Lister Engine Forum

How to / DIY => Everything else => Topic started by: glort on May 10, 2016, 02:01:05 AM

Title: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 10, 2016, 02:01:05 AM

While I know this isn't the place to discuss it, I have been looking into solar power lately with a view to DIY setups.

Here in Oz the price of used panels seems to be falling below .50c / watt.  There are a good supply of panels coming onto the market used where people are upgrading to bigger systems and therefore need more powerful panels to get the output to what they want with limited roof space.  In our northern and western states, Solar is particularly popular due to their never ending and intense sun shine. On a Trip north in January I was amazed to see probably 2 out of 3 homes have panels fitted.

The standard installation here now seems to be 5 Kw.  To me, that's a lot of power, especially if you compare it to our favored 6hp listers that typically do 3 Kw.  Where I am, The daily Yeild is said to average 15Kw/h which is a good 5 hours running an engine. Obviously the " On demand" factor isn't there with solar as it is with a generator unless you blow costs out with batteries but they are becoming cheaper too.
I read something yesterday which gave good reasons why battery backup would be a cost viable option by 2020.

I also have a good laugh at all the greenwashed talking about their tesla powerwalls and the myriad of similar but less well known units.  These things are miles away from being able to repay themselves with their cost/ output/ life expectancy but still championed by the green do gooders whom want to crap on about Co2 savings and the like they save while totally disregarding the amount of emissions they create in manufacture.

Here there is a mandated feed in tarrif of .6C per Kw/h. That ends at the end of the year on the gubbermints idea that competition will mean a tarrif is still paid. Given few if any power companies have offered above that rate, I have little doubt that most new solar purchases will be giving their excess generated power back to the utility companies with them crying all manner of BS excuses and crap as to why they can't afford to pay for it when they charge a significant amount extra and push " Green Power" like there are 2 different sets of power line for coal fired and solar generated energy.   ::)
The average cost of power here ranges from 22c kwh to 36C kwh which to me makes the 6C return another 

I have just got a small set of panels I intend to install at my fathers house. It's only 1 KW and he has a lot of trees around but with the rate he pays for power, I conservatively ( like 50% suggested) estimate that could save him $50-80 per bill which is worthwhile. I have a couple of inverters I picked up from the tip that were brand new and dumped due to being old model. Obviously they work fine and one being a 2Kw capacity will be perfect. I also have a 5Kw unit I will keep for my own install.

Rather than set up any  separate metering, all I am going to do is plug the inverter back into the mains.  They condition the power and disconnect in a micro second if the grid fails, or if the plug is pulled out.  Given my fathers meter box runs the old style meters, any excess power will simply sping them backwards using the grid as a battery for when he needs the power such as at night. Given he has a light industrial home based business, most of the power is likely to be used the " Normal" way offsetting his consumption.
If the setup proves worthwhile, I'll look at buying some more used panels and adding to the system capacity.  I know all his roofs are perfectly aligned north which is a bonus and he probably has enough for a 50Kw system but the question will be the extent of the shading from the trees.  The shed i have planned to use is pretty well back but the trees are monsters and i'm not sure at what point they will start to shade the panels. I'm hoping it may be at a point when the things were generating mimimal power anyway which will be late  afternoon.

  Even new, 5Kw systems are being sold and fitted for under $4k here.  i am wondering what they could be had for on a Supply only basis although I'm sure one would get a lot of flack about professional and licenced installation etc.  None the less, the price of the components has fallen to a viable level.  If one looks at a 5Kw system that could provide their power even through the day for 6 hours as to the cost of a generator and fuel to do the same, especialy on say a 5 yr basis, the solar is going to be a more than viable alternative.

I am not sure what the possibilities with new " approved Systems are.
If one could put on a seperate circuit that was solar only, it could be used to max effect. You could have the pool pump and the water heater for instance only come on ( unless over ridden) when there was solar, ie, free power available.  The clothes washer? dryer would ideally programed the same way.
I don't know if there are any such controllers that do this but it would certainly be an advantage if they could. Maybe something could be worked out with an arduino?

If I go to a home that has smart meters, the feedback things is stuffed. I would not be happy getting 6C kw h for the power I did make so a controller that engaged appliances only when there was solar power available would be an assett.  a $00L hot water system would only need one good days firing to last for about 3 or more in my house and if it took all day to come up, wouldn't really matter.  Even though the normal setup is to supply the home first then send power to the grid, like off peak one would want a controller that did not allow the heater to say " Top up" at any other time unless manually over ridden.

The thing is now with the availability of used solar panels, the cost really is becoming an expense that can be quickly recouped. May be different other places but here it's more than viable. When taken against the cost of a generator, not to mention ongoing fuel and maintenance costs ( and time) Solar is a very worthwhile alternative for many that can pump out a very good and usable amount of power for real and practical needs. 
Of course we'll always need our beloved lister roids on the wet dark days but to give them a break and not over tax them, solar is a good way now.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: quinnbrian on May 10, 2016, 03:01:35 AM
I've been off grid for a little over 5 years, and I'd never go back. My setup has 2800 watts of solar panel, with a 4844 inverter (48 volt,4400watts) and my Lister SR2,with a 10KW gen head.
The inverter is 120 volt and 220 volt out put @ 60Hz.Other than checking and putting water in the batteries, every once in a while, and keeping the battery terminals clean,there's not a whole to it. You have to mechanically inclined, or have someone that is. If something does go wrong....your the boss, no hydro company to yell at.
I live in Canada, in the winter, we uses the gen, almost every day, about 2-3 hour a day, to recharge the batteries . In the summer, ....maybe once a week, or two. We could uses more batteries, we have 8x6volt( they weigh about 110 pounds a piece) , think there 375 amp hours...can't remember, it's been a while. Anyways we run, in the winter a propane forced air furnace, refrigerator ,lights, TV, internet...etc. Nothing has really change (life style)  then , when we were on the grid. Well maybe something has change...we don't get a hydro bill !!! and that's a big plus...the cost of hydro here in Ontario, when we were on the grid was about $300.00 a month, I live in Ontario Canada, the most heavily, most expensive hydro cost of all the provinces of Canada ....why does hydro cost so much??? because they can charge and do charge what ever they like!!!
Used solar panel , sound like a good idea, depending what kind they are mono, poly...or something in between....big solar setups usually uses cheaper panels, with a known life expectancy, so by the time they get rid of them, there pretty much toast.  .50 cent a watts sounds good, here in Canada new panel are going for $1.00 a watt and you might be able to find a deal a $.90-.80 cent a watt. But look at what your buying...what type they are what is there pro rating( every year a panel is in uses there power output drops), so your 200watt panel that you just bought uses that is...say 10-12 years old will only output maybe 50% of it's rated power...and so on... So your 200watt panel, just became a 100watt panel....that could give up the ghost at anytime...you just don't know.
I have about $13000.00 into my setup, I install everything, The good part about doing it all, is if something does go wrong, you have some sort of idea , what it is.
Research your panel your looking at, and maybe look at the price of new ones...
Hope this helps, I'm not much of a writer/story teller LOL
Cheers
Brian
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on May 10, 2016, 06:15:10 AM
Quote
Given my fathers meter box runs the old style meters, any excess power will simply spin
 backwards using the grid as a battery for when he needs the power such as at night.

Maybe, maybe not.  Some of the old mech meters have a ratchet on them that only allows 1 direction.

And then there is the Power Company Auditor.    Hello Mr Smith, we see you are using a lot less power
these days, we think there is something wrong with your meter and it needs repair.  And if they see a
bootleg solar install, they may get quite upset.   Just a heads up.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 10, 2016, 09:29:06 AM
Quote
Given my fathers meter box runs the old style meters, any excess power will simply spin
 backwards using the grid as a battery for when he needs the power such as at night.

Maybe, maybe not.  Some of the old mech meters have a ratchet on them that only allows 1 direction.

I have tested my own meter which is the self same meters my father has. They were all the same up to about 10 years ago or less when the new electronic ones started coming out. There was one supplier of meters for the state and most of the other states as well. I pulled one of those new electronic ones off the neighbors house the night before the put an excavator through it and it won't measure a back feed which agrees with what I have been told.

Quote
And then there is the Power Company Auditor.    Hello Mr Smith, we see you are using a lot less power
these days, we think there is something wrong with your meter and it needs repair.  And if they see a
bootleg solar install, they may get quite upset.   Just a heads up.

Hey, How did you know my fathers name?  And Mine???

I wondered about the same thing but when I started pumping power back into my meter and cutting our bill from about $600 a quarter to about $150 now. I thought I might get a visit.  Been a few years now and nothing so far. I am told that they only look at very high and very sudden increases for drug growing.  We are below the average for a one person household let alone 4 most of the time with a pool and 2 ac systems.
And we haven't had a clothes line in..... yeah, a while.  We do have a pissant how water system now though but I took it off off peak and put it on normal power so the thing will reheat for the next person. 

My father is in the country and I doubt they will be bothered coming out to inspect the place. Here they have to give you notice anyway so wouldn't be hard to hide the evidence but realistically, I think our chance of winning lotto is higher than any trouble from the slack arse power companys.  they are slow enough dealing with outages and connections, I really think the amount of inspections they do would be minimal. If the do query it, all he has to say is he has been winding down the business and not doing as much work... which is kinda true anyway.  The solar system would be up the back on one of the machinery sheds so they would have to be much further in than the house where the meters are.  they have to get permission every few years to come onto the place and trim the trees from the power lines.  Last year the brainiacs drove this 10 ton truck with a cherry picker across the front lawn after a fortnight of rain and bogged the thing.  My father was more than a little pissed and told them to get stuffed when they wanted to bring a bigger truck across to get the first one out.

He pulled them out with his tractor and got a promise from the supervisor that came out that his lawn would be repaired. They didn't waste any time with that and did a good job much to his surprise.  I doubt they would give him much grief anymore.  :0)

Something I was thinking for myself is hot water. If I can't grid backfeed, I was thinking of getting another hot water system connected only to the solar power. I would have this system in series to the regular system.
If the solar heated the 2nd tank, then it would go to the regular tank and that would not need to kick in the element from grid power. If there was a rainy spell, the 1st hot water would function as normal even if the water from the 2nd tank was dead cold.  I'd still like to get a controller of some sort so the heater did only use solar unless over ridden but I don't even know what it's called to look for one.

I have been trying to look up what the actual laws are controlling solar back feeding. I'm kinda thinking there could be a gray area loophole in there. If you had the thing fitted by a licenced sparky and was using approved equipment for connection which is what I have, I'm wondering what would stop you feeding your own power into your own home? At worst I can see you would need a transfer switch to isolate the home from the grid when using your own solar. It may need to disconnect the solar all together on grid power but that probably wouldn't be an issue for the right switch.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on May 10, 2016, 03:47:37 PM
I've been off grid for a little over 5 years, and I'd never go back. My setup has 2800 watts of solar panel, with a 4844 inverter (48 volt,4400watts) and my Lister SR2,with a 10KW gen head.
The inverter is 120 volt and 220 volt out put @ 60Hz.Other than checking and putting water in the batteries, every once in a while, and keeping the battery terminals clean,there's not a whole to it. You have to mechanically inclined, or have someone that is. If something does go wrong....your the boss, no hydro company to yell at.
I live in Canada, in the winter, we uses the gen, almost every day, about 2-3 hour a day, to recharge the batteries . In the summer, ....maybe once a week, or two. We could uses more batteries, we have 8x6volt( they weigh about 110 pounds a piece) , think there 375 amp hours...can't remember, it's been a while. Anyways we run, in the winter a propane forced air furnace, refrigerator ,lights, TV, internet...etc. Nothing has really change (life style)  then , when we were on the grid. Well maybe something has change...we don't get a hydro bill !!! and that's a big plus...the cost of hydro here in Ontario, when we were on the grid was about $300.00 a month, I live in Ontario Canada, the most heavily, most expensive hydro cost of all the provinces of Canada ....why does hydro cost so much??? because they can charge and do charge what ever they like!!!
Used solar panel , sound like a good idea, depending what kind they are mono, poly...or something in between....big solar setups usually uses cheaper panels, with a known life expectancy, so by the time they get rid of them, there pretty much toast.  .50 cent a watts sounds good, here in Canada new panel are going for $1.00 a watt and you might be able to find a deal a $.90-.80 cent a watt. But look at what your buying...what type they are what is there pro rating( every year a panel is in uses there power output drops), so your 200watt panel that you just bought uses that is...say 10-12 years old will only output maybe 50% of it's rated power...and so on... So your 200watt panel, just became a 100watt panel....that could give up the ghost at anytime...you just don't know.
I have about $13000.00 into my setup, I install everything, The good part about doing it all, is if something does go wrong, you have some sort of idea , what it is.
Research your panel your looking at, and maybe look at the price of new ones...
Hope this helps, I'm not much of a writer/story teller LOL
Cheers
Brian

Where in Ontario ?
We have been considering a  2-3 KW grid tie system here without telling the power utility . Just to reduce the daytime peak rate consumption to near zero. The pool pump and AC will still cost however the AC season is only 6-12 weeks per season. The pool pump is on a timer so it operates 1/2 hour on and 1-1/2 hrs off around the clock. When the propane heater wears out a heat pump and some more PV panels will be installed . The hot tub may also have a 1KW , 48VDC heater installed . To have the PV panels heat the tub year around without worrying about freezing pipe work etc
   If the rumours are true. Ontario will consider surplus power that is flowing out to the grid for storage as income to be taxed. This will eliminate any advantages of " net metering".
     At the start of the Gerald Butts and Dalton McGuinty green energy love fest in Ontario . Net metering and feed in tariff wind-
Solar was a given to anybody. Then some pubic outcry rose from rate payers and people who understand technical matters instead of being liberal arts majors .
    I asked my utility if the 4.8/8.3KV lines could handle a new 600V 200 amp 166KW  service for my shop. "No problem , when do you want it "was the answer . Then I asked about connecting a 10KW net metering solar system. The answer was "sorry, can't do that. The system lacks enough capacity ".
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on May 10, 2016, 04:54:30 PM
I'm powering my off grid home with 120VDC ($1000 for batteries lasting 4.5 years) on 875 watts of PV panels, plus Listeroid 6/1 and ST-3 genny for laundry and water pumping (about $15/month for pump diesel).  Seasonal tilt only on panels, via $200 homebuilt steel ground mounted rack.  A big propane refrigerator/freezer is utterly quiet and takes about $25/mo. plus another $5. in propane cooking.  Eastern AZ at 5600 ft. allows for good solar charging even on most cloudy days.  I typically only run the generator for charging batteries on average 4 hours per winter season. (Two days.)  Batteries are fully charged every day and DOD is under 20% so cheap "marine" batteries can be used.  I do sunny day cooking with crock pots and rice cooker with steamer tray on 120VDC, plus a small toaster oven, propane for cloudy days.

My shop is Listeroid powered, for compressed air woodshop and occasional AC use.

Hot water (domestic) and space heating comes from direct solar HW, homebuilt flat panel collector 4'x32' configured as horizonal riser along my shop south wall. It's tilted at about 35 degrees from vertical to match gain with seasonal in-floor heat need for the house.  It's a drain-back system circulated directly from a below grade homebuilt 800 gallon insulated storage tank, sunk into floor (and earth) of my shop.  Tank is EPDM rubber pond liner inside 3 inches of foam board lining a hand dug hole in my shop floor.  Collector and tank design concept come from doitsolar.com.  The collector is formed aluminum fins over painted copper pipe with polycarbonate twinwall greenhouse panels for glazing.  The house in floor heating is run directly from the storage tank with no heat exchanger.  Domestic HW goes through 4 parallel coils of 1/2" copper heat exchanger (180 feet total) in the tank.  

Unlike PV, there is no useful heating from flat panel hot water collectors on cloudy or overcast days; the temperatures are just not high enough.  So I have to use propane for boosting water temps (as needed) for 2 months in the winter.  The storage tank is used as pre-heater and the propane HW heaters make up the difference when tank temperatures fall too low.

The 800 gallon insulated storage tank (145F max) can only heat the house 2 days without full sun in the winter, and "catch up" afterwards takes a couple days. For those two months my propane bill is $20/month higher.  The house is super insulated which makes this possible.  The 5" very well insulated concrete slab floor also allows me to not need air conditioning in the summer; open windows at night suffice, as the house only gains 3 degrees during the daytime despite a mid 90F high. Before solar, my winter propane bills were roughly $120/month total ($90 for heating).  I would have to double collector area and triple the storage tank size to go 100% solar (no propane) heating, while only saving $40/year in propane plus $50/yr for propane water heater replacement cost.

My new neighbor's home is using the same approach but we are upgrading his windows to triple pane, high performance vinyl type.  PV prices were so low he was able to get 1200 watts of panels for under $1000 including freight.  
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 10, 2016, 05:33:27 PM
Wow, really long writings.  I'm occasionally wrong but I'm under the impression that code calls for dedicated circuits for generators which includes solar panel / inverter systems.  Don't let your home catch on fire.  I'm also under the belief that if you're found to be tying generators to the grid without the utilities approval you can and may be disconnected from the grid. 

I will inquire the next email pitches for the "Greatest Invention Since Peanut Butter" (stand alone panels with built-in inverters) about their code and utility company compatibility and implications.
 
I also have to google the cost effectivity of wall batteries vs. lead acid arrays.

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on May 10, 2016, 08:29:45 PM
We installed our first solar array in 2004 it was a 7kw system.  We installed another 3kw in 2007 and another 11.5kw system in 2010 for a total of 21.5kw.  The system is grid tied and we generate around 32mwh a year.  In new jersey you can sell your energy credits back to the utilities to help them offset there required  amount of energy produced by renewables.  right now each mwh is selling for just under 300 dollars so we will recover around 9,000 dollars this year on our install and we pay nothing for heating or cooling for the year because we produce more than we could possibly use.   When we installed these system there were both state and federal incentives to install them making the payback for the systems less than 3 years.  In years past each mwh was selling for as high as 675 dollars earning a return of over $21,000 dollars some years.

I would never spend money on batteries i rely instead on my Lister or Subaru generator if the grid goes down.  Batteries are messy require too much maintenance for me since our grid does not go down often.   Also disposing of old batteries can be another problem especially if they are really big.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: veggie on May 10, 2016, 08:37:11 PM
Glort, why bother with grid connection or spinning meters backwards?
Consider running your panels to a battery bank, then to an inverter which powers some dedicated loads that are always on and powered only by the solar.
Maybe a freezer and/or a refrigerator, lower element in the hot water heater, night lights, etc....
It's the same as slowing down your meter because you are removing those circuits from your grid system.

just a thought mate,
cheers,
Veggie
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on May 10, 2016, 09:27:33 PM
Sweet deal on your excess power payback, Carl.  I wondered why you had such huge capacity, now I understand.  Smart move on your part. 

Batteries and their ongoing replacement can be serious $.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Hugh Conway on May 10, 2016, 09:45:13 PM
Off-grid too, on the Canadian West coast. When they started forcing "smart meters" on us, I could see the writing on the wall regarding price increases.
Then too, the associated privacy and control issues. We just phoned up Hydro and told them to come take down their lines. That was 4 years ago.
I am under no illusion that this is "green power generation" Bunch of B.S. IMHO.
We set up this system ourselves with the help of a consultant who pointed us in the right direction. We're using a solar panel  array that is rated at just over 2KW. I made the ground mount racking to be adjustable to produce max output according to season, but in practice, have found adjustment to be un-necessary. Setting it at the proper angle for spring and Autumn seems to work best. In winter, it is usually too overcast to get much power output. In summer, we have a full charge on our batteries by noon. When building our house, we did not think we would be off-grid, so this place was not designed with that in mind.....works well anyhow.
This is a 24V system with 850AH battery bank. Out 6/1 listeroid will fully charge the battery bank in less than 2 hours run time on a winter day when we run nearly daily. Annual run time is about 300 hr annually. this system provides power for the house and shop. We do not necessarily use the generator when using shop tools or washing machine, the battery bank and 4KW inverter handles it easily, so long as only one large machine is running at a time. Our biggest single power draw is for a 3/4 HP deep well pump. Our average power usage is just over 2KWH per day.
There is a gravity water system for garden watering. This is an independent system that uses roof collected rainwater to a 2000gal tank, that water is pumped up to a gravity tank on the hilltop via a small 12V solar panel and $30 MPPT charger/power supply.
Hot water is via solar collector. In winter the coil in the wood stove provides ample hot water.
The whole system is pretty simple and relatively trouble free. Good thing too, because I am not a whiz with electronic stuff.Total cost for us was about 20K, it hurt initially, but now we do not notice the frequent winter (sometimes summer too) power outages. Have no monthly Hydro bills, and really like the additional independence this provides. My only regret is that I did not do this years ago. Should be even easier now that component costs are much less than they used to be.
If one has even a small amount hands-on abilities, it's the way to go. If you are clueless, maybe just stay plugged in and hope for the best.
BTW, one of my friends has 21 years on a similar battery bank.......if you don't abuse them, they can last quite a while.

Cheers,
Hugh
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Hugh Conway on May 10, 2016, 09:50:10 PM

@ Glort........You initially said that maybe this forum was not the place to discuss this topic: Looks popular to me!
Listers and Listeroids make good generators!
Cheers,
Hugh
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: quinnbrian on May 10, 2016, 11:58:36 PM
I've been off grid for a little over 5 years, and I'd never go back. My setup has 2800 watts of solar panel, with a 4844 inverter (48 volt,4400watts) and my Lister SR2,with a 10KW gen head.
The inverter is 120 volt and 220 volt out put @ 60Hz.Other than checking and putting water in the batteries, every once in a while, and keeping the battery terminals clean,there's not a whole to it. You have to mechanically inclined, or have someone that is. If something does go wrong....your the boss, no hydro company to yell at.
I live in Canada, in the winter, we uses the gen, almost every day, about 2-3 hour a day, to recharge the batteries . In the summer, ....maybe once a week, or two. We could uses more batteries, we have 8x6volt( they weigh about 110 pounds a piece) , think there 375 amp hours...can't remember, it's been a while. Anyways we run, in the winter a propane forced air furnace, refrigerator ,lights, TV, internet...etc. Nothing has really change (life style)  then , when we were on the grid. Well maybe something has change...we don't get a hydro bill !!! and that's a big plus...the cost of hydro here in Ontario, when we were on the grid was about $300.00 a month, I live in Ontario Canada, the most heavily, most expensive hydro cost of all the provinces of Canada ....why does hydro cost so much??? because they can charge and do charge what ever they like!!!
Used solar panel , sound like a good idea, depending what kind they are mono, poly...or something in between....big solar setups usually uses cheaper panels, with a known life expectancy, so by the time they get rid of them, there pretty much toast.  .50 cent a watts sounds good, here in Canada new panel are going for $1.00 a watt and you might be able to find a deal a $.90-.80 cent a watt. But look at what your buying...what type they are what is there pro rating( every year a panel is in uses there power output drops), so your 200watt panel that you just bought uses that is...say 10-12 years old will only output maybe 50% of it's rated power...and so on... So your 200watt panel, just became a 100watt panel....that could give up the ghost at anytime...you just don't know.
I have about $13000.00 into my setup, I install everything, The good part about doing it all, is if something does go wrong, you have some sort of idea , what it is.
Research your panel your looking at, and maybe look at the price of new ones...
Hope this helps, I'm not much of a writer/story teller LOL
Cheers
Brian

Where in Ontario ?
We have been considering a  2-3 KW grid tie system here without telling the power utility . Just to reduce the daytime peak rate consumption to near zero. The pool pump and AC will still cost however the AC season is only 6-12 weeks per season. The pool pump is on a timer so it operates 1/2 hour on and 1-1/2 hrs off around the clock. When the propane heater wears out a heat pump and some more PV panels will be installed . The hot tub may also have a 1KW , 48VDC heater installed . To have the PV panels heat the tub year around without worrying about freezing pipe work etc


Just outside of Kingston Ontario. About 20 minutes North.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 11, 2016, 01:31:44 PM

@ Glort........You initially said that maybe this forum was not the place to discuss this topic: Looks popular to me!
Listers and Listeroids make good generators!
Cheers,
Hugh

Yes, I should have known this forum is miles ahead of most others when it comes to intelligent, if not strictly on topic conversation.
I think anyone that makes any of their own power is interested in all the available ways it can be accomplished.

I have just been reading all the posts enthralled at what people are doing and trying to learn from it. I have been on other " alternative Energy" sites but it seems they are all obsessed with total green washed and often laughably impractical and costly ideals.
I'm all for doing the right thing and all that but I'm not going to plan my entire life around saving the last watt of power, figuring out how to emit 5g less of Co2 per day or how I can get by on 2L of water per day and going to stupid lengths to " Save water".  I wonder what they are going to do with all this water they "save" . It would seem nothing.  They also appear to have great difficulty differentiating between using water for worthwhile purposes and straight out wasting it.  In their eyes turning a tap on seem to constitute an instant and inexcusable waste. Even if it is to fill a drinking glass!  ::)

Living a decent modern lifestyle while cutting down on energy costs and investing a bit of time in a hobby/ labour of love, I'm all for it.  :0)

Quote
Glort, why bother with grid connection or spinning meters backwards?
Consider running your panels to a battery bank, then to an inverter which powers some dedicated loads that are always on and powered only by the solar.

Because where I am and wherever I'll end up will be grid connected anyway. Where I am, for the forseeable future, it's going to be a LOT cheaper to use the grid as a battery than actually buy batteries and set them up.
ATM I pretty much only pay enough to the grid to stay connected and avoid too much suspicion by using what I want and generating my own power to compensate.  Most of that is gen power but the quiet and lack of effort of solar is certainly becoming more attractive. If connected to the grid, I can make make power during the day, even if only sunny days, and use it when I want such as at night. 

The other advantage of the grid connection is when I want to weld and use the plasma Cutter and other big Amp draw things, sometimes in multiple like with the compressor, I have the power there.
Due to my proclivity with electricity, I have spilt all the circuits up here very well. A sparky mate who did the board connections said the place has the ability to pull more power than the lines from the pole can supply.  Everything has it's own circuit so if I turned everything on at once.... :0) Not that I ever have in 20 years.

I like the idea of a controller that only powers things by solar unless switched over to mains power. Do you know of any such units?


Quote
When we installed these system there were both state and federal incentives to install them making the payback for the systems less than 3 years.  In years past each mwh was selling for as high as 675 dollars earning a return of over $21,000 dollars some years.

When the gubbrmint here only got in with a deal from the greenies, they had a solar scheme incentive which was 54C kw/h for 7 years.  The scheme barely lasted 9 months.  It was too successful and the power companies shit a kidney at the gubbermint and they pulled it saying their targets had been met. I forget the numbers but it was like they expected 100K people to take it up and about a million did.
My friend took advantage of the scheme and put a 3kw system in with an interest free loan.  he still has 2 or 3 years to run on the higher tarrif and paid the system back about 18 months ago.  He is having a lot of trouble getting his credt payment back though. The utility company is saying it's a credit and will come off future bills.  He's generating more power than he uses with his solar hot water and other green initiatives so even when he goes back to the .6C kwh or nothing at all, he'll never be out of credit.

This is what shits me to tears with all this green washed save the planet BS.  Gubermints and big business are only interested in it while there is a buck in it for them. After that, it's all hypocracy and lip service.

When the solar scheme came in, the grid was in danger of future collapse. The lower cost of AC and the uptake of larger screen TVs was largely blamed. The utilities were happy for a soloution to at least defer and allow them to catch up on the major multi billion dollar grid upgrades they could see coming and the gubbermint wanted to put off building new power stations long talked about.
They got what they wished for and more and then complained about that and used the lower demand for power as an excuse to put the price up  in a complete turn around to recent price hikes where they said they had to curb usage.

Makes me sick the BS they go on with to screw people. that's why I have no qualms in taking advantage of them.  Seems a case of screw or be screwed but fortunately for some of the more savvy amoungst us, we can make it go our way.... for once.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on May 11, 2016, 03:44:49 PM
Off grid in northern California for 6 years here.   Listeroid backup in the winter when the sun don't shine for weeks of rain.  I run it about 90 min in the AM, and another 60 min evenings when the cloud cover is thick.   The 5Kw PV arrays (a 3Kw & 2Kw) cover all the summertime loads, often in float before noon.  We use about 7Kwh daily in winter (large ranch, 3 fridges/freezers, 2 laptops and gobs of electronics gear)  Summer when we are pumping water, we jump to 11 or 12Kwh daily.

Any simple Grid Tie system can be run without batteries, the PV inverter treats the Grid as a huge battery.

If you want to generate all your own, and not sell any to the grid, you need a "hybrid" inverter and that requires batteries for stability. When the panels don't produce you buy power from the grid.  if the grid goes down, your minimal battery bank might last an hour, since you don't generally install a full size bank.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on May 11, 2016, 05:15:22 PM
I've been off grid for a little over 5 years, and I'd never go back. My setup has 2800 watts of solar panel, with a 4844 inverter (48 volt,4400watts) and my Lister SR2,with a 10KW gen head.
The inverter is 120 volt and 220 volt out put @ 60Hz.Other than checking and putting water in the batteries, every once in a while, and keeping the battery terminals clean,there's not a whole to it. You have to mechanically inclined, or have someone that is. If something does go wrong....your the boss, no hydro company to yell at.
I live in Canada, in the winter, we uses the gen, almost every day, about 2-3 hour a day, to recharge the batteries . In the summer, ....maybe once a week, or two. We could uses more batteries, we have 8x6volt( they weigh about 110 pounds a piece) , think there 375 amp hours...can't remember, it's been a while. Anyways we run, in the winter a propane forced air furnace, refrigerator ,lights, TV, internet...etc. Nothing has really change (life style)  then , when we were on the grid. Well maybe something has change...we don't get a hydro bill !!! and that's a big plus...the cost of hydro here in Ontario, when we were on the grid was about $300.00 a month, I live in Ontario Canada, the most heavily, most expensive hydro cost of all the provinces of Canada ....why does hydro cost so much??? because they can charge and do charge what ever they like!!!
Used solar panel , sound like a good idea, depending what kind they are mono, poly...or something in between....big solar setups usually uses cheaper panels, with a known life expectancy, so by the time they get rid of them, there pretty much toast.  .50 cent a watts sounds good, here in Canada new panel are going for $1.00 a watt and you might be able to find a deal a $.90-.80 cent a watt. But look at what your buying...what type they are what is there pro rating( every year a panel is in uses there power output drops), so your 200watt panel that you just bought uses that is...say 10-12 years old will only output maybe 50% of it's rated power...and so on... So your 200watt panel, just became a 100watt panel....that could give up the ghost at anytime...you just don't know.
I have about $13000.00 into my setup, I install everything, The good part about doing it all, is if something does go wrong, you have some sort of idea , what it is.
Research your panel your looking at, and maybe look at the price of new ones...
Hope this helps, I'm not much of a writer/story teller LOL
Cheers
Brian

Where in Ontario ?
We have been considering a  2-3 KW grid tie system here without telling the power utility . Just to reduce the daytime peak rate consumption to near zero. The pool pump and AC will still cost however the AC season is only 6-12 weeks per season. The pool pump is on a timer so it operates 1/2 hour on and 1-1/2 hrs off around the clock. When the propane heater wears out a heat pump and some more PV panels will be installed . The hot tub may also have a 1KW , 48VDC heater installed . To have the PV panels heat the tub year around without worrying about freezing pipe work etc


Just outside of Kingston Ontario. About 20 minutes North.

East Coast of Lake Huron. Not down your way very much . Have a cousin north of Trenton, did some training at Morrisburg and toured the hydro electric plant Saunders . We Should be doing an Ottawa trip one of these days.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Johndoh on May 11, 2016, 11:45:32 PM
We don't get an awful lot of sunshine in Ireland solar is mostly used for heating water or powering the flashing orange lights at schools. A lot of politicians and business types favour wind turbines, connected to the grid. Maybe it's because I'm a contrary person but I can see the logic of solar panels charging battery banks but I'm puzzled as to why gas power plants have to be kept running in case the wind stops. Anyone care to enlighten me?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Hugh Conway on May 12, 2016, 03:44:24 AM
We don't get an awful lot of sunshine in Ireland solar is mostly used for heating water or powering the flashing orange lights at schools. A lot of politicians and business types favour wind turbines, connected to the grid. Maybe it's because I'm a contrary person but I can see the logic of solar panels charging battery banks but I'm puzzled as to why gas power plants have to be kept running in case the wind stops. Anyone care to enlighten me?
No wind, no power storage, no power..........got to keep the gas plants operational to pick up the slack.

I once saw a small wind powered generating system that nearly always worked.......the wind generator used some power to pump water from a large tank to another large hilltop tank. When the wind did not blow, the stored uphill water powered a small water turbine driven generator and dumped the water back into the down-hill tank. Made a god swimming hole too!
Cheers,
Hugh
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on May 12, 2016, 05:23:48 PM
We don't get an awful lot of sunshine in Ireland solar is mostly used for heating water or powering the flashing orange lights at schools. A lot of politicians and business types favour wind turbines, connected to the grid. Maybe it's because I'm a contrary person but I can see the logic of solar panels charging battery banks but I'm puzzled as to why gas power plants have to be kept running in case the wind stops. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Because the lights , homes and industry will shut down due to low voltage, low frequency and low current or high voltage, high current and high frequency as wind electrical power varies with normal minute by minute variations in wind speed. The governors in the gas turbines, thermal or hydro electric sites are racking up and down varying power to fill in the low and prevent peaks.
    Wind turbines also need to be connected to a stable utility grid for excitation and reference frequency.
    I am always surprised how the general public has no idea where and how vital services such as water, power, food and sanitation is provided.
     Keeping extra fossil or hydro electric power on spinning reserve raises the cost of power generation.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: quinnbrian on May 13, 2016, 01:10:02 AM
We don't get an awful lot of sunshine in Ireland solar is mostly used for heating water or powering the flashing orange lights at schools. A lot of politicians and business types favour wind turbines, connected to the grid. Maybe it's because I'm a contrary person but I can see the logic of solar panels charging battery banks but I'm puzzled as to why gas power plants have to be kept running in case the wind stops. Anyone care to enlighten me?

You could have enough battery storage.... but batteries are very expensive, I paid $2700.00 for 8 of them....that was 5 years ago, now the same batteries are $3700.00. I guess if you had lots of money...say...$12000.00-14000.00 you would have enough battery storage and "black outs" would be a thing of the past.
So we uses the genset to bring the batteries back up, when the wind doesn't blow and the sun, doesn't shine. With 4 seasons, its hard to tell what going to happen.

My gen hasn't run ,in...almost 2 weeks :-)...Things are looking up!!
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 13, 2016, 04:16:15 AM

Taking all this very satisfying reading in, again, the question came up in my mind about KW/h and amp hours.
Both I am familiar with and have a practical and realistic idea of what they actually are.  What I was totaly UNfamiliar with was what a KW'h in battery storage looked like.

Searching on the net I found that for a 12V System, about 82 AH @ 14.5V  is equal to a Kw/h of battery storage.
Sitting right at my feet now is my modified UPS. I threw away the cluster of Pissy 7AH battery's and being a 24V feed I have 2 car battery's connected through some old battery leads I pulled from a wreck.
Looking at the size of the battery's, I have about 1.5 Kw/h of reserve sitting there.  I also worked out what reserve capacity was in Ah. Again, both I know well but not in cross refrence. Now I can work it out and have a practical minds idea of what it looks like.  Basicaly a Large , high capacity car size battery, ( before going to truck size n70's etc) is about a Kw/h.

For a cheap system backup, it would probably be possible to use some deep cycle marine batteries to get a decent reserve with good life if you had a generator with an auto start that kicked in before the Dod got too high.


Another interesting thing I saw is that a couple of solar retailers here are selling PV's that come in rolls like hall runner carpet. I have seen the flexible panels that are like thin plastic or plywood kind of flexible but this stuff is much more like fabric.  It would follow Curves and bends that the regular flexible stuff would look solid on.  Don't know what the performace is like as far as watts/ sq/m goes but the price is quite competitieve for the output. Not as cheap as regular flat panels but well and truly low enough to make it viable where other panels would be difficult.

I also saw whee they are making Panels more " decrative" colours and a company has started producing panels in a terra cotta colour so they better blend in with traditional clay tiled roof tops.

Another thing I saw is where they have developed a battery here in oz that out does the performance of Li ion and is much cheaper and the " Electrolyte" is actual a silicone looking gell.  A huge upside is rather than taking an ag to recharge, the things can be zapped up in minutes regardless the size by just applying more current.  The potential for that is pretty huge.  On the same show they were talking to a large project manager who was saying they are interested in incorporating the batterys into the walls of their buildings and the possibility of having solar panels on the outside of the buildings say as a strip running across the bottoms of the floor to ceiling windows. I can see this would provide a HUGE if not ideal panel area. Even so, the generating capacity would have to be significant with all the area.

They were also saying how one of out surprisingly enlightened states ( NOT the sunniest, technology state as they call themselves) is also offering a $5000 rebate on home batteries.  The reason was very interesting.
They want to move more to PV and wind generation but of course the problem is always reacting to the base load differences. It takes power stations time to do this so they try to over generate as little as possible to avoid blackouts.  The idea is they want ordinary homes to have a surplus of stored power. When the demand on the grid goes up or spikes, the power will come from the home batteries which is sold back to the grid.
There is software on the batterys/ controllers that will limit the amount of power that is drawn so you don't run out yourself or you can sell it all on a credit scheme so  you can buy back what you sell without cost when and if you need it.

The idea seems amazingly logical and practical.

Another concept being trialed is with new housing estates. Everyone has panels on their roof and the developers/ eastate strata put in storage batteries of their own. They are smallish buildings about the size of shipping containers or may in face be actual " Beautified" shipping containers full of lithium batteries. The excess PV power is sold or credited back to the estate owners rather than the utility companies themselves so the estate owners whom may be then the home owners, become the power company. They were saying 20% of the cost of developing a new estate may be just hooking the place up to the grid with power lines, transformer etc.
By making the power supply much more localized, the grid connection can be much smaller.  It may only need to be big enough to recharge the battery banks over night when there is lowest demand so they are ready for the day when there is no worthwhile sunshine.  In other more remote but sunshine rich places, they may be totally independent and just rely on a good old fashioned Diesel generator for the week or 2 they may have to fire it up through the year.  One of the places they looked at had decent wind to that was a possibility of a backup generation system as well.

It all seemed quite exciting and they  well over use the phrase " game Changer"  which is appropriate if somewhat annoying to keep hearing.  One fellow said that he saw the role of his utility company going more from that of being a supplier to a re distributor.  He envisioned home owners earning money from their PV and batterys and the customer base of the utility companies going from domestic to industrial commercial where few may have the area to generate their own power needs.  The power stations could be backed off and instead the energy for industry would come from the home owners in the suburbs back feeding into the grid. The transmission of power over great distances would be hugely reduced or eliminated and everything would become much more local.

This is on the horizon and will become common inside of 20 years.
The spin off not mentioned on anything I saw was something that has been bandied about for a long time which I have always thought was impractical for a good while but would go hand in hand..... Electric cars.
If the battery's can give the things decent, practical ranges and the home owner can generate excess power and store it to recharge the vehicle over night, these things may just start to become practical and actually cost effective. By the same token, if one thinks of the flexible solar panels and put them on the bonnet, roof and boot, there could be significant KW generated with the things parked in the sun to top them off or extend the journey by a worth while amount. Instead of everyone fighting to get under cover at the shopping centre, they would all be clamoring for the top level to make the most of the battery charging. Either that or the centre owners cover it in PV's and then sell the power to recharge your car while parked on the lower levels.

ATM, $50K or more to save -maybe- $4k worth of fuel a year to me is a greenwashed joke.  If the cars cost the same as a " Normal " car of it's size and features and you were generating your own free power, it would be a very different matter.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on May 13, 2016, 07:38:02 AM
Quote
Another interesting thing I saw is that a couple of solar retailers here are selling PV's that come in rolls like hall runner carpet. I have seen the flexible panels that are like thin plastic or plywood kind of flexible but this stuff is much more like fabric.  It would follow Curves and bends that the regular flexible stuff would look solid on.  Don't know what the performace is like as far as watts/ sq/m goes but the price is quite competitieve for the output. Not as cheap as regular flat panels but well and truly low enough to make it viable where other panels would be difficult.

The roll panels are generally "thin film" and start to degrade in sunlight, they loose about 10% per year.  I'd be VERY cautious before buying that.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Johndoh on May 13, 2016, 05:19:19 PM
So what am I missing? The windmill sometimes turns and produces power. If it doesn't turn the gas fired power station that's running all the time starts supplying the power. The problems I have are 1. extra 5% on electricity costs for alternative energy 2. Running a power plant in case the wind drops is surely expensive and illogical. I like the double reservoir idea but the green party here are obsessed with wind and they seem to be the squeaky wheels on environmental issues. There's going to be a 630 foot wind turbine constructed below my house, below as in a valley. Logic? Very interesting thread this
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: quinnbrian on May 14, 2016, 12:18:47 AM
There's somewhere on the net , that goes through the different batteries type....car ..marine..forklift..etc. Car batteries , when used for "off grid" where there charged over and over again, don't do very well. I think the number is round 40-50 recharges before there NFG. The plates in a car battery are very thin, and will not take very well to deep cycling. A marine battery, like the ones you'd uses on a trolling motor, have the plates inside that are a little thicker, making...more usable as an off grid battery.
Car batteries are designed to hit hard/high short loads ( your car starting) and charged fast, for short periods of time. Ever tried to start you car and it just wouldn't start.....if you turn it over and over again , it doesn't take long to kill your battery. And if you do it enough times ...the plates in the battery will, warp...over heat and you'll need a new battery. Car batteries are a little different on the way they rate them, amps, cold crating amps and  reserve amps. The amp rating is how much the battery can put out for a very short time ( about 5-10  a temps ) at trying to start your car, with out damaging your battery. Cold cranking amps is an amp rating @ a given temp (- something)  , in very cold temps, a car battery or any battery with only have about 40-50% of it total amps available. And reserve amps (the one you want to look at) is the amps available after you've tried to start your car over and over again, and leave it for a while( the battery cools down) is really what you have for amps/deep cycle.
If the batteries are free, then have some fun!! It better to try something, then to never have done it before, because you listen (to me) and maybe other that say done do it. It will work for a short time...week... a month...who knows, but its a good starting point, where you can learn , with out spending a lot.
Right now, my system...inverter (48 volts) will provide 4400watts of 120 or 2200watt of 220, I have 8 solar panel @ 325 watt per panel (2600 watts) 8x 6 volt Interstate L-16dual batteries rated at 380 amps@20 hours( these batteries weigh 110 pounds  per battery, very heavy!! MPPT PVA charger and wiring...disconnect boxes fuses...etc.
Altogether I think I have about $14000.00, not including the Lister SR2 with a 10Kw ST head.
But I make all my power for my home...no grid tie in here....will there is, just down the road, but I don't want anything to do with it!! :-) I like the way it works, there is maintenance,but very little. And if the light go out, down call the hydro hot line...it all you.
Cheers
Brian
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on May 14, 2016, 12:42:21 AM
This from the windsun.com solar power site on ball park battery life for off grid use:

    Starting: 3-12 months
    Marine: 1-6 years
    Golf cart: 2-7 years
    AGM deep cycle: 4-8 years
    Gelled deep cycle: 2-5 years
    Deep cycle (L-16 type etc): 4-8 years
    Rolls-Surrette premium deep cycle: 7-15 years
    Industrial deep cycle (Crown and Rolls 4KS series): 10-20+ years.
    Telephone (float): 2-20 years. These are usually special purpose "float service", but often appear on the surplus market as "deep cycle". They can vary     considerably, depending on age, usage, care, and type.
    NiFe (alkaline): 5-35 years
    NiCad: 1-20 years

If a set of 8 L16's at $3700 were to last 7 years, that would be $44/month replacement cost, ignoring interest, inflation, etc.  That's not bad compared to some larger systems, or some other types of batteries.

One of these days the long awaited big battery breakthrough will come...right? 




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Thob on May 14, 2016, 02:31:31 AM

[snip]

The idea seems amazingly logical and practical.

[snip]



...which is exactly why it will probably never happen!  ;D
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 14, 2016, 06:48:48 AM

[snip]

The idea seems amazingly logical and practical.

[snip]



...which is exactly why it will probably never happen!  ;D


Ha ha!
Which I would usually completely agree with!

Like many things it seems to have a specific " target market" if you like and is going to be viable is some places and not in a heck of a lot more.  Of course the biggest fact is never how workable and sensible something is, its always the myriad of hidden agendas, financial  interests, political influence and underhanded deals us mere mortal sucker are never privy to or think to account for.
I think it will only happen on any scale IF the power companies can profit from it. If they determine they are going to loose out, strings will be pulled and it will be done away with.

The battery life listings are interesting but there seems to be such a wide variance in each listing it's hard to get much from it.  5-35 years?  that could be the best investment in the world or the poorest. Not real helpful as such.
With the car/ lead acid type batteries, you would firstly have to have deep cycle types.  I suppose you could compensate by having regular type batteries If you had a ship load and could set a controller so they only ever went 20% DOD.  I have read several times that an ordinary , new car battery can be stuffed by flattening it as little as a dozen times. They are only meant to go to about 20% DOD with the very occasional 50% run down.  You can get 4WD and marine type deep discharge batteries but i would tend to think that even a 5 yo well maintained  proper deep cycle battery would be a better bet price and function wise.

Being the cheap, tight, always looking to buck the system type, I am thinking that a good chance of low cost equipment may lie with the IT industry.  I have several UPS units that provide really good power both in clean output and amperage. I had a beautiful 3Kw output unit that was given to me by a guy who dealt in used equipment for a couple of little favours I did for him. Again just run off car batteries, this was a great power supply and battery maintainer in one..... Till my damn Cat pissed in the thing and all the magic smoke escaped... from the UPS not the cat. Maybe fortunately, maybe not.  I found out about having it repaired and embarrassed, I lied to the guy about what happened. Said I spilt my Coffee in it. He said that was rare, usually the ones they got from domestic situations with liquid ingress, cats had pissed in them.  He thought it was funny when I said that's what happened but I was embarrassed to say.
Upshot was that it wouldn't be worth fixing as the cats piss really corroded the heck out of things and you could never trust  them again.

I also notice with reasonable regularity, BIG ups systems coming up on fleabay.  The batteries may be coming to their change over point and the units being 10 yo are no longer covered by backup agreements so have to be replaced. there was a very large unit that came up the other day with 4 yo batteries, I think it was 28, 40 AH batteries and stupid me missed out on it and it went for $26!!
Would have been worth about $500 in scrap!

I'm thinking that an industrial UPS like this may be a great basis for a discount home system where solar could offset the grid electricity costs. At worst when the thing fell over, you would only be paying the same as anyone else. For off grid, You'd probably want to be a bit more fussy on the battery life and condition. Still might be good for running heavy loads in the shed as an auxiliary  to prevent trashing the house reserves.
Some of this stuff can be had very cheap and a lot is just thrown out.  Making friends with someone in the IT game could be a very profitable relationship. It has been for me in the past.
I was given servers that were 7 yo, functioned perfectly and cost $34K when new.  They can't be relied upon in the IT game and few others have use for them. I had an onsite business I used them for and they worked flawlessly but to the bloke I got them off, they were a disposal problem because IT stuff isn't easy or always free to get rid of.

I imagine old UPS boxes could be an asset to those with proper battery banks as well. They tend to be 24 or 48V although some I have up the back, new and unused  are 96V. If one could hook these up to an existing battery bank they would serve as very good inverters to increase the amount of mains current that could be supplied.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: billswan on May 14, 2016, 01:17:07 PM

Being the cheap, tight, always looking to buck the system type, I am thinking that a good chance of low cost equipment may lie with the IT industry.  I have several UPS units that provide really good power both in clean output and amperage. I had a beautiful 3Kw output unit that was given to me by a guy who dealt in used equipment for a couple of little favours I did for him. Again just run off car batteries, this was a great power supply and battery maintainer in one..... Till my damn Cat pissed in the thing and all the magic smoke escaped... from the UPS not the cat. Maybe fortunately, maybe not.  I found out about having it repaired and embarrassed, I lied to the guy about what happened. Said I spilt my Coffee in it. He said that was rare, usually the ones they got from domestic situations with liquid ingress, cats had pissed in them.  He thought it was funny when I said that's what happened but I was embarrassed to say.
Upshot was that it wouldn't be worth fixing as the cats piss really corroded the heck out of things and you could never trust  them again.

Glort
That above paragraph brings back memories. I am an avid talk radio junkie and many years ago one of my more or less local talk commentators had a guest on who was a VCR repair man. (for you younger readers VCR stands for video cassette recorder) Well during the interview the show host asked what some of the things were that killed VCR's and one of the responses was urine. Obviously there was a pause and the show host said what did you say? The guy went on to explain that most vcr's are right at a cats nose level and they seem to think that the electrical smell is the mark of another male cat.
So of course they just cannot stand that so they turn around and let fly with there own marking system to let the other guy know this is there territory.
Of course like your power supply repairman said that stuff is really corrosive and just the wreaks the hell out of copper wire.
 And on a personal experience level one day I hit the jackpot at a local golf cart builder going out of business yard sale. I Bought a big box of electrical wiring and you guessed it one of my farm tom cats started sleeping on top of the box. And much later when I opened up the box to get a chunk for some patch job the urine and its odors had penetrated up the ends of the wire and had turned new wire green. BASTARD CAT.

Billswan
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on May 14, 2016, 06:33:13 PM
1.4Kwhr of reserve is really only 0.4Kwhr of usable capacity. Deep cycling any battery, lead acid starting batteries in particular will cause rapid failure. 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 15, 2016, 02:27:58 AM
And on a personal experience level one day I hit the jackpot at a local golf cart builder going out of business yard sale. I Bought a big box of electrical wiring and you guessed it one of my farm tom cats started sleeping on top of the box. And much later when I opened up the box to get a chunk for some patch job the urine and its odors had penetrated up the ends of the wire and had turned new wire green. BASTARD CAT.

Billswan

HahHa!

I have had the exact same thing!
I had this box of speaker wire I had pulled out of car wrecks.  My son was always asking me to fit stereos and amps and those inane sub woofers to his mates cars and the wiring is bloody expensive.

I had pulled a bunch of wire out and had it on the floor and at some point during the week, one of the cats pissed on it.  At first I was annoyed but thought, no biggie, just wash it off.  I picked up some of the wire and being clear coated, could see the green running along the length.  Where this was bare ends, the green was 2 ft down the wire!  I cut the insulation off and the wire was like it had been soaked in acid!  The green flaked of leaving thin, brittle and useless wire.
Other bits with the RCA connectors were corroded to the point of having little " Bubbles" of oxidization on them. When cleaned, the coating had come off and the things were clearly trashed.

All that wire is in a plastic tub now with a lid that would seal it from a rain storm or other less fragrant and undesirable showers.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 15, 2016, 03:16:19 AM
1.4Kwhr of reserve is really only 0.4Kwhr of usable capacity. Deep cycling any battery, lead acid starting batteries in particular will cause rapid failure. 

Yeah, that is the thing.
It would be a trade off between the lower price of battery's with less practical capacity against the higher cost of battery's you cold get a lot more AH out of. That said, if one had a source of low cost or free car batteries, then it still may be worth while. Being the case, if you did have the occasional need to take them down lower than ideal, it still may not matter.

I just bought some Cheap Chinese Solar battery chargers rated at 20A. I have been testing these a couple of weeks not and they seem to do an excellent job.  What I really want them for is to built them into a high power battery charger for my father. His old ones have fallen over and don't have an auto function.  By incorporating these controllers, he will have a low cost, full auto high power unit.
I'm thinking of Buying a high output Transformer and putting 2 of these in a case  with some cheap but also very good digital volt meters so he can run 2 battery's at the same time out of the same unit.

Coupled to a decent solar panel, his charger could be completely automatic. Start charging in the morning when he starts and shut off in the afternoon when he finishes.  :0)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Johndoh on May 16, 2016, 04:30:11 PM
I been reading about Tesla home battery packs that are 10kw hr, thats a lot of power on standby. Has anyone tried or read a review of them?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on May 17, 2016, 03:09:56 PM
I been reading about Tesla home battery packs that are 10kw hr, thats a lot of power on standby. Has anyone tried or read a review of them?

Useful capacity of the 10Kw Tesla pack is about 6MWhr.
What is the cost of your on peak vs off peak power?  What is the loss in efficiency to charge, discharge and invert to AC ? What does the additional grid tie inverter cost.
    If planning on powering your home when the grid is down with your Tesla. Add in the cost of a transfer switch.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 17, 2016, 11:33:29 PM
I been reading about Tesla home battery packs that are 10kw hr, thats a lot of power on standby. Has anyone tried or read a review of them?

I have read a number of reviews of the things and they all say the same.
The amount they save you on power bills over their lifetime is only worth about 60% of their purchase cost.  In other words you'd be far better off leaving your money in the bank earning interest for now.

What I also read said that by 2020, if not sooner, the price of the packs and those numerous similar ones from, LG, samsung and others will come down to a viable level. ATM the conventional Battery banks as people here have are by far and away the most economical and the Lipo packs are a neat and stylish extravagance that have no chance of doing what they purport in saving money.
If you could get them falling off the back of a truck. great. If you have to buy them, $15K for a tesla  here, that's more power than what they can save you in their expected lifetime.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: quinnbrian on May 18, 2016, 01:21:57 AM
I been reading about Tesla home battery packs that are 10kw hr, thats a lot of power on standby. Has anyone tried or read a review of them?

There a guy on utube that show you how to build one...for a faction of the cost of buying one. He also goes through...the good and bad of them, and how there made. I'll see if I can find the link.
Here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk50IuWXg-c
Hope this helps
Cheers
Brian
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 18, 2016, 05:31:10 PM
I thought Tesla stopped sales of the 10 KWH units.

Of course I covet two of them or maybe four.  I'm pretty sure they're 120 volts out so you need two for 240 volt use. Yes, as the Supreme Commander I shall edict "No 240 appliances aver 3:00 or before 10:00 but the naives don't always obey!  Remember my caveat:  I've been mistaken before.  Now to check out the above link.

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on May 18, 2016, 06:16:04 PM
I've read that Tesla's batteries have quite a bit of battery charge balancing circuitry, which this DIY hobbyist is ignoring.  If you just charge large numbers of cells configured in both parallel and series, individual cells will always over or under-perform and problems will result.  Lithium cells are somewhat simpler to charge manage as they just need to be voltage limited, and voltage can be used to determine state of charge.  But still, cell charge management of some sort is needed. Lithium cells will not last long if charged as if they were lead acid cells.

Typically they would have quite a bit of electronics added to monitor cell voltage and regulate charge, to redirect charge current around full cells, to underchaged cells, in order to conserve battery life and keep the cells balanced in charge.

I also don't believe the numbers have changed since I evaluated lithium for my off grid home over a decade ago, and gave them a thumbs down.  They only make sense if weight and energy density are a big issue, or operation at elevated temperatures would make lead acid batteries die very quickly.  Both those issues make lithium a good choice for cars, but a bad one for home power, at present.  If improvements lead to greater cycle life, that could change quickly.  We can only hope that the next big battery breakthrough, promised for the last 70 years plus, will soon actually happen. 



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Tom on May 18, 2016, 08:04:54 PM
Yes I to hope for new and long lived battery tech. The 48kw of industrial batteries in the basement are now 9 years old and starting to show some signs of aging. The were only $8k in '07, don't know what they'll cost now. The prismatic LiFePo high amp hour units do look viable as a replacement to me. There are other factors than KW and cycles. Acceptance and equalization burns a lot of amp hours turning H2O into gas.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 19, 2016, 04:53:44 AM

There a guy on utube that show you how to build one...for a faction of the cost of buying one. He also goes through...the good and bad of them, and how there made. I'll see if I can find the link.
Here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk50IuWXg-c
Hope this helps
Cheers
Brian

Watched the vid and the first thing that hit me was the price... $3000 for the smaller unit obviously being in the US
I had to check that was accurate and a look on the net seems it was along with the local price I had in my mind..... $15,000!!
I know there is a currency difference and other things that go with it but a 12K difference?  And I bet you yanks complain about 3500!

Dunno what you guys pay for power but the average 2 adult, 2 kid home here is taken to pay between 2500 and 3K a year for power and I'd say that is on the money.  If we could get them for even $4k allowing for dollar difference, they would be a 4 year return at very worst allowing for install etc.

The vid while possibly  practical  ( and most likley not here, can't think where you would get that many old laptop batterys) is also incorrect in that the powerwalls do not use lipos and not 1850's as stated but actually a manganese based battery.
While there is a vid on how to test the used batterys in the pack, i'd have to question the wisdom of using  old batterys in a pack like that. Sure they might test good today but tomorrow or in a weeks time??  As far as I can tell, the cost of New 18650s Would make this a far more serious investment than something most people would be prepared to risk with a cobbled together project.

If one were to use salvaged cells.  Bruces comment becomes significant about the charge regulation and balancing. It's likley a lot of cells would fall over in a fairly short amount of time and just having a fuse to take them out of circuit would diminish the pack quickly when proper regulation may make it last a lot longer.

Maybe I'm taking the vid too seriously. It seemed to be a serious vid but maybe not a well thought out one or it could have been more of an intended "If you wanted to, but probably won't " type production.

I was looking on gumtree this morning and there is a guy selling 4 yo 225 and 250W panels in excellent condition for $50 ea.  The price of generation has come down, The price of storage is still quite high.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: broncodriver99 on May 19, 2016, 06:39:47 AM
Watched the vid and the first thing that hit me was the price... $3000 for the smaller unit obviously being in the US
I had to check that was accurate and a look on the net seems it was along with the local price I had in my mind..... $15,000!!
I know there is a currency difference and other things that go with it but a 12K difference?  And I bet you yanks complain about 3500!

Dunno what you guys pay for power but the average 2 adult, 2 kid home here is taken to pay between 2500 and 3K a year for power and I'd say that is on the money.  If we could get them for even $4k allowing for dollar difference, they would be a 4 year return at very worst allowing for install etc.

WOW. That is a heck of a disparity. The currency exchange shouldn't be but about 40%. There may be some import tariffs on your end as the US doesn't do much of anything with export tariffs. Tesla did get a boat load of taxpayer money to aid developing their different technologies so maybe we in the US get to reap the benefit of our investment where the rest of the world may not. That generally isn't the case with our industry but who knows. We generally get hosed for high prices while the same company sells the same product in developing areas for pennies.  ::)

The US averages $0.12 per kilowatt hour for electricity. It is hard to nail down a national average for the standard family household as we have everything from dessert with evaporative cooling to northern areas that have basically 1 month of summer.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Johndoh on May 19, 2016, 11:10:52 AM
The video was quite interesting however like others here I'd not be happy using old laptop batteries, the tend to be very old most people just leave the battery in situ and use AC power when the battery dies.

I saw mention of an Indian diesel scooter some time ago, http://motorbikewriter.com/india-unveils-innovative-diesel-scooter/, it seems to be a useful idea but like a battery that's affordable practical and long lasting the scooter never made it to production. An old guy like me would look silly on the scooter anyway! Surely there are better batteries coming down the line?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 19, 2016, 04:11:05 PM
All in all I think we all know whimsical hot air when we see it. 

     1)   Compared used crap to brand new warrantied stuff.
     2)   Not including all of the included equipment.
     3)   Not discussing all of the not included equipment.

glort:     Oh my Gosh, I agree with you again and there's almost two weeks left in this month.

broncodriver99:   We have 6 KW of panels and still pay from $250 to $500 a month for electricity.  Yup, in Hawaii we are currently paying 31 cents a KWH.  And guess what?  The utilities commission just cut grid tie program by 50%.  Over generate at noon and get 15 cents a KWH credit and buy back a KWH at midnight for only 31 cents.  So HELCO is making 100% return per day on my investment.  Monopolies are good.  They make life simple.

X

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: broncodriver99 on May 19, 2016, 04:30:57 PM
broncodriver99:   We have 6 KW of panels and still pay from $250 to $500 a month for electricity.  Yup, in Hawaii we are currently paying 31 cents a KWH.  And guess what?  The utilities commission just cut grid tie program by 50%.  Over generate at noon and get 15 cents a KWH credit and buy back a KWH at midnight for only 31 cents.  So HELCO is making 100% return per day on my investment.  Monopolies are good.  They make life simple.

You guys in Hawaii definitely get the short end of the stick on a lot of things. Sounds like the greed is strong with your electric company.

Can't beat the view though, eh?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on May 19, 2016, 07:14:32 PM
Casey, I was just wondering where all that power goes- A/C?  Is the house insulated? How many SF?  Solar hot water?  Electric clothes dryer?


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on May 19, 2016, 07:33:05 PM
broncodriver99:   We have 6 KW of panels and still pay from $250 to $500 a month for electricity.  Yup, in Hawaii we are currently paying 31 cents a KWH.  And guess what?  The utilities commission just cut grid tie program by 50%.  Over generate at noon and get 15 cents a KWH credit and buy back a KWH at midnight for only 31 cents.  So HELCO is making 100% return per day on my investment.  Monopolies are good.  They make life simple.

You guys in Hawaii definitely get the short end of the stick on a lot of things. Sounds like the greed is strong with your electric company.

Can't beat the view though, eh?

Hawaii suffers from do gooders that would make California do gooders jealous. No low cost nuclear , limited coal base load utility grid power generation. Hawaii generation is reciprocating diesel and some heavy oil and gas turbines that burn lighter more $$$ kerosene or #2 diesel. Hydraulic power generation is rather modest being run of river as the bunny huggers and high land prices preclude water storage dams.
   A couple of ship mounted nuclear units that are earthquake proof is the only way to lower Hawaii prices .
    However the other existing investors make $$$ supplying Hawaii would differ in opinion about nuclear.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: dieselgman on May 19, 2016, 07:47:39 PM
It occurs to me that some types of geothermal should be practical in some places. Perhaps those active zones are just not stable enough?

dieselgman
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on May 19, 2016, 09:44:48 PM
Here's a thoughtful explanation of Hawaii's energy situation by a nuclear engineer. 
http://friendsofnelha.org/nuclear-power-for-hawaii/

Gary's suggestion of geothermal power makes me wonder about it's suitability for Hawaii; I know Iceland has developed that significantly. 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on May 19, 2016, 09:58:12 PM
Here's an interesting article about the existing geothermal plant in Hawaii as well as a look at geothermal in the US and around the world. 

http://www.hawaiibusiness.com/geothermal-is-a-red-hot-topic/

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: dieselgman on May 19, 2016, 11:17:49 PM
As usual... local resistance to progress because most of the benefits will be taken away from the community, add in the greenies and a mess of politics. It is a wonder anything gets accomplished these days.

I think that almost all human activity will have some environmental impacts... the logical keys would be to accurately weigh all of the factors for costs and risks, educate all of the people involved, obtain fully informed consent and carry out any such projects with Justice as a guiding principle.

dieselgman
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on May 20, 2016, 01:20:38 AM
  In Ontario the word is natural gas will be phased out in order to use all the surplus over priced subsidized wind and solar power.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 20, 2016, 04:12:28 AM
It occurs to me that some types of geothermal should be practical in some places. Perhaps those active zones are just not stable enough?

dieselgman

I have been to new Zealand a few times to do Photoshoots.  The geothermal in areas there is amazing. You could literally sink a steam well in your own back yard and some people have.
Around the most active area, rotoroua, Geo is huge for heating and spas.  I don't think there is a motel in the place that doesn't have a geo thermal spa in every room.  The water is so hot you generally have to add cold water to make it bearable.  Depends where you are and what your tolerance is but it isn't lacking in warmth, put it that way.

There is no tap to turn off the Geo water, don't know if they can't for physical reasons with pressure etc or they just don't bother. It just overflows 24/7 and no greenee seems to whine about water wasteage.

The rotoroua convention centre/ indoor stadium is totally geo powered. They have a turbine for power and of course the place is heated the same way.  It's on a very active lake where you can walk around and see small steam geysers coming out of the lake shore and around.  It's got a 18" fence around it but of course like all good tourists we couldn't read Kiwi english so walked around and had a good look. It was amazing.
We went to a thermal park and the gysers there were the ones that shot into the air on command and smaller ones coming out of no where. there was a lake that steamed even though the day was near 30C and was far too hot to put your hand in.

They have a few geo power generation plants around the area mainly around Taupo where the geo park we went to was. They are building more plants ATM but the Rotorua council has of course laws on tapping the go power even for homeowners.  They have regulations ( read taxes) on this basically inexhaustible supply of power.  The temps of the geo ranges from 40 which is warm to 140 which is well past saturated steam.
Being the type I am, I'd be looking into a mini Geo powered Turbine no worries.

One thing about the place we learned, it stinks.  We were looking in a tourist guide and in a sub headline on an ad from one place it had " No Sulphur Smell". We wondered what that was about till we were about 20 Km away ans started accusing one another of ripe gaseous emissions.  Of course when they hadn't subsided for 10 min, the penny dropped. You do get a bit used to it after a few hours but when you first get near the lake... Hooley dooley!


As an aside, the place really did my head in. having been self employed about 90% of my life and studied business, marketing and sales, I was surprised how quiet the place was. There was a strip of over 1KM down the main drag where it was only hotels one beside the other, both sides of the road.  each one only appeard to have a few cars there.  we went into town for dinner and the end;ess restaurants were the same.  miles of them, hundreds of seats and about 10% occupancy and that's being generous.
We found a Pub with a nice outdoor setting and when the girl brought us our food I started chatting her up saying that I supposed the busy season, Christmas was just around the corner. She looked a bit blankly and said , no not really. I said oh, when do all the crowds come?  She looked again and said we don't really get a rush at any time, it's pretty much constant.  I said Oh, ok, is this the quiet time then? No, it's always like this.

I'm thinking WTF?? I said, thinking she may not know the area, Have you been living here long? She said yes, I was born here and still live at home.  By now I'm thinking the nice girl must be on drugs or something.
You can't have 5000 hotel beds in a little tourist  town along with endless restaurants and have them survive at 10% saturation.
I asked some more people about the rush and got the same answers, it's the same here all the time, just like this..... W T F ???

Don't know how that works. It's just not little owner/ operator places, there is an international Chain hotel there with a 7 storey building and that probably didn't even have 20 cars in the carpark either.
I felt sorry for the locals so we stayed a couple of nights in the smaller places but although clean, they were woefully out of date.  No wonder the owners rolled out teh threadbare red carpet though and thanked us like we saved their lives.  the 3rd night it was the big hotel though for some real comfort and a bit of luxury. Didn't even take much talking to get a massive upgrade with them into a suite for a middle range room price.

I got to admit, my real "Idealistic" power is Hydro.  Solar is nice and practical and all that but not enough real fun involved as in no moving parts.  Hydro would be great to play with in my old age.
Of course i live on the driest freaking continent in teh world  so water  sufficent for hydro is limited here even if we do have the worlds largest hydro scheme at one point.
I have spent many hours looking for properties that I could do a hydro setup on and there are some around although always distant from any major town let alone city.  I could probably pick something up for $100K  But that is a lot of money to pay for a hobby!!  Not to say I wouldn't do it anyway.  I am not much of a traveler but I and the Mrs could be very happy in a remote bush location with a shack built from a few shipping containers and spend some quiet time away from the rat race.  I think we would still have to have a place in the rat race as well, too much quiet freaks me out so i'd have to acclimatise.   :0)

Lister in the shed, panels on the roof, water spinning up some various home made turbines and hydro generators.....  I could set up my own power company!  :0)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 20, 2016, 05:22:34 PM
WOW!  Talk about button city.

Those Tuesday talks are given at the Hawaii Electrical Company (HELCO) "show n tell" auditorium.  It's always nice to know who's paying for the free somethings.  There is enough geo energy to easily supply the big island and there have been positive feasibility studies about running the excess to the other islands.  Of course the corporate leaders of HELCO might have to explain to the other corporations they serve why or how they have lost the oil shipping contracts and refinery revenues.

I'm still curious how my 6KW system challenges the grid but their acre sized solar arrays are just fine and dandy.

Please don't infer that petroleum isn't subsidized.  We have lost over 6800 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan so far this century.  Do you have any idea how much we spend on the 20,000 navy personnel in the Gulf alone each day.  Please.

Do you consider Grand Coulee Dam to be a subsidy?  Do you consider the US interstate highway system to be a subsidy?  Do you consider all of the research and development of nuclear power to be a subsidy?  (Or the clean up costs?)

Tax credits for home owners on solar is a drop in the bucket.  How is it that when a large corporation gets a "no stinking subsidy" it's for national defense or jobs but when I want a tinsy piece of the pie I'm a blood sucking tree hugging do-gooder?

LowGear

I think I'm wired up.  Now where's that gas powered lawn mower as I have some man's work to do.  Stinky, dirty, noisy man work!  Hmmmmm;  Where can I expand the grass area so I won't be faced with one of those wussy electric mowers on the next mower purchase.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 20, 2016, 05:31:46 PM
Hi dieselgman,

When you find that sane universe would you please let me in on the secret location?

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 20, 2016, 06:17:06 PM
Now to bring this thread back from the edge of politics and into the arena of solar power and the Tesla Wall thing.  When the giga-factory gets caught up with production and the price drops a bit I'll be going to the kiss my insulators grid system.  There are a couple of modifications needed:

4 KW more of solar panels.  (Subsidized)
Tesla Walls.   (Subsidized - I hope))
Some device to handle my SunnyBoy inverters so they can control my micro grid and charge my Tesla Wall or a US made competitor.  (I hope you all source your own suppliers before you start paying around the world shipping.)
Propane kitchen cooker.
Solar water booster and maybe a propane water heater.  (My next project to complete.)
Propane clothes dryer.
Conversion of my pond pumps from direct electric to air powered via small compressors with timers.
Maybe even getting the Witte tied into the Tesla Walls.

I like a 5 year payback.  OK, so right now I'm getting about a 50 year payback on my savings so it doesn't take much to push me over the edge.

Casey


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 25, 2016, 02:58:54 AM

Been doing some more mental Solar arithmetic.

I have worked out another scam in the solar scheme we have here and it seems many places have.
We have net metering which means the power generated goes into the household system to offset any demands and then into the grid if anything is left over for which you get an insulting 6C a Kwh when you buy in many places here at 30C or above.
Here off peak hot water is very common.  Everywhere I could fine, off peak is from 10 Pm to 5 or 7 am. You might get a lower rate for that, say 15C kwh BUT, that's a lot more than your solar feed in tarrif.  Solar panels don't generate a whole load of power from 10-7 But I have never heard of anyone having their water heaters set up to come on when the panels are generating and the homeowner could be making the most of that power instead of selling it for less than half of what they have to buy it back for.
This is what frankly shits me with this whole do gooder green save the planet Crap.  It's only pushed when there is a buck to be made by big business or gubbermints.

If one were to put in some relays and a timer, a small solar bank could heat the water through the day and a timer could kick in say at 6pm to top the temp off if needed. Yes, You might pay full tilt but you'd be paying full tilt on maybe an hours worth of power not half price for 4 hours because if the water wasn't right up to temp, it soon would be.

Technically you have to have a licensed solar installer make any connections to equipment to the grid. Probably so they have to do a setup to rob you. To get around this for a DIY system you could wire the panels to a 2nd heater.  This heater would receive the cold water and pre heat it before feeding it into the main heater which could be either off peak or gas.  Whichever one, when the normal heat source kicked in, again it would only be raising the water temp maybe 10o  instead of 40 or 50 depending on the time of year and your water supply temp.

Roughly, 1Kw of solar power would raise the temp of 100L of water 10oC in an hour.  Here an average HWS is about 250L ( probably gallons in the US!)  so even 1 KW worth of panels would bring the temp of the water to shower temps on a sunny day. 1.5 KW would supply the full heating requirements and if a larger heater were used, the solar array could be suitably upsized.
I'm going to buy some 3 YO used panels today for $50 each for 250W units.  At these sort of prices, recouping ones investment would be infinitely quicker than tieing the panels into an " Approved" array and getting the feeble feed in tariff offered. Used heaters can also be had cheap so for a few hundred dollars, the investment could well be recouped in under a year.

After I did all this thinking and reckoning, I went online to see if anyone else had the same rush of blood to the head and of course smarter minds than I had already worked it out long ago.
I found a local study that found this was in fact a far more economical way to go that with a solar hot water heater. Not only is the purchase price of a regular electric storage HWS thousands on average cheaper, but  a solar/ electric heater will outperform a solar water heater in many ways.

In summer for instance, solar water heaters are generally done quite early in the day and the rest of the time they are just boiling the water and doing nothing further.  If one looks at the price of a solar water heater and compares that to the amount of PV panels they can get, the generation value can be substantial.
A quick lookup shows here, a mid size solar water heater to be a bit over 3 grand. What also needs to be taken into account here is the extra cost of a backup heater when there is no sun or too cool temps and a regular electric or gas heater has to be used.

 Another search shows that new, name brand panels could be had amounting to 4.3 Kw for the same price of $3k.  If we take into account our solar credit rebate here on the panels, we can then afford to take that over 6KW of panels.
Now crunching the numbers, if we throw that 6Kw at a 250L heater with a start temp of 20oC and want the cut off temp at 70, we are looking at a 60o temp rise an hour for 100L so less than 2.5 Hours to heat that 250L of water.  IE, by 10-11Am, our water is well and truly up to temp and we have another 4 Full hours of 6Kw worth of power to do other things with. Like run the pool pump or 4,  Run the pool pump, the clothes dryer and a welder and STILL have some left in reserve to sell for a pissy 6C kwh or run your analogue meter backwards... by far my preferred option.
Of course you could always opt up to a 400L system which is the big family size here. You are probably going to get that up to heat in under 4 hours BUT, only for the first day. Unless you use all that water, there will still be some heat in the tank the next day so the temp rise needed might only be say 30o. back to a 2 hour heat up time. The beauty would be, if it rains all day tomorrow and maybe even the next day, you still have hot water in reserve to get you through were as you would be absolutely paying for those wet days with a solar water heater on backup.

