Live tree as a pole mount ?

mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,469 ✭✭✭✭✭
So, here's my situation, well to be drilled next week, is in woods. road to it is S shaped,
no good sun. A meadow is about 400' away. I'm thinking of topping a pine tree at 40', and mounting 3 PV's on it for 600W of pumping for the well pump. If I top the tree, and then girdle it 10' below it's new top, anyone think that the tree will mostly live, and become a usable support for the PV? Taller trees around it would have lightning rods
installed, to preclude the PV being the rod.

Mike
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 ||
|| Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
|| VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Live tree as a pole mount ?

    Not a good idea, and possibly not legal (depending on laws in your area).
    A live tree is not stable; it will keep growing so your panels will shift. Plus, trees bend in the wind - so your panels will shift. On top of which, hacking up a tree like that may kill it or open it up to water infiltration, so your panels may shift - as in come crashing down some day. Some trees will kick out new sprouts after this sort of thing, and possibly block or even wreck your panels.

    Growing trees aren't a fixed, stable mount for anything. Trust me: I've got acres of forest under my management, and trees are a lot more dynamic than you might think.

    What are your other options? Roof? Platform? Solar panels don't actually have to be up in the air to work.
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Live tree as a pole mount ?

    It could be done if there is no better way. I would top the tree then make a socket out of pipe to fit over the top of the tree maybe 5 to 6 ft tall? then mount from there.

    I think it was on Otherpower.com someone used a tree for a wind turbine tower. My thinking is that you have to be willing to maintain this set up and possibly lose the panels if something goes wrong.

    Another option may be a top of pole mount with 21 ft of pipe you may get up in the air 14 ft and cut a few trees it may be able to be made to work?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,706 admin
    Re: Live tree as a pole mount ?

    Probably better to take a tree or three down and put up a true tower/mount for your solar (and wind) devices...

    Within 10 years, the tree will either engulf your array or be ready to blow down...And in any case--will sprout around the removed crown and make weak "U" bends where the "new trunk(s)" will attempt to continue growth.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,351 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Live tree as a pole mount ?

    MIke,

    I think it a bad idea for a number of reasons.

    The first is that if you top a conifer, the first thing that is going to happen is that it is going to put up several new growing points in the next few years. Within a couple of years at the longest you are going to have your panels obscured by growing limbs again.

    Second,, the idea of putting expensive Pv 60' in a tree that has very dynamic movement is crazy. If you don't think trees move,, especially at 60' you've never been in one at 60 feet on a calm day!

    As Bill suggests, if you are going to solarize your place you are going to have to bite the bullet sometime and do some clearing to make the Pv work. An option of course (as you well know) is to put the Pv somewhere else, invert and run HV to the pump over distance.

    Good luck,

    Tony
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,469 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Live tree as a pole mount ?

    Yow! I'd have to take out 10 or 20 trees to get a gap big enough to put a pole mount up for the PV. I'd figured girdling the trunk 10' below the cut top would keep
    the sprouts from shading the panel, and there are plenty of 80 - 90' foot trees to
    doge the shade from. This is some pretty heavily forested land, no permit needed to
    cut, only for timber harvest past 10% . Guess I'll be running some long wires, or cutting enough trees this summer to get the sawmill guy out this year, instead of next year
    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 ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Live tree as a pole mount ?

    Girding it like that will kill the top 10 feet. Then your very expensive panels will be sitting on top of a length of dead, soon to be rotting wood swaying in the breeze forty feet in the air ...

    There's got to be a better way, Mike. There's just got to be.
  • TnAndyTnAndy Solar Expert Posts: 249 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Live tree as a pole mount ?
    Girding it like that will kill the top 10 feet. Then your very expensive panels will be sitting on top of a length of dead, soon to be rotting wood swaying in the breeze forty feet in the air ...

    Exactamundo.....you'll get 2-5 years ....maybe less if you have hungry woodpeckers......before it comes crashing down when the wind hits that sail area and snaps off that dead wood.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,840 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Live tree as a pole mount ?

    Mike,

    If your plans are "down the road" and it is not like you have to live there now, use a generator. You would certainly not be the first.... The guy's are right here!
    The only thing that should go up in the tree would be a antenna so you can get HD TV...................................Winter solstice is when to plan the tree cuts if this is offgrid.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,163 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Live tree as a pole mount ?

    Mike, the forester in me cries out to say something.:cry:

    If you like the height of that Pine tree for mounting your array, cut it down and make a proper base for it that will separate the base from the pathogens and water in the soil, then it will last you for about 20 years or so with minimal preparation as long as the base is sound and the top has a waterproof cap on it ...

    otherwise within a few years the root ball (large roots within a few feet of the stump) will be all you have for vertical stability after you top it... there are few 'adventitious buds' on Pines below the canopy (lots on spruce trees) and topping it will therefore likely kill the tree!

    If there any live buds or branchlets and the tree has enough food stores in it to survive, the next likely action is for apical dominance to be exhibited as a 'shoot' or two or three will try to become the leader and from a multiple top 'widow maker crown' (seen frequently in Western Red Cedars) These will quickly shade out your array as it/they head for the sun...

    As mentioned elsewhere there is also the 'path to ground' for lightning and dead trees seem to have an affinity for lightning (strikes), cause unknown, just happens, though we could probably deduce why... nice clean water column poking up through the forest canopy etc.

    as to getting the light in, I agree with DaveS, get out the chain saw in the winter...:cool:

    cheers,
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
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