Snow in remote cabin solar setup

PanamapatPanamapat Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
We got up to our remote cabin over the weekend that we had not been to in 4 months. Before shutting down cabin for winter, we had disconnected all loads knowing that extreme winter cold, lots of mountain snow and lack of sun (blocked by tree's and mountains to the south) would be tough on gathering solar power to keep batteries charged.

The 4 solar panels that provide the bulk of our power were completely covered in snow as you can see from the pictures of before and after we dug them out.

Very pleased to see that the 55 watt panel that we vertically mounted on a separate pole (to shed snow) provided just enough juice to keep the batteries full charged. The Rogue MPPT-3024 history log showed it was catching 2-4 A-H every day to keep the system topped off.


snow_solar1.jpg
snow_solar2.jpg

Comments

  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    WOW!!

    Now I can't complain about our winter anymore!

    Rogues are awesome eh? And the panels not too shabby either.

    Thanks for sharing this!
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 886 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    And I thought it was work to clean 2 inches of snow off my panels, not any more!

    Ralph
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,479 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    Are you sore? Anti-inflamatory!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
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  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    Time to build that solar-powered snowblower! :p
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    WOW!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing!
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,140 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    How high are those 4 panels off the ground?

    wow! what is the average annual snow depth?

    Got a summer pic from the same location?
     
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  • PanamapatPanamapat Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    I'm not sure what the average snowfall is in the area, but I'm guessing somewhere over 100 inches. I've heard someone mention over 200 inches a few years ago. We are at 9600 feet of elevation.

    Here are some summer pictures, one close up of the solar panel in the summer shortly after we put it up. Another is a view looking down from an overlook where you can see the panels as well as the old harbor freight panels that have been taken down since then.

    Really happy with the setup, even though its been cobbled together with used panels, a Rogue charger (love that thing), 4 golf cart batteries a few inverters, and a Trimetric battery monitor. We consume around 50-60 a-h per day when we are there and the panels/batteries work great to keep us with our minimal use.

    cabin_solar1.jpg

    cabin_solar2.jpg
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,910 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    Wow, Looks like you had 30"+ still on the ground, did you ski or snow mobile in?

    We had a meer 18-20" of snow here in Mid Missouri a couple weeks ago and I was snowed in for 3 1/2 days! a fellow down the road had a heart attack and the National guard came in to take him out and they lost a transmision in the Humvee on the last hill going out... I ran out when they came back by the cabin just to wave at another human.

    We ended up getting a dozer to clear the snow, problem was we had 1/2 inch of ice on the roads first so our backhoe and regular 4wds were useless. We're within an inch or so of the heaviest snow year ever here and that's just around 45".
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • PanamapatPanamapat Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup
    Photowhit wrote: »
    Wow, Looks like you had 30"+ still on the ground, did you ski or snow mobile in?

    We had a meer 18-20" of snow here in Mid Missouri a couple weeks ago and I was snowed in for 3 1/2 days! a fellow down the road had a heart attack and the National guard came in to take him out and they lost a transmision in the Humvee on the last hill going out... I ran out when they came back by the cabin just to wave at another human.

    We ended up getting a dozer to clear the snow, problem was we had 1/2 inch of ice on the roads first so our backhoe and regular 4wds were useless. We're within an inch or so of the heaviest snow year ever here and that's just around 45".

    We snowmobile'd in. We've also snowshoe'd in which is entirely doable. I've attached a couple more pictures from the front of the cabin and the outhouse and wood shed so you can see more images of the snow accumulation. We don't get much wind down in this valley.

    Your experience in Missouri is amazing - all that snow in such a short time, then on top of a base of ice to boot. For many parts of the country its been a really tough winter. Colorado mostly just got some real cold weather. Can't wait for spring.

    cabin_snow.jpg


    cabinshed_snow.jpg
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,284 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    What do you do to the roof to keep the snow on it? That's working as well as a flat roof.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
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  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    That is some serious snow, I assume one of the advantages of the log cabin construction is the ability to handle that snow load?

    I chuckle when the news says how hard this winter has been. Our area gets - on the record - about 17" per year. We are 750' higher than the location of record (BWI airport) so we usually get more. Last year the official record was 77", we got closer to 90", which includes 48" received within 4 days (two 2' blizzards).

