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oil pan 4 10-31-2015 01:30 AM

Vehicle solar panels to grid
 
2 Attachment(s)
I searched and it looks like no one has tried this on here yet, which is surprising.
So far I have 24 watts of solar panels installed on the vehicle and 140 more watts on the way. I was thinking about it today and seemed like these solar panels with the genasun charge controller, I just made up the worlds most expensive battery tender when its not needed.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...9&d=1442200394
Need to get some more use out of the solar panels. This is the setup I was considering. Very simple. Take the solar panel and split the output between the grid tie and Genasun MPPT charge controller. The cheap grid tie electronics coupled with the advanced MPPT electronics should work quiet well for "running both at the same time" for my purposes. The Genasun's MPPT electronics will try to gobble up even as little as 8 volts to charge batteries. The very simple electronics of the grid tie inverter actually need more than 14 volts to start working well.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...1&d=1446268134
If that doesn't work then I just wont plug it in until later till after I know the battery is charged.
And no the battery voltage will not reverse feed through the charge controller.

Not too long ago I was going through some boxes in the out building and found my old 300 watt grid tie inverter I bought in 2008 to do some grid tie experiments with micro wind power.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...1&d=1446266943
That's my old 12 to 28 volt grid tie inverter. From what I can remember when testing on the wind turbine it made 20 to 30 watts at 12 volts. Then at 24 volts (only obtained through force feeding battery power to inverter) it made 240watts and over heated. That is why I hole sawed a 3 inch hole in the top of the inverter and covered it with a fan. I could not induce an over heating fault after that mod. The fan is powered with DC input voltage.
If you look closely you can see where I cut the wires so I could power the fan with 12v and feed the inverter 24 volts. All I need to do is reconnect the wires.
Since the power company installed a dumb smart meter that is so advanced it only knows how to count up, any power I produce this meter would count as consumption, that removes 2 huge threats to the power company. 1, people who steal power and 2, the people who generate and grid their own.
How to defeat the dumb smart meter: It just so happens I have most of my vampire loads on one circuit, I could easily move the rest over and this circuit. Also this circuit shares a wall to the garage and I already tapped into it so I would have an additional 120 volt circuit out in the garage to use. Now all I have to do is install the inverter, add some fusing and back feed power on to that circuit.
There you have it, vehicle meet grid; grid meet vehicle.

JRMichler 10-31-2015 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oil pan 4 (Post 498095)
Take the solar panel and split the output between the grid tie and Genasun MPPT charge controller. ..... The Genasun's MPPT electronics will try to gobble up even as little as 8 volts to charge batteries. The very simple electronics of the grid tie inverter actually need more than 14 volts to start working well.

Also this circuit shares a wall to the garage and I already tapped into it so I would have an additional 120 volt circuit out in the garage to use. Now all I have to do is install the inverter, add some fusing and back feed power on to that circuit.

I think the first part will work, but the second part will not. All 120 volt circuits go back to the panel and the meter, so you will backfeed no matter where you connect.

Here's another idea. Store the excess energy in hot water. Install an electric hot water heater in line before your existing hot water heater. Then run the electricity from the panel into the first hot water heater. 240 volt elements will work just fine on 120 volts, they just pull less power. This approach depends on the solar panels not producing enough power to boil the water, which should be the case here. Worst case, the relief valve pops.

oil pan 4 10-31-2015 09:58 PM

Ultimately I just need to call the power company and get a smart meter that knows how to count up and down. But I have a sneaking suspicion they will surcharge me more for that kind of meter.
The ghost load cluster is made of TV, DVR, Modem, laptop and various wall warts. I could move another big ghost load over to the garage circuit, just by plugging the fridge into another outlet. Got to love 1960s wiring, everything 120 volt powered was on 4 circuits.
The fridge likes run an 70 or 80 watt deicing element after the fridge turns off, then it will draw 10 to 20 watts for what seems like hours on end for the magnetic seal warmers.
All my hot water heating is natural gas.

I can get a fairly cheap 2 way inline power meter that will let me know if I am pushing any current back to the meter.

oil pan 4 11-03-2015 05:56 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Well it works, tested on a solar panel.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...8&d=1446590161
I rigged up an 80 watt mono panel that I will not be putting on the vehicle.
The Genasun MPPT charge controller is installed under the air comprssor.
Then I just kind of stuck the grid tie in there on a kill-a-watt meter just to see if it would all work and it did.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...6&d=1446590125
The grid tie is on the input side of the charge controller. Once the battery is full the grid tie will soak up more power.
The grid tie is just sitting in there, its permanent place will not be in the vehicle.

With out the grid tie inverter connected it was doing this:
The genasun MPPT controller was doing its MPPT thing for sure. It had 15 volts, 3.1 amps going in from the solar panel and 12.9 volts and 3.5 amps going out.
If this were a regular PWM controller, it would be 3.1 going in, and maybe 3 going out.
Its sorcery.

