What is farm-4-energy doing
Here we are working to develop new and efficient ideas for solar installations and configurations that give a home owner or business the most for their investment. Major work done to this point is as follows:
Thin Film BIPV
With Thin Film Building Integrated Photovoltaics, the solar panel/film adheres directly to roof metal, as opposed to traditional solar installations that are a separate rack system installed on top of a roof – thus the roof metal is also the solar panel. The advantage I see here is that for metal roof installations, the panels of roof metal are also the solar panel. Thin film is not yet as efficient as traditional solar panels, but for large roof areas this could be feasible since enough surface area would exist to allow for adequate Thin Film panels to be installed so as to power the entire building. Another advantage is that when installing a new metal roof, the resident, farmer, or business could essentially install a solar power system at the same time.
This obviously would cost a bit more than a metal roof installation on its own or for a solar panel installation on its own, however the simplicity of a thin film system only one set of labor costs would be incurred for this installation of both the roof metal and solar system, since all are one in the same.
Typically, thin film is installed on standing seam roof metal, which is more expensive than traditional 5 rib screw on corrugated metal roof installations and standing seam is also more complex to install. As shown below, I've integrated 2 rib corrugated screw on roof metal with the traditional 5 rib corrugated roof metal that is typically used in most metal roof installations in our area. As of this posting in the Spring of 2018 this installation has remained in place with no issues through two winters now.
Solar backup lights & backup sump pump and camp installations.
Over the past several years, I have been collecting power off of a small set of 15w panels at our home and using this to charge batteries that power a backup sump pump, three backup 12vDC lights in our cellar, and a commonly used 12VDC light in our living room. I have also assisted on some off grid camp solar power system installations as well.
For situations where battery banks are charged from wind, solar, or other power source types we have built a circuit that will detect when the battery bank is full and automatically send excess power from that point onward to an available utility grid connected AC power system. This circuit offers fused protection and secondary protection for the batteries in the event that connectivity to the utility grid connected AC power system is lost.
The underlying goal of all of this work is to productize this work into solutions that can be installed on in and on homes, farm buildings, and commercial structures while combining these installations with other aspects of energy farming so that we can generate local jobs, local revenue, and move to a more self-sufficient energy model.
Below are pictures of installation we’ve done at home to study the effectiveness, longevity, and requirements for these solutions
Why Solar and Thin Film:
• It produces clean electricity with no resulting pollution
• Solar technologies now can produce power in bright sun or cloudy cover
• Home owners and businesses can take advantage of current Federal and State tax incentives
• Thin Film BIPV integrates new metal roof installations and solar installations at the same time
• Remote locations with no utility power grid access can have electrical power for years once installed
• Our solutions can charge backup DC systems and then dump excess power to the home or utility power grid
• It had been documented that in 45 seconds, the earths surface receives enough solar energy to fully meet the worlds entire energy demand for that day (http://www.pwc.com/en_GX/gx/sustainability/assets/earths-solar-potential.pdf) and similarly, another resource states that the earth receives enough energy from the Sun in one hour (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy) to power the planet for an entire year, and this amount is for one year is "twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth's non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined" in that same year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy).
Click here to view details describing how installing solar power fits into the overall concept of Energy Farming, where energy is farmed at a given location from available resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuels, and from this concept, jobs and revenue can be created for a community.
Available incentives and credits:
Products and parts:
Given all of this, I put together a data set that shows if every US home had 225 watt solar panels on 250sf of roof area (250sf is an assumption, however a local installer figures for 280sf), and 10% of all residential US homes had a Skystream 3.7 personal wind turbine (10% is an assumption), residential homes on the average could supply 44% of their total power needs. Click below to view the data I gathered that led to this conclusion.