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Old 03-08-10, 01:51 PM   #21
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Accountant members here learn more than they contribute. Allow me to point out one gotcha in the 30% US federal tax credit for solar energy systems: Credit is not allowed for equipment used to heat swimming pools or hot tubs. So you may want to think about the hot tub heater.

Anyway, I was wondering, is it easier to track the sun with a light sensor, or is it easier to just do a timer that takes it east to west during the day and resets after dark? Just seems that a timer would eliminate the hazy/cloudy day problems with light sensing.

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Old 03-08-10, 03:26 PM   #22
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Default Oil prices going up or down?

LOL! I'm not a rich hot-tub guy.. (I would like one out on the deck)!

My dream is to heat the hot water in my oil burning boiler.
This boiler heats my house (forced hotwater baseboards) and has a loop inside for domestic hot water.
(I also have a Sanyo heat pump for heating, but it's not working right now).
http://ecorenovator.org/forum/projec...l-project.html


The infernal boiler burns oil all year round. So, If I could hook about 440 watts
of PV power to a heating element in the boiler, that would put 1500 BTHh
of heat into the water (when the sun was bright)..

I'm sure it will save me some oil and perhaps even pay for itself in 1 to 3 years..
Saving a gallon a day is about $960 a year.. (Heck 2 quarts would be nice).

I may be able to get 4 of these big clunky panels for about $930...
Kaneka Thin Film Solar Panel 110w

Anyways, I worry that Iran is going to be problem some day and oil prices will skyrocket..
My wife calls me a worry wart, but I'm just an old DIYer..

~~~
Tracking the sun with optical electronics can be a problem.
I just turned down the sensitivity of my tracker because some shadows were making it seek back-and-forth a little too much.
But, they are cheap ($40 to $140), whereas a timer will involve
some CPU type hardware and may need it's own AC supply etc.

Plus, you can buy optical tracker kits, already to solder & Plug-n-Play..

Cheers,
Rich
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Old 03-08-10, 03:41 PM   #23
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Default 5-10 watt panel has juice to spare?

I call this hack, Share-a-PV..

I have a nice big Coax cable running from the Solar tracker, into my basement ham radio station.

So, I made two of these little N-connector-to-DC pigtails..



And now, I can charge up the old back-ups down in the basement.



I still have a spare charger module, but I fear the little panel won't support 3 chargers..
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Old 03-08-10, 05:29 PM   #24
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I really have to give you a hat tip, experimenting like this. Also a thank you since I'll be referring back to this thread to copy some of your work.

To answer your earlier question about the battery mounting, you should be fine mounting it on its end. The battery does say "Nonspillable," so it should be safe even upside down.
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Old 03-08-10, 07:51 PM   #25
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I saw that Nonspillable, but only after I posted..


I'm not breaking any new ground with the HWPV idea. The gov has been testing the hardware for years.
And, it seems to be very reliable and low maintenance.
BFRL: Solar Photovoltaic Hot Water System

Their findings state it can be done (in homes) economically, if PV prices drop drastically..
And, that time is just about here. PV is getting cheaper very slowly..

Here's a blurb about HWPV from down Australia way..
http://ecorenovator.org/forum/solar-....html#post5374

~~~

Anyways, I had that used BUD (Big Ugly Dish) in the backyard for about 20 years it seems,
and my wife has never really liked it.

So, when I decided to take it down. I was wondering if it would make a good Solar tracker mount.

It's tracking ok right now, so I'm encouraged to get some real PV wattage up there.
Due to blockages both east and west, the direct sun light on the tracker
is limited to about 6 hours right now. I have some trees to remove,
but I don't see gaining very many more watt-hours.

I think Sun Tracking is the only way to make the best of a bad location.
Of course, it all else fails, the garage roof might become available..


Now, I'm considering wind loading and the extra weight of the 110 watt Kaneka Thin Film PV panel.
Kaneka Thin Film Solar Panel 110w

At 40 pounds, times 4.. 160 pounds of panel. That's a lot of weight,
considering the old dish antenna was only about 50 pounds.

However, a freak storm once filled it with about 500 pounds of wet snow. (It was in Bird-bath posistion).
The only damage was to the mesh. The mount was fine. The mechanism is very solid.

I think the wind-loading might be the main danger to the panels.
The post is not mounted into a block of concrete. It's bolted to a deck.
The deck has five 4x4 legs planted about 3 feet into the ground.
It would be hard to flip over, but it's possible with a strong enough wind.
So, some changes might be needed to the post..
Or, I could try to step up to a brand new post (in concrete) and do it right.
The main problem with a new post is the digging.. We have a very high water table.

