Creative PV Panel system ideas MUCH needed

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by suudlor, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. suudlor

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 21, 2011
    2
    0
    I am a Thai university student and now working(and competing) on a big project to powering any remote village/community in Thailand by using solar cell system.

    Here is the problem... in order for me to attract all the judges, I have to propose some creative and unique solar cell system design and install ideas. It can be anything from hybrid system, where I use both power from solar cell and from water(dynamo-turbine), or constructing my own current inverter- even transforming a UPS into an inverter. What I'm trying to do is to have new and fresh solar cell-based system idea to convince the judges. And now I'm running out of those ideas so I beg for your help by sharing me your creative solar cell system or solar cell circuit design or anything that I can put into my system and would attract the judges.

    ANY comment is very much appreciated since the project outline is due by the 26 of July; only 5days from now. You can even post your ideas briefly and I'll look for more information myself.

    Here are some infirmations I believe you should know:
    -The PV panel is a 50Watt thin film type. And I get 60 panels so the total power produced is 3kiloWatt.
    -The village I'm working on is one of those hilltribes you see in puctures of Thailand with a metal spring rolled around their neck
    -There are 241 people living in this village and no power line can be seen in 23 kilometer radius.
    -Thailand use a 220 AC voltage with 50Hz frequency, and a regulat 12 DC Voltage
    -There is abundant amount of water preserved in their water tanks and the water flow is quite fast, all year long.
    -They already have a 3kWatt solar cell system but that is only for villagers charging their 10 years old deep-cycle battery to power their tv and light bulbs at night.
    -The school is their top-priority IF they have the power. The school has 3 computers(use about 1500 Watt,max), a satellite internet system, 2TVs and a tv cable system and a dvd player. All of these still are usuable but they don't have the electrical power :'(
    -The school has 42 kids ranging from kindergarten to grade 6 but 1 teacher and 1 principle !!

    Like I said, ALL of your comments will be great helps. And I could never say thank you enough. :))
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  2. russpatterson

    Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    351
    16
    I've got a bunch of circuit's for solar stuff posted here: http://backyardsolar.blogspot.com/

    Using the water would be good but you need a turbine/generator, which may be out of scope to build.

    Making an inverter is not trivial. I would buy a good one for the school and use the panels to charge batteries and run the inverter. Nothing really ground breaking there. Change the lighting in the school to LED's and run those off DC power straight from the batteries.
     
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  3. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    You really don't have much time at all to put together a viable proposal.

    Turbine generators powered by water can be extremely efficient, but require some rather expensive infrastructure. You would need a fairly large reservoir with a large drop sufficient to create enough pressure to drive a turbine. The water-filled reservoir would represent a lot of kinetic energy; no people could inhabit the area below the reservoir.

    UPS's are not designed to supply power continuously; you might get 20 to 30 minutes of run time out of them.

    There are low-power computers that are designed to run from 12v; much more efficient than trying to operate a typical tower case computer designed to be plugged into a wall outlet.

    Take a hard look what all of the electrically powered items consume, and suggest replacing them with much more efficient devices that might operate directly from batteries.
     
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  4. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,127
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    Seems to me the problem is as much distribution as anything else. Rather than generate power from all your panels in one spot and then distribute the power, how about distributing the panels? You could make a deal with each recipient whereby you retain ownership of the panel and the user pays a modest rent. They get a convenient charging station, which they might sell access to for their neighbors, or sell charged batteries using any excess they generate. Even the school could participate, with of course a larger installation.
     
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  5. suudlor

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 21, 2011
    2
    0
    Ah thanks. But do you guys have any idea on how I can make the whole system more creative? Maybe replacing some equipment with another or use any new equipment? I would like to make the schematic of "PV cell-charge contoller-inverter to ac" type of system, I need it more creative by adding or alternating any part of the system.
     
  6. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,127
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    How about using some of that water to cool the PV panels, and capture heat. The panels would operate more efficiently, and could tolerate using mirrors to help concentrate sunlight on them to get still more current. They'd overheat without the cooling.
     
  7. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    4,302
    1,988
    solar cookers. don't know the real name; they have large mirrored surfaces that focus the sun to the center where the food is. good since the oven/stove in a house is probably one of the most power hungry appliances.

    but then this is a village in thailand so i don't know if they have stoves/ovens. probably run on compressed gas if they do.
     
  8. magnet18

    Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    1,232
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    +1!

    another idea, if you use the heat collected from cooling the panels to power some heat pumps you might be able to pull some extra power out of the system.
     
  9. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    5,435
    1,305
    What about making a cheap miniature high efficiency 50W mains inverter and mounting on the back of each solar panel?

    Then that all just connects together to make an AC mains "grid". That's creative. :)

    It solves much of the distribution problem and if any panel or it's inverter fails it can be taken away for repair in a centralised facility, and on-site immediately exchanged with a good panel/inverter so the system always runs at peak.

    It's also a "creative" solution for easy expansion of the whole network at any time budget allows by just adding more panel/inverter units.
     
  10. russpatterson

    Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    351
    16
    I like the micro-inverter idea too. Suudlor, do you have the skills and time to create that?

    I also like the using the water to cool the panels and focus light on them. Very cool but would also be breaking a lot as you figured out the engineering. So good for the creative engineering and pushing technology but not the best for the people at the school/village.

    I also like the replace the old super-inefficient computers and stuff in the school with modern super-efficient stuff that all runs on DC power. Combine that with the many small, distributed, dedicated solar, power generating/storing stations and you have a creative idea (who's time has come in my opinion). I can donate a couple small 60 watt charge controllers or you can use my design and customize it to your own ends, thus supplying a key piece of technology yourself. Parts are less than $25.

    Get donations to replace the lights, computers etc. Use LED based lighting that runs off 12VDC and those fanless mini-pc's hobbyists are building that run on 12VDC and use very low power. If the charity is legitimate I can help with the connections for people wanting to donate for using solar/alternate in remote parts of the world.

    So I say distributed systems, not distribution of power. You can size each system and if something needs repairing, it will, then you just have one system down and replacements on hand. Not a blackout where nothing works.
     
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