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Topic Summary

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 27, 2018, 12:44:48 pm »


Thursday, September 29, 2018

PUERTO RICO MOVES FORWARD: INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS AFTER HURRICANE MARIA

RMI has been supporting Puerto Rico in advancing microgrids for schools, including one being commissioned this week in Orocovis (see story above). RMI’s islands team also supports Puerto Rican civil society to chart an alternative vision for renewables and community participation through convening and advisory support for new legislation.

A recent video from PBS’s NOVA series shows how Puerto Ricans are innovating to find new energy solutions after Hurricane Maria revealed extreme weaknesses in the island’s electric grid. Watch now:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: September 19, 2018, 04:49:11 pm »



September 19, 2018

Solar ⚡ power installations 💫weathered the storm and are mostly back online 🌞👍 after Hurricane Florence knocked out power for over one million people.
Flooding will continue as crews work to restore power. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


All of Duke Energy’s solar sites in North Carolina are back to producing power and installers in the residential solar space said only minimal damages have been reported.

Extreme weather events like Hurricanes Maria and Florence are increasing consumer interest in batteries that can store power from solar and other systems when power lines are disrupted after a storm. 

Read more:

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/clean-energy-players-weather-hurricane-florence#gs.zF=RVYw
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 15, 2018, 12:21:45 pm »

   

888.825.3432   
 
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August 14, 2018

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֍ One inch gap between modules, allowing load reduction per ASCE-7

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We rigorously research, engineer, and test our products to deliver unprecedented value and innovative excellence.

Visit S-5! to learn more.    

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 14, 2018, 01:09:25 pm »

CleanTechnica
Support CleanTechnica’s work via donations on Patreon or PayPal!

Or just go buy a cool t-shirt, cup, baby outfit, bag, or hoodie.


Solar Farms Can Become Pollinator Habitats & Help Save the Bees!

August 14th, 2018 by Carolyn Fortuna

They buzz and swarm, hover and dart. In the process of gathering pollen and nectar for their hives, bees and other insects pollinate flowers, ensuring that plants reproduce and yield fruit and other products. They contribute to pollinating nearly 75% of all human food crops worldwide, and yet humans have put tremendous stress on insect pollinator habitats with pesticides, land development, altered hydrologic patterns, and other actions. As a result, insect species have declined significantly. Ultimate loss of these insect species could have global scale impacts — wiping out crops, elevating food production costs, and compromising human nutrition.

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, however, are investigating ways to use pollinator-friendly solar power as a way to reinvigorate pollinator habitats. By studying solar energy facilities with pollinator habitats on site, researchers hope to rehabilitate pollinator populations that play a crucial role in national and global agricultural industries, plant species, and thriving pollinator numbers.

pollinator habitat

Concerns regarding the conservation of pollinators have risen to the global scale as countries have seen severe pollinator declines and have begun developing strategies to sustain pollinator species in the face of an ever-expanding human population. Although the total land area projected to be required for solar development through 2030 is less than 0.1% of the contiguous US surface area, a need exists to improve the landscape sustainability of large-scale solar developments to avoid or minimize potential impacts to local agriculture and cultural, ecological, and other natural resources.

With goals to conserve habitat, maintain ecosystem function, and support multiple ongoing human land uses in the landscape, researchers in Argonne’s Environmental Science (EVS) division have found that the area around solar panels could provide an ideal location for the plants that attract pollinators. This study outlines opportunities for investigating the environmental benefits of pollinator habitats, such as water conservation, land management, and carbon dioxide reduction.

pollinator habitat


Background about Rural Energy Development and Agricultural Intensification

Utility-scale solar energy (USSE) developments (≥1 megawatt [MW]) are increasing in agricultural landscapes, specifically on former agricultural fields. Driven variously by economics, rejection of fossil fuels, global climate change actions, air and water pollution, and energy security, USSE grew at an average rate of 72% per year between 2010 and 2016. By the end of 2016, USSE facilities accounted for approximately 22 GW of installed US electricity generation capacity, with an additional 13 GW of planned USSE construction. Interest in on-site vegetation management approaches to USSE farms is increasing, as it could restore ecosystem balance such as crop pollination that also maintains or even enhances agricultural production on nearby lands.

Recent emphasis has been placed on the creation and maintenance of pollinator habitats at USSE facilities. “Pollinator habitats” describes the practice of planting seed mixes of regional native plants such as milkweed and other wildflowers, within the solar infrastructure footprint after construction. Sowing could occur among solar panels or other reflective surfaces, or in off-site areas adjacent to the solar facility. Sowing has the intent to attract and support native insect pollinators by providing food sources, refuge, and nesting habitat.

Despite their ecological differences, all types of solar-pollinator habitats have the potential to improve biodiversity and ecosystem function as compared to conventional USSE vegetation management practices.


Conventional USSE management practices are intended to minimize or prohibit the growth of vegetation within the facility footprint:

• placement of gravel

• establishment and maintenance of turf grass

• mowing

• herbicide application

Such practices provide little or no habitat suitable for pollinator species, especially if these vegetation management practices occur frequently during operation of the solar facility.

Solar-pollinator habitat and related activities provide ecological benefits for pollinators and non-pollinators alike:

֍ limited mowing

֍ no herbicide or pesticide applications

֍ planned seed sowing to attract pollinators


pollinator habitats

Reclaiming Pollinator Habitats through Cultivated Solar Farms

In response to the population decline of pollinating insects, such as wild bees and monarch butterflies, the Argonne researchers have examined the potential benefits of establishing pollinator habitats at USSE facilities to conserve pollinators and restore the ecosystem they provide. Examining over 2,800 existing and planned USSE facilities in the contiguous US, the researchers determined whether solar-sited pollinator habitat could benefit agriculture. They found over 3,500 square kilometers of agricultural land near existing and planned USSE facilities that could benefit from rehabilitation and which could help reinstate the declining pollinator population with few subsequent side effects.

For example, one team looked at 3 example crop types to measure the agricultural benefits of increased pollinator habitats. These crops – soybeans, almonds, and cranberries – depend on insect pollinators for their annual crop yields. If all existing and planned solar facilities near these crop types included pollinator habitat and increased yield by just 1%, crop values could rise $1.75 million, $4 million, and $233,000 for soybeans, almonds and cranberries, respectively.

Solar-sited pollinator habitats can help optimize the land-use efficiency of solar energy developments while not compromising solar panel efficiency. Often filled with gravel or turf grass, much of the land in a solar farm is untended. Research has shown that in many locations these grounds offer an ideal place to establish native plant species, such as prairie grass or wildflowers, which are prevalent pollinator habitats and can encourage steady insect population growth. There are economic benefits to pollinators, too — honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the US.

By increasing the ability of pollinators to pollinate adjacent agricultural fields, solar-sited pollinator habitat may boost farmers’ crop yields and create companion income revenues to neighboring agricultural farms. Rejuvenating local pollinator habitat is one way that local farmers can augment trends to lease land for solar arrays, as the practice has proven more lucrative to them at times than cash crops.

pollinator habitats

Final Thoughts

Studies in the UK support findings that solar panels enhance biodiversity and wildlife abundance — botanical diversity within solar farm landscaping is responding to favorable management practices.

Most UK sites studied point out that herbicide application to date at USSEs has been limited to spot treatment of weeds. They conclude that a reduction in the use of broad-spectrum herbicides will lead to greater diversity of broadleaved plants. High soil fertility of arable farmland favors a few dominant species of plants, but, as soil fertility reduces in the absence of fertilizer, diversity of both grasses and broad leaved plants is able to and is anticipated to increase. Where suitable USSE management exists, botanical diversity increases over time, with plants emerging from seed banks as well as airborne or animal-carried seed.

The symbiosis of solar farms and pollinator habitats may widen appreciation among community members and local governments for the pollinators’ role in agricultural production. It may persuade solar developers to rethink the landscape design around their installations.

Many US states are catching up to their European counterparts and acknowledging the need to address pollinator population declines through legislation. Solar facilities are beginning to respond by sowing in pollinator-friendly areas. Illinois recently passed a “Pollinator-Friendly Solar Energy Bill” in May, 2018. Other states like Maryland and Minnesota have made part of their legislative agendas to transition to USSEs that incorporate landscape compatible environs.

Photos on Foter.com and  solartradeassociation on Trend Hype / CC BY-SA and USDAgov on TrendHype / CC BY-ND and by oatsy40 on Trend hype / CC BY

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/08/14/solar-farms-can-become-pollinator-habitats-help-save-the-bees/

Agelbert COMMENT: There is a destructive mentallity in much of the USA in regard to vegetation in general and lawns in particular. This attitude has influenced most of the non-indigenous population for centuries.

What am I talking about❓ I'm talking about the destructive practice of maintaining manicured lawns. The Zoning Nazis in most towns in the USA prohibit home owners form growing food in their front yards or even allowing the yard to be "wild" with wild flowers or other local vegetation.  👎

All this adds pollution from gasoline powered lawn mowers (which pollute massively because those small engines have no pollution controls whatsoever!)  AND poisons the soil with (hydrocarbon feed stock) chemical pesticides and herbicides. 👎👎👎

Where did this unhealthy practice come from⁉️

 It came from the Midieval Castle use of "Killing fields".

Look at this picture:


We are all very familiar with the concept of a moat. BUT, most castles did not have one.

The castles were subject to attack, so the grounds around the walls were cleared so attacking troops could not use tall foliage as cover to get near the walls. These areas were called "killling fileds" because the archers on the walls  would kill anyone attacking the castle in the cleared areas.

When peace was more routine, castle grounds went from large manicured (i.e. short) lawns to manicured bushes and fastidiously ordered flower gardens with mazes and walks for the "nobles" to stroll along in a 100% "tamed" nature area.



This Victorian idea of ordering natue obsessively was, unfortunately, transferred to the "new" world along with the genocide of the native population. 🤬

It's time to stop being stupid with lawns, people. We do not need a killing field (for people AND bees, butterflies, ladybugs, worms, beetles, trillions of soil health providing microbes, etc.) in our front yard.

📢 Vote the Zoning Nazis OUT in your town!

We DO need to take seriously our RESPONSIBILITY as stewards of the biosphere to work to promote and preserve biodiversity, as Carolyn Fortuna 👍🌞 advocates here.

Thank you, Carolyn Fortuna 🍃, for being part of the solution. 💐 God bless you.


 
What it Means to be Responsible - Reflections on Our Responsibility for the Future  by Theresa Morris, State University of New York at New Paltz
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 10, 2018, 11:38:20 pm »

Take Your Solar on the Road   

Introducing the world’s first solar inverter that can charge ⚡ an electric vehicle.

Close more deals and add more value with every sale by offering your customers the only solar inverter that can charge their EV. SolarEdge's EV charging inverter enables homeowners to charge up to 6 times faster than a standard wall outlet. Learn how to add this first-of-a-kind product to your offering by visiting our information page with on-demand webinar.

