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Solar Lighting - Behavioral Change

Post in 'The Green Room' started by jebatty, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
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    4,510
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    Odd for me to post this because I just installed a 6.5kw solar system, but this is what I have been doing for the past year to do solar on the cheap but effective. I use Nokero N220 and d.light S2 rechargeable solar lights, two of the Nokero over my computer desk, one Nokero over the coffee maker, and one d.light in the kitchen for ambient lighting. These lights are basically task lights and they give the light to do the job without lighting brightly a whole room, but both give sufficient ambient light as well. Set them outside during the day to recharge, and use at night and early morning when light is needed for the task.

    Two behavioral changes. First, adjusting to use light only needed to do the job, and to move away from brightly lighting big spaces when that light is not actually needed. Much of the world already lives this way. Second, accepting the minor inconvenience of setting the lights outside each day to recharge and bringing them back in at the end of the day. Both of these lights will give about 6 hours of light on a full charge, but sunny days are needed for this, and cloudy days may not give a full charge.

    A bonus besides reducing the electric bill is that for about $100 you can buy 4 or more of these lights and achieve immediate benefits of solar. Effective solar does not need to be expensive.

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  2. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Jul 22, 2011
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    Upstate NY

    I'm 100% with you on the behavioral change thing. All electric seems a very worthy goal, and the tech. is improving rapidly towards making a totally off grid, all electric home achievable. Have you looked at DC for some lighting tasks, refridgeration, or other? How do you pump water?
  3. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
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    4,510
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    Finding a place for solar panels was a real challenge for us. We live in a heavily wooded area, something which we really like, and the only sunny area was in a grassy wetland, part of which we owned and was quite a distance from the house, and part owned by a neighbor but much closer to the house, and in both cases on the other side of our gravel public road. We ended up buying a piece of the neighbor's land so we could put the array closer to the house and easier access. This is a grid-tied system with micro-inverters, 240VAC. For small residential MN has a pretty good solar utility buy-back which is at the same rate that residential buys from the utility. So no DC at the house. If the array under-produces, we buy from the utility. If it over-produces, we sell to the utility.
  4. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    903
    Loc:
    Upstate NY

    Roger on the grid tie. If I ever get to finish my off grid home it'll have a DC only operating mode. I noticed New England Solar lists a lot of DC equip. as well as a Grundfos soft start submersible well pump that will start and run with a mere 1500 watts.
  5. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    1,718
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    Check out the new Sunny Boy inverters for gird tie, they have an emergency plus on them that works with the grid down, there are no batteries but when the sun is out you get up to 15 amps. The cost is competitive with other inverters that dont have this feature. Some folks plus a UPS into it.

    Over on another forum we have been discussing using a standard submersible AC pump with a constant pressure starter compared to a custom DC pump. Both goulds and Franklin make a softstart/vf drvie box that hooks up to a standard three wire AC pump, it can even be retrofitted to an existing three wire pump (if you have a pump control box mounted on the wall that the pressure switch ties into odds are you have a three wire pump). These boxes substantially reduces start up surge.
  6. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    903
    Loc:
    Upstate NY

    I'm thinking a two stage system, AC soft start pumping to a storage tank in the basement, (or attic storage for gravity feed) with a DC booster pump to pressure tank, keeping the storage always nearly full and downsizing the backup genset to a small portable.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    South Puget Sound, WA
    The Sunny inverter + Sunny Island off grid inverter was my dream system. But they are not made in WA so we had to pass in order to maximize our solar rebate payment.

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