With the grid tie and charge controller going the solar panel was sending 3 amps to the charge controller and 0.6 amps to the grid tie (and 0.1 amps to the fan).
With the charge controller disconnected (simulating full battery) the grid tie put out up to 30 watts.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...7&d=1446590147
The solar panel I am putting on the suburban are 17ocv. I reckon I will series up 2 of them for a max voltage of 34 volt, which is the max input voltage on the genasun.
This will work better with the grid tie.
I think if I put all the "12 volt solar panels" on there in parallel I am thinking that I would only get 50 watts. With the panels wired in series parallel for "24 solar panel volts" it will push more like 100+ watts on to the power grid. That is if I need more than 100 watts on my houses vampire circuit.
EDIT, the panels are actually 21 to 22 volts OCV and I wired them all up in parallel because if I put them in series they would send up to 44 volts to the charge controller which would fry it.

Daox 11-03-2015 06:27 PM

Fun mod!

I take it the genasun doesn't have a 'dump load' feature?

oil pan 4 11-03-2015 08:18 PM

It only has the solar panel input and battey output.
Its working perfectly for my needs.

oil pan 4 11-05-2015 10:15 PM

The first 10 out of 14 small 10 watt solar panels are here and I have the weekend off.

oil pan 4 11-06-2015 02:31 PM

I got the panels in and I am in the process of testing/playing with them.
So far they put out 21 to 22ocV and can push a half amp through a 12.2v battery when orthogonal to the sun and 0.4 amps when laying flat.
I have some of them hooked up to the grid tie inverter, 3 panels push 17 watts on to the power grid while laying flat.

Next I just need to get more pematex high temperature orange RTV and start drilling holes. I used pematex orange high temp last time so I know it lasts at least 3 or 4 years.

Edit: I hooked up all 10 panels together and its working better than I expected. 10 panels are making 55 watts of power. I am thinking 14 will make maybe 70 watts.
I can get a few more watts if I depower the fan. The tiny little 1 inch by 1 inch fan it had originally worked fine up to about 100 to 150 watts. Anything more than 150 watts it over heated and shut down pretty quickly.
The "12 volt fan" is running on 15 volts. I think I could put a 24 volt fan on there or add a resistor.
The fan is gobbling up 5 to 10 watts more than it needs to.

hootis 11-07-2015 02:42 PM

I don't see the point of using the solar in your car to go back to your house. I am thinking about putting two 100 Watt solar panels on my car, adding a second or larger battery then after some testing remove the alternator. I estimate I will, on average get 100-125 watt/hours during the day, out of the 200 watt system because they will never be angled correctly towards the sun. If you are just charging a car battery you don't need an inverter. So lets just say you never drive your car you have 200 watts of panels and they are angled perfectly towards the sun. This would be the best case. This is not going to happen. But in that case you would get 10 hours of sun a day avg that would be 1400watts. If I buy that much electricity it would cost me $0.25. So how much time and money will you sink in to get $.25 a day? It is not worth it, to buy the inverter and try to figure everything else out.

If you want to get solar on your house it is worth it defiantly. But you put those panels in the proper position so they get full sun light and it will equal the cost of buying electricity after a few years. Absolutely does not make sense to feed back from your car to the grid.

TLDR;I think its also worth putting some solar on your car, simply because the sheer inefficient of alternators, the complexity and limitations of the systems are not a good idea together.

oil pan 4 11-07-2015 04:38 PM

The point of the grid tie is to make use of the solar panels after the battery is charged. I work 12 hour shifts so I am only at work 13 or 14 days out of the month. This will make some use of the solar capacity during those off days when I don't drive it.
I am putting a lot of solar capacity on there, 100 watts right now, 40 more watts worth are in the mail and I may expand it further up to 200 watts.

I bought the grid tie inverter in late 2008 for wind power experiments. The results of the experiment were obviously not favorable to small wind power production so the inverter has been shelved since early 2009. I didn't buy it for this project.
Not using the inverter would be a waste of money and I already figured everything else out.

This is the deal I offer to the ecomodde community. I will get it figured out so you don't have to. That's it.
Now all anyone else has to do is copy what I did and scale it up or down for their own ends.

The solar panels are going on there to support the electrical system when I do an alternator delete. The way solar is, when you think you have enough capacity you always fall short. I am going to over do it so I always get the battery fully charged and have extra power.
I would also like to be able to have some power for away projects, camping and anything else that might come up so I don't always have to drag this thing around:
Home made solar inverter generator hybrid - EcoRenovator

IamIan 11-07-2015 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oil pan
The fan is gobbling up 5 to 10 watts more than it needs to.

Can you tap off the fan of the inverter? .. That one might already be temperature and power regulated.

