Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What Happens When You Shoot A Solar Panel???



I don't do as many educational events as I used to.  But, speaking to groups about solar energy occasionally did put me in the position of trying to field questions about solar panel durability; you know, hail, wind, bullets. 
 
There was often some jackass at the back of the room who would ask, "What happens if you shoot 'em?"

Like a lot of stuff, solar panels break when they are shot.

The warning signal at the Randolph/Pendleton County line on U.S. 33 between Harman and Seneca Rocks was disabled by somebody abusing their Second Amendment right several months ago.  Recently I noted that the shattered front glass on the module had weakened enough that wind was able to blow the entire assembly out of the aluminum frame. 




The sandwich of materials has pretty good adhesion even after being blown out of the aluminum frame.  By "sandwich" I am referring to the glass on top + silver circuits +  dark colored solar wafers + white tedlar backing.  The glass provides protection for the silicon wafers and circuitry that you can see above.  Most solar panels have glass that is rated to withstand the impact of 1" hail at 50 mph.  The glass accounts for the rigidity of the solar panel and much of its weight.





No more warning lights.  The blinking lights were powered by the solar equipment.  This is a no-joke descent with several hairpin curves and a couple of shear drop offs. 




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Honey Factory in Job, WV



Busy as bees......
These hives are the property of a new distillery, Still Hollow, that's undergoing construction in greater Job, WV.  Listening to the buzz from the sun warmed hives makes me think a bit about the frenzy of electrons  moving through a solar PV panel on a bright spring day!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Passivhause Solar PV: Garrett County, Maryland


Homeowners, Bill and Fran, opted to add solar PV as part of their new home.  They elected to build the house to a rigorous Passive House standard to minimize the energy footprint of the home and ensure that their new home would be comfortable and inexpensive to operate.

The 9-kW solar array is made up of thirty SolarWorld 300W modules.  The solar modules are mounted to the standing seam roof with S-5 clamps which eliminate the need for drilling through the metal roofing material.  SMA inverter equipment converts the DC power from the solar to AC which powers household circuits and turns the utility meter backward.   Special thanks to Larry at CHIPS Network for his help with connecting the inverters to the world wide web.  Production data like that shown below (sunny day in April!) is uploaded and stored on the SunnyPortal website.








Friday, January 20, 2017

"Webster couple improves off-the-grid living with small-scale hydropower" - Charleston Gazette

Micro-hydro in West Virginia gets a headline in the:

http://www.wvgazettemail.com/outdoors/20170119/webster-couple-improves-off-the-grid-living-with-small-scale-hydropower

Great article in Thursday's Gazette about the Janowski's hydro system in Webster County, WV.

Dave and I didn't make it into Rick Steelhammer's article so I gave us a little space here on the blog, although I think we're both a bit camera shy.😀  That's the ES&D turbine in the background that provides most of the power for Mickey and Jenny's off-grid home.

Home Power Magazine also featured the Janowski's home in their July/August 2015 issue.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Grid-tie Solar Power System with Battery-backup in Beverly, WV


Sixteen SolarWorld PV modules back-feed power to the electric utility during normal operation.  During an outage the battery bank and electronics in the basement supply power to selected critical loads.  The battery bank has eight large Trojan deep-cycle batteries.  The backup system can supply 21 amps (240V) and the stored power is close to 17 kWh.  In a prolonged outage the solar will help charge the battery bank as though the home were off-grid.









Monday, June 27, 2016

Sea Container as Off-grid Solar Power Plant - Somewhere in West Virginia


 5.4-kW PV on a 20' can.  Apple juice concentrate was originally imported from overseas in this container.

Outback Power electronics and Trojan batteries are stored inside.  The battery bank can provide 13.3 kWh at 50% DOD.  The inverter produces 120VAC with a max wattage of 3,500W.  There is a Trimetric battery monitor included to aid in the maintenance of the system

The system was built for West Virginia State University as a power supply for an agricultural project near Nowhere, West Virginia (or is that, Somewhere).  Wherever it is, it's out there and it's a long way to a utility pole.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Good Energy: Nik Botkin's Apartment Earth Art Studio

 
I had the pleasure of meeting Nik Botkin at his studio in downtown Charleston, WV while I was finishing up a solar project nearby.

I've had his business card on my desk since because it has a photo of a starling cast in a clear resin fish which I think is super clever.  Nik explained that he's made thousands of these resin fish often with bits of selected detritus inside.  His portfolio is online and well worth a look.  Likewise, if you are in Charleston his studio is a treat.

http://www.apartmentearth.net/