: Who knows a few things about solar power for homes?



Lord Cadillac
07-12-12, 01:32 AM
I'm looking for something that'll give me enough power to run a portable air conditioner and maybe a small refrigerator simultaneously. Worst case scenario, just a portable air conditioner would be fine. Does anyone have any experience in this area?

The-Dullahan
07-12-12, 03:05 AM
I know there is/was a company called "Rotarctica" that makes/made AC systems that rely on evacuated tube style solar thermal collectors and a heat absorption system (not the petrol-driven types you tend to see in factories, but water-reliant systems). Google seems to indicate they have no webpage, possibly because they are out of business, or so the pages I found seem to indicate.

Being an developing technology that has not hit the mainstream market, most companies making these things have to charge quite a lot, because there are not large enough providers of their materials, so it costs them more to manufacture. Similar to how LED Televisions use simple technology and could literally be produced for pennies, if there were more companies making large LED panels.

What exactly is it you are trying to do? Depending on the application, your method for accomplishing this will vary. I imagine you are thinking more on the lines most people use (And trust me, in Central FL, it is common, EVERY house on my street has at least one solar panel) which is to utilize a solar collector to power a battery bank and thereby power your electronics?

Aron9000
07-12-12, 03:58 AM
Unless you live in AZ, NV, NM, or Southern Cali in the desert, I don't think solar is a worthwhile endevour. Even on partly cloudy days your efficiency cut way back, never mind some of those rainy or otherwise grey days where the sun is never out in full force.

MrHolland
07-12-12, 06:12 AM
What about wind power generator?? Certainly something to look into for the Midwest, not sure about Florida though, or how anyone feels about them there.

brandondeleo
07-12-12, 06:16 AM
What about wind power generator?? Certainly something to look into for the Midwest, not sure about Florida though, or how anyone feels about them there.
Wind power is HUGE here. Our wind makes the Santa Anas look like a light breeze, and it's all year 'round. There are two huge wind farms on either side of the valley, and MANY people have private turbines on their property outside of city limits. (Code violation within city limits.) Everyone I know with a private turbine raves about how awesome it is to have an how it creates a surplus for the whole home, but to get started you're looking at a bare minimum of $10k for a small turbine.

Submariner409
07-12-12, 08:54 AM
Sal, Some of the solar panel sites give specs on panel output, amperage, batteries required, size of inverter required - - that stored DC has to be synthesized into waveform AC with a pretty healthy surge capability in order to start the refrigeration compressors. The kicker is that DC/AC inverters are grossly inefficient power hogs, so you'll need a pretty decent sized rooftop panel array and voltage regulator to charge the battery banks.

Your best bet is a website/Google search.

EcSTSatic
07-12-12, 11:15 AM
Wind power is HUGE here. Our wind makes the Santa Anas look like a light breeze, and it's all year 'round. There are two huge wind farms on either side of the valley, and MANY people have private turbines on their property outside of city limits. (Code violation within city limits.) Everyone I know with a private turbine raves about how awesome it is to have an how it creates a surplus for the whole home, but to get started you're looking at a bare minimum of $10k for a small turbine.

And pray that nothing goes wrong with it for many, many years or you've lost any energy savings $$ you would expect to reap. i.e. it takes a long time for a system to pay for itself, let alone start showing a savings. Think total cost of ownership.

EcSTSatic
07-12-12, 11:19 AM
My solar energy system amounts to a small panel on the roof that drives an attic ventilation fan. It spins like crazy during the day. My passive ventilation (soffit and ridge) works the rest of the time. The fan has a thermistor control when attic temps are low in the winter.

Submariner409
07-12-12, 11:26 AM
"Savings" from wind energy used to create electricity is a cruel joke - whether the source is a private windmill or a government-funded wind farm........ in this neck of the woods, even though the Eastern Shore is pretty flat, reliable wind is nowhere to be found; during most of our driving travels the few private energy windmills we see are never turning.

A common sight near here is a 140 foot mill erected by Chesapeake College last year - with a government grant - it's right next to Rt.50 in a huge field - everyone asks "How come it never turns ?"

Kev
07-12-12, 11:34 AM
If you're looking for emergency power, a good portable gas powered generator is still your best bet. If you want to save money on your electricity bill then a good solar system might be the way to go, something that will spin your meter back the way your power company never intended, offsetting your electrical cost. You need to find a reputable elctrical professional in your area and talk about what you want to achieve.

Find a pro, do it right.