    Last year was a hard winter. Happily this year our area is nearly normal.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    I'm going to return home next week after being away for much of the winter. I am expecting ~ 50" on the ground, so we will see what is on the roof panels. I'm guessing that it won't rival your's.

    (Highlights the value of wall mounting a number of panels in remote sites where snow is an issue. No matter how much snow is on the roof, I have 150 watts charging from the wall mounts.)

    Tony
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    with that much snow every year i would suggest to raise the pvs up a bit more to allow more clearance and possibly a way to steepen the over winter angle. the snow will slide off a bit better and youi'll still get plenty of power through the direct sun and reflected light off of the snow.
  • JamesJames Solar Expert Posts: 246 ✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    a great job on your support bracing for the panels.
    the weight load on those panels must have been tremendus
  • PanamapatPanamapat Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup
    icarus wrote: »
    (Highlights the value of wall mounting a number of panels in remote sites where snow is an issue. No matter how much snow is on the roof, I have 150 watts charging from the wall mounts.)

    Tony

    Tony, I got the idea from reading one of your post on this forum. I've got that one single 50 watt panel setup in the winter with a 90 degree tilt and way off the ground to catch some sun rays thru the trees, then come summer I tilt it back to a more conventional summer tilt.

    It is a life saver to keep some charge on the batteries thru the winter when the other panels get buried. The batteries seem to be fine even though it gets well below zero F.
  • PanamapatPanamapat Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup
    mike90045 wrote: »
    What do you do to the roof to keep the snow on it? That's working as well as a flat roof.

    In the winter months, the cabin hardly gets any direct sun. I'm guessing this is a big contributor to the snow just piling up and not shedding. Does this every year. I do worry about the snow load, but its been handling it for 30 years without a problem.
  • PanamapatPanamapat Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    We were up this past weekend and got a chance to check on the snow, hoping more had melted, but there was still quite a bit although the panels were clear.

    110326-1054-17.jpg

    Batteries where in great shape from spending 4 months in deep freeze where temps dipped to 25 below zero F outside and minus 15 inside. I used the Rogue to equalize for 30 minutes to get rid of any stratified acid.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    on observing the latest pic that snow is built up behind the pvs and could endanger the wires that are dangling beneath. maybe tie the wires off to prevent an unexpected disconnect or short.
  • PanamapatPanamapat Registered Users Posts: 22 ✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup
    niel wrote: »
    on observing the latest pic that snow is built up behind the pvs and could endanger the wires that are dangling beneath. maybe tie the wires off to prevent an unexpected disconnect or short.


    Good observation on the risk of snow slide off the roof would possibly take out the wires behind the panels. I have extra slack in the wiring from the winter tilt which gets taken up during the summer when I change to summer tilt angle. I should have tied off the cables to remove that slack during winter months.

    In hindsight, I'd have raised the panels even higher - something I might do if I get time this summer.
  • henry1henry1 Solar Expert Posts: 51 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    i thought my old place up in the mountains of Northern Ca and i thought we had a bad winter weather with all the snow and ice ..We kept the panels cleared of snow and they worked great all winter long with we had to shut down the wind turbine system a few time because of the wind gust up to 60 miles a hour..
  • summitdwellersummitdweller Solar Expert Posts: 28
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    If you think that is bad check out my place!! These winter pictures were taken 3/27/11 Have included one of the summer to have perspective. The one with my truck the snow pole is a 10foot pole! We got over 700 inches this year 4th biggest in recorded history since 1878.
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  • henry1henry1 Solar Expert Posts: 51 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    yes that looks really bad for the one area around Placevilla was a mess from the snow and the probelsm the snow caused this year
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup
    If you think that is bad check out my place!! These winter pictures were taken 3/27/11 Have included one of the summer to have perspective. The one with my truck the snow pole is a 10foot pole! We got over 700 inches this year 4th biggest in recorded history since 1878.

    I'm Jealous... haha
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 886 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    Looking at the snow pack I suspect that white water rafters, canoeists and kayakers will be salivating. The runoff this year will be tremendous. Hate to think of what the roads crews will have to fix...bridges, washouts etc.

    Ralph
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,339 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    Holy Cow! I knew there was a reason I lived in Southern AZ. :p Currently 85F and sunny sunny sunny! 8)
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 632 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Snow in remote cabin solar setup

    I wonder if lake Havasu will fill up at all, isn't it down like 15 feet?
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
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