And the benefits go on. Come a cloudy day and you are going to be lucky if your solar water heater produces anything even luke warm.  Your 6Kw panels might only be producing 2 Kw But they do still produce a worthwhile output especially when you have that sort of capacity and they may take all day to get that water heater up to temp but still, you will get a hot shower that evening at NO cost unlike the other way which will have to kick in the gas or electric. Even if the panels don't get the heater to 70 which is on the high side anyway, if they only get it to 50, you are still at the temp modern water temp controllers will limit the water to anyway.

Another thing I saw was using the solar to heat water for home heating. If one were the particularly law abiding kind and didn't want to wind their meter backward or has the wrong sort of meter, the excess energy could be stored in the form of hot water.  Probably won't do you a lot of good in summer but in winter, the water could be circulated around the home for heating.
I'm going to see if thee is a cheap arse way of cooling water withing the capabilities of the home DIYer. Not sure what sort of refrigeration system could be adapted to cool the water easily but it could be circulated in those same hot water tanks which are nicely insulated and then recirculated through Heat exchangers or radiators at night.

Rather than batteries being the storage medium, I'm going to be on the lookout for and stocking up on used water heaters!
Wonder if it were possible to get any sort of worth while efficiency insulating  IBC 1000L containers with something like household batts?  Enclosing them in cool room paneling may be effective given a lot of that has 2" or more of Styrofoam. 
Maybe old refrigerators laid on their backs and sealed at the door with an in and out water pipe may work? Not hard to get them in 600L sizes. Wonder if the door could be effectively sealed and with what so they could be operated as the cooling unit for the water therein? Might have to check the thermostat controls with regards to water or just have it external with just the probe inside. Or bypass it all together....
Wait!!  Old chest Freezer! Perfect!

So many cheap arse and fun DIY options!  :0)

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on May 25, 2016, 11:32:14 AM
I bought a old water collector kit on ebay that had never been assembled for 150 dollars with glazing.  It was a 8'x12' design which i incorporated into the south side of my shed wall that i was building.  I set the wall 65 degrees to horizontal for best sun collection in my area in the winter.   I used  three 75 gallon ( filled to about 210 gallons total or just under 800 liters) plastic drums that are in the basement to hold the water with a 50' copper coil in each tank.  The tanks are coupled together so the water flows from one to the other.  The cold water is taken from the bottom of the right tank and hot water returned to the top of the left tank.   The drums were 30 dollars each the controller was 75 dollars and i had the copper tubing .    Cold water comes into the house and goes through the copper coils in the drums before it is sent to the electric water heater.   In winter the storage tanks stay around 120 degrees during sunny days and only drop back to about 100 overnight.   If we have several days of clouds and snow/rain it will drop back to 70 to 80 degrees.  in ths summer that are topped off early @135 which is the cutoff temp i have set.

It is a open system and there is no pressure in the storage water tanks.  A small circulator pump moves the water when the panels are hot enough as determined by the controller

I only have about 500 dollars US invested and it has been running very well for just under 2 years now.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 25, 2016, 04:19:12 PM
BruceM:  
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Casey, I was just wondering where all that power goes- A/C?  Is the house insulated? How many SF?  Solar hot water?  Electric clothes dryer?
 We have a one unit B&B and a live on site volunteer staff so (2) full sized fridges; (2) under-counter fridges; 1 regular hot water tank and one assisted; 1 electric cloths dryer; (2) 24-7 water features & (2) air - water pumps; 1 swimming pool; 1 electric cooker and a cadre of people that just can't figure out how to turn @*%%!ing stuff off.  We're at 1000 feet so AC isn't needed.  The house has an insulated ceiling but since we installed vents we've never felt heat from the ceiling.  We have a couple of windows that are only shut to clean them.  As I mention before a solar boost kinda like carlb23's only plumbed directly to the bottom of the electric tank is on the top of the project list.

glort:  
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Solar panels don't generate a whole load of power from 10-7 But I have never heard of anyone having their water heaters set up to come on when the panels are generating and the homeowner could be making the most of that power instead of selling it for less than half of what they have to buy it back for.
 I use one.  It's set for 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM to suck off the solar excess and then from 5:00 AM to 6:00 AM just so we don't suffer first thing in the morning.  B&B guests have expectations.  Once in a while we have to reach in and trip the timer because I can't figure out how to schedule cloths washing during lunch.  It's also a nice time to run the dryer.  However We're on the old grid tie where a KW to the grid is the same as a KW out of the grid.  The new program much like glort described is why I balked at adding new solar especially when I learned that the entire site would be converted to the new program.  I thank the Utilities Commission every time I get a chance for selling us down the river.

carlb23:
I'm surprised I didn't read anything about insulating those tanks.  I'm thinking just pasteboard boxes would be noticed.

I don't blame HELCO at all.  The supreme commandment of most corporations is to deliver profit to the stockholders - after significant compensation to top management.  If you don't think this is Truth then you're in for many disappointments in your life.  HOWEVER: The Utilities Commission is compensated by the state to protect the interests of the people.  They are confused about their mission.

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on May 25, 2016, 06:11:42 PM
Here in AZ the biggest power co., APS,  has found a way around that annoying elected corporation commission problem-  they fund their own candidates and now control the commission.  Glad I'm no longer grid connected.

You're doing quite well on the power consumption considering all that you've got going, Casey.  Lets keep our fingers crossed for that big battery breakthrough that makes home storage a winner and the power co.s wail.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on May 26, 2016, 11:54:10 AM
[quote author=

carlb23:
I'm surprised I didn't read anything about insulating those tanks.  I'm thinking just pasteboard boxes would be noticed.



Casey
[/quote]

I just didn't mention it but they are contained in a 9'x4' box which is filled with blown in insulation about 20" all the way around the perimeter of the tanks. the top of the box is 6" of rigid foam.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on May 26, 2016, 04:02:46 PM
Carl, you sure are a savy energy producer! The 80ish percent efficiency of direct solar hot water production is a real boon, despite all the plumbing.  My single 4x32' home-built hot water panel does almost all of my home space and domestic water heating.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 26, 2016, 04:49:21 PM
Hey carlb23 and BruceM,

Hats off to you two. 

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 27, 2016, 01:08:56 PM
Propane kitchen cooker.
Solar water booster and maybe a propane water heater.  (My next project to complete.)
Propane clothes dryer.


As I understand Hawaii is a pretty warm place, have you ever looked into Biogas?
In places like india, they use anaerobic digesters that are small enough to fit on the balcony of a flat in Mumbai but still produce enough gas for home cooking needs. The digesters are just fed with household scraps.
In the country where there is an abundance of manure or grass etc, they make digesters large enough to power a bank of IC engine generators. Some they make as concrete pits or domed in ground tanks, others are thick rubber bags.

From what I have seen, something constructed from a 1000L IBC could produce a very worthwhile amount of gas that would do more than provide enough for just cooking.  If you could make a Hybrid gas/ electric hot water system, you'd really be laughing.  Use the electric when the sun is shining for hot water and the gas to boost it when the sun is not around.  Could also size up to suit the needs of your clothes dryer. 
are gas clothes dryers common in the states?  they are not here and extremely exy. Pretty much only the commercial units are gas.

I have to admit, I think of a lot of things like this in terms of panels cost now.  I could get a good used elcetric dryer for $100 every day of the week. I can't imagine getting a gas one under a grand, if at all.
If I add $900 worth of panels to the roof, even at preimum used price of $100 for a 250W unit, I have got another 2KW of panels, enough to run the thing plus of course a heck of a lot of other things when the dryer is not being used those 3-6 hours a week.

I'd like to give this biogas a go next summer. I think my Daughters Rabbits would provide the perfect start up fuel and the slops from my veg oil processing could also be used (Sparingly). Never a shortage of household scraps here either. It would be pretty amazing to run an engine off this gas even just for the wow factor of doing it once.


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Conversion of my pond pumps from direct electric to air powered via small compressors with timers.


I saw on a YT vid a guy was talking about storing the energy from his solar panels in the form of compressed air instead of electricity in  batteries.  If this is what you are talking about, Could you elaborate on how you use that energy, IE, in what you use the air to drive?
Are you going to use an air motor of some sort to convert it back to heat or power or use it some other way?

It doesn't sound very efficient but then again, neither is the 6C a KWH we get for selling power back to the grid here.  I was thinking that Gas tanks out of cars that have expired are not exactly thin on the ground here so storage could be fairly economical if there were a practical way of reclaiming the energy.

Is there much availability of used panels in the states?  I imagine older ones of 80-100W wouldn't be hard to get but here 250W panels 3 yo or less are not hard to find. In our northern sunny state which has a very high uptake of solar on roofs, There are that many going that cheap I'm seriously considering going for a drive and bringing back a covered trailer full.

I didn't get my panels I was going to. Issues with my availability and the guy selling them however we are planning for monday.  I also managed to do a deal for 4 for $150.  I'm thinking I might hit him up when I get there and see if he'll do 6 for $200. That would give me 2.5 Kilo so  decent start to a system.

Does anyone know about these Micro inverters?
I understand the basic principal of them taking the panel voltage to mains voltage but I'm wondering if they have to be grid tied or could I couple a pair of panels up to a micro and then run an appliance direct from that?
They would be very hand for a system where one did not want to use batteries or go into the mains. The inverters I have are grid tie so won't work independently.
They still aren't real cheap here being something relatively new but they could be worth the result.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on May 28, 2016, 08:10:34 AM
micro inverters are nearly all grid tie models.   Sorry.  They won't sync to a rotating alternator, but may sync to a stable inverter-generator.  But then you develop high local grid voltage and fry things
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 28, 2016, 03:43:45 PM

Thanks mike.
I did some more research today and found what you said about them being grid tie.  Bummer!
Ah well. Atm with the price of used panels, it's pretty much a toss up in value anyway. For the price of these micro inverters you can pretty much add 2-4 more panels to your string and get the voltage up that way but it would be good to have a more stable output.

It seems the majority of solar is designed for only 2 things, battery charging or Grid feed. Not much I can find in the way of independent power without storage. Perhaps the way is limited batterys so the panel power can be regulated to keep them charged and a regular inverter can be fed from them. Maybe have multiple cheap charge controllers like 1 for each panel to handle the combined output and feed the requirements of the inverter or UPS.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 28, 2016, 05:01:30 PM
Hi Glort,

Thanks for your consideration.  I'm working towards simple.  

I'm even unloading my bio-diesel equipment.  I'm still going to filter WVO but even when diesel was selling for $5.27 a gallon I just don't do enough fuel through flow to justify the time, and space.  Also a contact showed me his triple Duda filter into one container system that was world changing for me.

I hope you understand how dangerous DC is once you get 4 or 5 of those solar panels daisy chained.  Car batteries have sort of whispered us into lala land around DC.  Those prices are fantastic even if they're 10 years old and have lost maybe 1/3 of their capacity.

The two major advantages of micro inverters are 1) not having your "string" limited or brought way down by one bad or shaded panel and 2) individual panel reporting through your intranet or internet.

Gas dryers are about the same price here in Hawaii and in Seattle as I check the local craigslist.  The problem is bringing the gas into the house legally as we say but really mean "permitted".  Homeowners can't pull permits in Hawaii for much of anything but especially magic stuff like gas, plumbing or electric.  The lowest bid so far is $1250 for 30 feet of line.  And because there is so many un-permitted (Gee, I wonder why?) projects here the insurance inspectors really check for non permitted utilities.

I'm thinking about developing a campaign button.  "Ask Me About Our F$$k$$g Utility Commission."  Too subtle?

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 29, 2016, 08:17:21 AM

I'm even unloading my bio-diesel equipment.  I'm still going to filter WVO but even when diesel was selling for $5.27 a gallon I just don't do enough fuel through flow to justify the time, and space.  Also a contact showed me his triple Duda filter into one container system that was world changing for me.

I have been using Veg oil so long ( 12 Years this year) it's become a part of who I am... Which is a worry.  I'm the guy the " Straights" tell other disbelieving people I run My car on Fish and Chip or McDonalds  fryer oil. Even though I have never got a Drop of Maccas oil in my life! :0)  I can't see me not using it for a while yet but a lot have friends have given it away simply because they have progressed in their careers and no longer want to Drive a 20 Yo car that is oil ( or Bio) capable and can now afford Diesel.  I was watching a Show last night on one of our locally made cars you have in the states, the 6.2L Gm whatever you call it and thinking something fast would be nice and I think they will be a classic.  $70K here.  I could go buy one tomorrow but I'd be too scared something would happen to it and I'd be nervous as all hell driving it for that reason.
My old 4WD I love driving and I thought I might throw a bit of cash at that and have a few things fixed up like new engine mounts that are getting rattly and a new alternator to replace the used one I put on years ago, Set of injectors and I'll be a happy man.

Many years ago now after one oil spill too many I thought this is ridiculous, I have to make this more factory like. Dirty oil in, clean oil out and never shall it see the light of day in between.
I took that as far as I wanted and got rid of dripping bags and other stupidity and made it a process that only required the amount of work I wanted to do for exercise. I could have eliminated all effort but I figure there is no point going to a gym when you never raise a sweat with anything you do at home and loading and unloading as well as carrying around 200L of oil isn't bad exercise.
I can process 200L of Veg oil in under 30 Min hands on time and any other time is enjoyment or just going and doing something else and letting it do it's own thing unattended.

I'm setting up a new and improved veg oil heating system for the house ATM.  I was thinking about just using electric powered by panels and a generator but the fact is electric just doesn't have the grunt.
I have to work to keep a veg oil burner down to 10 KW/hr output. Getting 10 Kw out of the electric would require some careful load distribution on various circuits so quite different. That said, I have split and over wired so many circuits in the house, If I ran everything to capacity, The wires or the pole would catch fire! And I mean that literally.  I got a bit carried away making everything " Safe and reliable" till a sparky friend pointed out that the capacity of the house was greater than the rating of the incoming wires from the pole.  Just have to be careful and remember not to run all the AC's, the dryer, heater, welder and compressor, pool pump, processor and other incidentals all at once! :0)  I think there is 7 power circuits all up and 5 lighting circuits plus the stove and how water have their own as do each of the AC's.

I can never understand why in this day and age they allow electrical wiring to be encased in an insulation that can burn. Seems totally illogical to me but still that's how it's done.

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I hope you understand how dangerous DC is once you get 4 or 5 of those solar panels daisy chained.  Car batteries have sort of whispered us into lala land around DC.  Those prices are fantastic even if they're 10 years old and have lost maybe 1/3 of their capacity.

Well the truth is, I don't.
I was watching a YT vid yesterday where I guy hooked up 10 car batteries in series for 120V and was holding some jumper ends. Said he could feel it but it wasn't hurting. I saw it, was a university lecture, but still seems against my unsubstantiated sense of whats ok and what I thought would have bitten one very thoroughly. Guess I'll have to do my own tests and see.

One safety strategy I have in mind.... Only work on solar wiring at night!  :0)

As far as the panels go, the majority seem to be around the 200-250W mark which generally makes them 3-4 years old at the most.  I laugh when I see people advertising 80-120W panels. They seem to base the use price on what they paid for them many years ago and almost without exception, want more for these sub 150W panels than what you can go buy brand new name brand panels for with 25yr warranty.
I have messaged a few people I have seen advertising these older panels for a while saying im not interested in buying your panels but I think you will find they are over priced compared to what they are available for now  and link them to a couple of sites that list different panels and prices. So far all I have got back is indignant replies about how much they paid for them and they are quality panels.
Ummm, they are not better at 5-10 yo than a modern panel  at possibly half the price you are asking for a panel with half or less the output!


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The two major advantages of micro inverters are 1) not having your "string" limited or brought way down by one bad or shaded panel and 2) individual panel reporting through your intranet or internet.
Quote

I'm not fully understanding this part of a micro's features.
To the best of my knowledge, a normal grid tie inverter ramps the voltage up or down to match the grid requirements.  The inverter I have on my induction motor generator operates from 90V to 600V.

If I have a string of panels putting out say 150V and one get gets shaded and the output drops to say 120V, then the amperage would drop but the string would continue on producing power less that one shaded panel.
From what I can tell with micros, The same result would occour.  The voltage would stay the same to the inverter but the current would drop. There is less output with  just the grid tie and there is less output with the grid tie.
I am not understanding the advantage here.
What I do see is for the price of a new micro, I can buy 3-6 extra used panels and put that much more power and spread into my array offsetting and reducing the problem of shading  even further.
Grant you the individual panel reporting is a feature of the micros but I would have to wonder in practical terms what the value of that was? My inverters all came with an Ethernet port and software for monitoring so if a panel did go down, I think it would be easy to see. Next thought is, what is the likelihood of a failure in the first place?
In my tightarse start off DIY system, I think I'll have to wait a few years till micros come onto the used market like panels.

 
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The problem is bringing the gas into the house legally as we say but really mean "permitted".  Homeowners can't pull permits in Hawaii for much of anything but especially magic stuff like gas, plumbing or electric.

A diy gas system would probably get round a lot of those issues. Here in Oz a  LOT of people hardly cook indoors in summer, it's an outdoor BBQ at every opportunity. I Imagine a place like Hawaii would be similar.
 A gas dryer on the back patio or in the garage also wouldn't be out of place and save having to bring any Gas actually into the home.


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I'm thinking about developing a campaign button.  "Ask Me About Our F$$k$$g Utility Commission."  Too subtle?

Sounds like it could be a worldwide campaign to me.

How about one that goes " Save the planet. As long as there is a buck to be made for Gubbermint or big business."
Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 29, 2016, 06:29:15 PM
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How about one that goes " Save the planet. As long as there is a buck to be made for Gubbermint or big business."

Just to get the record straight!  "" Save the planet. As long as there is a buck to be made for Gubbermint or big business."" is my quote of someone else.  I'm sorry but I'm just not in the government conspiracy world.  I'm just tired of incompetent people making far reaching decisions for masses of people without understanding the full consequences.    Is Hawaii's utility commission stupid, ignorant or paid for?  I don't know.  Did they kick the gonads off the camel that was challenging oil produced electricity - Yes.  Oh, and the quote is unfortunately very close to the truth.  Hence, sustainable energy must be shown to support big government and/or good profits for the capitalistic marketeers.  For me; it's driving me off the grid hopefully in the next five years.  That's the dream.

Casey

As one edjumacated fool to another.  My colleague was most lucky with the 120 volts DC.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Johndoh on May 30, 2016, 10:05:17 AM
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How about one that goes " Save the planet. As long as there is a buck to be made for Gubbermint or big business."

Just to get the record straight!  "" Save the planet. As long as there is a buck to be made for Gubbermint or big business."" is my quote of someone else.  I'm sorry but I'm just not in the government conspiracy world.  I'm just tired of incompetent people making far reaching decisions for masses of people without understanding the full consequences.    Is Hawaii's utility commission stupid, ignorant or paid for?  I don't know.  Did they kick the gonads off the camel that was challenging oil produced electricity - Yes.  Oh, and the quote is unfortunately very close to the truth.  Hence, sustainable energy must be shown to support big government and/or good profits for the capitalistic marketeers.  For me; it's driving me off the grid hopefully in the next five years.  That's the dream.

Casey

It's not always a government conspiracy sometimes it's the easy way out for those that are in power. For example in Ireland most governments are coalitions. A few years ago in order to make up the numbers a large party brought the green party on board in order to get into government. The leader of the green party is a one trick pony, interested only in wind power. Of course they are unreliable so oil and gas powered plants have to be kept running for when the wind stops blowing. If you erect a small wind turbine without planning permission you'll be made take it down. Planning permission will sometimes be granted for larger turbines that feed into the grid but something to charge batteries? forget about it.

This was "government policy" not because everyone in the government was fans of wind turbines rather it was because some politicians would agree to the tail wagging the dog so they could have power.

As one edjumacated fool to another.  My colleague was most lucky with the 120 volts DC.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 30, 2016, 04:25:10 PM

These gubbermints must study what the other incompetent greedy morons did else where and copy their stupidity!
We had the same thing here in Oz.
Both parties were so incompetent the only way to get a majority to get power was to get in bed with the greens.  They leveraged all these Green schemes that have shown to be the most expensive, useless, disastorous ideas ever instigated in this country which demonstrably cost actual innocent lives.

Perhaps the most mind numbing was the carbon tax. I looked into it in depth and what I found you will have to look up to verify yourself because it is that far beyond comprehension.
In a nut shell, companies were charged for their greenhouse gas emissions. Billions were involved. Because this sent the price of so many things skyrocketing, the gubbermint paid families through a tax break  to offset the rising costs this idea caused. At the same time, it did the same for businesses.  Something like 98% of the funds collected were paid back with the other 2% being admin costs. The only thing about the admin costs difficlt to believe was they were so low but then we are talking about 2% of billions.

So for all this talk of greening the planet and green projects, I could not find, despite letters and emails as well as research, one single verifiable thing done. 
Big noise about planting trees and restoring Native vegetation.
Fantastic!
How many trees are being planted?  Don't have a specific number.
OK, where are they being planted? On different projects.
Fine, could you give me the location and address of one of these projects so I can go and see it for myself?  No, we don't have that information.
OK, who does?  Don't know.
How could I find out? Talk to these people.
They sent me to you. Don't you look after this?
Yes but we don't have that info and don't know who does.

Yeah, total and utter crock of shit!

But then there was the home insulation scheme. A greenwashed initiative to put insulation in homes without it to save on heating and cooling and carbon emissions and the blue tree frog down to it's last 10M living creatures etc.  Suddenly, every scammer, dodgy tradesman and deadbeat that could afford a ute is suddenly an insulation fitter and putting all sorts of crap in peoples roofs.
Wasn't long before this stuff started catching fire because of overheated wiring or high temperature halogen down lights and transformers it was covering.  People did die in the resulting house fire.
The scheme was quickly scrapped and upheaval resulted which came to nothing except lost family members around the country.

There was also the solar scheme. The flaw in this plan was it was too successful and too many people took advantage of it.  Seeing the resulting loss in revenue, big power pressured the gubbermint to scrap it years short of it's initial active period. The Feed in tarrif bonus ends this year with people with panels installed under the scheme going from 60 or 20C a KWH to 6c if they are lucky because the power companies are obligated to pay NOTHING for the solar power generated even though they sell "green power" at a premium to those silly enough to pay more for the same solar/ coal fired power mix in the grid.

My recent working out of the whole FIT and off peak water heaters has lit a few lightbulbs in the heads of the people I have mentioned it to.  Off peak hot water works between 10 Pm and 6-7am...... When there is not a lot of sun around so you are buying power at 12-20C Kwh on average depending where you are. Of course when you are generating power through the day from your panels and you water is already now nice and hot, you are getting 6C kwh back from the excess you now feed into the grid because your biggest load has already been taken care of.
Of course in all the save power/ co2 emissions etc crap, never does anyone make mention of this.

I said to a friend the other day. I ought to source suitable timers and 3 way switches and sell them as kits to be fitted to address this.  You can bet though as soon as they gained any popularity, the gubbermint would step in to ban or outlaw them under some flimsy and piss-weak excuse.

Couldn't imagine putting up a wind turbine here. I can well imagine the red tape and fees and taxes for a private person would be vry well designed and thought out to putting even the most dedicated greenwashed do gooder off the idea let alone someone doing it for the cost saving!  I'm pretty sure there is a Micro Hydro tax. Something that goes along the lines of making sure your generation plant is up to the required standards of the grid it's not connected to.  ::)

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Johndoh on May 30, 2016, 05:13:56 PM
Sadly Ireland doesn't have enough sunshine to make solar viable although  some people have solar panels that will give you tepid water on a good day. The government is fine with this they charge 23% VAT (its a charge you can collect without a firearm) on the equipment and certification and they know it's not terribly efficient.

We do have plenty of wind turbines, we even pay a bit extra about, 10% on our electricity bills, to subsidize them, this is called a public service obligation levy. There are many wind farm and plans to build many more, there's a plan, plot? to build a turbine 169 meters tall in the valley below my house.

So Ireland is pretty much well covered with wind turbines Mr Glort and you may ask if electricity is unusually cheap in Ireland. Well it's the most expensive in Europe. And what about the wind turbines you ask in disbelief? Well ALL the electricity they generate goes to the UK through an inter-connector to the UK can meet "carbon targets"

This was and is a green party initiative. My wife doesn't understand why I want to go off grid!
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on May 30, 2016, 06:21:34 PM
So Johndoh, 

Our hearts are beating.  How expensive is a KWH in North Ireland?  I assume you're not in the Republic as the excess electricity is going to the United Kingdom. 

Here's a map showing how close the Irelands and Germany are  to the same latitude. https://www.google.com/maps/@51.528308,-0.3817765,5z (https://www.google.com/maps/@51.528308,-0.3817765,5z)  Just  a couple of clicks above Seattle.

Has anyone seen a good review of how the Tesla wall functions?

Casey




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Johndoh on May 30, 2016, 08:42:57 PM
I live in the Republic of Ireland, cost of electric is 17.26c KwH plus an annual charge of €146.00  plus PSO levy @ 10% plus VAT @13%. I'm on a rural tariff I believe it's marginally cheaper in urban areas
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 31, 2016, 03:05:31 AM

You power is not far away from ours.
In Sydney I pay 20C a KWH. There is also a "Supply" charge of 71C per day.  We pay GST ( VAT) on that so the real costs are .22C kwh and 78C supply charge. That's $285 a year for our gold plated electric poles and platinum wire hanging off them to bring the power to the place.   That's the reason you can pay up to or above 35C kwh + gst as my father does in a country area but the power you generate with your solar panels is only repaid at 6C kwh.... because of the wear and tear and supply cost of the poles and wires!
Every excuse here for power prices is about poles and wires and upkeep of the infrastructure that the electricity seems to wear out like sand going through a pipe.

Where my father is, the supply charge is around 90C a day. In the 35 years he has lived there he remembers them replacing one pole in the street when a tractor hit it but they way they go on, they are replacing and updating stuff every day. The way they have blackouts, you'd think they were taking the grid offline every day to do that.
Pity his mate in the factory down the road still can't get 3 phase power to his factory unit that was promised 9 years ago when he bought it.

I cheat and rort the system by generating my own power and backfeeding to the grid through the meter with proper approved equipment, just not used the way it is supposed to be used. Essentially, I use the grid as a battery. Normally do a long fire up in the evening or on a weekend and put some credits on the meter and supply my neighbors with power. I have no qualms about that at all or the resulting $15X.00 a quarter we pay for power.  My interest in solar is to do the same so I don't have to run my engines. According to the electric authorities, doing that, the same as people feeding in solar power, overloads and places a strain on the infrastructure.

Now I know beans about electric grids but it would seem to me that the power to the end user originates somewhere. That point of origin would have to carry the entire load of the demand. If along the supply line there are other points of input, then the load along the many miles of wire would be lessened and the "strain" reduced, not increased.  As these feed ins got closer to the point of consumption, like as in one neighbour with panels feeding in to the grid where his neighbours or the business down the street was consuming that power, then the load on the system, particularly the further away it got, would be MUCH less.

But of course I apply unconscionable things here like logic. And reason and facts and physics..... all those things that the power companies and gubbermints don't want to know about when they cost them money.  Fact, logic and truth are pretty alien to gubbermints anyway but in non profitable cases, are even more offensive and to be dispatched with.


Casey,

I have looked into the tesla wall and it is simply a compact battery bank with inbuilt inverter/ charger.
From everything I have read, the prices anywhere make them Non viable economically. They simply can't offset enough power useage over their lifetime to repay their purchase price.
There are similar units being made by samsung and others that do the same job. From what I can see, they are similarly priced for their respective capacitys and also uneconomical.
I also saw it said several times that in the next 3 years the prices will fall and the things should become economical. For now they are the pet rush of blood to the head of the greenwashed that like to be trendy " early adopters" with associated bragging rights no matter how economically pointless the exercise.

A recent study I looked at concluded that the most economical method of power storage and the one that best offsets electricity useage is still the good old lead acid battery system.

I think I mentioned earlier a scheme here where a power company wants to subsidise domestic battery banks and use them for base and peak load mitigation. They think they can generate enough power and store excess in peoples battery packs to supply the majority of their local grids needs.
Well the idea, being a seemingly sound one as it is, has met trouble. All sorts of flack has been thrown up by the gubbermint and bigger business to obviously thwart the idea. The objections were multiple and laughable and clearly some were nothing more than concocted fear mongering to create a fearful attitude in those that may be open to participating in the idea.
Typical.

One funny quote was from a retiree they interviewed about the possibility of blackouts. They laughed and said as a child they lived in London during the war and not only survived blackouts, but also bombs falling on them at the same time!  Another said as long as the outages were short enough that the frige and freezer didn't defrost, it wasn't the end of the world.
I'm sure the attitude would not have been nearly as carefree if they had asked some inner city dwelling yuppie on social security who foresaw the possibility of not being able to play on their X-Pox for a few hours which they would consider a violation of human rights no doubt. Luckily the scheme is targeted for a very different area and population.

By all means save the planet by recycling plantation grown paper that takes more resources and energy that harvesting new and save water, from what I am still trying to work out, but for Fks sake DO NOT do anything practical and workable that is going to take money out of gubbermint and big business coffers.
If you are going to save the planet and be green, you are only permitted to do so with initiatives that make those with vested interests money or at very least, don't cost them anything.

I'd really love to see what the regulations are that my Direct solar panel fed hot water heater would contravene.
I'm sure if there was nothing, they would soon make something up the moment the idea caught on and became popular.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on May 31, 2016, 01:20:23 PM

For those interested, I found this recent Doco on Solar power.
The numbers are amazing and I found the the show a real eye opener. What I really Liked about it was it was totally free of greenwashed BS and Ra Ra.  It's presented from a factual and economic POV rather than the typical "Save the world" brainwashed mentality.

Solar is now the cheapest power to generate over coal, gas and oil.  Thats great but there is still the problem of storage. That said, now solar is at the financial ideal point, maybe the battery technology will get a huge boost in research and will be able to catch up.

I found this a really interesting program.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmyrbKBZ6SU
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on August 16, 2016, 04:00:29 AM
It occurs to me that some types of geothermal should be practical in some places. Perhaps those active zones are just not stable enough?

dieselgman

I have been to new Zealand a few times to do Photoshoots.  The geothermal in areas there is amazing. You could literally sink a steam well in your own back yard and some people have.
Around the most active area, rotoroua, Geo is huge for heating and spas.  I don't think there is a motel in the place that doesn't have a geo thermal spa in every room.  The water is so hot you generally have to add cold water to make it bearable.  Depends where you are and what your tolerance is but it isn't lacking in warmth, put it that way.

There is no tap to turn off the Geo water, don't know if they can't for physical reasons with pressure etc or they just don't bother. It just overflows 24/7 and no greenee seems to whine about water wasteage.

The rotoroua convention centre/ indoor stadium is totally geo powered. They have a turbine for power and of course the place is heated the same way.  It's on a very active lake where you can walk around and see small steam geysers coming out of the lake shore and around.  It's got a 18" fence around it but of course like all good tourists we couldn't read Kiwi english so walked around and had a good look. It was amazing.
We went to a thermal park and the gysers there were the ones that shot into the air on command and smaller ones coming out of no where. there was a lake that steamed even though the day was near 30C and was far too hot to put your hand in.

They have a few geo power generation plants around the area mainly around Taupo where the geo park we went to was. They are building more plants ATM but the Rotorua council has of course laws on tapping the go power even for homeowners.  They have regulations ( read taxes) on this basically inexhaustible supply of power.  The temps of the geo ranges from 40 which is warm to 140 which is well past saturated steam.
Being the type I am, I'd be looking into a mini Geo powered Turbine no worries.

One thing about the place we learned, it stinks.  We were looking in a tourist guide and in a sub headline on an ad from one place it had " No Sulphur Smell". We wondered what that was about till we were about 20 Km away ans started accusing one another of ripe gaseous emissions.  Of course when they hadn't subsided for 10 min, the penny dropped. You do get a bit used to it after a few hours but when you first get near the lake... Hooley dooley!


As an aside, the place really did my head in. having been self employed about 90% of my life and studied business, marketing and sales, I was surprised how quiet the place was. There was a strip of over 1KM down the main drag where it was only hotels one beside the other, both sides of the road.  each one only appeard to have a few cars there.  we went into town for dinner and the end;ess restaurants were the same.  miles of them, hundreds of seats and about 10% occupancy and that's being generous.
We found a Pub with a nice outdoor setting and when the girl brought us our food I started chatting her up saying that I supposed the busy season, Christmas was just around the corner. She looked a bit blankly and said , no not really. I said oh, when do all the crowds come?  She looked again and said we don't really get a rush at any time, it's pretty much constant.  I said Oh, ok, is this the quiet time then? No, it's always like this.

I'm thinking WTF?? I said, thinking she may not know the area, Have you been living here long? She said yes, I was born here and still live at home.  By now I'm thinking the nice girl must be on drugs or something.
You can't have 5000 hotel beds in a little tourist  town along with endless restaurants and have them survive at 10% saturation.
I asked some more people about the rush and got the same answers, it's the same here all the time, just like this..... W T F ???

Don't know how that works. It's just not little owner/ operator places, there is an international Chain hotel there with a 7 storey building and that probably didn't even have 20 cars in the carpark either.
I felt sorry for the locals so we stayed a couple of nights in the smaller places but although clean, they were woefully out of date.  No wonder the owners rolled out teh threadbare red carpet though and thanked us like we saved their lives.  the 3rd night it was the big hotel though for some real comfort and a bit of luxury. Didn't even take much talking to get a massive upgrade with them into a suite for a middle range room price.

I got to admit, my real "Idealistic" power is Hydro.  Solar is nice and practical and all that but not enough real fun involved as in no moving parts.  Hydro would be great to play with in my old age.
Of course i live on the driest freaking continent in teh world  so water  sufficent for hydro is limited here even if we do have the worlds largest hydro scheme at one point.
I have spent many hours looking for properties that I could do a hydro setup on and there are some around although always distant from any major town let alone city.  I could probably pick something up for $100K  But that is a lot of money to pay for a hobby!!  Not to say I wouldn't do it anyway.  I am not much of a traveler but I and the Mrs could be very happy in a remote bush location with a shack built from a few shipping containers and spend some quiet time away from the rat race.  I think we would still have to have a place in the rat race as well, too much quiet freaks me out so i'd have to acclimatise.   :0)

Lister in the shed, panels on the roof, water spinning up some various home made turbines and hydro generators.....  I could set up my own power company!  :0)


Hi there, Glort

Rotorua is an odd place - you can't extrapolate the Rotorua experience out to the rest of New Zealand

It had a big tourism development a bunch of years ago when overseas tourism to NZ was basically bus-load after bus-load of Japanese tourists . . .

That model doesn't exist any more but the infrastructure still does

And tourists want a lot more these days than some hot pools and a Cultural Experience or two - and so they should

I am oversimplifying here, of course, but that's the guts of it.

New Zealand is almost completely "renewable" electricity generation - lots of wind turbines and a big "battery bank" of hydro

Electric cars would be great here if the price came down - we pay around $0.20 - $0.25 per kw/h; but almost $NZ 2.00 a litre (sort of $US 10.00 a gallon-ish) for our gas

And we are ripped-off on our back-into-the-meter solar just like everywhere else in the world . . . .

I have an off-the-grid property in development at the moment & the budget looks something like:

(1) Old 1939 6/1 CS and 5kW ST-clone - about $NZ 2000-2500 once all up and running
(2) Solar panels, inverter, batteries - around the $NZ 4500-7000 depending on spec
(3) 6kVA Honda generator in use whenever I am there at the moment - I think it was $NZ 1600?

Call it $NZ 10,000 and it is workable at that level in combination with a house with solar hot-water in summer and wetback hot-water in winter, LPG (Propane) hob in the kitchen, and a bit of a hands-on approach to managing the technology

If the average NZ power bill is something like $NZ 200 a month - that's a lot of months to pay it all back . . . .

But what isn't mentioned is the cost of getting the power to a rural site like mine - often $NZ 10K - 40K up front

Got the old Lister in the workshop now with the head off - a work in progress

Very interesting Forum you guys run here.  Thanks
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on August 16, 2016, 10:10:18 AM

Hi there, Glort

Rotorua is an odd place - you can't extrapolate the Rotorua experience out to the rest of New Zealand

It had a big tourism development a bunch of years ago when overseas tourism to NZ was basically bus-load after bus-load of Japanese tourists . . .

That model doesn't exist any more but the infrastructure still does

Thanks Mike!
I really do appreciate that info.  It's stupid but that really played on my mind.  I'm into marketing and I just couldn't figure out where I was going wrong with this.
I saw all the accommodation and restaurants etc, I spoke to multiple people that told me there was no peak rush and I couldn't figure out how the hell that could be.
A it is, although I now have my answer why, I still wonder and fear for the people in the place. I don't know how they make a living with such low numbers of people for the amount of businesses relying on them.

In talking to people about solar and power in general, I have heard many tales of the astronomical amounts of money they want to supply power.  It was only about a month ago I was talking to My uncle that lives in Country NSW and he was telling me they lived with no power for over 9 months when they moved into their newly built house.  They are close to the road but there was no power in that section. It came from either end to about 3 KM away but they wouldn't bring it further.  In the end they were forced to because the land my uncle built on was part of a much larger parcel that was divided up and there was a dairy  down the road and other houses approved. they still tried to levy everyone many thousands but that got quashed by a local Lawyer whom had bought a parcel; of the divided land and DID take them to court over it and won.

My Relatives, then with 3 young kids survived on the wood stove for heat, cooking and hot water and my bought a BIG diesel generator ( as if he would have anything normal size) and that supplied the power.
He owned the local bus and coach company so the fuel wasn't a worry at all. Just got written off as an operating expense of the company.  He said what they used at home was a thimble full compared to what they used every week running all the buses and coaches.
He said he did find a Lister startomatic which my aunt loved because she could turn on a witch and had power, not have to wait till it was on or go down and start the genny.  Apparently he no sooner got the lister and there was a big thing about putting the power on and it was there. He even got 3 phase to his shed.

He got offered a good price for the startomatic so he sold it as he had no need for it.  He kept the Big genny for a couple of years then got rid of that too as it never got used and he wanted the shed space.

Even $10K buys a decent genny and a lot of fuel and it's easier to spend even a couple of hundred a month on fuel than it is to find 10K plus for grid connection and then maybe the same again in power charges.

I well remember the price of Fuel when I was there last, $2.12 L .  And that was the cheap price if you hunted round and found one of the independents... That didn't even have a shop, swipe your card at the pump beforehand and that's it.
Every time " Gas" gets to $5 gal in the US there is near rioting in the streets, there would be total anarchy if they were asked to pay those prices!

There was a guy I used to talk to over there that had a tour bus/ airport transfer operation. He used to run his 20 seater on 50% Veg oil.
Perhaps you can get some Veg oil to either run your lister on or blend it to extend your Diesel Dollar.  Then again your diesel is -relatively- cheap there isn't it because you pay road tax separate on Diesels don't you?
Either way, free is still the cheapest way to go.

I did a veg powered water heater. It worked Awesome. I'm refining it now to be more automatic, at least for shutdown.
I got an old gas heater, replaced the burner with an oil one I built and (over) powered the thing with that.  Hottest showers we ever had and the thing would keep up with demand so you could stay in tehre as long as you wanted.
I'm looking for a 400L unit now to convert and I have a thermostat That I can set to turn off the oil and air when it gets to heat. For us, we'd only need to fire the thing 2-3 times a week especially if I took the water to 80 or so.

Last weekend I started a slurry to experiment with methane gas. I think that would need to be kept warmer than you have there probably even in summer but I'm going to see what I can do with it over our summer.
My wife loves BBQing and we are forever running out of gas so I thought If I could have a biogas BBQ, that would be pretty Cool..... Or sizzling hot as the case may be!
See what i can learn with it. Might be even possible to over produce in Summer and compress some into bottles to get a cook up or 2 out of it in winter.

Another thing I'd like to have a go at is wind power. Something simple like a Fisher and Paykel converted motor and some big PVC blades.  Obviously the practacality and output of that would depend on where you are but I think NZ is a pretty breezy place over all isn't it?

Keep up posted on your setup. I love seeing that stuff and how people approach things.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on August 16, 2016, 03:13:10 PM
Propane kitchen cooker.
Solar water booster and maybe a propane water heater.  (My next project to complete.)
Propane clothes dryer.


As I understand Hawaii is a pretty warm place, have you ever looked into Biogas?
In places like india, they use anaerobic digesters that are small enough to fit on the balcony of a flat in Mumbai but still produce enough gas for home cooking needs. The digesters are just fed with household scraps.
In the country where there is an abundance of manure or grass etc, they make digesters large enough to power a bank of IC engine generators. Some they make as concrete pits or domed in ground tanks, others are thick rubber bags.

From what I have seen, something constructed from a 1000L IBC could produce a very worthwhile amount of gas that would do more than provide enough for just cooking.  If you could make a Hybrid gas/ electric hot water system, you'd really be laughing.  Use the electric when the sun is shining for hot water and the gas to boost it when the sun is not around.  Could also size up to suit the needs of your clothes dryer. 
are gas clothes dryers common in the states?  they are not here and extremely exy. Pretty much only the commercial units are gas.

I have to admit, I think of a lot of things like this in terms of panels cost now.  I could get a good used elcetric dryer for $100 every day of the week. I can't imagine getting a gas one under a grand, if at all.
If I add $900 worth of panels to the roof, even at preimum used price of $100 for a 250W unit, I have got another 2KW of panels, enough to run the thing plus of course a heck of a lot of other things when the dryer is not being used those 3-6 hours a week.

I'd like to give this biogas a go next summer. I think my Daughters Rabbits would provide the perfect start up fuel and the slops from my veg oil processing could also be used (Sparingly). Never a shortage of household scraps here either. It would be pretty amazing to run an engine off this gas even just for the wow factor of doing it once.


Quote
Conversion of my pond pumps from direct electric to air powered via small compressors with timers.


I saw on a YT vid a guy was talking about storing the energy from his solar panels in the form of compressed air instead of electricity in  batteries.  If this is what you are talking about, Could you elaborate on how you use that energy, IE, in what you use the air to drive?
Are you going to use an air motor of some sort to convert it back to heat or power or use it some other way?

It doesn't sound very efficient but then again, neither is the 6C a KWH we get for selling power back to the grid here.  I was thinking that Gas tanks out of cars that have expired are not exactly thin on the ground here so storage could be fairly economical if there were a practical way of reclaiming the energy.

Is there much availability of used panels in the states?  I imagine older ones of 80-100W wouldn't be hard to get but here 250W panels 3 yo or less are not hard to find. In our northern sunny state which has a very high uptake of solar on roofs, There are that many going that cheap I'm seriously considering going for a drive and bringing back a covered trailer full.

I didn't get my panels I was going to. Issues with my availability and the guy selling them however we are planning for monday.  I also managed to do a deal for 4 for $150.  I'm thinking I might hit him up when I get there and see if he'll do 6 for $200. That would give me 2.5 Kilo so  decent start to a system.

Does anyone know about these Micro inverters?
I understand the basic principal of them taking the panel voltage to mains voltage but I'm wondering if they have to be grid tied or could I couple a pair of panels up to a micro and then run an appliance direct from that?
They would be very hand for a system where one did not want to use batteries or go into the mains. The inverters I have are grid tie so won't work independently.
They still aren't real cheap here being something relatively new but they could be worth the result.



Actually the primary fuel source for those community methane digesters is the community outhouse that dumps into the vessel.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on September 17, 2016, 04:00:40 PM

I have been looking into the solar thing a bit more and learning a lot. Perhaps this is a topic better for the other ailing site but while ever a certain power tripping mod is still there, I won't be. Much nicer feel to this site anyway! :0)

I have been daydreaming and thinking about these used solar Panels doing some mental arithmetic.
I was looking at how to mount then and I thought why not seal them together with silicone and make a roof out of them?  I looked some things up and found this is what they are doing in the states for pergolas and verandas. Instead of use a traditional metal or other roof, make the roof the panels themselves. They look on their own, for mine MUCH better than that stuck on a roof look Often with exposed rails and other less than visually pleasing elements.

I saw that some of them had Ceiling fans underneath and thought that could be good because panels loose a lot of efficiency when they are hot so you could have the fan set up to reverse to keep the panels a bit cooler when they hit a certain temp. Cheap and easy to do with pre made controllers available from fleabay for under $10 ea. A ceiling fan uses pretty minimal power and with a panel dropping off 20%+ when getting hot, there would be an efficiency increase on an array of panels quite easily.
Then I was looking at the way they had some of these Verandas set up and the mountings and I thought that doesn't look that good, Be better just to put some Gyprock up and make it more clean and tidy.
That would lose the cooling ability from the ceiling fan but you could easily mount exhaust or other high flow, low amp fans in the ceiling/ panel cavity to push in cooler air. They could go at teh end of the cavity and push the air out the other.

With my little pea brain in over drive,  the next thought was you are going to get quite warm air from black panels especially with all that surface area even in winter. I have been testing a panel I have and it goes well over 40o C in any direct sun even at this time of year which is early spring here when the days are barely still making 20C atm.  Rather than waste that heated air, it would be a very simple matter to duct it into the house. If one already had Ducted air con, it would be so cheap and easy to add some duct and another zone controller to pull this air in through the system just in vent/ circulation mode so the compressor of the system wasn't running at all.  Other than that just an inline fan some Ductwork and a Grille in the ceiling would do the job easily.  A Cheap controller board that had a temp comparison to ambient temps of the home and the incoming air could kick the system in automatically and cycle it as needed to maintain the desired temp.

I can't see why you couldn't set it up so you could actually replace a colour bond roof with the panels straight onto the existing structure.
Panels are Wider than standard roofing so the loading  would actually be lower because you would have extra beams in the span. The panels are also a lot heavier which would also be an advantage because with those sorts of things, it's not engineered to keep the roofing up but rather to keep it down in high winds. All you would have to do is silicone the panel edges when you put the array up and clamp them together rather than the popular method of clamping between them.  I have seen mounts that would allow them to go Tight together so that is already an available mounting method out there.

Where I am in Sydney Oz, 250W panels can be had in good supply (and even better supply further north) for as little as $50 ea and often less. ( that's about $4.68 US! :0) )  The price of metal roofing is around $17 for the same area of a panel. This makes the price of roofing with panels viable especially considering the return value of the things.  The cool looks and conversation value would be an added bonus and for the DIY'ers like us, Whom are always seen as a bit " Alternative", would give us some much appreciated credibility as well!  :0)


I was also looking at these home batteries like Power walls that store the power from the day to use at night.
A 6Kw battery is pretty much 10K here wherever I look.
The cost of 6K worth of power would save us with what we pay here around $500 a year.
That's a 20 Yr payback.  IF, the battery lasts that long which is about double what the predictions are.

 In looking at battery's, I came across forklift battery packs.  They are Big, heavy, and require a bit of maintenance in that you have to top the water up every month BUT, they do make automatic watering systems.
You can buy a used 30 KW pack with a 2 yr guarantee for around $2500-3.5K depending on the layout and type etc.
You wouldn't use 30KW in a pink fit in a day in a normal home ( here, the US may be different with people there seemingly unable to survive without AC even when camping) especially considering you have the solar feed in through the day BUT, that would just make the pack last longer through lower depth of discharge.
If you bought one of those packs now and got 5 Years out of it, you'd be way ahead on savings on power and when it needs replacing, the price of the other home batterys is probably going to be less than half of what it is now meaning they will be viable.
Or maybe the forklift packs will have come down a heap by then as well so you just get another.

One thing is for sure, right now, planning for longevity of a battery  system is not practical because the prices of everything solar related gets cheaper every month. Now is not a good time to invest in home battery technology especially because it's too new and in even a year will be much cheaper and in 3-5 will be 50% if not less what it is now. Apart from that, it's not a viable investment in most places anyway so untill the prices fall, there are a lot of other cheaper ways to go about the exercise even as a stop gap measure.

I'm not a greenwashed Zealot and frankly think all that is a complete crock but i am into efficiency, lowering home energy costs and DIY. I think this could be a real and practical way to do that and the investment therein would be within the reach of most people, especially those wanting to add some outdoor covered area to their homes.

Can't wait to get my next place and set something like this up. Might even be able to pay for it with magazine and media interview payments!  :0)

(http://img.archiexpo.com/images_ae/photo-g/88764-6197531.jpg)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Hugh Conway on September 18, 2016, 12:51:38 AM
re batteries:
I'm off-grid with a 24V system. Using 2V cells like these http://www.davidsonbattery.com/product_p/85t17.htm That works out to about 20 KWH, of which I use about 10% daily. They do require distilled water, but not very often, maybe once every 3 months.
A nearby friend just had to replace his battery bank. Also 2V cells, but 85T15 that gave him something like 17.8KWH. His battery bank lasted 21 years, charged by solar panels and micro hydro.
The storage is really the sticking point, it is costly (and heavy when using lead acids)
IMHO, going with a grid-tie system to eliminate batteries is a non starter though. Many Electricity providers are cancelling their power buy-back agreements, or drastically reducing their buy-back rates. Those roof-top home grid tie systems are not popular with the utility companies, and when the power goes out, you are without just like everyone else. Apparently most grid-tie inverters cannot be used with a battery system.

Using solar panels as a roof.....+1. We did not seal between panels, but do use them as a roof to store hay.

Cheers,
Hugh
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on September 19, 2016, 09:51:44 PM
If you do cover the bottom side of the PV array for heat harvesting, be warned, that in summer, you need to be sure they will never overheat. If they overheat, the glues delaminate and it all comes apart. 
And the warmer a panel is, the less power it produces.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on September 20, 2016, 04:41:50 AM
re batteries:
I'm off-grid with a 24V system. Using 2V cells like these http://www.davidsonbattery.com/product_p/85t17.htm That works out to about 20 KWH, of which I use about 10% daily.

One thing I can see with lead acid and similar type batteries is their capacity and bang for the buck seems to be way higher than that of the newer Lithium types.
Yes, they are heavy and need Maintenance and other equipment in the form of controllers ( I believe power walls are not totally stand alone either) but for the $$, they do deliver terrific capacity.


Quote
His battery bank lasted 21 years, charged by solar panels and micro hydro.

This number would be hard for the newer Lithium's to compete with.  As I said, I don't think that going for longevity is a something for someone to be concerned with at this point with developing technologys, However, If you planned something to last 5 years and it lasted 10, You certainly wouldn't be dissapointed would you?
I don't know if the batterys they use in forklift packs are the same they use in stationary storage systems but I could only think they would likley be more robust and last longer in a stationary system where they may not be cycled as heavy anyway.
Would certainly make them a very Viable option I would believe.

Quote
IMHO, going with a grid-tie system to eliminate batteries is a non starter though. Many Electricity providers are cancelling their power buy-back agreements, or drastically reducing their buy-back rates. Those roof-top home grid tie systems are not popular with the utility companies, and when the power goes out, you are without just like everyone else. Apparently most grid-tie inverters cannot be used with a battery system.

I agree and should have elaborated.
I was looking at this as an " alternative" Alternative energy option.  I'm in suburbia and blackouts where I am are about every 5 years for an hour or 2 when a car or truck takes out a power line. I was looking at and feel it would be viable for me to do this as a cost saving measure only.

You are right about the cost of storage, batteries are still expensive. I can get 250W used panels for $40 a piece here and obviously afford to generate much more power than I can use through the day.  Here we get a measly 6C KWH for what we send back to the grid which I think is an absolute insult especially when we are forced to use energy saving bulbs and have all the rest of the green washed Malarkey shoved down out throats.

What I was proposing is to back feed to spin the meter backwards so I get paid at the same rate at what I use which is only fair and equitable to me. This crap about wear and tear on the lines and wholesale cost of power is just rubbish and anyone with half a brain can see that. In any case where I am I pay .80C a day to be connected for maintenance and supply etc.  If I back feed and wind my meter back with the power I generate, I'm only banking that power for when I use it later as a cost saving initiative.

This is not something the power companies want because despite all the rhetoric, all they want is to Bill you the maximum they can.

I mentioned this to a friend when I was visiting a few months back and he was very interested in the idea but also very cautious. He was scared of the power company finding out and fining him.  I discussed it also with his brother that was about to buy a home and he loved the idea and like me, was more of the attitude, if they want to fine me, let them try and we'll see how we go!
Well turns out he bought his home and the idea has stuck in his mind. He has actually sought legal advise about it and found out where he is, it's not actually illegal because on the advise he was given, they basically haven't thought of it nor specifically said you can't do it.  He said it -MAY- be unlawful but it's certainly not illegal and as long as one used approved equipment to connect, IE, an approved grid tie inverter, they would have a real hard time getting you and on the advise he got, you'd probably get a warning and that would be it.

I'm not that concerned. If they came after me I would make an issue out of it from the much touted green angle and I'm confident it would go away quick.
Thats of course if they even worked it out and Inspectors here are hard to get even when you ring for one.  The drawback is this only works if you have the old meter and they are trying to phase them out so no one has to come to your house to read them. The new ones won't go backwards however.

I think it will still take some time to make any battery option cheaper than buying power in suburbia but I may be naive in that respect.  I'm reading and hearing of peoples power bills that are way over what I thought people were spending.  On that basis, having your own battery system that may cost say $5K with forklift batteries and inverters may pay off in a reasonable time.  It seems that power Bills of $3000 a year for a family of 4-5 are not uncommon here so if that were the case, a 2 year payback would be very worthwhile. If you only got 5 years from the batteries, you have the control gear when you replace them so your cost would be reduced. And again with falling battery prices, your replacements may be less than first time up.

Even without battery storage or feedback, At those rates, If a family invested around $1000 for 2.5 K of used panels, an inverter etc and wired that back into the household mains rather than net metered, the offset in their bill would be more than worth while.
You could easily switch the water heater over to daytime heating instead off off peak or gas and save well there. For probably half the year here, you'd still be getting some worthwhile power for 2-3 hours when the kids got home from school and the demand for power went up. You would also offset a lot of the demands on weekends and if the wife was at home During the day, there would be savings on washing, drying, cooking, cleaning, and the water heater, pool pump and AC.  Even if no one was home, you could still set these things to happen with timers and at different times so the power came from the solar generation.

Backfeeding, batteries and a " wasted" feed in are all  the kind of thing that for someone in suburbia would be a very individual thing and need due consideration. That said, the more one looks at it, the more it becomes viable.
The back feed without batteries would only be an off the wall money saver, not something to rely on in the case of outages.  Of course that said, if outages in your area were frequent but not too long, it may be worth going the extra bit with a small backup system to carry you through.  ;D
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: EdDee on September 20, 2016, 11:17:02 AM
Hey Glort,

On the subject of back-feeding an old mechanical meter - Have you tried it?

I was fortunate a while back to get a few meters of various ages and vintage - all scrapped, with a bit of cosmetic/closure/lense damage mostly ... They were all working reasonably well, but needed calibration of course... While I was playing with them, I noticed an interesting little mechanism on the worm wheel that drove the counter/display digits. It was an anti-runback ratchet and pawl - when backfeeding these meters, they would spin a few revs in reverse and then hit the stop... All but one out of about 20 or so had this mechanism in place, deep in the innards of the meter, not easy to get at without removing covers and fascia... The one that didnt have the ratchet, had been tampered with, by the looks of it, so I reckon the ratchet mech must probably be pretty standard... And judging by the ages of these things, been around for quite a while too...

Just saying....

Cheers
Ed
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on September 20, 2016, 04:03:38 PM
Hey Glort,

On the subject of back-feeding an old mechanical meter - Have you tried it?

NO Ed, there is absoloutley no truth to the scurrilous and vindictive unfounded rumour that I have been doing this for some years to reduce my own power bills using an induction Motor turned by a veg burning Diesel Engine.
 :angel:
Anything you hear to that effect is just lies and vicious gossip. They were probably spread by my Neighbour  who once saw a power bill lying on the table and was upset that her bill for her living alone was about 4 times more than mine for a family of 4.  I can't help it if we practised a far more energy conservative lifestyle than her!   ::)
I would never run a meter backwards, even if I could, not because I care about the legalities, but I could not stand the moral high horse whiners that would no doubt get all up in arms about it if I mentioned it on a forum.

As it is, I have experimented with an old meter I found on a deselect house and brought home and it did in fact run backwards.  They are all the same meter here in that old style made by the same company.  Seen them in every state of the country I have been to so a few of them around. I can assure you with absoloute certainty they DO run backwards. The ones we have here were made by a company called  Email whom also made Industrial electrical equipment as well as house hold appliances back in the day.

I have seen the worm drive you speak of but I guess back in the '50's or whenever they were made ( 40's??)  they were more concerned about billing you for power rather than worried about you sending it back!  Nothing in the technology to stop it back then though.   I remember as a kid getting scolded by my grandmother whom I lived with that the gas bill was $10 and the " Electric light" as she called it was almost $30 for the quarterly bill.  I was going to have to turn my bedroom light off and come and sit with her in the lounge room if I wanted to read because she wasn't going to pay bills like that all the time!

Engines  are great and all that but as you well know they are maintenance intensive, do break down and are noisy.
Much easier to make an average of 15Kw a day of power with a solar setup than an engine, especially in Suburbia.

From what I understand, a 3KW system should produce an average of around 12KW per day which would offset my bill Nicely.  3KW is 12 panels, Throw another couple in to cover inefficiency and cloudy days etc  and at $40 apiece you have what you need for  $560.  Make up my own racking, ( Already have a ship load of suitable steel for that) add some for cables and connectors and  I'm covered. have to lave some deficit as one can't pay nothing and not raise suspicions when you are living in a place, but they seem just fine here with bills around $120 a quarter.
As I already have a number of inverters, IF I wanted to go that way, my investment in panels would be soon repaid.

I'm looking for a new home atm and I often get funny looks from agents when I go look at the Fuse box.  I know the New electronic meters won't run backwards so I guess if someone wanted to back feed that would be OK because you could only use your own power and not use the grid as a bank.  I just hope the new house I get has an old meter simply because I'm into retro and think the look of the old meters adds to the charm and character of the Home!   :laugh:
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: EdDee on September 20, 2016, 04:35:43 PM
Glort!

You are a man of wisdom and absolute integrity!! (Along with an unmatched sense of humour!)

Lemme guess.... All this.....and good looks too?

I love it!!

Cheers
E
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on September 20, 2016, 07:11:18 PM
Hi glort,

I'm sorry but I have to ask.  How fast do you type - keyboard?  

Now that I'm here.  Does anyone have practical experience with these http://aquionenergy.com/ (http://aquionenergy.com/)?

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on September 20, 2016, 08:27:52 PM
Casey-  look closely at the peak power output of the Aquion systems.  It is very low. 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Tom on September 20, 2016, 08:49:39 PM
Pretty inefficient on the recharge cycle too.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on September 21, 2016, 04:52:13 AM
Hi glort,

I'm sorry but I have to ask.  How fast do you type - keyboard?  

Faster than I can think of anything Intelligent to say!  ;D

Other than that, don't know.


Quote
Now that I'm here.  Does anyone have practical experience with these http://aquionenergy.com/ (http://aquionenergy.com/)?

Casey

2.2 KW for $1200?  you could do better than that with the old tech Lead acid type batteries.  You would also be able to pull off a lot more than 800W discharge from them and the life span would be at least as good.

Can't say reading their site gave me a lot of confidence in their Longevity as a company either. Spose it's the same with all these battery/ storage technology's. It will only take one breakthrough or cunning bit of marketing for one company to corner the market and everyone else will be out of business. Bit hard to claim on your 5,10 or whatever year warranty when the company is nothing more than a distant memory.

If I were investing in storage, at this time I'd still be going for the cheapest low tech I could. Time that's due for replacement, it will be a whole different and I think much cheaper world in this area.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on September 21, 2016, 07:08:08 AM
It seems like a big breakthrough in batteries is right around the corner, but then that's been the case for the last 100 years.  I bought 10 more cheap wet lead marine batteries 6 months ago; they give me 4.5 years of service for $1000.   

I'll be happy to switch to something better in 4 years, but I'm not holding my breath.

Wet Lead Acid batteries are still the best bang for the $ for off grid batteries.  Pity Moore's law doesn't apply to batteries!


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on September 21, 2016, 06:57:30 PM
BruceM:  What a great point.  So what is the formula for converting the crank hours or ? into simple KW information?  I use the large ones in a farm-golf cart and my ATV project is based on the smaller deep cycle cheapski batteries. 

glort:  I think one of selling points is the lack of contamination crap on your property and the rest of the environment.  You know some people are not concerned with heavy metals or the lead contamination of drinking waters - you get the idea. The drinking water here in Hawaii is only 25 years old.  That means we are just starting to drink the stuff poured or spilled onto the ground more serious than lava ash.  Some of us are even willing to pay a premium for that margin.

I'll go back to the site and even read some of the information.  It's a nice video.

Thanks to you all for your thoughts.

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on September 21, 2016, 10:03:03 PM
Casey, it's getting harder to find good figures for Marine batteries.  My old Group 27 sized ones were rated 110 AH at 20 hour discharge rate (5a draw).  My new group 29 batteries aren't rated in AH.  The reserve minutes at 25amp draw could be used to compute capacity, but it will be quite low due to the high discharge rate.

Marine batteries work very well for me because I have a 120V series string, and my maxium current draw is 10a, and my typical is 1-3 amps.  My current 10 marine group 29 batteries would be roughly 125AH x 120 Volts= 15 KWH 

For a typical 48v inverter system, your currents will likely be much (10x?) higher and you will need a battery with more capacity. Nothing smaller than an L16 type will hold up well.  You really need to  take some daily meter readings and figure out what you usage must be.   Then after you price the batteries you'll want to find a way to reduce your consumption!

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on September 22, 2016, 04:56:07 AM
BruceM:  What a great point.  So what is the formula for converting the crank hours or ? into simple KW information?  I use the large ones in a farm-golf cart and my ATV project is based on the smaller deep cycle cheapski batteries. 

Not sure of the term Crank Hours.
If you mean reserve capacity, that's a rating for the time ( generally Minutes) you can pull 25 Amps off the battery before hitting the the voltage where the battery is flat. ( Forget what this is now).
CCA, Cold Cranking amps is the amount of Current the battery will provide when Fully charged.  Not much to do with capacity.
AH, Amp hours is the capacity of the battery and is usualy expressed in C/20. the amount of power you can draw from the battery over a 20 Hour period.
Draw more the rating is lower, Draw less and the capacity increases a bit.

I use the inaccurate Rule of thumb that 100 AH is equal to 1 KW on a 12V battery.  I think it's actually closer to 84 Ah but there are variances in what you use as the battery voltage and technicalities such as the discharge curve and current draw etc so I like to go with a Number i know under promises and over delivers. I also like to allow for deterioration and 100 makes a real easy number to work with. Plus if you figure you have 5 hours capacity and you 5.5 or 6 or whatever more, You're not going to be upset or inconvenienced.


Quote
glort:  I think one of selling points is the lack of contamination crap on your property and the rest of the environment.  You know some people are not concerned with heavy metals or the lead contamination of drinking waters - you get the idea.

No, not really. I certainly don't care about  heavy metals or lead contamination.
I dont see why I should be.  Not like you have the contents of the battery spilling everywhere or discharging outside the battery case. Only a complete moron would do that be they on land that they get their drinking water from or at home in suburbia. You wouldn't go pouring old sump oil around you home either but I'm not going to ride a bicycle just because there is 10L of it in my cars sump.
All the lead or whatever else stays inside the battery it's entire life. When they are done, you take them to scrap metal centre ( after filling them to the brim with water so they are heavy as possible and you get paid the most) and get good money for them.
Where does anything get contaminated?

If you are really concerned about them splitting or whatever,  you put the batteries in a Bund of some sort. This could be a frame lined with a couple of layers of builders plastic, an IBC cut in half or a proper commercial containment. When I got serious about my veg oil processing, I didn't want potentially 4000L of veg oil washing through my yard either so I made an enclosure for it so that could not happen.  See a problem, take measures to prevent it. Simple.

But I agree, the pedantic and especially the green washed will pay ridiculous amounts of money in support of their generally misplaced beliefs. That's the whole reason all this green washing malarky is so popular in the first place.... It's profitable!
It's also why they are selling Tesla power walls and things that purport to save the environment but haven't got a hope in hell of repaying their investment in the savings they generate. ;0)


 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on September 22, 2016, 07:44:33 AM
It seems like a big breakthrough in batteries is right around the corner, but then that's been the case for the last 100 years. 

Yep.
Same with car engines. Couldn't count how many articles and pieces I have seen on revolutionary new engines that weight 5 Kg, Produce 500 HP, get 120 MPH and cost $12 to produce.
The only new one to make it into limited production in my lifetime has been the rotary and I believe it's been shit canned now.  Other than that we still have the exact same thing in Pistons flogging up and down a bore and turning a crank then a flywheel .  They have been improved and changed somewhat but fundamentally, they are still the self same thing we had before the Model T.

I think most of these "breakthroughs" are nothing more than a creation to get research and grant money far more than having a hope in hell of l;living up to their promises in and making production.


 
Quote
I bought 10 more cheap wet lead marine batteries 6 months ago; they give me 4.5 years of service for $1000.   

Less than $225 a year for power. People where I am pay that a MONTH for grid power. It may not be the longest lasting, Lightest, maintenance free or most ideal setup but the price sure would be hard to beat.

Quote
I'll be happy to switch to something better in 4 years, but I'm not holding my breath.

Well it will certainly be interesting and I think you may be surprised but who knows?  Generation now with Solar has become cheaper than ever. Demand is higher and the incentive for cheaper storage never stronger.
I'm also not sure that " Better" is the ultimate goal. I think  Cheaper of the same technology's as what we have now would suffice. If a powerwall battery remained the same but cost $1000 instead of $10k like it is here, that would have a big impact in itself.  Nothing wrong with the Product as it is now, just the price needs a hell of a lot of "Fixing".

Being the sceptic I am in things are never as they seem and inherent belief that the green/ environmental movement is Nothing but a money spinner for gubbermints and big business, I am very suspect on how far all this will be allowed to go and how far prices will fall.  The minute these two cost bedfellows realise they are going to start missing out on taxes and revenues, I reckon all this feel good DIY power generation is going to hit some real hard brick walls.

About 10-12 years ago, our grid operators started shitting bricks that the lack of development and grid infrastructure was going to bite them real hard on the arse.  People were installing AC like never before and there were Citys going down in times of hot weather due to the demand for power the grid couldn't supply.  The power industry applied for a BIG price hike to put funds into the system and encourage people to be more power conscious and of course the Gubbermint granted it.
At the same time they also started a campaign for people to save power.

This worked real well. Too well in fact for the power companies liking. Their revenues dropped substantially so in 2 years they were back applying for another price hike with the reason being they weren't selling as much power now due to their campaign  ( and they DID state just that!) so they needed a price hike to maintain the viability of the grid structure and pay Dividends to their investors. They have since applied several more times and been granted price hikes.

About 3 years ago after lobbying the Gubbermint and amount the public outcry of soaring energy costs, the gubbermint de regulated the industry. All teh promises of lower power cost for consumers due to competition and increased efficiency  went out the window within months. Every utility jacked its prices and now the gubbermint has had to step in again with a pricing watchdog after an even bigger uproar from the public. They was a small increase in charges in July, about $30 a year on an average bill ( which is never specified what the hell " average" ever is) but clearly they have worked out they have reached the pain threshold and going further from here is going to be counter productive.

If you have a few spare hours and like to be gobsmacked, go online and look up the power companies annual reports and price increase applications. You won't believe the gall these entities have and what they plain admit to and spell out. Clearly they have the gubbermints and media in their pocket and the general public have their heads wedged too far up their nether regions to know. I'd not be surprised of they asked for a power price hike so they could build a charging station in case alien space craft dropped in and wanted to top up on their way to the planet Zorg.

They have no limit to their greed and gall.  People are using too much power, we need to put the price up. People aren't using enough power now, we need to put the price up more.  People are saving the planet with solar power, we need to look after our revenues so need to put the price of power up. Leave us alone and we'll be able to make power cheaper.... which never happened, it just went up some more.
It would be laughable if it wasn't fair Dinkum.

Some people talk about the spiral effect for power companys. The more they put the price of power up, the more people are going to invest in solar and other ways to lower their bills. They put the price up to cover that loss of revenue and DIY generation becomes more attractive to another group of people and they lighten their dependency on the grid and so it goes.
I think there is a balancing point though.  Many businesses can't do much to offset their power bill. Shopping centres are covering their roofs and carparks with panels but they still need the grid for cloudy days, winter and Night time. Industry uses massive amounts of power and there is no cheaper way to get it especially at the pittance they pay per KwH than the grid.

The question to me is, how far will gubbermints and the power industry let the private home owner get off the hook?
Will there be taxes on panel and storage to articficially inflate the price to deter people from DIY power and give them back some lost revenue? Will there be regulations or some sort of other handbrake put on people who are following the gubbermint and big business bandwagon of saving the planet and Co2 emissions and going with renewable energy.

I think this is only going to go so far before it goes too far and they start working out this is costing them money.
When they do, I have every confidence all the previous brain washing will go right out the window and they will be trying to claw the lost $$ back anyway they can.


Quote
Wet Lead Acid batteries are still the best bang for the $ for off grid batteries.  Pity Moore's law doesn't apply to batteries!

There is actually another law in the Technology industry which is much the same. I heard someone talking about it on TV about a month back and he said the only flaw in this principal was that technology was moving faster than they could relate it back to the rule so 5 year predictions were happening in 3 and the years were happening in 2 and so it was going.
The price of solar panels has fallen something like 80% in 5 years so who knows where battery prices may go.  Naturally or with artificial influences.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Tom on September 22, 2016, 05:35:43 PM
This conversation reminds me how happy I am to be off-grid. My thought to rid my self from as much of the grid as possible, in a suburban environment, is to build a battery bank just big enough to get through the night. On cloudy days just use the grid to recharge. I'd imagine that could cut about 90% of usage.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on September 22, 2016, 07:01:03 PM
Tom: 
Quote
On cloudy days just use the grid to recharge. I'd imagine that could cut about 90% of usage.
How do you stop your battery power from going down the grid tie?

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Tom on September 22, 2016, 08:15:02 PM
Off-grid inverters will allow you to sell or not and recharge from the grid or not. In our system "extra" energy goes to an electric hot water heater when the batteries are full. That heater feeds a LP heater pre-heated water or not depending on the time of the year.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on October 14, 2016, 02:27:19 PM
How many of these "off grid" all green homes have municipal water a gas fridge, gas stove, gas water heater , gas clothes dryer and gas furnace ? 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on October 14, 2016, 05:57:51 PM
Aloha buickanddeere,

As I coast towards Off-Gridness part of that delusion is moving my heating needs as much as possible off electricity and towards gas.  That isn't easy but it's part of pulling the plug.  Just so many of you lucky bums know, we're paying well over $3 a gallon for propane.  I like the hot water tank storage of electricity.  That seems to be the new strategy here in Hawaii now that grid tie has been converted into a 36,500 % annualized money maker for the power company.  Rather than hook up a hot water collector on the roof just install a stand alone PV solar dedicated hot water system.  Once you look at the butt kicking prices that are charged for hot water collection systems here PV looks kind of "Priced right."

And I've wondered the same thing how independent "Off-Grid" people are from their gas supply line.  Is anyone working with compressed natural gas for home use yet?

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Tom on October 14, 2016, 07:38:07 PM
There are new water heaters that work like a heat pump that will maximize the hot water per kw you get. As a bonus you can duct the cold air into the house in the summer.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 14, 2016, 10:16:27 PM
I think DIY solar flat panel collectors is the way to heat water.  Buiditsolar has the details.  My 4x32 foot panel is copper with aluminum fins per builditsolar.  I have endless hot water via 180 foot (4- 45' coils in parallel) of 1/2'' copper heat exchanger in my home built 800 gallon insulated storage tank.  The same tank is used directly for my home in-floor heat. 





Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Tom on October 15, 2016, 01:40:32 AM
DIY may be cheaper, but for a purchased system in HI Casey may do better with something like this. http://www.homepower.com/articles/solar-water-heating/domestic-hot-water/heat-pump-water-heaters To heat water and cool/dehumidify the home is a 2fer. When the tank is hot the electricity from PV panels can be used for other things. 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 15, 2016, 04:20:15 AM
Quote
There are new water heaters that work like a heat pump that will maximize the hot water per kw you get. As a bonus you can duct the cold air into the house in the summer.

These have been available for over 10 years here. They were legislated to be the electric hot water heater in new homes but there was some reversal  due to the cost and that solar panels are also  a green must have in a lot of places now which offsets the power consumption of normal resistance heaters. The Reverse Cycle heaters have failed to really take off despite the power savings.  They are also limited in application. In cold climates they simply don't work and have to rely on a conventional resistance element anyway. 

I also get the feeling they have been less that wonderfully reliable.  There are a lot for sale on Fleabay and dumbtree which all seem to have electronic control problems.  I have a mate that Does all sorts of AC from domestic and industrial cooling to refrigeration and commercial heat pumps in swimming pools and a while back when I asked him about these things his response was simple " Wouldn't touch one with a barge pole".
Didn't ask why. Didn't need to. If he wouldn't touch one then I figure best I don't either but maybe it's just something with the brands we have available here.


Quote
I think DIY solar flat panel collectors is the way to heat water.

I believe the evacuated tube types are loads more efficient and will also work on cloudy days where the flat plates won't get much temp at all.

I will be going with PV myself.  I have looked at it and found a number of reasons why they seem the better deal to ME:

Easier and cheaper connection.
Much simpler to run wires than water pipes. 2 pipes. And insulate them. And have a pump and cheaper to buy in the first place by a considerable margin. You can expand PV to help with other electrical loads but Direct water heating has no other application.

