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#216671 - 09/25/02 05:35 AM Solar
Anonymous
There are at least a dozen solar and wind power houses on Caye Caulker.Hurricane Kieth took out the wind generators by turning them too fast. They started in a 10 knot breeze which is more than 75% of the days on CC.They make more power at night because that is when it is most windy.
For those that don't know, Caye Caulker is a famous place for wind.That is why expert windsurfers live there.
Almost everyone lost their batteries in that storm. They all agree with Hans that the batteries are the big expense. I took twelve deep cycle batteries to Remco and they said rebuiding wasn't worth it.

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#216672 - 09/25/02 05:27 PM Re: Solar
Capt. Bill Offline
Why did you loose the batteries? over charged ? salt water in the cells? or was it just age?

I would think having enough distilled water could be a problem. Distilled is the choice for wet cell batts. Nothing to pollute the cells, as with other water sources. The pollution such as minerals shorten their life cycle.

If over charging was the problem...then the wrong regulator was used. The wind generator should have been designed so that they shut down once a certain wind speed is obtained. Most good marine wind gens have this feature. And i would think only a marine rated unit should be used....it is an island after all.

Batteries are big bucks...even if you use the golf cart type. Golf cart batteries are the type i plan on using for back-up power.

FWIW....Capt.

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#216673 - 09/25/02 06:55 PM Re: Solar
hjl Offline
to add this on that topic

hjl
. posted 09-24-2002 09:12 AM
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we run the whole eletricity by solar-power, lights, fan, water-pump, tools, everything. It is really easy and after the first investment for the solar-equipment the power is for free. This year we will add a little wind-generator. The same type which are used at sail-boats. they are quiet, water-resistant and very effective and easy to install and reinstall in case of storms.
We also get our water by rain-water-system, clean and good water. The toilet-water we take from a well.

All water-pumps run by 12 Volt and the pressure is as hight as from 110 Volt.

The fridge we use works with butan but also with 12 Volts or 110 Volts - that means you can choose what you like to use.

The only critical point by Solar- and Windpower is the battery. Batteries are expensive and will normaly not last much longer than 5 to 7 years. Old Batteries can be renewed by Renco Batterie Factory in Belize.

If somenone is interested in further information how to us solar- and windpower, i can give you some ideas how to do.


IP: Logged

helper
unregistered posted 09-24-2002 11:11 AM
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I'm curious about your solar setup.
How many panels do you have in your array? What size are they? How much power are you generating? How many batteries are you using and what size are they? Do you have them hooked up in series or parallel? Are you using all 12v or are you converting your power to 110v? If you are using 110v what kind of inverter are you using?

Regarding your windpower setup, what windspeed does it take to generater the power? What is the expected output?

Ah, so many questions, sorry. It is a subject that I am very interested in.

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#216674 - 09/25/02 07:49 PM Re: Solar
hjl Offline
to helper

We use 3 panels each is 50 watt, that is good enough for everything you use by 12 Volts. We have 4 rooms and a bathroom, 2 water-pumps and lights and fans in any room.
If you have enough sun during the day 150 watts are good. Now we put a little wind-generator (Windgenerator Rutland 503)
if you have only 19knots wind you will get about 20 watts. That is enough to charge the battery during the night. that windgenerator is small and sea-water-resistant, easy to install and to reinstall. also very good are air-marine windgenerators, more effective but much more expensive.
The battery we us is around 150 Ah
We do not invert the power into 110.

Using wind and solar makes you independent and will teach you to use power only when you need it.

An example: our neighbour use a gasoline-generator. I see him every day driving to the gas-station filling his tanks. during that time we enjoy life and sun, having a drink and solve money for the evening to go out for a nice dinner.




[This message has been edited by hjl (edited 09-26-2002).]

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#216675 - 09/26/02 02:58 AM Re: Solar
helper Offline
Hans,

Thanks for the info on your system. I have a few more questions, hope you don't mind.

