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Small Scale Solar Electric Power Systems
May03

Small Scale Solar Electric Power Systems

In the natural world, solar energy has two primary effects: heating and photochemical. The primary photochemical effect is photosynthesis, which is the foundation upon which all carbon fuels are built. Coal, oil, natural gas, wood, alcohol and any other fuel built by life are all forms of stored solar energy. The heating effects of solar energy can be used for both heating and cooling by proper design of buildings, a practice that goes back many thousand of years. Wind power and ocean current power systems are basically means of capturing solar power for human use. A sail boat is a solar powered boat, even though most people don’t usually think of it as such. In the modern technological world we have learned to use focused sunlight to generate heat and, perversely, power refrigeration systems utilizing absorption type refrigeration. Focused sunlight can be used to power steam operated electrical generation plants and very high temperature ovens for scientific research. The ancient Greek scientist Archimedes was said to have used focused sunlight to set Roman ships on fire during the siege of Syracuse in 214-212 B.C. Modern technology has a much simpler system for producing electrical power from sunlight. The photovoltaic effect ( a very distant relative of photosynthesis) produces electricity directly from sunlight. Devices called solar cells capture sunlight and produce electricity. Solar cells are usually small, perhaps a few square inches at most. They are not very thick and are usually supported and protected by glass or plastic and can be arranged in panels with up to several hundred cells connected and supported by some sort of framework. GoGreenSolar.com offers a considerable selection of panels providing power up to 250 watts or as small as 7 watts. Portable power systems are usually designed to charge batteries and provide constant regulated power. In many parts of the world, even in remote parts of the United States, electrical power is hard to come by. If you live 50 miles from the nearest power line, the connection fee for electrical service can be quite prohibitive. Many businesses and ngo’s have designed solar power systems to provide electricity for remote sites. GoGreenSolar.com offers portable systems suitable for remote sites. They also offer components to create permanent off-grid power systems. An off-grid system can be as simple as garden lighting or a charger to allow you to sit in the park or on a mountain trail with your portable electronics, whether a cell phone or lap-top computer. Perhaps it can be a back-pack system to provide power for a back-woods camping trip. Off-grid systems can be an emergency power system or a complete power...

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Customer’s Off-Grid System

Gus Gomez is a retired university professor who spends several days out of the month at his remote, off-grid cabin in Moses Lake, Washington.  To power this stand-alone home, Gus Gomez recently purchased and installed an off-grid solar system from GoGreenSolar.com. “GoGreenSolar delivers sales and technical support and advice when needed.  I highly recommend GoGreenSolar for anyone’s solar system needs. The equipment is high quality and the technical support could not be better.”  – Professor Gus Gomez Distant from the basic amenities of city life, Gus had to transform this isolated cabin into a livable home.  Located on a 40-acre plot of farm land, this 550 square-foot cabin now has its own off-grid power, septic system, and water well, all of which are “in place free of monthly charges,” according to Gomez. “The climate in Eastern Washington provides an excellent opportunity for households and businesses to install solar systems for their electrical needs … It’s warm during summer with an average maximum temperature of 88.20 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 21.70 degrees Fahrenheit.” Gus had an off-grid PV system installed to power the cabin.  Because Lake Moses frequently experiences powerful winds, Gus had the 3-module array mounted to a cylindrical pole mount instead of installing a racking solution on the roof. After drilling a ten-foot hole in the ground, they secured the twenty-foot-long steel cylinder with concrete.   At the top of the pole, three REC 235 Watt solar panels are secured with a DPW Power Fab Top of Pole Mount racking solution. This off-grid system uses eight MK 8G8DLTP Sealed Gel Batteries and a Xantrex Charge Controller. “The gel batteries are maintenance-free so we do not have to worry about them,” Professor Gomez. The couple uses the Magnum Battery Monitor Kit to view the percentage state of charge, real time amps, voltage, amp-hours in/out, and the minimum/maximum DC volts. This information is accessed through the Magnum Energy ME-ARC50 Remote Control, which acts as a command center for his system. Using the Magnum Energy ME-ARC50 Remote Control like a “fuel gauge” meter, the couple tracks the performance of their system and manages their personal kWh usage. Gus keeps his Magnum Energy Remote Control inside the cabin to check the battery level 100 feet away from the actual battery bank. The 3-panel array outside the “pump/electrical outhouse” From inside the cabin, they can also activate the MAGNUM 4400 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter inside the outhouse. “The system is trouble-free and easy to understand … the small monitor (Magnum Energy ME-ARC50 Remote Control) installed inside the cabin provides...

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Grid-Tied and Off-Grid Solar 101
Jun28

Grid-Tied and Off-Grid Solar 101

Will I need batteries for my solar system?  How much does it cost to go completely off the grid? Let’s take a look at main differences is between a “grid-tied” solar system and the less common “off-grid” solar system. Grid-tied Solar Most photovoltaic (PV) systems are connected to the utility grid, hence the name “grid-tied.”  When your solar system is connected to the grid, you still have access to energy after dark without batteries.  Your grid-tied system simply pulls the electricity you need from the utility grid.   Here’s how it works:   A group of solar panels, known as the array, generate direct current (DC) electricity.  An inverter changes the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is the grid-quality electricity that comes from the power outlets in your home. When the grid-tied system produces more energy than your home is consuming, the excess electricity is sent into the utility grid, spinning your meter backwards as credit toward your next electricity bill.  When your load requirements exceed the electricity being produced by your photovoltaic (PV) system, your home will draw electricity from the grid.  This is called net metering. Grid-tie solar systems are a cost-effective way to reduce your net energy consumption. Grid-tied solar systems are ideal for those whose utility provider bill them according to a tiered rate structure –  where rates you pay are higher when you’re consuming more energy (kWh). Grid-tied solar gets you out of the higher tiers on your electric bill to save you money. If you need help designing a grid-tied solar system, request a no obligation quote today. Will I still have power during a blackout? Not with a grid-tied PV system.  You’ll still experience blackouts when the power goes out in your neighborhood because your are connected to the utility grid.  Sending electricity into the grid during a power outage would be especially dangerous if the utility company has workers repairing power lines. For most people, a power outage here and there isn’t too much of a concern.  Just keep your refrigerator closed and charge your iPhone with a JOOS Orange Portable Solar Charger. But what about Armageddon? Or the zombie apocalypse?! I’ll need power to fight off the living dead! If you live in an area that is plagued by frequent blackouts, hurricanes, or maybe the living dead chewing on power-lines, battery backup may be an option for you. Keep in mind, battery backup is for critical loads, or the appliances that are imperative to survival.  So you really can’t blast the AC and leave the television running 24/7 in the aftermath of a natural disaster. In most cases,...

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