The other thing I have read repeatedly is with the efficiency of the evacuated tubes, many people say they have boiling water by mid morning on a clear day.  The thing there is your wasting energy the rest of the day.
With PV, once the water is up to temp, the power can be diverted to other uses such as the pool pump or washing, AC, or whatever. With PV, as well as heating water you can  heat or cool the house with the power generated or at least offset that cost. With direct water heating, the investment in it can only do one thing, heat water.

Here the price of panel is getting cheaper all the time and the amount of people selling good used panels by the 10's and even hundreds seems to be growing.  I could pick up 225 -275W panels from a number of sellers atm for $50-100 ea. The very few used water heaters are still well over $1000+.  For the price of a new Evac tube system and installed, you could probably have 10 Kw or more of PV installed and that will net a lot more in savings than just your hot water bill.
All one needs is a timer which will switch the heater on during the times the solar is generating, not at night as per the usual Off peak.  Even if you had full tariff boost when there was a string of cloudy/ wet days, PV is still going to give a better overall return.

Even with a brand new installation, there are loads of companies here offering 5Kw systems for under $3.5K which is not much more than I see the hot water only solar systems advertised for. Some have the newer inverters which can be programmed to divert to the water heater first and when that clicks out, the rest of the house is fed giving the best returns from the system.  Here off peak is .11C Kwh.  Feed in tarrif is .6C  Best to use your own power wherever you can.  5Kwh worth of power into a water heater would be around 3 hours or less on average depending on your tank size.  Plenty of hours of left over power for other things.

I have had this house for over 20 years and there is no gas connected. Electric only has never been a problem. For those that think LPG at $3 a gallon is expensive, stay where you are, you'll have a fit if you come here and buy it.  Mate of mine Uses automotive LPG. Has a tank in his truck and fills that at the servo and then decants into the tanks at home.
Yes, heard all about different mixes and you can't swap them and all that but he's been doing it for years with no modification to his appliances and NEVER had a problem. Saves a fortune on bottled gas.

Obviously things may not be the same for everyone but for me, PV is definitely the better, more practical investment with far better returns..... not even counting the insulting .6C kwh feedback I may get.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 15, 2016, 06:25:20 PM
It's true that flat panel solar panels, which are easy to build your own, don't work at all on overcast or cloudy days.  But if you look at the price of the evacuated tubes, and consider the amount of them to equal my 4 by 32 foot flat panel, you see why compromising on cloudy days is not a bad compromise.  My homebuilt EPDM lined 800 gallon insulated tank lets me ride through cloudy days, even in winter.  Domestic hot water use has no appreciable impact on my hot water storage temp.  Heating the house does!









Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on October 16, 2016, 06:36:20 PM
Gosh glort,

You whipped out all the reasons that PV hot water is becoming "The" choice here in Hawaii.  Two PV panels with micro inverters can be purchased here for under $1,000 while a water collector system is going come in around $6,000 but that would be installed and all new.  Of course getting micro inverters to fire without a grid tie hasn't crossed my desk as of yet.

Because I've got a flat panel water collector already on the roof I'm going with the DIY lines in the drain plug hole.  Sort of like this only without the cold water supply.  http://www.solardirect.co.nz/scv.html (http://www.solardirect.co.nz/scv.html).  (You'll need to page down once.)

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 17, 2016, 03:54:55 AM
Gosh glort,

You whipped out all the reasons that PV hot water is becoming "The" choice here in Hawaii.  Two PV panels with micro inverters can be purchased here for under $1,000 while a water collector system is going come in around $6,000 but that would be installed and all new.  Of course getting micro inverters to fire without a grid tie hasn't crossed my desk as of yet.

On another forum they have been discussing running resistance water heaters direct off solar using an aurdino controller.  I'm going to have to get a kit and start learning these things because there is so much in this field being done with them. They keep saying they are simple so maybe with a bit of hands on i'll be able to think that too.

There are a few other ways I have been thinking about doing this which I need to look into further as to practicality and efficiency.
The first one would be a low wattage element. If one already had panels and an inverter, elements can be wound to whatever you like.  If you wanted a 2V 5Kw element, they can do it. If you wanted say 12 or 24V @1000W to run off an ixisting or dedicated inverter, that can be done too.  Alternately get the 1000W element, a 12/24V inverter and a couple of batteries and a charger. Would give multiple use for things beside water heating.  Basic 20A Charge controllers can be had for $15ea and would do a 250W panel.  You can of course get better ones but the pair I'm playing with do a very good job even if not the most efficient, still very acceptable.

I believe I saw something where they discussed a way to trick Gridties into thinking they were grid connected. I believe it was with the use of a pure sine wave inverter or a computer UPS. I glanced at the article and accidentaly shut it down before coming back to read it properly but I got the impression that's what they were doing.
I like computer UPS's. Great power output capacity, very clean for the price you can pick them up for and they can charge ( slowly) as well as convert.

I have also seen on fleabay Solar powered water pumps suitable for Irrigation. From what I can see, the pumps are normal mains powered pumps but there is an inverter that takes the PV output directly and runs the pump. Still not sure if they are DC pumps but they look like the self same pumps offered elsewhere.  Can't find much about the inverters though which makes me wonder if they are the trick and the Pumps are in fact the same.

They seem to charge premium prices for these setups that's for sure

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Because I've got a flat panel water collector already on the roof I'm going with the DIY lines in the drain plug hole.  Sort of like this only without the cold water supply.  http://www.solardirect.co.nz/scv.html (http://www.solardirect.co.nz/scv.html).  (You'll need to page down once.)

Very interesting.
I bookmarked that for future reference. I can see they are right in it working with any heater. You could adapt that to a gas heater as well.  Perfect for my Oil burner fired gas heater.
I have been looking for a big gas unit to convert to oil powered so I only need to fire it every couple of days or so. Having the solar may well relegate that to cloudy weather only If coupled to a DIY collector.
Of course as I don't have a collector, the question would be if I can get a used one at a better price than PV panels?
At worst it would still be good to add to an electric PV heater to add oil firing from another heater.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 17, 2016, 04:16:17 AM
You can build a flat panel collector for much less than PV, and there's the matter of 85% efficiency for hot water direct heating vs 16% for PV.
Check out the variety of diy flat panel designs at builditsolar.com.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on February 19, 2017, 12:29:46 PM

As much as I'm getting a message about starting a New topic, Thought I'd update this one.

I got some panels a while back and have had a lot of fun and learnt a lot with them.
I bought a 30A PWM controller  and have been using that and a couple of car batteries on a UPS to run my little outdoor drinks fridge.  Some time back I bought a little motor speed controller off fleabay to control the speed on the blowers I use on oil burners. Didn't like the noise that came out of the motors with it so I stopped using it. One day while sitting on the throne ( where all my best ideas come from) I though I can use this to regulate the output from the UPS so I can run a water heater at reduced power but still get worthwhile heating out of the thing.  And it worked. Worked bloody well in fact.

Instead of a water heater, I have been using...... Well a water heater... but in the form of a kettle.  I try to limit my coffee consumption to about 10 Cups a day so it comes in handy and does save some worthwhile power. I can usually input about 300W to it with the fridge going as well and because I have it running through a Solid state relay ( SSR) I have the Solar controller turning it off if the batt voltage drops too low and back on again when it comes up.  Once the kettle has boiled, I find I can keep it simmering at about 50W which makes having the speed controller a really handy thing. When I top it up, I turn the power up to 100W.  ( which I can now measure precisely thanks to Ed's recommended and recently installed power meter)
 I might upgrade the kettle with a thermostat with a probe in the water to keep it at about 85-95.  Or I could just get a cheap Urn that would do the same thing... :0)

I have been adding to the control board and having fun with the mental arithmetic of wiring all the different things together. No escape of magic smoke so far and I have managed to do what several boffins on other DIY power and electronics forums have told me COULDN'T work. Yeah well it does and very Nicely too.

The other day I got onto some more used panels at the right price ( amazing how many people want a LOT more than new for 3-7 Yo panels that are around 170W where the new standard is going over 250w.)
The ones I got are 190w and of course come from some people that had upgraded and couldn't fit any more panels on their roof.  I got  1.5 Kw worth and paid $220 for them.  Only other thing I got with them was a pair of breakers in a waterproof box screwed on to the side of one of them. A handy bonus in actuality.

They are really a weird setup. All the same panels but they have an MC3 Connector on one lead and an MC4 on the other.  They are both different generations of connector so I don't know why this is? You can't connect an MC3 and 4 together so I'm at a loss to explain why they are like this. . An annoyance was whoever removed the panels, just cut one lead on every panel ( The MC3 which they must not have know to just twist out) But I reattached all but one damaged one and cobbled the system together.  Cobbled being the operative word with bullet connectors and bits of wire. I ordered 10 Pair of MC4 Connectors before Christmas in anticipation of using them for a setup but I had to get a refund  last week and reorder from another supplier due to them not arriving. When, or should I say IF these ones arrive, I might just cut off and replace all the connectors to the current standard and something that makes sense!

I threw all the panels up on the back awning which Conveniently faces the right direction being North here, and with one end on the main Roof, is close enough to the correct winter angle of tilt. Worked out which panels to put where to get the easiest connection and soldered the cut off connectors back on and went over them with a double layer of Shrink wrap and then some tape for good measure.
And as I'll relay shortly, a good job I went to a bit of care as well.

I mounted all the panels securely and professionally with one tek screw right through the aluminum awning into the panel frame. Before Christmas we had some winds here that were the strongest in over 17 years and not one of the others moved so it can't be too weak to hold them in position as they are very sheltered where they are. Linked them all up and recalling I hadn't tested any of them, put a multimeter on the leads and got the 225V I wanted to see.  Amps weren't much, the day was getting late and the sun was at 90o to the direction the panels were facing... and it was getting cloudy.
Hooked the leads to the gird tie inverter, pluged it in, waited about 5 min till it checked the main voltage and frequency about 30 Times then I was spinning my meter backwards.... or less fast forwards as it probably was.
Great. Now to tidy up all the daisy chained leads hanging from the awning.  Mrs probably wouldn't not have even seen them but the were just waiting for me to walk out looking down at something or distracted by the dog and hang myself. Or tear a 15Kg panel through the awning and have it knock me down and decapitate myself.  Messy!

Has anyone here ever played with high voltage DC power?  Man it's cool!
I unplugged the output leads from the inverter to re route them neatly.. or less untidily.  Never phased by holding lethal voltages in my hands, ( not a death wish, just not a lot of care about living or not) I thought I'll give these things a flick together and see what sort of crack and a spark it makes.  Boy, did I get more than I bargained for! Not a crack or flash but this huge arc about 4" long! It was amazing.
I have read of people saying how DC is hard on Switches because it will hold an arc where AC won't but this was insane.  So of couse I did what any real bloke would do with such a dangerous action... I friggin did it again!  Similar result.  WOW! There's a YT vid in the making... or me dying....  I flicked the things a bit more slowly this time and found the arc would go about an inch and hold for maybe 3-4 Seconds before the wire burnt away.  AWESOME!

And this was only at around 225V @ less than 5A.  I immediately did the mental calcs that if I tie ALL my panels together, I'll get almost 400V.  I'm going to have to get some terminal blocks and connect the wires to Nails and really throw and arc!  The arcs are not the typical High voltage, electronically induced ones you get of those Coils you can get off ebay ( which I bought 3 of) that are loud and crackly and thin, These throw a big fat fuzzy ( or was that just me being blined looking at it?) arc that is silent but you can tell packs a punch.  I didn't even know you could hold an arc like that at just 200 V. Thought it had to be thousands!
Talk about Fun and make my day! With this realisation I was then pleased with myself for going to the trouble od triple insulating the connections I made with the cut off connectors. They could have arced right out through a bit of tape given a fraction of contact with the awning or another bit of wire.

Anyway, not managing to turn myself into a Crispy Critter ( today) hooked it all back to the inverter and made half a Kw Hr before the thing shut off due to low voltage as the sun got low. .
I mounted 7 of the 8 panels up starting at one end of the verandah and going towards where I have the 2 260s for the play setup. I have another 260 at a friends place so I'll go get that tomorrow if it's not 45oC or pissing rain as the case has been this last couple of weeks and mount it at the far end, move the other 2 panels close to it and then put the 8th 190 panel up so I'll have the full compliment.  I was thinking how to put in some switches So I can have the 3 260 panels in series for the Grid tie or parallel for the low voltage setup. Too much trouble wiring and probably also too much risk of blowing the snot out of something.... including me.
I Switched both the pos and neg into the inverter as I had a ganged pair of breakers but I was also thinking I might put another breaker in the middle of the chain so I can break the circuit if I want to work on it or change the config of the setup. That way I don't have to work on live wires when they are joined up. All the conections bar one are under the panels on the top of the awning so I don't want to have to unscrew a panel to turn them all off before the inverter.

It will be interesting to see tomorrow what I can get out of these panels. Theoretically should be 1520W. I only saw a max of 700w Today but that was in the failing hours of the daylight. I'll have to give them a wash and a broom over. they looked pretty clean till I saw them at an angle in the fading sun.
I should hook all the panels together for max reverse meter spinning ( yes, I really can do that with my old spiny meter) but whats the fun in that?  Much more interesting to keep adding fleabay bits and pieces to my own little power station and with a 50% Boost, my kettle will boil even more quickly.

I'd really like to knock over the palm trees by the pool now. I'm going to get some shading of the panels almost all day. I got a 10 ft pole, literally, and hose clamped a bush saw to it and trimmed all I could  which worked incredibly well despite how dodgy it looks let alone sounds but I have gone as High as I can. I have another pole I could join on but I think reach is going to cancel out control and I still might not be able to take any more off the palm but taking the Dogs and my own head off could be a better chance.

Any rate, the setup will only be temp here as Moving house is imminent and I'm not leaving them here.  If I get a place like I want of an acre of land, I'd like to make a whole roof for a shed or patio out of panels. Screw them together and seal with silicone and it would provide shelter and power.... And I think look bloody cool at the same time!
How good would that be? The bigger I expand the outdoor area, the cheaper our Power bills would become.  And of course I'd need a " Dump Load" for all that excess power.  A large body of water would be good.... exactly like a Jacuzzi!  Brilliant!

Mrs ain't going to argue with anything to do with my panel proclivity after that!  :0)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on February 19, 2017, 06:09:26 PM
Wow.  I've decided to read your novelettes one paragraph at a time.  Reads like you're having a lot of fun.  Normally I'd mention thermos to someone that is hot water fixated But I respect the learning that is happening in your journey.  And then it struck me.  There is a correlation between caffeine abuse and hyper-keyboarding. 

We have some visitors from central Washington, USA and live about a 100 miles from Grand Coulee dam.  They pay 2.6 cents a kilowatt.  How'd you like to sell solar panels in that town?  Grand Coulee is one of the early 20th century make work projects sponsored by President Roosevelt.  I wonder what the return on investment that federal program has returned to the people.  I wander.

Thanks for the update glort,

Casey

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on February 19, 2017, 11:37:40 PM
Wow.  I've decided to read your novelettes one paragraph at a time. 

That will fill your day in and you'll never have to buy another newspaper again for reading recreation.  I did type that in a few sections as I did other things so that might give you a chance to keep up just as well as if I
 t y p e d   i t  s l o w l y.  :0)
 
Quote
Reads like you're having a lot of fun. 

Yeah, I am. Playing with this solar stuff is a lot cleaner and I come in smelling better than with playing with engines but I'll never abandon that. Always had a fixation with electricity, even as a kid and a proclivity for independent power even though the grid here is annoyingly reliable.
Something came up about solar power at Christmas where I corrected someone in the family's misinformation and I was surprised how quick the wife proudly jumped in and said we had a fridge running off solar power and an inlaw whom usually gives the impression he's slipped into the beyond without us noticing was quite impressed and was saying you can't argue with first hand knowledge and practical experience.
Never going to surpass my reputation of being the weirdo in the family that runs his truck on Veg oil though.

Quote
Normally I'd mention thermos to someone that is hot water fixated

Do you mean as in thermos to keep hot water hot or some other way of heating water?
Not so much hot water fixated but looking for a practical use for this power I'm making for free.  Still getting over the excitement of that. Bit like the first couple of years I was driving on Veg oil. Great to hear people complain about fuel prices when you are oblivious.
Got into trouble from the Mrs on Saturday about that. Took her car looking at houses and the Fuel light came on.  Yep, shes a real woman all right.  Went to go into a servo and nearly got my head bitten off.
She said don't go in there! I said why not? She said can't you see how expensive they are?  I said Oh, OK, I don't know.  She says how can you not know?  I said Because I never buy he shit or take any damn notice of it.
There was a quiet silence as the truth of the statement sank in and why I was completely Vindicated.  :0)

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  And then it struck me.  There is a correlation between caffeine abuse and hyper-keyboarding. 

Dammit!
I knew there had to be SOME side effect!
I tried not drinking it for over a week and felt no different but I didn't take account of my Forum postings.  Ah well, better than dissolving my Kidneys or some other effect.
Doesn't give me any more energy or motivation though. Still can't find the power to drag my arse out the chair and do something productive most days.

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We have some visitors from central Washington, USA and live about a 100 miles from Grand Coulee dam.  They pay 2.6 cents a kilowatt. 

Wow! That's the cheapest power I have ever heard of!

 
Quote
How'd you like to sell solar panels in that town? 

Bet there isn't one to be seen and I wouldn't like to be trying to flog Gas home appliances either.  You might do well with electric cars and lawn mowers though! 
There probably aren't a whole lot of CFC or LED lightbulbs in that area either. Even the smallest room in the house would have a 500w halogen, just for good measure!


Quote
Grand Coulee is one of the early 20th century make work projects sponsored by President Roosevelt.  I wonder what the return on investment that federal program has returned to the people.  I wander.
Without knowing anything about it, My guess would be a hell of a lot more than most and probably all in the last 20 years.

Quote
Thanks for the update glort,

How are things progressing with your projects and off grid initiatives?
I like reading your dissenting comments on power prices and other things. Sounds just like it came from my own mind.  Too many people these days just bend over and take it up the Khyber pass instead of questioning, thinking and doing things for themselves.

Ah well, solar powered Kettle is boiling so time for another cuppa from free heated water. I should put my meter on that and find out how much power a day I do use on the kettle. Have to be over 1KW hr.
Wow! I'm saving .30C a day!
Nice sunny day here and the Grid tied panels are in full sun but still only seeing a max of 700W. See how the rest of the day progresses.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on February 20, 2017, 10:14:36 PM
You can build a flat panel collector for much less than PV, and there's the matter of 85% efficiency for hot water direct heating vs 16% for PV.
Check out the variety of diy flat panel designs at builditsolar.com.



In locations with freezing weather using a PV system can eliminate the complexity of draining, pumping and complex valving.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on February 20, 2017, 10:49:27 PM
Single tank drainback systems have become the new standard because they eliminate freeze/antifreeze and stagnation issues.  If the circ pump fails, the system is automatically safe. 

Certainly PV is at the point where it can be used for water heating and such. for retrofits. It just doesn't hold a candle to direct water heating for BTU's per square meter of panel.

My home (1100 SF superinsulated) heating and domestic hot water are heated by a single 4x32 foot homebuilt copper and aluminum fin panel. My backup propane was $60 a year last winter.  It would take about 6x the PV area in panels to match that winter performance.  That would be a hell of a lot of panels, racks, and wiring and electronics.  The average time between repair for the current transformerless grid tie inverters is 3-4 years.  They also put a lot of high frequency EMI on the home power which some independent researchers think is a serious health stressor.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on February 21, 2017, 12:52:51 AM

Installed the last 2 panels yesterday and they Conveniently fit exactly on the awning length I have of 8M.

First discovery, those Palms round the pool shade the area a hell of a lot more than I realised. Pretty much an area is in shade all day.  Not much I'm willing to do about it. I could cut them down but with the place sold already thats a lot of work for what might only be another couple of months we are here.  Putting them up was a few hours fun, learning and exercise as well as testing and learning. Taking them down will be less than an hour.  Plus the awning leaks in the rain so it might leak a lot less now.
I did just come in and see 954W from the grid tie so not bad but it's early and the sun is in the one position of the day where there is no shading although it is a bit cloudy today.

The 3x 260 Paralleled panels for the 24V system are at the other end of the roof and working well.     
I saw a max of 23A yesterday at 26.X volts which gave me about 550W. Boiled my Kettle much faster than with just the 2 panels and thanks to their position and rating, Gave me a fraction over half the total power for the day ( afternoon) as the 8 panels did.

The grid tie HV setup is quite well done despite all the missing/ Mismatched connectors ( it is lethal Voltage after all) but the 24V system looks much more cobbled together with the wiring.  That has all the proper connectors on the panels  and the ones I ordered are weeks away so as long as it's not going to kill anyone, can stay that way. I made the connections with screws careful put into the sockets and wire wrapped around and taped.  Next time they go up anywhere they will be done right.
I loaded the system up yesterday with the Jug pulling over 20A and couldn't detect any heat in the junctions or wiring so all good. Next time Round I'll invest in a roll of proper 4MM solar cable so It's done right although the 2.5mm cable I am using all 3 Conductors on each polarity has plenty of capacity and I might go with that were it's out of the weather or just conduit it..... Which I have miles of as well thanks to the neighbors construction next door and them apparently ordering double then going to throw half out.   :o

I found some more panels close by last night on Gumtree which I think could be the same so if they are and the seller gets back to me, Might grab another 5.  Not sure if I'll put them up, Would have either lay flat on the tin roof  (Which almost is flat) or make a frame.  That might be a bit more trouble than I'm prepared to go to at this stage although I do have pretty much all the material I'd need stored away.  OTOH might be a chance to get rid of some "Junk".
Seller hasn't responded to my Question of what size the panels are so probably some Flip who thinks they are all the same and won't even answer messages even though there is no number to call.

I also found some commercial flat panel water heating Collectors. $20 ea.  I might grab a couple of them for play purposes as well.  Might be good for making warm water  to store in plastic barrels in a greenhouse for thermal mass to keep things warm in winter.  No idea how powerful the things might be but I don't think it would take much to get water up to boiling in summer here especially on the 52 Degree day we had about 40Km away a couple of weeks back.  Maybe I should grab 4 of the things?

I'm wary of buying things like this. You see stuff and maybe buy  or pickup 1 or2 thinking that's all the need you have then a short time later you discover the things are great and you want a heap of them. Of course they are all gone and anything similar, if you can find it, is 10X the price.  Been bitten like that too many times.  Cant say though I ever remember getting  heap of something and not every using it even if I did think at one stage I got too much.  Picked up  LOAD of scrap steel tube once. Brought it home and then thought " What was I thinking? I'll never use all that!"  Man that stuff has come in handy over the years! I have built so many things with it even for the Mrs which was a great defense of my junk proclivity.  She asked for something the other day and I said I'd have to check if I had enough metal. She said what about all that stuff you picked up? I pointed to plant stands, a clothes drier, a frame work, the Rabbit cages and other places I used it and said it's not Magical steel that never runs out you know. And that was only whats here still. Done a lot with it for friends projects as well.
Unfortunately the place I  liberated it from their scrap bin has long gone and haven't found a replacement.

I did however find some 100MM sq thick wall section on the weekend and some 5 MM plate off cuts so I'm thinking that's going to go into a frame for the Ruggerini and the Induction motor seeing I can't seem to find wood thick enough to hold them down.  There were also some longer 150MM Sections. I'm thinking of those for a base for the Roid.  Whats another 150Kg on a setup like that? I'm going to need to call a tow Truck to move it though.  Or just put wheels and a draw bar on it and tow the whole lot!

The mrs and I in conference with our Daughter have pretty much decided we would like to go with acreage on the next place so I will have room for lots of things to set up and play with.
Be a big lifestyle change but I'll have plenty of room for a solar and possibly a hot water farm as well.  I guess hot water will be something else to learn. Straight away I can see the need for a thermostat on the pump so it's not pumping hot water to cool off and that it isn't going to boil it although how do you stop that?
Radiator for a Dump load?  :0)

I'd like to amass 4-5 KW worth of panels but I might go 6 If I can find them at the right price Given their inefficiency in you really need 1.5KW to get 1Kw out most days it seems and I would like to do that Solar awning.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on February 21, 2017, 05:22:14 AM
Glort, take a look at drain-back hot water systems at builditsolar.com.  I built one of his copper with aluminum fin designs.  Quite easy to construct.  Mine is a Hizer setup- horizonal "risers".  With drain back systems, you use a controller with a themistor attached to the solar panel close to the exit, and one at the bottom of your drainback/storage tank.  The pump only starts when it's hot enough, and stops when there is no net gain or with a max tank temperature.  The solar panels are designed to be able to stagnate without water in them.  Mine are tilted for best winter gain, when I'm heating the house.  It's shaded in the summer by a small roof overhang (intentional design) until afternoon to reduce excess capacity in summer and avoid extended stagnation.  I only have my backup hot water propane on for Dec-Feb.  It still carries all but $60. worth of propane a year. 



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on February 21, 2017, 10:16:54 AM

Thanks for the Tip Bruce.  I had a look at the site and despite the greenwashed, save the planet, water, co2 emissions and all the other incessant  garbage, there seems to be a lot of useful information.
Why the hell does everything DIY and alternative have to be about saving the world these days? Forever being forced down your throat and nearly makes me want to hurl.  Maybe I just want to do something to save a buck and be a bit independent.

Sorry for the rant but I am well over it now.

The drain back looks interesting.
Having a pump feeding from the bottom of a tank and feeding back to an IBC to be pumped up and active when needed and isolated when not looks a great way of doing things.
I didn't see a lot on controllers but something could be worked out I'm sure.  I am still in the baby steps of learning Arduino micro controllers and this would be a prime application.  There isn't much cheap I can find that would compare say a panel temp and the water temp but I could also probably rig that up out of a couple of single Chanel Thermostats and a relays.  An Arduino could easily compare 2 Inputs, switch at preset margins and have hysteresis programmed in as well.

I have also been looking at an arduino for stepped fan control.  As temp increases, the fan speeds up. This would be good for say heating to keep a level  or I was also thinking would be great on an engine.  I used a car radiator on my Roid with Twin electric fans. Even one was enough to over cool it. I fixed that by slowing it down with a light bulb.  With a variable fan speed, in winter or at light loads when little airflow is needed, the fan would turn slowly to meet a target output temp. In summer with a heavy load, it would speed up to meet demand and again keep teh output at the desired level.

I know a lot of people into this are very into basic ideas but these things are very reliable these days and would add a degree of efficiency and safety.

I'll have to learn especially about the PWN functions of the controllers as that I think would be the basis of any variable regulation.  The same sort of setup could be used in reverse. Rather than starting and stopping a pump on a water heating panel, the pump could be made to slow down to allow more heating time in cooler weather and Higher speed when the sun was hotter.  When it got to a certain level it would shut down all together same as when the water in the tank was hotter than that in the panel.  With a light sensitive switch it would shut down all together and restart when there was light and the panel was hotter than the water temp.

Yesterday was cool for summer here and there was a nice fresh breeze blowing when I was putting the panels up.  Without thinking, I grabbed one of the panels already mounted to change it order to be more compaitble with the panel to be next to it. After a few seconds the thing was burning my hand but I couldn't really let go so I moved quick and dumped the thing where it had to go than stuck my hadn in the nearby dogs water to cool it off. Wasn't a proper burn but the temp of the thing on a coolish day really surprised me.  I looked at another panel and saw the output rating was at 25o.  I thought well it's never going to be that cool unless there is snow on the ground and that would be history making here.

On other forums I have seen discussion of cooling panels with water spray and fans underneath. I have also seen may things about solar air heaters made different ways like from drik cans and pipe and other things cobbled together to make a collector.  I thought heres a bloody good air heater right here.  All you need to do would be enclose the back of the panels and blow a good breez through and you'd get better efficency from teh panels and a ship load of warm air for your house or shed as well.

I just spent some time on the solar site, google and YT and I can't find anything on anyone doing this. Surely someone a lot smarter than me has come up with the idea before. It's pretty bloody obvious really.
I looked at some of the Vids and articles on these solar heaters and a lot of them are really quite small compared to the area solar electric panels take up. One may be able to find some reasonably conductive glue ( or at least non thermally insulating like silicone) and glue any old bits of ally  to disturb the airflow under the panels to make them cool better in a breeze.
I have some of those inline fans and the blow a gale ( I use them for wind machines in teh studio) and only take 70W. For that matter, some Computer fans  Mounted under the panels blowing across them would also help with the air flow over the back of them and further increase the heat transfer.

Here a lot of panels are jut put on the roof at whatever angle the roof is at which is a long way from Idea at this latitude. One could build a frame for the air heating from the
 panels and make it so it also st the panels at a correct angle.  Like you, for me that would be the winter ideal elevation because there is a lot more hours of sunlight in summer anyway and you wouldn't want the heating...... although if you sucked the heated air through a car radiator, you could have an effective pool heater or water preheating.
If I was doing my solar awning, then the support frame work would already be there and all I'd have to do would be allow for airflow and cover the back which would make for pleasing aesthetics anyhow.

Geez, I can see all these greenwashed pains in the arses requesting to do features on my setup.
Thats OK, condition of interview and publishing is the first line be:  "Although he's not out to save the planet, water, co2 emissions or live life like a cave man, he does enjoy DIY that saves money, thinking out the box and a bit of independence ...... "  then I'll also stipulate that they have to include the roid burning Sump gunk just to give all the greenie Stoners a real heart attack. OMG, he's Burning OIL!!!!
You have no idea how many times green Nazis had a go at my on an alternative energy forum because I had the handle OIL BURNER and didn't take the time to work out it was Veg oil or hippie fuel I run things on.

With a bit of thought and effort, ( and sunshine don't hurt either) there is a lot you can do with this solar stuff even if you aren't a greenwashed do gooder trying to save the planet. 

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on February 21, 2017, 10:46:38 AM
I built a drain back system into the wall of a my shed when i was constructing it.  The south facing wall is at a 35 degree angle to the sun for best winter performance for me.  The collector has vertical risers and is 8 x 12' for a total collector size of 96sf.  I use a controller that cost about 100 dollars and it has 3 sensors one at the collector one at the bottom of the tank and one at the top of the tank.  I also built a parabolic reflector that tracks the sun.  It is 4 x 8' and is a single axis design angled for winter performance as well.  both are drain back both work really well.   If you have the room they really do work great and produce a lot of hot water.   I use mine to preheat my domestic water.  Normal tank temps in the winter are 124 degrees and in summer i have it shutoff at 130 degrees.  I use two hot air heaters for aux heat in the winter one is 48sf the other 100sf and these also work great.  All are controlled by a simple snap switch. on at 120 degrees collector temp off at 90 degrees collector temp.  they have been running for over 10 years with 0 maintenance needed.   
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on February 21, 2017, 02:00:17 PM
I think DIY solar flat panel collectors is the way to heat water.  Buiditsolar has the details.  My 4x32 foot panel is copper with aluminum fins per builditsolar.  I have endless hot water via 180 foot (4- 45' coils in parallel) of 1/2'' copper heat exchanger in my home built 800 gallon insulated storage tank.  The same tank is used directly for my home in-floor heat. 

Not enough sun here for such a system from November through February. 






Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on February 21, 2017, 04:57:31 PM
Hi Carl,
I'm not surprised that you have a DIY, technically savy solar hot water setup; your projects are always smart, and technically impressive.  Reflector systems have the advantage of being able to produce useful temperatures on hazy or cloudy days (at reduced rate), which my flat panel doesn't. 

What did you use for reflector material, and did you glaze over the parabola or leave it open?  Did you use evacuated tubes?

Bruce

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on February 21, 2017, 05:46:04 PM
Hi Carl,
I'm not surprised that you have a DIY, technically savy solar hot water setup; your projects are always smart, and technically impressive.  Reflector systems have the advantage of being able to produce useful temperatures on hazy or cloudy days (at reduced rate), which my flat panel doesn't. 

What did you use for reflector material, and did you glaze over the parabola or leave it open?  Did you use evacuated tubes?

Bruce



The reflector is made from 4 2x4' mirror grade stainless steel sheets. the parabola is not covered and i couldn't get an 8' long evacuated tube so i encased the receiver in a Borosilicate Glass tube sealed it up good at both ends  and vacuumed the air out with a air conditioner vacuum pump to 10" of vacuum.
i has leaked some of the vacuum out but it seems to have stabilized at 6" which is fine by me.  I am using a simple cheap Chinese pump (12 dollars) with a cheap adjustable voltage regular (less than a dollar) to adjust the dc pump speed for optimal heat transfer and flow. a simple old laptop power supply is more than enough to supply the pump.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on February 21, 2017, 06:10:53 PM
Is it a full moon?  So many contributions in only one night.

I think the saving grace of using PV for hot water is that they also produce electricity when your tank comes up to 160 degrees or so.  How many showers can you take in the Summer?

Hey glort:  Thanks for being a good sport and taking my posts as intended.

Too bad photos are a bit tricky here as I'd like to see carlb23's system. 



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on February 21, 2017, 07:05:35 PM
Thanks, Carl.  I"d love to see a picture of your reflector setup!  DIY vacuum tube - a very advanced design!

For my neighbor's new place (superinsulated, double wall home in progress) we tried some of the cheap 12V Topsflow circulation pumps.  One for their in floor heat has been in service for a year so far.  My system uses a Lang D5 Vario 12V pump, which can JUST make the 8 foot lift to my panel with enough flow to fill the system at startup.  I added a circuit to slow it down after flow is established.

Casey, I certainly agree that adding PV to boost an electric hot water heater during the day could certainly be worthwhile.

I could justify the expense of a solar hat water system since it does both house heating and domestic hot water. Plus my home is off grid, so hot water storage as energy storage makes more sense. (You'd be nuts to use batteries ($) to store PV energy for water heating.)  The side benefit is that my DIY EPDM rubber sheet lined 800 gallon insulated storage tank needed for house heating (2-3 cloudy days carry through)  has a large copper heat exchanger (180 feet total of 1/2 soft copper in 4 parallel coils) in the tank that means ENDLESS domestic hot water for laundry.  I've gotten spoiled on the hot water situation. 




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on February 21, 2017, 08:37:06 PM
I'll take a few pics when i get a chance.  If i can't get them to post here i will upload them to photobucket and put a link here.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on February 23, 2017, 06:33:10 PM
I took a few pics of my 8' x 12' solar shed wall and 4' x 8' parabolic trough I will try to upload them.  

http://s1203.photobucket.com/user/carlb2323/library/?sort=2&page=2

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on February 23, 2017, 06:34:30 PM
I  posted link couldn't get pics to work.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on February 23, 2017, 07:43:06 PM
The parabolic reflector is a nice piece of engineering, Carl.  (Flat panels job also 1st rate.) 
What is your actuator for the sun tracking and did you do your own hardware for the tracker electronics?

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on February 23, 2017, 10:27:28 PM
its a 21" linear actuator that i got for  30 dollars and a Tiny Tracker for the electronics.  the tiny tracker works great.   I could afford to move the mounting point on the actuator to get a little more travel but it is only missing about 1/2 hour of sun in early morning.  I have some constants based on the location of the trough to the house but it was my best option for the installation.   The collectors are feeding a 275 gallon tank in the basement.   I decided to opt for keeping the collector close to the house to minimize heat loss moving the water from the basement to the collectors.  Both are drain back systems 

I only use it to preheat our domestic hot water, the tank has a 250' copper coil in it that city water circulates  through heating the water before it gets to our electric water heater.   While we have natural gas at our house we generate so much electricity with our solar (33 Mwh a year) that we never need to use natural gas unless the outside temp dips below 0 degrees F or we get freezing rain which renders our air source heat pump almost useless.

We also have about 150 sqft of solar air heaters which do a fantastic job of heating our house during the day in the winter time.   On a sunny day at 25 degrees f outside the house (2675 sqft not counting the basement)will heat to 74 degrees by late afternoon. solar air heaters are very easy to build and very inexpensive. I have had zero problems with them.  I built the first one in 2004 and the second one in 2006
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on February 28, 2017, 12:42:43 AM

Got a 3 way cable I ordered yesterday and some Connectors from China.

The local electronics store wants $15 a pair for the MC4 Connectors. The China ones, less than $2. They seem to be decent enough quality and the bottom line is, the ones there electronics store has are just repack/rebrand anyway.   Put the 3 way cable on the low Voltage play setup and go rid of all the temp dodgy wiring. Made up a new cable with the proper connectors back to the controller and although it was a bit of an overcast day, saw a new high in amp output.

Ed I got that DC current meter and it seemed to work well for a while. I had it running off a separate supply but I have to be honest, when I went to hook it to the Solar battery output, I fked up. There are w wires, pos, neg and a sense wire for the voltage.  On the fleabay page it has a diagram for <30V hook up and > 30v supply.  On the above 30V, you don't use the Neg lead. I take it it pulls that from the shut side.  Probably because I was running under the 30V initially I had all 3 wires hooked up. When I went to run it off the same output as I was measuring which was the power coming in from the panels, it was probably above 30C ( although would not have been much) and when I connected the neg, The magic smoke shot out with flame and sparks as well.  Looking at the wiring diagram again, I also no suspect that  you only use the 3 wires if running from another  power source all together and they source is not running through the shunt.
I think the meter is good as I measured the readings with my multimeter before I tried hooking it together and the amps agreed and the voltage was identical. There seems to be a tiny Trimpot on the back of the meter which is probably volt or amp calibration anyway.

One other brain fade I had was the initial discrepency I saw between what the meter was reading and what the controller was telling me. When I put my multimeter on each and found them both correct I realised my stupidity. The meter was measuring amps in from the panels. The Controller was measuring amps into the battery and the load.  Being just a PWM and not an MPPT, there are significant inefficiency. My panels are producing better than I thought and the controller is loosing more than I realised. Given the price difference between a Decent 30A PWM I have and a basic MPPT controller, I think I'll live with the inefficiency I have.
Better in reality to spend the money on an extra couple of panels than a more efficient controller.

I have noticed this a lot with solar.  Always more efficient in the end to stay inefficient and just add more panels that to try and get max efficiency with things like Micro controllers or trackers or frames if you have an east west facing roof rather than to put them on frames to get the correct orientation. The gains you make in getting max efficiency from what you have are never as big as the gains you'd make just putting the same money into more panels. More panels also has the side benifit of more power on cloudy days and a earlier start and later shut off on the inverter.

Ah well, blowing the meter was my fault, what can I say. Ordered another 2 already.  I did put my Multimeter on the shunt and got accurate readings off that so not a total loss. I was looking at Shunts the other day at chain electronics store and they were almost 3 times the price I paid for the meter and the shunt together.
I was also looking at other ads for DC meters and I noticed a few that look exactly like my AC meter. I'm wondering if they are one in the same only the DC version has the shunt. I'll look at the wiring diagram on the back again and may try hooking it up as per the DC meters. If the AC can handle 20A @ 300V, it should handle a 12V @ 1A test load without self destruction even if it does not work.

Still looking for more panels. Thought I got onto some on the weekend but when I met the Dodgy bloke whom was selling them, all the bottom row of cells were covered in silicone. He was more than miffed I wasn't interested and tried to convince me that they were perfectly good and did I expect new panels for the price? No, I just expected used ones that weren't covered in silicone to cover who knows ans well as chunks taken out of the frames, how I can't begin to imagine.  I think he got them from a scrap bin somewhere.

He was annoyed  I wasn't interested and I said well these aren't the ones shown in the ad are they? He said no, I have a heap of them. I said, so because you are desperate for money ( got a whole sob story about that!)  and did a deal with me after I rejected your initial price, you thought you'd give me the shit ones? The silence and lack of comeback was all I needed to verify that conclusion was right on the money.
Then he wanted to know what I would give him for them.  I said a recipt for what you pay me to take them away.  That went over his head so I said mate, not interested at any price.  Said thanks anyway and left.
I have waaaayyy too much junk and shit here to clean up, don't want to start stacking it on the roof as well.

I see some panels advertised today close by and at a reasonable price.... then I notice they are scorched from a house fire.  Ad says they are OK but the only gambling I am interested in is a $20 lotto ticket a few times a year.
I'll pay more for panels and get something with a much higher probability of the things doing what they should.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on February 28, 2017, 08:59:38 AM
And I'm stuck repairing gutters for the April showers.  Up the ladder, down the ladder, up the ladder, down the ladder.  Where is the glory in maintenance?

Wow.  33 MW a year.  33,000 KW is worth over $10,000 here in Hawaii.  My math must be wrong.  Of course in Wenatchee, Washington it's only worth $828. 

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on February 28, 2017, 10:37:08 AM
And I'm stuck repairing gutters for the April showers.  Up the ladder, down the ladder, up the ladder, down the ladder.  Where is the glory in maintenance?

Wow.  33 MW a year.  33,000 KW is worth over $10,000 here in Hawaii.  My math must be wrong.  Of course in Wenatchee, Washington it's only worth $828. 
Casey

about $5100 here, last i checked 15.5 cents Kwh
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: oldgoat on February 28, 2017, 02:10:18 PM
The electricity suppliers here pay $0.5 per Kwh but limit the size of the inverter to 5 Kw and according to my contract will do so until 2025. Any changes such as change of owner etc. and all bets are off the price goes down to $0.08 per Kwh. Here in summer we have at least 6 hours when it puts out 4 Kw. so i have a big credit with the supplier. Some day I will ask them to pay me that credit and I will see how forthcoming they are. Then there is another problem the tax office treats this as income so I will wait till I have a low income year before I make a grab for it.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on February 28, 2017, 03:50:15 PM
Thanks, Carl, for the details on your actuator, tracker, and system.  Exceptionally well done!

 I was a fan of air collectors about 27 years ago; the first home I built had both passive and active hot air panel heating; 600 SF of hot air panels in the south (53 degree ) roof face heated air which was recirculated through  2 feet deep, 3 inch rock under the  the concrete slab.  I did this because it was well known by then that rock storage systems generally became too mold infested to use for direct air heating. They system worked well but took a fair amount of energy to move the around; total of 3/4 HP during the sunny part of the day.   A guy named Sanderson used it as a secondary heating system in his amazing 100% solar heated homes in Vermont.  The heat output of my roof air collector was comparable to 48,000 watts of electric resistive heating; the lack of insulation under the rock storage was a serious design flaw.  The soil and rock did warm up, but the ongoing losses downward to the earth were huge. 

I prefer hot water over air panels now that I'm off grid because it takes so little power to move it.  My house heat pump is 20 watts, the solar pump about the same.  Super insulation keeps the solar hot water heating demand very low and never needs maintenance or replacement.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on February 28, 2017, 10:35:40 PM
The heat output of my roof air collector was comparable to 48,000 watts of electric resistive heating;

I have been thinking of just sucking the air from the top of the roof space and pushing it down into the house.  I wondered how much heat there would be in that but if you got a massive 48 Kw worth, Even a dodgy, simple system like a fan, tube and filter would have to have some merit to it.

I have seen on YT a guy that just has a car radiator and fan pulling air through and pumps the warmed water around.  I think the heat density into the radiator would be pretty low like that but nothing to stop you using 2. They are certainly cheap enough and one solar panel would easily power 2 fans and the pump.Along those lines I have also thought of using the water from a pool for cooling.
Would eventually warm up but you still have evaporation to cool it and if water wasn't a problem you could pump the water in a spray at night to help with that process. 

Quote
I prefer hot water over air panels now that I'm off grid because it takes so little power to move it.  My house heat pump is 20 watts, the solar pump about the same.  Super insulation keeps the solar hot water heating demand very low and never needs maintenance or replacement.

I had not thought of it that way. I have an inline "tube" type fan and it seems very efficient. It uses 80W.  I also have one of those small solar circulating pumps and it does 20 so you are spot on from that POV.

I am looking at a house ATM that has a layout that would make it real easy to put an engine for co gen, an oil fired water heater or both in a separate detached shed down one end.  There is a games/ Rumpus room that end and the bedrooms and main living areas are at the other so would be a good setup. Not so sure I want to go that far away. My daughter is stressing that the train station is a 20+ min drive and then an hours train ride to the city where she does a lot of work.

Least if we got closer to a station she could travel a lot more easy.





Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on March 01, 2017, 12:03:20 AM
our two air heaters are powered by small blowers .80 amps @ 115 vac  each.  The design does not take a lot of power to move the air since convection is doing most of the work.  Good sunny day outside temp 25 degrees F  indoor air 72 degrees output from air heater at 100 cfm is 145 degrees f.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on March 01, 2017, 05:42:31 PM
carlb23

State of Washington, USA has a similar 50 cents a KW rebate program that will last a few more years.  Some folks have done rather nicely by it, thank you; but not me - darn it.  However they settle up every year.  I'd be very uncomfortable with a state agency owing money from years gone by.

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on March 01, 2017, 07:47:32 PM
our daughter and son in law live in Olympia Washington and they had a 6kw system installed using panels and inverters  that were built in state and they do get the 50 cent rate.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: veggie on March 02, 2017, 02:42:16 PM
Carlb,

Thats a really nice system you put on the shed.
I have 3 spare evacuated tube panels that need a home and heating my small barn would be a perfect application.
The wall to which I would mount the panels faces due south so that would be a great location.
In my part of the world we can get -35C temps so drainback systems are not used here. Gylcol circulation and differential temp controllers with a small circ pump connecting the system to a buffer tank and wall radiators is what I have in mind.

Carl, how do you dump your heat in summer.?
My plan is to tarp cover the panels. or...push the heat to an external radiator mounted on the outside wall.

Veggie
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on March 02, 2017, 06:45:45 PM
Minus 35C is pretty nasty.  I'm baffled though why that would make drainback solar unpopular. There is no water in the plumbing until the panel is hot enough to raise the storage temp.  Any system (pump) failure results in the same drained back to the tank state. 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on March 02, 2017, 07:04:39 PM
As a sidewalk superintendent it would seem Drain-back is what -35 anything would be the best answer.  And the same would go for too high temperatures or just turn the darn thing off in the warm season.

Ahhha.  The system freezes before the sun comes up and can't be pumped?

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on March 03, 2017, 11:30:22 AM
Carlb,



Carl, how do you dump your heat in summer.?
My plan is to tarp cover the panels. or...push the heat to an external radiator mounted on the outside wall.

Veggie

With the angle of the shed and parabolic trough they are most efficient at winter solstice so they are much less efficient in the summer.   the controllers have high limit settings and will turn off water flow to the parabolic reflector and shed wall when temps reach the high limit.  Sitting stagnate will not hurt the parabolic trough.  In the summer i usually just turn off the linear actuator and leave it sit facing east and it will only add a little amount in the very early day.   The shed wall will provide all of the hot water needed in the summer without the use of the parabolic trough.  Again with the angle it isn't all that efficient in the summer     
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: veggie on March 12, 2017, 09:42:39 PM

BruceM,

Sorry I missed your comment above regarding Drainback systems and very cold climates.
I have read several sources that recommend against it if the snowfall is high in the region and temps stay below -15C for extended periods.

One is in my book "Solar Water Heating" by Bob Ramlow (A Mother Earth News Publication)

Here is another example..
http://shop.latitude51solar.ca/Closed-Loop-versus-Drain-Back-s/97.htm (http://shop.latitude51solar.ca/Closed-Loop-versus-Drain-Back-s/97.htm)
See the very last paragraph.

The reasoning seems to be that if the pump were to stay on (circulating) due to a switch or controller failure, then the coolant would freeze in the collector during the night and and possibly split the piping.

The issue I have with this reasoning in that there could be additional safeguards put into the system such as using "DowFrost" glycol or propelene glycol mixed in a ratio to give -40 degF protection.
Also, a flow detection device could be added to test if flow is occurring when incoming liquid is cooler than the interior.
(These additions do add some complexity to an otherwise simple system.)

For simplicity, I do prefer the drainback type system and I may still pursue it using some additional safety features.

PS: I scored a 50 gallon solar hot water tank !
It has two internal coils for heat exchange and also a heating element for emergency backup which can be powered by generator or wind turbine or PV panels.
It should make a good heat reservoir.

cheers,
Veggie
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: veggie on March 12, 2017, 10:02:33 PM
For anyone interested, here is a good tutorial on solar H2O drainback systems.
Commonly confused with solar H2O "draindown" systems. (There is a difference)

Drain back = GOOD
Drain down = BAD

Helpful design and installation tips for drainback systems:
http://www.uvm.edu/~gflomenh/CDAE106/readings/sdhw86.pdf (http://www.uvm.edu/~gflomenh/CDAE106/readings/sdhw86.pdf)

...and why drain down systems are problematic (are recommended against)
http://www.sunnyhotwater.com/draindown.html (http://www.sunnyhotwater.com/draindown.html)

Terminology is important in this instance because I found several sites on the web that were erroneously calling a drainback system by the frowned upon name of draindown system.  :-\

cheers,
Veggie
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on March 13, 2017, 01:43:45 AM
Dear Veggie,
The article you referenced was written by an idiot who forgot to learn about the topic he was writing about.  This is a common human problem, and affects most journalists severely.

There is NO VALVE in drainback systems, and they are fine for cold climates.  If the pump fails, the system drains back to the storage tank, period.  

Here's what the idiot wrote:

"A drain back system has critical weakness in cold climates. It relies on a mechanical valve to open and close the system to drain itself. Any mechanical item is prone to failure and a failure of a drain back system in freezing climates would result in nearly total loos as the collector and piping would be completely destroyed by the expanding ice. For this reason we feel the risk of damage is too great to overcome the small advantages of a drain back system and as such we do not offer any type of drain back solar water heating systems."

Drainback systems are well time and service life proven in cold climates.

Antifreeze is a problem because of cost and ongoing replacement cost.  When the panel stagnates, the antifreeze is ruined from overtemperature. It becomes acid and the pipes corrode faster.  It has to be replaced periodically, something humans do poorly.  Glycol systems really need a heat dump to not stagnate, but if the pump breaks down, oops, stagnation cooks the glycol.

Drainback systems require a bigger pump for starting since the water must be lifted the entire head from tank surface to top of panel, and at a flow rate high enough to keep the sloping return line full.  This can be solved with a multispeed pump, or a second pump on a timer for 10 minutes of starting only.  My system uses the 12 V, 20 watt Laing D5 Vario pump, and I added a little circuit to slow it down after 10 minutes.  It just barely had the flow needed at my 8 feet of head, I had to add a ball valve restriction on the return line.  




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on March 13, 2017, 08:04:39 AM
One of the upsides of Hawaii - no minus temperatures.  OK, not even sub 60 temperatures.  I'm about half way there on a simple circulating system controlled by a differential thermostat.  Breaking through the roof is the next step.

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on March 13, 2017, 04:14:01 PM
By the way, the article Veggie listed for drainback systems shows a system which is much more complicated that mine.  A single tank drainback system only has one insulated storage tank, and only one pump. The top of the tank must be below the bottom of the panel and allow for slightly downward sloped plumbing from panel bottom to top of tank, and the pump MUST be mounted below the water level of the tank so that it stays primed.  I would avoid a complex system like the one shown in the article; each tank and pump has a service life and must be maintained.  These tanks with heat exchangers built in are very spendy. I say NO to anything that is not a SINGLE TANK drainback system.  

I dug through the floor of my shop building to get the tank below grade so I could have the simpler single tank system.  My 800 gallon tank is EPDM lined, with 3" polyisocyanurate foam board lining the hole.  The lid is two piece with 6" of foam, epdm covered underneath.  It's sturdy enough to allow me to use the space on top of it.  The water level is about a foot above the floor, which lets my pump be at floor level.  

For my neighbor's system, we are putting the storage tank outside, with the lid at ground level.  When we get to that next year, I'll post some pictures.

Here's a link to a short video that explains why I like single tank drainback systems: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlAfTYTA0Z0

I am using the storage tank water directly, with no heat exchanger for heating my house with in floor heat. I do this by modifying an air bleed valve to vent via silicone tube to a vacuum tank; the air bleed then works fine since it thinks it's still in a pressurized system.  A copper pipe heat exchanger preheats my domestic hot water. I shut down the backup propane water heaters all year, except for Dec-Feb.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on March 15, 2017, 11:16:29 AM
i am also using a single tank drain back system with both a flat panel collector and a parabolic trough feeding the same tank.  I use two pumps one for each collector and two controllers one for each collector.  there are no valves involved if there is any type of failure the water just drains back to the tank.   It can not freeze up gravity wont let it.  Once the pumps stop the collectors are empty in a minute or less leaving no time to freeze.
I control the flow by regulating the dc voltage going to the pump with a simple adjustable voltage regulator. 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on March 15, 2017, 05:20:48 PM
So how hot do your tanks get?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on March 15, 2017, 06:37:09 PM
My tank is limited to 140F by my pump controller settings.  The epdm rubber tank liner is rated to 170F but then I'd have to add an antiscald /temperature control mixer valve, so I decided to go the path of utter simplicity and longer liner life by reducing the max temperature to 140F.  My tanks stays at the max when I'm not heating the house.  In the winter the tank varies between 85F and 120F; the house heating load and cloudy days keep it working hard to catch up.

Flat panels are easy and fairly cheap to build, but they do not produce in cloudy or overcast days, ONLY in full sun. The evacuated tube type units fair better, though they may need variable flow rate to slow down enough for useful temperature gain on hazy days.  It's a storage tank size and cost trade off that you'd have to consider based on your own climate.  I prefer the simplicity of the flat panels, myself.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on March 16, 2017, 11:26:06 AM
I only use mine for domestic hot water so i have the controllers set for 130 degrees
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on March 16, 2017, 08:12:03 PM
So you stop circulating water when the tank reaches 130 or 140 degrees respectively?  You'd also have a differential thermostat that comes one when the collector is a couple of degrees above the tank temperature?

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on March 16, 2017, 08:32:47 PM
You got it right, Casey.  My controller has temperature sensors at top and bottom of my tank, and one on the copper pipe coming out of panel. (Inside the panel on the backside.)  When that's at the set degrees above the bottom of the tank, the pump goes on high and starts filling up the panel.  If after running water through, it cools off below the bottom of the tank, it stops.  They difference between start and stop is called hysterisis, to keep the pump from short cycling.  

When the tank temperature is maxed out, the pump stops and the panel drains down and stagnates (sits baking in the sun) dry.  A stagnating panel gets to 350F, so you must choose materials and glazing with care.  In Hawaii, I think I would use nothing but tempered glass for glazing, since your sun is always overhead and your panel must be horizontal as well.  Here I can tilt my panel about 53 degrees and in the summer my panel is shaded except for a few hours in the afternoon at an oblique angle, so I can get away with polycarbonate glazing.  I have the most stagnation time in March,April, and Sept, Oct.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: carlb23 on March 17, 2017, 11:42:52 AM
my controller has three sensors one at the top of the storage tank one at the bottom of the storage tank and one at the collector.  It measures the hottest part of the tank the coldest part of the tank and the temp of the collector.   you can set what the differential temp is as well as max high temp and a number of other things.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on March 17, 2017, 04:28:34 PM
What angle do you set your panels?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on March 17, 2017, 06:07:13 PM
Panel angle depends on your latitude, and you would normally optimize panel angle for the sun angle at your month with the greatest heating degree days.
Close counts.  If you are using polycarbonate glazing, you should also be trying to minimize stagnation time through the summer.

Casey, you are further north than I thought at 21 degrees of latitude.  If your goal is water heating alone,  your optimum panel angle varies between 45 degrees in on 1 January, to 27 degrees (from flat) at the end of June. 

For those farther north, you have to consider that winter optimum angle is steeper than the noon angle; take a look at your mid morning to mid afternoon optimum angles too.  Vertical isn't bad for winter gain in the mainland US, and can easily be in shade during most of the day in summer.

You can play around yourself using the calculator here:
https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/azel.html
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on March 18, 2017, 05:03:14 PM
Easy site.  Seattle is at 47.5 degrees latitude.  Then I tried this site.  http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php) which reports that the Sun is about 65 degrees to the surface of the earth at the Summer solstice.

The 65 degrees to the surface is what I find interesting.  This tells me that the optimal angle of the collectors would be 25 degrees as the complement for 90 degrees or perpendicular to the Sun.  Of course this is optimal for one day and starts to decay as the days accumulate before or after solstice.  On equinox the Sun is about 43 degrees so 47 degrees would provide the perpendicular relationship to the Sun.  I've decided to not worry about collection very much during the Fall and Winter months of the year.  Hence optimal collection angle for the Spring and Summer, without adjusting the angle, would be about 35 - 36 degrees.  http://learnframing.com/angle-calculator-slope-degrees/ (http://learnframing.com/angle-calculator-slope-degrees/)  suggests a 9/12 slope to achieve this attitude.

I feel like I'm missing something?

Casey

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on March 18, 2017, 07:35:19 PM
I think you got it well sorted out for your intended use.  Think about the middle angle for the  morning to afternoon for all the months.  Check the boundary months as well.  For winter, more vertical helps full day collection, for summer, more horizontal.  Close counts.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on March 19, 2017, 06:37:24 PM
  I kept track of the output of two sets of 10Kw grid tied systems on my road. One is a tracker and the other is fixed. approx 44.5 degree latitude.  Almost exactly  the tracker made 18,000Kw hr per year and the fixed 12,000Kw hr.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on March 19, 2017, 08:36:49 PM
That seems about right, B&D.  Now that PV panels are pretty cheap no one in the right mind would do a PV tracker except as a fun hobby project.  The cost of the tracer exceeds the cost of adding more fixed panels, which then don't have any ongoing maintenance cost.   

In the winter in the northern hemisphere off grid homes need energy the most,  tracking is pointless, since the total useful range in azimuth is so small.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on March 20, 2017, 08:51:23 AM
Wow.  A 10 KW system that tracks.  That's around 40 panels isn't it?  Can you get any photos?

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on March 20, 2017, 03:36:49 PM
Wow.  A 10 KW system that tracks.  That's around 40 panels isn't it?  Can you get any photos?

Casey

I suppose, dozens of the buggers around here getting paid 80.2 cents per Kwh while hydro electric can generate at 5 cents but is spilling water past the turbines due to production surplus. Makes Ontario  power the most expensive in North America .
  I'll post a few images one of these days .
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on March 20, 2017, 04:46:48 PM
Well if I were one of the buggers I'd call myself a very luck bugger.  They have a similar program here in Washington state, USA but it's coming to an end in 2020. 

Don't you worry big oil will raise her pretty head pretty soon.  Too bad they're sloshing water rather than reducing fossil fuel consumption.

I'm still hoping to see a 10 KW array that moves.

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on March 21, 2017, 07:06:52 PM
Burning natural gas for 17cents instead or using hydro electric for 5-6 cents
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on March 22, 2017, 11:15:45 AM
Panel angle depends on your latitude, and you would normally optimize panel angle for the sun angle at your month with the greatest heating degree days.
Close counts.  If you are using polycarbonate glazing, you should also be trying to minimize stagnation time through the summer........

For my PV array, I set it for the optimum winter angle, to reduce the generator run time and enhance self-cleaning via rain, summer, worse angle, but much better weather and more hours to recharge the batteries.
 
For my rooftop water heater, I was stuck with the angle of the roof, good for summer, nearly useless in winter, it reflects instead of harvests.  But in winter the Masonry Heater has a hydronic coil and preheats my water in a 80 gal tank in a 2nd floor closet.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 22, 2017, 03:02:41 AM

Thought I'd do an update and keep all the info in one place.

Here's the abridged version for my mate Casey whom I know is a very busy man and has limited reading time.
Solar: It good!

Now, for those that have made their Coffee and have a few more moments of reading time....

I have now moved to the new place and made some more advancements on my solar learning and adventures.
I bought another 20 250 w used panels (5Kw) for $800 or $40 ea. Guy selling them seemed a bit dodgy but had 100's of them. Obviously has a deal with a solar installer and buying their old panels from upgrades.
Brought them home, tested them and they all work at spec or as close as I can measure.

I have set them up on the back lawn to test them and frankly, see if I was going to get worthwhile power out of them before going any further.  Suffice to say I'm well pleased. I have 10 leaning up against some scaffolding I set up which amazingly, worked to angle them within a couple of degrees of ideal when I set them up for winter tilt and again when I did them for summer the other day. Can't believe I got that lucky! The others with a couple of extra's I picked up elsewhere are lying flat on the grass. 

At first I had a bit of trouble really getting any grunt out the things. I have the inverters plugged in to a long extension cable and going into a power point. The new place has 3 phase with 1 Digital meter and 2 analogue spinny meters.  The old meters do run both ways, the digital meter which also controls the hot water only runs one way, forward whether you are pulling or pushing power.
I found a Phase with the old meters supplied the shed, septic pump and the lighting circuit.  I had trouble keeping the line voltage under 265V at which point the inverters would trip out to overload.  I tried splitting the arrays and had the same problems and thought it was the phase voltage going high.
I tried powering through the lighting circuit but that was a failure as I later realised would only be wired for 1.5mm cable not the 2.5mm for the power circuits.

The best part of farting round with this stuff is what you learn and one of the real eye openers for me was understanding properly about voltage drop and resistance in wiring.  I knew about voltage drop but I didn't consider what I call now voltage compression.  Drop is when you are pulling power and the voltage at the load end is lower than the supply end. It works in reverse too. When trying to push power down a lead, the voltage at the end you are trying to push down can be a LOT higher than the point to which you are trying to push it.
And this was my problem. 
I could get away with it up to about 2 Kw but after that the phase voltage went up a little but enough to make the inverters see over 265V at their end even though the actual phase voltage was only 249-250.

The most I was able to pump back into the meter was 11 KwH day.  Still, that did make some progress on that phase knocking over 150 KWH off it plus supplying the power we used on that phase over a month.

I lived with the realisation that was all I was going to be able to do in the test setup for a couple of weeks and then a sparky mate came round and I got him to shift the circuits around on the different phases.  Everyone says about the loads being balanced but mine were all heavily biased to the digital meter.  The other thing is that I had FAR more load capacity on the other house but it was single phase. So much less potential load here but split on 3 phases as nearly all homes in the area only being an average of 20 yo are.
I cured that and took everything I could off the  digital metered phase and put it on the other 2. Only things I can't shift  are the off peak hot water and one leg of the 3 Phase AC.  Everything else now is on the spinny meters which DO run in reverse... quite nicely I might add!

With the circuits ( the much fewer there are than the other place) carefully split, I can now for the mean time, plug into both and the difference has been dramatic. I can now run the 2 arrays into seperate circuits which keeps the inverters happy. As now there is also some more load on those phases such as fridges, computers and TV which combined have a constant load not to mention the septic aeration and water pumps, the phase voltage is also lower.

So far my best day, a few days back was 26Kwh for the day.
That was a nice sunny day from dawn to dusk but I have been surprised by the many days we have had with more overcast or partial cloud hours than clear sky.  I did 16KWh for 3 days on the trot when we were expecting rain which surprised me given teh light difference.

The temporary setup I have atm is one bank of 10 panels on a 2Kw inverter and another array of 12 panels on a 3Kw inverter.  I picked up 3 near new 260W panels as well but broke one of the 250's playing ball with the dog. 
The bank of 10 panels is on the scaffold and orientated and tilted Correctly.  When I changed the other day from the winter to summer angle I picked up an average of about 2 Kwh a day. More than I was lead to believe from my readings I would gain. Seriously thinking about a tilt panel setup now.
Love to see and hear about yours if you are Reading Bruce.

The 12 panels are lying flat on the grass. Interestingly, they still produce more power every day than the near perfectly orientated ones. On the real overcase days, they are significantly better although of course well down on max power.  Should start keeping bit of a log of outputs and the days weather.  I was really interested to see what they would do the other day when it rained all day. I did go to check but both inverters were off line wth grounding faults.  Suffice to say the wiring on the setups isn't exactly Kosher on the DC side and the inverters must have picked that up with the water on the wiring and causing ground leaks.  The AC side is spot on. Might be rough but I'm not completely stupid!

I am getting ready to put the panels on the shed roof which is also nicely facing east so gives me one whole side facing true north. Being an American barn roof design, even the south side gets sun most of the day so could be a possibility to put more panels there.
I'm " trimming" trees down to make sure the shed roof is completely clear of shading.  Council regs here say you can trim trees but you can't cut anything down over 3m tall without approval.  Being one to always follow the rules no matter how stupid or inconvenient, I am just trimming the trees rather than removing them.  Trimming them to 2.7 M that is!   :laugh:  Being under 3m, if I decide to take them out later, given they are hideous  non native things that are declared invasive species in other states, Whe..... if, I decide to take them down, there will be no problem with me doing so without paying the council their money grab.

Next thing is to build a frame to mount them. Proper framing is stupid expensive here, more than I'm paying for panels per panel so it's going to be a DIY job.
The winds here get very strong. Records say up to 50 Kmh but I don't believe that for a second.  It's howled since we have been here and the locals didn't think a thing of it. I'll allow for double wind speed at least and then some. 
The shed is 9M long which means I can squeeze 10 Panels along the length with a bit of overhang on the ends. One step in the roof is 3M long, the other 1.5. The roof is at a 5 o angle and ideal here is 34 o. Not sure If I can get 2 runs of panels or 3. 2 will do, 3 ill be better.  I plan to add to that side of the shed soon anyway so will have more area even if I do have to lie the panels low to avoid shading the ones behind. Not much problem with doing the shallower summer angle anyway. Seems to work better on overcast days anyhow.

The house roof is east west and at the perfect tilt angle which is very unusual here. The west facing side gets full sun by about 10 am. The east side gets nothing thanks to the biggest tree in the area in the front yard.  that too may dissappear one day as although bit of a landmark, has been approved for removal due to a disease in the thing.  Just going to cost $20K to get the damn thing out!
I could probably put at least 15Kw on the house roof so I'll never be short of roof space and I'm also thinking of putting a solar panel roof on another shed I want to build up the back.  Wondering If I can make that a total lean to design with a high wall on the south side so the whole roof faces north?

A " mistake" or illegality I have made is over powering the inverters with panels. The 2Kw inverter has 2.5 KW of panels on it. I have learned that the current trend now with new installs is to do exactly this.  A kw of panels does NOT give you a KW of power. I'd estimate I'm getting around 700W output from every KW on a good day. This being the case, you can now Legaly over clock the inverters by 33%.  The benefits of this is the power company that controls the greater area of Sydney has mandated that the max output INVERTER that can be installed on a single phase connection is under 5 KW. All sorts of guff about overloading the system etc but obviously in reality they want to limit their revenue losses.
By putting on 6.5 KW of panels, you have a better chance of getting that full 5Kw ( or 4.9 as it may be) of output from your inverter. You'll also have more power earlier and later in the day and make more during overcast weather.

I have 2.6 Kw on my 2 Kw inverter and the best I have seen, briefly, is a 1900W output. The 3 KW inverter having only 3 Kw of panels presently could go at least another KW of panels, probably 1.5 before it maxed out.
As long as you keep the voltage within limits, there are no limits on the current you can pump in. The inverters just clip and ignore the excess and produce their full output. Does not hurt them, shorten life or anything else.



The thing I am interested in now is heating the water with solar. I can't rewind that meter but the power is only 11C kwh rather than the 30 C for the regular power.  I have a bunch of thoughts on this.
Maybe I'm better to pay for that power and devote the solar to the other 2 phases. haven't worked out where my consumption is yet given we are in spring and the AC is not needed. Sure will be in summer and winter that's for sure! Thinking another 3 Kw might be good.

I have the original 190 Panels I started with that on't match the others in size or output. I was thinking of using these for the hot water being 1.5 KW in total.  OTOH, I could probably sell them for the same price or better than I have a supply of 250's for so that might be smarter and then just couple the hot water to one of the other back fed phases and forget about the off peak all together.

I have played with direct coupling the panels to an old urn and that was a learning point as well. I can well see how unviably inefficient panels get like this.
The array has an open circuit voltage of around 350V but when I put the urn on it ( 2000w?)  it dropped to 80V. I measured the amps at a bit over 3 so maybe  250W out of a 1500w array.  Useless! Given the 4X Kwh ratio i'm getting with the panels on clear days ( Ie, 4 Kwh out of every 1000W of panels)' I'd be far better off to get more 250W panels and add them to my arrays.
There are converter/ controllers around but they are all too exy for my tight arse and I have read of simple DIY controllers but yet to find the schematics.
I believe I need to PWM the DC and ideally have some Caps to store the power during the off phase of the modulation and push it to the element when it comes back on.  Needs to be an inductor in there too but I'm just a dilettante when it comes to this stuff so it's a bit beyond me.  Can probably build it when it's handed to me but electronic design is something else.

I'll have to refresh myself on working out the power of an element through it's resistance and voltage. The water heater I have has a 3600W element presently.  I'll try to work out what putting a 1800W job on it would do for efficiency but I think it's still going to suck.  I had the idea a while back of having 2 heaters with teh solar heater in front of the regular one to pre heat the water for it. I see this idea all over the net now so either I was very original with the idea or someone stole the idea when I wrote about it a few places and it's caught on.  Like solar panels and everything else I'm looking to get, used water heaters have people asking stupid money for them.  I don't care how unmarked the thing is or what they are worth new,  I'm not paying $300 for a 10 YO heater which is at the end of it's designed life.  $50, I'll take the risk for learning's sake.

So that's where I am up to with the solar brain wave.  Next is to work out a mounting system and get the panels off the lawn and buy a heap of green  food coloring to spray  the brown dead grass that is underneath them now the Mrs hasn't noticed.  I have noticed the grass under the tilted panels is the longest and lushest of anywhere on the yard though.
Once I have the panels on the shed roof I'll hook them up to the new 5 Kw inverter I scored and hard wire everything with a proper sub board.  Seems the garage has 2.5MM wiring on the power circuit and I'm hoping the same on the light circuit. If it's only 1.5 MM I can still put 3 Kw down that phase with the other inverter to wind that side back.
From there I'll see how we go consumption wise and see if I need to ad more panels from there which I think I will.

Half a mind to just go get another 5KW worth now.  If I don't use them I can sell them for a small profit at worst.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 22, 2017, 04:00:38 AM
I'll try and get some pictures of my tilt rack design for my neighbors soon, Glort.  Possibly tomorrow if my leg is better.

I'm in AZ so steel racks hold up just fine here.  We just bolt the angle iron frame directly to the PV panel aluminum channel. I laugh when I see the prices for store bought mounting racks and hardware. 

We are in a very remote, rural area so we are concerned about function, not appearance.  Your area is very different.  We have no "councils" meeting unless the natives are angry ;).   Seriously, the Apaches are to the south, Zuni to the East, Navajo to the north just past the Petrified Forest, Hopi NE.  My land has much worked stone from the Pueblo related people who lived here 1000 years ago and is covered by both marine fossils and softball to basketball sized volcanic rocks as well as some large petrified logs.



 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 22, 2017, 04:18:24 AM

My Research and Development facility for the  improvement of quality of life in the civilised world through reduction of stress induced heart attacks initiated  by over the top and unjustifiable power bills.

(http://dare2bedifferent.com.au/panels.jpg)

Also testing hot water production through the direct coupling of an urn.  Not working out that great but it does work.... eventually.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Samo on October 22, 2017, 04:42:57 AM
Nice laboratory Glort very smart use of waste reflected sun to help dry the clothes :D  I think the only thing you're missing is a treadmill generator for your Border-collie...  if it's anything like mine she'd power your whole suburb :D

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 22, 2017, 07:01:48 AM

You Got that Right mate! All I need to do is put a Ball in front of her rather than a carrot and she would run all day long. Wouldn't need any engine, just a gen head on the treadmill and we'd be right.
She's a beautiful and intelligent little thing that just lives to chase the ball. I keep telling the Mrs I AM going to have a serious accident one day because If I stop in one place for more than a minute, as soon as I go to move there is at least one tennis ball underfoot. I have almost tripped and twisted my ankle more times than I can remember but I won't get away with being lucky forever.

Funny you say about reflected sun. I was wondering before if putting colourbond in front of the panels but back a bit and tilting them at a correct angle, whatever that may be, could help the output?  I think it's one of those rules I have formulated with solar. The cheapest way to improve efficiency or get more power is just buy more panels. Probably pay $20 for a sheet of colourbond the same size as another panel I can buy for 40. If you could get some for free from a demo or something, might be something to look at?

Been a mixed day here today. Bright sunshine in the morning, overcast and showers, bit more sun now getting murky again.  I checked the inverters, one is under the tilted panels and the other is under the bit of tin you can see in the pic. Since ajusting the tilt of the panels the smaller array is going a little better than the larger flat group. 500W more on the ones lying on the ground.  They are both coming up to 10 Kwh each so worthwhile power despite the less than ideal weather.

Thanks Bruce. I'll be interested to see your design.  As tight arsed as I am I'm going to buy the steel I need, or don't need being over kill, so as to make these things that I can lay in bed on the windiest of nights and know I don't have to worry.
As for councils, the place I left had the slackest most useless and demonstrated corrupt council in the country. I'm not this one is a bit the opposite and sticklers.  Here Solar is not a council supervised development and there is stuff all they can do about it.  Of course they would want to see certification if someone came out and then would put me in to the authority that does look after it.  I have learned though that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than get permission so that's the chance I'll take.

I have had a chat to the neighbour about trimming trees and installing the panels and I think he's like me. The response was " Your trees, do what you like with them." I get on well with him and he does not seem to have liked the previous owner that much.  I think he's the sort of guy that as long as you don't interfere with him, what you do on your side of the fence is your business.  The other owner did apparently do a number of things that interfered with him like building mounds to deflect all the rain run off onto his property and causing him to have to build his own walls. I have also been trimming trees and hedges that were over growing his property and I have got the comment how much better it is, so far as I know, I'm in the good books.
He's obviously seen the panels in my yard and seemed a bit excited when I told him what I was going to do. He'd like to do more himself and add to his 3Kw system but is a bit limited in roof space of the correct orientation that isn't shaded.
Very house proud man. If I can get this place looking like his I'll be well pleased.

Going to do some more Number crunching with the water heating.  Look up how much water I could heat with the amount of solar the spare panels could provide. Going DC just seems to be difficult to do with any efficency and not that cheap anyway. 
I was reading about using a twin element thermostat as a diverter controller. Apparently they have like a double relay so when installed in the top of a tank and they hit the preset temp, they flick over to divert the power to the bottom element.  I'm thinking that I could use this to divert the power back to an inverter to go back to the phase.  I'm then thinking, WTF bother? Just have the pannels going to the phase in the first place and run the thing off the AC and save myself the hassel!

