PDA

View Full Version : solar panels


Mark B
12-13-2010, 06:59 PM
Ok I saw a post a month or so ago that someone posted pictures of the setup they used in the desert. I know James has done the signs in his home town.

I have a request for doing the same thing. Light some signs that have no line voltage anywhere close. The questions I have is.

How is it working out with the type of design that you did?

Is there anything that you would change?

Is the customer still happy with it?

Would you PM me with some details on what you did.

Where did you find that parts?

Thanks.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-13-2010, 09:33 PM
So far the design is working our just fine. I have had many positive comments from locals, visitors, area officials, etc. (I lit four identical signs to the one in the photo)

At this point, the only thing I would have changed is: I would have put more thought and research into the materials required and the costs associated with mounting 2 x 250W PV panels on custom poles at 10 feet above grade and into solid granite and 24" x 4' sonotubes into soils. That part of the job was the most challenging and was more costly than I anticipated.

The customer (essentially the people of Muskoka and Ontario) seem to be very happy. I have not had any complaints.

Send me an email direct to info@integralighting.com and I will fill you in on the deets.

My local LV lighting distributor was very helpful in helping me specify and procure all of the components. With the information I learned through them, I am now much more comfortable in designing and specifying solar powered lighting systems.

(The photo was taken with my blackberry)

johnh
12-14-2010, 12:35 AM
Hi Sleepy,
I wouldn't call myself an expert by any means, but I have had a bit of practice in sizing solar power systems. PM me if you need some assistance in this area.
John H.

cgaengineer
12-14-2010, 01:04 AM
Do these solar systems run off batteries (like a 12 volt car battery) and charge via solar panels during the day?
Posted via Mobile Device

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-14-2010, 08:48 AM
Do these solar systems run off batteries (like a 12 volt car battery) and charge via solar panels during the day?
Posted via Mobile Device

Yes they do use 12v batteries.

Essentially you have: Photovoltaic Panels, Charge Controller, AGM Batteries, Output control (timer, photocell, etc), lighting equipment. You have to have the proper disconnects and fusing on both the supply and load side. It is a pretty simple set up once you have everything sized properly. Remember that these are 12V DC systems and not AC.

cgaengineer
12-14-2010, 09:21 AM
Yes they do use 12v batteries.

Essentially you have: Photovoltaic Panels, Charge Controller, AGM Batteries, Output control (timer, photocell, etc), lighting equipment. You have to have the proper disconnects and fusing on both the supply and load side. It is a pretty simple set up once you have everything sized properly. Remember that these are 12V DC systems and not AC.

Man that's pretty cool. I have an application for something like that right now. Can you point me in the right direction?
Posted via Mobile Device

jshimmin
12-15-2010, 06:56 AM
I put in a 20 panel array last week for running a large bank of LED lights. System runs on 24 VDC using eight batteries, panel combiners and four charge controllers. The battery box ended up weighing 1200 lbs loaded.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-15-2010, 08:33 AM
That is a really large system Jim! Was it entirely for landscape / outdoor lighting or some other application? What type of fixtures / lamps were you powering?

jshimmin
12-15-2010, 09:34 PM
Strictly outdoor LED lights. The entire system is around 700 watts total. The LED lights are direct fed 24 vdc.

Tomwilllight
12-20-2010, 09:21 PM
Very cool... Is anybody else doing such an extensive Solar system to power landscape lighting?

AOLP Conference planners Jim Shimmin should present at the AOLP conference.

Tom

Tim R.
12-21-2010, 09:18 PM
I put in a 20 panel array last week for running a large bank of LED lights. System runs on 24 VDC using eight batteries, panel combiners and four charge controllers. The battery box ended up weighing 1200 lbs loaded.

Wow, what a complete eyesore for a bank of lights. Jeez, I guess if you don't have access to power what else can you do though.

Tomwilllight
12-22-2010, 01:20 PM
The definition of eyesore depends on the eye doing the looking.

I think there could be a profitable niche market out there for completely off-the-grid powered landscape lighting installations I'm really curious about how many such installations there are.

Clearly I'm not asking about 19.95 "solar lights" from your neighborhood big box store.

Tom

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
12-22-2010, 02:09 PM
Although the cost of solar system infrastructure has come down quite a bit in recent years, it is still a relatively expensive way to provide power for traditional (incandescent) lighting systems. Now introduce LED to the equation and things change considerably. The drastically reduced electrical load of an LED lighting system also reduces the size and cost of the solar power system.

However, even with LED lighting systems, solar power systems are not cost effective if there is any way to introduce line voltage supply to the lighting system. In my experience, with small and medium scale solar powered LV lighting systems, the cost of providing the power to the lighting system has varied between 100% and 150% of the cost of the lighting system alone. Clearly if there is any way you can get 'traditional' power to the lighting system you, and the client, are better off doing so.

In a couple of cases I have found it beneficial to have a 240V supply installed, (and in one installation we actually went with 600V mains) with 240V-120V step down transformers installed (powering receptacles and LV transformers) at various locations throughout the property rather than go to the expense of installing Solar Power stations where needed. (I am talking about very large lighting systems installed on very large scale properties)

That being said, there are opportunities where solar powered lighting systems are the only feasible alternative; Remote highway signs, billboards, island properties with no electrical infrastructure in place, are all examples. The overall cost is high, but when there are no traditional power sources, you have to do what you have to do.

Tomwilllight
12-22-2010, 03:09 PM
I'm curious if a NICHE market made-up of first-adopters who have the will and cash to experiment is in the process of developing.

Could the increasing quality and public acceptance of LED lighting and (supposedly) imminent improvements in solar panels pave the way for this (imaginary?) market?

I continually wonder at the number of big-box "solar pathlights" I see in my neighborhood. One of my neighbors gathers all of his pathlights each morning to point them south for recharging; each evening he resets them along his walkway - fully charged. A sizable portion of the public obviously likes the idea of solar pathlights @ 19.95 for 4. Would some smaller part of them pay considerably more for a permeant solar installation that would ACTUALLY WORK? I don't know, my (retired) neighbor likes having something to do and refused my offer to help...

I think James is right: The widespread acceptance of LED lighting in the landscape has created the first essential element for such a market. With solar panels prices coming down and storage technology improving are the second and third essential elements on the horizon?

Tom

jshimmin
12-23-2010, 07:17 AM
I have several more similar installs scheduled now. These are not homes, but remote business entities. I am working on a system scaled to a typical residential landscape lighting system. When done, I expect to be able to run a 100 watt LED system dusk to dawn during short winter month charge performance.
The development of an inverter for 24 vdc to 15 vac is underway. Installs to date have not had to run wiring more than 60 ft to the fixture. DC will still work fine at that distance. You have to pay attention to keeping the lights off when there is any charging still occurring. I have panel arrays that can put out over 30 vdc very close to dusk. That voltage can fry the LED's if allowed to hit them. I install a timer, plus a relay that is not closed until charge current is below 100 milliamps.

Plans are also on the board for a system combining a solar array and Honey Wells new wind turbine.