Submariner409
07-12-12, 12:13 PM
Sal is looking for suggestions on using solar panels as an electrical system supply to run a couple of small refrigeration appliances. He's in Florida, so the average sun elevation and relatively clear weather make the idea feasible.

dkozloski
07-12-12, 12:17 PM
The big sticker to wind and solar power sources is that you have to have back-up conventional power sources available on-line at all times in case the wind stops even for a short while or the sun goes behind clouds. The max percentage that the normal power grid can stand without the risk of a power blackout is about thirty percent solar or wind. Beyond that the idling convetional powerkills any potential economic benefit. In addition to that, in their lifetime, the solar or wind generators will never generate the amount of conventional power it took to manufacture them in the first place. Except for hydro-power the whole idea of renewable energy sources is nothing but an enormous boondoggle.

Lord Cadillac
07-12-12, 02:35 PM
My intentions are:

First and foremost: To have one room with adequate air conditioning and cold drinks/refrigerated food (a small amount) for hurricanes or times when we may lose power.

Last but not least: It would be nice to have something that would help decrease my electric bill. I work out of my home so I'm here all day and night - using electric and air conditioning. So my bill is a bit high. It would be NICE to offset some of that.

Still, my main ambition is to have one room that's comfortable when the electric is out. I feel it coming. I have a feeling there's going to be a time, this year - maybe next year - where there's no power - at least most of the time - for several days or weeks on end...

Aztec ETC ECS
07-12-12, 05:22 PM
Here's a back-up unit:
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200480563_200480563
Should be good for your app.
Other units are $4K & up.
A gas gen is also a good idea with this.

drewsdeville
07-12-12, 05:30 PM
...an attic ventilation fan. It spins like crazy during the day. My passive ventilation (soffit and ridge) works the rest of the time. The fan has a thermistor control when attic temps are low in the winter.

^^^ :thumbsup: This IS the best thing you can do to extend the life of your roof (many times well beyond the rated lifetime) and lower summertime energy costs. VERY significant advantages, and low maintenance - usually only requiring a few drops of oil every season.

Ranger
07-12-12, 08:49 PM
First and foremost: To have one room with adequate air conditioning and cold drinks/refrigerated food (a small amount) for hurricanes or times when we may lose power.

I don't think you're gonna get much solar power during a hurricane.

talismandave
07-12-12, 10:26 PM
Plenty of wind power though...

Kev
07-12-12, 10:44 PM
Plenty of wind power though..."In other news tonight, at a local Palm Beach home, the prop from a wind turbine generator broke lose and buried itself 5 feet into the ground not two feet from the owner who was trying to disable it, and would have cut the man in two had he not been knocked back by powerful jolt of electricity caused by the surge from the prop which was estimated to be turning more than 10 times the maximum recommended safe revolutions.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene .... "

:coffee:

MrHolland
07-12-12, 10:47 PM
Lights will be so bright you'll have to wear sunglasses, may not even be able to get any sleep.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ (the sound of your blades spinning)

talismandave
07-12-12, 11:59 PM
:lol:
And I mean that literally...neighbors will think I'm losing it!

Lord Cadillac
07-13-12, 01:42 AM
Here's a back-up unit:
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200480563_200480563
Should be good for your app.
Other units are $4K & up.
A gas gen is also a good idea with this.

That looks pretty good. I'm not interested in gas powered generators as they're too loud.


I don't think you're gonna get much solar power during a hurricane.

It's very nice and cool (and breezy) DURING a hurricane. :) That being said, I'm looking for a solar power solution with batteries that store the energy.

Koooop
07-13-12, 06:15 AM
I wonder if there is a 130MPH wind rated solar panel out there?

I had a solar power guy at my house today, what he was (trying) selling was installing a solar system on my roof which produces power, then I have to pay for the power I use that it produces. So no up front cost to me, just pay for what I use. It works something like this: Once I exceed the first two tiers of power cost from my local provider I would then start using the power produced from the stuff on my roof. .24 per kilowatt hour with a 2.9 percent increase per year for 20 years. The company that sells the system would be responsible for maintaining the system for 20 years.


Hopefully the system has no issues that would cause the company to go out of business and leave me holding the bag with a possibly flawed pile of dangerous or hazardous material on my roof. I'm not in for this yet.

brandondeleo
07-13-12, 06:27 AM
Hopefully the system has no issues that would cause the company to go out of business and leave me holding the bag with a possibly flawed pile of dangerous or hazardous material on my roof. I'm not in for this yet.
That makes me wonder... I have no clue if there are any harmful products in photovoltaic cells.

Ranger
07-13-12, 11:28 AM
That looks pretty good. I'm not interested in gas powered generators as they're too loud.
Newer ones are pretty quiet Sal. If that's the only reason for not wanting one, you might check them out. Mine is pretty old and VERY loud, but I have neighbors who have newer ones that I can barely hear.