I have a meter here somewhere that has a CT clamp so I might just put that on the water heater and do some measurements for a week as to how much power we are actually using on the thing. If it's close or near enough to what the panels would generate, then I'll just take it off the off peak and run it off the normal power. I'm probably going to have a spare inverter anyway and if not I can probably get one off the net for $150 which is what I'd spend on making a DC controller from what I have seen. There is also the thing that once the water is hot, the power can go back into the mains and spin the meter back a bit faster.

Other thing I was thinking was covering the whole heater with a plastic bag.  It sits where it gets the sun but does not seem all that well insulated and I'm sure has a stack of heat loss.  I was thinking putting a black plastic bag over the thing would probably limit the cooling from the wind and also get the thing plenty warm through the day.  Condensation may be a problem though so I'd have to think of that but then again, it is an outdoor unit and as long as the electricals were ventilated which are right at the bottom.....  I did want to move the thing because it is butt ugly and in a bad place but that would not be as straightforward as I first thought.  For the moment it can stay put and I will think about the bag idea or at very least just painting the thing black. 

Warmer it is on the outside the less attraction for the cold to find the heat.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 22, 2017, 09:24:21 PM
Here's my neighbor's racks; each as 3 panels (5 for 120V and one 12V which powers his engine room/120VDC power controller/wireless phone and internet.  They are partially cantilevered and one man can easily change the tilt supports, which are 3/4" EMT with smashed flat ends.   The uprights are 3"x3 x3/16 angle.  Each rack is 10 feet long. I split these to make them easier to tilt as the total length is 20 feet.  There is no visible movement or flexing with gusts of 100 MPH.  The panels go all the way to vertical and fully horizontal.  My neighbor and I both do just 2 tilts- one for the summer months and one for winter.  Our priority is for winter gain, we have excess power all other months.

On the next iteration we will go a bit over 16 foot in length for a single 5 PV panel rack with 3 vertical supports, probably 3" round pipe instead of angle depending on steel prices.  I will raise these vertical posts about 6 inches and put the pivot point just above the center of the panel.  The steel above the panel will continue to make it somewhat underbalanced.  We'd like it to be a one man job to tilt the single 5 panel rack. The seasonal angle support vertical posts will be only 12" above ground and perhaps 2x2x1/8 angle.

We need to keep the bottom edge of the panels about 1 foot above ground in winter mode due to snow. It is extremely rare that we would have that much standing snow in winter.

If you look at the commercial rack$, you will quickly see why it makes more sense to have your own custom racks welded up from a local steel source.








Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 22, 2017, 09:43:47 PM
Here's my original racks which are a two man job to tilt. When they were built 10 years ago my local steel supplier built them for $150 for steel and welding.  These are smaller 175 watt panels-  in larger panels it would take 3 men.  Thus the change to the split cantilevered design.

My next solar project will be to add an additional 1200-1500 watts of PV. This will provide additional power for my 120VDC inverter for well pumping and washing machine is a 5 panel rack with just 3 supports, and even better balanced.  The inverter will only be used on sunny days (plenty of those here in AZ), as we want to keep our bargain battery banks lightly discharged. The 10 - 110AH  Walmart Marine batteries cost about $1000 to replace, and are lasting  4.5 years. This is a minimalist 120VDC off grid system but it has served me and now my neighbor and our special disability needs very well.

 


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 22, 2017, 11:29:31 PM

Thanks for that Bruce. Gives me a few ideas.  I like the simple but clever cantilever design. This was one thing on my mind, the weight of the things to  tilt them.  That could reduce the effort significantly.

One thing I have had in my mind as a tilt mechanism is using car scissor jacks. My father throws them out in his wrecking yard because he can't even sell them for $10 ea even if unused.  I was thinking something like you, do the panels in groups of 3-4 on their own rack and have either a heavy bit of steel to support them enough to raise and lower them before attaching struts to hold them or doing a jack at each end but I was worried about them flexing too much unless I went back and forward  each end a couple of times.  Your's are easy, they are on the ground, mine will be on a roof and one that may not have much room either.

I thought if I put the car jacks more to the middle of the panels on a cross beam I'd get a cantilever effect that would allow the limited movement of the jack to be magnified so I got enough travel in the panel to get the angle I wanted. I thought I could set it up for the lowest angle and then could adjust multiple times a year if I was so enthused. I'm also looking at an electric option so I don't have to get up and crank the jacks but then there is the issue of locking them in position.  We don't get 100 MPH winds here ( thank goodness) but I figure there is a lot of lift in the winds we do get acting on the surface area I'm going to have. I might be over thinking it. The string winds are going to come mainly from the side with just a little from the rear. That will also be somewhat sheltered by the roof line itself. 

Still, I don't want to find out I underestimated the wind when a neighbour or cops return a panel and start asking questions.


I have been looking at off grid options just for fun and entertainment. I also came to the conclusion the cheap and not so long lasting option was probably the most cost effective.
There is a place here that does forklift battery packs. They sell 24V, 1500ah packs guaranteed for 3 years for $2400.  Seems to me even if one got 5 years out of the things which they reckon should be much longer as they have no problems with them being used for solar,  that's pretty good value.
There is a kicker though..... Based on the weight of the things, when they were buggered, you'd get almost half the price back as scrap with what lead is going for and has been for a while AND, the trays they are in are worth money for repacks as well.

24V@ 1500 Ah is 36Kwh.  Lets be careful and only go to 50% DOD, that's 18Kwh. That's about 3 Tesla batteries worth (which are $30K here) for $2400 LESS the min $1000 you'd get when you scrapped the things.  That's pretty good value to me and again, another example of where I find the cheap, replace more frequently, option to really be cheaper than the " pay though the nose for the more long lasting option". Yes, maybe a Tesla etc is maintenance free but the day it's too much for me to wander down the shed and put water in batteries ( which can be fitted with a single watering point system), then it's time for me to go to the old folks home because I'm going to need someone to wipe my arse at that point as well.

I reckon atm I'm using about 20KWH a day.  That's with my wife and daughter constantly using the clothes dryer, with 2 Fridges and a freezer thats on it's way out using about 5 KWH a day ( I'm metering it!) electric stove and ovens that also get used a bit too much and a stack of things like ducted AC that I reckon could be economised on to halve the power consumption without living like green washed nutters.
BUT.... I'm making an average of about 20Kwh a day from my solar and I have to have SOME power bill so it's OK.  For an off gridder, that 18KWH would go a long way and if one had a genny for those overcast times, there's still going to be a LOT of money left in the kitty at the end of the year.
Still going to need a genny no matter what storage medium an off gridder uses.

That said, I think panels are Cheap now, it's the storage that costs so I'd be over paneling any setup so I might not go too far backwards on cloudy days.
I have been surprised what my setup produces even when it's quite overcast.  Nothing like what it does in sun but but I would have expected zip on a few of the days and I still got 4-5 Kwh.  :0)

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 23, 2017, 01:06:26 AM
 I also was surprised at fairly good performance of PV on partly cloudy days.  So good, in fact that I abandoned my plans for a DIY windmill.  PV is easier and cheaper.

I have never seen tilting racks on a home's roof.  That certainly adds a serious new twist to the design.  I have 20 acres so ground racks seemed best to me.  I do have a single fixed 12v panel on each on my outbuildings...for those I only make steel brackets.  The largest is on my shop, and powers my one 110ah AGM BATTERY for solar hot water and house heating pumps.  It gets left in winter tilt all year.  That battery lasts more than 8 years. 

Your access to the big fork lift batteries for bargain prices makes them very appealing.  Tesla batteries are presently not competitive for stationary power by my calculations either, even with new wet lead-acid batteries.






Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 23, 2017, 02:55:28 AM
I also was surprised at fairly good performance of PV on partly cloudy days.  So good, in fact that I abandoned my plans for a DIY windmill.  PV is easier and cheaper.

I look at a few DIY power forums and  a couple are wind biased.  The work and effort, expense and time to get what seems a very small amount of power for said investment make me think if there is another way to get your watts, it's probably better! :0)

I have seen the wind blowing here and I think " that's energy going begging" and I think of a small windmill.  Something without too much effort and cost just for funs sake. Next thought is that's still going to be a lot for a return that would bug me as being useless.  So many other more worthwhile things I can put my time into these days.

That said.... I did see a DIY garden ornament windmill on the weekend that was so cool.  Definitely want to make one of those.  Maybe in time I'll hook a DC motor up to it and see if I can generate a few watts to run an LED at night.

Quote
I have never seen tilting racks on a home's roof.
Hmm, maybe this is something I'm missing. getting caught up in the efficency thing again and overlooking the difficulties in making it happen.
More research required I think.


 
Quote
I have 20 acres so ground racks seemed best to me. 
And it looks very clear and unobstructed too!
I only have 1 acre but it's an upmarket estate ( wonder they let me in!) and everything is very presentable.  I only have an area behind the shed that's a bit out of sight and it's no good for panels due to the proximity of the tall border hedges. I am Thinking of another shed up there so that may give me space for another few KW if I need it.  If I do it, will be where the roid and the other engines live so may not need/ want the panels.... but it would be a waste to let that roof go to waste.  :0)

Quote
Your access to the big fork lift batteries for bargain prices makes them very appealing.  Tesla batteries are presently not competitive for stationary power by my calculations either, even with new wet lead-acid batteries.

I can't see any of those type of batteries are are worthwhile for any sort of application.
Looking at the cost and the amount of power they could save in best case scenario ( solar fed, complete charge and discharge every single day) they still are not able to return enough power savings to justify their cost over their ( manufacturer) predicted life time.  People say they are saving money after installing them but I think they are deluded. If the things can only save way less power than what you could buy for their cost, how is that a saving?
Here they would offset about $1.50 worth of power a day but people go on like they are saving Fortunes. You spent a fortune, your returns are minimal at best and in reality represent a significant loss.

There is one testimonial on a local site where a guy with a big family quotes a saving of around $600 a quarter.  Errr, No!
Max your powerwall can hold is 6 KW. ( he has the earlier small version, 5 Kw?) If you are on above average rates of 40c kwh, that's $2.40 a day. x90 = $216 quarter = $864 a year BEST case scenario.
Power wall cost $15K  ( maybe more, this guy was one of the first here to have it) / 864 =  17.5 years payback.
Pretty sure this guy did not have 15K under the bed so add to the price of the tesla the interest, say 5% and you are looking at a 20 yr plus Payback AT BEST. Will be longer because you are not going to get a full charge in the thing every day as my calculation allows.

Given the units life is no where near that, thing is a dead loss and your "saving money" is delusion.

Had the guy the space and put in another say 3 KW of panels, then he'd have something like a 3 yr payback on their cost if he was using lots of the energy in house and if not maybe a 5 yr. It would pay back however unlike the battery.


I put my urn out before and looked at the rating. 1800W which is good because it is half the element in the HWS I have now and I can get an 1800W replacement.  The weather is freaking annoying atm.  Plenty of cloud, some quite dark but very little rain.  I want sun or rain. Need the rain so I'll give up my solar returns for that or I want sun if I can't have the rain. I loose on both accounts with the cloudy weather!

The water was boiling despite the sun not being totally clear. I metered the output from the panels and got 356V open circuit and up to 212 while watching which is great. Still not clear sunshine.
My take now is this will be OK on clear days and useless on cloudy ones with out some sort of PWM/ Mppt controller.

1.5 Kw of panels should net a round 6 Kwh on a good day.  The calculator shows that to raise 250L of water (as is the size of my service) 30oC I will need about 9 Kwh of power. To raise it 20oC will need about 6.
Not going to get 6 Kw when it's direct coupled because the panels will be so far off their power point BUT, they would be OK hooked to an inverter.

Cost wise, I'm paying 30C kwh for normal power and 11C for Off peak. I'd be better offsetting the normal power and just paying for the off peak. I think that perhaps should have been obvious from the start?   :embarassed:

At least now I have crunched some numbers and done the mental arithmetic so I know! 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 23, 2017, 04:33:07 AM
Yep, the ongoing replacement cost of batteries is a serious issue. 

I had to scale back my solar hot water plans after crunching the numbers.  With a super insulated home, my heating costs were too low to allow for a fancier setup.  What I settled on works great, but I didn't get surplus free heat to heat the shop, which would have been nice.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 23, 2017, 01:26:32 PM

Did some more playing around this afternoon and some more learning.

After deciding the direct coupling of the panels to the heater was probably not the best way to go I pondered what to do with the spare Panels?

There are 190W, 45.2V open circuit, 36.6 ideal power point.  I have 8 of them which I bought at the start of the year ( or was it end of last year?) as my first lot to play with.
The 5KW set I bought 6 weeks or so back are 250W, 37.6 open circuit, 30.6 under load.
I wanted to put them with the other panels in an array and looked on the net for info. Everything I could find was about mismatched panels in an array, not mismatched ARRAYS. What I read  said you could do different panels as long as the amps were similar. The 190's are 5.2A and the 250's are 8.17.
Big difference.
I looked at the voltages and thought they would be pulled down anyway.  At max power point the 10 250's in that array would be 306V and the 8 190's would be 293. Not so far away.

In the absence of any data on how mismatched arrays should be wired or what they may do, thought nothing to loose, I'll give it a go.
I wired the 2 arrays together in parallel to my 2 Kw inverter. The 8 panel 190's lying flat on the grass were doing around 880W ( getting around mid afternoon) and the 250's angled correctly were doing around 1500W.
kicked the inverter in on the small array then switched in the bigger one.
Bingo, inverter is maxed out at 2000W+.

I'm happily watching doing the mental arithmetic and thought well it's working but how much better can it work?  I went to the other array and took the 3 Kw inverter off that and put it on this array. It read 1880W, less than the 2Kw inverter was showing.
I thought maybe this one has a different MPPT voltage and maybe the light levels have dropped a bit as well. I put the 2K inverter on the other array and thought I'd wait till tomorrow and see what I get in the morning and around mid day.

I was thinking later  that the 3K inverter is dual input. Only one input is working as I think I blew the other side when I accidently dropped over 1000V on it with my over capped Induction motor generator a while back.  I have a feeling I read in the manual that there is a limit on what each side of the inverter will  take being that the 3K input has to be split across both inputs and the individuals will take more than half each but not the full 3K. Maybe that is 2K and accounts for the near 1900W I'm seeing which I thought would be more?
 I'll have to dig the manual out and verify this but it may explain the difference. Pretty sure I have seen that inverter read over 2K though on one input so I'll wait and see what I find tomorrow in better sun. 

The main thing is that I can couple these panels up and get worthwhile output with mismatched arrays. I'll have to drag my 5 Kw inverter out and see what that produces with this setup. That is dual input as well and I have an idea the arrays do not have to be the same.  Be a waste to only run 5 Kw of panels on that anyway when I can add more cheap panels and get the thing pumping a full 5K a lot longer through the day.

I still might sell the 190's  and buy more 250's though as that would make things a lot easier and more efficient.
It was interesting though that the mismatched arrays could be hooked up together.

Not sure how efficient they are BUT, I am getting a gain that would otherwise be wasted without another inverter so it's a plus from my POV and something else learned.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 24, 2017, 04:07:03 AM
Having a off grid battery bank is a pain, and actually limits what can be reasonably done with solar. A grid tie setup allows greater possibilities.
For me, I use around 2 KWhrs per day. To have a unstressed battery bank, it needs to be roughly 5 times this amount of storage to keep within a small  20 percent Depth of Discharge to make it last a reasonable time. Mine is 1500 Ah lead acid.  To charge the daily losses/use  takes around 2.5 KW hrs charging . To get this at my location with untracked panels requires around 500 watts of panels,  with around  5 hours of useful sun, easily achieved in summer.  On rainy days I see around 5 to 8 amps, worth having but unable to supply demand. More panels would easily increase this, but also supply way too much current in bright sun, they would throttle back via the controller in a very short time , therefore money not well spent.
Where battery banks really shine is with diesel backup, a few hours of generator time is all thats needed to give power 24/7 on demand via inverters.  It matters not to me whether the power is derived from solar or diesel, both are free energy sources for me, but not having to crank the Lister every single day is nice. Some things actually do work out in our favour, the Lister works harder in winter, just when the extra heating is a bonus for an example..
For anyone interested, and even further off topic, have been when time allows, messing with a charge controller that maximises low light  panel output. The concept I have come up with simply uses the panel/s to charge a largish capacitor to whatever voltage the panel can maintain in low light. A very simple differential comparator circuit monitors the delta, or rate of voltage change across that cap,  and dumps that "package" of energy into the bank when no further voltage increase is detected. The faster the delta, (DvDt) the higher the switching rate of the Mosfets. it is basically a high power relaxation oscillator the frequency of which is a product of volatge change and current.
 This reduces the bright sun performance by around half, but nearly doubles the low light performance, even allowing a few amps in average moonlight. I live in a tropical rain forest, so this kind of performance  I think will give me a better long term result  using solar.... as has been  said, panels are cheap, the limitation is now low solar radiation on shitty days.
A fascinating subject for sure..
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 24, 2017, 10:44:02 AM
For me, I use around 2 KWhrs per day.

Is that a typo? My fridges use more than that! Desktop computer probably would too.
If that's what you are using, that's very Frugal indeed.

I'm afraid I have no such motivation. I reckon I'm around 25-30 Kw a day. Rather than cut down, I just want to ramp up my generation to meet usage close as possible and enjoy the luxuries of life. I'm fortunate in that for the time being, the grid is my battery bank. want to make the most of that I can. :0)

Quote
More panels would easily increase this, but also supply way too much current in bright sun, they would throttle back via the controller in a very short time , therefore money not well spent.

Your call of course but in theory, I disagree.  Even brand new panels can be had for around $150 ea now.  I'm paying $40 ea for used 250's.
Even if you spent $300 on panels, that would offset a lot of the generator use on those marginal days. Solar  will always be cheaper than engine power even if the fuel costs you nothing.  With your very interesting controller, you may never need the genny bar 10 days a year maybe if it will do as you say and work by moonlight.  Which I find hard to believe based on what I have read of the panels needing a " threshold" of light  to work at all but the one thing I have learned in the solar game is that things change fast and maybe the info I have is out of date with the newest panels or something.

If you have more panels and had more power you could relax your no doubt tight controls on what you use every day.  As I say, for me the goal is not to run on the least power possible, but to have the lowest bill while running everything I want.


Quote
Where battery banks really shine is with diesel backup, a few hours of generator time is all thats needed to give power 24/7 on demand via inverters.  It matters not to me whether the power is derived from solar or diesel, both are free energy sources for me,

Don't say this on the boards that think that DIY or alternative energy HAS to be green washed, they will get their knickers in a twist over you burning any fuel in a diesel engine even it it is their save the world Veg or bio.  I see some people going to a LOT of over the top expense with alternative power or living like cave men when the occasional use of a generator would be far more practical and cost as well as resource efficient.
Some just won't accept that sometimes the cleanest and greenest way is to do the very thing they always try to avoid through the stigma they have created with it and that's do what everyone else does and fire up a genny!

Quote
For anyone interested, and even further off topic,
Sounds very interesting and bugger off topic, that's what makes this board so much better than every other I am on, that things like this come up.
Far as i'm concerned the Topic is solar and this is very relevant.

Could you elaborate on your controller?  Is it something an electronics Dilettante could build with a schematic and parts list?
I'd certainly be interested in seeing it.  I have already worked out that the big gains in solar are not when the sun is shining bright, it's the ramp up in the mornings, the fall off in the afternoons and what you get on the cloudy days.

 
Quote
This reduces the bright sun performance by around half, but nearly doubles the low light performance, even allowing a few amps in average moonlight.
Could you not put a controller in front of this one to switch it in and out?  Seems to me it would be real easy to put something like an ACS712 current sensor on an arduino  to control a relay  that switches the " Moonlight " board in and out. Once you get over say 50w or maybe less, the low light controller is bypassed and the regular PWM or MPPT controller is directly fed. Once the output drops below a certain current, the low light board is switched in. Even I could cook that up! :0)
Would seem to be a real easy way to have your cake and eat it too with this.


Quote
I live in a tropical rain forest, so this kind of performance  I think will give me a better long term result  using solar.... as has been  said, panels are cheap, the limitation is now low solar radiation on shitty days.


I don't think there is any substitute for more panels.  You'd get more power from your low light controller as well as having more power available in any sky conditions.
The overcast days are where my flat panels outdo the tilted ones, fairly significantly too!
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 24, 2017, 11:10:44 AM

Today was another mixed day sun wise, more cloud than clear sky I'd estimate but I got to see how the mismatched arrays worked.

The double input inverter was pegged pretty much every time I looked at it till well into the evening. At that time it was producing a lot more power than the larger single array.
Seems the inverter is pegged at 1880W because that's the highest I saw it and what it did all day pretty much.
I know the second input is blown through over voltage. I wonder if it might be just a fuse I could replace or something else that would at least be a cheap Fix? I'd really like to get the full 3K out of this unit.

I dug out the 5Kw inverter and remembered I don't have the AC connector for it. It's a bosch unit so I have emailed them here asking if they can supply the connector or where a local agent may be that would have one. Bracing myself for the price.   Might be possible to open the thing up and just run cables out and connect in a junction box.

Even though the inverter is well clipping the input, I managed a new ( quite surprising ) high generation today, 28Kwh.  I reckon I'm loosing about 3-500W  with the limited inverters so 30Kwh from what I have may well be possible... and very satisfying.

Given the cloud today, I'm surprised I got what I did but cloud does seem to magnify some band of the spectrum that panels like. Maybe it's a crossover between light intensity and panel temp? A bit of haze certainly does not seem to hurt the generation.
I'm thinking I might look for some mains voltage computer fans. These inverters get hot.  A couple of fans to provide moving air and keep the temps of the things down would be will worth the investment in $ and wattage I think.

Also going to look for remote reporting power meters on ebay. make it easier than going and checking the inverters the several times a day I do as well as the power meter to see how far that's gone back.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Samo on October 24, 2017, 12:11:09 PM
Glort,

Sounds like 2 steps forward one step backwards but you seem to be making progress  ;D  For my setup I used a serial to Wifi dongle to send the output of my inverter to a computer, it just displayed a line by line update from the inverter, after a while I wrote some software to massage it and send it to a web server, so I had some graphs and history... the Serial to Wifi dongle was called FIREFLY & was pretty powerful with all the options it supports....  took a bit of fiddling to get it configured, but once it was it just worked...

Just an idea if your inverter has a serial port, most of them have some type of port if they don't support BlueTooth.

cheers,
Samo

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 24, 2017, 01:52:43 PM
Your observations are similar to mine in that some cloud can actually increase panel output. I put this down to cooler panels being more efficient, and this is what got me into a "cloudy day" controller.
My power usage is low in a domestic sense,  lights, my biggest useage, and my electronic workshop.
The other workshop, where I do light engineering and car/motorbike restoration work runs seperately off the Petter, max 5KVa.
Cooking/water heating via gas/oil and wood burner. I have an old fashioned "safe" to keep food cool, refrigeration not really needed with vege garden and meat on the hoof so to speak. This way of living was common a century ago, and for centuries before that. I see no harm in forgoing coffee makers, heated towel rails and all the other crap you city dwellers deem  indispensable....
Would a Lister actually feel comfortable running a heated towel rail?
Clip a high impedance multimeter to one of your solar panels , and monitor the output voltage under varying light conditions. Low light levels effect current dramatically, but the voltage remains fairly constant and when in darkness it will suddenly drop. No commercial controller is designed to work at these levels.
The idea here is to create what effectively is an impedance converter, where the milliohm battery impedance is matched to the high impedance of a light starved solar array. The capacitor passively does this by charging at the highest possible rate, the peak stored energy then dumped into the bank as a series of high current pulses.This is the electrical equivalent of a ram pump, the battery bank being the equivalent of an air over water collector/pressure tank.
Now, connect a largish capacitor across the same panel, and connect a small load, a flashlight bulb will do. You will get a brief flash as the cap  gives up the stored energy. This is the rudimentary concept of current collection over time.
On cloudy days Its better for me to get 16 hours of 22 amps, than 16 hours of 13 amps, the tradeoff is to  take a peak current hit mid summer, but then  nights are shorter and less lightinng time required. 
Im not sure what differences there are in different brand panel performances in low light, I have a very  old mitsubishi 80 watt panel, and 4 similar no name 100 watt Chinese panels that are new, these are what Im working with. As I said, its an experimental setup right now,, lacking any refinements such as over voltage protection for the bank.... purely a proof of concept . The next phase will be to add a voltage up converter to lessen the static battery bank voltage threshold, the equivalent of seriesing more panels.... here it gets tricky, as circuit complexity increases, so too does phantom current draw.
Right now we have a partial moon surrounded by scuddy clouds, Im seeing around 4 pulses a second, with a  4700mfd cap this is around 2 mJ, which is bugger all..... a few hundred mA at most.
 A dull overcast day, this rapidly increases to 120/200 J, there is a  nonlinear relationship between photons and current (Coulomb',s law)
In  bright sun, Im getting around 250/300 J, around 1/2 - 2/3rds of the max, at this point the panels are effectively tied to the battery voltage with a 80/20 pulse ratio.... the cap cannot charge instantaneously.... hence the loss.  measurement  made more difficult as the cap dis/charge rate is logarithmic, so ball park figures  here.
With solar, there are so many variables.
But, as you are on the natiional grid, non of this has any relevance to you.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 24, 2017, 06:05:52 PM
Some of the mppt controllers are already buck/boost capable- so are capable of doing what Starfire is experimenting with via simpler means.  The losses of running the buck/boost converter will exceed the output for dark/rainy days or moonlit nights.  A tropical rain forest is certainly a climate that would be well suited to a buck/boost mppt charge controller or it's functional equivalent and I applaud his experimentation.

For my high desert climate mppt is unnecessary with my 120vdc system; charging is quite good at low light levels.  With panel costs where they are today,  mppt for most climates is a marketing ploy; as Glort suggests, in almost all cases you are better off putting the money in panels than electronics to try and squeeze the last 20% of power on a semi-dark cloudy day.

In my case, since ultra clean DC was the goal, I used simple analog throttling of PV power via low-side bipolar power transistors.  Today, that design approach is still viable for a higher voltage design.  I used 350V  automotive ignition Darlingtons with a current sensing resistor for each and micropower op amp for each (one is the master and 3 others just match it's current to keep the load spread evenly between the 4 big T0-247 transistors),  but I would now I would likely use the latest linear rated high voltage power Mosfets instead. (They did not exist 12 years ago.)  Regulating the PV on the low side (below the 0v battery connection, with the +PV tied directly to battery +120VDC) keeps my maximum DC voltage to earth less than 148 V; which better than 3x safer than 120VAC.   I would seriously consider high side regulation today, with a maximum of 220VDC, since so many server farms are now running 350 VDC.  Having been zapped by 120VDC many times over the last dozen years, I also have a better appreciation for relative DC safety; it hurts a whole lot less...more like a static shock. For the same RMS voltage, it takes 4x the current to kill you with DC.

I will have to consider my options for increasing the power handling capacity of my series regulator as I add more PV power for my daytime inverter operations. I can just add additional modules in parallel with minor mods or revise the design.  Either way I'll have to add a battery charge current limit since my new PV arrays will be able to exceed my battery charge rate. 

I am amazed that wet lead batteries are STILL best bang for the buck in 2017.  I viewed my original development  as something interim until the new battery technology breakthrough arrived.  A also thought AGM batteries with their higher charge rate and efficiency would have completely eliminated wet lead long ago- but they have not, and their cost remains too high to justify for my system, though it was designed for them, with 10 individual battery shunt regulators. Because of the individual analog battery shunt regulators, I only do mini-equalizations for 3 hours every 2 weeks, and only have to add water every two years. (I do check them annually.) So treating wet lead batteries as if they were AGMs does have advantages.
 
My night time power consumption in winter is about 1.5 KWH.  Lighting and computer/projector use are my night loads. 
My daytime loads include computer plus low wattage electric cooking (300w rice cooker, crock pot, immersion heater, 500W hot plate), but only on sunny days (the norm here).  My refrigerator/freezer is propane which dramatically reduces the load on my batteries (and thus my ongoing battery replacement cost of $220/yr) and I do enjoy the soundless operation.  The "waste" heat does heat the separate gas kitchen in the winter, as does the "waste" heat of my incandescent bulbs for lighting in winter.

My 6/1 CS provides the big loads- AC for pumping water to my 2000 gallon tank (gravity feed), washing machine, and compressed air for my all my woodshop tools.  This runs about $15- $25 a month of diesel depending on what I'm doing in the shop.  My new inverter should be able to take over most of this, as it can run a 2 hp compressor to keep the 500 gallon tank topped up, so the CS would only be used when maximum air is needed (sanders, ripping on table saw, and my air string trimmer for the yard around the house). 





Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on October 24, 2017, 09:12:57 PM
... The calculator shows that to raise 250L of water (as is the size of my service) 30oC I will need about 9 Kwh of power. To raise it 20oC will need about 6...

Just a thought, as this thread is already as far off topic for an engine forum as it's ever likely to be  :o have you considered water solar panels for water (pre-)heating? Rather than convert the sun to electrickery (at ~25% efficiency at best), then convert it back to heat in an urn or other water heater - why not just run the water through a bunch of copper pipe inside of a wooden box (IIRC you paint the inside black) with a glass lid. As with solar PV, you still get heat even on cloudy days (but not at night as with Starfire's system!). Even if the water only picks up 5-10 degrees on its way through the system, that's 5-10 degrees you don't need to find electricity for...

Biggest issue, as I understand it, with direct-to-heat solar panels is boiling them (or "saturating" them as I believe it's called - presumably because something somewhere bursts under the pressure and saturates everything around it ;D), which can be avoided either by dumping the water out of the system before it boils, or having a large heat-sink which can cope with shedding the heat generated in the solar loop. Another problem, which would certainly affect much of the USA and the UK (and Europe) is, of course, freezing - but standard auto anti-freeze can be used if the water circulates through a heat exchanger rather than heating drinking/bathing/etc. water directly.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 24, 2017, 10:11:25 PM
The cost of PV has gotten so low, while copper/ plumbing costs remain so high that many people are going Glort's route and just using PV with their electric resistive water heaters. Especially when bargain used PV panels and DIY setup can be done.  Purchased solar water hot water panels have not seen the volume and price reductions of PV.

The picture changes when there is a bigger hot water need that can be met, climate-wise, with 85% efficiency direct solar water heating.

I built my own hot water heating flat panels and my own EPDM lined 800 gallon insulated storage tank (mostly below grade to allow for a simple, low cost single tank drain back system), and my own copper heat exchanger in the tank for domestic HW.  Heating is direct from the tank to avoid the cost/complexity of another heat exchanger.  This handles my home heating plus domestic HW all year round.  I never use cold water for laundry, now. This made sense because of being able to do my superinsulated radiant floor home heating.  I felt the extra expense and my labor were well invested now, while I was still able to do much of the labor myself, to improve my financial situation post post age 65.

Carlb has posted pictures before of his nice solar hot water setup for just domestic HW, with both DIY flat panel and reflector collectors.  The solar wand heat exchanger made by Bulter systems makes for a simple add on to an existing electric or gas hot water heater.  I am now a fan of the 1/16 inch polycarbonate for glazing- the 4x8 foot sheets can be rolled for cheap shipping, and it will tolerate stagnation temperatures.  There's no question that PV to electric heating is much simpler to plumb, and has no leaks. :)






Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 24, 2017, 10:46:40 PM


Sounds like 2 steps forward one step backwards but you seem to be making progress 

Not sure I'm going backwards but certainly on occasion the long way round if that's any different!  :0)

That said, I'm learning a lot and enjoying it.  There is nothing like hands on rather than just reading about something. When I got into the veg oil fuels game I more or less became an overnight expert.  While everyone else was all pedantic trying to to wreck their cars, I didn't much like the clapper I had bought and didn't think it was going to see out the few months rego so I went about things from the POV of what would kill it.  Rather than just read endlessly parroted opinion, I did real hands on tests and through that, learnt and knew more in months than others had learned in years and especially what was poppycock which was most of the rules and laws people held dear.

This is similar in a lot of ways.  Couldn't find anything on mismatched arrays but I did take what I read of panels and extrapolated from that then went and did it.  No giving it a go, no learning. I can see it fast becoming like the veg fuel thing too. Once you get to a level of what works and doesen't,  You stop playing round and just do what you know has the desired outcome.  This will be the same. Once the panels go on the roof they will pretty much be forgotten.  That's why I'm doing all my experimenting on the ground. Once it's on the roof I'll know what I'm doing and have things I wondered about before sorted.



 
Quote
For my setup I used a serial to Wifi dongle to send the output of my inverter to a computer,

A great idea. I was also looking for a remote switch. Don't really want the meter reader guy seeing the meters hurling backwards while he is there.  I thought of a disconnect when the meter box is open which  was simply a wireless triggered relay.  Can't find anything real practical to setup in the meter box but an arduino with a wi fi  could be small enough and easy to configure  with some CT clamps to monitor both current and set up as a " tamper  Switch".

I'll have a look into that!
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 24, 2017, 10:56:55 PM
BruceM, thanks for your comments....the phantom current from commercially built controllers is way too high for what I need. PV panels, like a hydro setup are  insidious in that power is available over time, even a few amps over a 24 hour period amounts to a lot of juice. Same goes for phantom drain, it adds up rapidly.
Digital Mppt controllers by design can never quite settle on a peak, will always be slightly above or below depending on the algorithm used , and theres quite a few active parts in the design, whereas the thing Im playing with uses a LM311 low power comparator driving a BJT switching stage, all less than a 4mA current draw. Because its already oscillating in use, the boost section can be nothing more than an inductor/diode on the series pass transistor, and  can be a largely passive design also.
I too use bipolar.... its not often realised the turn on resistance of a BJT can be even lower than a Mosfet, despite the intrinsic  voltage drop across it is  higher. They are also far more robust.
Im just messing with solar to see what is possible, all info I have seen concentrates more on peak outputs in bright sun.... here we have many many more overcast days over time.
Flooded wet acid still rule..... over the decades have tried many types. Gell cells died very quickly, gas pockets depriving the plates of electrolyte, either through localised gassing or heat.  A very large NiCad bank developed strange and random problems after just a few years of use. The most interesting was some genuine 110 year old Edison NiFe batteries I picked up from an abandoned coal mine.
These I simply filled with a caustic soda solution, all guesswork, and they appeared totake a charge no problems. Not very friendly to use for powering electronic s though. To charge at even a low rate saw the voltage increase from a nominal 12 volt bank to 17/18 volts, and a reasonable load saw 10 volts across the same bank, indicating high internal resistance. Have since found out this is normal... similar cells are made in China today.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 24, 2017, 11:16:34 PM
Looking forward to reading about your work on the small system, low-light charge controller as it progresses, Starfire. 

Take a look at the newer MOSFETs with a full SOA specification for linear operation.  Fairchild and IXYS both make some beauties, as do others.  While a bit spendy, they  can be very useful when you want low voltage drop when in full on mode than you can achieve with bipolars.  I use one for my linear 12V PV charge controller design.  Something like an LM10 for control (100 uA)...

But then I'm an analog fiend, and you're likely going to end up with a pure switch type design.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 25, 2017, 12:25:17 AM

Just a thought, as this thread is already as far off topic for an engine forum as it's ever likely to be  :o have you considered water solar panels for water (pre-)heating?

The topic is solar power in the everything else section.... :0)

Quote
Rather than convert the sun to electrickery (at ~25% efficiency at best), then convert it back to heat in an urn or other water heater - why not just run the water through a bunch of copper pipe inside of a wooden box (IIRC you paint the inside black) with a glass lid.


I have looked into it, ( as recently as last Night) and the cost for direct heating is the thing for me. I'm not in a position to put something DIY on the roof.  Firstly it would detract from the look of the place ( badly with my pronounced Function over form skills)  and secondly because I'd have to remove it when I went to sell as something like that would devalue the place badly and I may not be up to taking it off when the time comes.

What I have been looking at was used solar water heaters but they are far and few between anyway. There is a whole plethora of problems with them for my situation.  Most of the old flat panels types I have seen advertised used have problems. They all get offered for a lot more money that I can buy a bunch of PV panels for. They are much more costly to install needing pumps, plumbing work and basically a lot of modification to what I have in place.  They cause a lot of aesthetic " Interruption " to the look of a place and the other thing for me, is I do consider them inefficient.

A mate installed the evacuated tube type heater.  They boil water like no tomorrow but even he admits now, it's still inefficient because all it does is heat water.  He has a big 400L tank ( well it's big here, no such thing as 800Gallon hot water tanks in this part of the world!) and he says often the thing is up to temp by 10 am or before if the load has been light the night before. He put it in when there were 5 of them living there and to cater for that, now his boys have moved out there is only 2.
The rest of the day it sits there making steam.  With PV, you might not get to heat your water till 2 in the afternoon depending on the size of your array BUT, after that you can be supplying other loads. In other words the thing is doing useful work the whole time.

Now all this said, I haven't written solar water heaters off completely. If I can find a good used heater at the right price I'll look at it closely. I'd be inclined to have one for the sake of having it.  Again there is the cost of install issue.

I was trolling gumtree again last night and thought I'd look at panels again as I have been plying with what I have rather than searching for them.
Found a few ads up to about 6 weeks old and made some low ball offers.  I got 3 guys with 250W panels this morning that have got back to me that are prepared to sell to me for $30 ea and one woman with 11x 190w panels that accepted my offer of $25 per panel.  For me, $137 per KW is pretty cheap power.  I started off working on 200 kw as my standard price but that's already come down and now i'm getting towards 100 Kw.
At $137 Kw, based on the output I'm averaging, those panels will have paid themselves back in power savings in 4-5 Months.  That's a pretty good investment to my mind. If I devote those panels to primarily doing water heating, the payback is going to be a year or so because on most days they will heat the water and there will be excess energy going back to the mains I can use else where.

I already have 1.5 Kw of 190 panels so adding another 2KW  would give me a decent output array to work with.  Given I have virtually limitless roof to work with, I can put up more panels than I need!
I lowballed a guy on an unused 5Kw inverter. Came back a bit indignant saying $275 was the lowest he'd take as the thing had never been installed.
Geez, what a shame! $275 for a new 5 KW inverter. I don't think I'll feel too screwed over paying that if I decide to go for it. I guess I'd have to add that to the payback period after I pay off the panels.  5kw is going to give me say 20Kwh per day. 20 kwh x .30C kwh = $6 day.  I'm going to have that paid back just over half way through the first quarter it's installed. lets say the weather is crap, still under 3 months.  Yep, that's a worthwhile for me ! :0)

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not crapping on the Idea of direct water heating, I'm just looking at it from my own perspective.  For people like Bruce and others that are off grid and don't have access tot he cheap used panels etc, things would be almost opposite I guess.
I'm in a good position with this and I want to take advantage of the blessings presented. I'm of course not the only one. Up North of me is see panels advertised even cheaper all the time.  There are at least 10M people in the capital citys on the eastern seaboard that have the same opportunity with this I do so even if I am cocky about it, there are an awful lot of people that can do just as well or even better than what I am.
I suspect in other parts of the world there are opportunities that others don't recognise as well. 

PV the world over now is a fraction of the price it was even 5 years ago thanks to the ramp up of quality panels coming out of China.
We are in the second phase here, where systems typically up to about 2-3Kw are being replaced with 5 Kw systems mainly at a lot cheaper than the original 2 Kw systems cost. other places may still be in the " Just got cheap enough to be viable" phase and might have the second upgrade stage in 5 years time or so.  A guy I have got onto is going north, bringing back large trailer loads of used/ replaced panels and then sending them back to the middle east where they are still way expensive for some reason.
Maybe I should get a container, fill it with panels and liters and send that to the US to make a good buck? :0)


Quote
As with solar PV, you still get heat even on cloudy days (but not at night as with Starfire's system!). Even if the water only picks up 5-10 degrees on its way through the system, that's 5-10 degrees you don't need to find electricity for...

Yep, and if you work that out over the volume of water your heater holds..... In my case 10o over 250L would be worth a saving of almost 3 Kwh. That is significant. There are a couple of ways to look at it though. If you are off grid that's a fair amount of power. If you are on grid it's .33C a day on what I pay for off peak.  normal power would be about .90C.  Once would have to consider the costs of making and installing that heater.  Here copper is real expensive so I'd doubt it would every be worth while.  One could also look at the cost of making the heater Vs. PV panels to produce the same saving. In my case, as little as $137 for a KW of panels which would work out to around 15o temp rise.

Quote
Biggest issue, as I understand it, with direct-to-heat solar panels is boiling them
As mentioned, that's what my mates ultra effective Tube system does.  Not a problem as they allow for that but it is effectively an inefficiency.
he wanted to make some sort of a steam turbine  out of a turbo because he is an environmentally conscious man ( in a very reasonable and practical way) and sees it as energy wasted. The complication are not worth the trouble so he just has longer showers to compensate.

I did show him one real practical use for all his hot water..... weed killing on his 2 acres.  Nothing like hot/ boiling water on unwanted vegetation. Kills it dead  with roots or bulbs and you can replant the area an hour after treatment because there are no chemicals or anything else unwanted in the soil.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 25, 2017, 12:46:41 AM
Many years ago, , worked on a small farm. The living quarters had no power, and it took hours to heat the water via the wetback., a real pain after a days hard work.
 A 100 meter coil of 3/4 ubiquitous black  alkathene pipe thrown on the roof would net a 44 gallon oil drum of near boiling water on even a medium sunny day thermo syphoned into  the drum on the peak. The good thing with hot water, it contains little oxygen, therefore steel drums dont rust, instead growing a protective layer of heat tolerant scum and slime.
Dont overthink this stuff.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 25, 2017, 01:03:08 AM
I am amazed that wet lead batteries are STILL best bang for the buck in 2017.

A also thought AGM batteries with their higher charge rate and efficiency would have completely eliminated wet lead long ago- but they have not, and their cost remains too high to justify for my system,

I read an article a while back that was very good on the subject and made a lot of sense debunking this " they will get cheaper"  parroted mantra.

They talked about lead acid and said the technology was decades old and Millions of them were made for the auto industry alone but they didn't keep falling in price. They also pointed out the components in other batteries and said many of them were scarce or in limited supply so as demand increased the price would likley go up not down.

They said for something to get cheaper it either has to have savings in manufacture efficiency or lowering of raw material costs.  In the case of lead acid neither of these had happened in decades so the price remained constant.

I think some TYPES of batteries will get cheaper due to production cost reductions but the lowest overall cost of a KWH of storage I don't think will fall dramatically without some breakthrough that has eluded science so far.  That seems to be lead acid atm and the price of that should have plummeted if the Greater numbers/ lower cost theroy was accurate.
Not all that sure cost reduction is where the research is going either. Seems energy density and light weight is where the money is.

Making cheap storage may be counter productive to big biz. If it got cheap enough for every home or factory to have panels on the roof and batteries out the back, the loss of revenue to big biz and gubbermints would be huge and more importantly, the loss of control.
I imagine there is also concern over balance of power and other defense and security issues.  Most destablising thing you could do in the world would be to give poor, overpopulated countries cheap and endless energy.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 25, 2017, 01:22:52 AM
Lead acid  funnily enough are almost 100 percent recyclable, the cases, the acid, and the lead, even though the greenies would have you believe they are an environmental hazard. They are worth too much as scrap to end up in a landfill, unlike  zinc carbon and Nicad/Lithium etc that largely do pollute, ending up in the waste basket.
Lead is reused, over and over. where the more esoteric types require rare earths that are in limited supply. Lead acids are big and inelegant, but no problem in stationary off grid situations.  Despite being  the most studied and understood of all battery technologies. they seem to defy any attempt at "improving" them.
The "Y2K" lot of lighthouse batteries I bought in year 2000, I doubled my money  17 years later in scrap value. Looking from a financial prospective, they supplied 17 years free storage, and then gave a healthy profit.... I hope my new  220ah crown batteries do similarly..
Little known byproduct in old used batteries..... dueterium, ie, heavy water.
This stuff is used as a moderator to slow nuetrons in nuclear reactors, and is the fuel  for hydrogen bombs.
. Its produced over time when water is continually electrolysed  into oxygen and hydrogen...  as in batteries...rather like an enrichment centrifuge....
Now, where did I put that block of uranium??? Need a deterrent in case the mericans take an interest.....
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: 32 coupe on October 25, 2017, 01:56:41 AM

Check "virgin lead" batterys.
Expensive, but they are the ticket.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 25, 2017, 02:08:39 AM
I couldn't find a meaningful technical report showing that virgin batteries performance are enough better to offset the doubled price.  How about a link, 32 coupe?

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 25, 2017, 02:21:35 AM
Me too. One site reckons 400 cycles at 80 percent DOD, thats  only a little better than a top quality thick plate standard type.
Has anyone had experience with these?

https://www.hiteksolar.co.nz/blogs/news/106430214-why-should-i-consider-using-lead-carbon-batteries
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: 32 coupe on October 25, 2017, 02:45:24 AM
I don't remember the sites.
I did a lot of research a few years ago.
As some of you know I work on large private
yachts and deal with batterys up to an including
4d and 8d size.
Battetys today won't last for more than 2 to 3 years.
I haven't had a car battery last for more than 3 years
here. I don't buy cheap batterys. The jell cell batterys
don't seem much better. I am in Florida and heat kills them.

All batterys today are made with recycled lead and from what
I understand it is the impurities that causes the early death.

Batterys used to last years, as many as 10. Not today.

The virgin lead batterys are used in commercial critical backup
systems. They are made in the USA by 1 or 2 companies.

Expensive, heavy.

I have a few in the field but it's too soon for me to give an
honest assessment yet, but time wil tell.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 25, 2017, 07:22:53 AM
Lead acid battery life is seriously shortened in high temperatures, and even more so by charge controllers that aren't battery temperature compensated.  At high temps the battery charge voltages must be lower or positive plates get eaten up. So it's the double whammy if you have both fixed voltage charging and high temps.  Phoenix, AZ has the same problem with very short battery life in cars, due to fixed voltage alternator regulators are the problem there along with seriously elevated temps. The newer cars with always on electronics cam also be battery eaters.

I read that the big name battery companies such as Johnson Controls monitor their lead very carefully.  For positive plates they don't usually use recycled lead because of the antimony.  These are not fly by night companies; they assay their metals.

Modern equipped boats are more likely to destroy batteries than in days past because of the increased electronics power load, and continuous phantom loads from inverter and/or DC-DC converters. Lead acid battery life is also quite limited based on DOD (depth of discharge) or when left slowly discharging for days or weeks, which causes sulfation, loss of capacity and eventually shorted cells.

There may be something to the virgin lead thing-  but I'm especially skeptical of only marketing information with no independent engineering test data.





Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 25, 2017, 07:58:57 AM
According to my battery bible,   3rd  edition 1940 written by a George Wood Vinal,  a physicist for the National institute of Standards in th US, the only main problem mentioned with lead impurity leads to "local action" causing faster self discharge.  The actual battery function remains  unaltered. Many "impurities" have been tried over time to enhance certain qualities, especially adhesion to the supporting grids, but the main technical advances have been to  ease and streamline  manufacture.
So, I would think that "virgin lead" is more an advertising ploy rather than a real advance, perusing  battery sites does uncover some rather suspect claims here and there. Battery additive snake oil is still alive and well, despite being firmly debunked in this same book  nearly 80 years ago.
These lead carbon batteries sound interesting.....
heres the link again..... if anyone has knowlege of these....

https://www.hiteksolar.co.nz/products/6v-300ah-lead-carbon-supercapacitor-lcs-pb-c-battery-latest-technology

1500 cycles at 100% Discharge capacity
2400 cycles at 80% Discharge capacity
3000 cycles at 60% Discharge capacity
3600 cycles at 50% Discharge capacity



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on October 25, 2017, 08:22:51 AM
Ade FWIW up at my partially-developed, definitely very off-grid property in what is arguably New Zealand's sunniest province I have a "solar shower"

It comprises 50 metres of 20mm black "alkathene" (low density farm water supply piping) wound in a big flat one-layer-thick spiral on a wooden frame covered with a sheet of heavy black plastic 10mm thick that I scavenged off the base of a feed wagon

(sorry I don't have a photo)

Frame is 1600mm X 1400mm and the spiral covers maybe 70% of it.

It's propped up on a stick vaguely north-facing and roughly 15 degrees off vertical

Water from my spring up the hill comes in one end at about 2 bar and the other end uns under the house and is attached to my shower inside

When it has been exposed to direct sunshine for maybe 15 minutes the water is bloody hot - hot enough that you have to add cold water to it at the mixer to have a shower.  There's enough hot water there for a good shower as well as time to wash your hair and a bit of standing-around-wasting-hot-water time as well

It's inefficient in that there is no storage, and in that you need to think about having a shower when the sun shines.  I don't care about those things cos I'm only there for three or four days at a time every few weeks and I have a wetback on the wood-stove anyway.

But it's such a low-tech, low-cost item ($100 for the pipe) and it will produce enough hot water for three or four showers an hour (if you had a queue of grimy folks) that I thought I would mention it.  It has absolutely no moving parts at all unless you count the mixer at the shower

It's the sort of thing that demonstrates how even the crudest "direct" harnessing of the power of the sunshine has so much free energy to give

I once made a more high-tech one with a clear plastic covering and insulation etc - but I made the mistake of leaving it out in the sun with no water in it one day and the "alkathene" promptly melted.  The crude one I now use is so close to idiot-proof as makes no difference

Cheers
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Samo on October 25, 2017, 09:46:29 AM
Very interesting to read of the setups and opinions...

In my system I have an 86F cap across each battery, while I'm only using 4 x 200Ah batteries, they "should" be taking the brunt of the surge current (washing machine start up etc), being lower internal resistance. Though I've not tried to prove that claim (no time). Each one cost as much as a battery but they do add to the overall current capacity of the system and I'm confident will help extend the life of my AGM batteries. As long as I keep the DOD low, they will give many years of service yet (4 years so far)...

The other technology I'd like to try is the Edison - Nickel Iron battery, no doubt there's some wild claims out there, however the original Edison batteries were very long lived, and while not as efficient or easy to maintain as AGM, an interesting potential option that I'd like to explore non the less...

Samo
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 25, 2017, 10:57:07 AM
Well Glort, me old cobber, you will get a buzz out of this.
It seems these "ultra" batteries linked to  above are an AUSTRALIAN invention.
Bugger me.
And it looks like they are a good thing.... a vastly improved lead acid, same energy density but can withstand far greater DoD without  damage..
Interesting watch for those interested.,, the interweb is wonderful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1jusadHkmM
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 25, 2017, 11:46:53 AM

... And I'd love it to be Sunday every day and I'd love sweets to grow on tress but they just don't and I'm realistic.....

I love this guy!
And that was after he spent a couple of minutes sticking up the whining safety sissys.  Legend!

An Aussie came up with it 'eh? Something else for the Kiwis to get pissy about and insult the Skips over!  :laugh:

Seems a very simple modification to make to a regular battery and if it works nearly as well as advertised, It could make a huge difference in the storage market.  I wonder if it will be allowed to come to market and if so, if it will be affordable?
If I was a battery manufacturer, I'm not sure that I'd want a battery lasting 10, 20 or 100 Times longer than what I was selling fast as I could make them now UNLESS I could make 10, 20, 100 times more profit out the things.

It's foolish to think that because huge gains can be made for little cost they will be implemented. I reckon there is every chance this will be buried and as usual, only done for special Military or other limited purposes.  Just can't see them suddenly putting battery's in cars that all the sudden last 10X longer or selling storage batteries that you can now get 50 years out of without thinking about it. 
Seems like a BIG revenue loss to me and that alone, probably more than anything, is enough to kill the concept for general public use.   

From another angle, Imagine what a technology like that could do to a company like Tesla for instance. That over hyped company has spent billions of investors money building a giggle factory to make cells with maybe slower charging, Higher cost and definately shorter life and worse discharge characteristics. The LA battery may not be great in their electric cars but there is every chance they could shit can their power wall business right quick.
Yeah, the LA battery is bigger and heavier but it also lasts pretty much forever and costs a fraction of the powerbawl.
As well as taking out tesla, there are other companies such as LG, Samsung and others that all have their pet  technology's they have sunk billions into.
I reckon they would rather pool together and buy the rights to the tech for a billion bucks and bury it rather than let it get into the mainstream and take their storage businesses down.

I think it's a great and remarkable discovery being so cheap, easy and practical to do but I also think that's probably a reason why we will never be able to buy it ourselves.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 25, 2017, 11:57:39 AM
Ummm, us Kiwis are selling them already..... Something else for the Ozzys to get pissy about and insult the Kiwis over!  :)

https://www.hiteksolar.co.nz/blogs/news/106430214-why-should-i-consider-using-lead-carbon-batteries
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Samo on October 25, 2017, 12:11:17 PM
Narada sell them here  (oz) too, and for some commentary...

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2607369

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 25, 2017, 02:12:36 PM
Something else for the Ozzys to get pissy about and insult the Kiwis over!  :)

Yeah, that's original!  ::)


Seems these things may not be all they promise after all.
If it sounds too good to be true....

Maybe they are holding back?  Make the things seem not so great so the idea is forgotten about but do them properly where it counts.
Sounds like a conspiracy theory but these days I don't discount anything as being too far fetched.
In any case, this isn't the latest battery tech. If they were selling them last year if not earlier, they were thought of a lot earlier than that!
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 25, 2017, 05:16:52 PM
The lead -carbon battery was tested by Sandia before 2009.  Note that this is only 10% DOD so not the full story. 
http://www.altdotenergy.com/2009/01/could-lead-carbon-batteries-be-energy-storage-game-changer/

I also found full reports from Sandia.  They did extensive testing of 3-4% carbon added to the negative plate of VRLA (AGM) type batteries and the results were impressive.  They don't sulfate when partially cycled repeatedly, with no "full up" periods to equalize cells.  So carbon doped negative plates in AGM type batteries are the real deal.

It is suspicious that this hasn't progressed further given this rather impressive independent testing. But it is also suspicious that AGM battery prices have continued to be set at more than double that of wet lead given the reduced lead needed for the same capacity. 



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on October 25, 2017, 06:56:38 PM
Mr. Starfire,

I get it.

I've popped for two AGM batteries in my life.  Both lasted a good strong 10+ years.  They still penciled out on the high side but it was fun pulling that length of life out of a battery.

Casey
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 25, 2017, 09:44:19 PM
But it is also suspicious that AGM battery prices have continued to be set at more than double that of wet lead given the reduced lead needed for the same capacity. 

Bruce, i suspect battery pricing has nothing to do with manufacturing cost, but Watt hours capacity.... watt they can get away with consumers.
Here is a lead carbon for sale here in NZ

https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/caravans-motorhomes/parts-accessories/batteries-inverters/auction-1448246050.htm


thats 120 ah 12 volt at $960nz  This price seems excessive for a little added carbon when a normal 115ah 12 volt from the same retail outlet is $305..... or 1/3rd the price

https://www.trademe.co.nz/business-farming-industry/industrial/generators-power-supply/solar/auction-1448245446.htm

The first is rated at the full 120 ah at 100 percent DOD whereas the second is usually expected to supply whatever at around  30 percent DoD normally.

I cannot figure out the chemistry of these, carbon is inert, im thinking its presence is more mechanical, the carbon disrupting and preventing sulphate crystals to  form/link in the negative plates, thereby keeping them in solution.
The supercapacitor reference I think is rubbish.

on a related note....

I have over time, as most of us have, tried the battery revitalisation thing.
I have had good success with this
Short out the faulty battery for several days.
Connect it BACKWARDS to a cheap old school non intelligent charger.
Charge it for a few days at low current, a few amps is fine.
Short the battery again, then charge normally with correct polarity.

The idea of this, sulphation can only occur on the negative plates, reversing polarity causes the sulphates to either dissolve, or drop to the bottom.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on October 27, 2017, 07:19:00 AM
2 topics here

a) don't use poisonous automotive anti-freeze with a domestic water system, if you get a pinhole leak in the heat-ex ......

b) I have been running a large NiFe bank since about 2011 (48v, 800ah, daily cycling about 11Kwh) and will look up the proper KoH /  H2O  mix ratio.  It should improve the voltage fluctuation you see, but NiFe does have a much wider working voltage range than lead-acid

 Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV
|| Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Samo on October 27, 2017, 07:41:53 AM
Ok Mike,

You have my full attention on this one. I've currently use AGM, but from all the research to date NiFe is the technology I'm keen on. You've had some time with them, and I'd be very interested in your real world appraisal:

Maintenance
Charge/Use cycles
Efficiency
DOD - how far down do you run them?
How easy to live with, what's the up/down of it?

cheers,
Samo
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 27, 2017, 04:58:26 PM
Hi Mike,  I remember you were initially having some trouble with your charge controller not being able to fully charge the NiFe bank due to the higher voltages needed.  But I guess since NiFe don't really care about that, not suffering from sulfation, it matters little.  I'm also looking forward to your first hand assessment of NiFe.

I like your simple solution for the well pump. I've got the same pump with about 200 feet of head to my gravity feed tank on the hill.  I've getting ready to add some PV and some sort of timer/sun sensor for topping off the tank daily via my new inverter also; I can reprogram my battery bank controller to add some new logic like-  if noon and batteries fully charged, and sun level good...pump water unless batteries come out of float.  Do you have any sun level sensing to keep the pump off on a dark day or do you do that manually?


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on October 27, 2017, 05:26:35 PM
NiFe info
my install:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.209715335768594.51674.120212794718849&type=1&l=9747e4dde6

> Maintenance
  lots, every 2 weeks, I add 5 or 6 gallons distilled, 20 gall was too much to do at a time, so I'd shifted the cycles around so I'm only doing a quarter of the bank at any 1 time.

> Charge/Use cycles
 ?? I charge and use them

> Efficiency
  about 60%, that's why they use so much water.

> DOD - how far down do you run them?
 the bank is 40,800 watt hours, (51v [42 cells] * 800Ah). My running voltage at sunrise is about 52v in summer, and 49v winter (longer nights) I figure my nightime consumption runs about 5Kwh. I sized to properly allow for their high internal resistance, and to supply starting surge for deep well pump, so I generally have low voltage droop.  I charge below recommended voltage, because that would fry my inverter.


> How easy to live with, what's the up/down of it?
easy to live with, no winter worries about sulfation, they don't care about partial charge. Edison original pocket construction was quite robust, 100+ year life on calls, but only 5 years on electrolyte. I'm going to have to dump & refill (nasty, messy process) my cells this summer.
my cells came from China
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on October 27, 2017, 05:29:30 PM
Bruce - I use a common Intermatic timer for 11am-4pm run window, and manually switch off in poor sun.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 27, 2017, 06:29:50 PM
Thanks Mike. Your report is most interesting.  The water use is a real eye opener.  Adding 5-6 gallons of distilled water to all the cells every 2 weeks is a show stopper for me.  Is this due to overcharging and thus avoidable with a NiFE smart controller? What does bubble production vs voltage and charge current over time look like?  If they only start really bubbling when fully charged-  charge detection seems the answer.   

Or perhaps there is an automatic waterer available?



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on October 27, 2017, 06:46:00 PM
Quote
Adding 5-6 gallons of distilled water to all the cells every 2 weeks is a show stopper for me.
  Me too.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Tom on October 27, 2017, 07:37:47 PM
My FLA bats, now 10 years old, regularly use 5-6 gal per month. This is a 48v 1055 ah bank of 4 Hawker PV1 batteries. So Mikes water usage is not to far out of line. I made a setup with a 5 gal cooler bottle and 5/16 vinyl hose to water the batts that works very well.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 27, 2017, 08:25:49 PM
I'm feeling better and better about my own small scale DIY 120V system.  I check water in a few batteries annually, add about 1 gallon every other year.  I started with every couple months and just kept extending the period. My neighbor has an improved version of my individual battery regulators and we've gradually increased his temperature compensated float voltage slightly per battery over the last year to reduce variation in specific density between cells.  His (10) battery shunt regulators allow trim pot adjustment of temp compensated battery float, bulk, and equalization voltage levels.  He has even less need for mini-equalization charging now and is down to once a month, and still dropping, no noticeable water use.  He's also using 10 group 29 marine batteries from Johnson Controls (Walmart), at $89 each.  I will be updating my hardware to the new version this winter, knock on wood. 

For wet lead acid some of that water adding is the fault of bad charge/charge controller design,  because of the lack of individual cell (or smaller groups of cells) management.  I designed for AGM, for which you have to be much more careful, as water can't be added(!), so overcharging is not operationally acceptable.

The larger capacity deep cycle wet lead batteries may also NEED high charge rates and some bubbling according to some of the literature I've read on forklift type batteries.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 27, 2017, 10:51:39 PM
I did find lots of nice battery watering systems that could be fully automated.  Fillwatch seems like a nice one, though spendy.  Trojan makes them also.  Freezing of residual water in the tubes above the battery is something that they did not seem to address at all; and would be problematic for me. I don't heat my outdoor vented battery cabinet.

Back to holding my breath for that big battery breakthrough.  If I was a serious survivalist,  NiFe would be more interesting due to extremely long life.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 28, 2017, 12:28:38 AM

Back to holding my breath for that big battery breakthrough.

I think that will come at the same time as the big breakthrough for a clean burning, high HP, lightweight cheap engine.
Been hundreds of these " set the world on fire" Press releases but so far he only one that's come to fruition in my lifetime was the rotary.

There have been lot of new batteries but they all have their problems, cost being the main one.

I'm amazed to hear how much water these battery's take though. Must be very humid in some of these battery sheds with all that Moisture evaporating. 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 28, 2017, 12:44:24 AM
Not water vapor; it's hydrogen and oxygen from electrolysis.  The battery boxes must be vented to minimize explosion risk.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on October 28, 2017, 01:46:44 AM
Hi Bruce

I'm interested in your thinking on this

My last solar setup I basically had panels, fairly cheap deep-cycle batteries, a controller, an inverter and a voltmeter as a "fuel gauge"

I need to build another in a few years when I "retire", and my thinking was that panels, AGMs and one of the smart inverter/controllers that will accept DC and AC inputs, would be a good balance between not too high-tech and not too basic.  It would allow me to use the Lister with the ST head and the DC alternators to contribute 230VAC when I had a "big load" day, or 24VDC to charge batteries when there had been a few low-sunlight days.

Although the beautiful, industrial, heavy-duty batteries such as the Telecon 2V units appeal, I thought the low-maintenance AGMs might be an OK compromise . . . .

Has it been your experience that the extra work of hygrometers, electrolyte, top-ups etc etc is justified?

I'd be interested in your thoughts

Thanks, Mike
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Samo on October 28, 2017, 03:32:51 AM
Quote
NiFe info
my install:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.209715335768594.51674.120212794718849&type=1&l=9747e4dde6

> Maintenance
  lots, every 2 weeks, I add 5 or 6 gallons distilled, 20 gall was too much to do at a time, so I'd shifted the cycles around so I'm only doing a quarter of the bank at any 1 time.

> Charge/Use cycles
 ?? I charge and use them

> Efficiency
  about 60%, that's why they use so much water.

> DOD - how far down do you run them?
 the bank is 40,800 watt hours, (51v [42 cells] * 800Ah). My running voltage at sunrise is about 52v in summer, and 49v winter (longer nights) I figure my nightime consumption runs about 5Kwh. I sized to properly allow for their high internal resistance, and to supply starting surge for deep well pump, so I generally have low voltage droop.  I charge below recommended voltage, because that would fry my inverter.

Thanks for that detail Mike. Like others I was surprised at the water use. I've read they use some but that puts it into perspective. I read about them a bit and it's hard sorting out the truth from the various claims.

cheers,
Samo
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 28, 2017, 04:16:31 AM
Mikenash-
I do use a single 12V AGM battery for my home/shop 12V power; it runs my circ pumps, and is used for control for computers, power, Controllers and such.  For that it makes sense because it allowed me to eliminate a vented battery box in the shop an the winter thermal cost of doing one as well.  The higher charge efficiency and relatively long life for this application (8 years+) make it worthwhile.  I much prefer AGM batteries; I just don't want to pay the premium extra $/month replacement cost.  If they were 1.5 times the cost wet marine batteries, I'd already be using them.

I'd wait to make a decision until you are closer to the time...see what makes sen$e then. For anyone with any family members with neurological, autoimmune or endocrine problems at all, I would suggest reading up about what is being called "dirty power" (the terminology and much of what is written makes me shudder at the technical inaccuracies) and realize that a typical inverter system today has absolutely horrible high frequency emissions radiating from all the connected wiring. This is easily confirmed via AM radio with a non-noise suppression tuner like the old Radio Shack 12-467.

A better plan, health and cost wise, is to get the inverter, panels, and batteries out of the home in an outbuilding, and filter the heck out of the AC power going to the home, which should be in metal conduit after the filter. This saves a great deal of expensive additional expensive shielding of the inverter, filtering the DC from the PV system, etc. and if planned into a multi-use outbuilding, adds no cost.  The trick is to avoid filters that are a high reactive load due to capacitance, either line to line or line to ground, as reactive loads are the same as real loads to most inverter designs; they eat your battery power 24/7. If nothing else, at least use one of the commercial two stage common mode filters by Schaefer or others. (Very low capacitance.)  Who knows, by then, some of the companies my offer a low EMI choice as an option.

Designing in low emissions by the original designer is the way to get the best possible performance at the lowest cost. Today, the public and marketing dweebs only know cost and capacity or some other fancy features; EMI isn't part of public awareness.  When I talked to Magnum power about filtering their product, their engineers knew just where the emissions where in frequency, and how to best tackle it.  Alas, for cost/marketing competitiveness reasons they can't design it in to the design, or even as an add on.  Admitting that these products might be a health risk is something none of them want to go anywhere near.

Generally my thoughts are that parallel batteries are a big mistake, that individual battery regulators ala AGM car battery designs (see manzanitamicro.com - one of the early AGM electric car supporters) are the best way to allow longer serial strings without problems or endless watering issues. I much prefer higher voltages, and find 120VDC very, very handy.  In commercial gear I would avoid less than 48V unless it was for a bargain cabin of very, very low power use.  The lower voltage systems lose a lot of power in voltage drop to the inverter inputs, and in PV wiring, etc.  This is why virtually all new systems have gone to high voltage PV arrays (many greater than 120VDC).  They are still shackled by 48V on the battery side because of the industry influenced decision to allow non-electricians (certified PV installers) to wire up lower voltages.  A technical blunder which will be overtaken, eventually. 

But then some amazing blunders made in around 1920, like the non-transformer isolated  grounding practice of the Wye
power distribution system have continued for nearly 100 years.  Humans tend to cling to our well established blunders.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on October 28, 2017, 05:56:53 AM
bear with my crippled left hand hunt & peck, just got a new shoulder on right side last week
https://www.ucsfhealth.org/treatments/shoulder_replacement/

 water usage in 5-6 gal, every 2 weeks, in about 10 cells.  If i'd waited till they all needed water, it'd take close to 20 gal at a time.   E to F is about half a gallon in a cell
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on October 28, 2017, 06:55:52 AM
Fascinating thoughts Bruce.  Thanks for taking the time to put all that down "on paper"

I hadn't considered emissions/health - something to think about

Cheers
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: dieselspanner on October 28, 2017, 07:16:29 AM
Hi Mike
Just out of interest, where do you get the distilled water from, and a what cost?

Cheers Stef
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 28, 2017, 08:24:20 AM
One of my many income streams is the repair of radio and electronic equipment, and any interferrence from my mains supply would render my workshop useless.. To get an "RF quiet" inverter is difficult, as the EMI filtering is the very first thing left out as a design cost cutting measure. It cannot be added retrospectively.
Most inverters use the "high frequency" approach, where the low voltage DC is chopped at a high frequency to AC, rectified to high voltage DC, then chopped again at 50/60 cycles into  some pretence of an AC  sine wave.
These are cheaper to manufacture and have a fairly small footprint, the high frequencies mean smaller transformers.
The better type are called "low frequency "inverters, where the initial voltage step up is done at the same frequency as the mains output. These are very much quieter, and use less components as everything is done in one conversion stage, but these require large transformers, lots of copper, lots of iron, therefore more expensive..... but very reliable,  the low frequencies minimise commutating losses , less stress in the semiconductors. These are the RFI friendly ones.
Chopping DC using square waves  to do a voltage conversion  creates harmonics.
50/60 Hz harmonics are unlikely to cause issues above the 4th/5th, or a few hundred Hz at low to medium power levels.
High Frequency chopper harmonics extend well into the HF bands, and the house wiring acts as a very efficient radiator/aerial/antenna, transmitting RFI and hash.for many hundreds of meters. 
i have had a good run  with  the Australian SELECTRONIC brand, my two are  low frequency types . are over 20 years old and have  never failed despite running 24/7.  This company still appears to be  in business, but unsure of what design the later offerings use, but there is bound to be other manufacturers using this approach.
To increase reliability with the generic Chinese cheapies, my advice is to divide the building into many self contained circuits, and use a multitude of smaller inverters to run each section independently. Small inverters are cheaper to buy, they tend to die with dignity, generally they just stop working , rather than dramatically catching fire as the bigger ones do, and they will never all fail at once.
But, your gunna be stuck with the RFI problem using these..
Buying expensive inverter equipment is rather like buying expensive power tools, its a great thing at the time, but years down the track, they have become a discontinued model, and either parts are unavailable, Hitachi are very good at this, or the manufacturer has gone out of business.
The smaller Chinese inverters, 300 watts or so will run lights and small appliances well, and will generally last 2/3 years. They hate inductive loads, this is what kills them, voltage spikes caused by poor regulation. The lF types with their big transformers soak up these spikes by virtue of the high inductance between the load and the semiconductors.
Of course, large professional stuff costing megabucks and needing its own building and full time maintenance team is another story entirely.
Im just a little fish.
Our engines may last 100 years, but sadly nothing else we can afford / need will.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 28, 2017, 12:03:29 PM
And another idea. With the vast amounts of Oxygen and Hydrogen  generated by these NiFe batteries,
I have it on good authority that this is whats uniquely known as Browns gas, after he invented it just a few years ago, and can be burned in engines and requiring no other fuel. It makes sense then to run gas lines from the top of each battery into the engine air intake and utilise it as fuel.  The faster the charge rate, the more gas will be needed, and the more gas will be produced, an automatic process.... very neat I thought. The condensed steam from the exhaust will be pure distilled water, and could be returned to the batteries after cooling to  create a closed loop cycle, needing no user input.
Why has no-one thought of doing this?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on October 28, 2017, 12:32:51 PM
I await Glort's rant on perpetual motion machines with some interest  :laugh:
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 28, 2017, 01:11:51 PM


Quote
It makes sense then to run gas lines from the top of each battery into the engine air intake and utilise it as fuel.  The faster the charge rate, the more gas will be needed, and the more gas will be produced, an automatic process.... very neat I thought.

Despite your apparent social issues and need to point score, you seem like you could be a reasonably intelligent fellow. If you think that idea was neat or made sense, I strongly urge you to look much more into this Browns/ hohoho/ hydroxy gas and just what it is Capeable of. have a look at what hydrogen gas as found in batteries does when it lights off as well.
 Forget the crap perpetrated by the morons and " free energy" brigade, Research how powerful this stuff is when it explodes and why it is a real bad Idea to have the oxidizer and the fuel gases mixed in a hose together and a veritable fuse running back to your battery's especially while they are off gassing.
   
If you do that and still think it's a neat idea, I fear for your longevity and those around you. No doubt I'll get to read about you in the papers or see you ( or what's left) on the 6 o'clock news. 

I await Glort's rant on perpetual motion machines with some interest  :laugh:

No need in this case.
Comes down more to the way inept fools kill themselves.
I think this way would be a beauty.
I'm pretty sure Life insurance does not pay out on Suicide but do they still pay if the person met their demise through gross stupidity... which amounted to suicide but wasn't deliberate??
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 28, 2017, 06:03:08 PM
Brown's gas is so highly explosive that any sane gas collection scheme will separate the hydrogen alone and only collect that. Storing hydrogen mixed with even air is just way too volatile and dangerous...no one without a terminal illness and/or death wish would attempt to compress Brown's gas.

You can make hydrogen in a  plastic pail with a tight lid and hose connected with Lye water and aluminum foil; just put the pail in a bigger container of cold water as it's exothermic and will melt the pail otherwise.  Easy on the aluminum.  The first trash bag you fill via the hose will have some air from the pail.  If you light that floating bag with a torch, it will EXPLODE loudly. After that bag, the air is gone and subsequent bags will just go quietly with an almost invisible and barely audible blue whoosh.  This is nothing compared to the volatility of Brown's gas with pure hydrogen and oxygen.

Magnum Energy's off grid inverter is quite popular for cost/performance and claims to be a transformer isolated, low frequency design.  Yet it still blows away the AM band entirely in a home wired with unshielded Romex.  So yes, the low frequency designs can be better, and like the much lauded and long lived Trace SW series, they tend to be more robust and reliable, but there is a lot more involved in good EMC in design that just the topology of the design.  The early German Sunny Boy inverters were reported to be much better for EMI, but they have gone transformerless designs to compete as well.

Remoting a decently reliable inverter, and adding filtration after the fact does reliably work, it's just simpler and cheaper to solve the problem in design. For example I've had both military grade filter companies Genesco in California and RFI Corp in NY develop special high performance filters for home inverter use that use less than 15 watts of power 24/7 due to capacitance.  Both were able to exceed -100 dB of filter performance at 100KHz and above.  They do cost roughly $2500 US, and do not change the directly radiated emissions from the inverter or the attached DC side wiring, so a remote setup is still needed.  For new construction, I also highly recommend all home wiring in EMT (thinwall steel) conduit with compression fittings.  It was and is a technical/public health blunder to have unshielded wiring all around you and then plug in many strong sources of EMI such as switching power supplies, variable speed motor drives, etc.  Just one particularly bad power supply can trash ALL the entire connected wiring. Again, something you can prove to yourself with a $15 AM radio in your own home, on or off grid.










Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on October 28, 2017, 06:05:15 PM
i get R/O, DI water from the water store locally. 50 cents per gallon.   I also test it with a TDS tester, and it's always been ok
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on October 28, 2017, 09:40:48 PM


Humour, Glort.  ("Humor") for our friends Stateside
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 28, 2017, 11:46:37 PM
Ah, I should have realized Starfire's  post regarding Brown's gas was a spoof, a sarcastic poke at free energy,etc.  My apologies, Starfire. 



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 29, 2017, 12:17:40 AM
Non needed Bruce....
I have periods where the different cultures and the sense of humour of the different countries interests me.... world wide forums like this one gives access to this multiculturalism very easily. We have a love hate relationship too with our Australian neighbours,   where we take delight in rassing them at any opportunity
I suspect the US would have a similar thing going with Canadians.
We inherited the "dry" and subtle humour of the British, it can easily fall flat on some.
I will try to moderate my poor behaviour in future.......
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 29, 2017, 01:05:18 AM
Ah, I should have realized Starfire's  post regarding Brown's gas was a spoof, a sarcastic poke at free energy,etc.  My apologies, Starfire.
When a comedian tells jokes and no one laughs, it's not the audience's fault.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 29, 2017, 01:59:16 AM

The mismatched array's seem to be working very well.  The cloud has been pretty heavy for quite a few days and we even got rain but I have still been getting 16-20 KWH a day which I'm well pleased with.

A small problem has developed where the RCD protection on the fuse box has been shutting the power off.  I think either there is a nick in the extension cord somewhere or the plastic bag I put the plugs in to protect them from the rain has got humidity that is causing the earth leakage. I'll get a new lead today or I might just make a whole cable out of 2.5mm Builders cable and run it through some conduit I have.

I will looking at starting to get the panels on the roof even if I just lie them down. They are lying on the grass now so at least on the roof they will have a 5o Tilt. Have to secure them at least together but I don't think there is much chance of them blowing off lying flat on the lower tier of the roof anyway.
Getting them up will the the thing.

 I had a small surgery through the week that was supposed to take me out for at least a couple of weeks but I'm feeling pretty good. Went back yesterday for a look over and the guy was amazed how well I looked and said I'm one of the exceptions. Thank god for that. Usually I'm the one that had the problems no one else does.  He thought I was joking when he asked if I took it easy the next day and I said yeah, went and bought a mower and did the lawns, cleaned out some gutters, cut down some bushes, Plantd out some seedlings in the garden before the rain and just sat on my arse the rest of the day. He laughed and said, so you spent the day in bed.  When my wife said No, that's what I had done, I could see the look on his face change.  I was determined not to let it get me down. Do something and keep moving, not sit round and linger on feeling crook. Only had 1/4 of the pain Killers I should have as well. They might help with one thing but you pay the price with side effects.  I know what real pain is and it's not physical.

Not sure how to get the panels up on the roof. Might just have to carry them up the ladder then slide them over. That will be OK for the first one but don't want to have to get up and move every one as I go.  Simple jobs become so much more difficult on your own than when there is someone to help. I Might be able to lay some long beams I have against the shed and stack the panels at the bottom then get the Mrs to put a hook on each one and then I can pull them up.


I emailed Bosch about the AC plug I needed for my 5 Kw Inverter and they were very helpful and are sending me one for free. Thought I'd get stung an arm and a leg so that as a nice surprise. I'll wire all the panels on the shed to that one inverter in 2 strings. I want to put at least 6.5 KW of panels on it so see how I go with layout. I reckon I can get 27 panels in total up there so that should work out just about right. I'm thinking about having them different angles but I don't think it matters. Might just be easier and use less material than having them all the same.
The rest I'll look at putting on the Verandah roof. Miles of room on the house but I'll check my framing setup is OK before I put things on the house. Then again, being a colour bond roof and covering it, won't be too many places for water to get in anyway.

Thinking 10KW of panels should be about right to cover all our electrical needs.  Also thinking that I May even have to turn them off for a bit in spring and autumn when the AC isn't used or,  Just use it anyway! :0)

I found this on YT which could be good for raising and lowering the panels.  I was thinking of having them in groups of 4 and thei would easily handle the weight of around 100KG.
Can get all the car jacks and wiper motors I want for nothing.  Only thing Might be locking them in place when they are in place. Might just have to get up there for that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxhBMiyy3y0
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: dieselspanner on October 29, 2017, 08:51:17 AM
Well spotted for the actuators, Glort.

Not sure they'd stand continuous use but for altering the angle of pv panels a few times a year they'd be great.

Stef

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 29, 2017, 10:31:38 AM

Yes, I thought I would cantilever the panels so the movement of the jack was magnified in the angle of the panels.  If the jacks were under the panels they would be sheltered and a good coat of grease on the screw and pivot points should keep them them running easily.

My thought is making a frame for 4 panels to pivot. The concern is if the panels are screwed to say 40mm tube top and bottom with the jack anchored to the roof and the base on multiple hinges on the roof bolts,  is that going to be enough to hold the panels down in the wind?  If yes, then I could have a system I could change the angle of monthly If I wanted and even daily for cloudy weather.

That could make for some interesting findings on it's own.

Of course that brings me back to my own law of solar: Always easier and cheaper to add more panels to increase effectiveness of a system than increase it's efficiency.

I was looking at my shed roof today. Even the south side gets sun by 10 Am. With just a 5o pitch, I'd only have to elevate the panels about 80-90 Cm to get winter angle and less than that for summer. That's another 2kw plus easy and cheap to set up.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 29, 2017, 05:24:57 PM
I concur Glort, for roof mount, fixed is probably best, especially since you have access to bargain, young, used panels and are doing a fairly large capacity PV setup.  Pick an angle that gives you good-enough performance when you can use it most, and acceptable performance the other parts of the year.  Your biggest dilema is planning for the inevitable- the power co. noticing your power bill is too small or mandating digital smart meters.

My off grid neighbor wants to do some small farming/animal raising- which means lots of inverter water pumping here in AZ.  This is the one case where historically sun-tracked panels made sense as it adds hours of power for water pumping; battery storage has too much ongoing cost, still.  With 2017 PV cost, adding panels for afternoon summer sun is probably his best bet since early AM summer sun is blocked by a hill.  If we put a vertical panel array (5 panels for his 120VDC system) on standard round steel tube fence gate type panel(s) mounted on post(s) like gates, we can swing it back to facing the SSW for winter and have ''free'' additional winter gain which will help on darker winter days.  His SO would also like later PV input in summer so she can use more electric cooking for dinner.





Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on October 30, 2017, 09:22:29 AM
I concur Glort, for roof mount, fixed is probably best, especially since you have access to bargain, young, used panels and are doing a fairly large capacity PV setup.  Pick an angle that gives you good-enough performance when you can use it most, and acceptable performance the other parts of the year. 

I continue to learn with this stuff every day. Today I learn you are absoloutley Right Bruce.

It's hot today so the Daughter has had the AC on. Going out to look at the meters I can see I'm going to have to put up more panels. Probably about 10 KW to achieve my goal. Once again, the day started out sunny then just after lunch the cloud came over and doesn't that knock the guts out of the PV generation.  I'm standing there watching the meters, a cloud comes over and you can see the thing slow down like someone hit the brakes on a car wheel on a jack stand.  Even more horrific when it starts going backwards.

I was reading up some more on the panel tilt and thinking about how to do it with the jacks.  I have given the idea away.
 I got onto the PVwatts site and they surprisingly calculate for my area.  Punching in the numbers was a revelation.
I'm going to do fixed and at the summer angle. I have come to this conclusion for a few reasons....

The " ideal" angle is not. Not near it to my way of thinking. It's in fact a compromise and fo9r me, a poor one.  In winter you want 15o more and in summer you want 15o Less tilt. That makes the angle ideal Spring and autumn.... where I don't need AC or heating because the weather is mild and will therefor use less power.  When I do want it, summer and winter, it's not ideal for either which is illogical.

The difference between the winter tilt and the summer tilt is Bugger all. The greatest Difference between mid winter generation with winter tilt and summer tilt is 40 KWH a month.  For me, that's $12 worth.  If I run the lister or one of the bigger engines, I can make that up in 3 daylight hour runs. Or less.

I printed out the numbers for the ideal angle, 34o and the summer angle I put as 20o.  Obviously I get the most power in summer which is where I'm going to want it.  In winter I can put on more clothes.  Running round bare arsed in summer isn't going to make me any cooler than a pair of shorts.
I can put more blankets on at night to keep warm and having just got a king size bed, there is plenty of room for another cat or 3 for warmth. I have 5.

The difference between summer and ideal angle over the course of the year was a real eye opener as far as total generation was concerned.
I worked on a 10 Kw system  correctly oriented.  The total difference in output was 99Kw year, or 8.25 Kwh a month.
I have already well seen, the weather is going to have a hugely greater influence than that.  A cloud can knock off a KWH of production in an hour with the system I already have.
100KWH a year isn't even an actual, it's an estimate and I'll bet that would vary by easily 500% year to year.

The other thing that was evident is that trying to optomise for winter is a bit of a mugs game. The yield is down so far anyway, You are chasing piddly amounts that make no difference in the scheme of things. Far better to give the lister a run.

And the REAL eye opener that is often touted but FAR more realistic than I ever could have imagined......
To make up the YEARS losses of putting the panels at the summer rather than Ideal angle would be compensated by putting 1 additional 250W panel on a 10 KW array. 1 panel! It's that little different over all except I make more when I'll use it and less when I may have too much.

The thing is with the summer tilt is I gain when I want the power and the losses occour when I can most afford them.  With 10 KW I think it may be possible I have to shut the system down for a bit or go to hot water diversion at least part of the year to avoid going backwards on the meter and ending up with a lower reading than the last one. This would be bad as would surely have someone coming out to see what was going on. My big ace in the hole is using the grid as a battery and I do not want to loose that. I will eventually with smart meters but for the mean time, it's worth a LOT to me and I want to keep it.  Happy to pay $100 a month or so to have the grid and all it's benefits, I don't expect to pay nothing and with supply charges wether you use power or not, I'm still up for $100 a quarter.

Another upshot of going for summer angle is I will be able to save a little material in making up the frames and something I was reading about earlier, the lower the panels the less chance of damage or trouble from high winds.  I also read about something that was on my mind, Roofs are not meant to hold down heavy lift loads.  They tend to be designed to neutralize that with minimal lift and weight over all.

Not worrying about adjustable panels will make things hugely simpler.  Being fixed I can bolt them down and not have to worry about wind. I am going to extend the shed and I was going to make it stronger than the existing structure so here's another benefit in doing that. 
There is one downside though to this decision of going with the summer tilt.... My house roof is at the " Ideal" angle and I don't want that any more!  Going to be putting all the panels I can get on that shed roof!


Quote
Your biggest dilema is planning for the inevitable- the power co. noticing your power bill is too small or mandating digital smart meters.

The small bill I assess as a low risk. this has been mentioned in discussions of what I'm doing and been on my mind. I have asked a few people I know whom go away for long periods or have holiday homes that are not often used and I can't find anyone that says there have been any quiries. They may do some checks but they are not letting the owners know and I have an idea they may have to.

From what I understand, there are no alarms in place for low use here, they only look for High usage.  At my other place I ran a back feed generator a lot and had no trouble in years.
A couple of things occurred to me with that just these last couple of days.  I bought a ride on mower off a guy house sitting for a mate. He bought the place that has a heap of land and is developing and sub dividing it. No one lived in the place for 7 Months but the guy had the power on  for when he would occasionally come there to mow lawns etc.  The bill would be very low there.

I also was talking to my uncle, I call him and my Aunt the great grey nomads. They go off caravaning all the time and a neighbour looks after the place.
He shuts down all his power circuits bar a couple of lights on a timer. He told me their actual power bill can be less than $50 in power charges plus the " supply" fee.  I asked him and he said he has NEVER been queried about it.
About every second resident in this area being all older folk have caravans in their yards so I think low power bills ( as well as significant ones given the size and luxury of the homes) would be pretty normal.

With the lower angle I want to use, now wondering if 25mm sq tube will be OK to mount the panels on (And screw them together at the sides as well) or If I need to go to 40mm?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on October 30, 2017, 09:48:10 AM
Here is a quick frequency scan of a typical cheap High Frequency DC to AC inverter showing just how noisy they are in a radio frequency sense.  The spectrum analyser is struggling to keep the RF interference levels on screen. Without getting technical, thats a logarithmic vertical scale, each division is twice the  amplitude of the one below it, so around a 1000 to 1 increase over quiescent background noise..  Vertical scale is the amplitude of the interference, the horizontal scale represents the frequency of each harmonic. The total scan width here is zero to 30 MHz, or the complete BC AM and Shortwave broadcast band. The harmonics on this inverter example extended  to well over 500MHz  despite the output frequency being  at 50 Hz.
The analyzer itself is operating off a Low Frequency inverter, with no signs of interference at all and having no additional supression.


https://youtu.be/xmoqa5KFo7U
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on October 30, 2017, 03:59:56 PM
Typically the thinwall square tube is a pretty good deal, and you won't see a big price jump in going a bit oversize for safety/overkill.  Reducing holes in the roof is the goal- so larger square tube and fewer attachments to the roof makes sense to me. Your roof material/construction also would make a difference, as would the number and spacing of rails.

I'm absolutely not a roof mount expert...you might want to take a look see at bigger company or more reputable  residential or commercial jobs in your area and at the commercial hardware being used.  See how high above the roof they are mounting them -  trade off for wind and heat.  Some engineer likely figured out something that was a good trade off for cost/performance.

The 250 watt panels typically use 50 mm C section aluminum that is pretty strong.  On my smaller roof mounted panels I use nothing but 4  L brackets made of 1/8 x 2" steel, except for the winter tilt 12V panel on my shop which has braces off the top edge.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 10, 2017, 11:47:00 AM

I continue to learn and have fun with this... and the panels for the moment continue to be on the ground BUT.....

Today I got up on the roof and took measurements and notes. Checked the angles of the shed roof and put a panel up there so I could Check elevation heights etc.
The top section of the roof is at 13o The lower sections only 5o.  I will be able to get 2 rows of panels, I think, on the lower wider levels and a single row on the top. On the south side of the top section I'll be able to get another row by elevating them back to the correct pitch which won't make them that much higher off the roof on the far end and flush on the ridge.

I'm not sure how i'll be able to do the bottom rows yet.  I was thinking of tilting each row separately but thinking about it more, as they will be virtually butted up together, that's going to cause shadowing. I think i'll run 2 rails the length of the roof. One just back from the top of the lower set and another at the top of the highest set.  I'll screw the whole lot together in one big sheet so the top of the lower panels supports the lower section of the top ones.

I think the key to the stability will be the bracing on the roof so I'll go one strut per panel along the rows.  Maybe 12 for the 9 panels.  I only have to have the panels 40 Cm elevated off the roof to get the right angle... or is that 40 for the first panel and 80 for the one behind?
 I'm thinking that 30mm sq tube should be enough. If I screw the panels together and then to the tube, should be quite strong structurally.  Might run a bit of glue as well to really hold them tight.

We had some rain and the next day both my inverters were playing up.  They were well covered and dry so I knew it had to be the dodgy temp wiring. Surprisingly, one kept throwing a grid fault that the me for a bit while I checked there was no water in the lead connections and the earth leakage breaker hadn't tripped again.  Eventually I found both problems to be the same. The connections on the DC sides had burnt out basically through not putting them in the Acorns properly.  I cut and re stripped the wires, Put them in large terminal block well twisted together with the panel outputs on one side and the feed to the inverter the other and all came good.  very good.

Last 2 days have been sunny, although yesterday more than today and well eclipsed my previous high generation for the day of 28Kwh with a 31 Kwh.
Being today was a bit hazy at times, I think I made the same due to the inverters being maxed out.  I thought I may get to 30 Kwh before, Now I reckon with a 5 Kw inverter and running the proper 2.5mm cable to the mains instead of the pissy 1.0mm extension leads I have atm, I may get as much as an extra 5Kwh a day. That and the fact the shed roof gets maybe an hour more useful sunlight than the place I have the panels on the ground.

have made good progress on winding back the meters this last couple of days. Will have to turn the systems off on sunday evening as a meter read is due next week and I don't want  to spoil the party straight off with a reader reporting my backward spinning meters.  I was told a lot of these guys are basicly trained labour force type people that may be distributing leaflets one day and reading meters the next but don't want to chance it.  Have to rig up some indicator on the box so I know when they have been and turn things back on.  :0)


Also found something else interesting.
The 2 extension leads I am using have a lot of resistance at the plugs themselves.  The leads are cool but the plugs on both get warm. These are store bought, commercial type cables not the ordinary home use ones.  The odd part is that the leads I made myself using the same gauge wire but with individual plugs I wired up remain perfectly cool.  Both of the bought leads are the same and both of my DIY leads are too.
I'll get some new plugs when I'm at the hardware next time and re wire the leads myself and see what happens.  I figured the resistance was in teh lead not the plugs.  The female plugs are fine, only the male ends are getting toasty.

I also re wired my 5Kw inverter. had some weirdo plug on the thing and although they said they were going to send me one, haven't seen anything yet.
Opened the inverter, unscrewed the unobtainable plug fitting and just hardwired a lead to which I put an ordinary household male plug.
This inverter works but only up to about 2.3 Kw then trips out on voltage again. I suspect not so much the lead length any more but the plugs on them.
lead should be good for at least 3 Kw.

Prices of used panels seem to have gone up. I was paying $40 for 250's before but now everyone seems to have jacked the price to $60 and won't negotiate. maybe too many people taking note of what I say and buying used panels for their setups.
Still amazed at the prices being asked though. One clown today gave me a serve on my offer for 8 panels which turned out to be 190's not 250's as he advertised  and a faulty inverter. System had been replaced with a new larger one.  Told me I was trying to rip him off at $350 and wouldn't sell for less that  $1650 which is pretty much half what a new  installed 5Kw system can be had for. And of course the mark of true idiots selling second hand good that don't work, "It was in good condition".  Why do they think not working is in any way " good condition"??
What are these clowns smoking?

I wrote back and dressed him down.  I said my guess was the inverter failed, you got someone in to get it repaired, they said can't do, you wanted to get another one they said can't do that because the panels  and install don't meet current regs and the price of a new inverter alone was probably half the prices of a whole new system. You can claim solar subsidy on a system but not just an inverter, so you went for a new 5Kw system instead of the 1.5 kw you had and now are being a greedy Pri*% and asking half as much for the system you know is worth next to nothing to fund your brand new larger system. You have it in your head what this one cost 7-8 years ago and like an idiot, think you should get a return on the old higher price even though you well know new systems are a fraction of what they used to be. 

I said get back to me and tell me I'm wrong.
He didn't.   What a surprise.

Clearly he's not the only one doing this. People asking ridiculous prices every day for things they know they can't upgrade or re install on a metered system.

Have to be patient, a reasonable person will come along eventually and I'll grab another 20  250W panels then.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 10, 2017, 06:29:52 PM
Does Australia receive FOX News?  Humor is where you find it.

I think this last page of posts underline Elon Musk's current criticism of Hydrogen powered fuel cell power.  When we have way more electrical power than we need then that tune will most likely change.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 10, 2017, 10:56:10 PM

Hydrogen is a feel good scam for the greenwashed to attract investment Dollars.
It's not an energy source, it's simply a storage medium.... With a hell of a lot of practical drawbacks that mean it will never see wide spread use.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 11, 2017, 04:07:36 PM
Good Grief

So how is the big solar storage thing going?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 11, 2017, 11:38:28 PM

I believe it's going very well to make Musk about $50m in cash and add to the hype of RE.

Great scam that was too....."I'll build it in 100 days or it's free but my mate who I cooked this up with, has to sign off on the connection before the clock starts which will take till I'm  3/4 the way through building the thing. "

Independent experts are confident it should have enough capacity to boil the kettles in every home in the state, once...... as long as 80% of them have gas.   ::)

If you think I'm solar Smitten as a save the world solution just because I'm using it and stuffing around in my own back yard, You'd be very wrong.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 16, 2017, 10:40:18 AM
Im pretty impressed with my Chinese solar panels. Have had 30 amps for 10 hours  a day now for nigh on a week, batteries are bulging with hot electrons. Lister hasnt run for the longest time in its history, its looking a little lost and neglected.
This is my first summer with a decent lot of PVs... they are pretty boring, no moving parts, no comforting exhaust note, and have never heard my batteries bubbling before because of the noise.
Just read an article, China is now leading in  electric vehicle , battery technology and solar panel manufacture.
My next battery bank will be a 2 kW Toyota Prius battery pack rewired to 48 volts. These are $3000NZ new, very competitive with a similar bank of lead acid.
Im sure a charge controller can be designed to allow car alternators to charge these correctly without damage.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 19, 2017, 09:38:22 AM
Hey Starfire, re China and EVs

Dunno if you take any notice of the Nurburgring?  It's kinda THE forum to sort out the men from the boys when someone claims to be making a genuinely fast car.  Not just fast in a straight line, or fast off the mark, or fast through a set of tight bends - but genuine real-world point-to-point FAST

Last time I looked the fastest thing around the Nurburgring was, you guessed it, a 1400 HP, Chinese-built electric car

Way of the future perhaps?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 19, 2017, 05:40:54 PM
Hmmm-  Prius cells are only 6.5 ah, so I'm not so sure about this approach. I don't know what kind of individual cell charge management they use in these Prius modules; some approaches don't lend themselves to parallel cells. I also wonder what the residual cycle life curve looks like after 80% depletion.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 19, 2017, 06:23:10 PM
I did a bit more reading on the Prius battery packs. No wonder so many are available cheap-  they don't have a good cell management system so cells are drifting out of match and then failing prematurely.  You must then replace all of your mixing varying aged cells will result in very poor performance. They seem to be monitoring two blades of 7V in series but don't provide enough detail to know what the problem with their battery management system is. Individual cell voltage/charge management isn't use and I believe most EVs do that to avoid this type of problem.

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.1028.2529&rep=rep1&type=pdf

They certainly aren't ideal for off grid power use.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on November 19, 2017, 07:16:00 PM
Quote
They certainly aren't ideal for off grid power use.

Certainly not as-is, if they're not doing per-cell management... but if you've got the electronical wizardry necessary (I haven't... but I do have a very clever friend I can ask who would be able to work it out), and you can modify the pack to do per-cell management, then you'd be able to rescue a cheap "dead" pack, quite possibly to near-original efficiency.

This used to be what killed laptop batteries off: The individual cells would drift out of sync, so when you charged them, the charger stopped when the most-charged cell reached capacity; but your battery would be "flat" when the least-charged cell discharged. Meanwhile, if the "most charged" cell still had 90% of its charge - tough! The battery was apparently flat. And charging the battery would only put (in this case) around 10% charge into the discharged cell before it stopped. Hence the "5 minute runtime" and the bad rep Lithium batteries got early in their lives. These days, all cells are individually monitored and charged, so laptop batteries don't degrade anything like how they used to. I do wonder, how many perfectly good LiIon or NiMH batteries got thrown away, just because they weren't being charged correctly?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 19, 2017, 08:22:26 PM
I concur, AdeV.   Same thing happens with lead acid batteries, but there regular equalization charging (adding water and sacrificing positive plate life for the best cells) is typically used to compensate for the drift in charge rate of individual cells and groups of cells (batteries).

The AGMs in the early EV days were dying very quickly until battery management was developed to reduce it. They could not be equalized for long periods or the electrolyte got dried up.  The simple individual 12v battery shunt regulator (limiting individual battery voltage) as used by Manzanita Power saved the day and is the approach I used for my 120V bank. It works surprisingly well; the batteries become more and more matched over time instead of less, kicking to absorption and float stages within half a minute of each other and a bad battery can be replaced without concern for matching.  Watering just a bit over a gallon every 2nd year doesn't break my heart either.  On my neighbor's upgraded version, we found equalization charging to match individual cells within a battery (checked via hygrometer) can be virtually eliminated by a slight increase in float voltage, since the batteries are typically in float all afternoon.  His system bulk charges at a higher current than mine so we watched things closely the first year.

I think even in 48V wet lead banks battery life could be improved by individual battery management. Yes, it adds cost and complexity, but over time, the ongoing replacement cost of batteries is the biggest component of your power bill. I haven't seen it offered in any 48V system yet.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 20, 2017, 10:12:14 AM
Interesting. I dont know for sure but this is what Im thinking.
Prius packs are packs of 7 volts that are seriesed to 210 volts or so.
The packs as received  are monitored at 1/3rd  sections, or at the 70 volt taps.
If they were  seriesed to two  x 15 paralleled, ie 14 volts x 15, to get a nominal 14 volts at  6.5ah X 15 = close to 100ah.
Monitoring parallel packs is easier than many  series cells, so runaway cells "should" be held down by the other paralleled cells.
By making two independent packs of 50ah, each can be alternatively 100 percent discharged so every charge cycle starts from a known start point.
As I understand it, they dont mind a hefty discharge cycle, but are fussy about charging.
If charging from a known low state of charge, then a simple watt hour meter will control /indicate a reasonable charge time.
If a fixed charge rate can be given, then a simple timer may be sufficient.
The charging can easily be kept below the 100 percent full without damaging the pack, or needing fancy charge controllers.
The encouraging thing with these, to get the equivqlent AH from lead acid requires  around 800ah to prevent excessively hard discharge cycling.
The size reduction and maintenance issues are also bloody enticing as well.
A low voltage detect will allow each bank to switch itself in and out when it needs to be charged.
Problems with inverters are likely as the bank voltage rises, if we have a "48 volt" system, the nearest pack voltage will be 7 volts X 8 cells = 56 volts, probably too high, or 7 volts X 6 cells = 42 volts, probably too low.
14 volts for a nominal 12 volt system is good, and the higher current drain suits these cells.
Thats my thinking anyway.
By using light intercell interconnections, a shorted cell will fuse itself automatically isolating itself from the bank.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 20, 2017, 04:32:48 PM
I did some reading on manzanitamicro.com about their lithium battery regulators. I was dead wrong about paralleling of lithium cells being a problem; since voltage and state of charge are directly linked for lithium cells (unlike lead acid) parallel cells can be managed together.  Alas, series lithium cells MUST be managed separately according to literature at manzanitamicro.com and other sources.  So it would seem there there is no way to avoid series cell management if long battery life is desired.  Prius switched to the battery they used late in the game and it pretty well proves that short cuts don't work; their early failure rate is commonly acknowledged.  They are only monitoring current and temperature in pairs of 7v modules and are not doing cell voltage limiting.

Manzanita's scheme for lithium batteries is similar to their lead-acid; shunt regulators with thermal feedback to the charger to have it cut back on charge current as shunting current (heat sink temp) gets higher.  So rate of charge is limited by amount of current handling of the shunt regulators, keeping the best cells from overcharging. They use on/off switching of a shunting mosfet and power resistor to limit the cell voltage.

Other regulator schemes use more elaborate means- using the shunted power through a switching power converter to help feed the other cells rather than dissipate it all as heat.  The trade off being much higher complexity, and a lot of EMI generated.

All together, the individual cell regulators, monitoring equipment and variable rate charger that manzanitamicro sells is a fairly complex system-  but with our present battery tech, it's the best approach to get good battery life.  Tesla does something similar, but I have not studied their design. I don't believe they would add the extra complexity and cost unless it was absolutely needed. 







Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 21, 2017, 12:42:49 AM
I couldn't resist checking for information on Tesla's battery management scheme.  They don't provide any technical details but others have torn apart batteries to have a look and have reported their findings.  I had a couple hours entertainment searching for useful engineering info.

Their modules of cells use a TI battery management chip (bq76PL536A) which I could read the datasheet for.  It is stackable to 191 levels on the SPI bus and handles 6 series cells per chip. It has 6 dedicated outputs to drive N-ch mosfets with power resistors for cell balancing. It monitors voltages and temperatures so the main charge controller can adjust charge current, etc. 

A nice bunch of electronics to manage the Tesla batteries with their racks of small lithium cells, but they did it right.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 21, 2017, 03:36:32 AM
I think the longer a series string becomes, the likelyhood of mismatched cells/charging increases.
With low voltage  parallel strings, the problem diminishes.... I think.
However, 1000 AH of lead acid runs to $3000 here in NZ to give the 20 percent depth of discharge of 200ah and maybe 5 years of useful life.
For the same price we can have the equivalent in Lithium cells that will do the same job, smaller with no maintenance, and even if the lifespan is similar, they still have these advantages anyway.
One faulty cell in a series string limits the whole battery to that what the faulty cell can provide, one faulty cell in a parallel config will reduce the AH by a paultry 6/7 ah, everything else remains the same., both current and voltage.
This allows the battery to be micromanaged, replacing faulty cells only, not the whole thing.
It would be uneconomic to have a hugely fancy and complex charge controller, but if one was not required, the economics are there and make more sense.
The likes of Prius/Tesla, they have to consider fast charging, regenerative braking power inputs, output currents, temperature etc, this may explain the complexity,  but with off grid stuff, its a simple known current in, known current out thing.
Thats why I thought to divide the bank into two, and charge one while using the other, overcharging seems to be the bain of these type of battery, and unlike lead acid, will not be damaged by full discharging, and partialy full charging... maybe to 75 percent only.
The electronics to detect low voltage and when to switch out a bank is trivial, as is a timer to control charging time. Both sytems can simply control an old fashioned low tech change over relay even via the ubiquitous 555 timer..

The internet seems confusing at times just what these batteries need, but for off grid use, I think it can be kept quite simple. Even if each paralleled pairs were seperately and manually monitored with a voltmeter once a month by having shorting links, battery health could be monitored initially to see how its working out.
If there were a constant degradation then it would need looking into, but chances are they would perform reasonably well.
Even a real time battery capacity test could be automagically computed by monitoring output watthours, then charging the same bank with an added 20 percent or so, whatever the charge/chemical efficiency is.
The best scenario is just to connect and forget.
My lead acids have a few years left yet, but I do think these Prius packs are worth a try.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 21, 2017, 04:13:29 AM
And Bruce, thats a great bit of info you linked to, thanking you.
They appear to ground the center tap, and differentially compare the end voltages to detect battery malfunction.... the absolute voltages are ignored, only the difference will flag a battery error, this is a good way to do this. The charging/discharge current of 63 amps ( 63 x 210 = 13 kW) does give a very large total voltage change, but remember, this is  with all in  series .
The equivalent charge rate at the nominal 14 volts will be  well over  900 amps.... hardly likely in real life.
A 14 volt paralleled pack would change from approx 6.2 x 2 = 12.4 volts discharged to 8.2 X 2 = 16.4 volts during charging.... a tad high, but this would reduce at a lowered charging current.... most connected inverters would overvolt and shut down at this point.
By bank switching, this is not a problem however.
Its unclear if each module can be further disassembled to replace individual cells, but everything is possible.
The main cell failure mode seems to be shorted cells, or chemical degradation over time.
Looking at the figures, an off grid situation will baby these cells compared to what EVs demand from them.
Thats if I have interpreted the figures rightly.
As mentioned, shorted cells become increasingly manageable at low voltages and paralleled modules.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 21, 2017, 04:30:02 AM
Another thing of interest is the cell leakage problem, where moisture can cause power leakage to ground or adjacent cells. This will not be an issue at lower voltages either.  As we go higher in a series chain, the voltage to ground increases, and smaller amounts of leakage will have a larger effect.
The mention that cells degrade faster as we get to the center of the pack, suggesting temperature damage, will also not be an issue with much less charging current.  However a high discharge current could still cause temperature differential.
My answer to this would be simply to immerse the whole thing in a container  of oil.
Again, Prius takes 63 amps from each cell. Off grid at say a 100 amp draw would take 100/15, or only 6 amps per cell, thats a huge difference, a factor of 10.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 21, 2017, 04:38:06 AM
I don't think lithium cell charge/discharge rate is the only issue, as most laptops charge at moderate currents and discharge slowly yet most have gone to per cell management.  It's the varying charge resistance and efficiency over time between cells.  Each cell must be kept within a range of voltages (high and low) for good lifespan, somehow. Since you are contemplating a very low voltage battery, with massively parallel 6 ah cells, it seems some cell balancing via simple fixed voltage shunt regulators would be a reasonable effort and expense.

Prius got mostly away with more limited cell management, so with some clever design you could too. I will eagerly await your report, Starfire. 




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 21, 2017, 05:24:03 AM
Tesla I think is largely a collection of existing technology with  some clever marketing. It uses nothing more than a large bank of laptop batteries, a powerful electric motor, and clever and visible  electronics, all packaged to appeal to the American love of horsepower and bling.
Even the exclusive price tag creates an elite ownership, and is not seen  as a disadvantage.
Prius on the other hand appeals to the commuter, the greenie, the average bloke wanting reliability and cost effective motoring at a good price. This meant a smaller electric motor and battery, and the petrol engine to compliment it.
More complex by far, and having far more innovation.
Not to belittle any of this, but at the end of the day we are really looking at nothing more than a laptop battery pack, an electric drill power pack, or anything similar, running an electric motor, just on a much bigger scale.
Economies of scale suggest that a Prius battery pack containing 38 modules of 6 X 1.2 volt 6.5 ah Lithium cells will be the cheapest and most convenient way to buy them in this quantity.
Looking on Allibaba,  I see these......

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Big-promotion-100-PCS-many-of-the-original-18650-2600-mah-lithium-ion-rechargeable/32319166341.html?ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_5_10152_10065_10151_10344_10068_10345_10342_10547_10343_10340_10341_10548_10541_10562_10084_10083_10307_10175_10060_10155_10154_10539_10312_10059_10313_10314_10534_10533_100031_10103_10073_10594_10557_10596_10595_10142_10107,searchweb201603_1,ppcSwitch_5&btsid=d8063deb-3f6e-4745-9c80-e68c47d48db3&algo_expid=9f772f63-0e80-4d46-bbb8-59c3d938dbcf-23&algo_pvid=9f772f63-0e80-4d46-bbb8-59c3d938dbcf&rmStoreLevelAB=0

at 2600mAh, so we need to parallel 3 to get our 6.5 ah at 1.2 volts.
We then need  12 in series to get our 14 volts.
We then repeat this 15 times, to get our equivalent 100ah.
Thats 3 X 12 X 15 =  540 cells.
$400 for 100 cells, special promotion price, we are  gunna spend around $2400
Then we need to package them.
I dont know about you, but to connect 540 batteries together would drive me nuts, and take me hours to do.
Toyota have already done this for us......
Looking at it this way, they seem pretty good value.

Has Glort surfaced..... im getting a little concerned about him......???
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 21, 2017, 05:36:07 AM
Prius gets mileage similar to many small economical diesel cars sold in Europe (but no offered in the US), but at many times the price. Hurray for greenwashing. Americans...well, what more can you say, we're notorious and infamous.

I'm standing in for Glort. I hope he's just on vacation.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 21, 2017, 05:53:08 AM
Your messages are far too short to be a good Glort, but I appreciate you trying though.....
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 22, 2017, 05:36:59 PM
I was diesel crazy a couple of years ago until I got used to the truck smelling - - - kinda sweet from fry oil.  Then I realized how much of the fuel was being ingested by my lungs.  Next thing I thought of was the day I washed the cream head liner in my Karmen Ghia.  It was actually white and the yellow crap streaming down the windows - YIKES!.  I was tobacco clean a month later but not free at least six months.  I had a chest X-ray 40 years later and the evaluation included some discussion about my smoking.  Flabbergasted; I was.  You might conclude Never Free From the Man.

I've never slowed down or changed routes for a Prius.  Buses and large trucks - Absolutely.

Amen starfire.  Nice introductory glort styled paragraph but your 5000 words short on the conclusion.  I hope my Greenie reply is with merit.  (Not a hidden ad for menthol cigarettes.)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 22, 2017, 11:11:31 PM
FWIW if you go to Wellington (capital city of our small country) the CBD roads are clogged with Prius taxis.  You'll never see a "Kiwi" face driving them, they are all folks from the Indian subcontinent & neighbours like Afghanistan - Hard-working folks whose English and qualifications aren't good enough to get them a regular job and who are self-employed as a result.  I figure they kinda stick together, cos someone has been importing Priuses (is that the plural?) from Japan by the container-load.

BUT, here's the thing - they say they are all Gen11 models.  Not the Gen 1 and not the later ones.  Allegedly the battery packs on these models are the "goodies". 

Might just be gossip, or might be the Good Oil

Speaking of oil, is Glort dead?  I figure he'd have to be fairly seriously injuired to be silent?  Hope he's OK?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 22, 2017, 11:13:29 PM
Well Lowgear, I gave up smoking as a teenager, started again a few years back. I was becoming concerned I may live too long and end up with Alzheimers, dementia, arthritis, or 100 other horrible age related diseases. The tobacco companies promise a timely and quick  death, heart attack or anurism....  I hope they are correct and I wont have to sue them for false and misleading advertising.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 22, 2017, 11:17:21 PM
Glort is a worry. Electrocution has been mentioned, or perhaps hes fallen of the roof? Or hes incinerated his self with another oil burner experiment....
It will be very quiet in Australia right now....
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 22, 2017, 11:20:58 PM
Actually Mike, was looking on Trademe last night, you/me can buy a Prius for around $3500nz for the whole car! Thats the same price as a new battery pack... wierd.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Samo on November 23, 2017, 08:27:03 AM
Quote
I gave up smoking as a teenager, started again a few years back. I was becoming concerned I may live too long and end up with Alzheimers, dementia, arthritis, or 100 other horrible age related diseases. The tobacco companies promise a timely and quick  death, heart attack or anurism....  I hope they are correct and I wont have to sue them for false and misleading advertising

Hey Starfire,

My wife and kids laughed out loud at this! Thought it was something our grandfather would say! 2 kindred spirits?

Samo
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 23, 2017, 08:48:32 AM
Actually Mike, was looking on Trademe last night, you/me can buy a Prius for around $3500nz for the whole car! Thats the same price as a new battery pack... wierd.

It's OK for you to do that cos you know how to tinker with electronics to whip it into shape

I'm better off with a few old lead-acids and a hygrometer . . .
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 23, 2017, 05:02:43 PM
Interesting plan.  I started having more plant based meals and fewer of them to avoid a tough death and you went back to tobacco.  I had to laugh too.  I just can't let go of the self righteousness.  I do know that if I were to ever go to prison the first thing I'd do is buy a carton of Lucky Strikes.  I always enjoyed smoking after sex.

Uber and Lyft have really put tremendous pressure on the Afghanistan and Indian Foreign Legions here in the states.  They too use the Prius Command Cars.  They'd probably like to teach school as well but they only have doctorates in Nuclear Energy.

OK, back to topic.  I'm seeing more and more articles about distributed solar energy programs.  This is really refreshing for us Elon fans.  I just don't understand the loyalty to fossil fuels?  If this doesn't get glort out then we need to send a team in as he's being held for ransom or something even worse.  You know I was thinking electrical shock from one of his lamp cord infrastructure programs too.  Almost scary.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 23, 2017, 05:43:19 PM
Prius would be a huge improvement in mileage for a city taxi. All those starts, stops, and sitting are ideal for it.  Smart choice for that application.  Too much down time for charging all electric cars until some better battery tech comes along.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 23, 2017, 09:26:59 PM
Interesting plan.  I started having more plant based meals and fewer of them to avoid a tough death and you went back to tobacco.  I had to laugh too.  I just can't let go of the self righteousness.  I do know that if I were to ever go to prison the first thing I'd do is buy a carton of Lucky Strikes.  I always enjoyed smoking after sex.


Im told vegetarians really dont live any longer, it just seems that way. 
I think having sex in prison may take  a bit more than a packet of lucky strikes to settle the nerves.... or did you not intend to connect the two?
A local lass here was once asked if she smoked after sex.... she said she had never looked.
We need Glort back to keep this on topic.....
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 23, 2017, 11:25:17 PM
"  You know I was thinking electrical shock from one of his lamp cord infrastructure programs too.  Almost scary  "

I wonder if someone should go check up on him - maybe his wife ran out of patience and drove a sharpened knitting needle into his brain while he slept?

Joking aside, I hope he's OK.  The forum wouldn't be the same . . .
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 24, 2017, 01:48:03 AM

Just to disappoint those that had high hopes of my demise, which clearly some would like,  Fortunately I'm not near as stupid as they would like to think.
Interesting to be reading the comments and laughing at them though.

Mrs Surprised me with a holiday to the tropics.  A real surprise, "We have to leave in 3 hours, get out of bed. "
Had the best room in the best resort in the place. At first I freaked when I saw how much it was then I thought fk it. We can afford it and she deserves to be spoiled after putting up with me for so long.  The sound of the birds every morning just before dawn was incredible with how loud they were right outside our window and we left every door open in the place the whole time being so warm with a good breeze blowing in.

The place was like paradise. Walk up the road and there were mangoes lying round everywhere and ripe for the picking if you were fussy about the bruised spot where they hit the ground. Love mangos and I almost got a tad weary of them.... but not quite. Ate out every day and night and found this one little place which wasn't that flash or expensive but we loved the food and became very friendly with the people there. It was so nice and relaxing just to wander on in and sit round looking at the view and listening to the music etc. Looked in here a few times but had far less important things to do like sit on my arse and eat, drink and for the first time in many years, actually relax.  I did not want to go as I have  lot of other things on and was pretty cranky at the mrs at first for really bad timing but after the hell we have been though in recent years, I realised we really needed this.
We talked a lot and instead of the usual arguments, we we calm and happy so came to a lot of decisions about what we want to do and things we have been doing wrong mainly with one another. I'm sure we are going to be a lot happier from now on.

We were due to stay 5 days but I wanted to get some pics for my folio so advertised for some local models to get the girl on the white beach with the crystal waters under the palm tree shot as I thought it would be good promo even if not entirely possible to do at home.
Got contacted by a bikini company back in the main city of the area and asked if I would shoot their gear which was kinda weird because by now they should have had all their pics and promo material well and truly done starting back in the winter. Anyway, wasn't going to put the idea in their head they were too late so got a job shooting their catalogue and got to stay an extra 3 days at their expense in the resort with everything covered bar drink which was fair enough. Monetary payment half covered the entire trip cost with everything from fares, accommodation, food, attractions visited etc etc and got to stay longer, so for once, and probably only once, things really went our way and fell into place.

We have decided we will go back next year as we loved the place and the Mrs has picked out an even more expensive place to stay. It's on par with where we were at but a different feeling in being more modern than tropical and with a pool you could put in a boat and ski behind without running out of room.  I am going to put the next few jobs I get in profit's aside so we can go back and really do what ever the hell we want.  She wants to do some tours and take me up to high places which I hate, so i'll set aside a stupid amount of money so she can go nuts for a couple of weeks this time and it will all be taken care of.  :0)
 The bikini company is keen for me to shoot their next catalogue  so if it pans out we might even get a quick trip back in the mean time.

In my absence, rather than having any problems, things were going very well indeed.
Thank you for those whom were genuinely concerned and sent messages. It was unexpected but very appreciated.





And on track......
Got back to see the panels had allowed the power meters to make a LOT of progress..... In the ideal direction.
Daughter was away the weekend as well and working a lot of the rest of the time so we made a LOT of catch up with the panels.
Meters were read the day before we went away and I calculate this bill will be about $600 which was half of what I calculated our bill was going to be based on the first 2 weeks here. I got the panels about half way through the billing cycle so that works out pretty well.

I noticed this morning one array was not making power. Traced it down to another bad connection. A proper MC4 connector had melted and lost continuity. Not sure how or why, maybe some water ingress causing corrosion or something but cutting it out and rejoining the wires had things running sweet again.  Daughter thinks it only happened yesterday as she smelt something burning wile out playing with the dog but couldn't trace it and obviously no fire.  Could not have lost much power or for long given the amount the meters have gone back.

At this point about 10 days after the last read,  if they come checking I'd be in credit but the chances of them coming round again are next to nothing so I am not worried. I'll mark when the next read is due in my Diary and the readings so I don't make too much power and go into credit.  With the AC on cooling the place down, I don't think that will be a problem. Funny enough, while we were away in with the tropical heat and humidity, we never used the air once. the sea breeze was beautiful although when you got into town and was sheltered from that, Ac was a godsend.
The period after this may need watching with the power though because sun will be good and AC use minimal.

I'm sure once the hot weather hits here, ( and having just spent a week in the tropics, I'm convinced the sun here is hotter and harsher) I'll be burning a lot of power with the AC.  I have put in some offers for another couple of lots of 5Kw's worth of panels this morning.
Next thing I'll do next week is order some steel and start building the frames to get the panels on the shed roof.  Got up there couple of days before we went and I did all the length/ width and angle measurements so know what I have to do although still not entirely sure how I'm going to set it all out.

Have to see if I can find some more DIY ideas for mounting I can copy and/ or modify.








Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: dieselspanner on November 24, 2017, 06:53:26 AM
Welcome Back!

Whilst you were away I took to scanning the Aussie news to see if you'd made the obituaries, found this and wondered if you'd overdone the role of taste tester..........

http://www.news.com.au/finance/small-business/were-like-f-you-woolworths-perth-mum-raking-in-8000-a-day-on-amazon-welcomes-aussie-launch/news-story/6dc2ff9835b1bc2710ce1a44635191cb

Cheers Stef
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 24, 2017, 07:41:57 AM
Yeah, bring a note next time, we were all worried about you Glort. Just going away like that and not telling anyone. We were worried sick.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 24, 2017, 07:54:04 AM
Nice long rant to scroll happily past - all back to normal.  Excellent
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 24, 2017, 08:24:52 AM
And hes totally ruined the competition for the free tee shirt.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 24, 2017, 05:57:56 PM
I tried to read the whole thing.  But the contest crash was such a downer I just couldn't focus. 

So did Lassie eat the Environmental Impact Statement and save Australia from going all renewable?

A bad connection.  Who would have guessed?  I've found if I spend more time tightening things down a second time around rather than trying to set my keyboard on fire I have fewer fires.  Sort of fighting fire without fire.

Are you sure you weren't consulting with Trump about a technological  break through code named Coal Fired Magic?  My contest entry suggestion.

OK, PC Leader:


Welcome back glort.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 25, 2017, 07:29:12 PM
Huh?

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1113963_tesla-builds-worlds-largest-lithium-ion-battery-for-utility-use-in-australia (https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1113963_tesla-builds-worlds-largest-lithium-ion-battery-for-utility-use-in-australia)

Stupid Elon.  What's he know?

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on November 25, 2017, 10:36:42 PM
You have to hand it to Elon Musk - he may have a weird name, and he may have made his fortune by creating the evil entity known as PayPal (in fairness, it only got really evil when eBay got their hands on it); but right here right now he's driving a one-company revolution in electric storage/EVs/etc. Sure, we can all snicker at the home sized Tesla battery; but this thing he's build in Australia is the model of things to come.

When we're all driving around in EVs, ever garage (gas station) in the land is going to need one of those things - not quite as big, granted, but still pretty big - to prevent grid overloads when rapid-charging EVs. Personally, i can't wait for EVs to become sufficiently commonplace that owning one ceases to be a "range anxiety" gamble, because you know even if it's not fully charged, you can top-up en route. I'd even buy one of those Tesla Model 3s, if they ever manage to make them in quantity. I'd like to retrofit my Jag XJ12 even more... and I can use the old 6 litre V12 in my racing car then.

For years, there's been dreamers (like me) of an electric future. Musk, love him or loathe him, is out there making it happen. Good on him.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 26, 2017, 12:00:58 AM
Hey Ade, wanna see the future?

I don't know if you have any interest in modern cars, fast cars in particular?  But if you want to know if a car is "fast" - not just fast in a straight line, or fast down a /4 mile dragstrip, or fast around a racetrack - but real-world, point-to-point fast, IMHO Nurburgring times are the goods

Top of the Nurburgring tree right now?

A Chinese, 1mW (1300hp) ELECTRIC car

I have seen the future . . . check out the link

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/15/motorsport/nio-ep9-electric-supercar-nrburgring-lap-record-production/index.html

cheers
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 26, 2017, 12:10:33 AM
Two things.  No.  Three things:

Electric motor, all the torque, any old time

No shagging about changing gears

Man. does that driver have confidence in his tyres

:)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 26, 2017, 01:19:38 AM
Thanks for the link Mike.
Warning.... a Glort type post follows.... I will call it Glorting.
The Chinese are the worlds leaders in hitech now.
Recently I enquired on Alibaba about Nickel/Iron batteries from a Chinese manufacturer and got some very interesting chat from the lady responding to my questions.
The chinese government are very forward thinking, and have very good incentives for R and D and innovation. This  NiFe battery manufacturer, because these are a non toxic item, ripe for further development, have their sales tax and export costs fully reimbursed to encourage and help fund further "green" research and development.
This is much better than the corrupt one way extraction of money by western governments.
Many good aspects of a communist system is a direct result of  the long  lifetime of the governing body, we dont have the fiasco of a new ruler dismantling  decisions made by a previous government just a few years prior, as we see happening in the US right now. This instills far more long term confidence in the manufacturing sector,  change is unlikely, and large investments in the future are much less risky.
I happen to like that system, rather than this silly western crap we have now where empty promises are  continually made then broken.
The Chinese are in for the long haul, and this  demands great respect.
I think it is painfully obvious that this capitalistic "democratic" system of ours is a failure.
Democracy to me is like a committee, where so many compromises are made that NOONE gets what  they originally needed or wanted.... a weak watered down policy thats really not fit for purpose.
After all, few have any problem working under the non democratic and dictatorial factory manager or retail shop, where you are TOLD what hours you will work, and what you will be paid. The business in question would not survive otherwise.
 Running a country is also a business..... the treatment of workers from a government likely to be very much fairer than from a greedy self entitled western businessman who can shift his financial responsibilties to tax havens and have his workers paid with tax paid benefits, top ups and foodstamps.
The Chinese are investing heavily in solar, wind, and nuclear fusion, no doubt helped by the ongoing but rapidly decreasing pollution problems. What makes this possible is their system of consistent and reliable government, using the vast resources only a government can provide. The West is in a slow and painful decline.
  China  has risen from poverty to a superpower,  in just a few decades.
 To me, this  is good proof of an efficient  system, despite its many flaws, that  appears to work well.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 26, 2017, 01:33:53 AM
Yes and No, Starfire

Old Winnie Churchill said that Democracy was full of holes etc but the alternatives were worse

IMHO the Chinese system works not because it is communist (it probably isn't any more) but because it's a dictatorship

(Just like the English who painted half the globe red for 400 years before inventing constitutional monarchy and beginning the downhill slide)

Dictatorships work not because they are inherently good - many aren't - but because they provide continuity - the ability to plan 10, 50, 100 years ahead

But - and this is the reason the English adopted a constitutional monarchy, a Magna Carta and the concept of the Rule of Law - dictatorships and "communist" states tend to be crap on human rights; and if you don't bring people along with you, as soon as they develop a substantial middle class, they will find a way to tip you out

Now, if we had elected politicians who cared about the good of the country rather than their own idealogies . . .
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 26, 2017, 01:53:25 AM
I think there is a major difference now though. Despotic dictators are now frowned upon, and cannot hide given the information super highways we have now. We all know who the bad buggers are. The days of Pol Pot, and Mao Tse Tung are over, they could not survive. Even medium type bad buggers have to clean up their act in order to function on the world stage.
The problem we have now is the self appointed "global conscience" that decides who is the despot, and at what degree.
They fail to understand the culture and context. Human life has very different value, depending on country and religion.
A very good example is Kim Jong Un, a despot by our measure, but a god to his people.
His priority is to protect his country and people, the exact same mandate as all leaders of all other countries.
He has done a fantastic job of this, this cannot be denied.
From a desecrated country, raped and pillaged by the Japanese, then bombed and Napalmed into oblivion by the west, and with  no to little outside help, they are now a nuclear nation.
They are guilty only of wanting sovereignty, security, and prosperity, as we do.
We wont tolerate their values, likewise, they have equal right to not tolerate ours
Is this not the "freedom" that we preach?

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 26, 2017, 04:01:15 AM

Warning.... a Glort type post follows.... I will call it Glorting.


Geez, I had a Lowgear experience of not being able to read all that and skipped right over both posts pretty quick.
Not because it was too long for me to be able to concentrate and comprehend, but because of the lack of paragraphs and one big blob of text made it unreadable.

My posts may tax the concentration of those burdened with 1st grade reading skills, (or lack thereof) but at least I can set out what I say so it is legible.   :laugh:

In order to qualify for the Glort seal of approval, you are going to have to improve the readability of your contributions and improve your writing skills.

BTW, can anyone tell me what the " approved" post length is?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 26, 2017, 04:55:55 AM
Sorry Glort.... Ill try harder.... please dont beat me, Im new to Glorting and you have more practice.
Welcome back by the way.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on November 26, 2017, 07:12:29 AM
.......and with  no to little outside help, they are now a nuclear nation......

They actually had quite a lot of outside help, from refinement to warhead design and many versions of Scuds to copy to Launch vehicles.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 26, 2017, 07:17:54 AM
Starfire I know you are enjoying playing Devil's Advocate here.  We might have to agree to disagree on some of the political stuff

FWIW I would say - look at the two Koreas.  Both were pretty battered in the '50s and both took very different paths

Don't be hard on Glort.  he has feelings . . .
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 26, 2017, 07:29:32 AM
Starfire I know you are enjoying playing Devil's Advocate here.  We might have to agree to disagree on some of the political stuff

FWIW I would say - look at the two Koreas.  Both were pretty battered in the '50s and both took very different paths

Don't be hard on Glort.  he has feelings . . .
Yes, Im pushing the off topic a bit far getting into politics, Ill quit.
But, if you have a spare  hour, watch this, I believe it was a NZ production. Its whats called a mockumentary, but theres much truth in it.... I think you will enjoy it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohCfS55zGME
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 26, 2017, 12:00:00 PM
You have to hand it to Elon Musk -

 but right here right now he's driving a one-company revolution in electric storage/EVs/etc. Sure, we can all snicker at the home sized Tesla battery; but this thing he's build in Australia is the model of things to come.

I'm afraid I don't share your admiration for the man Ade.  I really think of him more as being a better showman than a CEO.
He has certainly built Tesla up but if you look at the financials, like my brother in law and I take an interest in, the company bleeds massive amounts of red ink every day and has done since the start.  He just keeps making promises and pulling in the investors to keep things going but it's starting to get get to crunch time.

The latest broken promise and Failure to deliver ( amoungst many in the past)  is with the model 3. Not within a bulls roar of producing the 5000 units a month he predicted. He now says that won't happen until march. To be profitable, they are going to produce and SELL, 10,000 of the things a WEEK!  Subaru whom have been selling Vehicles in the states for 50 years sell 50K cars a MONTH.... and musk reckons he will sell 10K a week inside a year?  C'mon!
Lets just say he sells 20K a month in the US. Is the power grid there going to be up to that in 12 months time with almost quarter of a million of the things pulling out all that power?

To me, that's the real crux of the whole electric car thing.
They are already fast, have adequate range for the majority of users and battery life is not really an issue and becoming more affordable if even in the luxury market.  The real handbrake I see is when power is short and there are limits placed on charging the things.
And remember, tesla aren't the only player in the game. Gm, toymotor and everyone else including Volvo are throwing themselves headlong into the EV game. Wouldn't take much for them to low ball their products short term to remove tesla from the world series.
If they all equal tesla's sales combined, the load on the grid is going to become very substantial Very fast.

All the greenies pushing the end of fossil fueled power stations might just come to regret their haste to make everything renewable when they can't charge up their " emission free" vehicles and the power starts going out when they do.
I reckon it will take one state to bring in one restriction on EV charging to put the brakes on the whole EV thing.  As I understand it, there are not a lot of First world countries where power supply is not an issue. I don't think there is a whole load of generating margin in a lot of places now and even a few % increased load for EV's could cause problems.  Forget save water, saving power is going to be the real NEED in a lot of places.  Rather than places banning IC vehicle sales in  a few years, I can see them banning EV sales unless you can show you have sufficient PV generation to charge the things up yourself independent of the grid. 

Power shortages are something that will be beyond even Elons ability to fix and hype his way through. He might be able to build a battery for 5% of south Australians but can he also produce and implement generation facilities at the same rate he and other makers want to pump out EV's that are going to tax the grid?

For good measure, Tesla also just posted their worst ever financial quarter.  A loss of $680 odd Mill if memory serves. Investment banks are advising shareholders to SELL stocks and predicting that tesla will be bankrupt by the end of next year given the rate it is burning through it's cash reserves and Debts that fall due next year.
The fact they are making NO profit what so ever does not impress me with Musk's leadership no matter how innovative he may be.

I'm sure you and I could come up with all sorts of marvelous inventions as well if we didn't have to worry about making them financially viable.

A while back he made a big hooplah about solar roof tiles. It was like they had never been done before but right when he was talking them up, there were at least 10 companies offering them and one, a local Oz company well known in the building game here and in the US, had been offering them for 5 years!
And what have we heard of the things since? Not a Peep. The last was they were taking deposits of $1300 but could only say the things had been extensively delayed and still could not give details on specs such as output.  To me, that's BS and nothing more than a publicity stunt  to launch something you have no idea when you can produce or what the things will actually do.

He has this huge factory which is largely empty and unless he pulls some miracle out of his backside, there is no way production of anything they do will need that sort of area.  Why spend the money you don't have on something you are so far away from accomplishing.  Is his idea that he will suddenly be selling cars faster than the factory roof and walls can be put up?
I don't think so Tim!

His home Batteries as far as I have been able to see are not economical or repay their investment anywhere they are sold in the world.
The purchase price simply cannot be recovered in power savings over the life of the unit.

I read the greenwashed to hilarity link low gear posted above and thought how typical it was of the green goobers. 
The whole thing was another marketing exercise and green washing for those that will believe anything they are told.  The 100 Day thing was a total and utter crock. The 100 days started when the power utility signed off on the thing which meant it had to be half built for the infrastructure and systems  to be in place and inspected before that happened.  The state premier is a green Lunatic and his ideas and environmental obsessions have caused that state to have the highest power prices, highest unemployment and a whole raft of other problems including industry leaving the state like a sinking ship.

He's also a green hypocrite going on about no coal fired power stations at the same time he's getting DIESEL generators put in because they are all shitting themselves there will be more blackouts come the summer heat the state gets baked with every year.  Yep, that guy was a green stooge that would take on any idea at all that someone called " Green".

There is all this carry on about the battery powering 30k Homes.  That's less than 5% of the state. BFD! They carry on so much about powering SA when I could literally do a better job of powering my own street.  The FACT is this is a HUGE publicity stunt that the greenwashed state gubbermint will be up for over $50M for..... all to power 5% of the homes there.
The linked BS also said that 30K was the number of homes affected in the blackouts. More complete and utter bullshit! The ENTIRE state lost power... every home, business and industry, not just 30K homes. That is so well known it could be nothing but a predictable lie by the greenwashed reporters so hell bent on hiding the truth and flaws of their ideals.

To me, Musk is far better at breaking his sensationalist promises than making money..... and that would be OK if he could at least break even. But he's not, never has and it becomes more unlikely with every passing month he ever will. What does become ever more likley is that he and his company will go down in a smoking heap taking a lot of investors from banks down to Mums and Dads heard earned with him and in my book, that's far from OK.
When that happens, I'll bet my house he blames someone else for the failure, probably everyone else for not embracing his vision and pulling out money for his over priced products..... if you ever can buy  a number he has hyped up but remain unavailable.

He's really done nothing that no one else already has and despite his hype and carry on and even witht eh advantage of copying others, still hasn't made a buck from it.

He may be innovative, forward thinking or whatever praise one cares to heap upon him but his job is to run a company in his capacity as CEO.
The reality is, he's not doing a very good job of that at all. There are many visionaries that have and are running companies profitably so it's not like it can't be done.

Maybe we can look for this thread in 12 months time and see how things pan out.
My money is on Tesla going tits up and thats what a lot of people a lot smarter in the money game than I are predicting also. His continual hype and failing to deliver on his promises and claims is all I really need to know. Once happens but his are far too frequent for my liking.

 I hope he proves me wrong for the sake of all the investors, employees and their families that depend on him and have their life savings backing him. That's a ship load more important than my opinion and I hope the fans get to rub my nose in it if I am wrong.

I doubt they will be as gracious if I am proven right however.
 :laugh:
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 26, 2017, 12:32:42 PM
BTW, can anyone tell me what the " approved" post length is?

Not sure Glort, but I think a little shorter would be good......
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 26, 2017, 02:37:37 PM

Seems ironic to come to a forum that is based on the written word then bitch about people writing posts. I wonder if they can only manage to read a limited number of short posts before they go into overload?
The bright side is for those that don't have the mental focus or comprehension skills to read more than a few lines, You can find online cartoons that won't over tax your limited abilities.

Guess some people have never read magazine articles or newspapers let alone  an actual book and anything longer than a " Twit" is too much for them to process.  ;D


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 26, 2017, 08:57:12 PM
OK.  To "humour"  add  "Irony"  :)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on November 26, 2017, 09:17:20 PM
OK, enough with the sniping lads. Some of us like to write lots, some not so much. Feel free to skip the bits you think you're not interested in, but let's not have any carping about the fact they were written.

And yes, I know you all probably have tongues firmly in cheek - but remember, good natured sarcasm/irony and indeed humour is very hard to put across when you've only got the written word and a few smileys to play with. Please, read what you've written and imagine you're a visitor to this forum. We know it's all in good humour, but a stranger might think this is a bit of a vicious place to hang out...

PS: Yes, you lot all spell humour incorrectly. Just putting that out there.  ;D We invented the bloody language, you lot should toe the line.

Glort - I'll write a considered reply later - right now I've got a pizza in the oven, and there's a film on the TV that ain't going to watch itself...
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: broncodriver99 on November 26, 2017, 09:42:28 PM
PS: Yes, you lot all spell humour incorrectly. Just putting that out there.  ;D We invented the bloody language, you lot should toe the line.

Humor us would you?   ;)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 27, 2017, 05:40:47 AM
Yep.  Somethings happened.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 27, 2017, 07:02:02 AM
"   OK, enough with the sniping lads. Some of us like to write lots, some not so much. Feel free to skip the bits you think you're not interested in, but let's not have any carping about the fact they were written.

And yes, I know you all probably have tongues firmly in cheek - but remember, good natured sarcasm/irony and indeed humour is very hard to put across when you've only got the written word and a few smileys to play with. Please, read what you've written and imagine you're a visitor to this forum. We know it's all in good humour, but a stranger might think this is a bit of a vicious place to hang out...   "

Ade, you are dead right, of course.  The history of acrimonious online arguments is littered with things that started out ironic, or humorous, or light-hearted; and the written word never conveys that well

My apologies.  Thanks for hauling us up
   
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: basewindow on November 27, 2017, 09:22:54 AM
Perhaps Humerus? ? ?  😉
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on November 27, 2017, 11:43:10 AM
Don't get me started on Hummus..... (blech)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 27, 2017, 12:50:21 PM

Just to upset the peanut gallery, I'll bring this back on track with an on topic update.
Those with questionable concentration spans and reading abilities whom have nothing worthwhile to add can fast forward now.....

Got my power bill in today which is the first full billing cycle here.
I set my 5KW panels up with the existing 1.6Kw worth I had half way through.  First 2 weeks we were here I calculated our bill would be $1200 based on that fortnights consumption.
I did my own read the day before the power company read and came up with $600 being the cost this time round. Bill today was $632. I over calculated the power cost and forgot the GST on the supply charge. Anyway, close enough.
The 5Kw of panels cost me $800 so I'm well into my ROI with them. The 1.6 KW I only had online for about a month due to mis matching of the arrays. I have hooked them up a few weeks back and they are working well together.

Looking at the meters today, I am 50Kw up on one phase and 17 down on the other of the 2 I am back feeding since the read.  I think tomorrow I'll move both arrays to the phase in arrears and even them up a bit. Weather is forecast to be cloudy all week so might take till the weekend to generate the difference although in doing that the other phase will catch up through use without the benefit of being supplied so might only take a couple of days to even out.

Right now I'm making good credit  which I'll bank all I can. Next meter read is Middle of feb and I know I'll have the AC doing overtime before that.
Next thing is to get the panels up off the lawn.  I was taking more measurements and working out angles today but still not exactly sure the best way to DIY it. Think I'll cut out some cardboard panels size templates tomorrow and get up there with some steel tube and see If I can mock something up and discover any flaws in the plan.

I will be able to get more daylight on the panels on teh roof and also hook them direct to the mains cable and run bigger inverters to get more power.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: broncodriver99 on November 27, 2017, 03:28:29 PM
Glort, you may have mentioned it before but what are you paying per kwh? Also, I just noticed you mentioned Feb 2018 being your next meter read. Are you on a 3 month billing cycle? I am trying to wrap my head around the expense of your electric bills. Obvoiusly you have pretty high usage since you are adding so much solar as an offset but those bills seem mind boggling to me. Way above any kind of average I would expect here in the US.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 27, 2017, 05:17:41 PM
E=MC^2
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 27, 2017, 08:35:35 PM
OK, enough with the sniping lads. Some of us like to write lots, some not so much. Feel free to skip the bits you think you're not interested in, but let's not have any carping about the fact they were written.

And yes, I know you all probably have tongues firmly in cheek - but remember, good natured sarcasm/irony and indeed humour is very hard to put across when you've only got the written word and a few smileys to play with. Please, read what you've written and imagine you're a visitor to this forum. We know it's all in good humour, but a stranger might think this is a bit of a vicious place to hang out...

PS: Yes, you lot all spell humour incorrectly. Just putting that out there.  ;D We invented the bloody language, you lot should toe the line.

Glort - I'll write a considered reply later - right now I've got a pizza in the oven, and there's a film on the TV that ain't going to watch itself...

Ade - I dunno how to break it to you, but you gents didn't invent the language - you cobbled it together from French (spoken by the Ruling Classes in Blighty for a couple of centuries),  Latin, from the Romans who ruled your green islands for a wee while, the old "Anglo Saxon" family of languages that predates the conquests by Rome and then the Normans and random bits borrowed from the various European and Asian nations you chaps traded with

"Humour" is a case in point, being an old Latin word borrowed by the French, who changed the meaning/use of it substantially before lending it to the English, who changed the meaning of it again before lending it to the Americans who struggled with the spelling of it (and whose President, arguably, struggles with the concept as a whole)

Just saying . . .

Cheers
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on November 27, 2017, 11:48:57 PM
Wow.  I hope with the huge bills and high backfeed, you have all the T's crossed and i's Dotted with the power Co so they don't sic the Fraud Dept on you.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 28, 2017, 12:40:14 AM
Glort, you may have mentioned it before but what are you paying per kwh?

Normal Domestic rate is .27C Kwh.... + 10% Gst so I call it .30C Kwh.
Off peak which most hot water heaters are on here and is from 10 Pm to 5 Am is .11C Kwh +10% GST so call it .12C Kwh
There is a " Supply Charge of .90c a day for the normal supply and .6 C day for the off peak..... Both plus 10% tax.
They don't miss getting you every which way.


 
Quote
Also, I just noticed you mentioned Feb 2018 being your next meter read. Are you on a 3 month billing cycle?
Yes. to the best of my knowledge that's standard here for Physical reads but I think those with smart meters may get or be able to get monthly bills.

Quote
I am trying to wrap my head around the expense of your electric bills.

Thanks to all the greenwashed save the world bullshit our pullititians have become obsessed with and blowing up coal fired power stations resulting in power shortages, our power prices have doubled in most places in the last 4 years. Some have gone higher.
 Our leading pack of green gits in South Oz where the big useless Battery is going has surpassed that and their power is nearly double what we pay here.
But hey, according to the gubbermints own pet academic green alarmist, even if Oz puts out ZERO co2, it still won't make one bit of difference to world air quality so it's all worth it Right??
 At least lowgear and his greenwashed mates will be happy.

 
Quote
Obvoiusly you have pretty high usage since you are adding so much solar as an offset but those bills seem mind boggling to me. Way above and kind of average I would expect here in the US.

Obviously it depends a lot on your situation. 
A mate who lives alone in a flat pays about $300 a quarter for his power although told me a couple of days ago his bill had jumped up about $50 on his normally very consistent cost.  As I predicted, when he checked, the useage was the same, just the cost had hiked again with his supplier.

My brother in law round the corner pays about $1500 quarter. He has a home office and runs his AC a lot to keep clients comfortable and also has a large pool that he runs the pump on many hours a day. Everyone round here has to run pumps for the Biocycle Sewer and that's about $100 a month worth alone.  That and the heating in cooling costs around here make the average power consumption higher than closer into the city.
This is a much larger house as well, about 3 times the size of the last one and you therefore have more area to heat and cool and more lights on.
That said, my other house had far more electrical capacity than this one. I had a pool there and multiple AC units and I had the place wired up with so many circuits if I switched everything on at once, I would light up the power pole because I had way more capacity than it did.

Lights are not the big deal many people make out but there are like 12 halogen's  in several rooms which I am converting to LED.  Multiple bathrooms with big heaters and so it goes to add up to a fair draw here.
This time, instead of adding wiring and circuits to USE power, I'm planning on adding some to take the backfeed from the panels.  I might do wiring on my test setups rough as guts when all it can set fire to is the lawn, but when it comes to permanent wiring in the buildings, I'm a bit fanatical the other way and like to over do everything.... much to the amusement of my sparky mate.
He always says I didn't have to go to all that trouble and my reply is " So you mean I never have to worry about the house burning down?".
I'll spend a bit extra for that peace of mind and being able to sleep at night.
 
Over all though my consumption is not abnormal or raises eyebrows for most people with a stand alone home.  I was talking to the retired guy next door whom lives there with his wife and he said he was paying $1200 a quarter up until about 12 months ago when he got solar on.  Got a 3Kw system and now wants a 5. Said he'd put on 10 but doesn't have the roof space.  I reckon if I went all  out I could do 20 on this place but hopefully won't need that.

I'm estimating my annual average consumption will work out around 35Kwh a day. Spring/ Autumn may be as low as 20, Summer winter when the AC is going will be  45-50.
The solar ATM is doing between 20-30Kwh on average depending on the day and cloud cover. I'm in the 2nd of the 4 Highest months for generation. That will also be when I'm likley to use the most power being summer for cooling.  As the generation falls right off in winter when I'll need it for heating, I'm looking for a wood fire heater I can convert to oil fired. If I use that through the day to get the heat in the place then due to it's great insulation I'll be able to keep the temps stable with less use of the AC. Depends if I do an indoor or outdoor system.  I'd prefer outdoor and pipe the hot water in through a radiator.

Power prices keep going up here and it's a real political football. The green scam is responsible for about 80% of the increases over the last few years and everyone admits there are far more increases to come. There are predicted to be blackouts all along the eastern seaboard this summer where the vast majority of the population is and some states are predicted to go dark, again, big battery or not.
I was reading up on that a bit more last night as it's due to go online in a few days, Dec1.  the realists are analyzing the thing and pretty much laughing at it.  What it will apparently do is help a lot with smoothing the grid from the fluctuations of the RE that state now relys on and keeping the voltage and frequency stable as the now blown up power stations did before.  If the wind stops at night, that battery will literally last about 30 sec to a min before it's done and the lights go out.  The experts are saying that's basically inevitable and pondering the ramifications for the state, the greenwashed gubbermint and Musk and Tesla whom have hyped this up so much.

I'm wanting to put about 10KW of panels up to firstly minimize the bills much as I can and secondly with the idea in the future of going off grid.
I know I won't have the luxury of using the grid for a battery for ever, maybe only another 4 years as they have made smartarse meters mandatory here in 4-5 years time so when that happens I'll look at all my options including batteries.  Having a ship load of panels in place already won't be a bad thing and from what I'm reading, due to materials shortages panels are going UP in price as well.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 28, 2017, 01:15:21 AM
Wow.  I hope with the huge bills and high backfeed, you have all the T's crossed and i's Dotted with the power Co so they don't sic the Fraud Dept on you.

I have asked a couple of lawyer mates about what I am doing.  They have both separately and independently said what I am doing is not illegal but may be unlawful. It is certainly not stealing, fraud, a crime or anything else. They both looked at the contract the power company has and it's not covered. They both think that I'm doing something they have not so far thought of or at least updated their service agreements to cover. They both agree the worst they could get me on would be a technicality and that would apply to any professionally installed " approved" system the way our regs are and the interpretations thereof. There isn't set limits for wire capacity here so lots of grey areas either way.
 
The equipment I am using to backfeed has an approval number and was installed as OEM. Their main thing seems to be interruption to the supply and disruption of service to customers neither of which what I'm doing will cause. The inverters being OEM meet all safety specs.
In reality I'm not doing anything that people with those plug in powerjack type inverters are doing which are sold all over fleabay in their thousands.
While ever they are still allowed to be imported and sold, I have a good defense should I need it. At least my equipment has the proper approvals from the electrical authorities unlike those things.

I am taking a risk, no two ways about it. I realise that very clearly but I have considered it and the opinions of my legal mates are exactly the same as I came to myself. If they did discover what I am doing, and the chances of that are low at best,  there is likely to be a lot of rattling of swords, threats of legal action and fines and they will settle with me discontinuing with what I am doing.  It is also the opinion of my lawyer mates that If I start talking green and save the environment with renewable energy etc it will dissuade them greatly from taking any real action.

All that said, I may get my arse handed to me on a platter and I realise that too.
I'm prepared to take the chance.  I actually discussed this with my wife and daughter before I did it because if I do get copped, it will affect us all but they too were happy with the reward Vs. risk.

The reality is that we have seen up close and personal how much the wrong do-ers get away with everything these days and the worst  actual criminals get is a slap on the risk.  I am NOT stealing or defrauding anyone, I'm just not allowing myself to get screwed over. I did look up electricity theft as a guide to what may happen and found that even people doing that ( private not companies) all have got away with slaps on the wrist. And again, I'm not stealing, I'm simply minimizing my consumption from the grid, banking what I produce and paying for the excess I need.

