Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006


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Clear glass shelters, and sound barriers. Recent innovations in layers on both sides of the photovoltaic cells allow additional optic technology have reduced the amount of silicon reflected solar energy to be captured from the back side of needed in a PV module and brought the cost of bifacial the module. The subtle octagonal design of the silicon cells projects modules. A lower price tag and opportunity for greater energy production has made bifacial PV a practical a soft light-and-shadow pattern on the surfaces beneath the component for BIPV systems, as well as for use in array—similar to light filtering through the leaves of a large- systems that can earn performance-based incentives leafed tree.

Enough light passes through the modules to allow and renewable energy credits. He says that system results vary, depending upon individual site characteristics such as system design, location, and site albedo. Likewise, many buildings have less-than-optimal orientations for solar energy collection. Solarscaping can provide new and attractive options for array siting in many locations.

Because tall trees shaded areas closer to Courtesy Scott Franklin.

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Adding to the challenge, the structure had to be tall enough to avoid the shade of nearby trees. Above: A solar-electric carport.


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Below: Monofacial modules integrated into an awning serve a dual purpose: making electricity and providing shade for the windows. Topher Donahue. Like some homes, its site is far from ideal for accommodating a roof-mounted solar installation. By building a detached office with an east-west orientation two years ago, Franklin created room for a 1. The crew crafted the steel frame in the workshop and assembled the awning at the home over three days.

Issue #102 of Backwoods Home Magazine. November/December, 2006

On clear summer days, the net production from the Power Awning and the small roof-mounted system on the office is enough to The solution? A customized double carport roofed with spin the utility meter backward. Now we can sit out there and enjoy collectors for solar water heating. The Solarscapes offer several access and maintenance increased energy production of the bifacial modules advantages over typical roof-mounted PV systems. The helps to offset a portion of the higher cost.

After federal absence of roof-mounted arrays, for example, means roof and state rebates, the 2. Increased airflow around the array will keep module operating temperatures lower and result in increased energy harvest. Functional Design sidebar. Only when you actually sit beneath it residential structures, creating spaces that are as productive and see the PV panels do you realize that the awning is also as they are attractive.

He is module PV system and help offset the electricity consumption now helping his mother upgrade the cabin to photovoltaic power. His business, Alpinecreative www. SunWize pre-packaged grid-tie systems and grid-tie systems with battery backup contain everything you need for a complete installation. He scoped out the latest technology at would soon follow—a repetition of the oil crisis. His interest tanks was the final push he needed. There was no use waiting for the auto industry because monitor RE and EV systems.

Out with the internal combustion engine.

Home Power Magazine Solar, Wind and Renewable Energy Issue | Battery Charger | Renewable Energy

Lots of room in the engine compartment. Either too small, too slow, too expensive, or too hard to find, none of them were a good match for his needs. Devising a Plan Richmond found an invaluable resource in the Electric Auto Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement and widespread adoption of EVs. Through the Web site, he connected with other electric car enthusiasts, who were happy to answer his countless questions. With the guidance of their triumphs and failures, he developed his plan of action, and by May, he was ready.

Even with an electrical engineering degree from the University of Washington and a longtime interest in electric vehicles, Richmond considered hiring a private EV enthusiast or commercial EV conversion company to do the conversion. He did, however, recognize Richmond says that establishing realistic needs is one of his limitations with metal fabrication and welding, and the first and most important steps in the process of vehicle formulated his plan accordingly.

How far do you need to go each day? How fast From the get-go, he knew a piecemeal approach— do you need to go? What kind of acceleration do you need?

Alternative energy

How much do you want to be able to haul? What kind of Customizing adapters and mounts went beyond his skill level. The answers to these He decided that a conversion kit—which comes equipped and other questions will determine the vehicle, vendor, and with most of the mechanical parts—would best suit his needs components used for the conversion, as well as the design and and abilities.

EV conversion approaches. The hp DC motor bolted Installing the new electric motor and transmission, to the original transmission. I wanted a vehicle that was in good shape and had some longevity. Randy Holmquist and his team in British Columbia have more than 12 years of experience with electric vehicles, but it was the responsive customer service and attention Above the drive motor— six T lead-acid batteries and the to detail that won Richmond over. Unlike some other control box, mounted to the left of the batteries. The highway driving, though brief, controller cooling system, or the battery state-of-charge meter.

