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  1. #241
    Veteran Member Tig's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    2,496
    Location
    The County, Ontario, Canada
    Tractor
    Kubota, B7100HST-D

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    Thanks for the advice Dave. I would go with UL/CSA approved components.
    During the ice storm we went 10 days heating the house with a single bag propane lantern. We powered the well pump once a day with a generator and filled the bathtub. We then used a pail to flush.
    In the new house we have a wood heat option. The DSL modem, ThinkPad and ip phone are the only essential electronics.
    Currently I get by with a 300 W inverter and a deep cycle (trolling motor) battery. If on solar, I'm thinking about a 2KW inverter and minimal batteries with the intent of riding out a one day outage with nonessential equipment turned off at the breaker panel. In a longer outage I wouldn't mind if I had to fire up the generator for an hour a day to pump water, cool the freezer or run the furnace blower to move air.
    Steve

    The best things in life are not things.

  2. #242
    Super Member dave1949's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    9,562
    Location
    Industry, Maine
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    Quote Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
    If you have the following setup: Solar Panels > Inverter > Breaker Panel > Transfer Switch > Meter
    You could run something like a little Honda Inverter generator and/or a separate battery bank/inverter as the second power source and thus use their "approved" inverter AND get more bang for your buck (in the daytime) with backup power.

    Aaron Z
    That is basically what I have, minus the battery bank and the transfer switch. To connect my generator, I use a manual backfeed breaker that can't be closed unless the main is opened.

    I was warned to be certain to never allow the inverter to send power TO the generator, I guess that is ruinous to some types of generators. I have to open the backfeed breaker used by the inverter before using the generator.

    To add batteries to the system that will be recharged from the solar system, a charge controller would be needed, and I think those are usually powered from solar panel DC. I guess a stand-alone combination small generator and battery sub-system could be used somehow. Run from the batteries until they need a recharge from the generator, or if power is present, recharge from the inverter output. Sounds complicated and keeps a generator in the picture.

    As the market for this stuff broadens, probably more flavors of standard systems will become available. As it is now with utility sign-off, off-the-shelf components and support, you can do it this way, or you can do it this way seems to be the case.
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."
    When there is a huge solar energy spill, it is called a "nice day"!

  3. #243
    Platinum Member
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    Dec 2010
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    823
    Tractor
    Massey

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    [QUOTE=dave1949;2976820]
    As meburdick pointed out, all places on earth receive equal hours of potential sunshine over a year's time. QUOTE]

    Equal hours yes. Equal intensity, no.

  4. #244
    Elite Member BobRip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,198
    Location
    Powhatan Va.
    Tractor
    2000 Power Trac 422

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    Quote Originally Posted by Tig View Post
    Thanks for the advice Dave. I would go with UL/CSA approved components.
    During the ice storm we went 10 days heating the house with a single bag propane lantern. We powered the well pump once a day with a generator and filled the bathtub. We then used a pail to flush.
    In the new house we have a wood heat option. The DSL modem, ThinkPad and ip phone are the only essential electronics.
    Currently I get by with a 300 W inverter and a deep cycle (trolling motor) battery. If on solar, I'm thinking about a 2KW inverter and minimal batteries with the intent of riding out a one day outage with nonessential equipment turned off at the breaker panel. In a longer outage I wouldn't mind if I had to fire up the generator for an hour a day to pump water, cool the freezer or run the furnace blower to move air.
    You cannot keep most freezers cold on one hour a day. Mine needs abou 12 hours.
    Bob Rip
    Tell me and I will hear.
    Show me and I will see.
    Let me do and I will learn.
    Let me fail and I will understand.

  5. #245
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    601
    Location
    Connecticut
    Tractor
    JD2520

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    [QUOTE=DarkBlack;2980572]
    Quote Originally Posted by dave1949 View Post
    As meburdick pointed out, all places on earth receive equal hours of potential sunshine over a year's time. QUOTE]

    Equal hours yes. Equal intensity, no.
    Help me understand your thoughts on "intensity". I realize that an area with lots of clouds and such would likely yield lower output, but is this the sort of the thing you're thinking of when you mention intensity?

    If that's what your thoughts were, then the concept of "potential" sunshine would take that into account. If your weather is very sunny all of the time, you'll realize full potential out of the sunlight hours over the course of the year. If you live in a notoriously foggy / cloudy / rainy region, then your potential sunshine is going to be a lot higher than your realized sunshine.

  6. #246
    Platinum Member
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    Dec 2010
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    Massey

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    It's the same reason it's hotter the closer you get to the equater. The photons are penetrating the atmosphere the closest to perpendicular at the equator. The further from the equator, the more angled they arrive, producing more bouncing off to space and a longer atmospheric path that absorbs some of the energy before it can be used at ground level.

  7. #247
    Platinum Member
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    Jun 2011
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    601
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    Connecticut
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    JD2520

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkBlack View Post
    It's the same reason it's hotter the closer you get to the equater. The photons are penetrating the atmosphere the closest to perpendicular at the equator. The further from the equator, the more angled they arrive, producing more bouncing off to space and a longer atmospheric path that absorbs some of the energy before it can be used at ground level.
    That's all very true as it pertains to *heat* energy. I'm trying to understand how that factors into *light* energy.

  8. #248
    Platinum Member
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    Dec 2010
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    Massey

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    I see where you are getting confused. Ponder this... How can the temperature be just barely above absolute zero at a distance midway between the warm earth and the inferno crazy hot sun? Why isn't it warmer in a high altitude plane flying 8 miles closer to the sun than the ground?
    The short( I'll be very breif ) answer is that the heat you are talking about is from the enrgy transformation of the light ( photons ). Energy can not be created or destroyed, it only changes forms. A typical pv panel takes the photons that made it through earths atmosphere and of the light a few percent remain as visible light reflected from the surface, about 15% are converted to electric energy, and the other 80+% are converted to the heat you are talking about. The real "cool" thing is that what you "see" as light is actually just in the range of radiation spectrum that your eyes can see. If you had better low frequency vision you could also "see" lower frquencies ( infra red) that your body intreprets as "heat"
    OK done..

  9. #249
    Platinum Member
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    Dec 2010
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    Massey

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    If you understood what I posted, then the next "cool" fact is that the 80% heat is actually still the energy of the photo radiation, it has only had it frequency lowered below the "visible" range of your eye.... to a frequency that the pv's plastic can vibrate at and absorb the energy.

  10. #250
    Platinum Member
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    Jun 2011
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    601
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    Connecticut
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    JD2520

    Default Re: Grid-tied solar

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkBlack View Post
    I see where you are getting confused. Ponder this... How can the temperature be just barely above absolute zero at a distance midway between the warm earth and the inferno crazy hot sun? Why isn't it warmer in a high altitude plane flying 8 miles closer to the sun than the ground?
    The short( I'll be very breif ) answer is that the heat you are talking about is from the enrgy transformation of the light ( photons ). Energy can not be created or destroyed, it only changes forms. A typical pv panel takes the photons that made it through earths atmosphere and of the light a few percent remain as visible light reflected from the surface, about 15% are converted to electric energy, and the other 80+% are converted to the heat you are talking about. The real "cool" thing is that what you "see" as light is actually just in the range of radiation spectrum that your eyes can see. If you had better low frequency vision you could also "see" lower frquencies ( infra red) that your body intreprets as "heat"
    OK done..
    The counterpoint to the "sunshine is more intense in the equatorial regions", though, is the fact that significantly increased amounts of heat in a PV panel will cut efficiency / output by 10-15%. So, while the sun may seemingly "have more energy to give" near the equator, it is offset by the panel's loss in efficiency because it's so much hotter.

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