People can make their own decisions on what they do and are comfortable with or not. I'm fed up with being screwed over and this is something I can do to minimize that in this one instance.
This is a considered risk I have the balls to take. If others don't and would loose sleep at night, then best they do what they think is right.  ;D
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: broncodriver99 on November 28, 2017, 01:24:02 AM
Quote
Also, I just noticed you mentioned Feb 2018 being your next meter read. Are you on a 3 month billing cycle?
Yes. to the best of my knowledge that's standard here for Physical reads but I think those with smart meters may get or be able to get monthly bills.

If I understand correctly, your electric bill is ~$400/month. That makes a little more sense. I would say that is a high average here. A buddy of mine runs about that in the Summer when he runs his pool pump and 2 central air units.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 28, 2017, 01:39:15 AM

High average here would also be a very appropriate description.

The power bills always come with a usage chart. It shows your consumption against a graph of different numbers of people in the household.
Before back feeding we were at about the level of a 4 person household for the 3 of us.
Latest bill showed us still ( with half period backfeeding) to be at the high end of a 2 person home.

Be interesting to see where the next bill puts us. At the other place when I backfed using my engines and an induction motor, we were low for a single person home and there were 4 of us.
People are always telling me on the net I'll get inspected if my bills are too low but ours were like that for about 5-6 years and never had a problem.
Around here being a " Lifestyle" area, there are lots of retirees that go away for many months of the year and would use near no power at all during those periods.  My aunt and uncle whom live in the country do that taking off for 6 months at a time and they have told me of $12 power bills and never been inspected or questioned about it.

As long as I don't go into credit, I think I'm pretty right.  That will never happen as I'll always have to pay something on the electronically metered phase and just keep an eye on the other two to make sure I don't over spin them. Until I get 10Kw on the roof, pretty much an impossibility also.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on November 28, 2017, 07:56:45 AM
The Tesla Battery

Quote
I was reading up on that a bit more last night as it's due to go online in a few days, Dec1.  the realists are analyzing the thing and pretty much laughing at it.  What it will apparently do is help a lot with smoothing the grid from the fluctuations of the RE that state now relys on and keeping the voltage and frequency stable as the now blown up power stations did before.  If the wind stops at night, that battery will literally last about 30 sec to a min before it's done and the lights go out.  The experts are saying that's basically inevitable and pondering the ramifications for the state, the greenwashed gubbermint and Musk and Tesla whom have hyped this up so much.

Leaving aside, for the moment, the politics, greenwashing etc., I don't believe the battery is there to hold the grid up if the wind stops... It's there, as your 2nd sentence says, to smooth the inevitable fluctuations from wind power.

There are innumerable problems with wind power: It's unreliable, unpredictably intermittent and fluctuates by the moment. It also changes voltage and frequency every time the wind changes speed, unless the windmills are governed to a specific speed (which wastes energy & causes wear increasing maintenance costs, blah). Wind power, in short, is about as useful as a fart in a space suit. It has to be converted to DC to get rid of the variable frequency, then put back through "true sine wave" inverters (which are $$$ at domestic sizes, let alone industrial) which are aligned with the grid, and only then can the power be injected. By which time you've binned a load of it. The purpose of the battery is to store a bunch of that DC power, then you take the feed from the battery at a nice constant voltage & current; yes, it still needs the expensive inverter etc. but now you can size it to somewhere close to the battery bank's output capabilities; and unlike cars, as we know electronics prefer to be run pretty close to flat out, so long as you keep them cool.

So, what happens if the wind stops? Same as happens now; the wind farm stops putting energy onto the grid, and something else (usually a CCGT) takes over. Or a BFO diesel engine. Or a coal plant, if any of them are left... but most likely a gas turbine, because they're dead quick to spool up, and pretty efficient. The thing is, the power companies (the organised ones, at least) use some pretty heavy duty weather forecasting to make sure they've got a damn good idea when the wind is going to stop & start, so they've got their spare capacity ready. They won't run the battery flat when the wind stops, because they'll already be replacing its power with something else.

Full disclosure: My dad used to work in the power distribution industry here in the UK, and only retired a couple of years ago, so I do have some clue as to what I speak of.

Wind power, in my & the power industry's opinion, is a crock of shit - but it's been forced on them by the green weenies. Therefore, we (and they) have to live with it. There are better alternatives. For Australia, solar power is the obvious one.... an industrial sized solar farm - either solar-pv, or more likely a molten salt system ala the solar power plant in southern Spain, would provide a pretty reliable output - and provided they account for any likely clouding, a pretty predictable output (which is one of the most important factors to the power companies). At night, when it's obviously not producing anything, the electrical load is generally lower anyway, so no great loss. And unlike wind, the sun shines every day (even if it's shining on the tops of rain clouds while they're pissing on us....). Here in the UK, where we sometimes don't see the sun for weeks at a time, tidal power makes more sense. We're a small island, and the tides are rising or falling somewhere around the UK 24x7. Tidal systems are also fraught with difficulties - most difficult of all is the corrosive nature of seawater, and the requirement not to mince to many fish - but these can be overcome with suitable materials, and investment. Unfortunately, the lion's share of investment has gone to...... yep, you guessed it. Wind power. Fecking idiots. But that's getting political again, and is an argument for another place, another time.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 28, 2017, 09:07:35 AM

 I don't believe the battery is there to hold the grid up if the wind stops... It's there, as your 2nd sentence says, to smooth the inevitable fluctuations from wind power.

That's what we are being told now.  A few months ago it WAS touted vary much as holding the grid up. Musk said he would fix SA's power problems and every report and article from the media or gubberment reiterated that.  I don't have a problem with the things real function, the fact it is not what everyone was initially told and the whole thing was a huge publicity stunt does get up my nose though.

Quote
There are innumerable problems with wind power: It's unreliable, unpredictably intermittent and fluctuates by the moment.


Wind power, in my & the power industry's opinion, is a crock of shit - but it's been forced on them by the green weenies.

I agree. There are problems with all forms of RE. Unfortunately the whole green thing has taken on such a cult like status that eveyone seems to think it has to be done and has to be done yesterday or we will all perish next week.
there are in fact very few practical ways around conventional generation and the benefits it offers. Many of the alternatives are still massively expensive, horribly inefficient and have a whole load of problems that are largely swept under the carpet to protect what has become a Religion.

That said.....
I think the way the RE thing is being approached is wrong in that they are trying to replace conventional generation rather than supplement it.
If the wind is blowing and the sun is shining and you can turn down your coal or gas fired power station, terriffic.  If you need them, crank the things up and be happy for the saving you make when you can make them.

Unfortunately the mentality has become that the old fossil fueled stations need to be done away with all together rather than looking at them factually as a necessary evil and trying to supplement them as best as technology will allow without causing problems. Instead of blowing the coal stations up, why not have the RE power there and change over to it when it's available and have the stability and reliability of supply. If you can save 50% of the fossil generation, be happy! That's a good thing and if done right can have all the advantages and few drawbacks.

Going totally RE is not working but the green brigade just won't admit that which undermines their cause. If they let things happen progressively instead of waning to make the world different overnight things would be much better. OK, so today we have to run on coal or gas because there is no wind or sun.
Tomorrow we can run on half capacity at the power station but all next week we might be able to just have the thing idling, smoothing out the bumps.
Be content with that until the RE can take over and provide the same level of stability we NEED in the modern world.  Right now there is NO answer with RE on a viable level of cost, capacity and other things despite the hype and sticking ones head in the sand as to the problems as so many want to do.

 That's not going to happen tomorrow but be thankful for the sensible progress in the mean time.

I saw this same hype with renewable fuels about 9 years back. All the do gooders wanted to replace oil. that was the way of the future, the way to save the planet. It was obvious from the freaking start it was totaly and utterly impractical but there were so many people desperate for a cause to believe in they wouldn't hear of it. Untold resources and energy was squandered and emissions created that was never going to be repaid and being content with the way things were and sticking to the old ways, which had to be done anyhow, just wasn't going to satisfy these people.  A lot of places now supplement their fuel sources with renewable fuel and are content with that because trying to replace oil was a fking joke from the start.
RE is the same.  Use the benifits you can get now but don't try and replace Fossil fuels when the RE baby is just not yet ready to walk.

I really think in years to come this whole re fixation will be looked back on as a joke. It will be like ABBA records. They were the biggest thing in the world at the time but if you ask around 20 years later, the denial could only lead to one conclude they never sold a single record ever because no one will adnit to ever even liking them!  I did and still do! ;0)

Right now I think RE , all of it, wind, solar, tidal etc has it's place but that is to supplement the existing technologies where it can, not throw them out the door over night.

RE has to grow up more and when it does and IS ready to take over the reigns, Fine.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 28, 2017, 02:18:28 PM
I was wrong.

With a 20 cent differential between night and day doesn't a storage battery make sense?  10 KW a day would be $2 a day or $700 a year.  How much would that sort of thing cost in your town.

A neighbor was working in one of the "Nicer" neighborhoods when he heard two people in the next yard discussing power rates.  One sums it up to the other;  "If $5,000 a month for electricity sounds like a lot maybe you're in the wrong neighborhood!"  Life can be sweet.  That was when we were paying 42 cents a KW so now that it's down to 28 I'd guess most anyone can move into that neighborhood.

I'm pretty careful about fooling around with the electrics in my house because of the fire insurance problem.  The insurance company disqualifies a claim because you have undocumented modifications to the wiring.  Is that part of the private enterprise program in Australia?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 28, 2017, 03:03:04 PM
Where good old fashioned petroleum comes from and how some Americans are helping with that cause.

https://www.facebook.com/BoldNebraska/videos/1526910027357612/ (https://www.facebook.com/BoldNebraska/videos/1526910027357612/)

I'm think $42 is a nice round number and it's also the answer to life, the universe and everything.  What's on your giving Tuesday list?

The League of Women Voters

Consumer Reports

Union of Concerned Citizens

Drug Policy Alliance  (required for all greenies)

Oops, I almost forgot the wonderful progressive politicians I hope to see in office.

 :)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 28, 2017, 03:28:23 PM
Guys

Sweeping statements again . . .

IMHO it's wrong to blanket describe renewables as "greenwashed" or "problematic"

Down here in our small country we are almost 100% renewable (the exception being a couple of old "backup" generation sites not actually in current use)

We have hydro and wind

Some of the hydro plants are 70 years old and still ticking along

If ever we have power outages they are local ones and it is inevitably due to the greed of the distribution companies who are inclined to continue to use old transmission assets until they fail.  There have been no failures of generation within my living memory

Just my $0.02
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 28, 2017, 03:42:39 PM
I was wrong.

With a 20 cent differential between night and day doesn't a storage battery make sense?  10 KW a day would be $2 a day or $700 a year.  How much would that sort of thing cost in your town.

For a tesla battery, over $13K. Plus installation, meter upgrade, wiring etc $15K+.

13.5Kw of storage, one cycle per day @ 30C kwh = $.4.05.
365 days a year ( never going to happen with solar charging) = $1478.
Not going to near repay in 10 years which is the life of the battery. Add to this the fact the round trip efficiency is 89% or you need to put in 11% more than you can get out.  Also there is a drop off in capacity to not less than 60% after 10 years so there is no way you'll be getting your 13.5Kw back out and probably see appreciable drop off in capacity after 5 years further extending the payback period.
Add to that the interst you'll pay on a loan to finance the thing or the interest you'll loose if you pay cash.
Be lucky to get a financial return in 20 years which you won't because the thing won't last that long even if you do. 

If one is only offsetting standard power rates with offpeak and the saving per Kw is only .20C Kwh, the exercise is even more of a farce.

Right now here in Oz you can get any number of suppliers to put a 10Kw system on your roof for well under 10K.
Even with laughable FIT's of .6C kwh, a person would be far better off doing that either adding to an existing system or  installing a new one which they would also have to do  with a battery at more cost, than spending the money on a tesla or any other battery save for MAYBE a largely DIY setup of used laptop batteries acquired for nothing.


Quote
I'm pretty careful about fooling around with the electrics in my house because of the fire insurance problem. 

I am paranoid about the wiring I do and always go overboard with it.
Not because I give a flying shit about insurance, but because I have my family sleeping here and everything that is precious to me under this roof that no amount of insurance money will replace if I loose it.  Stuff insurance, I never want to ever have to claim it in the first place.
I also like to sleep at night and do that very well knowing everything I do myself is complete overkill and exceeds standards by a mile. The extra cost of doing things that way is worth far more to me in reassurance than the small additional cost.
 
 This is also a reason that I want to install everything on and in the shed which will have it's own over speced distribution board.
Totally separate to the house so if it does burn down, it cannot be linked to the solar setup in any way. I already upgraded the main circuit board when I changed the distribution of the loads on the phases here and moved everything I could off the electronic meter.
I have already ordered a new and larger Breaker housing and more RCD's for greater safety and to allow for more circuits to be run in the place and spoke to sparky mate only hours ago about mounting the panels and the new distribution board for the shed which will accommodate the 3 phase power that I'll be putting up there. 

It seems to me that some ( many) people from certain places have an insurance paranoia, particularly with electrical wiring and fire.
That is something I do not share or have concern about.
These people also seem to jump to the pre meditated conclusion that anything anyone does themselves is dodgy and wrong. Mmaybe they and others cut corners but when it comes to the safety of my family and security of my property, the weak link is what the tradesmen did that meet regulations..... and I often improve on that too as I will this time.

Burglary, storm damage and theft are far higher on my worry list than fire especially from something I do myself which will always be better than what is already here or the regulations specify. 

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 28, 2017, 04:05:15 PM

IMHO it's wrong to blanket describe renewables as "greenwashed" or "problematic"

Show me one RE initiative that is not driven by and hyped as being green.
Show me one example of solar, wind or anything but Hydro that has the stability and reliability of fossil fueled generation.
Show me where hydro is proposed that the green save the planet types will not be protesting and trying to stop.

Personally I think Hydro is the ducks guts when it comes to generation. Unfortunately it's ability to be implemented is extremely limited.
We have the Snowy Hydro scheme here and that's been delivering reliable power for 70 years I think it is now.  Just try building another hydro scheme like it and get that passed through the required approvals without the green movement sinking it like a lone supply ship in WWII.

As Ade said, Wind is a joke. it's erratic, unstable and completely unreliable. The environmentalists  are against that too because it kills birds.
Solar is only there though the day leaving the problem of supply at night. It is unreliable due to weather and also can't be depended on and there is fall off in the winter months in most places with the dip getting larger the further it is located from the equator.

To me, that's problematic.


Quote
Down here in our small country we are almost 100% renewable (the exception being a couple of old "backup" generation sites not actually in current use)

We have hydro and wind

And thermal and rainfall most places would kill for.
Your country is definitely an exception rather than the norm of most places. You'd be completely mad not to take advantage of the resources you have but the thing is they are far from available to most places.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 28, 2017, 04:15:16 PM
Where good old fashioned petroleum comes from and how some Americans are helping with that cause.

Another bunch of greenwashed whingers trying to stop any and all progress.
I'll bet they all drove there in oil fuels vehicles and the ones that didn't came in on oil fueled public transport.
I'll also bet these are the same people that go into orbit whenever they have to pay the same sort of prices for fuel that the rest of the world does and thinks that's a travesty.   ::)

The rest of your post was irrelevant gibberish and I have no idea the point or meaning of it.   :-[
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 28, 2017, 05:45:20 PM
Yes glort; we know.  I was hoping others might read it with a grin on their faces and give some thought to how long we can live in the good ole days that weren't as good as we like to remember.  My ancestor's screwed Native Americans out of just about everything.  I'd like my generation to see a stop to that abuse (better hurry up as I turn 74 in January).  How's that refugee thing going for you guys?

I know Australians don't pay their fair share in the Middle East so perhaps that burden is why some of us are so fed up with the dominance of the petroleum industry in our lives and you're not.  And their insistence that there be no subsidies.  We spend billions there every year on our navy alone.  It's one of the reasons that stuff is so cheap - relative to solar, wind and batteries even with direct subsidies.

I believe my brother and sister greenies also trump (pun intended) conservation as the first step in responsible energy management.  I still remember my first house caulking workshop.  Some of the cracks were so wide we had to foam them and come back the following week with caulk.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on November 28, 2017, 07:03:52 PM
Personally, I suspect the renewable alternative to oil, is going to be..... oil.

Yep, really...

There's a Japanese scientist (or possibly a team) who have discovered an cultured a species of alge who convert sunlight, CO2 from the air (or maybe the water, given that algae live in water) and spit out crude oil as a waste product. It's early days yet, and it's not been made clear how difficult it is (or isn't) to make the things reproduce; but it strikes me as an elegant solution to the problem. Suck CO2 out of the air, convert it into oil using solar power - and given the huge deserts (with lots of sunshine) available in Australia, the Middle East, southern USA and Africa; that's a LOT of high-solar land area which could be used to generate this (for want of a better word) bio-oil. It'd give a decent boost to Africa's economies too, if they can manage to make it without shooting each other. And since it's crude oil, it can be cracked to give us all of our favourite "fossil" poisons - petrol, diesel, lubricating oil and maybe even propane and/or butane.

The future's green, literally, and still just as oily as it has been since the 1900s.

e.g. https://www.ft.com/content/85bb7f54-54da-11e7-9fed-c19e2700005f
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 28, 2017, 09:22:45 PM
Alas, AdeV, there's a paywall for the link you provided so we can't read the article, which I'd love to read.  If you give us the researcher's name maybe there's a copy cat article elsewhere in the public domain.

Algae oil has long looked like a very good renewable fuel source that could use sewage waste as a secondary benefit,  but large scale follow through has not happened and the devil is always in the details.  Large scale takes huge bucks and the inevitable problems are an expensive education.

There's some work by Sandia Labs in the US Salton Sea area that looks interesting regarding algae  for oil/chemical production.

https://share-ng.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/salton-algae/#.Wh3KO3lryo8

 That area has long been proposed as a place capable of growing enough algae oil to provide most of the US oil needs, if LA sewage and seawater was piped in.  Alas, the devil is always in the details.

It is going to smell- no way around that for large open air algae systems. There is more exploratory commercial development for small closed systems.

Until we make the cost of fossil fuels reflect the total cost, including military and environmental, it's not possible for many other fuels/energy sources to compete. People will scream, but then shift to ways that save them money.  The trick is to harness personal and corporate greed to take us in a direction where we have a decent future for future generations, without a big negative impact in present quality of life.  Various carbon tax and cap/trade systems have been proposed to help facilitate this change.

The arguments stated against wind (except the obvious that we can't control the weather) are largely outdated and have been proven false; efficiency of the inverter type systems are now very high, and grid stability augmentation is built in the newer systems, and those developed techniques will be required for new PV systems in California.  At one time the power industry claimed over 10% PV or wind would destabilize the grid...but Denmark is now at 40% of their countries total average electrical power use and climbing.  Some days they are 100% wind and are they are often able to export excess capacity to Sweden via high voltage DC cables in the sea.

http://denmark.dk/en/green-living/wind-energy/

They've also created a windmill export industry for themselves so I tip my hat to them.  Even though wind is not my personal favorite, in some places/climates it makes very good sense.  When PV was more expensive, here in the White Mountains of Arizona many off grid homes used wind; it provided battery charging 24 hours a day when winter storms rolled in and storm clouds greatly diminished PV output.  Now it is less popular because of cost and maintenance relative to PV, again, specific to our climate and weather patterns.

Solar air conditioning is an area that definately needs some investment stimulus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_air_conditioning

One technology that could be used in the entire SW USA is Lithium Bromide air conditioning.  Direct solar heating can run the cooling- similar in concept to ammonia cycle refrigeration.  Much smaller roof footprint due to the higher efficiency of direct solar heating vs PV to conventional refrigerant compressor. PV prices now make this less appealing than superinsulation and PV/refrigeration for homes but for commercial buildings it could be the best way to go.

My own cooling needs have been largely eliminated by superinsulation for my particular climate; a one time cost that requires no ongoing maintenance and also saved me a lot of money for the solar hot water heating system as well.

I don't think it's stupid to plan for the future based on the best available science and start working out practical solutions to get there, even though the road will be full of the usual human follies.






Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 28, 2017, 10:59:37 PM
How's that refugee thing going for you guys?


Since we stopped the boat fulls of cue jumpers that were paying smugglers to get here, very well.
Just one lot of dishonest bludgers trying to bullshit their way in with all sorts of fairy tales the soft of heart and head are falling for their lies to clean out and we'll be on track. They have been offered relocation to new facilities and new countries but they know who is the softest touch where they can sit on their arses collecting social security for the rest of the freeloading days after bringing the rest of their cue jumping families out here so will do anything to stay which shows they aren't real refugees at all. 

I read that trump wants to build a fence to keep illegals out and protect the borders but people were up in arms about it?  I don't understand.
There is a border, I read that there is also a very extensive border patrol catching people trying to come in and sending them back.  What is wrong with  re-enforcing those borders to make them more effective?
Seems to me you either protect your borders or you do away with them.  The no fences policy does not seem to have worked out too well for Europe
so I'm wondering why a fence to protect your borders and keep a check on immigration is such a terrible thing?

Quote
I know Australians don't pay their fair share in the Middle East so perhaps that burden is why some of us are so fed up with the dominance of the petroleum industry in our lives and you're not.

Oh geez, the old middle east oil thing yet again. I am surprised, i'd have given you more credit than that Casey.
US gets about 11% of it's oil from the middle east.  Why is it that the middle east is always the first thing uneducated people refer to when it comes to oil?  You supply 75% of your own oil and the next biggest supplier is Canada who supply nearly 4 times what you get from the middle east.
Your military probably consume half the oil you get from the middle east with their constant presence there. Ever seen the numbers that it takes to keep that going in fuel?
Have they found Saddams weapons of Mass destruction yet BTW? 


Quote
It's one of the reasons that stuff is so cheap - relative to solar, wind and batteries even with direct subsidies.

Going back to the hey day of the veg oil fuel, it's never ceased to amaze me how the mentality of so many in the US is that of oil has to be made cheaper   rather than trying to use less. The price of oil hits $4 a gallon and people start talking about invading the middle east and just taking the oil.  Thought that's what was already happening but under the guise of "Helping" people there.
There is also a mentality that would suggest people in the US are all 7Ft tall because I have lost count of how many times I have read people saying they can not fit in or be comfortable in vehicles that are sold around the world and everyone else gets on fine with.
 The F-150 is still the highest selling Vehicle because soccer "mom's" need all that space because they have to carry 20 Bushels of things where ever they go right?


Quote
I still remember my first house caulking workshop.  Some of the cracks were so wide we had to foam them and come back the following week with caulk.

So your house was really poorly built?  Is that normal there?
My last house was over 100 years old when I sold it and didn't have ANY cracks in it at all. Only place drafts came from was under doors. Windows all fitted well and didn't whistle or leak air when closed either.  Can't ever remember seeing any old houses here that bad be they timber or brick.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 29, 2017, 12:45:27 AM

Algae oil has long looked like a very good renewable fuel source that could use sewage waste as a secondary benefit,  but large scale follow through has not happened and the devil is always in the details.  Large scale takes huge bucks and the inevitable problems are an expensive education.

I too remember algae being touted as the worlds new oil supply 10 years back.  Like a lot of these things, I think it's really something more just to attract investment $$ and they know it's not really practical.
You are dead right about the details. Like all RE, they tend to hype the positive points and never mention the drawbacks that really make the ideas impractical.

For the rest of my days, I fully expect Fossil oil to be the major fuel source in the world especially for transportation.

Quote
Until we make the cost of fossil fuels reflect the total cost, including military and environmental, it's not possible for many other fuels/energy sources to compete.

I disagree.
The REAL decider will be when oil compnies can make the same or better profits from an alternative as they can with fossil oil. Anyone with a basic understanding of business will appreciate they are not going to throw away billions in infrastructure and more in long term profits to replace they current product with something they will make less money from just because it's good for " The environment."
Sorry, but I think anyone that believes Oil companies and Gubbermints will give up their profits out of the goodness of their hearts is totally and utterly kidding themselves. Pollies and directors on boards are answerable Now and their first priority is to line their own pockets. They are not going to be the ones who tank the share price or massively increase deficits for something that will ( supposedly) happen in 20 or 50 years.

They never have yet and they never will.  That is the personal and corporate greed at work you speak of and is completely real.

Quote
  Various carbon tax and cap/trade systems have been proposed to help facilitate this change.

They were tried here and like most gubbermit initiatives, was a complete and utter farce.
It's only accomplishment was to make things more expensive and drive more local manufacturing to places like China and India that have lower emission standards than we do anyway thus achiving a negative outcome.  Oh, and it did create some more gubbermint jobs administering the whole ridiculous exercise.
I went to some trouble ringing  and emailing various gubbermint departments to try and find the specifics of where the money that was earmarked ( supposedly) for green schemes was going. I was told it was going towards planting trees and remedial environmental work yet not ONE specific project could I be given details of with the idea of going and seeing it in action.
The idea may have been commendable but the execution was criminal.


Quote
The arguments stated against wind (except the obvious that we can't control the weather) are largely outdated and have been proven false;  At one time the power industry claimed over 10% PV or wind would destabilize the grid...but Denmark is now at 40% of their countries total average electrical power use and climbing.  Some days they are 100% wind and are they are often able to export excess capacity to Sweden via high voltage DC cables in the sea.

Which is what I suggested in an earlier post.
It's a joke to try and rely on RE totally at this point but to keep the old infrastructure in place ( coal fired stations etc) and have the RE supplement it when  it can, achieves the best of both worlds practically and reliably as current technology and development permits.
It is the same as my own thinking with my panels. Minimise my grid consumption as best I can when I can but have it to fall back on when the sun is not shining or the weather is not favorable.  Yes, I'll still have to pay something but any saving made is a good thing.

The exact same simple ( thus it's flaw) principle could be applied to power supply. Keep the fossil fueled stations going and also build the RE solar farms, turbines etc. When conditions are favourable and they are supplying power, use that and turn down the fossil plants. When the wind stops at night, crank them up and have the power you need.
Why it has to be rushed into all one thing escapes me .

I believe one of the Nordic countries is also getting very close to total RE through hydro power.  That is something that is nice and stable and reliable 24/7.  Unfortunately there are limited places where it can be done and not nearly enough to supply everyone energy needs.
More the pity.


 
Quote
here in the White Mountains of Arizona many off grid homes used wind; it provided battery charging 24 hours a day when winter storms rolled in and storm clouds greatly diminished PV output.  Now it is less popular because of cost and maintenance relative to PV, again, specific to our climate and weather patterns.

I look at a number of DIY energy based forums and even on a DIY basis, wind power is expensive, complicated and requires a lot of " Infrastructure" in towers, controllers etc.  There is far more skill and investment involved in getting even 3 Kw of power from a wind turbine than Panels.
And of course the other thing, not everywhere has suitable wind just like not everyone has viable sunshine.
the other difficulty with wind even if you do have it is unlike in suburbia where panels are typical, getting a wind generator  tower passed or even not having complaints from your neighbors is not at all easy.  This is an individual rather than commercial thing of course but it seems many of the same problems apply.

Quote
My own cooling needs have been largely eliminated by superinsulation for my particular climate; a one time cost that requires no ongoing maintenance and also saved me a lot of money for the solar hot water heating system as well.

I have always been a bit 2 minded about insulation.  This place is far better insulated than the last one BUT..... i'm concerned about the summer heat getting in and then not getting out.
You can't stop heat getting in through windows and doors and once it's in and the place has heat soaked after 3-5 days of hot weather as we get here,  seems like it might be tough to shift.

Do you live where it gets to 30oC + for days at a time and if so, how have you found the trapped heat is over come?
Do you just run the AC or can you ventilate it out at night easily? Does the building warm up and then the radiated heat keep going back inside?

My old place had little insulation but even when the temp dropped 20o at night and I had every window and door open and fans sucking the cool outside air in and trying to blow the hot air out, it disn't cool easily.  Once you get a few hot days and the place heat soaks, it seems to take a lot to get rid of it.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: broncodriver99 on November 29, 2017, 01:21:48 AM
Do you live where it gets to 30oC + for days at a time and if so, how have you found the trapped heat is over come?
Do you just run the AC or can you ventilate it out at night easily? Does the building warm up and then the radiated heat keep going back inside?

We spend about 3 months of the year at or above 30C(86F). Our temps start rising in late May but the nights are still cool enough that one can get away with no AC. By mid June we are usually into the 90'sF with random days at 100F+. July and August can be pretty miserable here in the 90'sF most days and at least a week or two of mixed temps into the low 100'sF. Our biggest issue is not the temperature, one can acclimate to that, it's the humidity. Without AC there is just no way to dry off without sitting still in front of a fan which doesn't always work either.

I don't dare open my windows from June 1 to September 1 as it takes days for the AC to pull the humidity back out once the house is closed back up. There aren't many around here that don't have at least a window AC unit to keep one room cool on the hottest days. I used to be OK with toughing out all but the hottest of days but I have zero interest in it anymore. I work outside all day in the heat and sun and have no interest in sweating while sitting on my couch so I run the AC.

We had a whole house fan growing up, it moved a serious amount of air. We closed the windows in the AM before it got too warm and opened them up in late evening and ran the fan all night. I doesn't seem like it got as hot back then but I do believe that spending too much time in AC makes it harder to bear higher or lower temperatures.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on November 29, 2017, 02:25:56 AM
If our politicians had a brain cell each to rub together they would be making use of our abundant hydro-generated (and wind-boosted, because we are a narrow, windy pair of islands, and we overspill our hydro lakes when they get too full, and turn off our windmills when the lakes are high . . .) electricity, and be obliging governments and local bodies to buy electric cars.

Even if we had started that three or four years ago the "fleet roll-overs" would be appearing on the private market right now and there would be a big demand for them

IMHO there is just almost no downside to them - the energy they consume is generated "greenly" and, if they are government cars or commute-to-work folks' cars that sit in a parking garage most of the time during the day, attached to the charger, they would finally represent an electricity usage that's happening when solar is in a position to be making a contribution.

A few thousand of them introduced into the national fleet every year - instead of the ubiquitous Hyundai i30 or Toyota Corolla - would do good things for the environment, for the national transport fleet, and for our balance of payments; as we import the oil we burn, largely

Just vmy $0.02
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 29, 2017, 03:07:41 AM
Corporations only exist to profit shareholders, and CEO's have a fiduciary obligation to maximize those profits, lest they be fired by their boards.  They can ONLY be directed by profit incentives and only government can change the rules so that the desired actions are profitable.  Australia is not the only country to be struggling to come up with a carbon cap and trade system that works well, and the EU sustem has had bumps in that road as well as they adjust it to work better.  This is true for every complex endeavor of humans. 

Germany's program to phase out nuclear and coal plants involves reimbursing power companies for the remaining years of service those plants could have provided.  They have achieved 32% RE and their leadership really jump started the whole RE worldwide by their demand for PV and wind power and the resulting lowered cost for PV we now enjoy. They provided massive incentives for private and cooperative RE development.  There has been some backlash for the 50% increase in power bills (not as bad as that for the refugee program) but so far they have overall done an astonishing job of leading the world in RE. All this after footing the bill for bringing Eastern Germany out of severe poverty; a huge undertaking.  Change for the better is rarely cheap or easy. 

On algae- the problem seems to be lack of financial backing for the technically difficult and expensive large scale system development and refinement.  It would take government level backing.  Corporations can NOT do this because of the huge impact on near term profits.  Of the half dozen algae-oil studies I have read were pretty basic, low budget, university done, and were open and honest about potential problems and the need for more R&D.  Alas, any US congressman or senator who pushed a reasonable algae-oil research and  development program would find his opponents flooded with corporate coal, oil and gas money.  Both senators and congressmen are typically spending 3-4 hours a day, every working day,  soliciting funds for their next campaign. That's the way "democracy" works in the USA. 

Regarding superinsulation and trapped heat:
Before I built my home here I spent a fair amount time with a free thermal modeling program provided by an in-floor heat provider.  That helped me design for the best bang for my buck; you could change the wall, ceiling, floor, stem wall and window(s)  insulation values against your soil and air temperatures (day and night) and see what the BTU needs where for that room.  What I found was that typical homes are absolute crap if you don't want to piss away energy.  For construction details I did some on my own and stole a lot of ideas from Canadian designs. They have to be smart with their winter temperatures.

30C is only 85F.  That's mild enough that you have to be savy to get good bang for your insulation buck, especially with such a huge space to insulate (I vaguely recall your new place is roughly 5000 SF?) for a reasonable payback time.  My climate is much more extreme; 102 F is common in the day in June and early July (though nights are 40F cooler).

If you nights are cool,  the very large belt driving ceiling type, whole house ventilators can be very effective.  I can't tolerate the noise, among other problems, so just open my windows at night.  Since the house only gains 3 degrees F during the day,  that's all I have to loose. It works well, though cloudy nights which don't cool off (rare) mean the house will be a few degrees warmer the next day.

I have experimented with various schemes for cooling via cool water in the in-floor heating system.  The floor slab cooling approach has been proven by some New Mexico funded studies with real data for real homes and roof mounted collectors for night sky cooling, in a climate almost identical to mine.  I've built an 16 foot tall water cooling tower and collected data all night, trickled water down a 30 foot x 3 foot section of steel roof panel and collected data for a variety of night temperatures, wind and humidity, and measured well water and earth temperatures.  I've also helped my neighbor use his well pump to chill his floor, and collected water volume and temperature data to calculate BTUs.  I've also seriously studied direct ground source (63F year round at about 10 foot deep here) for the same cooling system.  My cooling needs are so infrequent and modest that I am reluctant to do it; my home only got to 80F for two days last summer, due to not being able to open up from wildfire smoke. 

In insulation, blown or sprayed attic insulation is often a bargain.  In an RE world, most inland locations should have requirements for R40 side walls and R70+ attics. Insulated foundation walls are also critical in many climates...heat DOES go down by convection!  We do a lot of dumb design like slab floors which touch the concrete foundation wall and then outside becomes concrete.  Or slabs which extend outside, exposed, at doors. That is a heat and cold wicking system like you can't believe as concrete is highly thermally conductive.  In my home, adding 4" of EPS foam board between slab edge and stem wall cut my modeled BTU requirement in half.  It was done with two 2 inch strips, one 8" tall, the other 16", and using 6" block for the upper stem wall coarse.  Peanuts in cost and not much effort either.

I used extra wide door sills to bridge over the 4 inches of foam which separates the slab from the stem wall.  Yes, doors are hell, thermally, as are windows.  To keep my total heat loss to 3 degrees F on winter nights (10-15F typical) I stuff the windows with Reflectrix-type material. That is a cheap way to have an R-8 window.   In my last home, I made folding insulating panels for glass patio doors and windows, with Astrofoil (aluminum faced bubble) material inserts.  In my current superinsulated home, I have only 1 outside door, and it leads to an small entry way that is an air lock and is kept about 8F cooler/warmer than the house.  The gas kitchen is in an outside corner of the house, is insulated (both walls and floor) from the house, is kept with cross-flow windows open all summer. Cooking does not heat the house, nor does the propane refrigerator.  The refrigerator heats the small gas kitchen adequately in the winter.  My 4' by 32' solar hot water panel and 800 gallon insulated storage tank heats the house in winter.  Last year I spent $50 on propane to run the backup propane water heaters from Dec. through Feb.  Most of that $50 is just stack loss for the cheap, no electronics,  low efficiency gas water heaters being on. 

I did the super insulation thing for my own benefit, for comfort and quiet, and to save operating costs.  I also wanted to leave an energy-responsible home behind when I'm gone for the long dirt nap.  I'm very, very pleased with the cost/benefit of super insulation.  It's like off grid PV-  once you do it you realize it was pretty easy and wish you'd done it long ago. 























Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 29, 2017, 06:45:44 AM
https://arena.gov.au/blog/energy-prices/

It seems that blaming RE for the huge Australian energy price hikes might not be the true story.  You've got a motherload of contributing factors...including enormous increases in  gas prices and corruption and manipulation by power and energy co.s and corruption of the power "regulatory" agencies (a problem here too).  Reminds me of what happened to some southern Californians after the big push to deregulate power in the US many years ago. (Nothing to do with RE.) Some folks bills quadrupled...energy co.s where playing games.

With just a bit better batteries, taking Sydney homes and small businesses off grid will be VERY popular unless gas prices can be stabilized. 



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on November 29, 2017, 07:36:30 AM
Hi Bruce,

Bloody FT - it's a pain in the proverbial. I don't subscribe to it, but for some reason it's let me view this story... normally it bumps me too.

Anyway, here's the text of the article:

Quote
ExxonMobil biofuel partnership makes oil from algae ‘breakthrough’
Collaboration with Craig Venter biotech doubles oil content to industrially useful level
 
"Algae can in principle produce seven times more energy per acre than corn-based ethanol, the main source of biofuel today"
JUNE 19, 2017 Clive Cookson, Science Editor

After eight years, a research collaboration between ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics to produce biofuels from algae has produced what the two US companies say is the first “breakthrough”.

Scientists at Synthetic Genomics, the biotech company founded by genomics pioneer Craig Venter, used advanced genetic engineering to double the oil content of their algal strain from 20 to 40 per cent, without inhibiting its growth. The findings are published in Nature Biotechnology on Monday.

“This key milestone in our advanced biofuels programme confirms our belief that algae can be incredibly productive as a renewable energy source without adverse impacts on climate, land and water,” said Vijay Swarup, vice-president for research and development at ExxonMobil, the US oil major. “Our work with Synthetic Genomics continues to be an important part of our broader research into lower-emission technologies to reduce the risk of climate change.”

The researchers identified a biological switch called ZnCys that regulates the conversion of carbon to oil in Nannochloropsis gaditana, an algal species that grows in seawater and is a leading candidate for biofuel production. Through genetic manipulation, they fine-tuned the process to double the proportion of lipid (oil) in the algal biomass.

Previous attempts to boost the oil concentration in algae — an important step in biofuel production — failed because the cells stopped growing when they were overloaded with lipid. The new genetic process maintains growth until 40 per cent of the biomass consists of lipid, an industrially useful level.

Although the energy industry has been investigating algae since the 1970s as a source of biodiesel to supplement petroleum-based fuels, the technical difficulties in developing fast-growing strains with a high oil content have proved far greater than the optimists imagined.

Several other companies abandoned the algal biofuel field but ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics, which originally announced a $600m 10-year partnership in 2009, have persevered. “We knew this research would take a long time,” said Mr Swarup. “We are pursuing a policy of aggressive patience.”

Algae can in principle produce seven times more energy per acre than corn-based ethanol, the main source of biofuel today. Other advantages include the ability of algae to grow in salt water and thrive in harsh environmental conditions — limiting the pressure on farmland and fresh water supplies. Algal oil could be processed in conventional refineries, producing fuel that can substitute directly for petrol or diesel.

But the technology is still several years from commercialisation. “More work needs to be done before algal biofuels can be scaled up from the lab to industrial production to compete with diesel at the pump,” said Oliver Fetzer, chief executive of Synthetic Genomics, which remains privately owned 12 years after its foundation

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on November 29, 2017, 07:41:24 AM
This link (http://biofuels-news.com/display_news/12197/biofuels_breakthrough_mechanism_behind_algae_oil_production_revealed/) should lead to an article about the Japanese research which I was thinking of; or at least, some more research from his team.

Please excuse the greenwash website... it was just the first link I happened to click...
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on November 29, 2017, 08:02:19 AM
Battery storage is the limiting factor with off grid. To build a cost effective system requires a big change for anyone used to an unlimited grid connection, and many cannot or will not make the compromises needed.

Storage requirement depends mainly on weather patterns. Electricity consumption needs to be factored around tomorrows and future sunshine hours.
Realistically, storage needs to adequately cover average non sunny periods... 1 day, 4 days, depending on location.
Storage can be dramatically reduced with a secondary immediate power source, ie diesel, to recharge batteries.

For us normal people, this is the best option, and is similar to the hydro/wind concept where one compliments the other.
Increasing daily useage , or living in a tropical environment increases the problem exponentially in cost.
This too is a function of battery "chemical efficiency" where around 30 percent of power replaced is lost in H/O production, ie gassing and other losses. Inverters are between 60 to 80 percent efficient depending on load.
Off  gridders learn this in the first  few days, usually the hard way.

Coupled to the requirement with lead acid to not too deeply cycle the bank for a reasonable life, the net efficiency is very poor, and is not appreciably improved with other battery technologies, other than the cycling can be deeper, ie with NiFe and Lithium for instance.
Here the cost per amp hour is similar, the actual physical size of the required storage is reduced, but the financial cost remains similar.  Even hydro, with the  line/distribution losses  equate to similar  low  efficiencies, but they can charge the consumer  for those.

PV may be getting cheaper, storage, despite economies of scale remains the same, or is slowly increasing. in cost, rare earth syndrome.

Those gridders who are contemplating cutting the ties, generally have no idea just how much effort every  home made kilowatt hour takes to make, store and carefully use, with an eye to that  rain cloud on the horizon.
It involves a close relationship with the power shed on almost a daily basis.... its almost like a marriage with a nagging wife, if ANYTHING is not quite right, you are gunna know real quick, and be punished..
Its easy to forget the huge infrastructure and the thousands of people who maintain the power supply from the grid, few contemplate this as they switch on the lights., and probably only a passing thought as they moan about the bill.
When generating your own, the responsibility of all this is now yours.
But, its fun.

I have many visitors asking me how they can do what I do.
Their big idea is only to save money.
I always tell them to go away and think about it, then get back to me.
They hardly ever do.
The passion just isnt there, they are just wasting my time.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 29, 2017, 12:24:55 PM
Oh my Gosh,

I decided to get my mind tested.  You folks chat on, will you? 

I've also decided to apologize for my cheap shots.  I'm not sure on the timetable but I'm very sure it's coming. 

Best wishes,

Casey


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 29, 2017, 01:03:12 PM
Thanks Bronco and especially Bruce.
That was an extremely interesting and informative post.
I think what I have experienced and the basis for my concerns is because I only know what a half arsed insulated house is rather than done properly.  Mine is as you say, the walls sit on the slab and the edges are exposed at the 6 doorways.
I'm not sure if insulating the steps would do any good or if the cold would come in through the walls which go all the way to the base of the slab around the edges. If Insulating the slab edges at the doorways would help, I'd be on to that like a fat kid on a cup cake.

There was foam around the edges of the doors which has perished and needs replacing.  Doors in the old place fit good and tight bar for the needed clearance underneath where the carpet once was.

I like the idea of a ventilator fan.
the night temps do drop off here a lot apparently and I was going to ask my AC mate about putting another zone on the ducted system to suck the outside air in, filter and discharge it into the ducting.  A separate fan may be better still. The fan on the ducted AC unit runs off the phase I can't backfeed and it seem to draw a surprising amount of power on it's own. I can have it in fan mode so the pump isn't operating but the pick up point is in the middle of the house so only recirculates rather than refreshes.

I haven't been up in the roof yet.... surprisingly. The inspection report said there were some disturbed bats around the light fittings but now I have replaced the halogens with Leds I should get up and fix that.

I have been thinking about a cooling system using a decorative  water feature and evaporation to cool the water then pumping the chilled water through a radiator and into the house.  Only thing with that is the mrs doesn't want the water feature near the house so it would be a lot to run the plumbing and probably take a lot of the chill off the water no matter how well I insulated the pipes. I at least want the thing under the back verandah to cool that under there but  she wants it well further out so I'd be cooling the suburb more than my own place.

There are a lot of things I'd like to do with building my own home but the bottom line is, I haven't got the guts.
I don't know enough about the building game and dealing with contractors and  also, I don't have the patience and energy to take on such a project these days. i do realise though that better people like yourself can incorporate a huge amount of simple and effective things into a homes design and get all sorts of benefits that the " Production" homes don't and probably will never have.

I see the way they are building new homes round here.
Fk me, I'd seriously build a kids Cubbyhouse stronger and better. I reckon most of them will be lucky to last 20 years without major repair!

Thanks again for the great read!
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: oldgoat on November 29, 2017, 01:15:33 PM
Yes I remember how getting rid of the carbon tax here in Au was going to save us so much we would all be millionaires. Well I got a $6-00 refund from my electricity supplier who promptly jacked the price for service to my property by $8-00.  Net gain -$2-00 the price of my lpg never changed nor did the cost of steel and products by other energy intensive industries. The mining industry and others who were supposedly going down the drain because of this impost were able to find $30 million to finance the campaign to rescind the carbon tax legislation.
Getting rid of the carbon tax made absolutely no difference to my cost of living but probably improved the bottom line for large corporations.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 29, 2017, 02:04:48 PM
https://arena.gov.au/blog/energy-prices/

It seems that blaming RE for the huge Australian energy price hikes might not be the true story. 

Bruce, let me just say if you believe 10% of what is in that article, you'd be giving them a LOT of credit they don't deserve.
A loath as I am to keep beating the same old drum, that site is green preoccupied and there is a lot in that one article alone that is extremely biased through omission to the agenda they want to push.

I think most would know I speak the truth when I say I follow this stuff closely and well beyond media reports and the truth is a long way from what they make out in that piece. It is a large and complex, ongoing picture but a very different colour to the one they are painting.

Quote

With just a bit better batteries, taking Sydney homes and small businesses off grid will be VERY popular unless gas prices can be stabilized.

The gas thing has only come up recently because of the need to increase gas power generation in the wake of all the blown up coal plants.
We also export a LOT of gas and get as little as 1C per litre for it.
The price of gas and electricity are very tied together.

The gap with off grid in suburbia is closing financially  with the cost of batteries Vs being on grid but people are wary, lazy and in fairness, the tiny blocks of land they are building homes on now and the resulting small footprint of roof area will make having a battery and panels nonviable for many 10's of thousands of homes just around here.

For those with a traditional house on land area, I think a very strong motivator will be to stuff the cost, people will be fed up with being screwed over on power  prices and will take a hit just to stick it up the system and not be played like puppets any more.  Add the RE feelgood and I think the downward spiral effect the power companies are conscious of may just start it's downward spin.

I Know myself, the day I get the notice they are coming to take my analogue meters away will be the day I start crunching numbers to go it alone REAL hard.

There are a couple of businesses near where I used to be that had massive PV arrays on their roofs. One was a pub which I reckon had about 20Kw+ and the other was a factory with one of those sawtooth roofs that must have had 50Kw+ up. It was a big area and it was covered.
Can't say I recollect seeing a lot of businesses with panels though. I did see a small hotel the other day while I was in the tropics that had a roof full of panels. Also had a number of hot water heaters up there as well which would have been an asset I imagine.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 29, 2017, 02:21:11 PM
Quote
ExxonMobil biofuel partnership makes oil from algae ‘breakthrough’
Collaboration with Craig Venter biotech doubles oil content to industrially useful level

The thing that always makes me suspicious of articles/ reports like that is when they specify percentages and not Qtys. Every time I have seen that and found the actual numbers, it's been a crock  that they have been trying to gloss over and hype up.

Algae makes X times more oil/ fuel than corn.
While since I looked into it but as I recall, corn is a pretty poor base stock to work from and the reality was it is only used to offset the subsidized over supply in the US. In other places they prefer higher yielding feed stocks like Sugar can and barley.  For oil it's Canola, sunflower and some beans.

What I want to know to put credibility on the research is how much Oil they are getting or think they can get per acre.
If they are getting 100L per acre, well it's pretty easy to work out that they will have to cover the oceans with algae to meet current oil demand alone and clearly the idea is not practical..... which is my guess on the situation.
To me, with out a specific yield number, all the talk of percentages is meaningless.

These people get paid to do research not to succeed in what they are doing.
I worked out years ago that to really have a hope in hell of offsetting fossil fuel world demand you are going to need something that produces about
 10,000L  of oil per acre to begin to be in the running.

Most people can't even begin to fathom the amount of oil we burn through a day on a global scale and that's what makes replacing oil such a big ask.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 29, 2017, 05:36:13 PM
Disobedience Handbook. Sol Olinsk
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 29, 2017, 05:44:33 PM
Starfire- most of the newer 48V inverters are running at 94-98% efficiency; this is "marketing speak", since it is only the inverter loss and not battery and wiring, but still, your figures were much lower than what I'm familiar with in the Magnum Energy line, and every other 3KW+, 48V, name brand inverter I've seen.  At idle (no load), these inverters do eat some power and efficiency then sucks but in fair sized home systems it's negligible. They have come a long way and your figures are fair for some old systems. 12V systems did suffer badly from wiring battery resistance issues, also.

My own 120VDC 2nd prototype inverter checks out at 92% efficiency despite intentional slow, soft switching, (using less efficient transistors to handle that), and reworked, cheap stock toroidal transformers.  So I do tend to believe the published Magnum efficiency and the engineers who helped provide information on a filter project I was working on in a competent manner. They had to focus on efficiency at the expense of EMI because that is buyers and marketing types focus on. They couldn't dramatically reduce their emissions, but they knew just where and how to do it and shared that openly.  I like the best (10%) of humans,  they enjoy solving problems and sharing useful information.

I concur that battery ongoing replacement costs are the last hurdle for widespread off grid homes.  Most rural folks here new to off grid living seem to learn to moderate their consumption and timing of consumption pretty quickly after trashing their first set of batteries ($) in couple years.  Painfully expensive lessons seem to stick. Mostly, it's learning to be aware of weather, battery state of charge, and the impact of various appliances.  For suburban situations, a fuel cell system for charging batteries would be a marvelous backup that wouldn't pollute the air or make noise.

AdeV- Thanks for the text and link for the algae story. 40% oil for their strain is impressive but it's very frustrating that this RE field has been kept at the concept study/lab level for over 30 years.  No surprise that Exxon is very happy to keep it there while claiming RE innovation.  Every large city sewage treatment plant in the US except in the NE (likely too cold) could be making algae oil (this needs fresh water algae), plus in US there's the huge Salton Sea area, close enough to LA.  We need pilot plant data and experience...preferably publicly funded so it isn't all proprietary.  There are natural strains of algae with 30% oil, so I would say proceed there and get the systems sorted out.  You can always twiddle with strains for different environments later.  I wish we could establish a new civilian branch of DARPA and turn them loose.  A sustained, long term  R&D effort to develop and improve RE would reap huge benefits. 



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 29, 2017, 06:07:09 PM
glort is correct for 2012.

https://www.npr.org/2012/04/11/150444802/where-does-america-get-oil-you-may-be-surprised (https://www.npr.org/2012/04/11/150444802/where-does-america-get-oil-you-may-be-surprised)

We should be out of there any day now. 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 29, 2017, 07:21:10 PM
Following up on AdeV's post on algae development, I found this small pilot project in S. Australia.  Only a couple acres of ponds.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/algae-oil-test-facility-launched-south-australia-25027/

Still looking for bigger projects.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on November 29, 2017, 07:50:31 PM
Quote
ExxonMobil biofuel partnership makes oil from algae ‘breakthrough’
Collaboration with Craig Venter biotech doubles oil content to industrially useful level

The thing that always makes me suspicious of articles/ reports like that is when they specify percentages and not Qtys. Every time I have seen that and found the actual numbers, it's been a crock  that they have been trying to gloss over and hype up.

Algae makes X times more oil/ fuel than corn.
While since I looked into it but as I recall, corn is a pretty poor base stock to work from and the reality was it is only used to offset the subsidized over supply in the US. In other places they prefer higher yielding feed stocks like Sugar can and barley.  For oil it's Canola, sunflower and some beans.

What I want to know to put credibility on the research is how much Oil they are getting or think they can get per acre.
If they are getting 100L per acre, well it's pretty easy to work out that they will have to cover the oceans with algae to meet current oil demand alone and clearly the idea is not practical..... which is my guess on the situation.
To me, with out a specific yield number, all the talk of percentages is meaningless.

These people get paid to do research not to succeed in what they are doing.
I worked out years ago that to really have a hope in hell of offsetting fossil fuel world demand you are going to need something that produces about
 10,000L  of oil per acre to begin to be in the running.

Most people can't even begin to fathom the amount of oil we burn through a day on a global scale and that's what makes replacing oil such a big ask.

From the article: "The new genetic process maintains growth until 40 per cent of the biomass consists of lipid"; i.e. for every 350kg of mature(?) algae, the max harvest assuming no losses is around 140kg, or 1 barrel of oil (hehe, I wonder how that came out so handy  8)) .

Anyway, current(ish) consumption is estimated at around 35 billion barrels per year, so to completely replace oil with algal oil (assuming it's suitable for ALL oil products that we currently use, and that's glossed over completely in all the articles I've seen), that means maturing 12.25 billion tons of algae per year. That seems like quite an ask...

Fascinating article here from 2008 about why algae really isn't the second coming....: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/04/algae-fuel-biof.html (http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/04/algae-fuel-biof.html) From one of my favourite sources too, a little bit greenwashy from time to time, but a lot of what he writes makes sense.

Also interesting that, on further googling, people are claiming anything up to 50% or even 70% oil by volume of biomass. Makes you wonder what the real story is...
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on November 29, 2017, 08:38:41 PM
Great "dose of reality" article, AdeV.  Thanks!  The author suggests PV and large scale energy conservation instead.  The latter seems about as easy to accomplish as population control.








Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 29, 2017, 11:47:11 PM
glort is correct for 2012.

https://www.npr.org/2012/04/11/150444802/where-does-america-get-oil-you-may-be-surprised (https://www.npr.org/2012/04/11/150444802/where-does-america-get-oil-you-may-be-surprised)

We should be out of there any day now.

Unfortunately for you Casey, I'm still right on the latest figures which is what I used:

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=727&t=6

https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/faq/how-much-oil-does-us-export-and-import

Even if the US does get out of the middle east, it will only be to take the military machine somewhere else. The US has been continually at war somewhere  in the world for over 50 years.

Whatever you do Canada, don't raise the price of your oil too much or you'll be invaded so as to calm the political unrest and persecution there.    ::)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on November 30, 2017, 02:25:25 AM

Just came back in from doing some planning and measuring for putting my panels on the shed roof.

I have a panel up there I shattered with a mis placed ball while playing fetch with the pup about 6 weeks back.  It's lying on the 5o roof and has been rained on a few times now which I thought might Kill it. It was not producing power for my seed raising fridge so I got up only to find a wire had come adrift from a branch falling on it.

Fixed that and the thing still seems to be producing near as dammit full power. The shattering must have some shading effect but it does not seem to hurt output a lot.
Wonder if it will last long term when the rains really come?

Still mulling over the best way to make a framework to mount the panels on but really want them off the grass now. I thought I'll just put them up on the 5 and 13 degree roof pitches for the moment. Couldn't be any different to having them flat on the grass.  Next thought was to run the calculator at those pitches and see how much I would be loosing over having them racked at the proper angle. 
Ran the calculator and to my surprise, having them at those almost flat angles gives me more output from November till march than either the "ideal" latitude angle or the 10o lower I was going to put them for summer optimisation!
Bonus!
I can just put them up out the way for the time being and worry about them after Christmas.

The online solar calculators sure are a great help and learning aid. They also show like pretty much everything else on the net, the popular theroy and reality are often very distant things.

Other upshot with putting the panels up on the shed roof will be the ability to run the bigger inverters and not be limited to the 2 Kw output I'm choked at now. That will depend on the weather though. Since I got back it's been very cloudy every day and input from the arrays has been right down even though somehow we are still generating more than we have been consuming. Just.

Wish I'd have thought of this a month back!   :embarassed:

Now all I have to do is get them up there.
Think I'll make a slide with some heavy timber I have to lean against the shed wall and  make  up a bit of rope with a couple of hooks on the end and get the daughter to attach them on the ground and then I'll just pull them up on the wooden beam slide. Still going to be a BIG Job!

If only a neighbour had a forklift I could borrow!   :laugh:
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on November 30, 2017, 04:13:28 PM
Thanks glort.  Canada, consider yourself warned by the agent in Australia.

Of course I'm still in favor of low impact and sustainable energy sources but even more frustrated and bewildered with our need to war. Profit is a formidable force.

Line crowding and staying alive are kind of different strategies.  So when my ancestors came to North America it was to stay alive and when the newbies arrive it's because they're line crowders.  If the answers were easy or simple they'd be answered.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 03, 2017, 08:52:10 PM
Starfire- most of the newer 48V inverters are running at 94-98% efficiency; this is "marketing speak", since it is only the inverter loss and not battery and wiring, but still, your figures were much lower than what I'm familiar with in the Magnum Energy line, and every other 3KW+, 48V, name brand inverter I've seen.  At idle (no load), these inverters do eat some power and efficiency then sucks but in fair sized home systems it's negligible. They have come a long way and your figures are fair for some old systems. 12V systems did suffer badly from wiring battery resistance issues, also.


Bruce, if you connect a DC wattmeter to input, AC wattmeter to the output of any inverter, over time, from days to weeks, you will see the real net efficiency of the inverter.  None will achieve that manufacturers rating.... ever.
The real life efficiency the average bloke will get is actually no where near that 94/97 they claim, 70/80 percent means its doing very well.
Inverters spend almost all their life running at a small part of their rated continuous loading, and can only achieve max efficiency  within a very small window.
Same with mechanical generating equipment where max efficiency is also achieved only near max output.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 03, 2017, 10:33:55 PM
I had the same impression myself, Starfire, but in looking at Magnum's MS-PAE series (48V) load vs efficiency chart, they have efficiency above 90% from 500 to 3500 watts.  Beyond that in the 80s.  It's pretty damned impressive.

See page 41 of the manual:

https://realgoods.com/downloads/dl/file/id/382/ms_pae_series_owner_s_manual.pdf

Their 24V model is  less efficient; 85-90% from 500 to 3500 watts.

I agree that these figures are high enough to raise credibility issues but my other experiences in working with Magnum engineers is that this an area where they are very proud of their work.  It would take very good toroidal magnetics design to achieve this. The low frequency design of the Magnum does help greatly with MOSFET switching losses.  That plus the newer MOFETs have amazingly reduced gate charge capacitance and incredibly low on resistance.

Below 500W the efficiency does drop precipitously; they don't show below 300 watts where it is only 70%...and likely for good cause(!).  So for low power use, even the best of 4KW inverters really do suck at conversion efficiency. (A smaller unit might be better at this.) This can't really be helped with a low frequency, transformer isolated design.  You'd almost have to have another unit with different magnetics for very low power, and switch between them as the load increased.






Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 03, 2017, 11:20:54 PM
My own 5 step sine inverter is loosely based on the early Trace SW series, low frequency design.  I've only tested it for efficiency (92%) at 500 watts so far, with two surplus 1100 watt toroidal transformers I had on hand which can easily handle a 1500 watt continuous load and 3500 watt peak (my design goal).

Just for kicks, I did some searching and found this efficiency curve from Trace. (see attachment)

No wonder the Trace SW series had such a good reputation...the low power performance is better than most made today.  This was a true low frequency design, not a hybrid.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 04, 2017, 01:35:17 AM
Yes, agree, that particular example is very good, above a minimum load.
Using their figures.
In "search" mode, the standby current is 6 watts, or around 800mA at the nominal 48 volts.
Inverter overhead when running is around the 25 watts.... this is the voltage sense, mosfet drivers, gate current etc
At a 500 watt AC load .... a  large lighting load using CFLs for an instance , 500/25 = 20 or   around 80 percent efficiency, Pf =1, ie resistive load.
At 1500 watts , efficiency climbs  to 1500/25, or close to their 90 percent.
With inductive or capacitive loads..... most given the proliferation of SMPS in almost all electronic devices, even including CFL lighting, the actual figures will be less, but close.
A period of low energy use, when sleeping for example, will see the lower efficiency over a longer time, perhaps say 8 hours in a 24 hr period. Higher cyclic loads during the day tend to be intermittent, refrigeration, microwave oven, kettle etc,  therefore the higher efficiency periods occurs at random and for shorter periods.
So, the 500 watts drain over the 8 hour period will use  4 kilowatts, and a further 200 watts in "waste"
If the inverter then runs another 16 hours cycled between heavy and light at say a 50 percent duty cycle, another 8 hours can easily be spent running light, giving almost a half kilowatt in wasted consumption total over that 24 hours.
This is why an  efficiency rating over time  is far more informative in real life than an absolute  "snapshot".figure.
I have always advocated using many smaller inverters for this reason, redundancy increases reliability, each inverter can be scaled to that one circuit, a large inverter that uses 20 watts overhead or more can then spent time either heavily loaded or not at all, where we can enjoy the lower 6 watts standby  mentioned above.
 Smaller inverters generally have less phantom overhead than larger types.... some as low as 50mA
This is all academic to many, but when off grid entirely, each watt costs from the battery bank and assumes greater value than an inferior cheaper version  downloaded from the national grid.
A battery watt effectively requires another 5 to store it, given battery cycling depth issues, and to replace that watt takes almost an extra  one  given generator and chemical conversion losses at the bank.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 04, 2017, 07:38:28 AM
Starfire, I think you had a Sr. moment.  25watts is included in the efficiency of 90% at 500 watts, and is half of the 10% total loss shown.  It's 25w/500w=0.05 or 5%.  Your point is made though, night time low power loads will affect total efficiency negatively.

Night time phantom loads are a serious problem for newbies to off grid living.  GFCI's, arc detecting breakers, washing machines and other electronics that are actually on when off, all contribute, all night long.  One contributor here calculated his actual phantom load for a large off grid system and it exceeded my actual winter night time power use (incandescent lighting and computer/projector).

The Magnum inverters (and I expect most other off grid inverter designs) see all reactive power needs as real load.  I confirmed this characteristic on my own low speed design inverter; purely capacitive loads do show up directly in DC input current.  This means filter design to minimize both differential capacitance and capacitance to ground (leakage) is critical; every single uF is another 50 ma of current.  A typical surplus facility filter may seriously impact the battery bank SOC overnight.  Genisco and RFI corp have both now have designs specific for home inverters at my request; they draw just 15 watts  instead of the 60 or 100 watts of their standard facility filter.

I feel that all the power system should not be in the house for directly radiated EMI and conducted EMI.  It's easier to just remote them in an outbuilding with batteries and PV nearby.  Then only one AC line to the home need be filtered and shielded. Distance is cheap compared to high performance shielding for the directly radiated emission of the inverter and PV charge controller.  For the absolute minimum health insurance, one of the Schaeffer 2 stage common mode choke filters (about $75) from Digikey or the equivalent seems wise to me. (Pick one with good insertion loss data, designed for switching power supplies.) The independent evidence that EMI on home wiring is a needless and serious health stressor grows every year.  The trend towards crappy, high EMI design switching power supplies in every appliance, lightbulb, etc., is a bad one, as is electronic variable speed motors.  The "modern" home is an EMF horror show.  Even refrigerators now get switching power supplies and digital readouts. An embedded microcontroller is so cheap now that anything with timing and sequencing needs or much logic gets one.  Appliances have been exempt from even the FCC's lax emission standards.

I like 120VDC best for home power...no inverter losses at all, no PF losses.  Also, good for me, zero ELF magnetic or electric fields for resistive loads.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 04, 2017, 09:42:51 AM
Bruce, its a pleasure to talk with you about this stuff, it seems you have far more experience than I do with the nuts and bolts of these.
I remember the very first inverter I made simply used a copper  commutator cobbled from water pipe, spun with a small 9 volt DC speed controlled tape deck motor, and four  brushes ratted from an old car generator, a mechanical bridge if you like.
This was a red necked  attempt at negating the transistor thermal runaway problems with Mullard OC35 germanium..... a fairly expensive component back then with abysmal specs looking back. and hard to parallel without  excessive losses in the required emitter resistors to force current sharing. The point 2 CE voltage drop was good though. I think they had an Ft something like 20Kc at 8 amps collector current, Hfe of maybe 10
Silicon and Mosfets came decades later
A bank of 10 x 12 volt batteries supplied the juice, and a hefty welder transformer primary winding used as a filter, protecting the brushes during overlap, and giving a fairly decent 230 volt sine.
The efficiency was pretty decent as well. Later, I remember using some special graphite/copper oxide brushes. These had very low axial conduction resistance, with higher resistance at 90 degrees to decrease intersegment losses... or so the advert reckoned. These were made by I think Radcliff in Australia, and did dramatically reduce sparking..

Sometimes I do wonder if this scheme is worth revisiting...... especially as a unmodified  Prius battery could slot straight in.
The voltage regulation was pretty good, with the output load  only ever being a very small part of the huge current reserves available, and it was SIMPLE, although it did require a starting proceedure for obvious reasons.
My recent DIY inverter uses IGBTs ,  ... project on hold until I can get these things to turn off faster. I have tried keeping them just above saturation, this causes losses in the added components , a negative gate current seems to have little effect... unlike sucking out hangers-on mobility carriers via a negative transistor base (NPN).
Basically it has overlap problems.... these  cost a fortune so reluctant to give in to using Mosfets  just yet.
Call me stubborn.

But then, arguably, why even bother with AC and forget any conversion at all. ?
Ninety percent of appliances, electronics, CFLs use a SMPS that happily runs off HV DC mains anyway. Washing machines, dryers, and other appliances no longer use AC motors, they now use steppers as you say, micro controlled and pulsed with lower voltages generated internally via their own internal  SMPS.
Another big efficiency saving right there......
It is almost possible to connect 10 or 20 x 12 volt  batteries straight into the house wiring via the existing switchboard with no other changes. Admittedly, the AC rated switches and circuit breakers may have a harder time, but Im pretty sure most everything will not notice any difference.
Vacuum cleaners, electric drills and skillsaws, grinders, cake mixers  and other lowtech stuff  predominantly use "universal" type brushed motors, and are also happy with DC.
The cost of the odd appliance that may object will adequately compensate for not having to buy an expensive inverter.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 04, 2017, 10:07:28 AM
A cunning thought here to extract free power from the grid.....
A high current bridge rectifier placed before the electricity meter would  run the house on DC without spinning the meter.....  the old analog meters used AC eddy currents to spin the disk, smart meters use AC current transformers to clock the A/D converter.. DC cannot effect either.
No meter tampering is needed, so nothing illegal there...... and the required wiring  to cut into is easily acsessable.... if done at the pole, you would be home free...
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: oldgoat on December 04, 2017, 11:15:29 AM
If done at the pole here in aust you would probably end up with a fine big enough to negate any savings. They are very sensitive about that here because you may be using it to grow small crops in the back shed.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 04, 2017, 11:43:30 AM
OG, you are right of course, Im just being difficult. Im fairly sure you would be noticed climbing a power pole in the dead of night, but then, if you wore a high vis vest, and had a white van with a bright yellow ladder, a few orange road cones and did it in the middle of the day...... I very much doubt anyone would suspect a thing.
There was the Masport factory here many years ago that had a major pilfering problem. The staff were searched after leaving each shift by security. One worker would always leave with a wheelbarrow full of sawdust for his garden, the guards would sift through it every time, and never find anything.
Years later they discovered he was stealing wheelbarrows.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on December 04, 2017, 07:08:04 PM
Quote
One worker would always leave with a wheelbarrow full of sawdust for his garden, the guards would sift through it every time, and never find anything.
Years later they discovered he was stealing wheelbarrows.

That made me laugh out loud! Thanks!

Agree about using a white van, cones, hi-viz everything. Also, if you keep a Health & Safety questionnaire on a clipboard nearby just in case anyone does come nosing, they'll soon scarper. For Health & Safety, feel free to swap your local organisation, e.g. OSHA, Elfen Safety, etc.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 04, 2017, 08:47:48 PM
Starfire, yes,  the essential nature of AC power in the home has dwindled.  Most of the large (computer) server farms have gone to direct 350V DC distribution instead of the 230VAC, since it is directly compatible with the computer power supplies and eliminates inverters entirely.

For home use, 120VDC is quite handy and has 4x the inherent safety of 120VAC. A shock feels more like a static discharge; surprising but not painful. I use various sized crock pots (no mods), a 300W rice cooker (modified), a 600 W small toaster oven, an old clothes iron (no mods), 300 W immersion heater for tea (no mods), coffee grinder (no mods), food processor (no mods), blender (no mods but I use the plug instead of switch),  Hair dryers and heat guns work fine, though I use the plug instead of the switch, with switch taped on to save me from my regular Sr. moments.  With the advent of the IXYS 200V+ P-channel Mosfets for high side switching, when modification is required, it is as simple as can be.  Fancy gate driving is not required for the simplest appliances that have no electronics, since some HV mosfets can now handle a very slow switch and even linear operation when needed.  A 10K ohm resistor to high side from gate, and 100K ohm to neutral (using the existing switching via bimetal thermostat switch or other timers or switches) does the trick nicely for my toaster oven/broiler.  Low side Mosfets are now also available that have a well defined safe operating area for linear/semi-linear/very slow switching. Fairchild has well priced ones.  Better to spend a couple bucks more on the switching transistor and save yourself a bunch of complicated circuitry.

Switching off DC power that doesn't pulse like brushed universal motors is problematic.  DC will nicely span via arc quite a large gap when a fair amount of current and voltage is involved...in testing with a 500 watt test load I fried many heavy duty AC switches on the very first "off". (I did find one DPDT wall switch that holds up well.)  Cooper made 150VDC rated wall switches but they are now out of production.  Fortunately, Leviton and others still make rotary lamp switches that were originally designed for DC and still work nicely, as do normal lamp switches and even the rotary cord switches; they have not bothered to change the design for AC. For higher currents the Midnight Solar DC breakers can be used and are rated for switching use.  Or you can use any puny toggle switch and one of the big SOA Mosfets.

You can do serious work with 120VDC with quite reasonable currents.  So low current that battery efficiency is much improved and wire losses nil.  Edison was no fool.  110/120V was and is a good compromise for safety and utility in the home, even over 100 years later.

 


 

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 05, 2017, 01:53:52 AM
Are you saying you are incorporating Mosfet switching into  these appliances to switch them on and off?
My answer to using AC switch  contacts with DC is simply a reversed diode attached directly across the contacts.  Inductive loads are the problem here, and the non quenched arc can/will weld contacts together very quickly. Once done, they are never a problem. Circuit breakers are even easier as the connections are more accessible.
Not having any grid connection means that NZ legislative practice can largely be ignored and common sense prevails. This saves a huge amount of time and money too.  God help anyone using these back on any AC circuit, would cause much head scratching.....
The main problem using 120/240 VDC direct from battery banks is fire safety, like short circuit current will easily exceed almost any  wire gauge rating, so good reliable fusing is VERY important.
A handy and cheap way to current limit is to use strips of stainless steel in series with the battery source.,  stainless is a poor but stable conductor. I use this idea when welding with batteries also.
Electrolysis too can be a problem in damp climates, I have that problem here at times.
I didnt know DC is becoming more popular, thats very interesting.
AC was and is the go for distribution, easy passive voltage conversion etc, but certainly of limited advantage when source and user are only meters apart.
All your appliances mentioned will happily run on DC.... this does little with your RFI//EMI concerns though, given the SMPS inherent in most electronic stuff.
Most of my entertainment electronics stuff runs off DC  12 volts, TV, radio,  stereo etc having removed the internal SMPSs and substituting a LVDC daughter board.
Lighting is 240 VDC CFLs, to reduce RFI, running off a DIY inverter, and the main 240 VAC 600w sine inverter runs the electronic workshop, as my sig gens, scopes etc use linear power supplies to prevent any RFI from that source.
Its messy using several voltage busses, but works well in practice..

It will be very confusing and possibly expensive mistakes for whoever inherits this place when I die......

I always hoped the Vacuum cleaner door to door  salesman would turn up, spread the sawdust and ash all over my carpets and rugs, and then attempt  to suck it all back up with a machine that wont work on 12 volts......
All I get are Jehovah bloody witnesses, so focused on the end times they care little about the here and now, and are bored shitless with all things Lister, solar and electric.... thats how I get rid of them.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 05, 2017, 04:00:43 AM
And, health and safety..... we call it OSH.
Curiously, if  say, I paint your house for money, here in NZ, I need to fill out many forms, undertake a risk management assesment, use scaffolding too, are not permitted to paint off a ladder. Checks for lead paint and asbestos, electrical overhead line issues and other hazards.
If I paint my own house, none of this is required.
This seems to mean that falling off a ladder is unlikely if its here, but not there.
Or, my safety/life is worth less if Im home.
Or, gravity is less in my location, more at  yours.
Perhaps my ground is softer.
There is always a good side to this beaurocratic nonsense.
By having a sign designating your home as an industrial site or work area, immediately negates any implied right of access by anyone. They are required to report to the "site manager" before entering the property, and submit to any protective gear and safety restrictions deemed necessary, and have all known, and unknown dangers pointed out. This process can take considerable time. .... ;)
For those like me that have say, unpermitted buildings, illegal mains wiring, illegal quantities of stored toxic chemicals and fuel, etc many sins can be "corrected" or hidden before entry actually takes place.
Usually it turns out that the initial importance and critical nature of the inspection turns into accepting a verbal assurance that everything is fine.... its only a job to them after all, with bigger fishes to fry....they are also vastly under resourced.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 05, 2017, 04:28:29 AM
Starfire, I'll  try your diode method on an AC switch tomorrow and see what happens with a 500 watt incandescent heat lamp load. I do use that commonly for 12V solenoids and relays, but didn't think to try it for 120VDC lamps. I'll let you know how it works out.  I

DC rated switches and relays often use a permanent magnet to stretch the arc to extinguish it, along with a snap action and larger open throw of the contacts.  Electric trolleys in Denmark use compressed air to blow out the arc! 

Midnight Solar has DC rated breakers for 150 and 300V.  I use those, plus a DC rated fuse right at the batteries, for as you suggested, an extremely high current short can possibly weld breakers.  The fuses are sold for high voltage PV systems and are fully rated for DC operation.  DC Breakers and fuses are readily available and fairly cheap here; single 150VDC breakers about $10 US, so I have no need to mess about.

Yes, you're right in that DC instead of AC does nothing special for the EMI from switching power supplies (or any other sources), with the big exception that there is zero power loss penalty for capacitance in passive filters.  That is a huge help.