Learn more:



https://marketing.solaredge.com/acton/fs/blocks/showLandingPage/a/8801/p/p-019a/t/page/fm/0
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 09, 2018, 10:49:56 pm »



August 8, 2018

Welt Online

Solar panel owners reap benefits of record sunshine hours

The exceptionally sunny weather in Germany is lavishing owners of solar panels with a lot of money, according to an article published on Welt Online. However, the rate of remuneration varies widely: those who installed solar panels in the early 2000s receive 57 eurocents per kilowatt hour they provide to the grid, compared to 12.08 eurocents per kilowatt hour for those who installed their panels at the beginning of August this year, the article says. Despite this drop, “Photovoltaics are still worthwhile today because the prices for the panels have fallen in recent years by almost the same extent as the feed-in tariff has,” Peter Kafke, energy consulting expert at the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV), said.

https://www.welt.de/finanzen/plus180721942/Fotovoltaik-So-macht-die-Sonne-Sie-reich.html

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: August 08, 2018, 08:49:18 pm »


SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC (PV) INSTALLATION FOR DIY CAMPER 

By scooterhooten in TechnologyElectronics

The following is a tutorial for how to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system for a DIY camper, van, or RV. The examples, pictures, and videos shown are specific to the custom slide-in camper I am building for my 6ft pickup, but they should offer a guideline for anyone attempting to do a similar type of solar install. Many of the steps and components of the system may be overly complicated or unnecessary for the type of install you are performing. Follow each step and include components at your discretion. Safety, however, is NOT optional! DO NOT work with HOT wires!! All circuitry must have some sort of fault protection (fuses/breakers) and isolation capabilities.

Step 1: Sizing the System


The first step in setting up a solar photovoltaic (PV) system for a camper or RV is to calculate how much power will be drawn by all the electrical devices to be connected. Assumptions will need to be made as to how many hours per day each device will be operating (drawing power). Due to energy lost when converting from 12-volt direct current (DC) to 120-volt alternating current (AC), it is recommended to avoid using 120V AC devices wherever possible and use 12V DC devices instead.

The most important information is to determine the amps (A) that will be drawn by each device and for how many hours (h) it will operate, because battery sizes are provided in Amp-hours (Ah). It is always a good idea to overestimate the hours to be certain you will size your battery bank properly. Certain devices will require 120V AC power, however, so an inverter will still be necessary. When determining the power draw required for 120V AC devices, a good rule of thumb is to assume an 80% conversion efficiency for the inverter. The power drawn from a 120V AC device can usually be found on the power supply or on the device itself. An example is shown of where to find the wattage on the power supply and how to calculate the 12V power draw for two laptop computers.

Once the total power requirements have been determined, battery capacities can be chosen to meet those power demands (The example above shows that I would need 305 Ah per day). The sizes (wattage) of the solar panels can also be determined by calculating the Watt-hours of energy produced by the panels (assume ten hours of sun per day) then converting that into Amp-hours by dividing by 12V. A table is included with the devices and power requirements for the camper that I am building. It is recommended to setup a spreadsheet with the equations provided to make sizing the system easier.

The next step is to create a wiring diagram and determine which devices can/should be on shared circuits or have their own isolated circuit.


Step 2: Create a Wiring Diagram


The wiring diagram does not need to be made using computer software with real pictures of the devices to be connected, as in the example. The wiring diagram can be hand drawn, and words, numbers or a coding system (e.g. AC for air conditioner, or FB10 for fuse box-10A) can be used in place of pictures. It is imperative that the diagram be clearly understandable to anyone who may be working on the system.

The system consists of a few necessary components:

֍ 1. Solar Panels (connected in parallel [(+) to (+) & (-) to (-)] for 12V, or in series [(+) to (-)] for higher voltages).

֍ 2. Charge Controller (controls the volts and amps input to the batteries to prevent overcharging/damage).

֍ 3. Battery Bank (if using more than one 12V battery, connect all batteries in parallel, designating a main battery for all other connections - charge controller, inverter, and 12V circuits should be connected only to the main battery, not to the secondary batteries).

֍ 4. Kill Switches/Fuses (connected in-line to cutoff power for emergencies or to work on the system).

֍ 5. Fuse Box (used for 12V devices to prevent excessive power draw that can damage the system or other devices).

֍ 6. Inverter (converts 12V DC power to 120V AC power).

֍ 7. Electrical Devices (connected to 12V DC or 120V AC as necessary).

At a minimum, kill switches (preferably combined with a fuse) should be connected between the solar panels and the charge controller, as well as between the batteries and the primary electrical devices (fuse box and inverter). In this example, the inverter came with a fuse and has a built-in switch located on the rear of the device, so a separate kill switch is not necessary. For added safety, another kill switch could be installed between the charge controller and the batteries, allowing for complete isolation of any system components if desired. Kill switches are always to be installed on the positive voltage line connecting the components.

Shared Circuits or Isolated Circuits:

Deciding which electrical lines to put on the same circuit or which keep on their own circuit is entirely up to you. You may want to isolate electrical lines by their location (front, rear, etc), the amount of amperage, or the type of circuit (lights, water pumps, 12V outlets, etc). Devices that pull large amounts of amperage should be isolated on their own fuse. I recommend anything single device pulling more than 5 amps be placed on an isolated circuit. Devices that pull fewer amps can be combined onto shared circuits. Just make sure to put them on a fuse that exceeds the total possible amperage if all devices are powered simultaneously. For example, the 12V LED lights (of which there are 12 in total) pull 3W of power each, which means they draw 0.25A of current (3W / 12V = 0.25A). Assuming every LED is on at the same time, the total amps would be 0.25A * 12 = 3A. With this as the maximum amps drawn by all the LEDs, it is safe to put all the lights plus a small (0.25A) fan for the bathroom (totaling 3.25A) together on a 5A circuit (fuse in the fuse box).

Note: Standard fuse sizes generally consist of 5, 10, 15, and 20 amps. Be sure not to exceed the amperage capacities of each port on the fuse box, as well as the total amps for the fuse box (e.g. the fuse box I'm using is 8 ports, can handle 30A per port and 100A total). First determine how many devices will be combined on their own circuit before deciding what size (number of ports) fuse box to purchase.

Once the wiring diagram is laid out, all components are accounted for, and necessary safety devices are included, installation can begin.


Step 3: Install Wiring (disconnected)





Other than installing the wires from the solar panels to the central location for the primary electrical components (charge controller, batteries, fuse box, inverter, etc.), this step may be skipped if a full wiring installation is not necessary. If installing on a fully constructed camper or RV, for example, installing wires may not even be possible. For the camper I am building from scratch, however, I wanted different outlets in certain locations of the camper. This is not necessary, though, and can be left to your preference.

For wiring between the main components (battery --> battery, battery --> 12V circuits, battery --> inverter, etc.), be sure to use a large wire (I'm using 4-gauge) that can easily handle whatever amperage is going through it.
For 12V wiring, be sure to use a wire that can handle the amperage and distance of the lines. I'm using 10-gauge, which may be a bit overkill, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Installing wiring and outlets is an optional step. All connections can be made at the central electrical box. A power strip/surge protector can be connected to the inverter, and all 120V devices can connect to that. 12V outlets (cigarette lighter plugs) can be connected directly to the fuse box (or 12V bus if in-line fuses are included, which they were for 12V outlets I purchased).

Install all wiring, switches, and outlets. DO NOT connect any of the wires in the central electrical box or to the solar panels. Connections CAN be made at the end-use receptacles (outlets and devices) and switches for lights and devices (NOT kill switches). All unconnected wires at the end points should be capped to prevent electrocution once connected in the central electrical box.

Not every device needs its own line to be run back to the central electrical box. If the device will be on the same circuit (fuse) in the electrical box, then the lines can be split off at the nearest junction to the device's location to reduce the total length of electrical wire needed. The circuit for the LED lights discussed in the wiring diagram, for example, can be spliced off the same line. To split the lines, I cut the lines then attached a third line to them using ring terminals, a nut and a bolt with a locking washer. Be sure to insulate any exposed wire (especially for the hot line) with electrical tape or heat shrink tubing.

For 120V AC wiring, I chose to cannibalize a 50 ft. extension cord, cutting it into smaller lengths to run to each outlet, as this was the cheapest option. If cost is not a concern, however, it is recommended to use proper wiring for home electrical installations.


Step 4: Wire Outlets and Switches







Standard 120V AC electrical wiring most commonly consists of three wires (hot, neutral, and ground). Standard wiring is: black = hot; white = neutral; green/bare wire = ground. The rear of an electrical outlet will have screw connections. Commonly, only the "hot" (usually brass color) is labeled, the opposite side (usually steel color) is the neutral connection, and ground is designated by a green screw.

For 12V DC wiring, any color wire may be used, but the standard is: red = hot; black = ground. When wiring the rear terminals of the 12V DC outlets, connect the red wire to (+) and the black wire to (-). For most of the 12V wiring, connections are made with "quick disconnect" spade terminals to allow for quickly and easily connecting or disconnecting devices and outlets. The fuse box purchased came with "quick disconnect" connections as well. For connections that would never or rarely be disconnected, like inner wall splits or ground connections, ring terminals were used.

When wiring an ON/OFF switch for lights or another device, the hot wire should be cut and connected to the two adjacent screw terminals (the switch connects the two terminals in the ON position). While not 100% necessary, it is recommended to connect the ground wire to the green screw on the switch with no break (strip a small section of wire without cutting it). A standard ON/OFF switch for 120V AC power will work for a 12V circuit. A 120V AC dimmer switch, however, will not work for 12V circuits, as the resistance is too high.

12V Dimmer Switch (*attempt at your own risk*): To dim the 12V LEDs, a 10k-ohm potentiometer (variable resistor) with ON/OFF positions was used. ***This option is NOT recommended unless you are familiar with potentiometers and how they work.*** A standard potentiometer has three terminals (1, 2, and 3), whereas the ON/OFF potentiometer has 5 terminals (the 3 standard plus 2 on the rear). The two rear terminals (4 & 5) act as a standard ON/OFF switch (connected in the ON position and disconnected in the OFF position).

• 1. Connect one of the rear terminals (4) directly to the center standard terminal (2).

• 2. Connect one end of the cut "hot" wire to the other rear terminal (5), and

• 3. Connect the other end of the cut "hot" wire to the standard terminal (3) that measures ~10k ohms [to the center terminal (2)] when the dial is in the OFF position.

• 4. The opposite terminal (1) will measure ~0 ohms in the OFF position and should be connected directly to the center terminal (2).

I soldered "quick disconnect" spade connectors onto the terminals for the "hot" wires (3 and 5).

With all the wiring in place, you can begin making connections in the central electrical box.


Step 5: Wire Connections in Central Electrical Box





***WARNING*** ***WARNING***

***ALL KILL SWITCHES MUST BE IN THE OPEN/OFF POSITIONS***

Start by wiring the lines coming from the solar panels (solar panels NOT connected) to the charge controller, making sure to install a kill switch in-line for the positive connection. Connect all wires to the charge controller, but DO NOT make the connections to the battery or solar panels yet. Again, make sure the kill switch is in the open/off position.

Install the wires from the battery bank to the inverter (for 120V AC) and the kill switch to the main fuse box (for 12V DC), but DO NOT connect the wires to the batteries. Again, make sure the kill switch is in the open/off position.

Connect all the 12V ground wires to the same ground bus. Once all the ground wires are connected, the positive wires can now be connected to the appropriate fuses. Ensure you are connecting the correct wires by labeling them during installation, or tracing them with a toner device.

Once all the 12V connections are made, begin connecting the 120V wires.
This process is much simpler, as the power inverter will handle the 120V AC load, and all outlets can be on the same circuit. First, connect all the ground (green) wires, then the neutral (white) wires, followed by the hot (black) wires. The order of connection is not extremely important when there is no power on the lines, but it is better to be in the habit of connecting ground wires first.

