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the solar leviathan

 
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PV origination and termination
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Rick Edwards
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The AC-DC load center and distribution box.

Everything boxed up and covered.
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steward
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Another pic from when it was under construction. This one is taken by olenka.

 
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excellent concept and implementation.

It's inspired me to build something similar but smaller.

I'm planning a roof already tilted for equinox sun at my latitude. Tilt adjustment for summer/winter sun will be optional and if opted for will be a lesser engineering task than starting with a flat roof.
 
paul wheaton
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I was videoed talking about it ....

 
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Really awesome setup!

I'm counting 9 solar panels and an 8 battery pack.

How long does it take to charge up the 8 battery pack on a day of full sun?

How long can you run that electric saw mill on the 8 battery pack?

I'm wondering how many of those 8 battery packs one would need for sustained electric saw milling over the course of a week.  I really like those lucas saw mills and they have an electric option that can cut up to 20 inch beams.

Thank you!
 
pollinator
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Jimbo. I agree that is awesome. Much fancier than what I built. Mine however does what I need it to do presently, was cost effective, and lighter. It's a cargo trailer with 4 panels on the roof and 3 on the side that tilt up. I have construction tools, electric motorcycle, lights, chargers, and electric cookers to run. 6 AGM batteries store energy. I've towed it all over the country working on stuff and camping. It's heavy, single axle, and I wouldn't want it a ounce heavier for my gasoline engine camper van.  Im lugging around materials too so plan to add another axle while also beefing up the frame a little. A 2000 watt Generator is needed sometimes to back it up but not often depending on what I'm using it for.
Running a mill occurred to me too. That would be great. Not with this energy system unless it's a miniature mill. Im considering investing in electric chainsaws and carving tools. Have one saw already.
My dream is to someday park close enough to a stream and use a small portable hydro generator also. Naturally this would vastly reduce generator run time. Batteries can recharge overnight. Again, depending on energy usage.
 I'm trying out a used 3000 watt marine quality inverter I bought from good old craigslist. It has a built in charger. I've noticed that tools seem to run very well on this pure sinewave power. The inverter will start my air compressor that my generator struggles with. Using the air nail gun to build a shed in a day was fun. I needed to start the generator eventually but was happy with the system. Ideally the panels would tilt better. However I've built several tilting arrays that don't get tilted on schedule. It needs to be easy and convenient.
How much power does that electric sawmill require? I'm not sure the 8000 watt inverter shown here will run it? Inverters can be stacked.  
 
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Jeremy Baker wrote:
How much power does that electric sawmill require? I'm not sure the 8000 watt inverter shown here will run it? Inverters can be stacked.  


Hm, I don't have an answer for you Jeremy, but does it say in any of the videos here?
https://permies.com/mobile/t/28678/permaculture-projects/solar-electric-sawmill
 
pollinator
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Solar Leviathan
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paul wheaton
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Showing the panels being deployed

 
pollinator
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I wonder if now that it has been a few years, do you(Paul or any other lab-dwellers with familiarity) have any thoughts on the size of this beast?

Do you find the full capacity is used often, and what for?

Do you wish for more panels, or more batteries, or could it be 30% smaller and still do the same jobs?
 
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My first solar array had 8 very large and very, very heavy batteries much like the ones shown here. They worked but didn't feed power back into my house. My new array (10KW) has the new generation of lithium-ion batters (LG). Much, much lighter and they retain 30% of their power in case of power outages. They also feed power back into my house at night or when the sun isn't out, thereby vastly reducing my consumption. Anyone thinking of installing solar should definitely use this new generation of battery backup if they can afford it. Not that much more expensive and a tremendous improvement on efficiency.

I tried to attach a photo but it didn't work.

 
pollinator
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I was wondering if anyone has used those fresnel lens sheets mounted atop solar panels in lieu of solar tracking. Theoretically, sheets of plastic fresnel lenses bent to arc over the face of each panel in an east-west orientation should act as solar collectors, increasing the amount of light reaching the cells. I would use both, but in a static orientation that goes for lengths of time without personal intervention, its effect could make up for any loss due to lack of a solar tracking system.

I actually saw this being proposed in a Popular Science article dealing with increasing the power available to satellites without unduly increasing their weight, and a tiny sheet of fresnel lens atop small conventional solar cells was their winning configuration. The issue becomes, in space as on earth, with the added solar power causing the cells to overheat to the point that they lose efficiency.

I love this idea, and have since I heard it proposed way back. I would love to get a full after-action report, or ongoing action report, as the case may be.

I think that if I were to design one myself, I would probably decrease the deployed height as much as possible, and distribute the battery packs in the floor to lower the centre of gravity. It looks like this design has done as much for those ends as possible.

I would love to know, from Paul and whoever has any relevant observations, what worked as anticipated and what didn't, what worked as anticipated but functioned inadequately, and what functional changes you'd make, both in terms of a retrofit of the existing project, and as a complete redesign.

And I would be remiss if I didn't bring up the following observation from five years ago. I thought it just such a brilliant, concise description of a sun-tracker system that I feel it needs another mention.

Sean Henry wrote: Sun tracking can be done fairly easily using a comparator circuit and two small solar cells from old calculators. The trick is building two small boxes one uncovered on the right the other uncovered on the left. If one is shaded it trips a relay telling it to turn to the shaded one till the voltage is equal again.



It might not be revolutionary, but to be able to encapsulate the concept so well that anyone can get it (even those of us without relevant technical backgrounds) is so very useful.

-CK
 
paul wheaton
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D Nikolls wrote:I wonder if now that it has been a few years, do you(Paul or any other lab-dwellers with familiarity) have any thoughts on the size of this beast?

Do you find the full capacity is used often, and what for?

Do you wish for more panels, or more batteries, or could it be 30% smaller and still do the same jobs?



The design is to be able to have a collection of battery packs that could power the electric tractor, or power the other EVs or to be used as temporary power for things.   We never got around to implementing all that.   And the electric tractor turned out to be a bit of a lemon - and we don't use it.  Maybe when the electric tractor gets brought up to full speed we can start to use it more.

 
paul wheaton
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Ben Peterson has offered his full ebook of plans for portable solar stations to be free for a while.



Get is here.

Thanks Ben!


 
Normally trees don't drive trucks. Does this tiny ad have a license?
5 Ways to Transform Your Garden into a Low Water Garden
https://permies.com/t/97045/Reduce-garden-watering
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