solar and wind

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Richard Noble, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Richard Noble

    Richard Noble WindyNation Engineer

    No one has posted on this topic so I will. My wife and I do a lot of boondocking in our '08, 34' fifth wheel trailer. Boondocking is where you go off grid and have no hook-ups. I've put together a 250w solar system, 4 - 12v deep-cycle batteries (175amp hour ea.), a 1200w inverter, and a WindyNation 500w PMA generator that had to be designed so that it could be portable, including the 25' mast. I just do not believe that solar or wind are adequate by themselves. It requires both. Also, I've learned that DC systems require much larger wire size to over come line loss, that the AC PMA allows me to run smaller wire to the battery bank, and that the battery bank must be wired such that the input ( solar and wind) covers the entire bank (ie-+ to first battery and - to the last battery) and the output ( inverter for 120v ,trailer interior, pump for water, etc) comes off the bank in the opposite way.

    PS - There has been talk of WindyNation working on a solar tracker - any thing new here? I've looked at a few systems - one that uses LED lights and an old activator arm from obsolete sat. dish (the big ones).

    PPS - Do not buy batteries from Walmart!
  2. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    Did somebody say solar tracker? Our Suntura Solar Tracker is finally finished with the prototyping phase. The production run will start in about 1-2 weeks.

    I was not going to post this for another 2 weeks but here is a glimpse of the solar tracker. You will be able to purchase it as a 400 Watt unit, 200 Watt unit, or just the tracker by its self (no solar panels included).

    Here is a little video of me moving the tracker. Note this video is NOT public on youtube. You can only see the video if you have the direct link, which I am posting here.

    Here is a pic of the main tracker body with the linear actuators:

    [attachment=0:2faju2nx]main tracker mount.jpg[/attachment:2faju2nx]

    Attached Files:

  3. Minnesota

    Minnesota WindyNation Engineer

    Nice job on the tracker! Specs? Pricing?
  4. bluejay

    bluejay WindyNation Engineer

    I guess you should of bought while it was available! :lol: I am sure when you are big enough to need it we can work out a small trade :mrgreen:

    I see good things in your future. You are gonna have some of the best products out there in the fast growing alt energy market...
  5. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    Solar tracker

    Bluejay, If you own, I will trade you something for it :D


    As far as specs: The version you see will come in three versions. (1) No panels. You mount your own panels. Structurally, this tracker can hold up to 400 Watts of solar. (2) Two 100 Watt monocrystalline solar panels + the tracker. (3) Four 100 Watt monocrystalline solar panels + the tracker.

    So, there will be three ways to purchase it.

    The tracker can operate off of 12 or 24 volts so if you are battery charging, it can run off of the battery. If you do a grid tie, you can run it off the grid using a transformer/DC power supply. You can get up to a 40% increase in solar panel efficiency and the power used by the actuators throughout the day is incredibly small compared to this 40% increase.

    EVERYTHING is included. The customer will only need to purchase cement, a 6 in x 6 in x 8 foot wooden post, and six lag bolts (for bolting the main tracker mount to the wooden post).

    Digging the hole and cementing the post in place is the hard part. The tracker will come mostly pre-assembled. It will only take about 45 minutes to completely install the actual solar tracker.

    The price has not been set. A ball park figure is 750 dollars (no panel version). I do not know of any two axis trackers that even come close to that price.
  6. bluejay

    bluejay WindyNation Engineer

    I do own it! :D We will when the time comes and I will make it fair. I was suprised to see you hadnt already bought it.. :eek: :cool: .

    I bet I could fit that frame into my design so i could move my 8 80w..I will definately buy one in the future. I have to get my turbine figured out so I can start building another. I will post pics of my finished pole one soon. I am ready to bury some more 4 guage and start the next pole soon..Right now is busy,time to ship pups and I have a week of trips to the Big airport(120 miles round trip)...
  7. bluejay

    bluejay WindyNation Engineer

    So this can not run directly off the power the panels are producing there? You should be able to hook it directly into the main dc feed from the pole whether its going into the house to be battery chargers or hooked to grid ties. I have decided to wait on the next pole I had some parts machined to so I can find out more info on the ease of hooking this to a pre determined size frame. That means if I have to use the frame you provide with the kit to fit my own frame for the cheap 80w panels I get($220). I want all my panels that I am buying for my home based (2nd) business to have these trackers...

    You will have a customer for life if I can get these to work like I am thinking... :D :D
  8. Richard Noble

    Richard Noble WindyNation Engineer

    Just talked to friends who are boondocking at Imperial Dam, AZ, and they are going to upgrade their solar panels and are willing to sell me their 4 - 64volt existing ones (some where near $200). I will be able to run these through the 100amp charge controller from WindyNation along with the wind generator. This will give me a max possible of 1KW of power generation (with existing 250w solar system) into 4 - 12v deep cycle batteries. Should be enough for the RV. Wish the Windy nation trackers were light enough for an RV. I think I will build a rack on the ground that I can move to follow the sun by hand until I figure an automatic tracking system. I have been studying a system that uses a small panel set at 90 degrees to the main panel. When the sun hits the small panel, it provides power to a DC motor to turn the main panel into the sun and as it turns, it shades itself (by the main panel) and turns itself off. Simple and elegant. Of course, this will not elevate the panels. I'll have to do that by hand. I've started to look at a Trimetric battery monitor, also.
  9. Richard Noble

