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Experimental Solar tracking


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SkyMan
3 minutes ago, Paul said:
5 minutes ago, SkyMan said:

 

When I saw that photo, it made me think more along the lines of a carport. :)

Sure, anything that needs shade.  Like put tables and chairs out there or whatever.

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For a while now I've had a single solar panel on a Micro Inverter on the roof of my dog kennel which pitches bit south.  Last month I had to move it to the north side of the house for the summer sun.

Looks like you can get that inverter from lazada http://www.lazada.com.ph/600w-18v-on-grid-tie-inverter-mppt-pure-sine-wave-inverterdc105-28v-to-ac190-260v-solar-power-micro-inverter-intl-1843296

When buying eBay products from them, I have found they are more concerned about their rating, and making sure the customer is happy, than they are about the money. They have sent me refunds before, af

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Oz Jon
On 29/05/2017 at 5:15 PM, SkyMan said:

Yes, automated tracking is the next step combined with more panels/inverters.  I was going to do a project like you mentioned with arduino or whatever but I don't really have time for that now and I want to get this going.  I bought a controller setup that handles the motor control, parking the tracker at night or in high winds.  It has a bluetooth interface ......

OK, you are way ahead of me!

Pretty much what I was suggesting as a DIY solution.

But buying a setup makes sense if you don't have time to DIY.

Cheers

 

 

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Headshot
23 hours ago, SkyMan said:

You could even heat the pool with passive solar or regular pool heater if the shade lowers the temp too much.

Heating the water in a pool is not something you generally need to worry about in the Philippines. It is more likely here that the water will get too warm than it will get too cool. I do like the idea of shading the pool with a solar array, though.

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Paul
7 minutes ago, Headshot said:

Heating the water in a pool is not something you generally need to worry about in the Philippines.

It is at some resorts. Some tend to construct multi-level buildings adjacent to them, blocking the sun much of the day. This also applies to some apartment complexes.

Here in Battambang, some hotels put their pools inside the main building. You want to talk about cold water pools?!

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Headshot
1 hour ago, Paul said:

It is at some resorts. Some tend to construct multi-level buildings adjacent to them, blocking the sun much of the day. This also applies to some apartment complexes.

Here in Battambang, some hotels put their pools inside the main building. You want to talk about cold water pools?!

Yeah, but somehow I don't think TJ will have a problem with that. His pool (if it gets built) will be outside and not in the shade of any buildings. Outdoor pools here are often quite warm, especially in the afternoon. A cool swim would be quite refreshing.

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Paul
15 minutes ago, Headshot said:

A cool swim would be quite refreshing.

Take a dip in Love's Resort pool, then tell me that.

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SkyMan
On 5/31/2017 at 2:52 PM, Headshot said:

Heating the water in a pool is not something you generally need to worry about in the Philippines. It is more likely here that the water will get too warm than it will get too cool. I do like the idea of shading the pool with a solar array, though.

Actually the 2 pools I've been in here that were covered were both cooler than I'd like.  Maybe not cold, but less pleasant than I'd like.  Of course, ask my wife and they were very cold.  :snowflakes:  I've been told though, that too much direct sun would accelerate evaporation of the chemicals costing more money.  So covering and using passive solar heating might be the ticket.  It doesn't have to be bathwater warm, just warm enough to not have a big chill on entry.

19 minutes ago, Paul said:

TJ, update?

@SkyMan

Nothing much new.  Still tipping but it's only single axis and the sun nearing it's farthest north travel.  Still seeing about a 1/2 KWH/day.  This next VECO bill should be the lowest since the March bill where I had the same solar setup but the panel just laying flat and March's bill included the end of Feb so only 28 days billed.  If you look at avg daily use though, we used about 9.6/day before the panel, 7.65 after the panel and this month with tipping less than 7.2.  The microinverter blinks when plugged into the grid.  Green if producing and red if not and it does in between too.  So if the voltage isn't high you might get a couple greens but mostly reds.  On a cloudy day, I can adjust the angle and improve the production.  Pretty cool.

One thing to report though.  A few days ago I was thinking this was a great month to start the tipping because we'd had almost no wind and I wasn't sure how my setup would fair in the wind.  I park it (point the panel straight up) at night or if I'm going to be away for a while.  A couple nights ago we got some gale force winds and it just kind of vibrated but no problems.

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Paul

I've pretty much decided to smoke test some of those Chinese made grid-tied inverters, before dumping money into a larger, properly designed & built one. I am going to buy one, to start out with. I've decided to go with a 600 watts unit, but will only power it with 300 watts of solar. Not trying to do anything here, but to help alleviate our power bill a bit. (If it works out, I will put a second inverter, powered by another 300 watts of panels.) 