If using more than one battery, you can connect the batteries together at this point (creating a battery bank), but DO NOT connect the main battery to any other components (charge controller, inverter, 12V circuits, etc.). Use a large wire (I'm using 4-gauge) to connect the batteries together.



Step 6: Install and Connect Solar Panels




Install the solar panels in the desired location. I built a frame to attach the panels to instead of mounting them directly to the roof. The frame will then be attached to the roof using locks and latches, which will allow for adjusting the angle and bearing of the panels when stationary to maximize solar absorption. If this method is used, be sure to properly secure the panels before traveling again.

Cover the solar panels with a blanket (or something else) to prevent light from striking the panels and electricity from being produced.

Connect the solar panels in parallel for a 12V system:

֍ 1. Connect the ground (-) terminal wires for each panel together.

֍ 2. Connect the positive (+) terminal wires for each panel together.

֍ 3. Connect the ground (-) terminals to the appropriate wire leading to the charge controller.

֍ 4. Connect the positive (+) terminals to the appropriate wire leading to the charge controller. **Again, make sure the kill switch is in the OPEN/OFF position before making this connection.

֍ 5. Remove the cover/blanket from the panels.
For the Renogy panels used in this tutorial, MC4 connectors are pre-installed, so no wire is exposed.


Step 7: Make Final Connections & Power Upthe System






It is time to make the final connections and power up the system. Before making connections, ensure that all kill switches are in the OPEN/OFF position.

Connect the charge controller, power inverter, and 12V bus wires to the battery bank. (If using more than one battery, designate a main battery to connect to other components. Do not connect one battery to the charge controller and another to the inverter or fuse box)

1. Connect the ground (-) wire from the charge controller, inverter, and 12V ground bus to the ground (-) terminal of the main battery.

2. Connect the positive (+) wire from the charge controller, inverter, and 12V bus/fuse box to the positive (+) terminal of the main battery. Close the kill switch between the charge controller and the battery bank (if installed).

3. Close the kill switch between the solar panels and the charge controller.

4. Close the kill switch between the battery bank and the 12V bus or fuse box.

5. Flip (close) the switch on the rear of the inverter to the ON position.

6. Test outlets, switches, and other devices to ensure they work properly. **If something is not working properly, open all kill switches before troubleshooting** Try retracing lines or check for punctures/breaks where wires attach to studs. Make sure all connections are fastened securely and making good contact.

Congratulations!!

You now have a fully installed and operational solar photovoltaic system for your camper, van, or RV!

Purchase List for Camper Electrical Components.xlsx (at article link)

https://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Photovoltaic-PV-Installation-for-DIY-Camper/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 31, 2018, 12:13:28 pm »


July 31, 2018

Electronic Inclinometers to maximize energy efficiency in the Solar industry.
 


Canfield Connector has released a new series of electrical sensors that provide efficiency and accuracy to angle measurement in solar technology, heavy equipment, construction, and other applications. The new Electrical Inclinometer Sensor or (EiS) Series instruments measure the slope, tilt or elevation of an object with respect to gravity by using intelligence to create an artificial horizon. 

http://canfieldconnector.com/images/02-05-2018-13-11-36-0.pdf
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 30, 2018, 12:29:13 pm »

Solar Power World

New Mexico installers put differences aside to secure local jobs

By Kelly Pickerel | July 24, 2018

As much as Democrats and Republicans compete against each other for votes, they do (sometimes  ;)) come together for mutually beneficial legislation. Two competing New Mexico rooftop contractors can relate: they decided to team up to bid on large-scale projects to keep jobs local.

Sol Luna Solar (No. 323 on the 2018 Top Solar Contractors list) and PPC Solar regularly battle for solar customers in Northern New Mexico. When the local utility Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) announced 35 MW of projects in the next few years, the utility actually suggested Sol Luna and PPC join together.


An array ParaSol Solar has completed for KCEC. Photo from Sol Luna’s Facebook page.

“Kit’s wish was to keep all of these jobs as local as possible to benefit the local economy,” said Mark Johnson, Sol Luna CEO. “Kit suggested we form a joint venture together, because they didn’t want to deal with us separately.”

The two companies now operate as ParaSol Solar, a name that means umbrella. The solar installers operating under the same umbrella finished the utility’s first 1.5-MW project and plan to complete another 10 MW before the end of 2018.

Johnson said while the two companies are still regularly bidding against each other for smaller projects, the third-party venture operates very smoothly.

“We’re really combining forces. We’re doing the procurement together,” he said. “Being competitors in the same area, we procure materials from the same suppliers, so that has been seamless. We’re well-positioned to complete this.”

KCEC recently announced a goal for 100% daytime solar energy by 2022. The roadmap of 35 MW will provide 34% of the area’s total electricity demand and 100% during daylight hours on sunny days.

“Our decision to recommend ParaSol Solar as our EPC partner was intended to build a world-class solar fleet,” said Luis Reyes, KCEC’s CEO, in a press release. “The re-emphasis demonstrates KCEC’s commitment to our local labor force and to economic development within the region.”

Johnson said this partnership between Sol Luna and PPC is a novel approach, but everyone agrees it’s well worth rising above the daily competition to ensure a local workforce is used for projects that will benefit the community for years to come.

This story was featured exclusively in our 2018 Top Solar Contractors issue. See the issue and full list of top U.S. solar installers here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelly Pickerel is editor in chief of Solar Power World.


https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2018/07/new-mexico-installers-put-differences-aside-to-secure-local-jobs/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 03, 2018, 08:17:00 pm »

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 26, 2018, 07:57:58 pm »


"Solar panel field in Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma..." Steve Milloy on Twitter

Solar Under Storm: Designing Hurricane-Resilient PV Systems

June 20, 2018  |  By Laurie Guevara-Stone Christopher Burgess

The 2017 hurricane season was one of the most active in history. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria brought widespread destruction throughout the Caribbean. In addition to the emotional toll these severe storms had on people in the region, the disruption of critical infrastructure left many communities without basic services such as electricity and water for prolonged periods of time. On some islands, such as Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Barbuda, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems suffered major damage or even complete failure. However, other solar PV systems, such as ones installed in the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, and St. Eustatius, survived and continued producing power the following day.

Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI’s) latest report, Solar Under Storm: Select Best Practices for Resilient Ground-Mount PV Systems with Hurricane Exposure, discusses the root causes of PV system failures from hurricanes and describes recommendations for building more resilient solar PV power plants.

Solar in the Caribbean

Over the past decades, electricity in the Caribbean was primarily generated centrally by imported fuel oil or diesel and distributed across islands by overhead lines. However, in recent years, electricity has been supplemented in homes, businesses, industries, government facilities, and utilities by solar photovoltaics. In fact, over half of Caribbean electric utilities already own or operate solar PV as part of their generation mix. There are at least 225 megawatts (MW) of solar installed across rooftops, parking canopies, and large tracts of land, and solar PV is the most rapidly growing source of power for many Caribbean islands.

While solar PV systems can provide lower-cost energy that is more resilient and reliable than imported fuels on many islands, it is not foolproof in the face of major natural disasters. The 2017 hurricanes brought sustained wind speeds of over 180 miles per hour to many Caribbean islands. RMI sent expert structural engineering teams to the Caribbean region in fall 2017 to investigate why some PV systems survived virtually unscathed while others suffered extensive damage.

Why do some PV systems survive hurricanes virtually unscathed while others suffer extensive damage?

Common Attributes

The teams noted similarities between the failed systems, including module clamp failures, undersized racks, undersized and under-torqued bolts, a lack of bolt locking solutions, and a lack of lateral racking support. On the flip side, the systems that survived had the modules through bolted (no clamps), bolts with locking solutions, and lateral racking supports.

However, developing hurricane resiliency guidelines based only on observed failure modes has limitations. The observed failure modes may have served as a “mechanical fuse,” relieving forces from the system. If future systems address only those observed failures, forces may precipitate additional failure modes. To address both observed and potential failure modes, we used a common reliability tool for systematic cause and effect identification called a fishbone diagram. The diagram shows critical elements from the supply chain through design, construction, and operations of solar PV projects. The most critical causes of failure we observed in the fall of 2017 are in bold text.


Recommendations for Hurricane-Resilient PV Systems

The Solar Under Storm report organizes our recommendations into two categories: (1) specifications, and (2) collaboration. To the extent possible, the specifications are performance-based to allow for the most cost-effective and resilient solution. Collaboration recommendations identify opportunities for increased resiliency that require multiparty consideration and action but do not represent industry standard actions.

Specifications include:

• Using high-load PV modules (5,400 Pa)

• Requiring a structural engineering review and wind-tunnel report review

• Specifying a bolt hardware locking solution and bolt quality control process

• Specifying through bolting of modules as opposed to top-down or T clamps

• Requiring structural engineer review of lateral loads

• Not using self-tapping screws

• Specifying dual post pier foundations

Collaboration recommendations include collaborating with module suppliers, racking suppliers, and other  equipment suppliers to implement the correct tests and ensure that equipment is consistent with assumptions used in engineering calculations.

Perhaps the most opportune recommendation is for a regional and even international community of solar PV power plant stakeholders whose plants have extreme wind exposure to regularly share lessons learned from new designs and extreme wind events. To that end, we formed a PV Resiliency working group on the online Caribbean Renewable Energy Community (CAREC), which is hosted by CARILEC, to connect, innovate, and collaborate.

The Additional Cost to Increase Resiliency

Calculating the additional cost to implement the recommendations in the Solar Under Storm report depends on the specific projects and sites. However, we estimate that a 1 MW ground mount project on suitable soil and flat terrain in the Eastern Caribbean would incur an increase of approximately 5 percent in engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) costs when these best practices are implemented versus the standard category IV rated installation. These additional costs come in the form of labor for the extra time needed to through-bolt the modules and install more foundation and racking supports. There are also additional costs in material (racking supports, dual post piers, and fasteners) as well as minor costs for additional engineering and construction oversight.

Based on RMI’s Islands Energy Program’s most recent solar PV procurement for a 1 MW ground mount system in the Caribbean, implementing the best resiliency practices would add approximately $90,000 in EPC costs to the budget. This overall project price increase is about the difference in module pricing from 2017 to 2018, and for Caribbean projects that procure modules later in 2018, the price drop could completely net out the additional resilient mitigation costs by year’s end.


Surviving the Storm 

Generating electricity with solar PV is a cost-effective and reliable solution for the Caribbean. There are major project plans across the region to not only add solar PV to the grid at utility scale, but also to install solar PV and battery systems for key critical facilities such as water treatment plants, hurricane shelters, schools, hospitals, and telecommunications nodes. Yet as the intensity and number of hurricanes rise, utilities, regulators, engineering professionals, and PV system developers and installers must be aware of the best available engineering, design, delivery, and operational practices to ensure these installations survive.

While the Solar Under Storm report cannot predict all the potential failures and consequent mitigation strategies, it provides an available set of best practices regarding specifications of equipment and procedures along with a framework for continued collaboration within a community of practice. Our hope is that by sharing best practices and through continued collaboration with designers, suppliers, and manufacturers, we can increase the reliability and survival rates of PV systems in hurricanes, and ensure that the people of the Caribbean have resilient and reliable power for their grids, homes, businesses, and critical facilities for decades to come.

