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Thread: Solar powered generator (DIY)

  1. #1
    iLOVENZB's Avatar FST Crew BT Rep: +1
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    http://www.rain.org/~philfear/how2solar.html



    Anybody built one before, what were your thoughts?
    "Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music"

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    Expeto's Avatar current user title
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    check instructables for more options.
    I'm not sure why you are unsure? They work fine.
    ...

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    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    This summer I almost built a windmill, don't know if it's exactly relevant or not just figured I'd mention it. I never ended up getting around to it though. Meh maybe next year

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    Haven't built one but my dream home is one that is totally off the grid and fully self sufficient using different types of energy sources: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, and Hydroelectric. One can only dream...

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    iLOVENZB's Avatar FST Crew BT Rep: +1
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    Expeto, I'm unsure if it's worth building a pannel to use for serious use ie. not to only power a light bulb.

    Detale, A few farms in the West complained that the windmill's were too loud. Basically they got incentives from the Government rebates for "clean" energy. They supply a grid and get free power.

    sandman_1, My thoughts exactly. We currently have solar hot water which has electricty as a backup. There's only a few days a year where we don't have enough hot water and that's usually because some of my flatmates take 20 minute showers.

    The worst part is, is that even with the Governemnt rebates it's still not economic to use "clean" energy. Electricty from coal is far less cheaper then Solar, Wind, Nuclear etc.

    Our power bill has shot up in the last few year. We used to pay around $300-$400 in electricity here for 3 months and it's skyrocketed to nearly $1000. I think the last bill was $700-odd and we went on holiday for 3/4 of a month.

    I can't believe Solar power hasn't picked up here in Australia. We have all this land which is useless and nobody uses it for anything. Not only will it be a great stimulus package (providing jobs building the plant and mantaining it) but it puts the Government in a good light with the public and provides clean energy.

    I would rather not get into the Global Warming myth but it's becoming a joke ... coal isn't going to be able to supply the rest of the economy in coming years.
    Last edited by iLOVENZB; 12-10-2010 at 03:39 AM.
    "Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music"

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    Expeto's Avatar current user title
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    That is the hardest question...its hart to know will it worth it.
    Its usually around 2-4dollars per watt, but this depends on the sunlight.

    You can do a small scale test, first determine your budget, select the items you will be buying. After selecting your real panels note their conversion efficiency, and find a smaller panel with same conversion efficiency.

    Buy that small panel, connect it to a DC watt-meter than connect the output to a random thing to waste DC power(a resistor , a light bulb, a small motor, anything). Observe the wattmeter data, or buy a smart meter that records data. Use that data to estimate how much power will the real size panel will make for you. Keep two things in mind, you will also loose some of that power at the dc/ac converter and the sunlight intensity will change every month. Now you can make a smart guess.
    ...

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    Hydroelectric, by far, has the most bang for the buck. But, you have to be near a running water source that you have some rights to.

    Wind seems to be the most accessible for people. I remember seeing some vertical turbines that you can mount on your chimney or a tower. They were really cool, because they plugged right into your house like an appliance. They would run your meter backwards if no power was being used. I think they were between $400 and $1000. Something like that.

    Solar still has a ways to go. There is a lot involved in making panels, but new techniques are in the pipeline.

    As for global warming, it is all BS (I trained as an environmental geochemist). That's not an excuse to rape Earth, though. A person should do this to save money, be self-sufficient, and to improve local air quality. It is very satisfying to see your utility bills decrease with each improvement.

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    sandman_1's Avatar Poster
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    Quote Originally Posted by raufoss50 View Post
    A person should do this to save money, be self-sufficient, and to improve local air quality. It is very satisfying to see your utility bills decrease with each improvement.
    And I would gander that in the near future if we don't have some people going off the grid, our current electrical system isn't going to cut it. The west coast already has rolling brownouts. That and the fact that our grid will be more subjective to problems that may occur such as the last blackout of the north-east, 2003, which is still up for debate as to how or why it happened.

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Quote Originally Posted by sandman_1 View Post
    And I would gander that in the near future if we don't have some people going off the grid, our current electrical system isn't going to cut it. The west coast already has rolling brownouts. That and the fact that our grid will be more subjective to problems that may occur such as the last blackout of the north-east, 2003, which is still up for debate as to how or why it happened.
    Exactly! Our power companies either can't or won't maintain the grid to an acceptable level.

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandman_1 View Post
    Haven't built one but my dream home is one that is totally off the grid and fully self sufficient using different types of energy sources: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, and Hydroelectric. One can only dream...
    GEOTHERMAL!? You plan on living above an active volcano!!!

    Personally I don't see why all light at this point aren't LED's this would save not only the grid issues but the pockets of consumers as well.

    The windmill thing is actually quite involved and not as easy as plugging it into your home electrical system. You need to have a place to store the batteries as they are VERY heavy (similar to car batteries), not to mention you need a system to keep the batteries from spinning the generator (basically a motor run backwards) and powering the fan of the windmill once they are charged. Things like these you REALLY need to know what you're doing as they are rated for a certain amount of wattage, going over can cause a fire. I'm still doing reading on the subject as I don't feel confidant enough to take on the project just yet.

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