Saturday, June 20, 2015

Up On The Roof

June has been a busy month for us.  Too bad our internet connection has been painfully slooooowwww or I would have blogged about what's been happening sooner.  It's still slow, but I can't wait any longer.  For now, I will go fix breakfast while these images are uploading.

One hour and ten minutes later ...

The first week of June brought us the first of the newly hatched iguanas from the nests on our property.  Not sure how many hatchings there were, but we saw at least 10 different individuals on our veranda.
Baby female (left) and male (right) iguanas cling to the screen on our veranda.  We are thrilled that the breeding was successful.
We also commenced on the second phase of the solar power installation.  Queue up the appropriate music by clicking here.  We have 13 (12 and a spare) big batteries for the battery bank.  Each battery weighs 315 lbs!
The crew slipped 3-piece bundles of threaded rod under the handles so they could carry the batteries up the stairs.
These stairs are 4 ft wide to make it easier to get cumbersome items up.
We had intentionally not installed the rails on these stairs so they could bring the batteries up unimpeded. 
At the top of the stairs we had a heavy duty dolly for the battery so we could roll it to the box.
Getting ready to place the first battery in the box.  
The box is specially designed by Dennis so that it is a Faraday Cage to protect the batteries from lightning strikes and lined on the bottom with an acid resistant fabric to soak up battery acid should there be a spill.  Several other safety features are incorporated, too.  He'll share the details in an upcoming blog.
Checking to make sure the batteries are in the right orientation.
Bring 3 batteries up, one at a time, take a break, repeat ...
Only two more to go.
The ProSolar crew cabled up the batteries and tied them in to the charge controllers.  Then our crew put the front on the battery bank box.  The lids come next.
 Meanwhile, up on the roof, the ProSolar crew mounts the 15 solar panels.
The panels are linked into five sets of three panels.
The output from the panels then goes to two charge controllers to charge up the battery bank (via the battery chargers in the inverter units).  DC output from the battery bank goes back to the inverters and then finally to the breaker box in the form of AC electricity.  All this (except the batteries themselves) takes place in the inverter room, which Dennis also designed with lots of safety features.
The inverter room with the charge controllers (smaller black units in the center) and the 2 inverters (the big units on the right).  The grey units (to the left) with blue lights are disconnect switches and surge protectors.
The solar panels are all on the south-facing roof of the new addition.  The pitch of the roof is such that the panels are angled directly toward the sun during the winter months.  This will help compensate for the shorter day length in winter. The angle of the sunlight is not optimal for summer, but the longer day length will offset that.  At least that is how we planned it, time will tell if it actually works out that way.  Theory vs actual.
And here are the 15 panels.  Note the lightning rods along the ridgeline and at the lower eave.  Cables are in the white flexible conduits leading to the inverter room below.
Can't you just feel those photons being absorbed by the solar panels in the image below?  And a good feeling it is, too.
View from the front.
And I will leave you now with a view from the Sunset Balcony.  Goodnight photons.  See you tomorrow.

16 comments:

  1. Wow, technical stuff but a great way to get your energy, looks like Dennis has done some clever planning there.
    Great to have you back as well and a lovely closing photo.

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    1. Thanks, Derek. Dennis spent many years educating himself about the ins and outs of solar energy and keeping on top of current and emerging technologies. Needless to say, this is the biggest upfront expense for our place, but it will eventually pay for itself when compared to spending $500US per month on diesel fuel for the generator!
      Glad you like the sunset shot!

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  2. Wow. I didn't know they made batteries as large as that. How long do you expect their working life to be?

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    1. They are monsters, aren't they? I thought you would be intrigued. :-) They are Rolls batteries. The company just announced they will be coming out with even larger ones! http://www.rollsbattery.com/. They have a 10 year warranty, but with proper use and maintenance they should last us 20 years.

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  3. What an operation Wilma. Impressive stuff.
    I guess NASA will be coming to you and Dennis for advice on setting up on Mars.{:))
    I wish you many more sunny days.

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    1. Roy - my only advice to NASA is "Don't fall into a crevasse!" ;-)
      Thanks for the sunny day wishes. Wishing you the same.

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  4. With batteries that large, once they're all topped up how long could they potentially last if you didn't get any sun for days on end.

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    1. In theory, we should be able to go for about 2 weeks. We don't have a TV or air conditioning. Our stove is butane gas. The biggest draw is the water pump followed by the fridge and then what I call the "communication bundle" i.e., the satellite modem, wireless router, and mobile signal booster. Most of our lights are LEDs. But, like many women of a certain age, I need a fan at night to stay cool enough to sleep. We do have a generator that can charge the batteries if we need it during the grey rainy season. And it is just a good practice to make sure the generator is functional by running it at least once a month for a couple of hours anyway. If all that fails, we'll just pretend we are camping!

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  5. Cute iguanas. Makes me miss mine.
    Your place is looking great!

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    1. Thanks, WAR. The baby iguanas are super cute and they grow into quite impressive adults. I have a nice series of photos to post soon, so stay tuned.

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  6. Wilma,

    Your house has turned out truly amazing. You and Dennis have definitely done your homework. We cued the music at the right moment and enjoyed listening to it in the background. :) Please keep us posted of all your wild life photos! Do Wooster and Jeeves still mess the Iguanas?

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    1. Thanks Nick and Silke. Wooster and Jeeves at least don't mess with the iguanas if I am around, but I can't say what they get up to on their own. They are doing well, though. As long as Termite is at home they don't come down here very often.

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  7. You are doing some really wonderful things there. Gorgeous sunset; I assume that was the night of the iguana(s).

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  8. Thanks Mitchell. Well, all the nights are iguana nights, but fortunately iguanas are not on the menu here in Englishtown.

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  9. I've just caught up with your latest project, wonderful. Denis certainly knows is stuff.

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    1. David - thank you. Dennis has put a lot of effort into learning how to do this, and it is paying off for us.

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