Download the Solar Under Storm report.

https://www.rmi.org/news/solar-under-storm-designing-hurricane-resilient-pv-systems/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 26, 2018, 02:25:17 pm »

Quote
AG: they still will have to compete with that clean renewable energy technology that Palloy is ALWAYS quick to claim (a TOTAL FABRICATION, by the way) is "ERoEI negative".

There no such thing as a negative ERoEI.  That is a basic error that shows you don't know what you are on about.  I think what you mean is "less than 1".

I don't claim, and never have, that the ERoEI of renewables is less than 1. My claim is the
ERoEI ethanol from sugarcane mollasses is 1.05 .  Evidence is this graph by CSIRO tests:


According to BP(2018) the quantity of Proved Reserves around the world is 1.696 trillion tonnes, and that is the same as 2011.  The peak was in 2014 at 1.702 .  I can't get the chart to work, but in 1980 the figure was 1.118 trillion barrels.  That is, the oil companies have been unable to find any "spare" reserves, like they could in the 1930s, and are flat out trying to find new stuff.  So they crow about a find of 330 million barrels, even though it is a TINY fraction of what is needed to keep ahead of demand. This is definitely NOT SUSTAINABLE. It is a silly question to ask "at what exact figure will it all collapse?", it is a matter of confidence that the oil is there to be had.  When the confidence goes, the oil majors' shares will collapse, and with it the financial system.

I should just say that the BP figures have to be ESTIMATED for countries like Russia who don't release that data.  And for the US, the whole thing is about what is going to be got out of an oil field before it is officially shut down.  This always off in the future so the companies can say what they like, no one will ever know.  The only other data sources are from EIA (USDoE) and IEA (OECD), both of whom are dominated by oil companies and trying to hide Peak Oil.

The ERoEI of PV farms is 3.0 (range 1.5 to 6.0).  Evidence this table from ISA's report to Australian PM and Cabinet, "Life Cycle Energy Balance":



(Energy Intensity is the reciprocal of ERoEI.)

From the same table, the ERoEI of wind turbines is 15 (range 8 to 25).

So PV manufacturers have to find a third of the energy UP FRONT that the panels will eventually produce, otherwise the panels can't be built.  That is easy while the quantity of panels is small, like now, but it becomes much bigger as the scale increases, and will overwhelm the energy system.  Bardi thinks we can just squeeze through, with much savings on efficiency, etc, but no one is doing that.

I would love to know how they come up with the PV numbers. Just the methodology I'm not doubting it but from my experience they are outliving their projected life and the panels from 20 years ago are nowhere near as well made as the current ones. It could change the eroei for solar. The massive industrial scale roll out is just too recent to know. Then there is the secondary market. They don't really die they just don't produce up to specifications. They are an unusual device that way they are not your typical good then not good they fade slowly. At what point is it considered at the end of its productive life? We sell off the old systems we upgrade and there is a market for the 12 volt 50-80 watt panels out there at $.25-.75 a watt.  Just some food for thought
Thank you for this both of you. David


You are welcome, David.

Palloy, not  only do you refuse to answer my questions, but your claim that you have "never said" Renewable Energy has an ERoEI less than 1.00 is doubletalk. You have gone on and on about upfront costs not justifying them, their low energy density, ther longevity issues, the fossil fuels need to make them and so on. So, YEAH, you have CONSISTENTLY gone out of your way to claim Renewable energy can NEVER compete with fossil fuels.

I disagree. I have posted many articles that provide evidence that Renewable Enrgy technology, not only can replace fossil fuels, but replacing polluting energy with Renewable Energy is our only option, if we wish to survice as a species.

The "peak oil caused collapse will save us" claim is a false meme. Collapse from lack of Fossil fuels is is not going to happen, at least not in our life time.

What is the minimum amount of fossil fuels we must burn each year to prevent a collapse of civilization during that year?

Answer the question Palloy.

K-Dog, you claim there is empirical evidence that Peak Oil is real after trashing an article that exposed a full DECADE of peak oil hysterics. Since Palloy refuses to answer, will you give me a number?

My estimate is that we MUST have, at minimum, 7 billion BOE - rounded off to the nearest Billion BOE  ;D - (this includes ALL fossil fuels) annually to prevent a collapse. What is your estimate?

If Peak Oil is to have more relevance than Catastrophic Climate Change, it MUST cause the collpase of Industrial Cvilization from the lack of them, PERIOD.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 25, 2018, 10:57:11 pm »



Solar Prices Nosedive After China Pullback Floods Global Market

June 21, 2018

By Christopher Martin, Bloomberg
         
Solar panels were already getting cheaper this year, and then China pulled the plug this month on about 20 GW of domestic installations. The result was a glut of global inventories, and now prices are plunging even faster.

China, the world’s biggest solar market, on June 1 slammed the brakes on new projects that would have had as much capacity as about 20 nuclear power plants. With a global panel glut it’s a buyer’s market and developers in other countries are delaying purchases, holding out for even lower prices.

The average price for a polysilicon module slumped 4.79 percent since May 30, reaching a record low of 27.8 cents a watt Wednesday, according to PVInsights. That’s on track to be the biggest monthly decline since December 2016, the last time the industry was facing a global oversupply. China manufactures about 70 percent of the world’s solar components.

The decline will hurt the largest manufacturers like JinkoSolar Holding Co. and is a boon for developers like Sunrun Inc., which are expected to benefit from lower costs.

“Chinese and international project developers are putting their orders on hold as modules get cheaper,” Yali Jiang, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a research note Tuesday. By the end of the year, she expects module prices will slide to 24 cents a watt 👀, down 35 percent from 37 cents at the end of 2017.

©2018 Bloomberg News

https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2018/06/solar-prices-nosedive-after-china-pullback-floods-global-market.html

Agelbert NOTE: Why don't I think this news is actually good? Because, to anyone that reads between the lines, it means China is, rather than contiinuing the big push for total Renewable Energy, is finding it cheaper (when the pollution issue is ignored, of course -replacing coal with GAS cuts down on particulates, but does nothing to slow GHG pollution) to buy GAS for energy than to get it from Solar Panels.

They are probably suddenly getting GAS real cheap, some of which comes from the USA, not just the usual suspects like Russia and Iran. This "bridge fuel" means an INCREASE in global emissions in an already runaway GHG situation 🔥. China uses a LOT OF ENERGY!


I'm sure the Fossil Fuel funded Climate Change Deniers will tell us this is "no big deal"😈.


I think it is one more straw breaking the Biosphere Camel's Back. IOW, it's probably just about (see below) for Human civilization, even if it takes another two or three decades to feel the full brunt of Catastrophic climate Change.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 22, 2018, 07:00:46 pm »



June 22, 2018

#Cost & Prices #Efficiency #Solar

co2online

German solar heat users miss out on output worth 66 million euros per year – report

Two-thirds of Germany’s solar heat installations could have a higher output if their use was optimised, the energy customer consultancy co2online says in a press release.

Solar heat users miss out on 1.4 billion kilowatt hours per year, roughly equivalent to 66 million euros in lost earnings and 340,000 tonnes of additional CO2 output, co2online says.

The consultancy says the operation of solar heat installations could be optimised by completely turning off other heating systems during the summer months; routinely comparing the installations’ output with heating consumption; and regularly having the solar panels inspected and repaired.

https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.co2online.de/service/news/beitrag/solarthermie-nutzer-lassen-jedes-jahr-66-millionen-euro-auf-ihren-daechern-liegen-16507/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 16, 2018, 10:37:39 pm »

From my inputs, they claim I would need 67 X 360W PANELS :o plus a 13.5KW battery. Besides the fact that I could only get about a third of that many panels on the south side of my roof, it's just too much money.  :(


The way I would recommend using solar in your unique situation ( should you ever wish to) is to build a very simple parallel system with one large panel (scaling up eventually to perhaps two panels)  and a small battery array, and run SOMETHING off it. A dedicated circuit for your refrigerator, perhaps. If that's too big a load you could run lights.

An MPPT charge controller helps with the shade problem.

I think it makes really better sense here of course. We have 5 hour sun. I could run my energy-sink McMansion with pool from a good rooftop grid-tie, and it would make my house more desirable to sell when I finally do downsize. I just hesitate to take on debt for that. But it would be required, because TPTB requires the job be done by pros, which implies it gets done fast and you have to pay for it all at once.



Agreed. The idea of a dedicated circuit has always appealed to me, particularly one where voltage regulation is not a big issue. For example, in the winter, though the total hours of sunlight are reduced, we actually get more direct sunlight on my home. Solar Panels (about 6KW) on the roof could easily be rigged for a dedicated heating circuit. Filament heating circuits, as long as you protect them from too much amperage (easy to do with solar Panels  ;)), could care less about voltage variation. All my heating is electric. I stopped using the kerosene fired furnace over 15 years ago. I have saved a lot of money by doing that and, since Green Mountain Power has a very large Renewable Energy portfolio, it has definitely lowered my carbon footprint.

Yes, the the fossil fuelers will be quick to blah, blah, blah about "kerosene/oil/fossil fuels are more efficient than electrical resistance for heating", but they are WRONG.

WHY? Because, though they are technically thermodynamically right when the two energy transfer systems are viewed in isolation, they FAIL TO add in the fuel cost of those trucks that carry that kerosene, their maintenance, AND the trucks that carry the kerosene from the refinery (and so on). No sir, they have this STRANGE idea that "energy going through wires costs the same to transport to your home" as energy going from an oil well to the refinery to the truck to the distributor to your home furnace to be burned. BULLSHIT.

Pardon my rant. ;D I also have issues with all this government permitting baloney TPTB place on us before we are allowed to get a Renewable Energy system going. More people are killed each year from misusing kerosene portable heaters than PV or wind electrical systems injuries by a factor easily of a thousand! But, no sir, we don't want to "overregulate" anything that uses fossil fuels, now do we? 😈

Well, at least the electricians are happy.  ::)
Actually I would not fault your logic or your right to choose but it really does depend on how your utility generates power. If your utility is well diversified with lots of hydro, wind some nukes and just a smidgen of natural gas electric heat will produce much less greenhouse gas. HOWEVER if your utility is reliant on natural gas and coal the numbers work against you. Central power plants turn fossil fuels into electricity at pretty horrible efficiency then you add line losses to it. My rule of thumb reference for that is this site here:  http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/fuel.html
from that site the efficiency is:
Coal:  33.6%
Petroleum:  25.5-33.3%
Natural Gas:  29.4-44.8%
If you use natural gas as the best option and the most modern plant you get 44.8percent he uses 7.2 percent for line loss so 44.8x.928= 41.6 percent of its energy is turned into electricity the rest is vented as heat at the plant or lost to the air en route to you. A modern furnace is 80-90 percent efficient so yes if your utility uses fossil fuels to generate electricity you are better off using said fuels to heat your home directly if you are using baseboard heaters. Of course you will not do this SOOOOO if you want to totally destroy the fossil fuel math then the technology to invest in is the new generation of air to air heat pumps. Even on the coldest days you will be using 33 percent the electricity you currently are with your baseboards. They work down to about -25 celsius then their efficiency plummets down to that of baseboard heaters. You could if you invest in solar and air to air heat pumps make a net metered system work for you... Some states offer incentives as well. I really like the dedicated solar arrangement for building solar capacity. That is exactly how my house works. I replaced the backup generator with a grid connection and power some loads on solar some on grid. Right now I'm about evenly split. I will be installing a much more powerful modern array this year sometime. At that point I expect my utility portion to drop to almost nothing. I will keep it though its the cheapest backup generator you can buy.