How many batteries do you have? Is this enough for just your daily usage or are you keeping more in storage than you actually use in the event of cloudy days? What would you do differently if you had it all to do again? What would you save, what would you change? Can you find enough 12v household items to satisfy your needs? Are they very expensive?

Keycocker,

Like Bill, I am curious why the batteries failed. Also, would you be so kind as to explain the system(s) you use, solar and/or wind and perhaps what you are running off your system.

Thanks to both of your for your time in answering. I am a big fan of living "off the grid".

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#216676 - 09/26/02 01:35 PM Re: Solar
hjl Offline
hi helper,

We have only one batterie at the moment, the one is good for daily usage and keeps a little storage. This could be a problem, for that reason we will add the little wind-generator as i told you. I dont think I would change a lot of things if I would install solar again. Very important is the question how many current you need for your house. You need to count that and make sure that you have enough panels or wind-generator to reach this amount of current.

Next time I would use more than one batterie, so we will add another one soon.

The most household-items or tools we brought from Germany. You also can get them in Belize, but there are more expensive there. You can buy them in the states but you have to pay duties for that. So it depends - as more as people are interested in 12Volt items the more you will find them in Belize in the future.

Even if some of the items and tools are a little bit more expensive than "normal"ones you have to count that you do not need to pay anything for the current you produce.

very important is also to have a short distance between the solar-panels or wind-generator and the battery. this is important becouse you loose power if you have long distances. It is also very important to use the right cables for your current, they need to have a big cross-section. for the lamps or fan you can use the same size which you would use for 110V, but from the panels to the charger and from the charger to the battery and back from the battery to the charger and from there to the fuse-box you should use a thicker cross-section cable.

If you are interested to see how we did our solar-system you can see it when we come to caye caulker next time. please tell me your email and I will get in contact with you.

Unfortunately we had a housebreaking two days ago and we dont know exactly what the thiefs stole.


[This message has been edited by hjl (edited 09-26-2002).]

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#216677 - 09/27/02 06:59 PM Re: Solar
Anonymous
Most folks with more than one battery kept them in banks at ground level. They were flooded with seawater in the hurricane. The wind generators made too much power and burned out.(140mph gusts)
I don't know anyone who uses golf cart batteries on the caye because of the price. Ten 12v Remco deep cycle marine batteries cost about BZ$2200.The same capacity of golf cart batteries would be about $5600.
Rainwater works great-no minerals.

[This message has been edited by keycocker (edited 09-27-2002).]

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#216678 - 09/28/02 06:59 AM Re: Solar
helper Offline
Thanks for your replies hjl and keycocker.

In summary of your experience:

It is best to use multiple deep cycle batteries. Less expense and with multiples you have enough backup power. Placement needs to be above ground level away from possible storm waters.

Wind generators work but you would need some kind of governor to prevent overspeed or a quick release method to get them out of storm winds.

Are these self generating power items duty free for import to Belize? If not is the duty high?

How do you handle heating water?

Thanks again for your answers.
p.s. hjl Hope you are able to recover your items and catch the thieves.

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#216679 - 09/28/02 06:13 PM Re: Solar
Anonymous
Many people heat water by pumping it into a black drum on the roof once a day. It runs back down by gravity. Many on CC have noted that solar heated water appears to give you energy.I was an engineer and usually resist phony "energy" nonsense... but I actually seem to notice this too.
A drum costs US$15. No controls needed.
The caye is very windy place. Both the wind generators had overspeed controls and ways of getting them off the tower.
The wind overcame the controls. By the time it was clearly a hurricane it was no longer practical to take down the towers. These two factors have been the downside of wind power worldwide. If you look at wind farms you notice that many units are not turning. This is most often caused by too much wind previously damaging the units. These large units usually can't be easily lowered and servicing them up high is a drag.
With wind you get much more juice for the money and get it at night when demand is usually the highest.

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#216680 - 09/28/02 10:48 PM Re: Solar
helper Offline
What size are the wind generators that you use? How much power do they generate? How tall is the mounting tower? What is the minimum/maximum windspeed for generation? See, I told you I had lots of questions.

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