Like you, I find 12VDC very convenient for low power DC use.  I distribute 12VDC for my home and other shop controls such as Lister controls, solar hot water and heating system and circ pumps, etc.  I use glass and plastic fiber for all control signals to/from the home.  I don't have ANY switching supplies (or any electronics gadgets) in the home at all.  My rear projection workstation is powered via switching supplies in a steel pedestal outdoors. The supply is heavily filtered, but there is also a surplus -110dB from 10K-4GHz military grade facility filter for house 120VDC and another for the 12VDC.  The LED light source "pocket projector" is in a shielded enclosure; a welded 21" cube of steel, honeycomb vents, ITO glass. The projection "booth"/shed is outside the house shield envelope.  Keyboard and trackball are powered from the house 12V, but they are both custom designed;  actively strobed keyboards and unshielded processors are a show stopper for me. Audio is limited to a single plastic fiber controlled speaker, 12V powered, as my audio processing is so screwed up I can't enjoy music any more.  All home wiring is in EMT steel conduit with compression fittings, also.  My home is designed as a shield room and provides a measured -110dB reduction (-55 dBm power) at 2.4Ghz.  It's much more shielding than I needed to sleep OK here now (peak levels below -70dBm seems to do the trick and it's about -62dBm outside now) but it was an experiment to see what could be done, practically, and insurance against new cell towers and MM wave cellular back links.  The 50 thread per inch stainless steel screens outside the windows is the only thing that shows as slightly unusual looking.

I did develop successfully a very simple ultra low EMI 60-100Hz switching supply (a push pull center tapped toroidal primary with stock small toroidal transformers intended for AC use) for 120V DC to DC conversion.  By using super slow op amps (30K bandwidth) and switching on/off time in the 50 usec range, only the diode noise in the DC rectification is an EMI issue, and it can be snubbed and filtered into submission.  There is some stray ELF magnetic field from the toroids for transformer and critical DC filtering inductance, but conducted emissions are virtually non-existent.   A disappointment is the lack of QC for the Talema brand toroids; the two sets of 115V primary windings can be off by a few turns so testing and tweaking of a few ohms resistance in the higher turns winding is needed so that I can use the stock transformers.  I don't like winding toroids when there are hundreds of turns!  This isolated supply design is intended for use with a low dropout linear regulator to remove ripple. I haven't messed with some regulation of output voltage via PWM with this simple op amp/comparator oscillator based design yet, step down is purely transformer turns ratio.  Adding a microcontroller adds so much complexity in shielding and filtering that I avoided it.  In my inverter design I did add a shielded and filtered AVR (Arduino) controller.  It's the simple way to do fancy logic and timing, RMS voltage calculation and allow adjustable dead time and delays as needed with minimal circuitry.

I'd like to experiment with a low frequency, ultra low EMI buck converter with a gapped tape wound toroid for the main conversion DC choke, running at a few hundred Hz but my project wings have been clipped, health-wise, lately.  My project backlog runneth over.



 





Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 05, 2017, 05:14:23 AM
Bloody hell Bruce, can I suggest you live in a steel shipping container with chain mail vest and matching pants? Talk about the ultimate Faraday cage...... Why your concerns on RFI/EMI?
 If you are having welded contacts with resistive loads, I would think its current overload, rather than arcing?
The diode actually shorts out the reverse EMF from an inductance, preventing the arc from starting, I cant see a diode helping with resistive loads, maybe a capacitor here will work better? The old car distributor ignition type caps were handy for this, but getting hard to find now, their construction made them super reliable. A mains rated z/y cap will  do ok too. Just to soak up the opening spark that initiates the arc as the contacts open.  I have also seen a Triac in series, the gate connected to M1, the Triac turns off as the switch opens preventing arcing.  Any arcing is of an AC nature that will eventually turn the triac off, like in milliseconds.... I think its rude and inelegant, and have never tried that one.
Whatever, but ll be keen to know your results
The rest relating to your electronics stuff I cannot comprehend, its far tooooo modern for me.... I still struggle with my Sony MP3 player.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 05, 2017, 06:38:52 AM
To answer your question, Starfire, yes, where an appliance such as a toaster/broiler would normally switch power through a timer, element selector switch and oven temperature bimetal switch, none of those contacts were designed for DC so I rewire the appliance to use Mosfets to control the elements (a TO-22O transistor for each element) and use the stock switches/thermostat to control the gate of the transistor only.  I bolt the transistors to a piece of aluminum sheet and/or on the inside of the metal case to act as a heatsink...not much heat is generated due to the low on resistance.

It is one thing to do some modest 12V current switching with AC switches and another entirely to switch several amps of 120 VDC.  AC designed Bimetal switches used for burners and heating elements will arc and be destroyed the first time they open. Many AC switches only work for 120 VDC when the current draw is pulsed as it is with some universal motors.  The DC arc will quench when the current drops...so this is in effect really an AC application.  Both current and voltage affect arc length when open contacts. 

Since a $3 TO-220 package 200V MOSFET can handle most typical appliance currents I don't find this DC switching issue a big problem.

Arcing at DC contacts used to be well known and commonly handled. I expect more switches will be available as higher voltage DC continues to grow. 

I am concerned about RFI/EMI for myself because it profoundly affects my brain function and health.  Short term affects are profound confusion, fatigue or "wired" and pressure headache progressing to complex partial seizures.  Because of temporal lobe involvement, it is very unpleasant.  It's frequency dependant in that some EMI sources will be immediately debilitating whereas others will only gradually made me more and more confused and "glitchy". I did have well documented absence seizures regularly prior to my home EMF cleanup years ago, but no longer do.  I have had MS and epilepsy for 29 years. The rapid MS progression (and excruciating headaches at the base of the skull which I can to learn was associated with rapid new lesions in MRIs) was halted by ELF magnetic field home cleanup and avoidance. I was left with  the old damage but got a new chance at some sort of life. It's not easy but I am very grateful for the relative independence and freedom I have, at least in my home environment.

Two weeks ago I went to town and got a 10 day MS and autoimmune thyroid disease flare up from a 40 minute rural drive to and 25 minutes in a grocery store. When I'm doing better, I might recover in 4 days.  I take medication to be able to drive safely.  It's very limiting and frustrating.  Frustrating because most of the problems (except wireless communications) are totally avoidable and correctable.

 My adverse reaction to a cell phone has been recorded via EEG by a neurologist, and all my evoked potential and QEEG/EEG test results are abnormal as measured next to a computer in a relatively low EMF medical office with florescent lights off.

There's an article about my home written by a Danish guy at the url below.

http://www.eiwellspring.org/emc/HighlyShieldedHouse.htm


 






Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 05, 2017, 07:10:52 AM
Bruce, I have never ever heard of this malady, ever. 
I cant help thinking of my early days as a radar tech, on cold days we would remove the motor drive brushes, short the SCRs that pulsed the magnetron  and stand in front of the wave guides to keep warm!!
We never knew about sterility, cataracts or anything like that.
After reading your article, Id say I had a close call.
Is your situation stable, or likely to worsen?
The absorber for microwave energy is graphite, perhaps a powder could be mixed into paint, next time you redecorate?
Im assuming too, that lower frequencies are worse? And what about stationary magnetic fields?
Im also wondering if a DPST switch could have it contacts wired in series. This would make it harder for an arc to establish itself as its unlikely both contacts would open exactly at the same time.
Many years ago, I was fascinated by a mercury vapour "ignitron", a huge vacuum device  that converted 40KV DC to 50Hz AC, at several hundred amps....serious stuff.
I believe it functioned by cyclically firing each anode, these arranged in a circle, this immediately was extinguished by the next one, and so on.  I got a very bad case of sunburn watching this.....
Wiring switch contacts in series  may work similarly, one contact opens, initiating a small arc, and very soon after, the second opening contact would extinguish it?
May also be worth a try.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 05, 2017, 10:13:18 AM

Very interesting home Bruce.
Surprisingly, it shares a lot of construction features with " kit" home and metal sheds here.
Not only are they all steel construction but many are foil lined as well.  I can't use my phone in my shed with the metal roller doors closed ( even though they have gaps at the top) and This morning I discovered even the Portable phone won't work in there.  Haven't tried a radio yet but a bit of metal flyscreen might give that a hard time too.

Many people round here have to walk outside their homes to get mobile reception. It's a bit weak to start with but because most places have metal roofs, it kills reception quite well. Add all metal doors and walls and I'm sure the radiation levels are quite a bit lower.
 I am going to buy a booster that goes on the TV mast to amplify the mobile signal so we can get it in the house without dropping out.

How do you go with Vehicles?  Do you have to avoid the radio in your car and do you have an electronic controlled model or a mechanical Diesel or something non electronic?

Don't mean to sound stupid but where does the EMF enter and affect you? Would the proverbial tin foil hat be any good to you or would you have to wear some sort of metalised clothing to stop the problems you experience outside?

Could you give some more detail on the mosfets you use for DC switching and ho exactly you set them up?  I'd like to do a few things with direct solar power but turning DC at decent amps on and off has proven to be a fly in the ointment. I Bought some DC relays but have since heard they may not be too great either.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on December 05, 2017, 11:22:53 AM
You can get some very high power MOSFETs these days; even ones which switch at logic levels (5v), e.g. http://uk.farnell.com/infineon/irlp3034pbf/mosfet-n-ch-40v-327a-to-247ac/dp/1758306 - 327amps continuous at 40v, although I'm guessing you'd want a fairly hefty heatsink on that...
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 05, 2017, 11:37:57 AM
 Do they do any that are say 20A @ 300V?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on December 05, 2017, 11:49:23 AM
Loads... (http://uk.farnell.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Search?catalogId=15001&langId=44&storeId=10151&categoryId=700000043507&sf=731,502&pf=110022476,110058377,110048148,110022496,110096769,110199177,110101080,110047307,110080899,110022473,110079876,110022457,110114591,110007520,110037495,110037401,110100067,110037446,110022468,110053033,110070876,110105560,110099572,110037408,110111681,110022471,110037533,110114930,110037488,110037949,110067188,110049524,110022469,110067928,111889407,110085061,110090625,110062652,110174022,110203560,110148318,110148364,110126879)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on December 05, 2017, 11:58:56 AM
This one (http://uk.farnell.com/vishay/sihg460b-ge3/mosfet-n-ch-500v-20a-to-247ac/dp/2283617) is the cheapest, but it's got quite a high "on" resistance (0.2 ohm), so I'd not recommend it personally.

Note all my links are Farnell because that's who I tend to order from; you might find Digikey or Mouser (or a local Australian electronics supplier) cheaper/more practical than Farnell.

This (http://uk.farnell.com/infineon/irfp4229pbf/mosfet-n-250v-to-247ac/dp/1436964) might be a better part for you; 0.038ohm ON resistance, 44A @ 300V, it's not logic level though, so you'd want a 10v supply & another transistor to switch it from a microprocessor. Also it looks like it needs a minimum voltage of 250, if I read the datasheet correctly...
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 05, 2017, 05:13:56 PM
A warning about using MOFETs:

You must read up on Mosfets and their gate drive in order to use them as switches.  The ones with very low on resistance  and thus high current ratings MUST be switched on and off very quickly.  The gate is voltage controlled but has capacitance to be overcome when switching quickly.  Thus you will find "gate driver" chips which will provide a very brief current of 6A to overcome that gate capacitance quickly.  This is the easiest way to do it; use an integrated circuit gate driver chip, preferably with an opto-isolator.  Then your control signal need only light the little internal LED at about 8 milliamps of current, and the gate driver will bang on the Mosfet gate for you.  You must be a bit smart about circuit layout and such as well. 

Mosfets do bite back on those not familar with them.  EMI and ringing voltage the gate can cause exploding Mosfets.  Brief banging of 6 amps of current is in itself a major source of EMI. Application notes for gate driver ICs are useful and should be followed.  There are plenty of design notes online by MOSFET manufacturers also.

Glort, if you will give me the specific application, I can make you an example circuit for a high voltage, moderate current MOSFET control.  It is much simpler to do "low side" (switching the ground instead of the high side or positive voltage leg).  You need a 12VDC supply relative to ground to operate the MOSFET which is being used as a low side switch.  You will need a mosfet which is considerably higher in voltage than the voltage you intend to switch to allow for inductive surge in voltage on switching off the current.  Opto-isolation is a good idea for less problems with EMI, glitching and other EMC ("glitching and interference") related problems, in general you should not connect a high voltage, high power MOSFET to a distant logic level signal by wire.

Besides MOSFETs, there are IGBT transistors and modules for high voltages and currents.  IGBT's have the same gate structures as MOSFETs with the same driver requirements, but use bipolar power transistors.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 05, 2017, 07:45:14 PM
Tin foil hats are still the domain of the delusional; the degree of shielding to the brain , brain stem and nervous system as a whole is minimal.  I find that large changes are needed to feel a difference from a problematic EMI source; 30dB of change is just noticeable as an improvement, 60dB feels much better, 90dB and I can't notice it at all or have very long latency. So typical simple commercial level fixes (<30dB) are not usually worth the effort and I've been forced to design from scratch for low EMI.  ELF magnetic fields totally penetrate the body and can't be shielded to a high degree without multiple layers of silicon steel, aka electrical steel or high nickel alloys such as mu metal. For ELF magnetic fields I also found that small changes didn't matter-  but orders of magnitude (+/- x10) do. 

Electrical Sensitivity has been around for quite a while and the industrial liability misinformation campaign has been highly effective.  It has been well proven as a physiological problem by Marino. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21793784

Marino did what any respectable, competent, unbiased researcher would do- he talked to the person (a woman physician with ES), tested the person for frequencies  that they reacted to without much latency and without serious health repercussions and fairly short recovery time.  He then ran the controlled double blinded testing using these frequencies to prove that this was a physiological phenomena for this patient.  This obviously was quite a project and a small fortune (and a lot of misery) was spent to prove this conclusively for this one patient.   

This does not prevent industry from cranking up their cigarette science media campaign.  For example, one utterly bogus study widely publicized in the media used a cell phone on but at low transmission power (-30dB lower) for the "sham" exposure, in a medical office building with multiple WIFI sources, and undocumented and uncontrolled (!) background cellular and radio/TV/wireless levels.  The fact that the placebo or sham had the cell phone on at a lower power was not in the published report or in any media reports.  Almost anyone serious ES would never be able to immediately detect on/off reliably in that situation.   Just the EMI from the DC to DC level converter in the phone and it's processor and display emissions would be enough to have them all miserable, and it did.  Then top it off, statistics were used to invalidate the one or two who were able to detect the difference in transmitted power levels.

There is no doubt that some people with or without physiological ES will have or develop learned, phobic behaviors, obsessions, anxiety, etc. It is the nature of the brains of all mammals.  It is also sadly the nature of humans to ridicule, discredit and attack anyone different or with a problem outside their own personal experience.  Attacking others seems to help people deal with their fears or feel better about themselves.

Glort or Starfire asked about my car-
I have a 1985 MB 300D (the last year of mechanically injected diesels) which I modified about 20 years ago with a PV panel on the roof to charge the battery so the alternator could be left off.  I degaussed the steel belted tires and drive chain, and removed most electronics including the tachometer, radio, motorized antenna, environmental control, cruise control.  The car itself is below 0.010 milligaus at highways speeds on a fairly smooth road, and the wiring harness has no measurable EMI and is totally quiet on an AM radio held right on the harness or battery cables with engine running.  This car got me back a lot more freedom for many years until the cell tower situation even in rural areas got so out of hand.  Now I'm back on a short leash. After driving by 6-8 cell towers, and 20 minutes of driving alongside WYE power lines, I'm at my limit for fairly safe driving.




 










Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 05, 2017, 11:00:14 PM
Glort-
Here's a good example of a opto-isolated gate driver, in a dip IC, 8 pin, that is moderate in drive capability and only a couple bucks.  I picked it is the data sheet less cryptic than some others.  It's a $4.80 part.  Similar parts with 2.5 amps drive are about $2.70 at Digikey in the US. The magic search words are opto gate driver.

ACNW3410 
https://docs.broadcom.com/docs/pub-005667

It requires 8-9 ma of drive current for the opto led to turn it on.  It's a 3 amp peak driver, as I recall.  The  on or off signal can be slow, and is current not voltage so it solves a lot of glitch problems plus is suitable for high voltage and high current switching since the gate drive is fairly substantial.  One of these, your power MOSFET, some capacitors, a 12 or 15VDC supply plus a 1 ohm resistor to the gate and you're done making your basic solid state DC power switch.  There are some 4.5 and 5 amp drivers in dip packages also.  Less selection in dip packages (through hole) these days.

How hard you must drive the gate depends on the MOSFET and application voltage and current, and how often you are switching it.

In modest current appliance switches,  I cheat with Mosfets that are rated for very slow switching, since I don't conveniently have 12 power (could but don't want to bother) and thus don't want to use a gate driver.  Instead I cheat.  I can pull the gate up with 100K ohms to 120VDC for "on" and a 10K resistor to the low rail (always connected) will make the off and just 12V via the resistor voltage divider at the gate for "on".  The on switch time will be quite slow, perhaps 100 usecs, ballpark.  That must fall will within the safe operating area (SOA) specified on the data sheet for the MOSFET to use this cheat.

If I was switching PV power directly, I'd use an opto gate driver IC like the above, and I'd add some caps on the PV power to reduce potential glitches, and add an 18V zener diode to protect the gate from pv power spikes.  A TVSS (transient voltage surge suppressor- a fancy type of zener diode) on the pv power line wouldn't be a bad insurance for a few bucks. 











Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 05, 2017, 11:07:25 PM
Thanks for the offer of the Circuit Bruce. Much appreciated and I'll take you up on that after Christmas when I sort out exactly what I am going to do.

I thought you said you had a Merc but wasn't sure if you still did or it was past tense.  Are you able to shield the windows in that at all?  Probably not the windscreen to any worthwhile degree but could the others reduce your exposure any worth while amount?
Sounds like the perfect vehicle would be an armoured personnel carrier you could drive through a periscope.

I sure feel for you. It would be like the world is full of poison you cannot avoid but can feel it attacking you. I know some places here that would suit you. No TV reception, radio and certainly no cell phone reception even in the towns. No power once you get away from the town either. They are actually nice places that I would be happy to live in myself and have a reasonable if somewhat isolated community but they tend to be the way they are through geography rather than distance.

I don't put much in studys done by those with vested interests. You can make them and statistics say anything you want them to say and are willing to pay for. If there is a financial risk to the person commissioning them, you can bet your arse they will come out " Proving" there is no problem.
When we were looking for a new Home I rejected several because they were under power lines.  Yep, all the studys by the power authorities say there is nothing to worry about, just like the nuke industry says when one of their planet wide poisoning machines starts spewing out it's deadly swill.
There was no way I would live even in sight of a HV tower let alone beneath or beside one.

I distinctly remember one place we looked at that was almost under some feeder lines. Huge towers with a bunch of real serious looking cables stacked on them.  I was surprised when we pulled up as the power lines had obviously been touched out of the publicity pics because you couldn't miss the hulking great things.
It was a beautiful Mediterranean looking place that was only 11 yo. It had a big backyard which I suspected was because of the easement at the back and the angle of the power lines dissecting the back corner.  There is always a clear area under the lines here supposedly for servicing but looking it up I found it's also there to keep people from long term exposure " Should they have any sensitivities". In other words, we know this is bad but no way in hell we are going to admit it.

I went up the yard and on a dry day, could hear the lines buzzing. I also felt a warmth on my forehead like standing next to one of my oil burners going nuts.  The house was beautiful and modern but both my wife and I said to each other there was something about it that felt not right.
The place had been up for auction and fell over and the ask now was very reasonable which was why we were there.  With a while to go to the next inspection we took our time with this one and heard 2 more people say the place felt creepy or weird.  It was modern, clean, open, bright..... anything but creepy or weird.

I said to my wife when we were leaving I wondered if what was putting people off was the power line radiation?  That place took a long time to sell, months, when at the time the property market in the area was Nuts and most places were sold on their first open day.  The whole street ran parallel to these towers but this one being at the end and on an angle had the lines clipping the yard itself where the others did have some setback.
I said to my wife I wondered if I put some wire coils up the back if we could harness free electricity? I said if we could, we would want to run from the place.

I also thought about a long term study of the street's residents. Would it show they had a higher sickness/ caner rate than others in the area or would they be the same as everyone else? One thing I was sure of was such a study would be unlikely to be done and covered well up if it ever was.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 05, 2017, 11:54:36 PM
Shielding of car windows can be done with metalized window film.  For around 1 GHz this can provide a modest -20dBm (power) or -40dB voltage reduction. Alas, for cellular, vertical cracks and gaps due to window and door gaskets will limit such shielding to half that or less, and it requires cutting some red tape to use it on the front window.  I didn't feel it was worth the effort and expense for an improvement I am not likely to notice much.   

I have to admit that on a bad day I find that people's boundless need to talk, text and tweet wirelessly everywhere at the expense of my freedom pisses me off. 

This is a CEO of a large company in the UK that has gone public about his ES. He has a moderate case and so far is coping fairly well but notice the open curtains and the overhead florescent lights off.  Some with ES develop MS or Parkinsons.  Spect scans are significantly abnormal for those with ES- the functional images provided by Spect scans look like that of a closed head brain injury (big black areas of no activity) and the patients have the same problems.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4DKNs0G2kU

For your home cellular signal problem I suggest that any wired services are much healthier.  Putting a cellular repeater in the home is recipe for chronic health problems, as is WIFI.  Cat5 cable is cheap and easy to install.  Most critical is to turn the damn stuff off at night; sleep impacts have been noted in many studies.  Where there is only wireless service, the "Home Phone Connect" or phone plus internet via wireless devices can have their WIFI turned off and can drive POTS compatible cable so conventional phones can be use anywhere in the house plus ethernet cable for internet.  If a directional external antenna is used and oriented relative to the nearby tower to minimize radiation in the home, this can work out fairly well.  Just my 2 cents worth, hate to see you or your family have health problems when simple alternatives are available.








Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 06, 2017, 01:55:24 AM
I have to admit that on a bad day I find that people's boundless need to talk, text and tweet wirelessly everywhere at the expense of my freedom pisses me off. 

It does not limit my freedom but it sure taxes my paitence!
I call it " brain Surgeon Syndrome". People thing that every bit of crap people spout they have to see straight away like they are an important person in the medical profession whom peoples lives depend on them being instantly contactable and keeping up to the second with developments in their patients health.
I bet in reality such people switch their phones off when they are off duty so they can have a break and get away from their work.

I was in a store about 3 weeks ago and there was this bimbo standing there, thumbs flapping away on her phone while being served. there was a sign, " Please give our staff your attention not your phone while we are trying to serve you"  clearly displayed.  The girl was clearly distracted when the assistant asked her a couple of things and got distracted replys without lifting her head.  I grumbled aloud as I apparently unconsciously do when annoyed and my wife looked at me  and shook her head. The assistant told the girl the total of her purchase and waited then said again only to be returned with a " What??, oh, how much did you say?"

I said to my wife, loudly, " You'd think if she can read whatever is on that phone she would be able to read the sign in front of her and put the bloody thing away till she is done and not be so damn rude!" Girl wheeled around and looked and then the woman behind said " I was thinking the same thing!"
Of course the important princess gave us a look like we were the rude ones and flounced off still looking at the damn thing.
I am always saying to my wife, " Geez these brain surgeons that are on call 24/7 are getting younger and younger aren't they?"

I have many younger people as clients and they are amazed/ distressed/ put off/ indignant  when they send you a text ( god forbid they should actually use a phone to make a call!) and you take longer than 17.2 seconds to reply.  I often leave my phone at home when I am with the mrs and nothing to get back a couple of hours later and find people have messaged 3-5 times with the last one asking if I'm OK or getting shitty because I haven't replied.
Don't even ask me how they surf websites and type replys on their phones. They have better eyesight and a skill set than I do.

 
Quote
He has a moderate case and so far is coping fairly well but notice the open curtains and the overhead florescent lights off.

I have been complaining to the mrs for a while now I have some aversion to fluorescent lighting and maybe LED lighting. 
I go into shopping centres and my eyesight goes right off and I often feel a bit giddy or light headed.  I think it's either the flat, contrast less nature of the lights or the flicker.  It's getting more and more noticeable and it's only when I go into shopping centres or large stores which is about the only places I go with lots of fluro or flat area lighting these days.  My far sight is perfect, or at least it is till I go in these places then I get distinct blurring like double vision. I can't see detail in anything I look at and often can't read signs.  I notice if I'm a bit tired the effect is markedly worse.

I can be fine before I go in and on the way home the effect will disappear and I'm back to normal 5-10 min later once I get outside.

I think there is something to what you say about the booster and wifi. I might start turning it off at night.  Daughter won't like it but tough. Another one you can prise the damn phone out her hand or out of reach when she sleeps.

I think brain tumors ( and tattoo removal) are going to be huge growth industries in the future with the younger generations in 30 years.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: oldgoat on December 06, 2017, 12:59:23 PM

I think brain tumors ( and tattoo removal) are going to be huge growth industries in the future with the younger generations in 30 years.
 
Probably not I worked on ABC transmitters for years (50 Kw-612Kcs) doesn seem to have affected me at all and none of my old workmates have been afflicted by brain tumours so far. Lots of other things but I don't think HF radio caused arthritis or any of my other ailments.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 06, 2017, 01:56:21 PM

Finally got my 5 Kw of 250W panels up on the shed roof. 
Actually put up 5.5 Kw worth. 11 panels in 2 strings. The arrangement is semi temp but I'll keep an eye on it and see how it goes. I tput the panels up there for the time being to get them off the back lawn and want to build a support framework to tilt them for the optimum summer angle.
I found the 13 and 5 o pitches of the roof actually give more power over the summer months. As it turns out, I have 9 panels at the 5o tilt, 9 at 13o and 4 at 25o.  I'll see how they go but I'm thinking I might just raise the 5o ones on the lower roof to to 25 and leave the others as is.

I wired up everything with the inverter first and ran the cables up to the roof and put the connectors on there. I laid out the strings and hooked them up and screwed them to the roof with some very cheap but stout brackets I found at the hardware.  Bolted them down using the existing tek screws with the climaseals, 1 per panel.  Thought that might be a bit dodgy but that one bracket with them lying flat on teh roof makes them impossible difficult to move in any direction when trying to move or lift them.  The ones at the 25o angle are leaning between the 2 roof pitches so I'll get up there with some metal Strapping and tie them down as they have plenty of room for wind to get underneath.

When I came down, I found I had left the 2 sets of twin breakers on and the thing was already working and making power. Perfect!
I have it just pluged into the power outlet atm for testing but tomorrow I'll hard wire the AC side as I don't think the standard power sockets are going to appreciate having a full 5 Kw shoved through them.  I think what would happen though would be the voltage would go high and the thing would shut down in protection mode.

I was reading the spec sheet on the inverter and the specified breaker is 32A. The only ones I had up the back were 40's and 25's.  I got thinking and worked out 25A@ 250V which the inverter is likley to be pushing the AC to is over 6KW. As the inverter is only 5KW, not sure why they would specify something so over rated. I think the 25 Should be fine and I'd rather have something that's going to trip earlier than later! Even if there is 25A at that breaker, something is very wrong and I want it shut down.  Not like there are going to be startup loads on this circuit. The inverter ramps up pretty slowly actually.

I'm thinking I should see an improvement in output now.
Shed roof gets the light earlier and later than the area on the lawn the panels were sitting before.  They are at a better angle for this time of the year and  now I have 5.5Kw of panels connected to a 5Kw inverter rather than a 2Kw and a 1.8 which were maxed out at least 4 hours of the day.

Once I hauled the panels up onto the roof using a tie down cable and hook sliding the panels up a ramp I made for the job, The rest was great fun.
I laid them out and moved them 4 times.  First I put them double end to end on the lower section. once that was done I pulled out my sun movement calculator and realised the end ones would be shaded by the guttering because they were almost under it and the sun direction would cause shadowing.
Thought I'd move them down a bit to the next row of roof bolts which meant the end ones owould overhang the roof a bit on the other side. No problem.
Screwed them all down again then when nearly finished, it started to rain. I had all the panels tight together and then realised that I was going to loose a LOT of water from the tank as it would run off the end of the panels and miss the gutter.

This bothered me so I decided to use the upper roof area as well so everything was over the roof and no water run off would be lost.  Unscrewd them all again, repositioned and screwed them back down.  Right, now they are good.  As they were 2 straight runs I got a length of 12MM cable ( that I got out of cars in the wrecking yard used to run power to the amplifiers from the battery!) and ran it up the far end for the return line. Thought I'd be clever and use the same grossly over capacity cable for the neg pole on both strings of panels.
Hmm, went to hook it up and realised I had a pos on one string and neg on the other.  Counted the panels again, same number, WTF?
Then I realised I had put one string ( deliberately ) with the the connectors coming out the top of the panels and the upper string with the panels in teh opposite direction so they were coming back to the lower roof as well.
Fkit! no way I am going to move the bastards again!

I decided to make the strings go from linear lengthways to a upper and lower group each end.  As Always, I left plenty of excess cable from the inverter so all I had to do was change the connections of the panels so they were grouped and the ends were from the panel opposite each other. This made it real easy to connect them to the cables going back tot he inverter and eliminated the need for the 12mm " welding"  return cable.  It also made it easy to add the extra panels between the upper and lower roofs. I was going to go with 2 strings of 9 panels but this layout made it easy to loop in the other panels and lay them lengthways in the gap between the guttering on the top roof and a line of bolts on teh lower one where they could be secured and still left room to walk  to the end between them and the lower string.

I'm hopeless at mental design. No matter what I think, how carefully I plan, how many people I ask, whatever I do, as soon as it comes to practically doing it, i'll see a better way that what I planned and have to start again and get new fittings and materials to do it.  Why do I never get it right the first time? I got up there, several times, took measurements and pics and calculated and still was a mile off on the best way.

I did have a lot of fun sitting there doing the connections for the wiring taking my time and wasn't fussed when I realised I wired a switch backwards and had to re do it and re position the breaker mounting on the wall and a few other little improvements I made as I went along.
I laughed to myself as I came down from connecting the panels thinking I'd test the polarity and check the strings to make sure I had similar voltage across the 2 arrays only to find the inverter already booted up and sitting there making over 1300W.

There is another thread here atm on using a CS rebuild for rehab.  this was something that worked like that for me.
Yesterday was a bad anniversary and had me more down than usual.  I forced myself out the back and on the roof to work on this and wondered if it was wise or not in my state of mind. main concern was would a fall kill me and the wife could collect on the life insurance and be happy ever after or would I only end up a cripple and be a further burden?  Figured I could easy off myself and make it look like an accident so nothing to loose!
I took my time with things, sat up on the roof for ages over the days just thinking, looking around and actually relaxing a bit.  Heard the neighbour have an argument with his not to bright 35 yo son as they let fly not knowing here I was, out of sight but not earshot.  It reminded me how hard being a parent can be and that perhaps until you have your own kids you never appreciate what a pain in the arse you are to your parents. Also reminded me that despite my chequered childhood, My father don't have a lot to complain about in me... although he still does!  :0)

I like doing wiring and playing with electricity at my leisure. If I had to do it for work I'm sure i'd hate it and it would drive me nuts.  Sitting round, playing with switches and cable and making something come together is very satisfying, relaxing and does get my mind off thing that will haunt me forever  at least for a little while.

I still have the 8 panels of 190W  to get up there tomorrow. They will have to go on the south side of the roof although I'm not sure it will make much difference for the next couple of months with the sun being straight overhead.  I'll have to check that I did remember to put the power and the lights on separate phases when I moved them about 6 weeks back. I want to back feed both phases so I'll have to run this string back through the lighting circuit for the time being.

I'm real happy with these cheap brackets I bought for mounting the panels and would now be happy to put panels on the extensive house roof the same way. To be extra pedantic with the old screw seals, I'll dob a bit of silicone on each one to ensure complete water tightness. Unusually, my house roof pitch is the " Correct" angle for this location which is not what I want to use now but it calculates at only 15Kw a year less than my preferred angle so well within the margin of weather.  :0)

I have another 5kw inverter as well as the 2x 2kw and 1x 3kw  so all I need is another 5 kw of panels.  I'm thinking I'll either sell the 190's or dedicate them to the hot water heater as a booster and maybe sell a couple of the little inverters and buy another 5Kw as a spare for when the others die as they will sooner or later.

For this 5.5Kw array the fun is mostly over. I have learned heaps playing with them and now they are up on the roof, all that's really left is to watch how much money they save me and not stress as much when my daughter wants to run the dryer just for a soccer jersey and pair of shorts she forgot to wash last week.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 06, 2017, 01:59:34 PM

Probably not I worked on ABC transmitters for years (50 Kw-612Kcs) doesn seem to have affected me at all and none of my old workmates have been afflicted by brain tumours so far.

I am glad to hear that as I am concerned every time I use my mobile phone which is only a couple of times a week at best.

I suppose the transmitters you worked on were turned off at the time?  Are they the same sort of waves mobile phones emit?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 06, 2017, 04:26:11 PM
Oldgoat, regarding your experience,
"Probably not I worked on ABC transmitters for years (50 Kw-612Kcs) doesn seem to have affected me at all and none of my old workmates have been afflicted by brain tumours so far. Lots of other things but I don't think HF radio caused arthritis or any of my other ailments."

620KHz is not a microwave...not even in the far neighborhood.  I personally worked with one of the most brilliant software engineers I ever met who had been a Navy radar tech, as had his brother.  Both died leaving young children fatherless from aggressive brain tumor, and his last couple years after surgery and radiation where a horror story.

The incidence of brain tumors from cell phone use is very slow in developing, a moderate increase and is only one small part of the health risk.  The effects on cell wall ion transport, for example, will more likely show up systemically as an increase in general health problems - the specifics determined by your family genetics. The effects on blood brain barrier may result in increased tendency for neurological impairment and degenerative diseases. The same is true for toxic exposures...you get to watch as every health problem in your family tree plays out, most being what are now known as chronic autoimmune diseases.  So it is likely that arthritis, heart disease and any other common autoimmune diseases in your family tree will be activated by continued EMF exposure.  Building/home wiring EMI, when bad, is also thought by some to be a pretty strong cancer growth stimulant and has been linked to some school cancer clusters by Milham (epidemiologist MD).

The genetics and epigenetics lottery is such that it is easy to find someone who has, for example, smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day for 70 years and died at 90 in his sleep.  This  sort of occurrence has not a lot to do with public health and yet kept a lot of people smoking and dying horrible deaths for many years.

The biggest payoff is for reducing EMF exposures (EMI, ELF magnetic fields, and radio/microwave) in the bedroom, where your "CPU" rests and recovers each night.  EMI on home wiring is easily located via AM radio (the old Radio Shack 12-467 or Sony ICF-S10MK2) and flipping off circuit breakers to locate the offender, and one meter by Cornet does the other two fairly well.  Reducing your night time EMF exposure is the best bargain in health insurance around. The most common problems are easily solved and are within the realm of the handy DIY'er.


Bravo on your roof hookup, Glort.  I have the same problem with spacial planning now-  have to built it 3 times to get it right, can't foresee the problems.  I resort to mock ups when I can, but that only reduces the first round of revision.

Regarding your dislike of fluorescent lights; likely possibilities include light spectrum and EMF.

The light spectrum is very unnatural, big spikes at some colors, nothing like natural light or incandescent or halogen which is full and broad in spectrum.

https://www.comsol.com/blogs/calculating-the-emission-spectra-from-common-light-sources/

LED lights are also fluorescent lights (dab of phosphor over a UV LED) with the same problem.   

EMFs:
Fluorescent lights are now typically driven with a 100KHz high voltage square wave; an arc is started and topped through the mercury vapor at that rate.  The emissions of an arc are broad spectrum, so we have a 100KHz pulsed broadband emission. It is a tremendous source of radiating emissions, both directly and from the attached wiring. The older transfomer type ballast lamps had the broad spectrum EMI pulses at 60Hz.  You can confirm this with the aforementioned AM radio held near the lamps.  The idea that we expect young school children sit under these all day, and then give them methamphetamine when they can't stand it, makes me angry. 

I think parents should be screaming at their school boards for daylighting of classrooms, and pulling out wireless from schools.  Karl Riley's work on school EMFs is worth a good look as well.







Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on December 06, 2017, 07:17:07 PM
Some LED lights are getting pretty good with spectral distribution - e.g. Cree make some "daylight white" COBs which have a very decent red & blue distribution (still a bit cranky on the green) - this makes them ideal for certain plant-based activities (I'm told).

I've heard of a few people who are EMF sensitive, but I think most of us are pretty robust against it. Microwave radiation, at the milliwatt level (and that's right next to your router) will have insignificant effects on most people. Look how long it takes an 800 watt microwave oven to boil a pint of water - and that's 1000s of times more powerful than a typical WiFi hub/router, which is why the tiny amount of leakage from a microwave can easily knock out your wireless internet while it's on. Even a phone glued to your ear isn't going to have a noticable effect on most people - and if your ear gets hot, it's more likely the battery warming up than the radiation cooking your earlobe...

Obviously, if you are sensitive to this sort of radiation, then you're in a world of misery & it's only going to get worse.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Nonni on December 06, 2017, 08:29:49 PM
solar power is now a day a best option and also in trend…it is quiet costly but one time investment…i live in hostel..and they plant solar plates..n we are happy with that…
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 06, 2017, 09:32:19 PM
Adev-  The old thermal model of radiation being safe unless it literally cooks you (the insane "microwaved hot dog theory") has been widely disproven.  That is NOT the mechanism by which cell function in living organisms is affected.  Industry promotes this myth since it allows very high peak levels which are handy for digital communications. 

Plenty of researchers and doctors around the world are concerned.

www.bioinitiative.org

As for human robustness to microwaves...if you check with a fair group of friends of all ages you'll find few that don't have a collection of chronic, typically autoimmune related health issues.  Commonly, your doctor might tell you it's "stress".  I agree, but the stressor may likely be environmental and perhaps EMF. How would you know without checking? But obviously, I'm biased.  I think that EMFs that can be simply and readily avoided should be. 





Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: oldgoat on December 07, 2017, 03:48:34 PM
They were much lower requency than a mobile but the Radiated power was high much more than the 4 watts from a mobile towerb (50 Kw) for the local stations and (12Kw) for the 2 short wave aerials In those days they ran for 19 hrs a day. The favourite trick to impress the young trainees was to give them a fluorescent tube and watch their faces as it lit up from the radiation we would also earth the guy wires on the tower and draw an arc and they were most impressed to hear the programme playing over the arc
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Nonni on December 12, 2017, 11:09:24 AM
This is all certainly interesting, but it's hard for me to understand. I heard the opinion from my friends and read many articles about the advantages of water heaters (if you would be interested one of them https://www.newtanklesswaterheaters.com/7-myths-tankless-water-heaters-need-stop-believing/). I'm interested in how much battery power and what do I need to connect tankless water heater, and not worry about the electricity bill....
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on December 12, 2017, 05:02:53 PM
They're talking about gas-fired combi boilers. Solar panels might run the igniter and the pump, but it won't replace the gas....

To run an "instant" electric shower you need between 7.5 and 10.5 kW at around 230V~; that's a 40-45amp breaker, if your PV battery setup is at 48 volts, you're looking at supplying a constant 200amps to run your shower. That's pretty meaty, and I'm not entirely sure there's an inverter built to cope with that, and you'll need a beast of a battery bank to power it...

Nah - if you're going off-grid with solar, you're FAR better off heating a big tank of hot water using direct solar energy, rather than making electricity then using that to heat the water. Then simply mix with hot & cold under gravity (or pump) for your actual shower. Or use the "bush shower" idea that Mike showed in another thread.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 12, 2017, 05:53:25 PM
Try builditsolar.com to get better educated on solar hot water. 

On demand gas h/w for a backup to solar is reasonable, if your water mineral content is suitable. On demand uses lots of surface area of fine tubing to quickly transfer a LOT of BTUs to the water.  This small tubing is vulnerable to scale and mineral build up so it's a bad choice for some water sources.  The flow sensing to turn on the gas and flow/temp gas regulation has also been failure prone on some models for some water sources.

So depending on the unit and water mineral situation, on-demand can be a far cry from the reliability of the old electronics-free tank with pilot and burner, with it's inherent low efficiency (about 60%) due to stack heat loss. (Vent stack inside tank creates thermosiphon of air to cool tank 24/7.)

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: basewindow on December 12, 2017, 09:04:56 PM
I've had an 'Off Grid' place for a good few years now,  being there 3 days a week, four back at home (still have to work unfortunately). Its only a small place with one bathroom with shower and bath and sink, small kitchen, small laundry. So a total of 4 hot taps. I had the same dilemma when installing hot water. After much consideration i ended up going with an propane (LPG) on demand unit. I used a Bosch Hydro Power 16 for several reasons.

Pros: Reasonably cheap to purchase(compared to other models/brands), easy to install and maintain, quite efficient on gas(over tank and pilot based system), requires no extrnal elecricity to run. Instant* hot water (after about 20 seconds of cold)
Cons: Takes some getting used to in operation, one part is prone to failure and expensive to replace, as the units are not manufactured and used to the same degree as the normal grid connected units, parts are harder to come by.

Efficiency wise its one of the things that uses the least gas, probably becase it only gets used 2 to 3 times a day for short showers, washing dishes etc. The gas fridge uses more.

I dont have to heat a tank full time when im not there or wait for it to heat up once I get there if I turn it off.

The part that fails quite often  is the is the small water turbine that creates a spark to ignite it once water starts flowing. It is well documented. I purchased mine 2nd hand and it failed after 2 years. The parts are available but hard to find and from memory cost around $250 au. But there is a work around, that although not perfect worked for me. Simply replaced the power source with a couple of D cell batteries with a switch to inside. Switch on hot water. Batteries last about six months.

Requires a certain flow rate to ignite, so hot water has to be turned on first and cold added to reach the required temperature. A bit fiddly sometimes when you want a shower.

Im sure there are better more reliable units available but I was doing this on the cheap.

Its all pressurized to 30psi and uses a small on demand 12v pump, Flojet or similar.

I thought of solar hot water in its various forms, hot water solar panels and tank on roof, gas assited solar, the old layers of black tubing on the roof. It either got needlessly complex or too expensive.

There are many other options off gridders use as well that aren't solar related.

Just my experience for my circumstances.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 12, 2017, 09:36:06 PM
We call these things a caliphont here in NZ, and can highly recommend them. Mine is a "Rinnai" brand, it uses 2 D cells to run the igniter, these last around 5 years.. Despite its cheap appearance, it has served me with no issues at all for 17 years. It has many  safety features,  a 20 minute timer that limits the time it can run.... in case a pipe bursts etc. It will shut down if water pressure drops, and requires a minimum flow rate of 2 liters a minute. This runs my shower, and kitchen tap.. I use around 9 kilos of LPG in a 6 week period, showers every night. One nice feature is the instant hot water when the tap is turned on.... no waiting cause they can be mounted close to the tap.  Also saves money on not needing a shower mixer, the water temperature is adjusted  on the caliphont instead, and will hold its setting very accurately over time. The flow rate can also be adjusted with a second knob.
Rain water is fine for these, after all, rain is distilled water and has no added "goodness" unless you live in a some polluted place.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on December 14, 2017, 08:19:53 PM
Due to to high retail rates in Ontario that support the subsidized whole rates to solar, wind and natural gas generators . A do it yourselfer with some solar panels and a grid tie inverter can break even during the air conditioning and pool pump season.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 15, 2017, 03:10:27 AM

I put 5,5 Kw of panels on the shed roof But Due to a problem with the wiring I think I have now found, I couldn't pump it all back down the line. I put on another inverter and split the arrays which was OK because I am feeding the 2 metered phases.

Friend suggested I move the panels back onto the ample house roof but being west i'd loose a LOT of generation.
The side of the house which is the correct orientation will allow me to put up at least 18 x 250W panels  Nd I can get another 4 facing west so I will probably get more panels and throw up another 5.5 Kw on there.

It went 44oC yesterday  so the Mrs came home and put the air on to cool the house while she went shopping. Came home and said it was perfect.  Next week is due to be 35-40+ so I will be burning some Kw on the AC. Least when its hot the sun is shining I'm making power.  I'm with my father whom hasn't been well atm but it will be interesting to see how much power I have made in the last week when I get home.  The new (to me, used) inverter has a lot of data logging which is interesting to read.

I think 10-11 Kw all up for us should be good.   With not a lot of air use so far I have been making more power than what I have been using.  The AC will put the biggest dent in that.
I was worried about the summer use and power consumption with the AC but I'm thinking my concerns may have been misplaced. As we are going to be using the AC for heating as well in the winter and the solar radiation is so much lower, I think that's the time I'll really want the extra generation capability.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 15, 2017, 09:22:16 AM
My Lister has not run for months, the solar panels daily are giving 30 amps for around 5 hours, obviously tapering off morning and evening as the sun moves around. Given the capacity of my battery bank, thats as much as I can store, in fact most is now being wasted. I may change to a 48 volt system next year if this global warming thing takes off, its improved our weather enormously, thanks to all the high emission Lister owners. There is something hugely satisfying making and consuming ones own power.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: Tom on December 15, 2017, 05:35:55 PM
A 40 gal electric is a good place to dump a lot of extra power when the batteries are full. We use one to preheat the water before it goes into the gas heater.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on December 15, 2017, 05:44:18 PM
I think Tom's excess storage method is why PV is often recommended over direct hot water generation.  Once everything is warmed up then the water collector is through for the day.  PV continues to provide storage or grid credits.  Of course it's tough to beat the ROI of a coil of HDPE on the roof.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on December 15, 2017, 07:51:42 PM
I think Tom's excess storage method is why PV is often recommended over direct hot water generation.  Once everything is warmed up then the water collector is through for the day.  PV continues to provide storage or grid credits.  Of course it's tough to beat the ROI of a coil of HDPE on the roof.

Casey, when I built the shed/house/workshop outside which the coil of HDPE lurks I put in a lot of time in the planning stages - going out  to the site in winter and driving pegs into the ground to see what the sunshine did in relation to trees and hills etc, and I looked up the govt stats on sun elevation at the lowest midwinter point and the highest midsummer point and drew up some side elevations, then when building I put a big overhang porch on the building, but set up about four metres high - so the low summer sun come in underneath it and shines all the way in through all of the glass in the front and the high summer sun is shaded by the overhang etc etc

I reckon commonsense stuff like that gives you a big head-start on low energy requirements

Just my $0.02  Cheers
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on December 15, 2017, 08:02:27 PM
Actually, Casey, I got sidetracked during the typing of that reply by a call from a client who had torn off a hydrant riser from his irrigation system.  The sun is shining, the irrigator has stopped and his sense of urgency translates into an early-hours Saturday call to me . . .

What I was going to say is you can't beat the ROI on good planning . . .

Especially when, like me, you don't have any investment funds and your labour is your investment and your future leisure is your return

Cheers
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 16, 2017, 03:32:59 AM
I think Tom's excess storage method is why PV is often recommended over direct hot water generation.  Once everything is warmed up then the water collector is through for the day.  PV continues to provide storage or grid credits.  Of course it's tough to beat the ROI of a coil of HDPE on the roof.

With my recent interest in solar electric I have spent a lot of time reading up on things.

It is interesting to see how the prescribed solar water heating attitude has changed.  Even as recently as 3-4 years ago the " correct" attitude was "Direct water heating  is more efficient and  PV is a waste of money."
Now the reality of it being easier to run wire from panels rather than pipes and it can be far lower cost as well. Add to that the fact that like Direct, PV heating can be finished with lots of sunlight left and put to other uses.

I have a mate that is very energy/ planet conscious whom installed the vacuum tube heaters some years ago. They are very efficient and the water is well and truly hot half way through the morning if not earlier.  He says He wish he had saved money buying less tubes and made  fewer work longer which stands to reason. He also has PV on the roof, only 2Kw worth but it seem to take care of the majority of his power bill being the main time they are home is weekends.

It is quite ironic that despite having a power shortage almost country wide here, the gubbermints are in fact detering people putting PV on their roof.
The FIT's are an insult, the rebates for solar installs start declining next year, there is a limit on much of the population as to how much PV you can have installed  and so it goes.
You would think a country that's hell bent on going green and has shiploads of sunshine would be trying to push it as hard as they can but they know people will take it up and the more that do, the more revenue they loose and that's where the buck literally stops.

Dead in it's tracks.


Another day pushing 40oC here.  Very nice having the AC on in a nice cool house and seeing that the power meters are barely moving. Unfortunately it is the wrong way but it's so slow, i'm confident the first sunny day we don't use it will make it up. Another 5 Kw should be overkill for summer and just right for winter I reckon. ATM I'm almost 100Kwh up on one phase and about 37Kw in the red on the other so not too bad.

I would love to use the Lister for Co-gen heating and I'll look into it some more but it's not easy to do this with a modern house and keep the place looking nice. I'm thinking something " Mobile" might be ok that I can situate when I want to run the thing in the cold weather and put it away when not needed.  How and where to duct the air into the house will be the trick.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: dieselspanner on December 16, 2017, 08:32:06 AM
Up here in the Pyrenees the locals have been building solar efficient houses for hundreds of years.

They are long and thin, east to west, facing south. a balcony on the south side, as Mikenash describes, inset on both floors with few to no openings in the north side.

Around a quarter of the length, is the dwelling the rest is the sheep barn with a hay loft above. There is always a small door between the kitchen and the sheep pens. so you don't have to go outside to tend to the animals, very useful given we can get a metre of snow in a few hours sometimes.

Around 50% have an asymmetric roof with the steeper side to the south in order to make the most of the winter sun to warm the bedroom or the hay loft.

I remember the trumpeting in Milton Keynes (UK) when they started solar passive building 40 years back, should have popped down here first!

Cheers Stef
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 16, 2017, 09:49:54 AM

You ought to see the way they build houses round here in the new estates. I swear they are one step up from Cardboard but a mate reckons it's pretty much the way they build a lot of houses in the US.

They are insulated as required by law now and they either have to have a water tank or solar panels to meet environmental regs but apart from that.....
All I can say is at least they will be quick and easy to knock down when they go to rebuild them.... in 20 years time.  Or less.

It's amazing what can be done with homes if one put's in some effort, equally amazing how many are built only with cost and speed of getting the things done in mind.

I'd love to build a home which incorporated my idea and those of others but the reality is I do not have the patience, knowledge or stress tolerance to do that.  Maybe one day a I'll do a little weekender out of some shipping containers and have a play with that.  :0)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on December 16, 2017, 05:37:26 PM
I think Tom's excess storage method is why PV is often recommended over direct hot water generation.  Once everything is warmed up then the water collector is through for the day.  PV continues to provide storage or grid credits.  Of course it's tough to beat the ROI of a coil of HDPE on the roof.

Casey, when I built the shed/house/workshop outside which the coil of HDPE lurks I put in a lot of time in the planning stages - going out  to the site in winter and driving pegs into the ground to see what the sunshine did in relation to trees and hills etc, and I looked up the govt stats on sun elevation at the lowest midwinter point and the highest midsummer point and drew up some side elevations, then when building I put a big overhang porch on the building, but set up about four metres high - so the low summer sun come in underneath it and shines all the way in through all of the glass in the front and the high summer sun is shaded by the overhang etc etc

I reckon commonsense stuff like that gives you a big head-start on low energy requirements

Just my $0.02  Cheers

Around here with freezing temperatures . It is cheaper and less trouble to use solar PV to power resistance water heaters .
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on December 16, 2017, 11:06:36 PM
It's fascinating the solutions folks have found - especially those without much money.

All those years of experience and learn-by-mistake

I wonder what the mean age of folks on this forum would be?

Cheers
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 17, 2017, 06:21:36 AM
I wonder what the mean age of folks on this forum would be?



60?

I'll be the baby of the forum, I'm 27.

Least that's what I was paying the kids to tell everyone when they were little.  I decided some time back I had enough age and the right thing to do was stay 27 and pass on my " excess" age to those younger and more needy of extra years than I.

I know, but it's just the kind of warm hearted, charitable, loving guy I am to think of others.     :laugh:
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on December 17, 2017, 06:39:24 AM
Quote
It is quite ironic that despite having a power shortage almost country wide here, the gubbermints are in fact detering people putting PV on their roof.

I don't get it either.  It happens all over the US as well.  There are companies specializing in stand alone pool pumps here to get around the long arm of the power utility.  When you think 4 hours a day at 750 watts is 3 KW a day of 1.20 here 365 days a year and you have $438 a year.  I wonder when oil will start to go up because it's more expensive to run plants at 60%?

Quote
I reckon commonsense stuff like that gives you a big head-start on low energy requirements

It sounds like a big head-start on many endeavors.  I like to believe there is as much commonsense today as there was during the time of Benjamin Franklin.  Unfortunately there are too many people today so that limited supply can get spread out pretty thin.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on December 17, 2017, 06:40:17 AM
Yeah, well, I'm 60 - wouldn't surprise me if I am "younger" than the mean - though I'm not sure "young" is the right word

Where I live and work, of the people who are able to combine both skills and experience - say, for example, guys that can rebuild a high-performance motorcycle engine AND who know all the pitfalls after 30 years of seeing the insides of them, or guys who can machine the barrel of your CS, press in a cast sleeve AND know from bitter experience what the piston/bore clearance should be, what materials the rings should be to suit the bore and what the right gap is for those rings in that application - guys like that all seem to be at least my age.

I have a colleague here who casts and machines engine bits from 1920s/30s American engines that people send him from the US to do because they can't get them done locally, and another who restores expensive cars like old Rollers and Jags to better-than-concourse for customers in Europe and Asia who presumably can't get them done there

None of these guys are younger than '60s . . .
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: oldgoat on December 17, 2017, 01:32:41 PM
I think that their skills were learnt in a time when things were repaired and not replaced. When I was a child my father used to replace the electric jug element with a new length of coiled resistance wire. These days we throw them away because the plastic goes brittle. I also remember getting the armature on my Wolf electric drill rewound but that was forty years ago.
 I had to rewind the armature on my s.o.m. because none of the rewinding shops were interested
Not a difficult job but a bit time consuming mostly because of the running around to find someone who could supply the correct materials.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 17, 2017, 03:46:04 PM
Longevity is a problem with us humans with a more technical inclination.  By the time you get enough depth and breadth of experience to be able to competently tackle a decent range of problems, health and mental decline issue set in and the show is over.

Breadth is a big issue these days-  this is the age of specialization because the amount of information for depth on any topic keeps growing.  Fewer folks have the opportunity to span a large number of disciplines. 

Given the serious limitations of our "wetware" (mammalian brains) it is astounding what we have been able to accomplish, technically.  Socially and politically- our weaknesses (emotional responses largely direct our not very "rational" decision making) are going to be our demise as a species.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: dieselspanner on December 17, 2017, 06:10:15 PM
Terry Pratchett said something like

'Wisdom is gained through experience, experience is frequently caused by a lack of wisdom'

I guess it's the same gene that let's me now appreciate Franks Sinatra, who I detested 50 odd years back, that piqued my interest in CS Listers and all the other old crap I've surrounded my self with..........

Stef
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on December 17, 2017, 07:19:23 PM
As I've mentioned before I'm 73.  The world is changing on two fronts.  The one inside here and the one out there.

I actually mis-connected a 24 volt battery set for the Uninterruptible Power Supply.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Luckily I didn't fry the motherboard.  Soldered on a new connector and it's working fine.  But to actually put a red battery cable on a black connector.  Wow!  It's changing in here.

I spend an hour or two on YouTube a day / night.  We're cancelling the cable part of our package when they hike the prices next time or football season ends.  (Yes, I am a sports widower.)  I record everything that I watch from cable TV and binge watch one night a week.  I used to wait for new episodes each week.  I sometimes have four episodes recorded that I haven't watched and could with a little energy get it all on the internet.  That's just one of the changes that has occurred in the last year.  The outside changes are happening faster and faster as we march along towards the future.  How long will lithium be the battery element of choice?  What do you do with a gigafactory? 

I hope to watch the circus for many more years.  I will need to start being careful.  A tough trick for a lucky old guy to learn and execute.  I'm glad I've been doing some training for these years. 

A red wire on a black post!  What the hell is going on?

Aloha,

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on December 18, 2017, 12:23:45 AM
 

A red wire on a black post!  What the hell is going on?

Aloha,
[/quote]

Casey, I have spent decades playing with motorcycles for a living and for fun - I sorta know what I'm doing, more or less (or at least imagine I do)

A while back I had a Honda ST1300 as a test-bike to write about for one of the local mags.  It had a good seat and a big tank and I said (stupidly) to myself "I bet I can do 400Ks in four hours on a tank of gas . . ."  So I came home from work on Friday afternoon, showered, emptied my bladder - since it's often the deciding factor in the "range" of a motorcycle - changed into leathers and headed north.  401 ks and 3 hours 50 later I watched my tired self on the forecourt of the Ngaruawahia gas station putting diesel into the tank of the bloody thing.  Got to meet the nice man from Honda etc etc and am sill reminded of this by colleagues from time to time . . .

So, yes, I understand
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 18, 2017, 02:10:37 PM

Very happy I put these panels on my roof.

Weather here has been above 35oC for a week and the ability to run the AC without having a meltdown later when the bill arrives is worth the effort 10X over for the contentment  and comfort that brings. Mrs comes home to a nice cool house and we can all sleep at night like babies.
Well I could if I could sleep but she and my daughter do which is good.


Sorry Casey, couldn't get through that long Novel of a post you wrote. Must be a new record for you!
No, just kidding. I can read AND write!

You'll be horrified to learn I'm similar to you with TV. Most weeks now I would be lucky to watch an hour of the box. Most weeks would be zero TV.
  I look at a variety of Forums and YT.  Love YT, so much on it and such variety. Yeah, there is endless mindless crap with kids doing computer games I cannot begin to follow which is fine because I could not be less interested if I tried but there is so much one can learn from it as well.
Taught myself more from that than I could even begin to recall.

I was with my Dad last week, he's even older than you at 79 next month and still works in his business every day.  He's decided to wrap it up this financial year which I'm happy about.  It's too dangerous for him at his age and his health isn't getting any better. His mobility is starting to fail as well thanks to Rheumatism.

He gets out DVD's he likes to show me and watches himself many times. They must love him at the DVD store. The other night it was Dirty Dancing.  We watched every dance sequence at least twice.  He was saying he loved dancing movies so I sat there on the laptop and downloaded another for him, went and got some Disks I left up there and burnt the movie for him.  He was amazed and so excited.
Told him he could watch it tomorrow night.  I had to come home so left about 9 pm. He probably sat up and watched it and being the first time probably rewound it so many times he was still up when I got home after 1.  :0)

I wouldn't worry about the connector.
You have no idea how many people come in or ring my father in his wrecking yard after people put batteries in their cars and connect the terminals wrong way round blowing the snot out of things.  Often they get away with replacing the main fuse but other times especially with older cars, not so lucky.
On many cars now reversing the battery leads takes considerable effort and they are made to just reach and the terminals are offset on the battery as well so if put in the wrong way round, it takes considerable effort if you can manage it at all... but they still do!

The parts place in town that has a " free battery fitting service" is well known for the twits working there to put battery's in backwards.


Don't ever work on Solar.
Those Connectors actually reverse polarity when you attach leads to the panels and then back to the inverter. You never know which way the things are unless you check with a multimeter. I have very carefully labled which was what only to still connect them backwards before I realised what was going on.
I don't bother now. just check with a multi before I put on the last connectors and know it's right.

 Amuses the hell out of me when I look at the inverter and the connectors are labelled  with the words Plus and Minus.
Do they expect that the people installing these things would be confused by the terms positive and negative? 
The plus and Minus wording drives me nuts.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 18, 2017, 03:20:51 PM
I watched my tired self on the forecourt of the Ngaruawahia gas station putting diesel into the tank of the bloody thing. 

I put petrol in my Diesel 4WD ALL the time!  On purpose! Runs way better with 5% ULP in the veg oil.   :laugh:

Friend of mine once put Diesel in her petrol car. She rang me and said what do I do. I asked how much had she put in? She said 7 Litres.  I said is the tank empty? ( silly question to ask a woman) she said yes so I said don't start it, fill it with petrol and it will be fine. She did and it was.


About 3 years ago I was taking my dad to the country town where he grew up for his brothers funeral.
We stopped at a place along the way to fill up with fuel.  There were quite a few cars there which seemed surprising in this little back arse town. 
We straight away spotted this Black SUV that had overly dark tinted windows, polished to a mirror shine and obviously never been on so much as a dirt driveway, had a stack of LED light bars, winch chromed bull bar and every other accessory sitting on these huge Chrome bling wheels that would have more rubber on them if they were wrapped in a condom.
Could not have screamed " Yuppie wanker" any louder if it was sign written on the thing.

Filled up and went in to pay and there is a Metrosexual ( or otherwise) guy going off at the young girl behind the counter. Seems this inner city douche moron had filled his new Diesel toy with unleaded and only discovered the problem when he went to drive off and the thing died on the forecourt.
He realised what he had done  when he looked at the pump and saw it was petrol not Diesel.

Guy was getting really over the top waving his Gucci sunlasses about and getting his highlighted hair and waxed to perfection eyebrows out of place.  There was a line of people waiting to pay and clearly annoyed at the princess's performance.  Another guy told him to back off the girl he was now blaming as her fault for activating the wrong pump.... the one he had to pick up for her to turn on. He was going on that SHE should have known what fuel the car took and not activated the wrong pump.  Yeah, the girl should know what engine is in your yuppie SUV from 100Ft away when you can't figure out the right fuel and it's your gay fantasy on wheels.

When the guy in line told him to calm down and leave the girl alone who was now visibly upset, he had a go at the guy and told him to piss off.  Guy looked around, caught my eye and  I walked up and told the idiot to pay for the fuel and get out before we threw him out on his waxed arse.   He started on me on and just ignored him and smiled to the girl and said, " Is there an ambulance in this town sweetheart?, Someone is about to be in real need of one in a minute." The other people in the shop were  telling the guy to pay and leave or they would call the cops so he paid still going off at everyone now and stormed out.
Everyone laughed when we saw him try to make a call on his mobile outside only to discover there was no service and watched him go into an animated temper tanty. 

Dad was very amused by the story and said he could see something was going on inside when I took so long to pay.  We looked and laughed at the clown now sitting in the joke on wheels and carrying on to himself as we drove off.

Next day we came back to the same servo ( only one in town) on the way home and the wankers car was parked in the corner.  Girl said road service came and they just pushed it to the side saying it would have to go back to the dealers over 300km away. I asked if she knew how he got back home and she said he came back wanting to leave the keys of the thing with her and he was having another hissy fit about the only way to get back home was to catch the bus as no one could come get him. She refused to take the keys to give to the tow truck driver when he came which brought on another tirade but this time she just laughed and told him to get out.
Before we left, a tow truck pulled up and started loading the thing on.

Dad and I speculated what that would have cost the yuppie wanker as it sure wouldn't be covered by insurance or warranty. As he started the car and contaminated the fuel system, the dealers would insist on replacing probably the pumps, injectors and filters as a bare minimum.  On a common rail Diesel, that's BIG bucks.
Of course a 300Km tow back to civilisation wouldn't exactly be pocket money or covered either.

Anyone can make the mistake but carrying on like a turnip and blaming others for your fk up is a very different matter and really telling of a persons character.

Glad karma bit this guy squarely on the arse.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on December 22, 2017, 01:07:54 AM
About noon this week is great for checking out where ole sol is finding South and how far the sun travels.

I take a 4" piece of ABS pipe and get centered on the suns rays so the walls don't show in the shadow.  I throw a dial protractor on it and there's the magic number.  I then look for an obvious sight point well beyond the solar collector station and it's done.  I like intellectualism but sometimes a bit of grit under the nails is a whole lot more reliable.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on December 22, 2017, 03:48:55 AM
About noon this week is great for checking out where ole sol is finding South and how far the sun travels.

I take a 4" piece of ABS pipe and get centered on the suns rays so the walls don't show in the shadow.  I throw a dial protractor on it and there's the magic number.  I then look for an obvious sight point well beyond the solar collector station and it's done.  I like intellectualism but sometimes a bit of grit under the nails is a whole lot more reliable.

Yep.  I'm with you there

We have a website here belonging to NIWA (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric or some such?) and they publish sun angles for latitudes etc - my lazy self just cribbed it off of that :)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: starfire on December 22, 2017, 04:11:50 AM
What with yours truly living in the wettest part of the country, like rainfall is measured in feet and meters, Im very happy just with it shining. I care not the direction, azimuth, lattitude....
The air is so clear of pollution the solar rays are as  potent as they are ever likely to get. the UV does well too. A well funded university study recently found that a  generic red plastic bucket will whiten and go brittle in one good summer. A red car will be pink in a just a few years.
Oh the problems we face.......
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 22, 2017, 12:26:41 PM

I used the solar charts off a gubbermint website which proved very interesting for finding panel tilt.
Also found that the prescribed latitude angle is not in fact the best angle. Crunching the numbers, I'm not at all even sure why they use that as the angle to set your panels.
Looking at the charts I downloaded and printed for my folder....

34o is my Ideal angle.  this will give me 14256Kwh a year on a 10 Kw system.

if I go 25o, I get 20 Kw more.
If I go 20 o I loose about 100 KW a year BUT, all my summer month yeilds are well up and the worst I loose in winter is 2% of what 34o would have got me.
My shed roof is 13o and 5o I was going to frame the panels to 25o and working out how high they would have to be tilted. That would requiring elevating one end 360 and 600MM. With the wind here the frameing would have to be substantial.

Not having worked out how I wanted to do it nor having the time till after January, I wondered how horrific the losses would be in the meantime.
To my surprise, having the low angles in summer yields significantly more power from Oct to beginning of Feb!  Bonus.
The 13o angle would only loose a theoretical $130 worth of power over the course of a year based on what I pay for power. The 5o angle would loose about $200 over the 34o angle so still not a huge amount.
To me, the weather patterns are going to make more of a difference than that.  I see with what I have now the variations from one day to the next with the weather changes.

This morning I was upgrading some wiring with my Biocycle sewer.  It's on the same circuit as the main solar.  When I was done I noticed the solar was generating way more than I expected given the cloud cover...when the inverter wasn't tripping out on a grid fault. I wondered what I had done or if the main pump now running was doing something funky to the inverters grounding sense or triggering the anti Islanding.  Turned it off and isolated the circuit. Same thing. Then I noticed the small inverter on the other phase/ circuit was doing the same thing at almost the same time.
Going through the history on the readouts I saw the voltages were going high which was very odd on the 2nd inverter as it is under driven and I have plugged in another array 2 days ago to max it out to check the line voltage and it was very good at full tilt.

I metered the incoming voltage from the panels and it was way up. This was clearly the cloud edge effect at work.  Sends the output of the panels high and does something strange the inverter can't cope with. I have my arrays sized well below max output, around half so there is a heap of headroom but the cloud edge effect really  throws things out.  I managed to drop the line voltage on both circuits by turning on some lights. Just enough load ( although not much) to drop the circuit voltage and allow the inverters to run. And run they did. I was getting a tad over 5.5 Kw from 6.5 kw of panels.
Pretty good on a cloudy day but it has to be the right mix of broken cloud to do this or the yield drops right off. Clear sunny days do not seem to give the highest outputs although they do give the best total's with the panels starting early and finishing late for a good average.

The other thing I looked at was putting panels on my vast west facing roof area.  Most unusually for here, my roof is only one degree off the theoretical perfect angle at 33o.  The loss on the west facing side is huge despite what they say.  This would amount to 2700 Kwh loss over the same pitch with a due north orientation. In dollar terms, about a grand a year or almost 25% of the north facing yearly revenue.
not too bad in the summer months, December is supposedly a bit higher west than north but the winter yields are terrible.
Angle doesn't seem to help much

I have space for about another 4.5 Kw, maybe 5 on the north facing roof of the house which will be at the " Optimum" ( not) angle so it should help a bit with the winter yields at least.
I may put some small panels if I get any cheap on the west roof.

For angles and travel, I have an app on my phone ( I have 3 apps now!) that tells me exactly where the sun will be at any given time on any day.
Very handy and allows for calculations like shading  and where the sun will hit at what time of year to be done any time.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 22, 2017, 05:10:01 PM
Hey Glort,
I enjoy reading about your solar grid tie experiments.

If the inverter trip out is for high AC voltage, measuring the drop on the inverter ouput to the panel might be helpful.  Since this isn't your first hookup, and you previously reported this issue with small wires, I'm wondering if your service drop wire size and length might be a problem for a larger capacity grid back feed.  Or perhaps you just have the bad luck of being at a relatively high voltage leg of the power co. distribution.

Looking at panel voltage VS inverter voltage on a clear day with high output might tell you the issue, and watching panel voltage on a day when the inverter(s) are tripping out might also be fruitful.   If neighborhood load is low and panel voltage is already quite high, this would limit your backfeed.  Normally, if you document a regular over voltage situation on your line, the power co would  change your transformer connection to lower your average voltage; some have multiple taps to allow this...though you'd probably not want the attention in your particular situation.

Do you share a transformer with other homes?  I'm not familiar with power co. practice in Oz...except that you have the same idiotic Wye distribution grounding practice that we have in most of the US which results in a great deal of current flowing in the earth, aquifer, and metalic gas and water mains.  They violate transformer isolation of the customer secondary with a "ground tie" wire to the distribution (primary) neutral.  It is an engineering abomination left over from the 1920s.  Zipse (PE, recognized as a Lifetime Fellow of IEEE) has campaigned much of his professional life to try and get this corrected.  He has many public papers covering this issue.

donaldwzipse.com/images/PID642277.pdf

This is just one major technical folly which illustrates quite clearly how humans need better supervision...we accept what we're taught and established systems as sacred and defend it despite all evidence to the contrary.


Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on December 22, 2017, 05:36:53 PM
Quote
A red car will be pink in a just a few years.
So I'm betting the carpets have gone orange already as well.  Life can be a treacherous journey through Satan's jowls if not carefully planned and executed.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on December 22, 2017, 11:28:54 PM
Quote
author=BruceM link=topic=7665.msg91899#msg91899 date=1513962601]

 I don't believe it was the wiring in this Case Bruce.
I have had the inverters set up a couple of weeks now and they have pushed higher power quite happily and for many hours at a time through this circuit.
It's been working so well in fact I was beginning to wonder if there was some sort of poor connection that has welded itself to a better contact.

The 2 inverters are on 2 circuits on different phases. The main one is on a circuit with 2.5mm wiring which is what I used throughout but was not quite right at some point back to the board between the shed. there is a connection point on the house I have yet to check for corrosion or a bad connection. It's in a bugger of a place and haven't worried about it so far. 
The 2nd  2kw inverter I wired through the lighting circuit which is only 1.5mm wire but has been handling the load faultlessly and not going high even when I plugged in another array as I did days before just to test this very thing.

There is something weird with that cloud edge effect I am yet to learn of.  It clearly pushes the panel voltage high but also somehow translates to the output going high which should have no effect.

The plan in the new year is to run new 4mm cable all the way from the board back to a sub board in the shed and take  the 3 phase up there. I'm also going to put another lot of panels on the end of the house having come to a satisfactory mounting arrangement on the shed and this wire has to run past where I want to do the cable drop out the house to the shed so will be convenient to  tap into for those panels.
I have ordered some 3 pole rotary switches which I am going to put into the sub board so I can change phases with the feed.  It's hard to get a balanced feed and more so a balanced load  so I want to be able to change which phases I feed into so as to keep the meters about level rather than what I have had so far where one gets way ahead in credit while the other is still lingering behind in cost.

As I thought, with the week of 40o+ days we have had here ( 44 a couple of days)  the buffer I built up on the power meters is now gone. The upside was as of yesterday morning I had used 1 Kw of power in the 5 weeks since the last meter read. Yesterday I did a total of 25Kw solar generation and it was a coolish day I didn't need the AC so am probably 5Kw in front again today.

I have done a lot of what you said in comparing output and feed and all has been going well. The line voltage has been quite comfortable thanks to splitting the arrays into different phases. This was what stood out. The total output was good but even though the main inverter has put out a fair bit more power in it's present setup ( I can look at the history in the readouts) it was going high when it should not have. I did check the line voltage and it was kind of on the low side so I don't think it was that.

I'd like to find some wireless meters I could put on the output and see from the house what is going on and maybe even log it but seems they don't do anything like that.  I could also tap into the inverter but I cannot find the software for the inverter which is a bummer.  I have another Inverter so I'll see if I can get the software for that and swap them out if I can.

I haven't looked at the transformer but I absoloutley would share it with other places.  Would be rare to get one to yourself here. I would think without looking being there is not a lot of homes in the street ( or estate) that there is probably only 1 transformer that does the whole street and maybe a street behind.  I am of the belief though ( now) that resistance in the wiring is the problem not high line voltage coming into the property.  I have monitored that and not seen anything untoward.  Even when the inverters were running high, the voltage in other parts of the house although elevated by the inverters were not out of spec.

This is the reverse of voltage drop. I describe it as voltage build-up or compression but it's the same thing.  I have explained it to some sparky mates who understand but taken a sec to get their heads around because they have never encountered it before. Normally the supply is stable and anything attached is pulling down the Voltage/Current not pushing it up.  It's still resistance though.
Running the 4mm wire I think should fix the inherent problems even if it does not fix the cloud edge effect which may be a separate issue I just have to live with until at least I can educate myself a bit more on it and it's cause and solution...if there is one which at this point I doubt. 

Interesting read on the ground and neutral  connection.
As far as I'm aware, Here the earth cable has to be the same conductor size as the active and neutral in order to carry all the current in a fault.  Beyond that' it's a bit over my head as to what standard electrical practises are.  I know it's not allowed to ever connect Neutral and ground in any domestic wring though. Further up the line, no idea.


