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I saw there really wasn't a topic for this, with society becoming increasingly aware of their carbon footprint or lessoning their impact on the environment.  Maybe this would be a good place to share info, knowledge, experience, equipment, suppliers, setup etc on solar applications......

In the next few weeks I'll try posting some basic solar info and general rules of thumbs, As and if this progresses, get into the sizing of equipment, types of equipment, pumps, panels, inverters, chargers, lighting and storage systems.

 

Hope to hear from others as well as input or questions.

Thanks

the mad german

 

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For Pumps you might want to consider using Glenn Martinez's air pumps.  He can run pumps off of 24 watt air compressors that move quite a bit of water.  That's less than what a light bulb uses.  

Hi.

I just wanted to say that this week I purchased two solar water heating panels, to install as part of my system. I think most people think about electrical generation when they hear the words 'solar panel'. Perhaps being in a cooler climate in England, we use solar water heating panels more than in the US? The panels I've bought are sold for the purpose of heating domestic water, mainly for private housing. I hope that the panels will give me adequate temperature during the day, but also hope that they might generate enough temperature so that heat could be stored for overnight too? I could, of course, just grow other native fish that will not require heat, but I would like to try tilapia initially.

As this is a sustainability and solar discussion, I just wondered what others thought about solar heating, or maybe you are using it already, or maybe you've tried it and were unimpressed?

Looking forward to your views and comments.

Cheers,

Steve

There is an issue with using most solar water heaters directly on AP water and that is, copper pipes and recirculating water for fish are a bad combination.  The acidic AP water will cause some of the copper to leach into the water which can easily build up to toxic levels for fish.  To do solar water heating for AP, you really need to work out some form of heat exchange that will isolate the solar heater loop from the system water.

Also, if you go heating the water in a minimally insulated and otherwise unheated greenhouse in a climate that gets true freezing snowy weather, you will have evaporation and condensation issues that could block most of the minimal available light during the dark part of winter and perhaps even freeze your greenhouse shut on you.  Be sure to make some provisions to heat the air a bit to avoid a greenhouse turning into ice castle on you.

Good point about the copper pipes, and hopefully easily solved by replacing with stainless?

To be honest, I've not thought about the effects of condensation in the polytunnel that I will be using. I have watched many YouTube clips involving greenhouses and polytunnels in freezing conditions, and as yet not seen any reference to condensation issues, so I think it will have to be a case of learning by trial and error.

Something that I would have to consider, is what would grow well enough over winter to keep a reasonable balance between fish and vegetation.

In an ideal world, I would love to have a small wind turbine to run any pumps, lights at night etc.

Keep in mind that if you don't have enough light during winter, growing much of anything even if it does like the temperatures, might be rather slow and poor.  Some greens will take up even toxic levels of nitrate during such low light conditions and that would be bad.

Lots of places that use single layer polytunnels are not heating water inside them, they are really just using them as cold frames or season extension but not necessarily to keep growing at tilapia temperatures year round.

Stainless could be very expensive. If you already have panels with copper tubing you could probably use them as a closed loop system and do a heat exchange into another vessel that has no copper in it. 

Steve (from England) said:

Good point about the copper pipes, and hopefully easily solved by replacing with stainless?

To be honest, I've not thought about the effects of condensation in the polytunnel that I will be using. I have watched many YouTube clips involving greenhouses and polytunnels in freezing conditions, and as yet not seen any reference to condensation issues, so I think it will have to be a case of learning by trial and error.

Something that I would have to consider, is what would grow well enough over winter to keep a reasonable balance between fish and vegetation.

In an ideal world, I would love to have a small wind turbine to run any pumps, lights at night etc.

How are you able to buy used batteries for $5?  Is there a source like a junk yard or something? 

Thanks for the info.
 
the mad german said:

Great looking forward to seeing your setup Sam.

I've been seeing a lot of people talk about their utility bills and what its costing them monthly. If one does it right they can set up a system on their own without having to pay an outside source. I just hate to see anybody spend a lot of money and buy the wrong items or setup. So getting to know their power consumption, loss of power if they use an inverter and sizing is important if sticking with the existing AC equipment. If they go with DC on a new application sizing is equally important.After buying the intitial equipment their savings is for the next 20-40 years.

I paid about $3.00 a watt for my system 6 months ago which you can get now for $2.50 a watt, I just recently read in a report that by 2013 it'll be down to $1-1.50 a watt being that China has committed 50 Billion for solar production plants and are basically going to corner the world market.

The only other cost is batteries if staying with DC, fortunately for me I can pick them up all day long for $5 a piece, they are slightly used but test out perfectly or I wouldn't get them and work perfect for solar apps and me. Trying to keep the cost down is what holds up a lot of people from going solar. So I'm willing to help others like they have with me and others on here.

Any data I do post, I want to keep simple and in laymens terms for those considering it. Feel free to jump in anytime, post info or even correct me.

I feel if a person can lower their carbon footprint even more by going solar the better, Afterall we're not only just eating healthy with AP but trying to minimize our impact on the environment.

 The mad german

 

 

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