The BobolinkSolar Grey Owl is no longer available. I leave this up to help those researching off grid small systems.
This was a great system. It used repurposed Chevy Volt batteries and Victron solar controllers and inverters. The systems proved robust, reliable and very cost effective. HOWEVER, time has moved on. Lithium batteries built expressly for Canadian winters are now available. Yes, they do cost 2X the price. But when you look at longevity and hassle / consumer capability: we no longer recommend using repurposed batteries for Solar Energy Storage (ESS). Unless you are technically/electronically literate. Then hey, have at it. You will save a bunch of money. If your level of electrical experience is “wired my house” or less. Please don’t use these batteries.
We currently (sorry, I’ve told that joke a thousand times and I still laugh) recommend Volthium batteries. We will be offering a SPRING 2022 battery blitz. Pre-orders arriving in May. If you’re interested. Contact us.
SMALL OFF GRID SOLAR — best of the bunch 2017-2020
This was our second most popular off grid system. The reason? Its powerful, low maintenance, ultra reliable and brings unbeatable price vs power along with an easy install and no real maintenance.
Oh, and its expandable.
Note: We still recommend Victron equipment. It is NOT generally cUL listed. So don’t use this equipment in ESA required solar systems. For those looking at Chinese equipment: Ask yourself; what is the cost of equipment failure? After 10 years of helping folks build solar we do not generally recommend low cost unbranded equipment. You will pay double in time and hassle. Yes, there are exceptions.
BobolinkSolar only ever sold lithium batteries
Lithium batteries made our early systems unbeatable. Remember, lithium batteries have the lowest cost per cycle; but more importantly; are 20% more efficient in charging and discharging. What does that mean? If your batteries don’t heat up while running higher draw equipment; stoves, kettles, toasters, hair dryers; you can use them easily even with a smaller system. And you paid enough in sweat and hard work getting those solar panels installed. Don’t you want the battery that charges easier and faster? Hint: yes, you very much do.
Why all Victron?
- Victron solar controllers have an ultra fast dual stage MPPT algorithm. This means better shade handling and superior ability to maximize panel harvest under changing conditions; all resulting in a higher harvest all year round. Many other solar controllers are as good or close. But for the tiny savings. Just go Victron and thank me later.
- Victron inverters not only bring proven longevity, they are so well designed and robust. The numbers look smaller but they actually out “grunt” larger inverters due to the powerful “torodial” technology. I have a customer who’s 3 kw chinese inverter that he saved money on that won’t start what his dad’s Victron 1200 will. Now that particular chinese inverter is really high quality. It just doesn’t have the grunt.
- Programmable: One of the nicest features of the new equipment is that the bits talk to each other and you. Programming Victron equipment is fast, easy and safe. And it helps ensure your investment is protected. Plus its fun to look at the charts and graphs.
- In this class, you can’t pay less for the features, reliability or performance. You can however pay more.
Lithium plus Victron = reliable power
These systems support multiple devices: dishwasher; induction cook top; energy star fridge up to 18cuft.; tv; internet; lights; etc. Well suited for 3 seasons; add our BlackWING charger with your small generator for 4 season/late fall use. (Full timers; ask about load sharing with smaller generators).
This is the system for those who value a trouble free life. These systems are designed from step one to be tougher, more reliable and easier to manage. They will last for a decade or longer without bother. One of the benefits of BobolinkSolar — we want to build 25 year systems and we’re getting there. We believe our systems will prove more reliable than any other available.
Here’s what our systems used to look like
Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 150/35 with custom charge profile. Includes app, updated to latest firmware.
- ultra-fast mppt tracking. This allows it to compensate for shading in a way no other controller in its class can.
- Programming and monitoring over Bluetooth is neat too!
- Victron reliability
- 5 year warranty!
Victron Inverters Victron 1200
- These are the proven reliable inverter
- Remarkable 3x surge handling
- 94% efficient
- Torodial hybrid (more oomph for a longer time)
- Bluetooth voltage control and monitoring!
- 5 year warranty. Best in the business!
PowerWings SESS with exclusive BobolinkSolar harness
(no longer recommended)
This is the biggest change for small off grid. Please, unless you’re technically proficient go LIFEPO4 Volthium.
Key Benefits of PowerWings lithium batteries
- Your system is 20% more efficient with lithium!
- Far superior charge / discharge efficiency
- Lower maintenance
- Far longer life span (30 years or more)
- Smaller, lighter, space saving
- No toxic gas venting!
- They make your system super fly.
- YellowBird harness (included);
- New BlueBIRD BMS
- 6 month full exchange warranty. 7 year prorated!
MonoPERC Solar Panels
- 60 cell high efficiency == good grief, we’ve had reports of up to 344w / panel. The PERC effect!
- 40 lbs
- 25 year warranty
BOS: Balance of system: Our systems come complete. All wiring. Fuses. Etc. Designed right!
- Marine rated for off grid reliability
- Now with 100a CSA battery bus bar with circuit breakers per module as well as terminal w/fuse (300a)
- solar combiner box with dc rated 20a circuit breakers (expandable)
- ALL relevant wiring from: panels to combiner box; combiner to solar controller; Controller to battery switch; Switch to battery bus; Battery bus to battery; Battery to monitor; monitor to inverter. Anything I’ve forgotten to mention. All carefully designed. Wiring sourced to be the very best for its use. YES. We use High Strand wire.
- Tested, designed, proven.
- a set of IKEA instructions (kidding, Bobolink assembly instructions of course. Have you read the site? More words, fewer drawings of people with question marks over their heads).
More is more. And our systems, now in dozens of cottages, are proven reliable and low maintenance. Let the decades roll on!