Solar at an Ag show

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Hi guys (and gals),
I am new to renewables and trying to learn a bit. The company I work for (electrical contractor) is going into the renewables market. I have been asked to get something set up for an Agricultural show. What I am looking for is input on what has worked for you.
Did you build a display with panels that powered something?
If so what did you power?
What seemed to work to get the people into your booth?
Any kind of solar giveaways that worked well?
The show will be outside and we will have a 20' x 20' (or maybe even larger).

Comments

  • Windsun
    Windsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show
    Sunburn wrote: »
    Hi guys (and gals),

    ...The company I work for (electrical contractor) is going into the renewables market...
    It's always scary when I hear something like that. There are many sides of "renewables" - do they really have a clue what they are getting into, and do they have anyone with any experience? Or are they just jumping on the bandwagon because of all the hype?
  • GreenPowerManiac
    GreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show

    Sounds like a Wagon Train. Simple ? That's left to be seen/heard.

    Any free giveaways will be in the form of Sunshine/heat radiance upon Ag show if any, however with all the solar equipment and collectors these days, they're practically giving them away for a small amount of change per watt. Filling a 20' by 20' lot may not be easy nor cost effective for a Solar show. I'd keep it simple with small cell phone and power tool battery chargers/Panels. People might seem intimidated by large displays because they usually incorporate large costs too. It's a matter of "Can I afford to look or ignore" ?

    One thing people shouldn't expect, and that's a lot of power output. Accept this and you'll be happy. Take a peek at my "Truth about Green Energy" Ezine. It might help you decide what to bring to the show.
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
    WWW.GreenAnything.Net    Ad free website.
    Lots of DIY Renewable Energy Projects on ETSY : Solar Panel builds, Wind Turbine builds, Rain Barrel build,etc.  
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show

    HI, I hope that is not your web site!

    If it is, please at least resize your photos before posting, to resize in the browser is a very poor method for lots of reasons, not the least of which is the band width it takes to download, I'm on a high speed connection and the host server has manage to download only 2 photos. One photo, the treaspassers, is 252kb and 480x360px on line, but the original is 1024x768 over 4x the area which must be down loaded and resized in our browser!

    There are even places on line now that you can edit photos, google search something like "edit photos on line" If it seems to work for you, it may be because the photos are already stored on your harddrive, dump your internet sorage and try opening your site!
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • john p
    john p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show

    Sunburn. What you are telling us is the electrical contractor you work for knows nothing about solar energy but is having you set up a display(a working display)? at at Ag Show ? And people witrh no knowledge of solar energy are going to come and ask questions? And then all of the people on your display stand with no solar energy experience and going to give them solutions to their problems??
    You really think that is going to help people make wise choices??Or do you think they are going to go away from your display more confused than they already were???
    This is the major problem with the renewable energy business.. shoe salesmen one day renewable energy salesmen the next.

    I think you and your employer would be doing the public a big favour if you did not set up a display but spent the next 12 months learninng in the real world about solar energy/wind energy then this time next year set up a display8)

    Please dont think im trying to discourage you or your employer. im just trying to let you see some of the problems.
  • dwh
    dwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show

    I can see it now...

    You setup a beautiful outdoor display with a couple of solar electric panels, charge controller, battery and inverter. You add in a few meters and such here and there and a fan and a light fixture and whatnot to demonstrate the power being generated. Sweet!

    And it turns out to be cloudy on the day of the show and your sweet demo rig doesn't even put out enough to run a 25w bulb.


    Hey, at least it would have the virtue of total realism.
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show
    dwh wrote: »
    I can see it now...

    You setup a beautiful outdoor display with a couple of solar electric panels, charge controller, battery and inverter. You add in a few meters and such here and there and a fan and a light fixture and whatnot to demonstrate the power being generated. Sweet!

    And it turns out to be cloudy on the day of the show and your sweet demo rig doesn't even put out enough to run a 25w bulb.