DIYing is a pretty good way to spend your retirement days..

Cheers,
Rich
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Old 03-09-10, 12:26 AM   #26
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Default The PV is in the mail.. :)

Well guys, I've placed an order for (4) Kaneka Hybrid PV Modules U-SA110.
They are brand new panels and the real specs haven't shown up yet..
New Kaneka 110w panel specs??

I think the European specs should be a close match to the American model 110 model. (I hope)!
The shipping cost isn't bad at all, so I suspect they might be in error.. I hope not.

So, now I'm trying to picture about 52 sq feet of panels on my little dish mount.
Mounted, flush to each other, they would be about 6.6 feet wide and 7.9 feet tall.

Here's one idea:
The steel angle iron that's currently on the round base-plate would be replaced by two 28" angle irons.

On the ends of those 28" angle irons, two 75" vertical angle irons will be attached,
Forming a tall 'H', with two cross-bars instead of one.

Note:
Bed frame steel is Strong hardened stuff. Solar panel proven.


Attached to the big 'H' would be (4) horizontal PVC pipes. (86" long).
The spacing between the PVC pipes would be 21.6" for the middle two,
and 26" up for the top and 26" down for the bottom pipe.
This lines up the pipes with mounting holes in the bottom of the panels.

To cap off the open ends of the pipes, I'll install a vertical 73.6" pipe
on both ends of the (4) horizontal PVC pipes, using (4) 90deg PVC elbows and (4) PVC Tees.

The PVC now a sideways rectangle with two horizontal pipes in the middle, and a bed for the PV..
Mounted with 1/4:20 SS hardware (x16).


Is that crazy or what? I'm not sure PVC will work, but I'm already wondering if
I should buy 1-1/4" or 2" pipes? (I can get all the parts in 2" for $40.60)..

Comments please..

Cheers,
Rich
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Old 03-09-10, 07:26 AM   #27
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I'm confused. I followed you up to the point where you started adding PVC (which I believe gets brittle in sunlight over time).
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Old 03-09-10, 07:55 AM   #28
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The PVC frame would be dimensioned to match the holes on the backside of the panels. And bolted to (2) long vertical steel angle iron rails.

Since the PVC is going to be in the shade of the panels, I'm not worried that it's going to start breaking down during my lifetime.

I will have the PVC Tees and 90deg elbows sticking out on each side, to provide some bump protection.
Maybe I can paint the exposed parts to sun-screen them.?.

Perhaps later on, I can use the PVC frame to experiment with other types of trackers.



Picture this Leaning Rotator mount with 4 panels..
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Old 03-09-10, 11:28 PM   #29
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Hi All;

As far as I can tell the efficiency ranges from
about 4.5% to 6%.

This seem very low compared to poly or mono crystalline
silicon at 15% to 18%.

I suppose they are nice if you have a large area to
place them.

However I would not recommend them for a solar tracking
system as they would require a needlessly large
tracking mount.

If I would use my location, Minnesota, they are more
expensive than good mono crystalline panels in a
tracking system.

Let's compare Tracked crystalline vs fixed Kaneka:
Mono Crystalline = 150W/m^2
Kaneka = 60W/m^2
Tracking factor for me = 170%
Mono Crystalline cost = $3/W
Kaneka cost = $1.20/W

(150W/m^2)/ (60W/m^2) * 170% = 425% greater energy/year
($3/W / 425%) / ($1.20/W / 100%) = 59% energy/cost advantage
of crystalline over
Kaneka.

This shows that tracked mono crystalline panels have a good
advantage over Kaneka panels even at this low of a cost.

Not to mention the added cost of mounting hardware for
panels that are 4.5 times more area for the same
energy per year.

In the big picture these seem quite expensive to me.

Duane
Red Rock Energy
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Old 03-10-10, 07:45 AM   #30
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I think the new Kaneka 110w panels are about 20% larger than regular old 110w panels.
New Kaneka 110w panel specs??

And the extra 14 pounds does worry me some.

I would love to get a couple of these 220W panels for this projext
220w solar panel, solar module 220w

But, ** Minimum Order Quantity: 40 ? That's not gonna be possible..


I'm just a hacker and really don't see why 440w of tracking panels will
be that much worse than 440w of tracking panels that are 20% larger.?.

Plan 'B' is to install the Kaneka panels on the Garage, if the old dish mount wasn't up to the job.

Anyways, the bad news today is, there will be an 8 week delay getting the new Kaneka 110w panels in stock..

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