Excellent post. I agree that air to air heat pumps are the BEST. The problem for me is that they are very expensive. Mitsubishi has a split something or other system that a Vermonter uses to heat his home extremely efficently. It's just not something I can afford. Also, they need to be inspected by qualified personnnel annually. All that costs money. One of my initial reasons for getting rid of the kerosene fired furnace was the maintenance people's habit of charging an arm and a leg for the annual inspection. And, if the electrodes needed changing or adjusting in the middle of the winter (No heat!), they charged $90 JUST TO COME TO MY HOME before the cost of parts and labor. For you, a skilled craftsman, those are not issues. For people like me, they are more costs that just keep adding up.

None of those costs exist when all you are doing is running electricity through a resistance to get heat.

I understand the inefficencies of the grid, particularly that part of the grid that gets its energy from burning fossil fuels. It's insanely inefficient, as you pointed out. GMP gets a huge part of its juice from wind and hydro, with a smaller part from solar and some "Renewable Energy credits" program, so my source is not that inefficient. Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute has written and made several videos about that issue and other inefficencies in our civilization like the woefully inefficent pipe designs for all sorts of machinery, not just engines. Actually, the numbers you posted from that link are more friendly than what Amory Lovins has computed for those fossil fuels. Too often, the basic enthalpy of a hydrocarbon is what guides efficiency calculations. Amory Lovins adds all the other, often hidden, inefficiencies to those. But, I will not split hairs with you on that.

Here's a screenshot from one of the videos by Amory Lovins on the inefficiencies of our civilization:


Ideally, we would all heat and cool our houses with some kind of heat pump using either a geothermal source  getting piped air or some heat exchanger liquid from 30 feet or so below the ground, depending on where you live, or just going the air to air heat pump route with a Mitsubishi unit.

This is part of the Mitsubishi pitch:

Quote
GIVE YOUR FAMILY PERSONALIZED COMFORT YEAR ROUND WITH HEAT PUMP TECHNOLOGY

Conventional heat pump systems are known for poor efficiency and performance in cold temperatures. Today, thanks to the integration of INVERTER-driven variable speed compressor technology, highly-efficient, modern heat pump systems offer homes optimized comfort conditioning no matter the season or temperature.

HOW THEY WORK

When utilizing a zoned HVAC configuration, each heat pump system consists of one or multiple ducted or ductless air handlers and an outdoor condensing unit. One outdoor unit can control up to eight indoor units, providing personalized temperature control, in each individual space, depending on the occupant's preference. Refrigerant lines connect the indoor unit to the outdoor unit. During summer, the system produces air conditioning when refrigerant absorbs heat energy from inside your home and expels it outdoors. During winter, the heat transfer process reverses as refrigerant extracts heat energy from the outside air and transfers the heat inside to warm your home. With the outdoor unit operating with INVERTER-driven compressor technology, the system speeds up or slows down to match the precise cooling and heating requirements of the space, keeping efficiencies high and costs down.


http://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/articles/technology/give-your-family-personalized-comfort-year-round-with-heat-pump-technology

But beggars like me cannot be choosers. When Green Mountain Power (GMP) reaches 100% Renewable Energy, the only carbon dioxide I will be putting out, provided I buy and Electric Vehicle, is the CO2 I exhale. That is my goal, even if it isn't as efficient as using natural gas.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 16, 2018, 08:30:53 pm »



Report: Overall Solar PV Quality Is Improving But Risks Remain
June 11, 2018

By William Steel

Top PV Performace awards Credit: DNV GL
         
Independent energy and certification body DNV GL reports overall improvement in global solar PV reliability with its fourth edition PV Module Reliability Scorecard report. The Scorecard reports on eighteen months of test results from DNV GL’s PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP) of commercially available PV modules on the global market.

Tara Doyle, Head of Business Development & Project Management, explained this year’s key developments.


“Our goal with the Scorecard is to support the buyer market, the downstream partners — developers, financiers, EPCs, insurance, etc. — and help them make data-driven decisions.”

To this end, Doyle said that the Product Qualification Program is a series of tests geared toward evaluating products across their lifetime.

“We’re looking at what’s going to happen to PV panels under simulated environmental stresses over the course of the product’s useful life.”

Testing goes beyond industry standards too, “usually by two to four times,” noted Doyle.

Related: Assuring Solar Modules Will Last for Decades

“Included in the PQP are tests that look at performance, reliability and durability. The four test categories, thermal cycling, damp heat, dynamic mechanical load sequence and potential induced degradation, are several tests at the core of reliability and durability.”

Digging into the Bill of Materials

“We see improvement in all areas except one,” said Doyle, adding that “overall performance in the damp heat test category decreased.”

The test, featuring high temperature and high humidity to evaluate module construction, revealed median power degradation of 2.5 percent this year compared to 0.9 percent in both 2014 and 2017.

“It’s important to highlight that we’re not only testing individual components that comprise the bill of materials (BOM) but also interaction between components. Any change in components, or how the module is manufactured, can have an impact on performance and reliability of the product.”

“There were still other failures across categories,” added Doyle, explaining that the results found twenty-two percent of manufacturers experiencing one or more failures in overall testing, nine percent of BOMs failed one or more of the test criteria, and twelve percent of module types failed one or more of the test criteria.

“It’s important that the buyer community be cognizant of results as these issues can impact projects; and we’d caution the buyer community to request BOMs of the top performing models from manufacturers (something DNV GL provides).”
   
Top Performers ✨ 

While over twenty manufacturers are rated as Top Performers for 2018, just four are credited with the accolade for the last three years running: Jinko Solar 🌟, Trina Solar 🌟, Hanwha Q CELLS Co., Ltd 🌟 and Yingli Solar 🌟.    

Manufacturers Adani (Mundra Solar PV Ltd ⭐), First Solar ⭐, HT-SAAE ⭐, LG Electronics ⭐, and Panasonic ⭐ all gained Top Performer status this year for the first time.

Quote
“We see reliability and performance improving overall. That’s a trend we’ve seen over past several scorecards,” said Doyle.

A new feature of the 2018 Scorecard is a ‘Historical Scorecard’ that brings a spotlight to top performers since the first Scorecard.

Related: Energy Services Giant DNV GL Scoops Up PV Evolution Labs

“The downstream find value in single reports and tests, but also look toward performance and reliability trends of manufacturers  — in other words asking, ‘Is this manufacturer capable of producing quality products?’. We’ve included the Historical Scorecard to showcase top performers.”

New Technologies Bring New Risks

While mainstream products benefit from tried and tested materials, components and processes, more cutting-edge technologies aren’t without risk.

“With new commercially available products coming to market — for instance bifacial, PERC, half-cut cells — that have not been installed in the field for long, or gone through testing as significantly as other products, there could be significant risks for buyers to consider.”

The broader, fast-moving landscape of solar PV markets, together with its pressures, underlines the importance of DNV GL’s testing activities according to Doyle.

“With PPA pricing and overall cost of energy decreasing, so is the cost of solar PV. Consequently, manufacturers especially are being forced to do more with less, and reduce costs across the value chain in order to remain cost-competitive. We see that these pressures can impact the quality of PV modules produced and so we must remain vigilant.”

Related: 3@3 on Solar PV: Off-Grid, Quality, PPA Pricing

https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2018/06/report-overall-solar-pv-quality-is-improving-but-risks-remain.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 16, 2018, 05:20:42 pm »

From my inputs, they claim I would need 67 X 360W PANELS :o plus a 13.5KW battery. Besides the fact that I could only get about a third of that many panels on the south side of my roof, it's just too much money.  :(


The way I would recommend using solar in your unique situation ( should you ever wish to) is to build a very simple parallel system with one large panel (scaling up eventually to perhaps two panels)  and a small battery array, and run SOMETHING off it. A dedicated circuit for your refrigerator, perhaps. If that's too big a load you could run lights.

An MPPT charge controller helps with the shade problem.

I think it makes really better sense here of course. We have 5 hour sun. I could run my energy-sink McMansion with pool from a good rooftop grid-tie, and it would make my house more desirable to sell when I finally do downsize. I just hesitate to take on debt for that. But it would be required, because TPTB requires the job be done by pros, which implies it gets done fast and you have to pay for it all at once.



Agreed. The idea of a dedicated circuit has always appealed to me, particularly one where voltage regulation is not a big issue. For example, in the winter, though the total hours of sunlight are reduced, we actually get more direct sunlight on my home. Solar Panels (about 6KW) on the roof could easily be rigged for a dedicated heating circuit. Filament heating circuits, as long as you protect them from too much amperage (easy to do with solar Panels  ;)), could care less about voltage variation. All my heating is electric. I stopped using the kerosene fired furnace over 15 years ago. I have saved a lot of money by doing that and, since Green Mountain Power has a very large Renewable Energy portfolio, it has definitely lowered my carbon footprint.

Yes, the the fossil fuelers will be quick to blah, blah, blah about "kerosene/oil/fossil fuels are more efficient than electrical resistance for heating", but they are WRONG.

WHY? Because, though they are technically thermodynamically right when the two energy transfer systems are viewed in isolation, they FAIL TO add in the fuel cost of those trucks that carry that kerosene, their maintenance, AND the trucks that carry the kerosene from the refinery (and so on). No sir, they have this STRANGE idea that "energy going through wires costs the same to transport to your home" as energy going from an oil well to the refinery to the truck to the distributor to your home furnace to be burned. BULLSHIT.

Pardon my rant. ;D I also have issues with all this government permitting baloney TPTB place on us before we are allowed to get a Renewable Energy system going. More people are killed each year from misusing kerosene portable heaters than PV or wind electrical systems injuries by a factor easily of a thousand! But, no sir, we don't want to "overregulate" anything that uses fossil fuels, now do we? 😈

Well, at least the electricians are happy.  ::)
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 16, 2018, 04:29:38 pm »

I am thinking about trying to accumulate some more PV panels. I have a better opportunity than I've ever had before. Mission Solar is still a going concern in San Antonio (I think they are, anyway), and they are selling cosmetic blems for less than .40/watt, and they have them for sale locally here in Austin. Panels up to 360W apiece.

Whomever the seller is, they have varying quantities. Looks like not too much available in this last ad. I get the impression from their ads over the last several months that it was the factory selling unsold inventory, and not some reseller. Don't know though.

Usually, when I find a great deal on panels, they're in CA. Shipping is costly and the freight drivers are careless with the goods. I know from prior experience.



Actually, it's the fork truck drivers on the freight docks, and not the real freight drivers who cause the damage, as far I as could see. I hereby correct my error. You truck drivers take note.


Well, be sure and let us know how much juice you are harvesting when you get your system fine tuned. I went to this web site that figures out how many panels you need on the roof from your location plus how much battery power you need to store the juice to run your home for an 8 hour grid blackout at night. You can vary some of the inputs to get a tailored result.

From my inputs, they claim I would need 67 X 360W PANELS :o plus a 13.5KW battery. Besides the fact that I could only get about a third of that many panels on the south side of my roof, it's just too much money.  :(

I get a lot of shade here (you select the amount of shade you have in the calculator). Those tall trees (as long as they don't fall on the home in a wind storm, like happened to my next door neighbor last fall :P) have a lot of other benefits so I will actively resist requesting they be topped just to get some extra solar energy.

