Friday, May 25, 2012

Solar results - How is it working?

In short - VERY WELL!

Today was a nice sunny May Day, with little if any clouds.  After the day was done (or, after the Sun got so low there was little output from the Solar Panels) they had covered ALL OUR ELECTRICAL NEEDS FOR THE PAST 24 HOURS!!!

I am impressed.  Yesterday after running the generator, and a little of the panels, we had fully charged batteries. This morning the Link-10 battery monitor reported we had used -82Ah over the night.  As of 5:30pm this evening we had replaced those 82Ah, put in another 44Ah, AND provided all the power consumed during the day!

Though I have not been able to connect a computer to the controller and enable the built-in data logging, I did keep records throughout the day using my clamp-on Amp meter.  Here are the results:

We peaked at 388 Watts (or 29.5 Amps at the time), this is from panels rated at 480W of capacity - do remember the panels are laying flat, not directed at the Sun.  Over the day I tried to remember my Calculus, failing that I used the trapezoidal method for calculating the number of Amp / Hours produced from the above curve:  247Ah.

So there you are.  Real Data.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, 480 watts of panels orated largely flat provided 247Ah of power over a nice sunny May Day.  I should add, my predicted output (the one I based ROI's on)  for May is 149Ah - however remember that predicted monthly average would include days 'when the Sun Does Not Shine'.

But on a Nice Sunny May Day, 247Ah is ALL of our Energy needs - Who knows, maybe we should try heating the Water using this abundance of electricity!

I am happy.

UPDATE: May 26th provided 256Ah throughout the day.

UPDATE #2:   May 27th had a high cloud cover (Maybe 10%??) through most of the day.  Still 245Ah were produced.

We will be motoring for the next few days and I will not be able to manually log produced data.  But once I get stuff moved from one bunk of the V-Berth to the other I can get into my 'Electronics' stash and pull out a spare USB<--> RS-232 converter I will enable the data logging in the TriStar controller.  Till then will just enjoy the abundance of Amps (we heated our Shower Water this morning using the Electric water heater!)

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