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Wind v Solar
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Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4193
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 15 9:43 pm    Post subject: Wind v Solar  Reply with quote    

Thought this might interest a few of you with knowledge of generating ones own electricity,

Recently we have been doing some testing as our roofing division supplies and installs solar panels, our market isn't the domestic market but the industrial market where the companies know the real facts which are that they will pay out more to have the solar panels then they will make in savings and are prepared to offset this loss against tax and by claiming the subsidies, they want them more as a part of their corporate environmental policy.


I do a lot of off roading and have built my own expedition vehicle using all my engineering experience and it was built to a high specification to meet our requirements rather than down to a price and it was all home built with its super insulated Kevlar double skinned body, enough water, fuel, gas, and food capacity for 4 weeks totally off grid and more importantly its two massive battery banks with a capacity of 3750 amps each and they were free, yes free courtesy of our nuclear submarines and still under warranty.


One day when I was in the office all day I went to work in it to give it a run and circulate the fluids and one of our directors saw it and asked how I powered it and I showed him the twin 320 amp engine alternators and he said no, I thought you didn't run the engine when you stopped, so I showed him the two portable wind turbines I use; one is a 12 volt X 1500 watt portable unit which fits to the back of the vehicle and is assembled and erected in around 2 minutes and fixes into dedicated clamps while the second unit has clamps at the front of the vehicle and a base and guy ropes so it can be attached to the vehicle or used as a free standing unit and when he saw the output they provided compared to a solar panel he became interested in them.


During July and August (not finished yet) we have been doing some testing and this is like for like to compare solar panels and wind turbines in a side by side test; the reason being that due to the downturn in the economy we are fitting fewer solar panels as companies know they will never recoup their costs (initial investment) and aren't having them installed and he is looking for an alternative but he originally dismissed my idea of small wind turbines as they were not in the peoples minds due to the heavy promotion of the solar industry and its inefficient solar panels.

To conduct fair and accurate tests we installed a solar system of a specified wattage on the test rig in the middle of a field and an equal sized wind turbine about 5 metres apart so they were run under the exact same conditions, and we managed to get some of the latest development solar panels which are currently state of the art and are so new that they won't even be on sale for about 12-18 months and will be very expensive. Testing was done over a full 24 hour period on three separate occasions for each test to give an accurate reflection of performance under normal UK conditions, albeit summer conditions. While we have tested numerous outputs of both solar and wind systems the results were remarkably similar across them all so instead of putting up lots of technical data I will give the results of the 300 watt systems. WE decided that in terms of efficiency we would use them at 12 volts as this is the most efficient use of both systems as opposed to mains voltages.


300 W at 12 volts = a maximum output amperage of 25 amps and over the three 24 hour periods of testing the solar panel tested averaged 1.21 amps per hour and even during optimum conditions it couldn't hit 15 amps output for above 1 minute and only hit above 10 amps for about 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, the wind turbine despite being a portable, compact item averaged 11.74 amps per hour over the same three 24 hour periods and regularly ran above 20 amps for sustained periods of over 15 minutes and hit its peak 25 amp output on several occasions which makes it viable for charging 12 volt batteries or charging other sizes of battery packs such as 24 or 48 volt systems as it delivers plenty of power to charge sufficiently large battery packs for inverter use.


Now we can look at costs, the solar panel is not currently on sale and will cost £1000's when it goes on sale and in our testing it provided 29.04 amps total average output; compare this with the portable wind turbine which was a 14" (350mm) diameter unit and cost a massive £140 including charge controller which delivered an impressive average of 281.76 amps over the same 24 hour testing periods.