Here's the calculator if you want to check it out:


SunPower Adds New Solar + Storage Offering To Give Consumers Reliable Power Every Day Of The Year🌞

The calculator takes into account normal factors like average electric bill and any roof shading, but also includes forward-looking factors like electric vehicles. They are a natural add as solar and electric cars go together like, well, solar and storage, while also driving electricity usage up significantly.

The system then allows the user to scale how much of their own power the solar system should generate and paints a picture of storage requirements, estimated savings and the like. It’s not magic but it does move the ball forward with regards to easing customers into the solar system acquisition sales funnel.

“As a leader in residential solar, SunPower is committed to simplifying solar for customers, whether it’s with innovative systems like SunPower Equinox, or new digital tools like the solar-and-storage calculator which, in an industry-first, allows customers to see how future or current electric vehicle charging will affect system size and savings,” Taffe continued.

Pairing sonnen and Tesla energy storage products with SunPower’s famed high efficiency panels allows customers to build the system that best suits their needs with the confidence that it

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 13, 2018, 08:20:39 pm »

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SunPower Adds New Solar + Storage Offering To Give Consumers Reliable Power Every Day Of The Year🌞

June 13th, 2018 by Kyle Field

SunPower took the wraps off of its new SunPower Equinox home solar energy system today, which was designed to be compatible with leading residential energy storage products from sonnen and Tesla Energy.

Residential solar shoppers are increasingly interested in installing a battery alongside a rooftop solar system, a new industry survey revealed. SunPower expects that the increasing awareness of the benefits of residential energy storage is expected to drive a four-fold increase in demand for the units from 2018 to 2022.


“By adding storage, homeowners can rest assured that they’ll have a reliable source of backup energy to power essential devices and appliances during grid outages, and the opportunity to maximize electricity cost savings year-round,” said Norm Taffe, SunPower executive vice president, residential solar. “While there are many energy storage products on the market, we have hand-picked sonnen and Tesla and ensured that they work harmoniously with the SunPower Equinox solution to deliver more dependable power and design appeal, giving our customers and dealers an opportunity to choose the battery option that best suits their needs.”

To make it easier for potential customers to get more comfortable with the idea and operation of solar and residential energy storage, SunPower has put together a solar-plus-storage calculator. The calculator allows customers to plug in their own info and get some real numbers back about the potential of solar-plus-storage to save them money or lock electrical bills in place.


The calculator takes into account normal factors like average electric bill and any roof shading, but also includes forward-looking factors like electric vehicles. They are a natural add as solar and electric cars go together like, well, solar and storage, while also driving electricity usage up significantly.

The system then allows the user to scale how much of their own power the solar system should generate and paints a picture of storage requirements, estimated savings and the like. It’s not magic but it does move the ball forward with regards to easing customers into the solar system acquisition sales funnel.

“As a leader in residential solar, SunPower is committed to simplifying solar for customers, whether it’s with innovative systems like SunPower Equinox, or new digital tools like the solar-and-storage calculator which, in an industry-first, allows customers to see how future or current electric vehicle charging will affect system size and savings,” Taffe continued.

Pairing sonnen and Tesla energy storage products with SunPower’s famed high efficiency panels allows customers to build the system that best suits their needs with the confidence that it

For all the juicy bits about SunPower’s new offering head on over to www.sunpower.com/residentialstorage.


https://cleantechnica.com/2018/06/13/sunpower-adds-new-solar-storage-offering-to-give-consumers-reliable-power-every-day-of-the-year/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 13, 2018, 07:10:47 pm »

Nevada’s 2.3-Cent Bid Beats Arizona’s Record-Low Solar PPA Price

NV Energy’s portfolio of solar and solar-plus-storage takes the low-price competition up a notch.
Julian Spector  June 12, 2018

SNIPPET:

Records don't last long in the cleantech business.  


Just days ago, we were reporting that the Central Arizona Project (CAP) had secured the lowest confirmed solar price in the U.S., when it approved a 20-year power-purchase agreement at $24.99 per megawatt-hour. That's setting aside an Austin Energy PPA from December that could be lower, but has more ambiguous terms.

That Arizona record is already under threat from projects that utility NV Energy selected as part of its integrated resource planning. The portfolio of 1,001 megawatts of solar capacity and 100 megawatts/400 megawatt-hours of energy storage still needs approval from Nevada’s utility regulators.

If that happens, the lowest confirmed U.S. solar price would be Sempra Renewables’ Copper Mountain Solar 5 project at $21.55 per megawatt-hour. That 250-megawatt project, though, has a 2.5 percent annual escalation as part of its 25-year contract, so the low upfront price wouldn’t last.

Instead, we can turn to 8minutenergy’s 300-megawatt Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm, which clocks in at a flat rate of $23.76 per megawatt-hour throughout its 25-year PPA term.

That comfortably beats the CAP project on pricing, while delivering 10 times the capacity 👀 . It also marks a substantial improvement on the $29.50 per megawatt-hour median pricing for standalone solar PV in Xcel’s famous solicitation six months ago.

Quote
"We’ve always expected prices to drop a lot," said Colin Smith, a solar markets analyst at GTM Research. "With everything that’s happened with tariffs recently, I’m surprised to see them this low this soon." 

Full article:

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/nevada-beat-arizona-record-low-solar-ppa-price#gs.HBUB98I
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 12, 2018, 04:52:49 pm »


For me it all started with this hard to explain streetcar setup, where a streetcar was being pulled by a horse. This is one of those instances where an official explanation was running into a sharp contradiction with common sense. I was always wondering why people would go through the hurdles of developing, producing and installing a whole rail system to just use it in a horsecar combination. This of course, had to include the development, and production of the actual car. Just like I mentioned, the rig became known as a horsecar.

Wikipedia contains its own explanation of this horsecar occurrence, “The horse-drawn tram (horsecar) was an early form of public rail transport that developed out of industrial haulage routes that had long been in existence, and from the omnibus routes that first ran on public streets in the 1820s, using the newly improved iron or steel rail or tramway.”

The above sort of gibberish language and bogus explanation could never sit well with me. Common sense was suggesting that a normal person would never go the length required to produce the entire rail system to just pull cars with horses. Indeed, none of us would think that the below provided setups were intended to be used as presented.

click on link for the rest...
https://www.stolenhistory.org/threads/19th-century-compressed-air-cars-and-street-cars-gone-and-forgotten.96/
.

The Amish power their machine shops and ceiling fans with compressed air. It's a way to harness wind power, for them.

I've never been sure why it's okay with God to use compressed air but not electricity. Maybe because its a  DIY tech that doesn't require an "outside" power grid, so they aren't tied to BAU, which seems to be a big deal for the Amish.

The ceiling fans are available for sale online , but they are not cheap.


Actually, the Amish have no problem with using electricity, as long as they harvest it themselves. and don't connect with the "culture undermining" grid. 

Quote
19 Oct 2015

The Amish Are Going Solar? 

By Jenny Lou Bement | Green Energy
 
Have you seen solar panels on rooftops in Amish country? According to NPR, the Amish population in Ohio is steadily adding solar power technology to their homes. In fact, it reports that 80% of the Amish in Holmes County, Ohio, are embracing this renewable energy. Although a handful of families refuse to take advantage of solar electricity, even some of the more orthodox Amish are excited about the incorporation of solar power. At first glance, it seems strange but, believe it or not, it makes sense.

If there's a community that has held tight to its traditions, it's the Amish. With their own language, way of life and near-absolute separation from mainstream culture, or "English" as they call it, the Amish are famously known for their strong ability to live off the fruits of their labor rather than technology. In general, they live without cars, television or electricity but with advancements in energy generation, some of this is changing. Like many eco-conscious, tech-savvy folks across the world, the Amish are reaping the benefits of solar energy.

Why the Amish are embracing solar


One reason why solar is becoming increasingly popular among Amish communities is the fire risk of their traditional lighting methods such as kerosene lamps and candles – especially for the elderly and younger members of their communities. It also gives their communities the ability to have cheaper, cleaner electricity with the perk of remaining off the grid. In a nutshell, solar is a win-win for the Amish – they remain off the grid, preserving their culture while reaping the benefits of clean renewable energy when needed.

The Amish use electricity?

It's not that the Amish aren't allowed to use electricity, it's that they believe too much reliance on electricity or access to public power grids will tie them too closely to the rest of the world and hurt their well-preserved culture. It's not necessarily against their beliefs to have power. Before solar panels became readily available, the Amish used gasoline or diesel generators to produce their own electricity for a handful of luxuries – lighting and, in some cases, household appliances such as washing machines.

The Amish don't believe electricity is bad; they believe having ready access to it will create temptation that can lead to television and other electrical luxuries that could hurt their values. Their culture values hard work and while they may appreciate appliances and tools that can make their jobs easier, the general consensus in their community is if they have complete access to these technologies, it will compromise their children's work ethic and could lead to a tarnished version of their way of life over generations. With solar, there's less risk of diminished values and mainstream culture, just as with generators. The big difference is – it's better for the world and 100% renewable.

https://www.saveonenergy.com/green-energy/amish-going-solar/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 11, 2018, 02:26:22 pm »

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Fox News 😈 Slams California Rooftop Solar Initiative With Lies, Half-Truths, & Distortions

May 10th, 2018 by Steve Hanley

The California Energy Commission has mandated that most new residential structures — single family homes, condominium complexes, and apartment buildings — have rooftop solar systems beginning in 2020. While most people who care about the Earth are applauding the move, Fox News has greeted the decision with derision and scorn.

Amber Beck, a spokesperson for the California Energy Commission, says, “For residential homeowners, based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that the standards will add about $40 to an average monthly payment, but save consumers $80 on monthly heating, cooling, and lighting bills. On average, the 2019 standards will increase the cost of constructing a new home by about $9,500 but will save $19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over 30 years.”

It didn’t take Faux News long to find someone with a gloomier view. Brian Dahle, the Republican leader of the California Assembly, told the alleged news organization, “That’s just going to drive the cost up and make California, once again, not affordable to live.” Yup. You betcha. In a state where the average single-family home costs $479,000 and the typical monthly mortgage with principal and interest is $2,334, that extra $40 a month is going to be a deal breaker for most folks. (And the long-term savings don’t matter.)

Then Fox News dug up a quote from Bill Watt, a homebuilder and former president of the Orange County Building Industry Association. He tells The Orange County Register the added solar panel costs, in addition to other building mandates, will make home ownership out of reach for many buyers. “We’re not building enough housing already. Why not just pause for a little while, focus on the affordability and housing issues, then circle back?”


Robert Raymer, technical director of the California Building Industry Association, gave a tepid endorsement to the new policy. “[W]e would prefer that this had been put off for a few more years, but the fact is that the California Energy Commission has been working on this, with us, for the past 10 years. We know this is coming. We did everything we could to push down compliance costs and increase design flexibility.” In other words, they did everything they could to slow walk the process as much as possible, delaying the inevitable every step of the way, and increasing emissions in the process.

Brooke Singman , who purports to be a journalist, larded her Fox News story with this memorable line: “The solar panel decision is just the latest example of what critics see as the state’s ever-evolving nanny-state policies. California often is at the leading edge of government mandates and bans, having recently prohibited everything from plastic bags to foie gras – and even flirting with phasing out internal combustion engines.” Foie gras? Oh, the horror!

