Solar Power

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Kudjap or Bust
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Solar Power

Post by Kudjap or Bust » January 24, 2006, 12:02 pm

Does anyone use or have any experience with solar power, either ae their main power source or as a backup.

Out here in the village we often lose power for a few hours at a time, especially in rainy season and the thought of using solar power as a backup has been in mind for a while but, I know absolutly nothing about it.

Any ideas, websites, experiences would be welcome.

businessman
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Post by businessman » January 24, 2006, 3:00 pm

Last time i did a little research the cost per Watt was about 2 USD and that is just for the panels before the huge costs of storage.

http://www.seti.org.au/solarpower.htm

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Post by yorkman » January 24, 2006, 3:36 pm

Just a bit, although it is in completely different circumstances, but it may fit your needs if you just want to compensate for power cuts rather than full time supply.

I still have (not for long perhaps) a sailing yacht, that apart from generating and storing power when the engine is running (mains power on in your circumstances), tops up power using 2 60W solar cells into a standard, not too expensive, traction battery system when sailing. This can then be inverted back to 240V as required.

A house is likely to be a bigger use of power than a yacht, this is only really workable with a consumption of about 100 amp/hours per day at 12v (and you have inverter losses getting it back up to 240v) but if you just want lights on rather than sitting in the dark, running a fridge for a few hours etc it is doable, albeit it's an expensive solution just for this.

If you are not concerned about the "green" aspect, a standby automatic genset is the way to go IMHO

John

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Post by Kudjap or Bust » January 24, 2006, 4:40 pm

Thanks for the quick responces. Interesting reading on the website.... I was really only looking to run solar power as a backup to keep the lights on, fridge freezer running and a couple of fans, wouldn't worry about the air con. The TV would be nice too but not a necessity.....

Expence is obviously a concern. Have been trying to search for companies who could give quotations for solar against a genny.. If anyone knows of any company who could do this I'd be grateful, I guess they'd be in BKK if in Thailand....

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Post by yorkman » January 24, 2006, 5:51 pm

I had a brief look at this a while back, and yes the companies are BKK or thereabouts. Sorry I do not have any names, but a quick google will turn a few up.

The problem is not the solar cells... in any case they do not work at night :lol: its the storage of the energy, inversion back to mains voltage from 12 or (preferably, its more efficient) 24v that makes it very expensive.

An example... forget the Aircon (very large power draw). A few lights, 2 fans, and the intermittent draw of a fridge/freezer. Being very conservative thats 6 amps or so. Forgetting inversion losses that is a 60amp draw on a 24v Traction Battery (Deep Discharge) system. A 4 hour power cut that is 240 amp hours of drainage (again keeping it simple)

To support that, you would need batteries of a capacity of 1000 amp/hours or more, unless you want to kill them quickly. That is lot of expensive 24v Deep Discharge batterys! They typically would have a lifespan of 3 years or so, and would need replacement. Approximate cost about the same as a small genset which would deliver 10 amps or so of 240v power.

In fact, unless you are going "green", you can just leave out the solar cells and charge from mains power when available.

This is "yacht" experience, I hasten to add again, but it seems applicable. "Big" yachts install gensets, and any solar/wind power input is an offset against diesel costs, but mainly to avoid the noise of running the generator. The crossover point in cost effectiveness is at a very low power demand level.

If you do find out more and I am wrong (happens a lot :oops:) I too would be interested

John

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solar Power

Post by canuck-viking » January 25, 2006, 11:39 am

If you are headed in to Udon from Nongkhai there is a lot that has some solar equipment on display. It is between the Over head walkway and the rail tracks about 1-2 km north of Udon. There is a big tank which says "solar" on it

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Post by businessman » March 12, 2006, 12:36 pm

Don't hold you breathe,but i think the time for solar power in Thailand may be coming nearer.From yesterdays Post:

Anticipating a government programme to buy electricity produced from solar cells by September, the country's largest solar-cell manufacturer is preparing to tap the residential market by working with property developers. ''Solar homes currently are limited to remote areas with no access to electricity,'' said Wandee Khunchornyakong, the CEO of SET-listed Solartron Plc.

''To make [solar cells] popular among homeowners, we need to educate the market, starting with large developers. The housing cost may rise by 5-10% but developers may have a new marketing highlight for their projects,'' she said.

Expanding the market would be viable, she said, given government support by way of the electricity buy-back programme, tax incentives and funds.


The Energy Ministry says the planned programme would involve buying electricity generated from solar cells at a premium rate and offering tax incentives to encourage people to invest in solar homes.

Ms Wandee said the required investment started at 220,000 baht for 10 solar panels that can generate 1,200 watts, a controller, inverter and mater.

The purchase rate is between 14 and 18 baht per unit (kilowatt-hour) over 25 years, so homeowners could have a return on investment within 10 years.

Residential electricity users currently pay around three baht per unit but the price could rise to five baht after electricity utilities are privatised. Consequently, the purchase price of solar-generated electricity could rise to 16-20 baht and a homeowner could break even within six years, according to Ms Wandee.

The government also plans to establish two funds with initial funding of one billion and two billion baht, respectively, to release loans through banks at fixed annual interest of 4% for 10 years to homeowners looking to go solar.

The fund will obtain earnings from an additional charge of one to three satang per unit levied on general electricity users in order to have sufficient capital to support the power buy-back programme. Details of fund management models are still being discussed.

The ministry also plans to establish an Energy Services Company (Esco) to provide financial and marketing support to encourage more people to participate in the project.

Meanwhile, the Energy and Finance ministries plan talks about tax incentives, said Ms Wandee.

She said Japan and Germany were two countries whose governments supported solar homes. In Japan, there are 230,000 solar homes with a total investment of 160 billion baht, 10-50% of which is subsidised by the government. It is expected to have one million solar homes by 2010.

In Germany, the government buys electricity generated from solar cells at 0.34 to 0.59 euros per unit while general users pay 0.18 to 0.19 euros. Currently, there are 130,000 solar homes in Germany representing investment of 91 billion baht.

The cost stated includes controller, inverter and meter but i do not see any mention of storage costs.

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Post by yorkman » March 12, 2006, 3:07 pm

Well if I understand that correctly Marcus, this is about selling the power generated, hence the meter, and thus no need for storage...

It seems a bit of a strange concept at first, selling the solar power and then using power from the grid but I can see the sense in this.. errrr.. I suppose

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Post by businessman » March 12, 2006, 3:42 pm

I took it to be selling any excess power back to the grid John.So a meter for either direction of flow.You could not use a single meter that goes backwards as there are two different rates for the electricity,one much higher than the other.Sell your excess during the day at say 15 Baht and maybe use the cheap 5 Baht grid current at night.(I am sure that is what they do in Japan)Currently you cannot sell electricity back to the authorities for sure.

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