More energy efficient than a resistor would be a mini switching regulator (DC-DC) ... there are some tiny ones out there ... Example 10grams 96% efficient up to 25W.

Down to 3 Grams for the ~6W Version...Link

Quote:

Originally Posted by oil pan 4 (Post 498788)
I am putting a lot of solar capacity on there, 100 watts right now, 40 more watts worth are in the mail and I may expand it further up to 200 watts.

Are these mounted to the vehicle?
If so .. pics please :)

oil pan 4 11-07-2015 07:38 PM

This is a simple dumb no name inverter. It runs the fan all the time.
The voltage needs to be stepped down with a resistor mostly for reliability.
My smart standalone Kisae and Xantrex pure sine wave inverters don't run the fan at all if they don't need to.

The grid tie inverter will not be part of the vehicle, it will stay in the garage.

Yes these solar panels will be RTV'ed to the roof just like the 4 little solar panels on my old blue suburban.

oil pan 4 11-09-2015 12:47 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Putting these panels on is pretty easy.
You have to get fiberglass backed epoxy panels, they are about 2mm thick.
All you really have to do is drill holes to run the wires inside, put a thin bead of RTV around the edge of the panel. Then hold the panels in place for about 12 hours with something heavy. I use 25lb bags of lead bird shot. On the 10 watt panels I cover the panel with 3 of those shot bags. I only have enough shot to do 2 solar panels at a time.
Since I work 12 hours a day I wont try to add any more panels till I am off from work.

http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...1&d=1447047762

oil pan 4 11-09-2015 10:13 PM

MPPT technology rules.
I charged the optima battery up last night, drove to work with no alternator and one 10 watt panel installed turned off the suburban about the time the sun was coming up.
Worried that I might have a weak battery after work since its dark when I get out of work. I put the key in and it fired up stronger than ever.
I am starting to think 14 of these might be over doing it a tiny bit.

oil pan 4 11-12-2015 02:46 PM

2 Attachment(s)
2011 solar panels that were not new when I got them:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...1&d=1447357519

New solar panels.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...1&d=1447357519

oil pan 4 11-17-2015 11:20 PM

1 Attachment(s)
After the addition of the white plug to tapped into raw solar panel power for the grid tie. I am done adding circuitry so I put some conduit around it and secured it with ALDL connectors.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...1&d=1447818436

Daox 11-18-2015 08:34 AM

Love the nice cleanly laid out work!

What panels did you go with and where did you get them?

oil pan 4 11-18-2015 09:23 PM

I am installing 10 watt, 21ocv panels I got off ebay from a seller called ecoworthy.
Price was around $2/watt.

Daox 11-19-2015 08:31 AM

Thanks! I've never seen those fiberglass backed panels. They're very interesting and look like a great option for those of us who need something thin.

oil pan 4 11-22-2015 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hootis (Post 498781)
I am thinking about putting two 100 Watt solar panels on my car, adding a second or larger battery then after some testing remove the alternator. I estimate I will, on average get 100-125 watt/hours during the day, out of the 200 watt system because they will never be angled correctly towards the sun.

I should mention that large efficient traditional glass topped aluminum sided mono crystal panel in the picture is only an 80 watt panel.
I would like to know how you are going to put 200 watts of solar panels on your car. The roof of my suburban will only hold about 180 watts.
For a car, realistically 100 watts is a lot.

With my 90 watts of panels installed and laying flat I am only getting 40 watts.
But I am in New Mexico. You are in the north east. I lived in Maine for 4 years.
I know what its like in the north east, you can easily go 10 days with over cast skies in the winter. Then when the sun is out its at a much shallower angle.
If I had driven to new England this weekend I would expect my 90 watts worth of panels to produce nearly 0 power given the overcast this weekend.
Then when the sun does come out, I would expect to see 30 watts at noon from a 100 watt panel and MPPT charger if I were lucky. I believe 100 watt hours is over optimistic for most days. If you don't have an MPPT charger controller, well forget about coming any where near 100wh per day.
In newmexico I have solar power to burn. Up north, you do not.

So far I have spent roughly $1.5 on the grid tie half of the power system.
I installed an AL/CU connector that I other wise would have not installed.
That white power plug, I have a whole box full of them removed from dead uninterruptable power supplies.

IamIan 11-22-2015 11:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oil pan 4 (Post 500131)
I should mention that large efficient traditional glass topped aluminum sided mono crystal panel

FYI ... they make semi-flexible panels out of the high efficiency Solar cells.

Link
Peak of ~23.5% Efficiency
~$2.165 / Watt

But ... they don't come with the long warranties of the traditional rigid panels.

oil pan 4 11-22-2015 12:44 PM

Those were the kinds of panels I was originally looking at.
The main problem with those panels is the big plastic blister on the underside where the MC4 connectors tie in.

That 120 watt panel is about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. That is kind of big for a regular car, it might work for a hatch back car and I could see it working on a mini van, regular van or SUV.