Then, as if to establish her bona fides, she dredged up the Solyndra debacle, an idea everyone was for before they were against it. “The mandate is the latest win for the solar industry, despite past controversies tied to companies’ use of taxpayer funds. The most notorious example was California company Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy in 2011. An Energy Department inspector general report in 2015 said the company misrepresented facts in order to secure a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government. Taxpayer lost most of that money in the deal.”

Conservatives Reactionaries have never met a handout to fossil fuel companies 🦖 or the military 🦍 they didn’t like.
Those taxpayer-funded gifts cost hundreds of billions of dollars each and every year. But money to jump start the US solar industry so America could begin to wean itself off oil? Hang the bastards! Tar and feather ’em! Have them drawn and quartered at sunrise and then keel-hauled around the fleet!

Having thoroughly poisoned the minds of her readers, Singman tosses out this throwaway line at the very bottom of her journalistic tour de farce: “The new California measure would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 700,000 metric tons over three years, according to the commission. The Energy Commission said this would be equivalent to taking 115,000 cars off the road.”

Oh. With such fairly unbalanced diatribes soaking into the brains of its readers and viewers every day, it is little wonder that Donald Trump is pushing the world to the brink of World War III with his unhinged policies while his “base” cheers. In a perfect world, Fox News would be declared a terrorist organization and its rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth adherents deported. Then America could truly begin the task of becoming great once again.

Hat tip to Dan Allard

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/05/10/fox-news-slams-california-rooftop-solar-initiative-with-lies-half-truths-distortions/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 08, 2018, 08:15:49 pm »



Uzbekistan Takes Giant Leap for Climate Goals with 1-GW Solar Project

May 4, 2018

By Jennifer Delony [Associate Editor]

Uzbekistan
         
Toronto-based SkyPower today said it has reached an agreement to build 1 GW of solar power generation throughout Uzbekistan, bringing the country’s renewable generation to 10 percent of total generating capacity.

Uzbekistan in April 2017 submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change with a commitment to “bring up the share of solar energy in the total energy balance of the country to 6 percent by 2030.” The 10 percent total generating capacity that will result from the new agreement will be made up of 2 percent existing hydropower generation and 8 percent solar generation, SkyPower said.

Uzbekistan and SkyPower also signed the first power purchase agreement in the country’s history, according to SkyPower. The agreement makes SkyPower the first independent power producer in the history of Uzbekistan, working closely with state-owned utility company Uzbekenergo, the company said.

“This is a historic partnership that will benefit both the Government of Uzbekistan and SkyPower, and we are happy to be building Uzbekistan’s first solar power installation,” SkyPower CEO Kerry Adler said in a statement. “President Mirziyoyev’s forward-thinking vision for Uzbekistan, along with the commitment of the Deputy Prime Ministers and the leadership of the National Project Management Office in concert with Uzbekenergo leadership, together have really helped move this project forward.”

According to Uzbekistan’s NDC, the country is one of the most vulnerable to climate change.

“Without additional resource saving measures, the country may face deficiency of water resources, growth in land desertification and degradation, increase in occurrence of droughts and other dangerous phenomena, leading to instability of agricultural production and threatening to the country’s food security,” the NDC said.

Arian Zwegers | Flickr

The NDC referenced the unprecedented losses of the Aral Sea, which lies partially along Northern Uzbekistan: “The Aral Sea, once the unique and one of the most beautiful and largest inland water bodies in the world, has turned out to be at the edge of total disappearance during the life of one generation. This has caused unprecedented disaster and irreversible damage to the local population, ecosystem and biodiversity of the Priaralie.”

https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2018/05/uzbekistan-takes-giant-leap-for-climate-goals-with-1gw-solar-project.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 05, 2018, 06:51:56 pm »



May 3, 2018

The Puerto Rican Families Who've Gone Off the Grid

SNIPPET 1:

When Puerto Rico went dark a couple weeks ago, Mayra Nieves Rosa didn’t even notice. She was too wrapped up working from her home office in the San Juan metro area. It’s not like her lights went out. 

You see, the sun powers Rosa’s home—enough of it, at least. Any time the lights go out across the island, her nine solar panels keep her at-home office and fridge energized. Rosa and her partner are among a growing number of Puerto Ricans who went off the grid after Hurricane Maria, and aren’t looking back.


SNIPPET 2:

“There’s an understanding around the necessity to embrace a new energy source,” said Arturo Massol, a director at the organization, to Earther in Spanish. “People understand there’s a need. I think people understand it more now that they’ve suffered.”

Massol said he’s seen more panels pop up around the island since the hurricane—both thanks to Casa Pueblo’s initiative and through other private and nonprofit efforts.

In March, Casa Pueblo gifted a solar system to a family in Adjuntas to support 88-year old Martina Santana, who suffers from a respiratory illness, and whose medicine requires refrigeration.

“When I found out that Casa Pueblo was going to give her this system because ‘she deserves that and more,’ I felt like it was a fairytale,” said Martin Santana, her son who lives in the home with his mother and older sister, to Earther. “And, then, the next day, three people came and brought me six solar panels, two batteries and a system to operate them.”

Full article:

https://earther.com/the-puerto-rican-families-whove-gone-off-the-grid-1825722603
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 26, 2018, 02:13:48 pm »

India Beats North America, Europe, & Japan In 2017 Solar Additions

April 24th, 2018 by Saurabh Mahapatra

Those aggressive auction timelines by the central and several state governments in India have finally resulted in the Asian giant taking the limelight in the global solar power market.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), India overtook the continents of North America and Europe, as well as Japan, in terms of solar power capacity added during 2017. This is no mean feat given these continents and countries have several times India’s installed solar power capacity.


India added 9,628 megawatts of solar power capacity in 2017, up from 4,251 megawatts in 2016. The United States added 8,173 megawatts of solar power capacity last year compared to 11,274 megawatts in 2016. The total solar power capacity added in North America (the United States, Canada, and Mexico) was 8,584 megawatts.

All the countries in Europe added a cumulative 5,912 megawatts last year, while Japan added 7,000 megawatts, down from 8,300 megawatts in 2016. We had reported last year that India would be likely to overtake Japan as the third-largest solar power market in terms of new capacity added. However, the slowdown in capacity addition in the United States has put India right behind China.

India is third in Asia in terms of operational solar power capacity, behind China and Japan. China added just over 53 gigawatts of solar power capacity in 2017, and retained the leadership position. Just over 72 gigawatts of solar power capacity was added in all of the Asian countries.

Globally, a total of 93,752 megawatts of solar power capacity was added last year. [

India could manage to beat some of the most developed solar power markets globally due to the government’s thrust to push solar power as a major source of power generation. The central government set very ambitious solar power targets which percolated to the states.


India plans to hold auctions for 30 gigawatts of solar power capacity each in FY2018-19 and FY2019-20 in an attempt to reach the 100 gigawatt operational solar power capacity target by March 2022.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/04/24/india-beats-north-america-europe-japan-in-2017-solar-additions/

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 25, 2018, 02:46:49 pm »

China Installs Nearly 10 Gigawatts Of Solar In First Quarter, Up 22%

April 24th, 2018 by Joshua S Hill

China’s National Energy Administration announced on Tuesday that the country installed an impressive 9.65 gigawatts (GW) of new solar PV capacity in the first quarter of 2018, up 22% on the same period a year earlier and up on analysts’ projections.

At a press conference held on Tuesday, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) published new data revealing the country’s solar PV performance for the first quarter. The data comes to us courtesy of Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory, (AECEA), based in Beijing, which covers the Chinese solar industry closer than many non-Chinese analysts are capable of doing.

Apple Solar Farm in China

Specifically, China installed a total of 9.65 GW worth of new solar PV capacity in the first quarter, made up of 1.97 GW worth of utility-scale solar capacity, and 7.68 GW worth of distributed solar capacity. This represents a 22% increase on the same quarter a year earlier, however, this doesn’t tell the whole story.

Frank Haugwitz, Director of the AECEA, explained that China’s utility-scale segment actually decreased by 64% in the first quarter, as compared to a year earlier, while the country’s distributed solar segment increased by a mind-boggling 217%.

AECEA also hinted at the fact that grid curtailment issues, which have plagued China’s solar industry for several years now, is beginning to improve — especially in regions such as Xinjiang and the province of Gansu, where grid curtailment levels in 2017 had stayed above 20% for the whole year.

It’s a strong start to the year for China’s solar industry, which broke all sorts of records in 2017 by installing a massive 52.83 GW worth of solar capacity after a year of repeated revisions to analyst expectations. Looking forward, there is no communal agreement on how much solar China will install in 2018, but AECEA currently expects China to install between 40 GW and 45 GW.  :o   

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/04/24/china-installs-nearly-10-gigawatts-of-solar-in-first-quarter-up-22/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 08, 2018, 01:58:36 pm »

Agelbert COMMENT: I like these solar panels due to their ease of installation but I would not recommend them for a place that would experience hurricane force winds. In the video they mention that they can handle 115 mph winds. That means that in high wind prone areas these panels would require stronger attachment hardware to properly secure them to the roof.

Beamreach solar panels

$0.41/Watt Container
 
280 Watt 60 Cell Mono
25 Year Warranty
 
$0.41/Watt 728 per container 
$0.48/Watt 26 per pallet
$0.58/Watt less than pallet

Watch the video about the Beamreach solar panels
looks like they cut the weight from the racking and ballast. Nothing new in the cells themselves. I don't like the stick on mounts that is the cleanest roof I've ever seen! Good for southern flat roofs not built for snow loads. I'd have to see pricing to figure out if it's worth the premium

I don't like that stick on system either. If you find out more about these Beamreach panels and their pricing, please post about it here.  8)
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 07, 2018, 07:53:13 pm »

Best Renewable Energy Projects In the World You've Never Seen Before


Richard Aguilar

Published on Jan 11, 2018
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 07, 2018, 06:50:13 pm »

Agelbert COMMENT: I like these solar panels due to their ease of installation but I would not recommend them for a place that would experience hurricane force winds. In the video they mention that they can handle 115 mph winds. That means that in high wind prone areas these panels would require stronger attachment hardware to properly secure them to the roof.

Beamreach solar panels

$0.41/Watt Container
 
280 Watt 60 Cell Mono
25 Year Warranty
 
$0.41/Watt 728 per container 
$0.48/Watt 26 per pallet
$0.58/Watt less than pallet

Watch the video about the Beamreach solar panels
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 05, 2018, 10:27:07 pm »

How the solar industry is responding to the increasing intensity of natural disasters

By Kelly Pickerel | January 29, 2018

Weather patterns have always been considered when determining solar system lifetimes and performance. Safety is also considered when establishing installation guidelines and product standards. The recent intensity of natural disasters across the country—a direct result of climate change—brings the adequacy of safety and performance standards into question. Are solar installations prepared for the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events of the future?

For the most part, it seems like we’re faring OK. When bad weather hits, there are more solar success stories than major failures. Rooftop arrays are surviving multiple hurricane hits and panels barely feel hailstorms. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned as natural disasters get worse.

Global safety and testing organization UL is paying attention. A good baseline for product standards today may need to be adjusted in the future. UL factors the full lifespan of a project, including any potential climate changes in year 20 or 35, into how arrays should perform.

Root causes of solar PV claims in North America between 2011 and 2015 (Source: GCube)

“We certainly look at safety margins and evaluate if they’re adequate for potential changes in weather events,” said Bruce Bailey, vice president of renewable energy for UL. “We don’t see any chinks in the armor or fatal flaws [right now], but there needs to be an industry awareness of these issues, and there’s clearly a willingness to respond to them.”

