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250 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 10


  Reply # 377907 8-Sep-2010 15:18
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Hi Guys

If you are look for info on solar houses this is worth a look at and a worthy project to support.

http://firstlighthouse.ac.nz/


467 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 100


  Reply # 377908 8-Sep-2010 15:22
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heh Vic is behind the project and yet on their new building, their solar panels face due west @ the Thorden hills *sighs*

3290 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 209

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  Reply # 377913 8-Sep-2010 15:47
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technicaljoe:
LinuxLuver: It's interesting you bring up the topic of public transit. Personally, I think completing the Auckland ring route and tweaking/fixing highways are reasonable things to do. But you are right, public transit is very important. However, they need to fix the issue that it's cheaper and faster to drive into town and pay for the parking for the day.

Off topic, but it is?  How do you figure that?  Isn't parking in the CBD at least $10 all day or out of the way?  I would probably catch the bus to work (from deep on the Shore) if I had to pay for parking.



248 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 377928 8-Sep-2010 16:12
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bazzer: Completely off topic indeed, my bad for expanding into the public transit bit. However, on a casual commute basis (only go into CBD once/twice a week), it takes me roughly 50 mins to catch train get in town from West Auckland, and it's $6 each way. An all day car park max out at $12 day, and it take me 25 minutes to drive each way (off peak traffic). On the train, I may or may not get a seat and enough elbow space to work on the laptop. So, for me, it's cheaper to drive, even though my preference would be to commute, and that's from someone who dislike driving.

Back to alternative energy source for emergency situation and outdoor lifestyle! :)



248 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 377930 8-Sep-2010 16:16
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kiwipawl: That Solar Decathlon is quite interesting, thanks for the link! Sure made me itch to build a techy greeny home :D

453 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 377985 8-Sep-2010 20:05
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Nety: The idea of feeding power back to the grid has been mentioned and found this interesting read.

http://thewattshop.co.nz/GRID_TIE.htm

It is also interesting that he mentions under system types that solar panels have reduced in price massively over the last year. Would be interesting to know by just how much and if they are expected to keep coming down.

I am also one of those with a UPS at home. I would also love to be able to supplement its power draw with solar or wind but I don't think it is possible :(


Solar panels have almost halved in the last 12 - 18 months, but they're not expected to drop by much more. What is making it more and more viable is that the cost of generating electricity is going to keep on going up.

If you're prepared to do most of the work yourself, you can get a decent 5kw grid tie system installed and paid back in about 8 - 10 years.

What we really need is a government subsidy to really kick start it and make it more viable. Even just a GST rebate would probably get the "payoff" time down to 5-8 years. A whole lot easier to justify. Talking to someone in the industry, NZ is one of the few developed nations in the world without a subsidy.

3290 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 378146 9-Sep-2010 10:18
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Byrned: Solar panels have almost halved in the last 12 - 18 months, but they're not expected to drop by much more.

That's a ridiculous thing to say.  In what time frame are they not expected to drop?  It's almost certain that at some time a technological improvement will bring the price down.



248 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 378176 9-Sep-2010 11:57
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Anyone has experience/story to share about retrofitting home with alternative energy like solar power?

27 posts

Geek


  Reply # 378177 9-Sep-2010 11:59
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Trig Instruments have a couple of solar chargers.

http://www.triginstruments.co.nz/catalog/index.php?cPath=60&osCsid=22e14ddaf4d0a819cf9a6208be8ed42f

859 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 135

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  Reply # 378179 9-Sep-2010 12:11
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technicaljoe: Anyone has experience/story to share about retrofitting home with alternative energy like solar power?


If you want to head down the off grid / grid tied route, some people that you might like to talk to here in NZ are...

What power crisis
Eco Innovation
and go use your favourite search engine to track down a lady called Charmaine Watts who is off grid south of Auckland.

Note I don't work for any off them but quite like the Eco Innovation work none the less (and you can go and stay at their off grid bach as well)

Cheers

Knoydart


222 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 378196 9-Sep-2010 12:39
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I agree with comments about Eco Innovation. I like their approach and they have created some good equipment.
Off topic - I have set up an off grid hydro power system in Manakau (North of Otaki) using their smartdrive turbines. Has been running well for a few years now - once we worked around the odd flood and tree fall :) We actually have a couple of turbines in place - generate a continuous 750-800watts or if more power needed kick in the second and bump it up to 1500 watts. Obviously batteries are the key to managing peak loads etc. 
We have looked at solar also - hydro wins out for us though in both continuous generation and in cost per watt. 



248 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 378225 9-Sep-2010 13:35
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jonboy, knoydart, nutbugs: Thanks for those links, I will definitely look them up :)

19 posts

Geek


  Reply # 378271 9-Sep-2010 15:53
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kiwipawl:
MikeyJ: This sounds like a system I created for when I go camping, my setup includes:

 1 x 24 Amp/hour Deep Cycle Battery
 1 x 10amp Solar Controller
 1 x 250 watt inverter
 2 x 12v Cigarette adapters
 1 x 10 watt Solar Panel
 2 x 12v Led Lighting systems
 1 x 12v 'Music' chair
 1 x 5v USB socket

Most of these components are packaged inside a watertight acrylic case that I made after a few times using this all together. Seems to work really well, I usually use it for a couple of weeks over New Years, with music, movies and lighting for nights, never had the battery run out. Although one year I put too much juice through the wiring and fried some parts. 

I have used it once when the power went out, it was quite nice being able to see in the dark etc. 


Any chance of some photos and wiring details?

Thanks Paul.


Hey Paul,

Here are a few dirty photos of the unit, I am in the process of tidying all the wiring up. And I had a few of the specs wrong,

 1 x 44 Amp/hour Deep Cycle Battery
 1 x 7amp Solar Controller
 1 x 150 watt inverter
 2 x 12v Cigarette adapters
 1 x 10 watt Solar Panel
 2 x 12v Led Lighting systems
 1 x 12v 'Music' chair
 1 x 5v USB socket

Thats more like it.

The image below is with the lid open, you can see the Inverter inside, and on the inside top left is the battery level meter (with its little green lights lit up).



This image is the kit I use when camping,

My seat with speakers + sub
10watt Solar Panel
Accessories Box (The two 12v lights are on 10m leads so can be hung up wherever you want)

 

This seems to run fine with moderate usage for about two weeks around New Years, with a good amount of sunlight recharging during the day. 



248 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 378293 9-Sep-2010 16:41
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MikeyJ: Impressive! These might be dumb questions... Does it help if one connect more solar panel to the unit? Does it stop charging once the battery is full? Can you get a bigger capacity battery?

19 posts

Geek


  Reply # 378329 9-Sep-2010 18:03
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technicaljoe:

 Does it help if one connect more solar panel to the unit? 

Yeah, I guess it would only help with the recharging of the battery, I haven't had an issue with the batter size etc. If you are using the inverter lots then its probably a better idea to use another batter and solar panel. 

 Does it stop charging once the battery is full? 

The Solar Controller keeps an eye on the battery and should stop charging when the battery is full.

 Can you get a bigger capacity battery?

You definitely can, the idea is though, the bigger the battery, the bigger the solar panel needed etc. 

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