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Alternative Fuels An energy source alternative to using fossil fuels. Materials or substances that can be used as a fuel, other than conventional fuels. Waste oils, vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used alone, or blended with fossil fuels.

Alternative Fuels

solar idea - your thoughts


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Old 12-15-2015, 10:55:55 PM
Ken Karrow Ken Karrow is offline
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Default solar idea - your thoughts

I have a building with no electricity and can run electricity to it but am considering solar. There are any where from 8 to 10 garden tractors stored in it. My idea is to put a solar collector and use the batteries on the tractors as a storage bank. I would put quick disconnects on each tractor(2 wire trailer connectors) with a 5 or 10 amp fuse on each. I would then put a few small 12 volt bulbs on the ceiling on a timed switch so batteries would not run down if I forgot to turn the lights off. Add a small inverter to run a drill etc. on occasion. Any serious use can start a 1.5 kw genie that is stored there too. Can buy the solar for the same or less than running wire and putting battery maintainers on the tractors. Would satisfy the need for lights and at the same time would keep all the batteries topped off. Any thoughts? Thank you.
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Old 12-15-2015, 11:49:37 PM
Amax Amax is offline
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Default Re: solar idea - your thoughts

You'll lose a lot of efficiency when you cascade adapters (chargers) and so on.

If you create a quick-connect harness for each battery/tractor to put all the batteries in parallel, and wire that in to your solar controller, you should be OK as long as all of the batteries are in good shape. Don't connect any that are borderline.
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Old 12-17-2015, 12:56:35 AM
Ken Karrow Ken Karrow is offline
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Default Re: solar idea - your thoughts

That is what I had in mind. The reason for no borderline is that it can short and pull the others down?
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Old 12-18-2015, 08:16:54 AM
grub54891 grub54891 is offline
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Default Re: solar idea - your thoughts

yeah, the bad battery would ask for a charge, thus overcharging the good ones.
If the cost of running a wire to the building is close to buying and setting up solar, just do the wiring. The newer multi bank smart chargers work well, they only charge the batts as needed.
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Old 07-21-2016, 12:20:23 AM
Harlock Harlock is offline
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Default Re: solar idea - your thoughts

Consider the cost of bringing the power to it vs the cost of the solar panels etc... depending on the distance, a wire isn't that expensive and will last forever vs the solar panels and all the problems and maintenance. Some people want to have fun and if it is the case and have the cash, go for it, but if it is to be a permanent thing, go with the wire, even if it is more expensive by 50-100%. The wire will likely never let you down, where solar... yes and the batteries prefer the grid by far. Again this is only my experience and opinion and I have seen solar systems of 10KW to 10Mw and it is not as easy as it sounds. The sun on average year round gives us here 4 hours (that's counting, cloudy days, summer, winter where the sun isn't that strong). Good luck
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Old 07-21-2016, 12:04:36 PM
slip knot slip knot is online now
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Default Re: solar idea - your thoughts

I have some similiar experience. we had a farm shop without power. $3K to run power to it @25 yrs ago so we started running gensets. Now the gensets are getting older and less reliable so we looked at running power again. >$12K now. We shoulda just bit the bullet years ago.

Solar technolgy may get more cheaper in the future but maintenance issues wont change. and the cost of hard wire just keeps going up.
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Old 08-02-2016, 10:14:35 AM
Odin Odin is offline
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Default Re: solar idea - your thoughts

Batteries need maintenance too. If you start using those batteries as a deep cycle array, you're going to need to water them regularly. Though they technically need the water levels checked regardless, regular charge/discharge cycles make the water level drop faster than the surge discharge and recharge encountered when starting an engine.

Not only that, but solar panel efficiency has come a long way in the past few years, and is expected to keep going up a while longer because of the big push behind alternative energy this decade.

Have to consider the whole picture- what it costs to get, what it costs to keep it going, and what it would cost to go to a more conventional solution later on.
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