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Solar Hot Water

Tracker 1&2

Array 3

Control Center

Wind Turbine






June 2008  On to July    Home  Still running 3100 watts PV on two trackers. Problems with the turbine. Solar Hydronics operating!!!! Still no cooperation from the power company to allow us to connect grid tie without one million dollars of liability exposure and exposed to any possible charge of fault at their choosing, plus all court and attorney fees beyond one million.

6/1 Turbine production over night is 0.52 KWh. Turbine on line. Tracker 2 on line. Re commissioned Slave SI into Master for charging and equalizing the new half with the old half of the battery bank until the replacement SI arrives. The house is off RE until we can power 240 VDC into the Protected Distribution Panel. We decommissioned and removed the original SI Master when communication failed and charge control became erratic, consensus being when the SI Slave inverter originally failed upon first commissioning of the system in December 07, it compromised the remaining inverter, and systems began failing last month. I have been told it will be covered by warranty and the replacement should be on the way. 06:00  Battery bank at 94% 10:14, After monitoring the new Master SI's charge control for a while, now I think it is doing much better than the old Master that must have taken a more severe hit from the malfunctioning original Slave's original commissioning than previously thought. 21:02, BATTERY BANK AT 100%.  

6/2 System on battery float and operating perfectly. Still waiting to hear that new SI inverter is on the way. Picking up Thermal PEX to plumb solar hydronics tomorrow. We hope to have solar domestic hot water by Friday. That will give us extra energy for the air conditioner, since we don't need to heat water with solar electric power. Battery at 100%. PV production very low since we are trickle charging a full battery bank at 100 watts with no demand.

6/4 16:04 hours and recommissioned the system and switched to RE with new SI inverter. BACK ON RE!!! Too tired to find the bug in the web box tonight. Hope to have it reading PV production tomorrow. Ran the 240 V air conditioner for the first time today on RE. It is a drain on my system and I need the other 16 PV panels or I need to split off 20 amps from the grid to operate the air only from grid. All the components for hooking up plumbing to solar hot water should be here Friday. Several items were special order. A special thanks to Bill Davis with SMA for all the help and warranty coverage. SMA is still my hardware of choice!!!!

6/5 20:37, PV production 12.23 KWh. Turbine production 3.14 KWh. Battery soc at 80.5%. Air conditioner ran all day. At 19:10 switched to grid to run air and water heater one last time today. If I run the air and water heater for 1.5 hours and they stay on all the time that is 10 KWh. Times 30 days is 300 KWh or a $16.50 electric bill for the month. Solar hot water will be on line in 10 days when the special parts ordered arrive, further dropping the bill to $10.00 a month. Only in the hottest summer months would we need to run some grid now, and then only in the evening for a couple hours, without any more PV panels. Back on RE at 20:51.

6/6 PV production 6 KWh. Turbine production 3.81 KWh. 6:00, Battery soc at 74%. Turbine contributed 2.5 KWh over night. Switched to grid to heat water and run the air at 16:30. Switched back to RE at 17:43. Cloudy day.  At 20:55 battery soc 76%. Switched to grid again before going to bed at 21:30 with battery soc at 70%. The vacuum takes on another connotation in our house. Never could have guessed how inefficient and power draining the vacuum is.

6/7 PV production 15.36 KWh. Turbine production .85 KWh. 5:55, Battery soc at 69%. Waiting for the Web box to boot up. Still have a bug in there. It too may be failing from the December 24th SI switch failure. Every time I wire it up to the SI Master it crashes. I am following the directions of SMA to the letter and it doesn't work unless it is hooked up to our two Sunny Boys only, and then it seems to need to be off all night after disconnecting from the Master before it works again with just the SB's. At least I hope it will work again this morning. Hurray!! It shows output from SB's! Now, why does it all crash when I take the termination off SB 2 and run the com wire down to Master and in with it terminated. And why will it work if I disconnect the new Slave and commission the Master as 1SI PV. Then recommission and reconfigure the Slave back in and the com crashes but the system works fine. If I commission the newest SI as Master 1SI or 2SI it crashes the web box. If I commission the older SI as Master 1SI it works and 2SI it crashes. That tells me a problem already exists in the new SI. 13:12, Split grid power to a 20 amp fused disconnect to air conditioner so air cond. runs on grid whichever way the main two pole switch is. It will stay this way unless I can install 16 more panels. Just as I do this the turbine generates so much it goes off reg., but just for a minute. Battery soc 91%. The wind today was not used because the PV panels kept the voltage above 'reg off' most of the day during highest breezes. As long as the batteries are full...the air c. would be too much drain to keep up with anyway. I would have available only 20% needed for the air c.

