Archive for the 'Sloar' category

Huge So-Cal EV Charging station

Dec 20 2011 Published by under Future things, Sloar, Solar Install, Uncategorized

 

Above is a photo of the Southern California Edison demonstration electric vehicle charging station in Irwindale California . This is a huge charging station with eight SAE J1772 EVSE and four old style inductive paddle chargers.  That is twelve charging stations, each with it’s own dedicated parking space.

The twelve parking spaces are covered by very large PV solar (300 panels) array that can produce 35,000 kWh per year. Or enough electricity to drive 10,000 miles a year.

Her is a photo look up at the PV solar array.

Could not believe that all eight SAE J1772 EVSE station were unused.

 

This is all the support equipment for the L2 and L1 stations.  When I first saw all these electrical cabinets and the ladder with supplies I though they might be installing a L3 charging station, but no such luck.

The EVSe are all part of the Charge Point network so you can check the status and avaiable on-line using the Charge Point website.

Just an interesting note:

I did not realize that this Southern California Edison location, in Irwindale California, was the same location of a employee shooting were four people were injured or killed. And I’am this dumb bozo taking pictures of the Edison building, walking around like nothing happens. I was wondering why there were so many security guards around.  But no one approached me are stopped me from taking the photos. It was not until later, on the freeway going home, that I heard a news story about the shooting and they said it was the Irwindale location, where I was.

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Solar Park & ride

Sep 09 2011 Published by under Cars, Changing scene, Sloar

The park and ride, pictured above, is in Vacaville California off of interstate 80 at the Davis exit. The location is half way between Sacramento and San Francisco.   It is the first, location in California, to house a 440 volt quick charging  station.  The quick charge station will charge a Nissan Leaf from empty to 80% charge in just 30 minutes. The park and ride also has a very large solar array to supplement the electrical car charging done at this location. With several L2 charging stations.

Here the 440 level 3 charger, located under the solar panels,  beinging used to charge up a Mitsubishi i-Miev at a press event conducted at the  Vacaville California location. There are discussion and tentative plans to build over 300 of these CHAdeMo format chargers through the United States. Nissan has already build a CHAdeMo format L3 charging network through Japan, placing one every 40 or sol miles.

Will the every 40mile charging station work here in the United States or will EV’s just be around town cars. Oh do not forget the upcoming version two of the electric car where refueling will take less then 2 minutes.

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PV panels and SMOG

Jun 22 2011 Published by under Geek stuff, Sloar, Uncategorized

Is smog a consideration when planing a photovoltaic solar system? Well in my very un-scientific analysis of my solar photovoltaic system production I have seen some patterns develop.

I have a monitoring system that constantly  collects data on how much the PV system produces every hour and instant production. One thing that I keep monitoring is what is the peak amount of wattage does the system produce.  I deduced that the closer we approach the summer solstice the more power the PV system would producre. General that is true, I have seen a constant increase in monthly production since the winter solstice.

But what I did notice is that for a couple of days after a rain storm the PV system was generating more power then on average. To the tune of 2 kilowatts (or about 5%) more. Two day after the rain storm the production would drop back to the lower average peak output.

The pattern was very constant (see chart below). Rain and then a couple of higher peek production days and then a return to the lower peeks. So I deduced that the days following a rain storm the air is cleaner, less smog. anyone can see, as they fly in the the Los Angelse basin, that most of the time there is thick layer of smog. So the smog is filtering the sun light and less sun is reaching the PV panels.

So you might argue hat the rain cleans off the PV panels. All the rain washes of the dust awasy and the panels receive more sunlight and therefore producer more power.  Sounds reasonable, BUT just recently we has a service clean the PV panels and both the day of the cleaning and the two day after the cleaning the power production was the average peek not the 2 kilowatts higher peek. Both day were also very sunny and cloud free.

So the more I look at the monitor reports, the more I’am convinced that the smog is costing me about 2 kilowatts a day in lower power production. All due to the SMOG levels in our area.

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Solar – Monitoring System

Feb 19 2011 Published by under Geek stuff, Sloar, Solar Install

What fun is a new solar co-generation facility if you do not know what your are producing. The Sunpower system come with a few bell and whistles in the monitoring area.

The first monitoring device is a small glass display panel that shows what the system is producing. It displays daily and life time production.

 

Then there is the website that Sunpower monitors hour by hour solar panel production. Pretty cool to see what your system is doing at different times through the day. The information is presented in a very elegant and simple manner. Very easy to grasp the concept.  Its is so simple that you do not realize the wealth of information.

But there was a problem in paradise. How can I manage my electrical usage only seeing what I’m producing?  Well Sunpower has a solution. They can add a device to your incomong electrical street service and add consumption to your monitoring system.

So now I get both production and usage hour by hour.  You would be surprised how aware this make you of what and when you are using  electricity. Now that I get the full picture I can start managing usage much more effectively and know if I we are using more then was produced or producing more then we were usinging.

solar panel monthly production and usage

Yearly solar panel production

Some of the additional cool stuff the website also captures is historical data. You can quickly look at the graph that runs along the bottom of the page or you can look at monthly and yearly production vs usage.

You can also go back in time and look and any given day and see all the details of production vs usage. Very nice for comparisons when you are trying different techniques of managing usage.

 

But the best and coolest monitoring is available using an iPhone application. On the iPhone you get the current day production vs usage, plus monthly and yearly history. The big ting missing on the iPhone is the ability to go back and look at previous days.

 

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Solar – Photovoltaic Panels

Dec 09 2010 Published by under Geek stuff, Sloar, Solar Install

All the panels are delivered in a small container.