    Richard Noble WindyNation Engineer

    This is an add-on to boondocking and solar power use - take a look at - The first one advertised. Just ordered one (ca, $100) and then look down about 2/3 of the page to solar trackers. Will not work for PV panels but should work for an oven. I'm going to try the oven first and if it works, I'll order the tracker.
  10. timber

    timber WindyNation Engineer

    Nice tracker, thanks for the preview Josh!
    One or two of those and couple of Wintura 750W PMAs and a household could live off grid and have plenty of power left over to charge the e-car.
    Glad to see that you're continuing to develop new, innovative and affordable products.
    I can see it now, Hybridnation will soon have e-charging stations every 30 miles across the US.

  11. murray2paddles

    murray2paddles WindyNation Engineer

    I don't have any solar panels of my own yet but hope to in the near future.. BUT thought I would post a letter that my niece's husband wrote to me in response to a few questions I had asked of him. Might be a little on the long side but I thought it had some good info and possibly would stimulate some questions or new ideas. :geek:

    He Wrote:
    In Ontario, the province has a subsidy called a feed in tariff or fit. More information can be found If you search in google and look up Ontario microfit.

    Our array has a name plate capacity of 4.4kw. Actually generation is about 3.8kw when you factor in losses.

    The array is grid tied. We sell the power back to the utility at .802 cents a kwh generated. We have two accounts with the utility. One as a regular load customer, another as a generator. In Ontario the consumed power is also subsidized to anywhere between 6 to 9 cents a kwh consumed. So we have two meters on the side of our house, one incoming and one outgoing. We still pay hydro bills as they come in.

    The array is 20 180w panels. I'm not sure how much current they can provide individually but the whole array is rated at 40Amps.

    We went with individual inverters rather than a central inverter. There are pros and cons to both. Because the panels are fixed we have them facing different directions to grab morning mid day and evening light.

    We got our first check for august in September. We should be getting the next one soon for September. August was a good month. Loads of sun. i didn't turn the array on until the second week of august. Three weeks earned 450$. September generated a little less and October less still due to the shorter and shorter days.

    The company that did my installation did a business plan For me. The business plan predicts the whole system will be paid off in 8 years. We have a 20 year contract with the utility at the .802 rate. All and all if things go to plan we should earn 23% on top of the initial investment over the 20 year period.

    Not to mention all the environmental benefits we contribute. I've added a network module monitoring package where I can see realtime how much power the array generates and operational status incase problems come up. It also gives a summary of environmental benefits, for example we have produced 1.3Mwh of power so for which is equivalent of taking 2300lbs of carbon out of the air or planting 28 fully mature trees or saving 121 gallons of gas.

    As you can see I'm very passionate about this stuff. Ive always want to do something good for the environment and it's a bonus we can make a profit doing it.
  12. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    Hi Murray,

    That is just awesome: 0.802 cents per kwh. This must be heavily subsidized. I would just be throwing up solar panels all day long :D
  13. murray2paddles

    murray2paddles WindyNation Engineer

    I was impressed and even more jealous of their set up. :evil:

    Everything he wrote did not surprise me though.. they are young and each have decent incomes to they were able to make a decision on a long term investment.
    What I get out of it though, is if you invest large, your return or benefits will usually relate to that investment.
    If you want or expect a large return of creating lots of watts, guess what, you have to invest to achieve this !

    the mur :cool:
  14. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    Well Murray,

    We are going to have to get you some solar trackers up there. With your long summer day light hours, a solar tracker could really pump out some power. You will eventually be your own power plant :D
  15. logic+wisdom+nature

    logic+wisdom+nature WindyNation Engineer

    Great post Richard

    So I will not buy the Walmart batteries but could you explain to me how you use an AC Turbine with Solar panels please . Does a charger controller convert the ac to dc before the battery bank ?
    I am a beginner thanks for your information. , James

    Also , windyguru nice tracker I would buy one for $650 :mrgreen:
  16. dlmcbm

    dlmcbm WindyNation Engineer

    first you would need to use a rectifier to conver from AC to DC. This thread has some about that 3-phase-rectifiers-t489.html
    As fas as using solar and wind together there should be no problem. Just make sure you have a blocking diode on your solar panels so the charge from the wind generater dont get wasted back into the panels.
  17. skill_hong

    skill_hong WindyNation Engineer

    As we may know, solar panels can cost a lot of money that is why lots of people are starting to think about making their own. Now, there are some small homemade solar panels you can make. For people who are looking to make real solar panels, these are solar panel kits that you can use. These come with everything that you need to build your own home. When you get done, you will have solar panel that can help you cut down on your power bill.
  18. dlmcbm

    dlmcbm WindyNation Engineer

    Wow what a way to spam a forum. To bad that we can buy solar panels here in the states for 1/4 of what they are at and we can buy windynation wind turbine for about 1/5 of what they are to.

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