6/8 PV production 22.77 KWh. Turbine production on a very windy day (20 gusting to 35) while I watched it furl from the high wind several times is 1.53 KWh.  Took down turbine again. 3:41, Battery soc 84.5%. I think I would need to double my system size to operate the air or geothermal heat pump. They use almost the same wattage. Smallest 240VAC window air conditioner 2900 watt and 2 ton geothermal 2500 watt. I will have hard evidence today on usage from the air conditioner, the only thing drawing electricity from the grid. It may be much easier to simply buy green energy blocks from utility to run the air c. I think I would need 16 more batteries, 16 more 180 watt panels and a 7.5 KW bergey to be fully off grid in summer. Historically I use twice as much electricity in summer, for three months. It would sure be nice if I could grid tie and use the extra energy credit generated in spring fall and winter. I could get buy with 12 more 200 watt panels on the SB 3000 US 240 VAC. That would quickly bump up my batteries after three or four poor sun days and also generate house demand even on cloudy days. Thinking of putting the air on a two pole switch, then I could use solar power during sunny days and use grid power during poor generation days. (would still need those new panels on the SB3000) Very interactive though to save literally a dollar fifty on sunny days. I think the turbine is screwy with the wrong voltage coming down the hill, and the wrong voltage from the transformer.

6/9 5:45, Battery soc at 81.5%. PV production 14.85 KWh. Put up turbine again to be sure it was malfunctioning after checking all wiring and connections and still off voltage by 50%.

6/10 PV production22.54 KWh. Shipped off turbine for the second time. Reading about the ARI, Bergey, Kestrel, and ZZ turbines. Battery Soc at 21:00 82%.

6/11 PV production 21.22 KWh. 6:35, battery soc at 72%. 19.45, Battery soc at 89.5%.  The Hot water storage tank for the solar hydronics is full of water and pressurized. This will free up 7 KWh per day when fully functional.

6/12 PV production 22.51 KWh. 5:52 Battery soc at 78% after coffee brewed. The Air conditioner uses 14 KWh per day at 82 degrees outside and 20 KWh per day at 94 degrees outside. I also figure it takes $2,000 per KWh generation for a PV system and installation. Luckily the house is insulated, tight, and open enough with 3,000 sqft, one-two ton window air conditioner nicely cools every room. And one 100,000 btu wood heater heats the entire house. FINISHED PLUMBING THE SOLAR HOT WATER HEATER! Need to wait till Monday to run it, waiting on two more special fittings I will get Monday Morning. !!!Solar Hydronic hot water on Monday.!!!  Battery soc at 19:53, 89%.

6/13 Battery soc at 16:45 is 78%. PV production 10.06 KWh. To cloudy for the trackers to move, still good production. Low enough I will switch to grid at 17:45 to heat water. Switch back to RE at 18:19.

6/14 6:00, Battery soc 58%. PV production 16 KWh. Solar hot water on line with temporary fittings on two spots, but bled of air and heating water!! To hazy mid day for the trackers to move and they lost the sun after mid day. I manually tilted them to get a little more power in the evening. 19:00, Battery soc 72%.

6/15  PV production 21.27 KWh. 6:00, Battery soc 58%. 14:48, now I know how to make the trackers behave better. I tilted the electric eyes zenith up 15 degrees and they work much better. Moved around right away. This is almost the longest day and the highest zenith the trackers find. They should work better at lower zeniths as the sun dips South also. Battery soc 80% and the solar hot water is at 50 degrees C., gaining 20 degrees C. 500 liters in four hours. Topped off at 51 degrees C. . Clouds came in at 15:15

6/16 PV production 12 KWh. 6:12, Battery soc 62% Cold water cascading into the hot water tank from the panels lost several degrees. Woke up at 00:30 and found the pipes hot on the circulator side. Closed boiler valve and by 01:30 problem solved with no more heat lost in water tank at 6:12. I will turn off boiler valve and power every night until I find the right cascade prevention apparatus. 18:00, Battery soc 62%  Switched to grid for the night. Plenty of hot water today with new hydronic system, even though the PV didn't gain much, the water system heated nicely. Despite the broken clouds all day our trackers follow the sun perfectly with the eye adjusted upwards.

6/17 PV production 24.03 KWh. 5:18, Still on Grid power. Hot water only lost 3 degrees over night with two showers, 48 degrees C. Sunny day expected, power should catch up. Missing the turbine. Theoretically, the turbine would have made a big difference in the last three days, if working properly. 6:40, switched to RE. 19:49, JUST HAD A LONG HOT SHOWER!! It can't get better than this...57 degrees C. hot water, 95% battery soc.  My better 2/3'rds vacuumed a lot today. Again, the trackers perform flawlessly with the electric eye tilted up zenith.

