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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  alexsmth114 6 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #36736

    thebgw
    Member

    Hey there, so glad I found this forum!

    I’m part of a warehouse of artists and small creative businesses that is off the grid in the middle of San Francisco. Yes, you read that right.

    We’re occupying a building where the wiring was stolen and so we’re operating with a gas generator.

    We just started to get a battery array setup going so that we can be charging the batteries with the generator and minimizing our fossil-fuel usage (see my other post about that). We’re also going to be getting some solar panels going as soon as we can.

    Our goal is eventually to be running completely off of solar power, which means we need a pretty beefy system as we’re talking about an 8000sf building here with power usage sometimes at 5-6kw (though usually under 1kw)

    My questions here are regarding building our own solar panels.

    We may be acquiring some old solar hot water heater panels. Not much use in their current form but I’m hoping we can use the materials to build PV solar panels: they are made with copper sheeting, so it means we’re getting 150sf of copper sheeting. I’ve been trying to find instructions somewhere on the construction of PV cells using copper sheeting and have only been able to find instructions for very small cells that aren’t much use.

    Is building large PV cells using copper sheeting still a viable and efficient method? Can anyone point me in the direction of some good instructions?

    Thanks!

    #41016

    elnav
    Member

    No no no! you can’t build solar PV from hot water heating. Use the heating panels for your hot water application. Even in SF people like hot showers. I read your other post on inverters and battery banks. Similar ccomments apply.

    Yu can do what you plan but not by doing it the way you are going about it now. I design systems like you are contemplating and I can tell you right now you will expend extraordinary amounts of hours but get little in return with the approach you are contemplating. For such a thing you need an engineering type person not an artist.

    #41017

    elnav
    Member

    No no no! you can’t build solar PV from hot water heating. Use the heating panels for your hot water application. Even in SF people like hot showers. I read your other post on inverters and battery banks. Similar ccomments apply.

    Yu can do what you plan but not by doing it the way you are going about it now. I design systems like you are contemplating and I can tell you right now you will expend extraordinary amounts of hours but get little in return with the approach you are contemplating. For such a thing you need an engineering type person not an artist.

    #41196

    DCPL
    Participant

    DIY solar PV building is a total waste of time and money, since you’ll end up rebuilding them every couple of years when the materials you use to frame them fails due to UV and temperature/moisture. They’ll also be unlisted (UL) and therefore illegal under NEC code in the USA. The NEC is there to prevent injury and fires, and it’s the law that all systems comply with it in all 50 states. Solar PV power is electricity, which demands full respect, even at low voltages. A single 6 volt deep cycle 6 volt batter can easily deliver 6000 amperes when shorted – 36,000 Watts – enough to melt a wrench in a flash, spraying you with molten metal before you can even react.

    Solar water heating, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much since Bill Bailey patented his Day and Night closed loop anti-freeze flat panel/integrated storage system in 1913. It’s accessible to almost anyone, safely, once basic solar thermal design and plumbing is understood.

    #41314

    alexsmth114
    Participant

    Nice informative post, couldn’t have asked for more, keep them coming!!..

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