Inside the container the panels are stacked on a pallet with the inverters and all the mounts.

The solar PV panels are packed two to a cardboard box.

The solar PV panels are packed two to a cardboard box.

On the  back of each PV panel is the connection modal with a male and female weather proof connector.

Here is a shot of the PV panels installed on the roof

All 32 PV panels installed on the room making power

Roof mounted photovoltaic solar panels

Next the monitoring system.

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Solar – the Electronics

Nov 15 2010 Published by under American Consumer, Sloar, Solar Install

The collection box: This device is used to collect all the power from the various photovoltaic arrays. The panels are wired up, in series, to create several groups  or arrays. each array puts out about 600 volts DC.  The connection box feeds the wires through attic to the inverters.

 

 

This system has two inverters due the number of PV panels and the desired expansions options.  The inverter take the DC power created by the  photovoltaic panels and covert it in to 240v AC power. These inverters are a little more sophisticated then the inverters you use in you car to get 110 power. These are full sign-wave inverters. A fail-safe system is built into the inverters to shut down if the street service is interrupted.   The interruption is to protect any power Company employee that is working to restoring the main grid.

Two inverter introduces a problem as both inverter takes up two slots in the electrical panel.  I was lucky and had the space in the panel. We had upgraded to a 200amp panel two years earlier in preparation and anticipation of adding solar.

There are also some advantages to having to inverters. If one inverter fails you do not loose all your power production abilities.  Half of you system will still be producing usable power. The other advantage is the cost less to replace if one fails.

Next the photovoltaic panels.

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Solar – off with the roof

Oct 15 2010 Published by under Geek stuff, Sloar, Solar Install

 

 

This is not your normal instalation of photovoltaic panels. In a normal install, on a concrete tile roof, the photovoltaic panels are install on top of the concrete tiles. The contractor walks all over your fragile concrete tiles and cuts holes in you tiles to install the mounting hardware.

 

 

The photo above is an examle of the traditional method of installing a PV panel mounting system on a concert tile roof. Select tiles are removed, a bracket is mounted to the rood sheeting, a riser post is attached to the mounting bracket, a standard sheet metal  roof flashing is placed over the post and the top edge is sealed. This whole process is tough on the existing roof, as you are walking all over the tiles, and prone to leak due to the numbers location of the mounting post. This type of install also used a rail that the panels are mounted to.

Our installation requires the concrete tile too be removed. The a New 40 year asphalt shingle is laid down, a metal flashing is placed on the roof and the SunPower smart mounts are attached to the roof.  Pre-installed on the botom of the mount is a sealing compound the is squeezed out the the bolts are tightened.  Talking about bolts there are eight. No rise post or rails are used. the panels attach directly to the SunPower Smart mount.

Next the electronics.

 

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We are doing SOLAR

Sep 02 2010 Published by under Geek stuff, Sloar, Taxes

After all the research:

And waiting for years we are finally making the plunge to installer solar.  We kept waiting for the economy to get better but it seems that could take for ever. The monthly cash flow will not change that much. Instead of making a monthly payment to Southern California Edison, for electricity, we will be paying off the photovoltaic solar panel system. And we will be getting FREE electrical power in 7 years.  Plus the state and federal rebates almost cut the price in half.

We have done all the research, reading on the internet, subscribing to magazines like Home Power, home showes, and even going to Solar seminars. We have talked to several contractors, gotten all the bids.

All the contractors licenses were checked  on the California Contractor State License Board website at: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/.  We checked to see what kind of  license that had, whether they had just a C10 (electrical) or a C46 (solar electric),  how long there were in business,  and was their bond and insurance current. We also checked some Solar directories, on the internet, were customers can comment on the contractors work.

After selecting a local Solar contractor, which was important to us. We started checking the job references. We talked to to several home owners and visited several installs to check the quality of the products and workmanship.  we asked wach referance the same four questions;

1.   Would recommend this  solar company to a friend or family member?

2.  Did this Solar company perform the work in a  timely manner?

3.   Did this company perform the work in a professional  Manner?

4.  Would you use this Solar company again?

All the reference came back extremal positive, all the site visits were installed in a professionally, timely manner! So we singed a contract are are ready to start installing are 7kw system. Check back as I will be posting updates of the install. The entire install will take only four days. It will take me several weeks just to post the progress of the project.

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Are you renting your Electricity?

Jul 04 2008 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Dumb Americans, Sloar

Do you rent your car? Do you rent your home? Most people do not or are striving not to rent. Then why do we all rent our electricity? The majority of the public rents their electricity. Well it could be viewed that way, because you are really renting the ability of the power company to generate and deliver power to your home.

You are renting a portion of the physical plant, coal, nuclear, steam, hydro or Solar that generates the electrical power. Also you are renting the transmission lines that are used to move the power from the generating plant to your place of residence.

So why not buy your electricity just like you buy your car or your home. When we buy personal property that is more then we can pay out in one lump sum, we finance it over a period of time. But when that financial obligation is paid off we own that piece of personal property. Granted it takes a lot longer to pay off a home over a vehicle.

Solar-roof-top

So do the same thing with your electricity. Buy it! For many of us that live in the sunbelt we can purchase our own power generating system. And once installed, it requires very little maintenance and does not emit any pollutants. The answer is photovoltaic panels. Ok, they are still kind of expensive, although the cost is coming down over just ten years ago. And the products are more mainstream and readily available today. Most system also will qualify for federal and state rebate programs or tax credits.

So instead of being a Dumb American and paying the power company every month for the rest of your life, pay yourself. Take that monthly amount you would pay out to the power company and pay off your solar system over time. Then when the system is paid off you will be getting almost free electricity.

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