He needed enough The controller cooling system—a water circulating pump and horsepower to handle the extra weight of the batteries in the miniature radiator—came from EV Source, a distributor vehicle and get up the hills along his commute. He decided based in Logan, Utah. The kit weight of the vehicle and the cool, rainy conditions in the area. Trojan T 6 V, AH —to achieve a greater driving He knew that a small car or a neighborhood electric range. He quickly turned supplied the Xantrex Link battery state of charge SOC his attention to pickup trucks.


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  • With a convenient place for meter. Plus, there is conversion—except for the controller and charger, which a greater chance of finding a cost-effective and easy-to-use Richmond decided to customize to his application. By conversion kit, says Richmond, since there are several kits upgrading from a volt charger to a volt charger, he made for pickup trucks. PC interface capabilities.

    The Zivan battery charger and Zilla controller took four months to arrive because both manufacturers had a backlog of orders. Wiring Critical Connections While waiting for the back-ordered parts to arrive, Richmond wired the control box. Wiring the box took more than 30 hours. He replaced the power steering with a manual Top Speed: 70 mph steering box from a s-vintage vehicle of the same make. Typical Range: 40 mi. He says that installing output the first component—the electric motor—offers the greatest DC Converter: Iota DLS gratification and the greatest challenge. Batteries: Single string of 24 Trojan T, 6 VDC It took one long evening for him to install the electric nominal, AH at hour rate, flooded lead-acid motor on the transmission with the adaptor plate.

    Though Battery Bank: VDC nominal, AH total some might have opted to leave the transmission in place and mate the motor under the hood, Richmond had removed Modifications the transmission to make connecting the two components Vehicle Curb Weight: 4, lbs. The motor mounts on one side of the plate while the Tires: Goodyear Regatta II, low rolling resistance, 44 psi transmission mounts on the other side, creating one large, heavy unit.

    Remain something interactive.

    Placing this cumbersome component where the gas engine used to be was no easy task and warranted an. The control box, with the logic interface mounted on its cover. For every amp that flows to the motor from the controller, 2 watts of waste heat are generated in the controller. At amps, for example, the power controller produces watts of heat. The cooling system circulates water through the controller to evening of its own. Even with the challenge With these vital components in place, and after mounting the of installing the motor and transmission as a unit, he had no vacuum pump for the power brakes, the control box, and the regrets about his decision to remove the transmission.

    There, he decided to live with the extra effort to install the combo. The extended cab allowed enough room for both Positioning the Power components, which should not be exposed to the elements. As Next came the two prefabricated battery enclosures. Besides an added bonus, the charger produces heat while charging. The insulated aluminum boxes I leave for work.

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    This battery is separate from holds six more. Because he chose batteries that were slightly the traction batteries under the hood and in the bed so that the taller than the boxes were designed for, he had to remove some vehicle can operate standard 12 V accessories independently. Much like a gas gauge shows the amount conversion work to do in the engine compartment. Under the Hood In the space once occupied by the air conditioning unit, Tying up Loose Ends Richmond installed a 1,watt ceramic heater to provide One of his final tasks—wiring the AC power cabling to the heat for the cab.

    Securing the piece required Richmond to charger—was perhaps the easiest. The AC plug fit perfectly fabricate a simple mounting plate from sheet metal—an easy- behind the old gasoline filler cap, saving Richmond from enough task that suited his metal-working skills. From there, he worked on the power controller and its Last but certainly not least was wiring the three-fold cooling system—two of the most important components in safety system and wiring the batteries to each other.

    The pulse-width-modulated PWM safety system includes a A fuse in the rear battery box. Turns out, the signal source for the emergency disconnect; and an inertia switch in the control speedometer—the power train computer—had been part of the box that causes the circuit to open and stop the motor in gas engine system. So he installed an aftermarket speedometer the event of an accident.

    Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006 Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006
    Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006 Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006
    Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006 Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006
    Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006 Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006
    Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006 Backwoods Home Magazine #102 - Nov/Dec 2006

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