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Cool new project

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    INTEGRA Works Inc. has just been awarded the contract to light the new "Welcome to Muskoka" signs that are being installed across the District. These highway signs will be lit using 100% Solar power, and 100% LED lamps (of course) as they are completely removed from any grid / power source. This is an exciting and challenging new direction for us. I will be sure to post photos of the finished system(s) when they are complete.

    (Gotta love Federal Infrastructure Investment Programs! :) )
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    James that is awesome. this reminds me of the real estate and yard sign thread a few months back. I am anxious to see how you set up the battery ( lifepo? nimh?) and how many square inches of solar cells you need to give you proper charging for however many hours it will need to be on. keep us up to date on testing and install !!
  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Using multiple 130W Solar PV panels, custom mounts, charge controller with integrated timer, AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries, bullets, stems, LED MR16 lamps, etc.
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Just curious. What happens when the solar panels get loaded up with snow or it is a very dark and stormy day and they do not get enough sun to fully charge ?
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    When you design and spec a solar system you set the panels for optimal elevation and incline according to your latitude and location. You also build in redundancy in terms of battery capacity and charging capacity in order to overcome less than optimal weather conditions and limited sun conditions such as during the winter months. You basically overbuild the solar system. There are lots of rersources and formulas available to do your calculations, sort of like what we do with planning voltage drop.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    They've been using solar panels to power different types of lighting for misc. signs along the roads here for a few years now. As far as I know there really hasn't been any issues with it.
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Funny, I went to adjust a job we installed yesterday. I was standing in front of the home and the nieghbor comes out to admire my work and asked me if it was solar. I had to chuckle at this then he asked me about building him a hybrid system and I told him I would be more than happy to discuss it with him. They he said from his research he felt we could do the house and landscape in the 2k range. I look over at his house and I am thinking it would be around 9-10k to do halogens.

  8. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 466

    Nothing better than a customer insinuating what your price "should be" based on his/her "research". In my experience, you will generally spend as much time explaining each charge with these people as you will installing it. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn down the work though as long as they agreed to my price.
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    while pete/sal is irritating, he does get me to thinking, and asking in a nice way-

    I would think that it is true that solar power in canada is different than solar power in california. I am guessing the solar panels will have to be mounted on a steep slope to encourage the snow to run off quickly.and also since the batteries will be outside rather than inside, your cold weather (-5 degrees? -20 degrees? ) amp hour capacity in winter has to be a huge consideration, given that sometimes ( 2 days? 5 days? 20 days? )the cells will be completely covered in snow and not feeding power to the batteries.

    also, I am guessing the charging/inverter sysem as well will need to fairly robust to handle the temps.

    since I have very little experience with solar, I guess or ask questions. Are you bringing in any canada solar folks to help you on this project ?
  10. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    My recollection from an intro class on solar back in the early 80's (yeah, lots has changed since then, and in those days "passive solar" in architectural design was the most effective return on costs)... the degree of panel orientation had a direct relationship to the angle of the sun at your latitude, i.e. a collector panel at the equator could be virtually flat...

    The funniest story I heard then was about Marlon Brando having solar installed at his South Pacific island retreat, with too vague instructions from a North American manual... he had the panels installed facing south... and of course they didn't work.

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