the market for 110V so your equipment costs for 110V devices will be lower – fans, lights, and especially equipment like refrigerators, pumps, and other more sophisticated devices. Try finding a 12V blender – they exist but $$. It is hard to know what your needs might be, but if you get a somewhat oversized inverter, you will have it all covered.
Since you are starting small, you can invest more in solar panels and not buy the expensive MPPT controller. Buy an inverter that is oversized and hook it to your batteries. The battery bank should be sized for using only about 30% of rated amp-hour capacity because 1. you do not want to draw it down below 50% and 2. your basic solar panel connection will not often get the batteries over 80% charged if you are using it regularly. If you find yourself using more power than planned, an MPPT controller upgrade later and more battery-bank is a potential upgrade. You can always use some 12V devices directly from battery power, but you will notice that you need much bigger wire for the 12V circuits than you would need for 110V so that is another mark in favor of 110V.
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