We’re seeing the greater impact of disastrous weather every day. Renewable insurance provider GCube found that 50% of solar claims (from 2011 to 2015) came from weather-related incidents, far outpacing the electrical failures we’ve come to expect most.

“Average solar claims severity in the last five years has increased by 87%, predominantly as a result of the greater impact of weather-related losses,” GCube said in its 2016 Cell, Interrupted report.

Clearly extreme weather is affecting the solar industry already. Here’s a look at how solar installations are coping with natural disasters today and how we’ll survive severe events of the future.

Wildfires 🔥

Huge sections of California felt the increased intensity of wildfires last year, and it feels unrealistic to expect a solar array to make it through the flames when entire homes are destroyed. But what is expected is that solar panels won’t contribute to a fire or be a danger to the surrounding area.

UL technician Demetrius Preston tests a solar panel to UL 1703 standards. (Source: SPW)

When traveling in the San Francisco Bay area, Solar Power World editors heard stories of residential solar panels exploding into pieces after the wildfires across Northern California in October 2017. Suddenly solar panels installed in fire-prone areas seemed like a dangerous decision.

If those exploding solar panel stories were true, they were probably freak accidents and not a result of poor solar panel standards, said UL principal engineer Ken Boyce.

“Fire is a living thing—it eats, it consumes fuel, it breathes, it needs to consume oxygen and it doesn’t want to die. When you bring that to bear on any piece of electrical equipment or building material, you can have a different range of responses,” he said. “That experience [of exploding panels] may have to do more with the intensity of the wildfire than the response of the PV panels to a particular condition.”

UL testing has done a good job making sure panels and mounting systems won’t encourage the spread of flames. It’s difficult to even find statistics on solar panels involved with fires, let alone starting or spreading them. Still, major fire events aren’t downplayed when building a safe and reliable industry.

“It’s the type of thing that we monitor,” said Boyce, who participates in SEIA’s Codes & Standards Working Group. “We talk about these types of things all the time to make sure we’re bringing the right thought to the building and fire codes and the electrical codes and that we’re managing that interface with product standards.”



Hurricanes  and tornadoes

While Puerto Rico and other islands saw unbelievable destruction from the 2017 hurricane season, one piece of good news shined through the devastation—a 645-kW array on a medical center roof in San Juan survived and was functioning at 100%. Florida-based contractor Valor Construction installed the system at the VA Caribbean Healthcare System in 2015 using Sollega ballasted mounting systems supported by Anchor Products attachments.

This 645-kW system survived Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico because of roof attachments. (Source: Sollega)

The key to that installation’s success (and many others across the Caribbean) was its use of attachments, said Anchor Products president Joel Stanley.

“When you have an attached system, it’s just not going to move. It can’t; it’s attached,  he said. “Racking manufacturers are adapting racking systems that better accommodate attachments. When attachments are designed properly with the proper racking system, we can design wind load capacities to easily exceed 200 mph.”

Racking manufacturers becoming more comfortable with attachments is a result of experience in the industry and a commitment to tested and verified systems. The trend toward better testing and engineering of systems will continue to improve system success rates in hazardous weather areas.

“It comes down to engineering and designing systems properly,” Stanley said. “If structural engineers can maintain control, we’ll be able to design systems that withstand the forces that Mother Nature is going to have. We’ve done a lot of individual testing with Sollega; they have understood the results and that’s what’s allowed them to design systems like they did in Puerto Rico and St. Maarten and those jobs that have withstood so well.”

Not every system escaped Hurricane Maria unscathed. Damaged panels, frames and mounts are seen at the 24-MW Illumina solar plant in Puerto Rico. (Source: Maria Gallucci/IEEE Spectrum)

On the ground, solar arrays can still be at risk of wind damage. Trackers have gotten better at handling high-wind events because of improved designs and advanced sensors. Instead of depending on heavy steel to keep systems in place, control sensors can optimize stow angles in relation to wind strength to safely position tracking arrays during storms.

“It is always a challenge to face extreme climatic conditions,” said José Alfonso Teruel, R&D manager for tracker manufacturer Soltec. “Our R&D team has re-designed the control electronics, and a new high-speed motor design moves the tracker from the maximum tilt (60˚) to the horizontal position (0˚) in less than three minutes for rapid stowing.”

Residential solar installations in tornado zones are also surviving because of good product selection and common-sense engineering.

“We make a point to select quality equipment and install with good craftsmanship to resist the heavy weather we get in our area, but there will always be outlier events that cannot be planned for,” said Chris Rogge, director of solar services for Cromwell Solar in Lawrence, Kansas—an area known for its higher concentration of tornadoes. “We did have a system take a glancing blow from a tornado, and it stayed in place. A few panels were punctured by flying metal debris, but so was the metal roof of that building.”

Flying debris does seem to be the larger concern. Even when a solar mounting system does its job and keeps panels mounted to roofs and the ground, an airborne lawn chair or rock could be what pulls a system down. In those situations, homeowner’s insurance should take care of the damaged panels.

Hailstorms

It’s also difficult to hide from hail. An April 2016 hailstorm in Texas damaged 4,000 panels at a 4.4-MW site. Baseball-sized hail hit Alamo 2 solar farm near San Antonio, and some panels saw multiple points of impact. The tracking system stowed horizontally when high winds came through, but that left the panels more exposed to falling hail. It was ultimately decided to replace all 18,000 panels in case there were undetected microcracks.

Just one PV panel out of more than 3,000 was damaged at NREL following a spring 2017 hailstorm. (Source: NREL)

Texas Green Energy was hired to replace the panels, and president Adam Burke said he wanted to prove to solar naysayers that damaged panels only have to be a slight inconvenience.

“I wanted to prove a point that these things happen and there are mechanisms in place to repair this just like anything else,” he said. “It’s minor downtime and the whole plant is renewed and restored.”

Freak accidents aside, hail damage is not a huge concern. NREL analyzed 50,000 solar systems installed between 2009 and 2012 and found the probability of damage from hail was below 0.05%. Solar panels are tested and certified to withstand 25-mm (1-in.) in diameter hailstones flying at 23 m/s (51 mph). And for the most part, hail doesn’t often fall larger or faster than that.

“We do get our fair share [of hail] around here. We’ve probably seen less than five panels with visible hail damage, though. We have seen great coverage from these customers by homeowner’s insurance,” said Cromwell Solar’s Rogge. “We had a good amount of hail this past spring, but it just led to a lot of removal and reinstallations for roof replacements. The arrays have been fine.”

Blizzards ❄  ☃   

Earlier this winter, Erie, Pennsylvania, received an astounding 65 in. of snow in 60 hours—34 in. came on Christmas Day alone. While communities in the Great Lakes’ snowbelt are used to heavy snow, this was still a record-breaking event. No one wants 5 ft of snow sitting on top of solar panels.

Soltec trackers shed snow at a 150-MW installation in Minnesota. (Source: Soltec)

The weight of that snow will probably not harm a solar array, especially since tilted solar panels help to shed snow blankets (just watch your head below). Buffalo, New York’s CIR Electrical Construction always includes partial snow cover in customer solar production plans, and the installation company tells its customers to just let nature do its thing.

“We do not recommend our customers to clear snow off their panels,” said Ashley Regan, director of business development for CIR. “Using a shovel, brush or similar item could damage your panels and system. Your system warranties do not cover any c r a c k e d glass or disturbed electrical wiring that may result from a homeowner trying to remove snow, so it’s best to let them be.”

CIR installs solar year-round and can often be found shoveling snow off roofs and using leaf blowers to warm roofing shingles before beginning work. That’s where snow affects solar most: installation speed.

“Winter and other intensive weather conditions may slow down installation time due to additional steps and safety precautions,” Regan said. “If it’s too cold we don’t force our staff to stay out, especially on the roof. In severely bitter cold, we try to do inside work, including mounting the balance of system, mounting inverters, interior conduit runs and structural attic work if necessary.”

CIR uses power optimizers so each panel can produce independently, which helps with shading from snow coverage. The company also prefers elevated flashing to increase water mitigation from penetrations in case of heavy snowfall.

Snow is just as common as rain, and building codes and product tests account for that. While no one wants great amounts of snow to fall in a short period of time, the good news is that it’s not a permanent weight solar panels have to carry. Snow melts eventually.

Floods 💧🌊

Rising sea level maps show southern sections of Florida swallowed by the effects of global warming by as soon as 2100. New buildings in Miami are preparing for increased water and storm surge. The plaza level of the new Frost Museum of Science sits 21 ft, 8 in. above sea level, and the 66-kW solar system on its roof should never experience flood waters.

A NEXTracker system in Virginia experienced flood waters after Hurricane Matthew in 2016, but appropriate flood clearance design ensured the system was unharmed. (Source: NEXTracker)

For those unplanned, temporary floods, solar developers are adapting. Mauricio Añón, brand ambassador at utility-scale contractor Inovateus Solar, said civil engineers will suggest raising array heights or redirecting flooding channels to allow for ground-mounts to work in floodplains, but it really comes down to costs.

“We get an audit when there is land with potential problems,” he said. “Sometimes [the solution] is just finding different land or a different place and moving the project. If the outcome is not promising, you don’t want to do all that work and not have the warranties [for system protection].”

Executives with Soltec claim that its SF7 tracker has the highest mounting height for the tracking motor and electronics in the industry at a minimum of 5.9 ft, which should keep equipment high enough even in floodplain applications. Soltec also uses torque tubes to protect wires from external threats. Flood-level sensors will activate a tracker to adjust to safe angles in case water levels start to rise.

“The standard height of the tracker, together with additional sensors and an improved tracker control algorithm, allow the tracker rotation to adjust to the flood stage and prevent the tracker from the harmful action of water runoffs while the plant keeps functioning,” said Soltec’s Teruel.

For residential installations, flood waters affect the inverter more than the panels.

“The flooding that we normally see is a few feet and typically will not reach the solar inverter that is wall-mounted on our homes,” said David Dixon, business development manager for Texas installer NATiVE. “Because homeowners are not typically building in flood plains, this has not been a major issue for us, yet.

“I do see this becoming more problematic with coastal installations and the more and more frequent occurrence of extreme weather that we see,” Dixon continued. “Because our equipment is up on walls and roofs, it is usually out of harm’s way. I am beginning to think about battery systems though, which are typically heavy and mounted on grade. They will be vulnerable to even minor flooding events.”

Richard Sherwood with Houston-based installer Adaptive Solar said the region’s four days of heavy rain (peak accumulations reached 60.58 in.) from Hurricane Harvey in late August 2017 really opened up the conversation of battery backup.

“I was bracing for the worst; I didn’t think anyone would be looking at solar for the next three months. [The hurricane] has piqued interest, and we’re seeing a lot more leads but almost exclusively with the battery backup right now,” he said.

Where to house these energy storage technologies may be the next big concern when considering disastrous weather.

As extreme weather events continue to plague the United States, solar installers will have to keep innovating to ensure systems last through hurricanes, hail and tornadoes. Perhaps an increase in solar panel installations will mean a decrease in climate change and wild weather, but only time will tell.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelly Pickerel is managing editor of Solar Power World.


https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2018/01/solar-industry-responding-increasing-intensity-natural-disasters/

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