6/18 PV production 18.63 KWh.  5:55, Battery soc 78%.  19:57, Battery soc 94%. Hot water still at 48 C., even though the panels are disconnected for a whole day to reconfigure thermostat permanently and waiting on two parts to pick up Friday. 

6/19 PV production 22.05KWh. 5:14, Battery soc 79%. This is Thursday, Monday the turbine arrived at SWWP. No word yet. If they don't tell me something by Tuesday, I will inquire. Seriously considering ordering 12 Evergreen 180 panels for the studio roof. This will give our system power to generate full demand on a very cloudy day, soc up the batteries quickly with just some sun, and run the central air most of the time in the summer. They will be temporarily on the studio roof, will build a Wattsun 225 tracker to put them on very soon. The power added by the tracker will comparatively improve the output of the 180 watt panels into 240 watt panels, and if there is a hail storm coming I can tilt the panels vertical to reduce damages.  21:00, Battery soc 89%. The solar hydronic panels are disconnected for a couple days to finish up Cu work for a better panel thermostat position. Heated water with the electric unit during afternoon sun.

6/20 No readings today on PV production although just because I was too tired to turn on the computer in evening. Battery soc at about 16:00 was over 90%. Picked up all remaining fittings for solar hydronics and installed everything. Flooded the panels and pressurized. !!PERFECT!!

6/21 PV production 17.65 KWh. 6:41 The solar hydronics now have a check valve, pressure relief valve, thermostat properly placed, and pressurized to 50 psi. It is fully functional and automatic. I will replace pure H2O in the closed loop with RV antifreeze later this year after I tie in the hot water wood stove and inter-super-cooler from the geothermal heat pump.  Hot water already 52 degrees C.

6/22 6:30, Battery soc 78%.  20:27, PV production 18.55 KWh. Hot water 57 degrees C.

6/23 20:38. PV production 18.47 KWh. Hot water 57 dc.

6/24 21:29, PV production 18.9 KWh. Good news today...the turbine is on its way back and fixed, so they say. Due in on 6/30. Hot water 58 dc.

6/25 5:38, Plenty of hot water day and night. PV production 18.27 KWh. Hot water 60 dc, 140 dF. The RE system is running flawlessly 100% of the time. 3120 watts of solar panels on trackers seem to run our home and business essentials perfectly on long June days and short nights.

6/26 PV production 18.43 KWh. 58dc water

6/27 PV production 15.81 KWh. 58dc or 136 degree F. hot water, over 100 gallons of it. I checked the battery soc in the early afternoon and it was over 90%.

6/28 PV production 5.32 KWh.  We need to invest another $25,000  in solar panels, batteries, tracker, and installation, to run the air conditioner or central air during the summer months. The extra power would be great in winter also, on short days and long nights as we would generate full demand even during cloud filled days. Had to butcher a wild hog this evening. 120#boar. Hot water 60 dc, 140 dF. The turbine is sorely missed today! Battery soc at 68% 21:50 hours. I think I will let RE run through the night, sun expected in morning and should not go below 50% tonight. It is amazing the water heater kicked up the temp 4 dc even though only sun was late afternoon for about an hour. The system was heating in cloudy conditions. This winter will be an interesting journal. I think I will unplug the refer tonight, 75# of wild hog cooling in the freezer will take extra power and the battery soc is low already.

6/29 PV production 18 KWh. 4:55, Battery soc 57% Made it through the night. It looks like a clear morning. 13:05, Saw the PV generating 3500 watts a couple times today from the lenzing effect of fluffy cumulous clouds passing by. Turbine missed today tooo. Windy! Should be here tomorrow. I had to switch to grid to heat water at 18:28, Solar hot water 102 dF, to replace that used with the washer. First time on grid in a long time. Plenty of battery soc to get through the night after I heat water for a bath. If we had the turbine up I might have heated water from the battery. It's gusting to twenty right now.  Switched back to RE at 21:15, battery soc 72%

6/30 PV production 23.64 KWh. Turbine generated 0.03 KWh. 6:17, Battery soc 60.6% 6:25, PV production over generates demand, clear air, low humidity. Should be a good generation day and catch up the hot water too. Not to mention maybe the turbine back up if it arrives this afternoon. Odd, SWWP would not tell me what was wrong with the wiring. Only it is fixed and generating 280 VAC, (so they say). The turbine arrived and it is back up in the air. It worked some before the evening slowed the wind. Can't tell yet if it is generating the right voltage.  in the half hour before the wind quit. Highest power was 591 watts. The winds died before I could test everything. Battery soc at 20:00 90% Hot water 140dF. I am a little worried they did nothing to it. It was working 'some'. I went up to see it spinning and it was really going. When I arrived back at the control center there was only a little generation to none. By the time I got my tester out it never generated again. When I went back up to the tower the turbine was stopped, but because of calm I think.

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