I used to have a trailer I took to events that had printers and Computers in it. The trailer had a normal caravan male socket and a couple of breakers. I added in a heap of power sockets and lights inside and out. The trailer itself was aluminium coolroom panel on a hulking great aluminium Chassis.
 We did one event and were getting zapped when we had one foot on the ground and touched the trailer. Thought it was the dodgy generator the venue was running off so I got a couple of jumper leads I had with me and a couple of large tent pegs and grounded the thing which made the problem go away.  I  found the same thing  happening though when I got home and hooked the thing up again to charge my UPS batteries.

Sparky mate pulled all my wiring apart to find it was as usual over done and not a problem at all. Turned out to be the earth wire on the inlet plug to the trailer had come off, probably through the vibration and movement when being towed. 
He was surprised this would still happen but we found it was the server computers causing the problem. Somehow the way they were set up was causing the backfeed.  They were American made machines so maybe followed the wiring protocol you are talking about?  Everything else was fine.
I put an earth leakage main breaker on the trailer then and had no more problem. I did have some issues at other places with their own generators so used to carry a rod on a length of battery cable with a good connection to the chassis of the trailer whenever we weren't on either my own generator which was never a problem or mains power.
Everything worked fine, just the trailer went hot.  Wasn't a big belt but certainly enough of a tingle to give you a start when you weren't expecting it.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on December 23, 2017, 12:57:10 AM
Many US electronics will have a three prong plug and filter consisting of a common mode choke and some small caps to the safety ground, in order to meet our FCC specs for AC line conducted emissions.  This type of filter would cause your elevated voltage on the trailer chassis and ground if not connected to the power co. ground wire, since the AC line being a neutral and hot is unbalanced  and thus the capacitor to the hot wire is passing some 50/60Hz AC voltage to your trailer's formerly unconnected safety ground.

It is technically nuts to use the safety ground to carry this filter induced voltage/ current, but much of our power system is evolved and there has been more concern for cost and convenience  than anything else. 

The caps to the safety ground in the cheap line filters at products do work well for passing the FCC test, since an artificial ground plane is right below the equipment and all measurements are made relative to it.  In the real world, the inductance of the safety ground wire is so high as to make it relatively useless for high frequency filtering.  Its a case of  "Mercedes diesel emissions" engineering.

I think you're on the right track regarding the overvoltage resistance situation, and it's good that the actual line voltage is fine so the fix is entirely in your control.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 02, 2018, 01:05:16 AM
First Sunny day today in a couple of weeks. Weather here has been most frustrating.
Overcast to very cloudy but still hot and no rain.  Lose/ lose.  I'd happily give up the sun for some good rain, things are getting bad here but not getting any rain or sun.

Checked the meters this morning, I'm down about 100Kwh for the last 6 weeks.  it's all pretty much on one phase so I'll have to look at switching some power to the other phase for balancing.  made what I think would have been record generation today but can't claim it. was fiddling round with different inverters and can't be sure if I got my math/ memory right where they were as I swapped them out.
Pretty sure it was over 30 KW which is good and a nice catch up.

I had some OK scores over christmas and a dissapointing miss.
Went round the factories looking for SOME IBC's and timber.  Spotted a solar installer place and thought I'd go check round the back.
Nice late model 300W panel sitting there.  obviously replaced because it was shattered and too big for the bin so I grabbed that. In the bin there were 2 old inverters and a few boxes of assorted mounting clips for panels to rails.

Brought home the 300W panel, cut off the Mc4 connectors and  good amount of lead as I'll never put it in a string and hooked up some reasonable cable.
As I expected, the panel puts out good and substantial power. I already have a shattered panel on the garage roof that's almost flat and been in a bit of rain and it works fine. I have a couple of car ragiator fans on a shroud in the garage window so I took these off the 190 panel and put them on the 300.
In the sunshine today, these things were howling. I wired them up in series to work better with the panel voltage and they run beautifully. It's like the simplest form of automation, the more sun, the hotter the weather the harder the fans blow, more air Circulation in my shed. 

Real happy with the free and very useful shed ventilation. Did some work up there today and stood across the other side of the 3 bay wide shed and got a good strong breeze that was beautiful to enjoy.

Hooked up the inverters from the dumpster, one says failed relay and the other is good till it tries to connect to the grid so maybe same problem. It was late in the afternoon when I tried them and I can't be sure the inverter isn't pulling the panel voltage below it's minimum input so I'll try it again tomorrow with more hopeful thinking.  it's a 3 kw so would be good to have but they probably put it in the dumpster for a reason.

I'll open them up, see if something jumps out at me  ( very wishful thinking ) and if not the things are supposedly useful for parts . The heat sinks on the things made them worth while to bring home alone.  Mosfets and caps should also be useful.

I noticed my 5 Kw inverter has 4 sets of connectors and it's a single PWM unit so all connectors are joined. I thought I would try and put on all 3 strings and the 2nd inverter so they all may balance out.  Figured 2KW would take what it wanted leaving kw happy and hopefully under the overvolt limit.
Didn't work. Kept throwing ground faults. The inverters are on 2 different Circuits on 2 different phases each having a separate ground.  I figure they all go back tot he one point  so I didn't try running a common ground or anything else.

I also tried running 2 inverters off the one string but they wouldn't play nice with that either.
When I put it all back to normal. I noticed one of the inverters had shit itself and was doing what the other did with wildly fluctuating outputs.
Don't know if something I did caused it or it just wigged  like the other so scratch another inverter. Bit annoying but what do you do? I'll seel them off for parts and put the proceeds towards another inverter.

The roof clamps will be VERY useful!
I have a box of 100 end clamps which are like an L bracket that goes over the edge of the panel to hook it and old it down with a screw on the oher end with a lip and some T shaped ones which go between the panels.
All nicely made with stainless hex head bolts and the little Nut like fittings that obviously go in rail.
maybe one day I'll find some rail but for now, removing the stainless  hold down bolt and just using the clamps with my roofing screws will work real nice. Might have to use some longer roofing screws but that's all good. Will be that bit better than the tek screws in the sides of the panel with the little brackets I got from the hardware.

The used Inverter I have has reset being first of the year so all the stats on daily/ weekly/ monthly yearly generation will be correct.
I saw there is a monitoring program which runs on a laptop to keep track of things. Have to look into wether it has to have the laptop running all the time or thee is some internal storage in the inverter which it can pull from.

Looks like another sunny day today so Off to a good start for the new year.

Still happily swap the sun for some good rain though!
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 05, 2018, 11:33:17 AM

Today was nice and sunny again today and quite surprising with the solar output.
I made 37 Kwh today.

Checked that several times because it seems too good by some margin to be true but unless my meters skipped a beat, that's what it is.

Thinking about it, both panels did well but not overly so, it's just they both did so well together.

The next few days will be interesting. It's predicted to be 40 tomorrow, 43 Sunday and back to 40 Monday.
No doubt the air will be on non stop. That's going to put a spin on the power meters the wrong way be i'll make sure to see how it goes. The other day I had the air running and the meters were still going back very slowly which was great. as long as they spin left or don't move and not to the right, I'm happy.

One thing I have noticed is that for solar yield rather than savings, running the Ac through the day does seem to produce more KWH. The mrs had the air on this afternoon and I noticed at 5PM I was still making a tad over 3Kw in total. I'm thinking that the AC may be dropping the voltage of the mains which somehow, allows the inverters to work better.  I have seen the better outputs like this before so passing thought is getting a lot stronger than there may be something at play with this.

See what happens the next 3 days.  Will also be interesting from the POV of the panel temps.  I think I will be able to take an egg up there and fry it.  Might just do that and make a vid.

I have been putting an inline fan on the top of the big Inverter for a few days and had it blowing from  the top down. The thing has a speed controller on it so I run it pretty low. as the thing is flat out at 70W, I'd guess I'm using well under 20w at the speed I'm running it. Certainly cools off the inverter very well and I like cool electronics. The things will back themselves off as they get hotter as an internal protection . Keeping them cool ( relatively) in the hot weather will probably make for a net gain with the inverters making more power with the fan keeping them cool than what they would if they backed off without it.  Nothing like forced air rather than convection to cool something off!

I meant to do it today but I'll try to get out early tomorrow and put some water misting jets in front of the AC units condensor.
This makes a big difference tot he performance of the things too because once the temps get to about 35, the Efficiency of the ac units drop off very quickly.
A water spay on the condenser will make a big difference to the thing and result in a much cooler output than I'd get otherwise.  The little mist sprayers don't use much water and what they do use will be money well spent.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 07, 2018, 07:48:39 PM
We are seeing more 104F days here at 5600 feet in AZ in the summer now.  That makes it near 118F in Phoenix. 
When I lived down there I got used to it and anything less than 110F was OK to work outside, but over that, it was dicey. Now I'm a wimp.

I'm struggling health wise this winter but have been doing some planning for my PV upgrade, needed for the inverter, which is intended in part to run a water chiller for my home in-floor PEX system. 

Starfire had an interesting posts earlier about the relatively fixed voltage of PV panels at low light level that woke up some brain cells and I did some further reading on the web about the typical PV voltage vs current output plot.  Seems the whole power point tracking business is largely marketing hype, as about 36V (for the nominal 24V PV panel) is always where the sweet spot is within a few percent.  That is true regardless of light level.  My system is 120VDC and without much thinking about it I used 5- 24V panels in series. That puts the max power voltage at 180V, which wastes some power at my linear PV charge regulator (BIG heatsink- 10x12 inch finned aluminum) when bulk charging at say 146V.  Not as bad for heat as seems as voltage is pulled down by the battery load all during bulk charging.  Presently about 5.2 amps peak charge in winter, and 6 amps in winter. 

Today it was a relatively clear sky, so I tried a test. With 5 panels in series, I was bulk charging at 5 amps.  With 4 panels, 4.7 amps. (Peak power voltage of 144V minus wire losses at the panels.)  That's only a 6% loss in charging power for 20% reduction in PV panels.  So now I'm seriously thinking of adding 4 panels strings in parallel, instead of 5.  This will help reduce heat dissipation at the linear charge regulator as the bulk charging current tapers off and the regulator must drop excess voltage, and will get me more bang for my buck on the additional PV panels.

So I may look for some bargain 175ish watt size panels and add 8 of those instead of 5- 300ish watt panels.











Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 08, 2018, 05:00:24 PM
Uniform overcast this AM so I was able to recheck at low PV output.  1.1A  of charge and 1.1A with 4 instead of 5 panels in series.  As long as I stick to 36+ volt max power voltage (MPV) panels, I should be good with adding them in groups of 4. 

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 08, 2018, 09:35:04 PM

Very interesting observations Bruce.
It seems solar is much like the veg oil game, full of inaccurate info, rules and myths.

It would seem that from going from 5 to 4 panel strings with only a 6% loss would mean you are improving your efficiency by 14%. Given the cost of improving efficiency with anything solar and the fact this is free, is significant. great result for nothing more than a bit of reconfiguring the wiring.

I played with running direct heating from the panels.  People say it don't work too well. I tried it and it didn't but then I realised my test was flawed and did it again.  It does not work well at all during off peak periods of sunshine but in the middle of the day when the wattage is there..... Well if you are heating water you may not care about the rest of the time cause the job will still be done if you have the right amount of panels to equal the voltage of the element.
Least that's my conclusion.

The last 3 Days did not disappoint temp wise.  Sunday we hit a max of 46 C/ 114 F here.  Yesterday was cooler, about 39 but the humidity was terrible.
Was cloudy all day so only managed a measly 16KWh.  With the 5Kw of extra panels I want, I would have probably got around 26 which would have been much better especially since the AC was on all afternoon and evening.  I'll go check the meters today and see how much that spun the meters the wrong way.

Last night was fantastic. 20mm of rain. Far and away the most we have had since we got here in Aug. I had the sprinklers going a lot of the day yesterday trying to save what was left of the lawns but may have a chance now. They are saying rain, up to another 20MM for the rest of the day. Anything from here on in will be terrific. The rain might kill my solar generation but right now I'm probably spending more on water and when it rains I don't need the AC anyway so power consumption is a fraction of what it is running it. 

I managed to do a deal on some 190 panels. Guy had been advertising them a while so I made a low ball offer. He rejected that but took a counter offer slightly above.  2 KW for $200 I'm happy with. Was trying to stick to 250W panels or above but I have the roof space and I guess really a watt is a watt and the cheaper I get them the better. I already have 8x190's so 19 in total will be a decent string in itself of 3.6Kw. 190's seem to be pretty popular used so it won't take many more to get a 5KW array of them anyhow.

250's are getting real hard to get. I contacted the guy I got my last 5kw worth off for $40 ea. He now wants $60 and won't budge. Bit rude but his explanation of having to pay more himself and being harder to get is in line with my own observations.  I spose if I do bend over and pay the 460 it will average out my array at $50 per panel which is still OK.
The money that it's saving me is probably worth a lot more than my price in having to pay 50% more for the things. Question is do I get the 250's or just stick to the more plentiful 190's which seem to be obtainable a lot cheaper.

One thing that performed Really well during the sun and heat was my broken panels on the shed roof.
I have hooked them up to a couple of radiator fans wired in series and put them in the shed window. Those things blew up a gale that kept the shed the same temp as the outside air. Still hot but a lot cooler than the oven it is without them.  Also act like a light meter. Any cloud or drop in solar radiation and you can hear the change in tone in the fans.

Really should be on a battery charger. They are making too much good power to be wasted but  time I buy battery's and fiddle around again.... Been there, done that, it's fun but not much real value to me and not a lot more to learn.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 09, 2018, 12:47:32 AM
I think you can't go wrong either way on the panels, Glort, given your rapid payback. Just a question of labor and materials for wiring up the additional smaller panels if you've got roof space. 

I did some looking today and some of the new 250-320 watt panels are now as low as 32 volt at peak power, which would take 5 panels but at good efficiency.  Found one bargain seller for those.  Disappointing in that the 320 watt panels from Sunelect in Phoenix are only 35.6 volt; should work for 4, especially for float voltage.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 09, 2018, 02:20:37 AM
Just a question of labor and materials for wiring up the additional smaller panels if you've got roof space. 

That's part of the reason I have tried to go for the larger panels before.
With a bit more experience and knowledge now, I realise it's not so bad.  My other strings are set out 2 wide 6 deep which effectively forms a loop with the end terminals on adjacent panels. This means I don't have to run one wire right down the the far end of the string and can connect that string to the terminals on the end of a double core cable.

That said, I have now picked up a LOAD of heavy single core cable from the wrecking yard. These kids get suckered into wiring their sound systems with stuff thick enough to weld with... which the mechanic did replacing the earth cable on his MIG.  Got a heap of that so single runs are no problem.
Also found some boxes of proper panel mountings that go on rails. There are double  in between panel mountings like a T shape and there was a box of end mountings in an L shape which hook over the top of the panels. The have a hole in them so for my tin roof all I Have to do is remove the roofing screw, get a longer one and screw the panel down in the same hole.  Could not be easier and more professional.

I probably ill need some more cable as I have gone thorough the 100M roll I " Found" on the building site next door to the old place when they were driving us nuts doing that.  I'll look at getting some 4 MM this time rather than the 2.5 which is adequate for the job in the way I have things wired anyway.

I'm thinking to split the arrays and the phases they are on to make things simple. Still have to look at the shed wiring. The voltage goes high at the inverter well before it should with the power being put in. It seems to have improved though which is bit of a worry. Seems to hold a bit over 4 KW now. was going way high at around 3 before.
I want to run 3 phase up there anyway which will be at least 4mm so won't have any probs then. 
For the main array on the house I'll probably make a separate circuit on the other phase and do that in 4mm as well.  That will give me a capacity of 9Kw on each phase so I could easily run 10KW of panels to allow for inefficiency. Going to need more inverters if I can find the panels first!


The panels seem to change a lot. Every time I look at used panels even often of the same output, the voltage is different.
My first lot of panels were 190's and had a max voltage of 41.6 giving 292V for the string of 8 under load.
The 250's have a max of 37.6 giving 306 for the string of 10 in operation.
 I have these 2 strings paralleled and they work together fine. I can switch out the 190 array and see the output on the inverter drop around 1200W which is what i'd expect.
When I get these other 190's I might try adding another panel to that string and see what over volting them does as against under volting them to the 250's has. I think it may pick up well as to even up the amperage under load.

Be interesting to see but I'll probably move them and put them all together as a separate and uniform array.

In doing the other 32 panels on the garage roof, the hardest part of that was lifting the buggers up.  I got a tie down strap with a hook and grabbed the back frame of the panels and hoisted them up. At first I had daughter down the bottom attaching them for me then in the end I worked out it was less fuss just to go fishing and do it myself. Eliminated that high pitched whining noise and was a lot more reliable.   ::)

Won't be so easy on the house roof with it's 34o Pitch as against a max of 13 on the shed. 

Are you looking to get new or Used panels Bruce?
I am constantly bemused when I see people selling used panels on ebay etc for near the same price or in plenty of instances more than you can buy a new panel of much higher output and has a warranty. They think because they paid $8K for them 10 years ago their used value is based on that and disregard the fact they only just paid double what they want for the old panels to upgrade to a setup 3 times as powerful and less than half the price of what they are getting rid of.

Wish my mate would re register his cherry picker so I could bring it over here!  That would make putting panels on the house a lot less nerve wracking.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on January 09, 2018, 02:46:27 AM
It's not the panels  - it's the controller

Most MPPT controllers are most efficient with the solar Vmp voltage at about 2x the battery voltage.  Higher voltage, and you suffer more conversion losses in the controller.

See page 12 of this doc for the moringstar curves
https://2n1s7w3qw84d2ysnx3ia2bct-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/TechTip-EnclosureHeatDissipation.pdf
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 09, 2018, 05:01:53 AM
Mike, I'm not using commercial gear, I'm using a linear controller of my own design, not a MPPT buck converter (EMI bomb),  so actually fitting panel voltage to the 120V battery voltage is more important.  Anything much over battery voltage when limiting charge current must be dissipated as heat in my TO-247 darlington power transistors.

The Morningstar MPPT controller manual link you provided was very helpful to review...they show a 6 volt drop (for a nominal 24V panel with the typical 36V max power voltage at 77F) in the max power voltage at just 96F.  I didn't realize that panel temperature affected the max power voltage so much.  It means I need a lot more rated max power voltage for summer as my panel temps will be more like 150F.  In fact this big temperature related change in MPPT is the best rationale for MPPT that I have ever seen.  I'll have to confirm this data elsewhere but given the quality of the engineering data and tech writing Morningstar provided, I think they are likely quite trustworthy.

Thanks for this much appreciated food for thought!





Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 09, 2018, 05:12:33 AM
One additional thought-  I suspect that while the Morningstar buck converter is 2% more efficient at PV voltage about 2x battery, the PV wiring losses might well exceed that 2%, so it's probably not a penalty for this controller to go  with the higher PV voltage.  Wire sizes get pretty nuts for lower voltages, which is why everyone has been moving to higher voltages  . 

A decent article with calculations for temperature coefficients:
https://www.sunwize.com/tech-notes/temperature-effects-on-pv-modules/

I'm going to have to reconsider my 4 panel string carefully based on lower voltages at summer temperatures and the specific panels selected.  My tests were with cool winter temperatures so Vmp was high...

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 09, 2018, 08:17:46 AM

I have read about the panel losses due to temp and I have to say I take it with a BIG grain of salt.
mucking round with panels on the lawn taught me a lot real fast and one of those things was the panels will nearly always exceed their rated temp whenever clear sun is shining on them.  Might be different where there is snow on the ground but where I am, any sun made the panels too hot to comfortably hold. Given for me that's above 50oC, they are going to spend a LOT of their time above their rated temp.

I don't actually know why they are in fact rated so low. it has nothing to do with real world output but I suppose like most things they push for the highest numbers they can because people like to buy big numbers more than anything else. Everyone one knows though it is extremely rare to get full rated output from panels and this is probably one reason why.

One thing I had concerns about with putting the panels flat on the roof was lack of air circulation but then I figured the thing will be so hot anyway, probably don't matter.  As with all things solar, just put up a couple more panels and don't count them in your array and you'll have good efficiency as cheap as you will ever get it.

Before you get too worried about 4 panels strings Bruce, I'd test and monitor them. You may find your panels when you did your cool weather tests things were a lot hotter than you thought.  Lets face it, anything black heats up will in the sun no mater how cool the ambient temp. Look at those solar window heater things. work great even in winter and produce a stack of heat just through having a black surface.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 12, 2018, 06:07:20 AM

Finally managed to buy some more panels this morning. Only 4kw worth but the price was cheap for the panels themselves and I got microinverters and racking ( which I might sell) so a good deal.  About an hour away so not bad.

Anyone know anything about these micro inverters? I know the theroy but I'm wondering about the practacality of them.  Do they REALLY make a difference to oputput? I have learned that there are a lot of things in the solar world that are touted to be one thing but reality is a different story and I have deep suspicions these could be the same.

My golden rule of solar efficiency is there is none,  just add a couple of more panels to what you have and don't count them in the array and THEN you will have the cheapest efficiency possible.
If they aren't any big deal I might try and offload them and put the money towards another single inverter.

Did a deal with a guy earlier in the week for 11x 190 panels but so far getting any response as to when I can pick them up has been absent.
It's always a lottery buying used stuff and what sort of people you are going to get to deal with.
thankfully the ones this morning were very easy, co operative and helpful .

I'll go back down the solar place this weekend and check out their Dumpster for any more old inverters or cracked panels

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mike90045 on January 12, 2018, 07:14:09 PM
Micro inverters are great if you have large patterns of shade, marching across your array during the day.  That shade would mess with a string inverter, but with the micros, only the shaded panels are down.

In full sun, no difference between micros and string inverters, except the string inverter is in a much easier place to work on or replace.  Electronic modules baking in the sun, are either very expensive to withstand the heat, or cheap and have to be replaced a lot.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 18, 2018, 12:53:12 PM

I hooked 7 of the panels up with the micros and have them in the yard slightly tilted so they don't kill the grass. Again.
Still have a cricket pitch where the last lot were even though I have been pumping the fertiliser and water onto it like no tomorrow.
Think I'll have to re seed it all.

Have been making an extra 7KW the last few days which has taken me to new high combined outputs of 44 Kwh for the day. Given I should be making around 15 Kw+ from this array when they are all up, should start catching up well on the next bill.
The setup with the micros is a bit Meh. Hook the panels to each micro then hook the micro to a block connector. The ones I have are 4 spot so you have 3 panels and one extension lead going to the next connector for another 3 panels and so on.  Seems a bit of mucking about and extra install time and accessories if you were paying for it as original purchaser would.

Making good progress on the power meters although with the next 2 days forecast to touch the '40's again, the AC will make short work of any headway made.
I'll try to get the new system  on the roof next week and see how that goes. I'll not worry about the micros as that will be clear sun and just use a standard inverter and hook them up in 2 strings of 8 panels.  Hope the roof is not as steep to work on as it looks.

And while I'm on a roll, I bought some more panels again today.
3 kw worth for $250 and  3 or 4 KW inverter for another $100 with all the rails and fittings thrown in.
Bit of a step backwards, these are only 180W panels  but the price for the output was waay too good to refuse.
My Dad has become interested in my solar exploits and has said he'd like to get some. Like everyone else, his bill is going up even though his usage is amazingly constant. I might yet take these and set them up for him and hold out for some larger capacity panels. May not matter though.

Main array atm is 5.5 Kw.  Last weekends purchase was 4KW, today's is 3 Kw and I have 1.5 Kw as my play panels.
Would really like to get another 5KW setup but might be waiting for that a while.  I'll definitely put the 4 kw up and then see how I feel about the 3 Kw array.

If something else with the right output at the right price comes up I'll grab that too. I only ever buy at a price  I know I can easily get my money back on so no problems if I want to get out of anything.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 18, 2018, 06:18:26 PM
Glad you keep finding such amazing deals, Glort, though I am quite envious.  I had to buy new panels from Sunelec.com, couldn't find anything in used here.  I ended up paying $1100 including $250 for freight shipping and a $40 packaging (pallet and wrap job) fee for my five "310 watt" (200 realistic watts) panels.  We got the new rack posts concreted in place, plus the new posts for the modified old rack, and all welding complete.  We will start mounting panels on the new rack Monday assuming they test out OK.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 18, 2018, 08:22:55 PM

That is an unreal price Bruce.
I looked up the new prices with a panel supplier. Trina 320W $181.  Any out dollar is about .70 of your cents ATM.
Why are panels so expensive and seemingly hard to get there going by shipping costs. Must have come a long way!

Seems panels are one thing we beat you guys on. They all come from China now so don't know why.

I'm a bit surprised at my luck of late but also been screwed around badly a few times so maybe due for a win.  Dealing with people on these sales sites is always a lottery no matter be you selling or buying.  Had a few now I have done a deal with but then gone silent when I say " OK, where do I pick them up from?"
This is an interesting thing too.  SO many people put ludicrous prices on stuff but I'm experimenting with dealing with them.  Got one Guy atm who was asking $900 for 6x250w I have bargained down to $300.  That's about the right price here but I reckon I caqn get him down some more.  There is another twit atm that wants $2K for an incomplete 2KW setup.  I messaged her and said if you are taking this one down to put a new one up, you must know the prices. You should go on what new stuff is worth today not what you paid 7 years ago.

Said that to someone  earlier in the week and to my surprise they came back and said you are right, I'll take your offer.  Wasn't really interested in what they had but interesting to experiment wheeling and dealing.

With the panels I am aquiring, i'd like to offset the Power I'm Pulling from the 3 phase leg with the smart meter.  Been looking at something on another forum and was thinking of a limited power Grid tie inverter connected to the electronically metered leg of of the AC.
I'm thinking I could put a clamp meter on it, measure the draw of each leg which I believe to be around 1.5 to 2 KW and connect the GTI to that leg so when the AC is powered up, the inverter boots up and supplies power.
This should offset what I'm using.
If the AC is pulling say 1700W and I out a 1500W GTI on it, I'm only paying for 200W. Solar will deliver whatever it is capeable of grid will supply the rest.

Thing is though, I don't want panels and an inverter doing nothing  any other time so I'm wondering If thee is a way to switch the output from the array to different phases? When the AC was off, the inverter would be connected to an active phase. When the AC was turned on, that arrays output would be switched to  feed that demand and revert back when switched off.

Don't know if there is such a devise, " Dual switching relay??"
2 Relays working together from different signals/ outputs?
Doing the limited available power might be OK, Switching it automatically may be a bit more difficult.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on January 19, 2018, 11:00:04 AM
Here in the UK, second-hand panels are virtually unobtainium - and of those I've found, they're the same price (virtually) as new panels, so it's a waste of time buying them.

A new 300W panel (individual panel) costs anything from around UK£230 second hand & damaged, to UK£450 brand new. Twin 150W panels come in a bit cheaper at around UK£240-270 brand new.

Those prices in other currencies:

UK£230UK£270UK£450
US$320US$375US$625
AU$399AU$468AU$780

Systems cost $$$more. Installation costs $$$$extra. It used to be possible to get a "FREE!" system, when the feed-in tariffs were good; but they've been whittled away to the point now where you have to have a gigantic south-facing roof preferably with a large magnifying glass on a tower in your garden before they'll consider it these days.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: AdeV on January 19, 2018, 11:08:19 AM
OK, some additional eBay-fu reveals that if you're willing to buy a larger system (1.5kW to 5kW), it's a bit cheaper than buying individual panels...

So, for a 5kW system, consisting of 15x330W panels, one inverter, no mounting hardware (that's separate apparently), but you get a pile of MC4 connectors worth pennies... you'll shell out a mere £3,295. And you have to go pick it up, they won't ship it, so factor in another £150 to hire a van & fuel it.

Anyway, that base price in US & AU dollars, for shits & giggles: US$4580. AU$6853.

Not to mention the fact that solar in the UK is crap compared to much of the US and virtually all of Australia... The sunniest place in the UK (the "delightful" Bognor Regis) gets 1902.9 hours of sunlight per year (apparently). No idea what that translates to in power terms though, considering that for much of the year our sunlight arrives at such a shallow angle it expends most of its energy just getting all the way through the atmosphere to here...
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 22, 2018, 07:45:12 AM


Picked up my latest panel purchase today. Definitely the best value score so far.

16x 185W panels, 2.5Kw inverter and rails and mounting fittings.  a few of the panels have the leads cut off but they are all there. Bought a heap of Mc4 connectors a while back so I can either rejoin the leads or just put a new connector on. No biggie.

I am laughing to myself a bit.
The panels I paid $250 for ( 3Kw worth) and the inverter, $100. Inverter is old and kinda weird but I was assured it worked so all good if it does.

I asked the guy what size setup he replaced this one with. He said 3 KW. I'm thinking but this is a 3 Kw, if it's working as said why replace it? I said nothing and  as we chatted he let it slip that the reason he replaced the system was it wasn't generating like it used to. Soon as he said it he changed the subject obviously not wanting me to think he'd sold me something dodgy.

My mind was very quickly at rest when I was putting the panels in the ute.  They all had lichen like moss growing on them.  Smiled to myself and thought I know what the problem here is.  Sure enough when I got them home and stared unloading them, I reckon at least 12 of the 16 would be 5% minimum covered with moss.  A few even more and the other 4 not so much but all had it.
I thought there is the fall off right there. They are older panels so I'm sure not what they used to be but I guarantee after the scrap and the wash I gave them their will be a lot closer to their rating then when they came off the roof.

Guy selling them did notice it when I was packing them up and remarked on it but I don't think he realised the effect this can have.
In any case I set my benchmark at $200 per Kw. If the things put out half their rated power I won't have wasted my money. A quick volt/amp test after I washed them on a few showed my the things are close enough to the full output I'd expect than half their rating.

I did want to stick to 250W panels or above but there are so many around 180-190w going so cheap and I have so much roof, they are definitely the best bang for the buck atm.  the fact I will get my money back on them in probably 3 months makes them something I can easily throw away or use for the roofing on a pergola or something later if I do come across larger more efficient panels. Thing will be unless these do fall over markedly, really can't see a reason to change them if I'm making the power I want which is more than I need.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 23, 2018, 12:15:04 AM
Glad you found another fantastic bargain, Glort.

I got my new panels and rack mounted today, and got the old rack of 175 watt panels on the new "one man tilt" posts as well. The 300 watt panels dwarf the old 175's.  Both work great, the seasonal tilt adjust will now be easy for me to do alone. We managed to move the old rack without removing the panels with just a pry bar for shifting it, no small feat.

Testing the panels was only late and cursory due to high clouds much of the day.  The open circuit voltage was below spec at 42.1v vs 44V, but the short circuit current was high at 9.25 amps instead of spec'd 8.7 amps. Rather strange (!) so I'll do some further testing of the array when I get it wired up Wednesday.  I'm waiting on an MC-4 tee and some cable. My linear charge regulator needs a tiny bit of the the nominal 24V as well as nominal 0, 120V.  The +120 is directly tied to the positive 120V battery terminal.  The negative is below 0V in operation, no more than about -90V at float.  This keeps the max DC volts to ground anywhere in the system to 146V or less, which isn't a bad zap for DC.  DC takes about 4x the current to stop your heart compared to the same voltage in AC.

With the extra power, I can (on sunny days) use my new ultra low conducted EMI inverter to run my well pump fill my gravity feed storage tank, or run the washing machine.   The old 875 watt rack has done fine for my incandescent lighting and computer/projector and low wattage cooking use.  (My refrigerator, the usual off grid power hog, is propane.) 

It will be fun to have more PV power to play with.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 23, 2018, 04:35:17 AM

Looks great Bruce.
If I were where you are and could get panels as cheap as I can here, I'd have half that hillside covered. :0)  Why did you have to move the old array?

You are spot on, it will be good to have more power. You have certainly made a big jump that's for sure. You can never have too much power,  only not enough. No doubt the real win will come on the overcast days.  Are you going to be able to match the strings Voltage and amperage wise and put them together or run them as 2 separate outputs for different jobs?
If your rack is really easy to tilt you could orientate the panels flat on the cloudy days and bump up the generation a bit more.

Speaking of which, I have learned clouds do weird and wonderful things to panels.  I'd be pretty sure that would explain your under voltage/ over current you are seeing.

Will be interesting to see what sort of outputs you get on a clear, sunny day. My bet is you will see better outputs under some haze/ certain cloud conditions like I do.
This is certainly not a cheap investment for you but I hope it pays off for you which I'm sure it will.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 23, 2018, 05:24:24 AM
I only lifted the old rack about 4 inches onto the new supporting posts which are centered under the panel.  Now the tilt is easy and a one man job.  The old design tilted from the bottom and it was a heavy 2 man job to tilt.

The new rack will be wired in parallel (nominal 120V, 24V, 0v) with the old one; a big boost in current.  Presently my Listeroid 6/1 is my only AC power and air compressor power source. Since I only average $100/yr in AC generation fuel costs (and that much again for compressed air), this upgrade isn't economically justifiable.  I'll have about $2000 in it including paid labor help.

I wanted the power to seriously test life and durability of my ultra low EMI inverter prototype design.   It's a tech-hobby thing.

I agree home PV power is a lot like shop size...no man has every complained of having too much.

Your question about switching your grid tie inverter ouput to different phases or meter panels is a good one.  If the grid tie inverter design was made to tolerate a grid outage and the on-off glitches that often entails,  it should be able to do it.  You can get double or triple pole relays that could do the switch-over.  Let me know the specifics and I can try to help you with it.




Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 23, 2018, 01:01:25 PM

Thanks Bruce, you're a champion mate.  I have put the specifics in the other post.
So while I'm taxing your help, the other thing I want to do is a hot water diverter. I know they are around and complex and exy but there is a simple way for  me.

All I want/ need to do is sense my line voltage and use that to trip a switch. I was thinking this should be simple for an arduino and an SSR.
When the inverters backfeed the line voltage goes up, often too high in my case.  If I have one of those voltage sensor units ( which I have a few already) and could monitor the phase voltage and switch on the water heater when the voltage got to say 255V, that would indicate I was making good power for the heater. I figure I'd need some hysteresis in setting the cutoff to say 250V with a check every say 15 Sec to allow for a cloud or whatever.

Using the line voltage would obviously be a lot better than a timer as it would sense wether there was solar generated power or not.  I'd have to play with setting obviously and also look at my generation over time once all the panels are in play. I'm thinking i Should be able to over supply my needs most of the time but if not, using the off peak at 11C kwh is a lot cheaper than using the regular power at 30c.

Something like this would also be good for the other thing with the AC. Senses a voltage, trips a relay. Kind of reverse application but same set-up with different numbers would work fine. 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 23, 2018, 03:44:59 PM
High AC voltage sensing with hysteresis is what you're asking for.  I would do this by doing a somewhat filtered peak voltage circuit (transformer, bridge diode, resistors, capacitors) and analog comparator with trim pot for set point and trim pot for hysterisis.  The fiddly bit is getting the peak voltage sense to ignore spikes and other line transients and have good immunity from inverter generated EMI.  This is an electronics build project for an intermediate skilled technician.   

An arduino could be used instead for the AC voltage sensing (peak would suffice or RMS if you wanted to get fancy) and is handy in that hysterisis and time delays can be programmed. 

I'll have a look around online to see if someone is making and selling some bits of this which would make your task easier.  Either analog or arduino would be fine, it's just a matter of cost and difficulty for you to build.


 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 23, 2018, 04:27:23 PM
Had a look and your best bet is to use a voltage monitoring relay. Macromatic makes some nice ones, but you may be able to find a china clone for a lot less $.  The macromatic units are self powered, which helps simplify the setup.

These relays have a set over/undervoltage which trips the relay, with an adjustable time delay as well.  Since the water heater is a sizeable load you would want to use the monitoring relay output to operate a second relay to switch on the water heater. 

https://www.macromatic.com/products-main/voltage-monitor-relays

This would eliminate the need for any fiddling with arduino or analog circuits, both are significant time and patience eaters, and give you something that anyone could maintain.

Give a holler if you need help on a specific unit you might find available to you there in Australia.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 24, 2018, 12:36:36 PM

Thanks again Bruce!
I had a look and found a knock off of the unit you linked.  Got to love the chinese cheap manufacturing.

Would this be what I need?

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/SVR1000-AD220-LCD-display-single-phase-AC-DC-110-240V-Overvand-Under-voltage-Monitoring-Relays-china/32835033539.html?spm=2114.search0104.3.57.4fb49eaejR424f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_3_10065_10344_10068_10130_10342_10547_10343_10340_10548_10341_10084_10617_10616_10083_10618_10615_10307_10131_5920011_10132_10133_10313_10059_10534_100031_10103_441_10624_442_10623_10622_10621_10620_10142,searchweb201603_25,ppcSwitch_5&algo_expid=e2ed3426-5109-4035-862e-bed7ea024e64-8&algo_pvid=e2ed3426-5109-4035-862e-bed7ea024e64&priceBeautifyAB=1 (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/SVR1000-AD220-LCD-display-single-phase-AC-DC-110-240V-Overvand-Under-voltage-Monitoring-Relays-china/32835033539.html?spm=2114.search0104.3.57.4fb49eaejR424f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_3_10065_10344_10068_10130_10342_10547_10343_10340_10548_10341_10084_10617_10616_10083_10618_10615_10307_10131_5920011_10132_10133_10313_10059_10534_100031_10103_441_10624_442_10623_10622_10621_10620_10142,searchweb201603_25,ppcSwitch_5&algo_expid=e2ed3426-5109-4035-862e-bed7ea024e64-8&algo_pvid=e2ed3426-5109-4035-862e-bed7ea024e64&priceBeautifyAB=1)


It has a C/O contact which I assume can be set so when i hit the desired voltage it  turns on the supply in this case to the hot water system.
I'll get a few of these if it is what it does because I can see other things these would be good for.
It sure would be one very easy way to switch Hot water systems with solar generation if it will as I hope turn on a load when the voltage set on it is met.

I would have this on the phase with the solar power so when it hits the desired level ( 255V) it turns on.  I would program it to turn off around 245 which would indicate low solar generation but I'd have to test obviously when the thing was in circuit. As the heater is 3800W and I don't want to run another dedicated supply, I'd go through a PWM controller to knock it back to around 8A. ( PWM might be the answer to my High/ low supply with the AC as well, just thought of that!  :-[ )  i'd run that into a contactor and to the heater Element.

As I would want to retain the off-peak for cloudy days, the contactor should stop any back feed to the other phase which the solar is on correct?

I can see one other things these may work for although would require a DC contactor.
When I get cloud edge effect on my solar panels the voltage goes nuts and keeps tripping out the inverter.  When I'm home and see it I switch off one array.  These could be set up the same way.  When the voltage goes high, one string is turned off. When it is low, another string could be switched in.
Now to find a High voltage DC contactor......

Thanks again for your help, it really is very much appreciated!
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 24, 2018, 04:23:59 PM
Yes, that voltage monitoring relay looks like it should suffice.

I think it will be a challenge to find a current limiting device for your water heater.

Here in the US you can get water heater elements of various wattages.  Replacing the lower element with something suitable might be an easier solution-  plus adding a separate thermostat for it. 

Normally, the lower element (only) goes on at a higher temperature, and the upper comes on at a somewhat lower temperature to provide faster recovery of the water at the top of the tank.  A single thermostat has the bimetal switches to do this and turn on one or the other element.  So the lower element could be disconnected from the upper thermostat and used separately, or with a contactor could be diverted for your use only when needed.  You'd have to add a thermostat for the lower element to avoid boiling the tank.

Heavier wiring from inverter to the meter might an easier solution if voltage at the meter isn't going too high but it is going high measured at the inverter.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 26, 2018, 05:24:46 PM

Ordered a couple of the Digital Voltage controlled relays.
I'm hoping they work as I think because if they do they will be a very cheap, easy and effective soloution to the task.

I did ask about them on another electronic savvy forum and got offered a whole lot more complicated and expensive soloutions. No one said they wouldn't work or there would be a problem so I think that's a win and a vote the right way in itself.

The HWS I have is big and single element only.  I heard somewhere we are only allowed single element now but haven't looked into it.
I don't want to put a smaller element in the thing because If I do it will take longer than the off peak period to bring the thing up to temp if it's run out of water.

The approach I have in mind is Voltage sensing Relay will trigger relay/ contactor which will go to water heater element at 2000W through a PWM controller rated at 6KW. ( element is 3.8. ) I'll likely make the setup something I can plug into the wall socket hence the modest power regulation.
I could actually go to 3600W  out of our  sockets but I think that may drag the line voltage down  far enough to confuse the relay as to if the solar is generating or not.

I'll try to remember to open the Suspect Junction box from the shed to the house this weekend and have a look see.  Might run a connection while I'm there for another inverter I want to put nearby for the array to go on the house.  See what's there anyway.

I'm going to have to think about my arrays and phases now.  I have 7Kw running atm with another 7Kw to put on the roof. Ideally each one should have it's own phase but that will require a wiring upgrade from the shed and probably another circuit for the 7KW I want to put on the house.

Still keeping an eye out for cheap panels. I have been getting a few people down substantially in price.  Most were asking way too much in the first place but I have got them down to worthwhile levels.  If I can find stuff at a good price, I'll grab it whilever I still have some worthwhile roof space left.
Should get 5KW on the north side of the house and I reckon there is space easily for maybe another 10 KW on the west.

Now I'll have to start keeping an eye out for inverters.
Got a locally made one with one lot of panels I got which is weird.  Pretty sure it has a big transformer built in but has a max input of 200V meaning I could only do stings of 4 panels ea which will be a pain to wire up given the thing will do 2.5 Kw.  It does seem to have a capeability to run off batteries as well which may be a plus in future but I'm  not sure if it can be set for standalone or grid tie only.

http://www.latronics.com.au/sites/default/files/dl/separate/manual_pv_edge_circuit_breaker.pdf
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 26, 2018, 10:11:02 PM
Glort- The PV Edge unit doesn't do battery, that's a separate inverter product according to their diagram. 

I don't know of a piece of power regulating electronics suitable for limiting current to your water heater; it may exist, I'm just not aware of it. A variable speed motor drive might do it so perhaps that's the sort of thing you are referring to when you say PWM.

A 2000 watt, 230V variac might be a simple reiliable solution. The latter would let you dial in whatever voltage you need to get the desired current draw.  It would also be possible to use a variac, modified with more than one lead soldered in place to the windings instead of the adjustable graphite wiper, to have two or more voltages to switch between via relay, to get you more than one fixed current.  You can determine the location(s) to solder via the adjustable wiper...just use a clamp on amp meter and dial it to where you get the desired current.  Sand and solder tin the marked winding spot and then solder on your wire(s).  A variac is a very handy form of toroidal transformer and is often at 95% efficiency.






Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 27, 2018, 01:34:02 AM
Bruce,

I just want to thank you for your suggestion of the voltage monitor. 
I'm really excited and confident this will work just as I want and is such an easy and low cost solution.  I have been looking at these electronic hot water diverters and they are all freaking expensive for what they are or difficult to build for someone of my lacking electronic skills.  The voltage monitor seems a great way of doing this and is so cheap, easy to implement and I can't see why would not be just as effective.

I did see one Diversion unit that logs into weather forecasts to predict when to kick in the how water if there has been a period of low solar generation.  Very clever and sophisticated but the price of the thing would meanI would have to have a Nil hot water bill for over 5 years ( which it could not do anyway) in order to get my money back.

The Voltage monitor system will repay itself with ancillary's in less than one quarter, Will take maybe a couple of hours fun ( instead of frustrating ) setup
and so far i'm at a loss to see how it will be any less effective than any more elaborate and complicated devise.

I have put this on another electrnics / home grown power forum where people frequently do this sort of thing and No one has come up with any significant objection to the Idea yet and the comments that have been made, at least for my purposes, are not significant and easily overcome if they apply at all.

I'll probably in time claim this was my brilliant idea through bad memory moreso than ego, but we'll be under no doubt as to whom the real genius is!

This is the PWM controller I bought.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/4KW-SCR-Super-Power-Electronic-Digital-Regulator-Dimmer-Speed-Thermostat-T1K/362119874183?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/4KW-SCR-Super-Power-Electronic-Digital-Regulator-Dimmer-Speed-Thermostat-T1K/362119874183?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649)

Thought it was 6kw but only 4. Only intend driving the element to around 2000 anyway so should be fine.
I have a couple of these on different things. One is controlling the big dirty water pump that feeds my aeroponic system so it literally does not blow the plants away.  The other one I used a good few months controlling an electric urn when running it off a solar/ battery system I was playing with.
They are the analouge ones but look the same design and I have had no trouble with them at all. I have a panel meter sitting here too which uses an inductive pickup I'll use for setting the power output and monitoring voltage etc.

 Have to find a case of some sort now to built it all into.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 27, 2018, 03:53:05 AM
Good find, Glort.  That dimmer unit is very high capacity!  If it doesn't confuse the grid tie converters with waveform distortions and EMI it should be a very simple and low cost solution. Good chance it will do the job nicely. Bravo!






 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: ajaffa1 on January 27, 2018, 09:12:16 PM
Here in Australia, we only get six cents per Kilowatt hour from the utility companies. We also have to pay $150 a quarter for the man to come and read the meter.  Grrrr.

Bob
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 27, 2018, 10:59:45 PM
Here in Australia, we only get six cents per Kilowatt hour from the utility companies. We also have to pay $150 a quarter for the man to come and read the meter.  Grrrr.

Bob

There are some companies paying 15c kwh FIT  but they slug you the other end for the power you buy so as to keep their margins at the disgusting level.
The $150 is not for the man to read the meter, you pay that even if you have a smartarse meter they read every 10 seconds and spy on you with.
No, the Supply charge is to maintain the grid. Ya know, those gold plated power poles and pure silver wire aint cheap!
Not like there is any profit in buying the power you generate at 6c KWH and selling it to the next door neighbour for .30C kwh.  Nope,  need to make some profit you know!   ::)

I was at my last place over 20 years and not once did they touch any pole I could see or the wires.
Of course at one stage, they did did the ( main) road up completely 3 times in 18 months.
Once to redo and up grade it, once ( afterwards) to put in new water pipes and once to run an underground cable 3 suburbs between sub stations.

WTF these utilities couldn't submit their plans and co-ordinate so they only had to dig the roads up once, I can only guess would be too efficient and not spend enough of their budgets. It was a joke. Road not touched in 20 years then the whole thing dug up 3 times in 18 months.

Was OK in the end.  When they did it in winter, Mrs and I took them out some Coffee and Biscuits.  Next thing we know our cracked Driveway is being jack hammered up  and a new one was laid. Did an excellent job of it too. They reckoned someone had ordered extra concrete and they had to get rid of it somehow. 
Made the sleepless nights, again, a lot more bearable.  ;D

I'm a bit dissapointed in my solar efforts.
Did a quick meter read late yesterday and figured my bill is about $400 atm.  2 weeks till the quarter is finished.
That includes the " Supply" charges which I can't do anything about if I want to stay on grid.  Main Bill is that 3rd leg for the electronically metered phase which I need to work on to offset . Only supplys  part of the 3 phase AC and the hot water.

Think I have found the soloution to the hot water charges thanks to Bruce and waiting for parts to arrive to implement that and have to work on that 3rd leg of the AC offset.
We have been running the AC a HEAP during the hot weather  and the fact one leg is basically at about  $3 and the other is at $30 atm is testament to the  amount we have saved with my solar activities. The $30 phase is due to the array I had feeding that going down while I was away and not being able to catch up. Like the other phase I just have enough atm to break even on average.  I have a bunch of panels atm waiting to go up but I might do a temp setup and feed the output to that phase to bring it down.

Next bill should be far cheaper. As well as doubling my solar capacity, we will be over the worst of summer and I expect the AC will be needed a heap less. Unusually, it was really muggy and uncomfortable last night and I got up at 3 am to put the air on which made all the difference and allowed everyone to get back to sleep comfortably.  If the hot water diverter works as hoped and envisaged, that will save at least another $50 there and the AC offset will save maybe $200.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: LowGear on January 28, 2018, 06:09:44 PM
Quote
Here in Australia, we only get six cents per Kilowatt hour from the utility companies. We also have to pay $150 a quarter for the man to come and read the meter.  Grrrr.

I feel your pain.  And to think I was complaining about 15 cents a KW buy back here in Hawaii.  Gosh, they're only making 100% per day instantaneously on my investment as they charge > 30 cents retail - that's me when I'm not selling to them.  "Gee Whiz Aunt Minnie how can they make a living with only 35,600% return per year?"  The $150 a quarter would really frost my sack too.  How much do they charge you when you buy electricity from them? 
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 28, 2018, 06:43:07 PM
A brief power co. rant follows:

The whole scheme of "public utilities" run by corporations and "regulated" by corporation commissions was developed by private utilities while throwing money at legislators to get it passed.  This and propaganda to paint all government power programs as socialism and communism was very successful here in the US.  This despite highly successful programs such as the TVA which provided power at half the rate of the private power co.s.  In the US, state corporatation commissioners are handpicked and have campaigns overtly funded by power companies, which is why this approach was initially pitched by the power co.s (mostly those owned through various holding companies by JP Morgan).  It is very, very cheap to buy a politician (for a large corporation) and this solves the problem quite nicely as the populace is easily manipulated to vote against their own best interest by repetition of sound bites and images on TV. (Better than 90% of elections go to whoever bought the most advertising.) The corporation commissioner jobs are often stepping stones to higher political positions so they are a very good investment (for peanuts) for power companies.

I'm glad I am no longer am under the thumb of a power company.  I encourage others to do likewise.

Here's an interesting article about what Germany has been doing in converting power back to local control and localized generation.  The global boon in lower PV prices is largely due to Germany's  aggressive RE program.  They have managed it quite impressively. 

https://www.ft.com/content/2f3b0b1e-4dee-11e3-8fa5-00144feabdc0






Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: ajaffa1 on January 28, 2018, 09:21:01 PM
Quote
Here in Australia, we only get six cents per Kilowatt hour from the utility companies. We also have to pay $150 a quarter for the man to come and read the meter.  Grrrr.

I feel your pain.  And to think I was complaining about 15 cents a KW buy back here in Hawaii.  Gosh, they're only making 100% per day instantaneously on my investment as they charge > 30 cents retail - that's me when I'm not selling to them.  "Gee Whiz Aunt Minnie how can they make a living with only 35,600% return per year?"  The $150 a quarter would really frost my sack too.  How much do they charge you when you buy electricity from them? 
With Government taxes it works out around 26 cents a Kwh. so they are making more than 400% on the solar power I export.
What really gets me is that they can`t even maintain supply, yesterday in Victoria they had a hot day so a lot of people turned on the AC and overloaded the supply. 50,000 homes and businesses without power. The government and shareholders must be very proud. I guess disconnecting everyone is one way to meet the emissions reduction targets.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 29, 2018, 12:08:36 AM

Don't get me started on the power thing..... Ooops, too late!

Here I pay .30c for "normal" power and 11 c Kwh for off peak.
My father in the country pays closer to .40C and 17c. 
 If you read some of the now 1000+ power "Plans"  ( WTF you need a " Plan" for, how about the normal straightforward pricing?) you can pay up to .56c Kwh if you are on one of their Time of use scams....errr, I mean " Plans"

Friend of mine with a solar setup from way back just got a new supplier and get .15C FIT but power is TOU and again priced to kill.  He gets to use his own power through the day, when no one is home but then when everyone gets home, he's charged like a bull.

Here is OZ the green movement has had a huge role in driving power prices through the roof. We have literally been blowing up power stations so far and intently in the name of saving the environment  that there is a Huge shortfall now in generation ability. We keep hearing about renewable s being the cheapest power yet prices keep going north at an alarming rate.  There is far too much Hype and spin doctoring to appease the social religion of the times to reveal the damage this is doing on so many levels including security of supply, the affect on jobs and industry and many other aspects where the detriments outweight the effect.

Our own cheif Scientist and greenwashed advocate has said that if Australia reduces it's green house emissions to Zero, it will have NO effect on the worlds climate or air quality. Still we go along busting a gut to be seen to be doing the trendy thing when the whole time we are pissing into the wind.... which may or may not be driving a turbine given how many of the wind farms produce no worthwhile power or are damaged through incorrect siteing.

Reading industry rather than media predictions, power is set to go up some astronomical amount yet.
At the same time, the power companies keep posting record profits showing power charges are not out of necessity but rather unbridled and unregulated greed. I don't dispute a company has a right to make profit but when it is essentialy a monopoly and a basic human need in the civilised world, I think it need to be put in a different class. Of course as Bruce alludes to, the regulation and watchdogs of the industry are all bought and paid for the world over no doubt so they will always go in favour of the hand that feeds them and feeds them Caviar and truffles no less.

The whole basis of this thread is to use solar generation to back feed the spiny meters.
 Just this morning I was given positive legal clarification this is not Illegal here. It is likely to be against my agreement with my supplier, ( but there is nothing mentioned in the agreement they sent me when I connected here 5 months back) and there is nothing illegal about what I'm doing.
I CANNOT be charged with theft or anything else basicaly because I am not stealing.  The power company could try to sue me for loss of profit but they do not even have very strong grounds for disconnecting me and if they did THEY would be putting themselves at very great risk through failing to provide essential services and under health and Hgene regulations.
Despite what many in the internet world believe, HERE they cannot just disconnect you ( Power, water or gas) without good reason.  They cannot disconnect water here if you don't pay the bill, only restrict it if the premises is occupied.

In any case, my advise is the chances of them taking ANY sort of action against me is about the chances of winning lotto.  Not worth their time, sure as hell not worth the significant risk of negative publicity an the amounts would be too small to be bothered with anyway.  What they would probably do is make me sign an agreement to cease and desist and install smart arse meters..... Which will happen in the foreseeable future anyway.
At that point I'll have to see which way I jump with regards to my power supply.

 I didn't care about the legalities of what I'm doing anyway TBH,  It's a case of screw them or be screwed and I chose the first.
Others that want to get all moralistic, are scared to stand up for themselves and never want to do anything wrong can make their own choices that suit them and I'll make mine. As I have.

We also get hit for a " Supply" charge as mentioned here. Mine is over $1 a day. Closer to about $1.20 all up.  This is supposed to pay for the infrastructure and cost of maintaining the network.
When I read about Feed in tariffs (6-15C kwh) I read that they pay lower because there is the cost of maintaining the grid etc they have to pay. I already paid that in the supply charge so this is clearly Double dipping.  Pretty sure that sending power down a line does not wear it out, the post holding it, transformers etc.  Of course the fact that the power I'm back feeding goes no further than next door or across the road also pretty much puts pay to that BS excuse.

The destruction of so many coal fired stations has left the country in a very delicate situation with power and they now have the ability to simply turn off sections of the grid  when they want. No guessing the more elite areas where the pollies and CEO's live are not going to have to worry but the battlers are the ones going to have to do without.

I was reading an article on " The big battery" that Champion Blowhard  Musk and his here today, gone this time next year company Tesla built in south Australia.  Heralded as the saviour of the State ( "Power 30,000 homes" ) in a state of over 200K homes  ::)  )  the battery and the operator are in fact using their capacity to drive power prices up to the limit in the wholesale market and then cashing in on them.  Not a matter of saving the state from blackouts and keeping the lights on, They are profiteering from something they conned the state gubbermint into footing the bill to build while they run and manipulate the wholesale power price to profit from.

Yeah, tell me all about this cheap, clean renewable Bullshit again?   ::)
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 29, 2018, 01:43:41 AM
The simple solution to power co./political malfeasance annoyance is to simply switch over your home to PV-battery-generator.

The trick it to do so without shooting yourself in the foot financially; you must minimize battery power consumption so that battery size and cost (or generator fuel cost) is reasonable...since batteries have a finite life and must be replaced.  PV only loses roughly 1 percent per year.

I know a lady with a big off grid system who uses an 1800 watt ELECTRIC water distiller for all her drinking and cooking water, plus has a gas stove with ELECTRIC glow bar and monster refrigerator with all electronic bells and whistles and auto defrost (resistive heating).  It eats Trojan batteries.  I'd bet her battery bill is bigger than many people's on grid power bills.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 29, 2018, 02:31:39 AM

Over the last few weeks I have bought  3 and a 4 KW used systems to add to the 5.5 and 1.5 Systems I have had running a few months now.

I have had a bit on and the heat hasn't exactly inspired me to tackle the steeply sloping roof to get this stuff up and running.  Yesterday I got to thinking and crunching some numbers and decided to look at adding more panels to the shed roof.  It's pretty much covered now, ( have to get up and take some pics!)
And the remaining area was facing south so the opposite of what I want here. Given the shed has a gently sloping roof of 5o, I crunched some numbers and the generation wasn't so bad and certainly better than them sitting leaning agaisnt the shed in a stack so I decided to look at putting them up.

First thing was the problem of the overhanging tree which would shade the area a lot of the day. I have been keeping an eye on it when out the back the last week or so and the shading was significant.  The offending branches had to go for the solar reasons as well as the fact the tree is decidious  and made a hell of a mess of the roof and gutters when it dropped it's bundle last Autum and I wanted it at least somewhat clear of the shed roof.

Being the environmentally conscious and tress hugging type I am, I removed 2 Big limbs off the tree but did it with an environmentally friendly and responsible battery powered electric pole saw which is charged directly off my solar panels.  Makes all the difference when you use a an electric rather than a fossil fuel chainsaw.   ::)

There are a string of 8 190W panels on the top roof of the shed ( barn style) which were my first set of what I call " Play" panels.  The last set I bought are 185W panels and the voltages for open circuit ( Voc) and optimum working voltage ( Vmp) are within .5 of a volt of each other.  Not going to matter a damn in reality. I would need to run this string in parallel to the existing 190's because to simply add them in series would give me an over volt situation with the inverter and cause it to shut down either in protection mode or through letting out the magic smoke that we all know everything electrical runs on.

I knew I was short of cable  having burnt through a reel with the last set-ups and some other wiring I did round the place running more and bigger floodlights but then got a brainwave.... and didn't even have to fall off the shed roof to get it!
If I laid the new string along side the existing one, I could tap into the same ( well oversized) return cable and then also tap off the other end straight to the existing lead that ran down to the inverter.  I had a 3 point junction cable I bought back when I was doing the battery/ inverter setup so I used that to connect the 2 arrays together in parallel.
No extra cabling was required at all.  Beautiful!  Screwed down every 2nd panel by removing a roof screw, inserting the hold down brackets I found in the dumpster at Christmas and job done.

This gave me 3 KW on this array. The other 5.5 kw I spit into 2 strings to again avoid over voltage and over powering the dodgy shed wiring which hasn't been carrying the load if should.  I presently have a 5KW inverter and a 2KW inverter. I have 2 2 KW inverters which are playing up which is a bummer and won't track on the Mppt properly.  Also have another 5KW and bought a 1.5 on the weekend.

I decided to feed the 5 KW with the 3kw small panel array, add one string of the 5.5 string and put the other 2.75 on the 2KW inverter.
For some reason the circuit the 5KW inverter is on seems to have come good and is flowing much more current.  The problem has been excessive voltage due to resistance at the inverter end causing it to trip out. With everything connected the 5KW inverter sat there happily shoving 4.8X kw back down the line.  The 2KW was pushing 1900W+ and all was right with the world.

I still have a bit of space left on the shed oof and depending waht panels I pick up in the future I might throw another 1.5 Kw of panels up ther to overdrive the 5KW inverter.
Putting excess panels is not a problem at all, the inverter will simply run to it's capacity and ignore the rest of the input. The benifit it the thing will come to that max output a lot earlier and hold it longer as the sun comes up and then fades off. I have learned it's not the peak power you want to pay attention to, it's the average over the course of the day, particularly morning ramp up and evening wind down.

My goal for my panels was initially 10 KW. I now have 8.5 on the shed roof and thinking about it, putting another 1.5 up there to make it 10 would be satisfying in being a nice round number. Still only 7 KW potential though I spose but I can keep an eye out for another 5KW inverter and already made an offer on one.  That said, can't do much anyway till I upgrade the wiring up there because I'm at the limit of what I want to do with the wire size I have.

Nezxt will be put panels on the house.
The steep incline will make that job fun then there is the question of where to mount the inverter and controls to they don't stand out like sore thumbs.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 30, 2018, 08:49:39 AM

New generation Record today.
All up I managed 47Kwh.  Starting to get up to some serious power.

Also got another 1.5 kw of panels up on the roof of the pergola over the back veranda.  This faces west  so won't be a huge power generator but I'm reserving the north side for the 4kw of 240W panels I have. Putting these up gave me a bit of insight as to what I'll have to deal with getting the other panels on the steep roof.

At least this will be a cheap array. $125 for the panels, $26 for the inverter I got to run them.
Calculator says the array with it's size, orientation and tilt will generate $500 a year.  That's just over 1 quarter to pay for itself.
Got to be happy with that.

Where it is situated it can also easy connect it up to an array on the other end of the house and run it all out of one inverter if I want.
That will also be handy for diverting power to the hot water heater.

Just waiting on a few things to arrive to build that.

Hopefully tomorrow is sunny not just cloudy and hot and I can really make some power and crack 50 Kw.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 30, 2018, 05:39:08 PM
Wow, that is some serious power generation.  And done for a shockingly low cost.

 I found that with my added 1500W of panels I must now upgrade my charge controller to the newer design I did for my neighbors.  My older design switched to a fixed net 2.5 amp absorption charge rate after batteries hit the bulk charge voltage (formerly at a max 5.2 A).  The new design maintains the max current the batteries can take limited only by a maximum variation between batteries of 3A while providing just enough current to all 12V batteries to hold them at the temperature compensated bulk charge voltage.  I can see the advantage of AGM batteries for higher current charging- my cheap 110AH marine batteries can't really take even 10.3 amps when DOD is only 10%.

For offsetting your own daytime power use, west orientation (near vertical) can be helpful for late in the day power. 
My neighbor's want to add a vertical "fence gate" array which can be seasonally aimed at a near sundown. That would be a boon for electric supper cooking and would extend water pumping hours for irrigation in the summer.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: buickanddeere on January 30, 2018, 07:38:55 PM
Snow load from the last storm bent the stamped galvanized steel fromwork supporting the neighbour’s 10Kw ground mount system. Will obtain some images and post .
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 31, 2018, 03:20:58 AM
For offsetting your own daytime power use, west orientation (near vertical) can be helpful for late in the day power. 

Geez, that's a simple Idea I have never heard or thought of before but i bet is done a load of times by people so much smarter than I !!   :-[

I was wandering around yesterday thinking of a ground mount system but there is no where really to put it without destroying the look of the yard.
last night I was surfing looking for solar ideas and setups for brilliant things people have done but it seems the majority of people are mucking around building some diminutive setup to charge a phone  or a car or smaller battery.
I'm looking for inspiration from people whom can attach leads to the output of their arrays and weld 1/2" plate straight off the panels!  :0)

Hooked up the panels I installed yesterday to the used inverter I bought. It's faulty and does not work.  Emailed the seller to see if they will refund or I should leave appropriate feedback.  luckily on ly $26 so not the end of the world either way.
Got onto another inverter for $50 so try my luck with that.
I have another inverter that came with the panels so I'll see how the labtronics works. Might have to go buy the anderson connector for it. Have 5 here and all of them are too small. I'll try something to jam the wires in first till I verify it works.

Very overcast day here today so no record breaking generation going to happen.  Almost 2:30 and I don't think I have cracked 10 Kw yet.
At least it's cool. First sub 30oC day we have had in weeks.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: mikenash on January 31, 2018, 08:09:55 AM
Snow load from the last storm bent the stamped galvanized steel fromwork supporting the neighbour’s 10Kw ground mount system. Will obtain some images and post .

Nothing made from that stamped, punched galv tin is worth having if there is real work to be done . . .
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: BruceM on January 31, 2018, 05:01:45 PM
The commercial ground mount racks that I've seen are a farce- pathetic fixed tilt, high price, weak. 
We have wicked spring winds here so site welded steel and concrete are the only way to go.

I was very pleased with the 2" thin wall (1/16th inch thick) square tube I used for my new big tilting rack- very good rigidity vs weight for a nearly 17 foot length of rack.  About $90 for the three 17 foot lengths. Everything else was angle iron.  A local area fence store has pretty good steel stock and prices, and cuts pieces to length via bandsaw at no charge.  We only had to drill mounting holes and weld it together.

Ground mounting is easier here- few trees to worry about and plenty of space.  Different game altogether for city folks.



Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on January 31, 2018, 09:54:18 PM

I have got a good bit of solar racking off the setups I have recently bought.  Been mucking wound with it a few times and it seems complicated and annoying stuff. Guess it's something you have to have the mindset and experience to use. I'm thankful I have tin roofs. Just remove an existing screw, slip one of the solar z type brackets I found a box of through the screw and tighten it back down.  Quick, easy and very secure.

Emailed the seller of the Dud inverter and he was quick to offer a refund. I think the guy got dudded by the installer. He was adamant the inverter got changed because it was noisy but the unit I got from him has no fan or anything else to make any sound.  He seems to have had some sort of dispute with the guy that put in the new inverter so I think  the guy may have taken the old working inverter and left a blown one in it's place.  Probably going to do the same as I was, just change the fan.

I opened up the other inverter and just connected a cable straight into the terminal block of that one same as I did the other.  this one has a hulking great transformer which I think I read you can use an inverter to make the things start and then use them as stand alone.
I put the cable in with a couple of Mc4 connectors and buttoned it back up and then realised I couldn't use it for this job.  It's limited to only 200V output or about 4 panels per string. I have 8 on this setup and don't want to double wire them into 2 strings.

Still waiting on the other seller to let me know when and where I can pick this other inverter up. 
There is a Good brand 5KW unit for sale for $200 and wondering If I should get that? Would be good to have as a spare if nothing else.
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on February 02, 2018, 01:40:32 PM

Did Some Number crunching today on the panels I currently have.

Basically for the moment there will be 4 arrays. Still have to put 4Kw worth up on the house.  The arrays will be 5.5Kw, 4, 3 and 1.5.
Looking at the direction and tilt of each array I came up with a total of 18465 Kwh per year. That equates to 50.5 Kw day Average.

The numbers the calculator I used spat out seem quite accurate and well reflect the sort of numbers I actually see from my different arrays. I have started logging each inverters output on the various arrays just for curiosity but will be interesting to compare actual and calculated inputs.

Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on February 08, 2018, 09:30:02 AM


After some more tinkering and mucking about, I did a new generation record today. 50.6 Kwh.
The best part was I backed one inverter off mid afternoon.

I checked my meters and I was 23KWH in credit on one and still dropping at over 3.5KWH.  The other meter is about +120KWH.

I think I'll let that run down to about 100 Kwh tomorrow and then pull the plug and that one. The meter read is due next week so I sure don't want to be in credit.

I am having problems with the back feeding from the shed. Clearly the cable size I have up there is not sufficient so I'm going to have to upgrade.
Plan is to run 6mm 3 phase up there. If I split feed the phases as I am doing now, I should be able to run 2x 4KW inverters and Not have the high impedance/ voltage rise problems.

I'm a bit wary of the 4kw array I bought. Have a bunch of the panels sitting on the lawn but they seem to be doing lower outputs than I would expect for the amount I have there especially considering the bright sunny weather of late. Think I'll have to test each one to make sure they are up to scratch before I go to the trouble of putting them on the roof.  Perhaps some have faulty Diodes or something. Have to look up how to test them and what to look for. Always something more to learn and increase one's knowledge!

I'm impatiently waiting on my voltage sensing switches so I can Divert the hot water. Thinking about it, I don't need them. I just have to change the phase  the heater is on to the analogue metered phases I am back feeding. Given I'm using the grid like a battery, Doesn't really matter when the power comes out but I want to try this as a Cheap way around diverting power for other peoples benefit and to show them how it can be done without complicated electronics or expensive pre built devises.

I was playing with the 3 phase rotary Switches I got today trying to work out the Connections as I had no hope of understanding the instructions in Chinese or their weird Diagrams with letters that did not correspond to the numerical markings.
The switches I got are 3 pole, 3 position, 12 terminal.  They are not what I wanted.  They are  1,0, 2 position. 
They act as 2 , 3phase  switches. One group of 3 terminals connects to one other group in either position.

 What I wanted was a common input with a selectable output with zero connection in the middle .
  I can bridge these switches but that does not seem good engineering.  Maybe what I need is a  switch with a set of 3 terminals  instead of the 4 terminal group I have?
Title: Re: Blasphemy..... Solar power.
Post by: glort on February 13, 2018, 07:08:08 AM

Sun has been shining here and I have pushed the solar generation High up to 55.5 KWh for the day. Starting to get to some serious power now.
I was talking to my nephew who has been developing a solar power system for developing countries and he was amazed.  they are puting 150W panels on peoples roof and still have a bit of left over with their lights, small TVS, and radios.  He said we could power several villages with that kind of output!

I actually had to turn the solar off on the weekend. I was getting in credit on my power meters and I can't have that without raising attention from the power co.  I have discovered what I am doing is not illegal, they just would spit the dummy at not being able to stiff me for power aand probably change my meters.  I actually saw the meter reader come today as I was expecting, a day early.  Waited till he was out the street and turned it all back on and am in credit already even though the day was pretty overcast and I was running the AC.

Still haven't got everything properly hooked up panel wise.  Still standing around every day looking up at my 34o pitched tin roof wondering how the best way to go about getting the things up there is?  The 35oC weather hasn't exactly motivated me to get the thing up ther either. That's going to have to be an early morning/ late afternoon job I reckon.  I do have some proper scaffold, maybe setting some of that up and working across the roof with some of the panel hooks in place first might be the way to go.  I am sure there is one right way and 1000 wrong ones so I am trying to find the needle in the haystack.

My Voltage monitoring relays arrived today and I just found them in the mailbox. These are what I want to use to switch on the hot water heater by sensing when the panels are making power by monitoring the line voltage increase. There are a lot of complicated and expensive little control boxes one can buy but thanks to Bruce for putting me onto these, I think they will offer the simpliest, easiest and certainly LEAST expensive way of accomplishing this than anything else I have seen and will do entirely as good a job.

That thing about reading instructions is right. Only do it as a matter of last resort ESPECIALLY if they are for something from a Chinese company.
Confused the guts out of me.  It was even in English, as in proper english but just the waffle and wiring diagrams that had things going back into one another that made no sense at all.  had I wired the thing up the way they show, the load would be permanantly on and the controller completely obselete in the circuit.
Had a look online, found something similar and more straightforward, Hooked the thing up and it's not 10/th as confusing as the instructions had me wondering HTF it all went.  Programming was a heap easier as well. Thankfully.

Will hook that up with the control box I have been working on that has the meter and the PWM controller so I can limit the amount of current I feed the water heater. initially I'll be feeding from a power outlet so don't want to be trying to feed a 3800W element off a circuit with a max current of 3600W with other things on it.  I'll turn the PWM down to about 2KW and ajust the Voltage monitor from there. When I run the heavier cable, I'll do one off the power circuit so I can go full tilt. That will require another relay as the voltage switch is only 6A but I have a couple of 40A SSR's already so all good. I also want to have a rotary switch so I can select to run the heater off off peak or the solar fed mains. Not sure why I would want that option or if I'll actually need it but thought it may be handy for something I have yet to anticipate. Running off the mains means an overcast day won't matter with the solar, it will just not make excess power that day.  Can't rain forever and in fact we have received less than 1/4 of our annual rainfall over the last 9 months.

As usual I ordered a couple of these Volate relays and have a use for the 2nd one I didn't know I'd have when I ordered it.
The sun (Untill today) has been very bright and the skys clear resulting in very hight solar generation.  Unfortunately with my evidently undersized wiring, I am getting too much resistance which is causing the voltage at the inverter to go high and the inverter trip out. Takes about 90 sec to reset then generates for 3 sec as the MPPT ramps up, hits over voltage again and goes into another minute and a half of reset. End result is didmial generation for the day as it is only working for a few hours in the morning and a couple at night and all the peak generation times it's spending resetting.

The solution has been to either switch off one array lowering the output from a possible 4.5+ Kw to just over 2 KW.
Kind of grates my nerves doing that. Other thing I tried was running a 500W light immediately where the inverter output is.  Takes the edge off the voltage and although still annoys me as being wasteful, I can have the inverter doing 4KW and the light pulling 500W so I am still 1.5KW better off than taking out the other string.

Problem is, I have to be there and watch it. If clouds pass by or the generation falls off later in the afternoon ( although I have been surprised to be still getting over 2K after 6pm) I'm unnecessarily wasting power when I could be making use of it all.

What I realised I can do is set the voltage monitor relay to kick in the light at about 263V, 2V under it's over voltage trip out.  This should drop the line voltage to about 259-260 and keep the inverter running full tilt.  When the generation goes down and the load is no longer needed, the switch will kick off and I'll get full power for the morning ramp up and the afternoon tail off. I should be able to set the turn off at about 255V which will allow headroom for the voltage increase again.
This will be a temp soloution till I run heavier cable up the back so I can run full tilt plus all the time.  I wish there was something useful I could kick in with the extra power. having the hot water running off the regular power will help a bit and I'll put it on that same main circuit.

Today I realised if I take the broken panels off I'm using to power the radiator fans for ventilation, I have room for about 4 more panels so I may cover the roof in it's absolute entirety and add another KW of panels. That will give one string of 5.5KW and another of 4KW.  I have a 5 KW inverter already there and a couple of new 4KW inverters on order so will match well.

Another ting I put together is a controller for the fan on the 5KW inverter. It's is a passive cooled which I don't like. There is nothing as good as active cooling.  I got a small 40oC temp switch, an SSR relay and a tiny little 240/9v transformer. the switch does 3A but I like to keep everything standard at 10A or better.  I used the transformer to power the switch which turns the 15A relay on and off. I lengthened the wires on the Switch with some light cable ( another reason NOT to have 240V running through it)  and I'll stick that on the inverter with a bit of silver paste and hold it tight with something technical like Duct tape.  When the inverter heats up, the fan will come on which keeps the thing MUCH cooler. when the generation drops off or at night, fan shuts off.

Yes, I could have bought a pre made temp controller for not much more than this cost I spose but what's the fun in that?   ;D