Aztec ETC ECS
07-13-12, 12:00 PM
I don't think you're gonna get much solar power during a hurricane.
The unit holds a charge.
It's usually bright & sunny after the storm.
It could take days to have power restored.

RightTurn
07-13-12, 08:50 PM
I know a lot of motorhome owners are having solar panels installed on the roof of their RV so that they can camp off the grid. So, the technology is out there.

dkozloski
07-13-12, 09:13 PM
There are any number of portable diesel geneators that are fully enclosed, insulated, and soundproofed to where you have to on top of them to tell if they are running. Google is your friend.

dkozloski
07-13-12, 09:33 PM
FWIW, Fairbnks has the world's biggest UPS/storage battery backing up the high voltage tie-line to the south/central part of the state. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=BESS&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CGcQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww05.abb.com%2Fglobal%2Fscot%2Fs cot232.nsf%2Fveritydisplay%2F3c4e15816e4a7bf1c1257 8d100500565%2F%24file%2Fcase_note_bess_gvea_fairba nks-web.pdf&ei=J8wAUL_iDMi42QWdttShCw&usg=AFQjCNFrT9kDX0mSFztP4LSTBTAQSfSsAA

Submariner409
07-14-12, 02:57 PM
Some solar rigs in Northern Tool.............

quikss
07-14-12, 03:20 PM
That 1800 watt system wont even come close to running an A/C unit and fridge at the same time.

Check out a company called "Indoor Generator", I am a dealer up here in WI for them, and they are based out of Florida. Excellent product, made specifically for what you want to do. Each system is custom tailored to what you want it to do. It is a solar powered back-up generator system, they can be made to run 1 light up to an entire house.

We use them in condo and apartment complex's for people that have back-up power needs (medical equipment and such) and are not allowed to have a gas powered generator due to noise and or fumes.

Jeff

Lord Cadillac
07-14-12, 07:29 PM
Newer ones are pretty quiet Sal. If that's the only reason for not wanting one, you might check them out. Mine is pretty old and VERY loud, but I have neighbors who have newer ones that I can barely hear.

Interesting... I'll definitely consider one of those for hurricanes...


There are any number of portable diesel geneators that are fully enclosed, insulated, and soundproofed to where you have to on top of them to tell if they are running. Google is your friend.

Thanks...


That 1800 watt system wont even come close to running an A/C unit and fridge at the same time.

Check out a company called "Indoor Generator", I am a dealer up here in WI for them, and they are based out of Florida. Excellent product, made specifically for what you want to do. Each system is custom tailored to what you want it to do. It is a solar powered back-up generator system, they can be made to run 1 light up to an entire house.

We use them in condo and apartment complex's for people that have back-up power needs (medical equipment and such) and are not allowed to have a gas powered generator due to noise and or fumes.

Jeff

That sounds good... The thing I like about the solar panels is you set 'em up and you're done (no gas to refill). If you have battery storage and sunny weather almost every day like we do in south Florida - you can potentially have some of my electrical needs powered free of charge (after purchase of the materials).

EcSTSatic
07-16-12, 08:59 AM
That sounds good... The thing I like about the solar panels is you set 'em up and you're done (no gas to refill). If you have battery storage and sunny weather almost every day like we do in south Florida - you can potentially have some of my electrical needs powered free of charge (after purchase of the materials).

Don't forget, you have to recoup the cost of the system materials before you start getting free power. That will take years. And batteries have to be replaced after a few years. Don't forget a safe storage place for them, wiring, inverters etc.

Koooop
07-17-12, 09:32 AM
That 1800 watt system wont even come close to running an A/C unit and fridge at the same time.

Check out a company called "Indoor Generator", I am a dealer up here in WI for them, and they are based out of Florida. Excellent product, made specifically for what you want to do. Each system is custom tailored to what you want it to do. It is a solar powered back-up generator system, they can be made to run 1 light up to an entire house.

We use them in condo and apartment complex's for people that have back-up power needs (medical equipment and such) and are not allowed to have a gas powered generator due to noise and or fumes.

Jeff

I want one of these to run an electric pool heater!

quikss
07-17-12, 06:43 PM
I want one of these to run an electric pool heater!

if you do a search on google for "Indoor Generator" you should come up with the company and I believe on their site they have a list of distributors and dealers around the country. The company is based out of Florida, but thwey have distributors around the country with dealers that go to them. Its a nice system. Price is completely dependant upon what you want it to do.

Jeff