Then I saw something to the effect of this when researching what panels to use:
Quote:

Be advised, this panel is a laminated polymer and when it heats up in the sunshine, it will EXPAND. If you have glued or screwed it to a flat or curved surface or frame, expect it to buckle or sag when it heats up. Some flexibility in mounting is required.
That is why I did not use these big flexible ones. Plus the price, they are typically around $5/watt. I don't know what the shipping on those panels looks like but if its under $2.50/watt then its a fire sale.

oil pan 4 11-24-2015 09:36 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I spent the last 3 days looking at every flexible solar panel I could find and I think I stumbled upon the best way to attach low profile panels to the top of a vehicle 4 years ago when I RTV'ed those 5 watt fiber glass backed panels to the top of my suburban.

Just in case I am wrong, I bought a 100 watt and a 30 watt semi flexible solar panel like in the link: http://afp-power.com/collections/sem...le-solar-panel
Don't think it will end up on top of a vehicle but I will test and evaluate it for such an application.
They seem kind of neat, I figure it will end up as part of my backup power contingency plan.

http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...1&d=1448419571

Should be here before Dec 2.

oil pan 4 11-28-2015 10:41 PM

The panels arrived.
The 30 watt appears that it may be suitable to vehicle use.

The 100 watt panel seems like it may not want to conform to a convex surface. It seems like it needs real flat or a flat curved surface.

The only thing I don't like is the hump where the wires tie into the panels.

oil pan 4 12-01-2015 02:55 PM

The grid tie inverter is up and running.
I wired the grid tie into my vampire load circuit. I tested the vampire circuit and power inverter back feed setup with my fluke325 amp clamp attached to the main where it comes into the house between the meter and 200 amp breaker, it was drawing a steady 1 amp with the grid tie disconnected.
With the grid tie going it was pumping 50 watts into vampire circuit, cutting the amount of power drawn by that line through the power meter in half.

So I am grid tied but not really. The last thing I want to do is produce more power than I use because my dumb smart meter will detect any power flow, doesn't matter if its coming or going and count it as consumption.

oil pan 4 12-18-2015 04:58 PM

At peak the panels put out around 50 to 60 watts to the grid tie.

So far it looks like during the winter with the vehicle battery charged, the grid tie will pump about 1/4 to 1/3 KwH per day into the grid.

Not much but its better than nothing.

This low production is mostly because the grid tie inverter uses between 12 and 28 volts DC. These panels only produce 15 to 17 volts under load.

DragBean 12-18-2015 11:20 PM

This could totally make sense if you have an RV covered with 1000+Watts

freebeard 12-19-2015 01:16 AM

http://store.evtv.me/prodimages/sunpowerdim_small.jpg
http://store.evtv.me/products.php?cat=22

There was some discussion in a EVTV episode about how these panels use an edge-connected cell that IIRC don't need the 'lump' connector. 120 watts for $245. Maybe it's the same cell.

oldtamiyaphile 12-19-2015 09:18 AM

I use my excess solar power to run a vent fan to try and keep the vehicle a bit cooler. On the next van, I'll go for one on each side, mounted in the flow through ventilation exits.

I already have the panels, so what's the payback time if I added an inverter? I also suppose that most days the vehicle isn't parked at the house? I would like to run *something* off the excess current once my car batteries are full.

oil pan 4 12-19-2015 10:37 AM

Yeah I plan on figuring something out to try and cool it off a little bit during the summer.

California98Civic 12-19-2015 02:37 PM

I had planned panels for my car roof once, but gave up because it seemed like too little power to be worth it. This grid-tie is a cool idea.

Quote:

Originally Posted by oil pan 4 (Post 500772)
The 100 watt panel seems like it may not want to conform to a convex surface. It seems like it needs real flat or a flat curved surface.

I had not thought about compound curves when shopping for flexible panels. Makes a lot of sense. Unless you shape the panel with cuts, the corners will want to poke up. That would be disaster at speed.

Quote:

Originally Posted by oil pan 4 (Post 500772)
The only thing I don't like is the hump where the wires tie into the panels.

I hated that prospect too.

Subscribed.

oldtamiyaphile 12-19-2015 10:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oil pan 4 (Post 500772)
The 100 watt panel seems like it may not want to conform to a convex surface. It seems like it needs real flat or a flat curved surface.

I have a plastic backed (there are also aluminium backed versions) flexible panel on my van. When the sun heats it up it, the plastic softens and it will conform nicely to a convex vehicle roof.

oil pan 4 03-06-2016 02:04 PM

I was reading an old issue of PM, june 2010, Vol 187, no 6.
In the article they were saying that vehicle to grid and using as back up power supply will be common.
Well that is only about 4 years away and I don't see it happening.

In other news, my vehicle to grid has been working great so far.


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