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May 2009  Back to April  Forward to June

PV total for May 364.13 KWh. Turbine production for May 13.93 KWh. Clearly the solar arrays took up most the slack of the turbine's problems. Very interesting argument against installing small wind power, from hard evidence. This result indicates the same amount of money invested into another solar array may be much smarter than problem prone small wind power.

We are making a new attempt to grid intertie with our utility company. No responses after a week of calling and waiting for a return call. I have a new engineer from St. Louis attempting to make contact with the utility to set up a test. This intertie will be directly to my business meter and all power above what we use on the protected distribution panel will go to turn the Hadley Sawmill business meter backwards. Note: Now a month without call back from our utility to the solar engineer.

5/1 Still on grid power this morning with no wind and no sun. The clouds seem broken and the battery soc recovered some in the last two days so I should be able to switch back to RE this morning. Switched to RE at 9:42. PV production 6.72 KWh. Turbine production 0.92 KWh, all in the last hour. Had a couple lightning strikes about midnight that shut down the turbine charge control.

5/2 Needed to reboot the turbine charge controller this morning. PV production 5.58 KWh. Turbine production 0.00 KWh. Had to switch to grid at 18:00.

5/3 PV production 3.34 KWh. Turbine production 0.00 KWh. Water at 62.7 F.  On grid all day.

5/4 Still no turbine generation. The wind has been light but there is a chance the third controller circuit board was toasted on 5/1. We cannot be expected to wake up in the middle of the night every time there is a lightning storm to turn off all power to the SWWP charge controller. IF the circuit board is fried again I plan to take down the SWWP turbine and hook it to a steam engine and install a different brand turbine on the tower. I replaced the temperature differential controller on our solar hydronic system yesterday with a made in USA model, "Eagle 2". The SMT 100 never worked right. 10:06, Switched to RE "WOHOO!" I re booted the turbine charge control a second time and it started charging again, "WOHOO!" PV production 15.31 KWh. Turbine production 0.62 KWh. Water at 106.5 F. The new solar hot water temp controller works better than the other one ever did. And I can add a sensor on the electric heater to tell its temperature too.

5/5 PV production 16.24 KWh. Turbine production 0.08 KWh. Water at 107.4 F.

5/6 PV production 7.36 KWh. Turbine production 0.01 KWh. Water at 101F.

5/7 PV production 15.74 KWh. Turbine production 0.57 KWh. Water at 117F. Battery soc still low at 61%, but sufficient to get through another night.

*5/8 7:18, switched to grid power and turned off the turbine, there is a whopper of a storm on the way and I want some battery soc if it knocks out the grid power. The main rain and lightning storm went through and now at 11:12 I turned on the turbine to capture some high winds on the backside of this storm. Switched back to RE at 11:24, due to flickering lights and continued lightning strikes and falling limbs on grid power. Really good turbine generation and our AC island has perfect power supply. Well! Just when I thought it was over we had the worst wind storm here since 1968 or longer. The ridge top where the turbine is, had most of the timber blow down. It took a good while to cut trees out of the road to get there. Two years ago we had 70+ mph winds with a super cell and this is a factor of 12 times worse damage. The turbine is fine. May now have even less turbulence as the timber all around it is on the ground. I saw two funnel clouds pass over with nearly a direct hit to the turbine tower and it survived, and produced electricity as soon as I could reboot the controller. I boosted my battery bank for the first time with a gasoline generator. The grid power could be out for a week or more. Many places the trees are over the lines, lines broken, poles broken off. The wind turbine is right in the middle of it and still standing. I swept the layer of leaf matter off the PV and the trackers are undamaged. PV production 9.61 KWh. Turbine production 1.44 KWh. Water at 107F. Boosted my batteries for the first time with the gasoline generator for 15% battery soc extra, now about 76%, it didn't work very well as the gas generator kept Islanding, it was very hard on my Sunny Island inverters and I don't think I'll do it again. My neighbor brought their frozen stuff to put in my freezer. I think grid power will be out for some time. Poles broken, lines broken, and trees over lines in many places.

5/9 5:32, good to see turbine generation this morning. It is just beginning to sink in I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of timber yesterday. Much of my reserve for retirement, to an inland hurricane, super cell. Is this the path of our environmental changes from burning fossil fuels? I will try to think only about our non polluting power source surviving without any damages, and I have full power this morning. PV production 14.30 KWh. Turbine production 3.02 KWh. Water at 125F.

5/10 PV production 12.4 KWh. Turbine production 1.30 KWh. Water at 112F. I hooked 8 trolling motor batteries together today and connected it to my battery bank adding about 12-15% more soc. They are standard lead acid batteries and able to absorb more voltage than the VRLA batteries in the main bank so they should be all right. They will need to be watched closely. The grid power is still out. I cleared about ten trees off the lines and cut a road to the cell tower on our property to allow the tower people to access their generators to refuel them. I expect the grid power to be out for another week. We are reaping the dividends of our RE investment greatly after this major storm.

5/11 PV production 17.11 KWh. Turbine production 0.00 KWh. Water at 96F. Still no work crews to clear and repair grid power.

5/12 PV production 14.94 KWh. Turbine production 3.63 KWh. Water at 117.5 F.

5/13 PV production 9.48 KWh. Turbine production 2.34 KWh. Water at 108F. I think the turbine stator has shorted out again. It's been giving me trouble since 5/1. Now it seems to have completely failed. The controller checks out but the turbine is braking even when disconnected from everything.

5/14 PV production 14 KWh. Turbine broken again. Water at 124F.

