About a year ago I decided to finally set up a 12v solar and wind powered home lighting plant. Apart from the degree of self sufficiency it could provide, there was also the issue of sometimes frequent power failures. This is one of those projects I'd been wanting to do for years, but now it is at last operational though not completely finished. So, now I'll explain the design:
Here is were most of the power comes from; an array of three 40W panels. I have another two 60W panels but haven't got around to welding up the frame for them yet, and as it happens I haven't really needed to.
Next is the wind generator:
It's an Air X Marine that supposedly can put out 400W. This has only been in operation for just over a month now and is only a temporary set up as I'm learning about its performance, and the best location for it. It turns out performance isn't what I expected. First thing is it needs proper wind to start generating. Just a breeze won't do. With all the surrounding objects, the wind is turbulent when it does blow so actual useful output is very intermittent. There is no way the wind generator could keep the batteries charged on its own.
Here's the first switchboard where the solar panels and batteries connect:
The solar panels are fed into a homemade regulator that simply disconnects the panels when the batteries reach about 14V. Also on this panel is a homemade 300W auto start inverter that feeds a GPO in the house for use during power failures. The two circuit breakers feed the light and power circuits in the garage. Both are fed with 4mm TPS. The AVO meter is temporary for the wind generator until I make up a proper meter for it.
The batteries are old and dying. I've had them for a long time and they were already second hand then. There's four 6V 90A lead acid batteries making up a 12V 180Ah bank.
From the garage where the batteries are, to the house is a 8m run of paralleled 16mm cable.
Under the house is this switchboard:
Coming up from the bottom you can see the 16mm supply. At the left is the 240V feed from the 300W inverter. To the right is the two 15A breakers for the house light and power. The light circuit has a 4mm feed up into the roof where it's distributed ring main style to the lights:
These are 12V 50W bulbs in porcelain pull chain switch sockets.
At the top of the under house switch board you can see the power feed with 16mm wire; and you can also see the start and end of the ring main. Tap offs to the wall sockets are done thus:
It wouldn't comply if it was 240V, but with ELV more things are permissable. 2.5mm TPS is simply spliced into the 16mm feed. I felt that soldered connections would have less voltage drop than screwed ones, and besides it's cheaper. And, finally here's an outlet:
There's a pair of 402/32 sockets on a period looking repro mounting block. To the right is an existing 240V GPO...actually the original one for the house.
[This message has been edited by aussie240 (edited 10-14-2006).]