I figure they may last a fairly long time, if I don't drive them too hard with too much solar. (Not that I would run any inverter to full capacity anyway.) 

I am going to leave the inverters outside, but protected from the elements. This is just in case there is an issue with them - like fire, or something similar.

I've seen the inverters on eBay for around $100 USD, shipping included. So, dump $400 USD into two of these setups. If they work out, I would break even on my total investment in just under a year.

We will use well over 600 watts per day, and 200 watts of LED floods all night long, every night. So, I won't have to worry about the inverters dumping more into the grid than we use.

On second thought, maybe I should run about 400 watts of panels on two inverters. :)

Screenshot 2017-06-08 22.25.05.png

I'm sure you probably have seen these before, @SkyMan? Just connect your panels to the DC input side, and plug the cable into a power point nearby. They tell me these inverters automatically sync up to the grid and start feeding power into it, as the panels produce it for them. Too easy.

Screenshot 2017-06-08 22.25.16.png

You said that you are using a micro inverter? Not sure if I asked, but what sized panel and inverter, are you running? 

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Paul
36 minutes ago, SkyMan said:

A couple nights ago we got some gale force winds and it just kind of vibrated but no problems.

When I remove our panels from the roof, I am going to make sure they are attached very securely to a ground mount with ample concrete on the legs. We had a high wind come through several weeks back, which took the roofs of a few outbuildings with it. I certainly don't want to have to pick up our panels from the farm down the road, and in a million pieces. 

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Woolf
Ozepete
6 hours ago, Paul said:

I've pretty much decided to smoke test some of those Chinese made grid-tied inverters, before dumping money into a larger, properly designed & built one. I am going to buy one, to start out with. I've decided to go with a 600 watts unit, but will only power it with 300 watts of solar. Not trying to do anything here, but to help alleviate our power bill a bit. (If it works out, I will put a second inverter, powered by another 300 watts of panels.) 

We don't use any DC-AC inverters but we buy in lots of AC-DC converters and have had trouble finding a type the is not crap. Anything without a brand name... forget and the ones that are open and air cooled only last a short time. Suggest if using one of these to locate in a well ventilated, dry space with a fine screen over to prevent the bugs from entering. We finally got onto Smun and now use their totally sealed (water proof) converter and have not had one failure!  They make good stuff so might be worth looking at their inverters.  http://www.smun.com/en/produce/Pure Sine Wave Inverter.html

Cheers..

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SkyMan

This is the one I have:

micro-invertor-involar-mac250-europe-dc-

It's a sealed unit and can be chained to additional units with a terminator on the end unit.  Unfortunately Involar seems to have gone under since I bought mine.  I have 2 of these on order:HTB1.ERxKFXXXXcLXVXXq6xXFXXXI.jpg

Also sealed and chainable.  And I have 4 320W panels coming.  

HTB1_kXYKFXXXXXSXXXXq6xXFXXXk.jpg

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Paul

I've heard that micro inverters can be daisy chained. Never seen one up close and personal, though. In fact, I have zero experience, when it comes to grid-tied installations.

The inverter I showed above (and the one @Woolf linked to), doesn't daisy chain. You just take each one and plug them into a different power point. (Thanks, by the way, Woolf, for posting that information. They are a bit cheaper in the Philippines, than through eBay.)

2 hours ago, Ozepete said:

Anything without a brand name... forget and the ones that are open and air cooled only last a short time. Suggest if using one of these to locate in a well ventilated, dry space with a fine screen over to prevent the bugs from entering.

EXACTLY my reasons for not over driving them with too large of an array. I can imagine those Chinese things would last about 20 minutes, with full sun, on a 600 watts array. :)

Also, I would definitely run them in a well ventilated area. I have thought about putting them in a box, screened vents and a 220vac muffin fan, to pull air across the case / heat sink. 

Like I said before, I'm not wanting, or needing to zero my power meter each month. But, if I can drop it a bit, that would be nice, too. At the farm, the rate is 800r / kWh ($.20¢ US). Here in town, it is 1100r / kWh ($.275¢ US).

I will have a look at the link you posted, though, Peter. 

@Ozepete Thanks, for the information.

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Ozepete
12 minutes ago, Paul said:

EXACTLY my reasons for not over driving them

We have a policy of using assemblies or components at one third of their rated capacity. The AC-DC converter we now offer as an option is rated at 250 watts and as our 12 v compressor has a maximum draw of 80 watts with soft start, we are well within limits. This policy has proved to be a little costly but well worth it in the long run. Chinese products (I mean where else can you get stuff from?) seem to have now fallen into two groups: one being absolute crap and the other being very good specially at the price. We are finding that goodwill via product quality is becoming an issue with many Chinese manufacturers, while their service is and has been second to none... excellent service. 

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