    Hey, at least it would have the virtue of total realism.

    the battery could run the bulb for awhile. actually the scenario would be somebody leans in and pushes the wires together shorting out the battery. oops, no fuses.:cry:
  • john p
    john p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show

    Its not really as funny as you guys are making it out to be..
    The problem is a serious one that is happening everywhere in the world. Everyone wants to jump on the solar bandwagon, thinking they will make a lot of money. As they believe "how hard can it be"? just get a few components connect them up put the panels in the sun and no more electricity bills . perfect .. and they are saving the planet also,, great warm fuzzy feling.
    These people have no idea of how it all really works, the costs the "savings"?????But they set up shop and sell the items to customers that also know nothing about solar except"solar energy is free"

    This is what gives solar a bad name to many consumers.
  • GreenerPower
    GreenerPower Solar Expert Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show

    Start small, get something like this. My kids enjoy building things out of it. Maybe bulding a solar watering truck ? (hey ! this is a concept model of what we would build).
    GP
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show
    Windsun wrote: »
    It's always scary when I hear something like that. There are many sides of "renewables" - do they really have a clue what they are getting into, and do they have anyone with any experience? Or are they just jumping on the bandwagon because of all the hype?
    They have a clue. Yes. No
    Sounds like a Wagon Train. Simple ? That's left to be seen/heard.

    Any free giveaways will be in the form of Sunshine/heat radiance upon Ag show if any, however with all the solar equipment and collectors these days, they're practically giving them away for a small amount of change per watt. Filling a 20' by 20' lot may not be easy nor cost effective for a Solar show. I'd keep it simple with small cell phone and power tool battery chargers/Panels. People might seem intimidated by large displays because they usually incorporate large costs too. It's a matter of "Can I afford to look or ignore" ?

    One thing people shouldn't expect, and that's a lot of power output. Accept this and you'll be happy. Take a peek at my "Truth about Green Energy" Ezine. It might help you decide what to bring to the show.
    Thanks for the link and info.
    Photowhit wrote: »
    HI, I hope that is not your web site!

    If it is, please at least resize your photos before posting, to resize in the browser is a very poor method for lots of reasons, not the least of which is the band width it takes to download, I'm on a high speed connection and the host server has manage to download only 2 photos. One photo, the treaspassers, is 252kb and 480x360px on line, but the original is 1024x768 over 4x the area which must be down loaded and resized in our browser!

    There are even places on line now that you can edit photos, google search something like "edit photos on line" If it seems to work for you, it may be because the photos are already stored on your harddrive, dump your internet sorage and try opening your site!
    I guess you are referring to the poster above you ?
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show

    My 2 cents... See if you can make a system up, using as much hardware as you guys are selling, plus other hardware to make a nice demonstration system with instrumentation.

    Would not only be useful for the occasional fair grounds exhibit, but handy to use back at the shop for detailed sales demonstrations and even for employee training.

    For example:

    Two ~200 watt solar panels. Once connected to a grid tied inverter (probably a Enphase type unit) and the other to a small PWM/MPPT solar charge controller.

    A couple of 6 volt golf cart batteries (or smaller if size/weight is an issue).

    A 300+ watt Off Grid True Sine Wave Inverter.

    Various Kill-a-Watt meters, DC amp-hour/watt-hour meters, and a battery monitor.

    Connect up the Off-Grid system as normal....

    For the 200 watt panel + GT Inverter, connect that to the output of the 200+ watt Off-Grid TSW Inverter.

    If you have everything connected correctly, the 200 watt GT inverter should sync up with the Off-Grid Output and supplement the Off-Grid inverter's output. And, if the AC load is less than the GT inverter output, the GT inverter will start charging the battery bank through the Off-Grid inverter (back driving the OG inverter).

    Now, we know that a few of the larger Off-Grid and GT inverters will work when connected together in the above configuration. You would have to experiment and see if you can configure an Enphase + small Off Grid TSW inverter to function in this way.

    Note; there will be no battery charging control when the GT inverter is backdriving the OG inverter... You can use this system to demonstrate how a GT system would work for a home/business installation (the OG inverter simulates the "utility network"--Most people do not have a good understanding how GT inverters work and where the Power Goes and how the House Shares the GT output and what happens at night).

    The two solar panels probably should be separate from the display to allow them access to the sun while the demo board is in the shade/building.

    Also, you should look at getting a "Battery Tender" or equivalent to keep your battery bank charged while the system is not operating.

    You could go farther and setup a small Honda eu2000i with a transfer switch to show backup power as part of the system (if you guys do off-grid installs).

    And, if you do solar thermal, add a thermal panel + small DC pump + circulating water in a bucket to show solar heating (powered from your demo board or with a separate small solar panel with backup for poor sun).

    Of course, this could be way more than you will want to do... I have seen many booths that just have a couple unconnected solar panels standing next to the desk (or on mounted to the sales trailer) and a guy with a computer and pamphlets.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
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    Re: Solar at an Ag show

    BB - Thanks for your helpful response.