Sine Wave Inverter Trace, SW 4024 4000 Watts

Sine Wave Inverter Trace, SW 4024 4000 Watts

Twelve 2 Volt Lead Acid Cells Pacific Chloride Wired for 24 Volts the site. The emergency services building is considered a commercial building and had to meet the requirements for commercial construction in addition to conforming to all applicable residential dwelling codes.

In addition to the county electrical inspection, Andy invited representatives from the Colorado Office of Energy Conservation and Sandia Labs to attend a formal acceptance test and walk through. Mark Roper, of the COEC and Jack Cannon from Sandia came up to Florissant on a clear sunny day in November to participate. We did a lot of things the typical homeowner might not think to do, but probably should consider

Right: An insulated battery box hold the twelve

Pacific Chloride 2 Volt cells, 1270 amp-hours at 24 Volt

Above: solar water panels provide about fifty percent of the space heating through hydronic sub-floor loops.

when reviewing his or her new installation. Checking panel output, switch operation, ground currents, AC performance, frequency and amplitude, to name a few. Our system passed all the tests with flying colors.

Training:The Final Step with the system installed and up and running, schematics and technical manuals prepared, the final step was to make sure the end users knew how to operate and maintain the system. The Four Mile installation is a little unusual in that any one of several volunteers might need to know how to operate and maintain the system. We decided on a formal presentation to provide instructions to this potentially large group.

Fortunately, Jack Cannon from Sandia was able to stay on for the training class. While it is a little intimidating to try to teach PV to a class with an expert like Jack in the audience, his participation opened the doors for a variety of in-depth questions and led to a lively and informative session. While not walking away as experts in PV the four mile volunteers did get a good introduction to the subject and lots of practical advice on what to expect from their system and how to best maintain it.

Solar Heating

A separate project for the emergency services building was the installation of a solar/propane heating system to provide heat to the building during the cold winter months. A total run of three miles of tubing was laid into the 50' by 60' equipment bay when the cement floor was poured. The slab is 6 inches thick concrete, with insulation material between the concrete and the ground. In this closed loop system, a mixture of propylene/glycol and water is heated by the sun by five 4 by 8 foot solar panels mounted on the roof, fed through a boiler/mixer system and distributed to the multiple zones throughout the equipment bays. A propane fired Agua Star instantaneous hot water heater supplements the solar for heating during extra cold periods. SunFire, of Boulder Colorado, a company specializing in radiant heating systems and solar services, provided the system design, panels, heating controls, propane heater, materials and installation. Emergency services personnel waded through the setting cement to lay the tubing. The solar heating panels were purchased used to keep the system cost low. Total solar heating system cost, exclusive of the heater tubes was about $10,000. The solar portion of the system was designed to provide about 50% of the annual heating requirements for the equipment bay and the office area. It was determined that maintaining an ambient air temperature above 50 degrees F in the equipment bay would be adequate. Plans are presently underway to add a sixth panel in a month or so to provide additional heating for the office area and to further reduce dependency on the propane fired makeup boiler, but overall, the heating from the sun has been sufficient to handle most of the heating needs in the equipment bays.


The Four Mile Emergency Service Building's PV system has been up and running for ten months now. It has survived winds in excess of 100 mph and periods of extreme cold weather. The output has been equal to or better than expected and, (knock on wood), there have been no equipment malfunctions. A standby propane generator will be installed later this year to provide additional power to run such loads as a portable welder and other heavy duty power tools. By being practical, analyzing their needs and installing the right equipment for the job, the Four Mile Emergency Service volunteers have a fully functional off-grid power system they can be proud of.


Author: Rich Hunter, Discover Solar Engineering, 453 Ridge Drive, PO Box 621, Divide, CO 80814 Phone:719-687-7808

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Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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