5/15 PV production 12.7 KWh. Water at 125.7F. I lowered the turbine tower today and traced the short to the yaw shaft in the turbine body. Still no crews to fix the grid power taken out on the eighth. We have had ample power, even with the turbine problem. Of coarse I can't get through to SouthWestWindPower's warranty and Tech support, they are so busy! I emailed them instead.

5/16 PV production 5.63 KWh. Water at 112F.

5/17 PV production 17.55 KWh. Water at 124 F.

5/18 Ten Days today, the grid power is out. They still have many poles to replace and lines to mend. We have operated our home entirely on renewable energy from the sun with only one evening when our hot water was just luke warm. The rest of the time we had ample hot water and power, in spite of our South West Wind Power Whisper 500 wind turbine failing again at a very inappropriate time, nothing to do with the storm. In regards to the wind turbine, it looks like the yolk shaft brush cover had it's four screws come loose, one gone, the other three almost out, that led to water entering the yolk shaft, ruining the yolk bearings and shorting out the fields within the yolk shaft its self, and badly corroding the yolk brushes. It is unclear if the moisture contributed to the yolk shaft shorting out. The turbine has been squeaking for some time, when the wind changes direction. PV production 16.94 KWh. Water at 129F. No contact with the turbine company yet.

5/19 Today the solar hydronic tank is hotter than the electric water heater when it turns off. PV production 12.81 KWh. Water at 135F.

5/20 Still no power in the grid since 5/8. They have cleared the trees off the lines but no one has started fixing the poles and broken lines within two miles. PV production 13.6 KWh. Water at 142.6F. Sent a second email to the wind turbine company regarding my broken turbine on warranty.

5/21 PV production 13.33 KWh. Water at 128.7F. Talked to the SWWP turbine parts person today. We should know something soon about warranty covering the faulty yaw shaft.

5/22 PV production 13 KWh. Water at 120.8F. No word from the wind turbine company.

5/23 PV production 12.47 KWh. Water at 112F. They finally fixed the grid power today after 15 days, but didn't check the lines before energizing and my sisters transformer pole was still broken off and lying on the ground, started a forest fire and almost burned down their house. It was only saved because my brother in law is a fire trained DNR employee and at home at the time of the fire. No sign of any electric COOP employee since the storm. All work has been done by out of state, NC and KY crews without maps plans or directions. It's like Black River Electric has fell off the edge of the earth! And this is the COOP that thinks electricity only goes from them to the customers and blocks all intent to net meter with !!outrageous liability requirements!!.

5/24 PV production 7.78 KWh. Water at 90F. Would have had some valuable turbine generation today if only it was operational.

5/25 The wind turbine is missed today. Cloudy and windy, our hot water is only about 90F. in both tanks. Switched to grid at 20:00. Battery soc down to 60% PV production 4.89 KWh.

5/26 Switched to RE at 9:20. PV production 11.32 KWh. Water at 107F. After calling South West Wind Power and trying unsuccessfully to get through to the warranty and tech department, I decided to simply call the parts department and purchase a replacement yaw shaft and accompanying bearings to get my turbine back in the air asap. What happened is the strangest thing yet. I gave them my credit card info and there was some discrepancy about the bearings. Their books indicated only one bearing was needed and clearly there are two in the yaw housing, an upper and a lower. The parts man said he would call right back when he figured it out. No call back all day, no credit card activity, nothing has been done. So now after 11 days I still have no replacement parts arriving for the wind turbine. Three calls into parts, three emails, many calls into tech support without answer, now offering to purchase the failed parts, and nothing. 

5/27 At this point I am so mad I will not dignify the Whisper 500 with mounting on top of my tower again! PV production 13.3 KWh. Water at 117F. Turbine still broken. No call back or email from anyone at about giving or selling me the parts I need to make the turbine work again.

5/28 Note the photos above...the black lead is attached to the yaw shaft where it bolts into the tower adaptor. The positive is touching each brush ring in turn, and shows continuity through the yaw shaft on the middle and right photos, in other words, two rings are shorted to the tower mast. Had to switch to grid at 15:40. With an operating turbine, I doubt I would have had to switch.  I emailed the three photos above to the tech department early this morning. PV production 6.87 KWh. Water at 102F.

5/29  Switched back to RE at 8:45. PV production 22.67 KWh. Water at 127.6 F. Another whole week of trying to get the parts for our turbine has been unsuccessful. I'll try again on Monday. Repairing the turbine is the only thing I can really afford to do right now. I can cover it in new paint and Locktite while it's being repaired!

5/30 PV production 17.14 KWh. Water at 117F. I have two items to report on today...I raised the zenith of the two trackers, where it will stay at the highest setting for about 10 or 11 weeks and I unhooked the upper element in the electric water heater and now am using the lower element for a load dump when there is ample power I turn the thermostat up all the way and dump energy into the hot water tank. Then in the evening after the sun sets I turn down the thermostat to about 115F. This makes it better now that the 2 ton air conditioner kicks on evenings. In fact I may upgrade my electric water heater from a 30 gallon to a 50 or 60 gallon and unhook the top element and install a 1500 watt 240 V element in the bottom for my larger volume capacity load dump, if this experiment works out.

5/31 PV production 22.43 KWh. Water at 127F. electric water heater worked great with one element and is at 151F. I could have heated 50 or 60 gallon today instead of 30 gallon, although the system didn't throttle back much today, we got almost all the generation potential used up.

May 2009  Back to April  Forward to June


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