From a cost perspective it stacks up as we used an average wind turbine unit anyone can buy and set up themselves, at 14" diameter (this is the blades) it isn't obtrusive, it can be mounted on a shed, barn, or garage roof as a permanent fixture, it makes no noise in operation unlike the large units dotted (blighting) the countryside, and it can be run with a variety of battery pack voltages. It provides sufficiently high outputs to charge massive battery packs and in industrial use it can power anything which can run off 12 or industry standard 24 volt systems which are generally used around European factories, you can incorporate 12 volt LED lighting or even run most laptop or base station computers directly from 12 volt.
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Read more: http://coalmine.proboards.com/thread/1455/solar-wind#ixzz3izORq42j

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10483

PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Interesting Ty Gwyn. I didn't know you were into other forms of energy production too.

A question about your small wind turbines. How do they cope with the sort of turbulent air you would get round houses and trees? This is a problem with some that are sold for domestic and small scale industrial use I know.

Pilsbury



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 5645
Location: East london/Essex
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I don't think thsts Ty Gwyn experience, rather a copy from the link posted at the bottom.

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21298
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Solar PV should cost £1000's, it's a relatively inexpensive way of obtaining power. Small turbines on shed or house roofs are terribly inefficient but if done properly, and if you can get planning permission, are cost effective.

You shouldn't view this as wind vs solar. They are complimentary.

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15215
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The units do not give me confidence in the article.

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21298
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It's anecdotal at best.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4193
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Right Pilsbury,its a post by an ex Mining engineer who works for a solar company,
He has gone off grid with all kind`s of alternative energy projects,sounds a clever guy indeed,
Reason i posted the article was to see if his reasoning add`s up,when scrutinized by the electrical knowledged here.

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21298
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Why would you want to compare solar and wind directly in such a test? It only makes sense for a specific instance and location and even then you'd probably want a mix for best effect.

I'm not sure he's understood the philosophy of renewable energy.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Something that should be taken into account in this argument is the longevity & maintenance issues. The solar PV panels at the CAT institute that have been in place for over 25 years are still running at over 80% of their original efficiency according to a friend who studies these things.
I very much doubt any wind turbine would be able to do the same without regular & expensive servicing & replacement parts.
Attaching small turbines to buildings in unsuitable wind conditions where there are a lot of eddies can cause structural problems.
Consequently house insurance firms don't like them.
& efficiency is debatable.
Wind generating is best done on a larger scale, it does become more efficient the bigger it gets, Solar PV is efficient on any scale from on vehicle battery charging to the roof of the huge Tesla factory in the Californian desert.
All in my humble opinion.

Behemoth



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 19023
Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Commercially we've not progressed solar, mainly due to changes in the the tax regime. We built this instead:


RichardW



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 8432
Location: Llyn Peninsular North Wales
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

vegplot wrote:

You shouldn't view this as wind vs solar. They are complimentary.


This.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4193
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Look`s like i was wrong in thinking some here might find it interesting,

Not that anyone has debated his figure`s or calculations.

vegplot



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 21298
Location: Ynys Môn
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Ty Gwyn wrote:

Not that anyone has debated his figure`s or calculations.


They're not particularly meaningful in the context he's provided them.

He talks in general terms e.g. "get some of the latest development solar panels which are currently state of the art and are so new that they won't even be on sale for about 12-18 months and will be very expensive" which means nothing.

He says nothing about load profiles and usage, charging efficiencies, storage utilisations, cost effectiveness, required inputs etc. His units of energy are incorrect, he should be quoting Watt.hours not amperage, and he make no references to suppliers, makes, models or anything particularly meaningful.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4193
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 15 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Considering he has converted his house/smallholding to be completely off grid,doing the work himself,
Considering he work`s for the solar company that has dealing`s with the supplier of these new panel`s,he`s hardly going to post the details before they come on the market,
I guess the guy know`s something about what he does,

Considering he posted this on a Mining forum,frequented by electricians,he must also be brave or daft,lol.

If you disagree with his calculations,you could always log into that forum and debate the issue`s with him.

RichardW



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 8432
Location: Llyn Peninsular North Wales
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 15 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The mistakes, inconsistency & bias are so huge I CBA to even start to debate it with someone that has already made their mind up.

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