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March, 2015 Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 02 April 2015 06:54

pvmarch15Now we're cooking! March PV electrical output was 477 kWhrs! That brings us to a year-to-date total of 1,076 kWhrs which puts us right on course for another 4,000+ kWhr year. The significance of these numbers is that in the 20 years of operation, our PV output has not diminished thanks to the industrial quality of the panels and the efficiency of the inverters. There's still a foot of snow in some parts of our land, but it is inexorably diminishing. Still a cold spring.

This month I'd like to celebrate the 100% solar achievement of the Wells Reserve at Lauholm in Wells, Maine. This federal estuary research lab has proudly installed PV panels on three of its buildings (along with a ground-mount array). Senator Angus King (I) of Maine threw the 'switch' at dedication ceremonies. The aerials, at the beginning and end, as well as the overall coverage were contributed by Maine HDTV (I'm a partner in their aerial photography division and a former Laudholm Trust board member).

The reserve had planned for years to make this leap - with federal money and donations from Laudholm Trust, the goal was reached on-budget and two years early. You can read about the facility, which will generate 73,000 kWhrs of 'free' electricity annually, on the reserve's website. "Where there's a will, there's a way!"

Last Updated on Monday, 21 December 2015 11:44
 
February, 2015 Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 28 February 2015 15:56

winter15Winter is a blast...literally! Snow, wind, freezing temperatures...but warmth inside our house. Wikipedia defines winter as: "...caused by the axis of the Earth in that hemisphere being oriented away from the Sun." Well, I think the axis has been even further tilted from the Sun because of the weight of the snow - averaging a total of 3-4 feet to date, and knowing New England - there's still more to come.

One of the great inventions of our time is the snow blower - without it, no access to the front door and the backup propane tanks until Spring! I'm not sure it's just a Maine thing, but several years ago my neighbor said he didn't need his snow blower any more and wondered if I wanted it. Not wanting to insult his generosity, I immediately said, "yes." As you can see the pathway is a bit crooked but not bad for an amateur.

pvfeb15Our photovoltaic panels continue to crank out electricity. February's output was 286 kWhrs. That's lower that our normal February generation (usually around 350 kWhrs) due primarily to the parade of snow storms that kept the sun from shinning. But when it's out, it's powerful. Today, for example, we generated 21.5 kWhrs!

tempfeb15

Note the inside temperature today  - a high of 77.4. That's due primarily to the passive solar gain of our home. The sun shone from sunrise (0 degrees) to sunset (28 degrees) which caused the solar tanks in the basement to heat up to 148 degrees - ample 'fuel' for any overnight heat we might need. That's called a renewable resource!

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2015 07:17
 
2012 Annual Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 11:19

Overview: Well, after double checking the data for 2012, our Photovoltaic array output generated - are you ready? The total is 4,440 kWhrs. I had, over the years, used the January output numbers as the starting point instead of the previous month's numbers thus eliminating a full month of PV generation. I am greatly pleased at discovering my error.

pvdec12In December, we generated a mere 217 kWhrs - heavy cloud cover and snow storms really cut into the month's output. But, I'm pleased with the annual total. If I used the 11 month total, the result compares favorably with previous years.

evdec12Plug-In Prius: My overall MPG remains the same, at 112, which is an accomplishment considering the need for heat - the compressor comes on for approximately 5 minutes and then every once in a while.

The 11 mile range seen in this image is down approximately 20% from the warmer months - batteries lose capacity in colder weather. Fortunately, my local driving is still within that range. My last refueling was on November 12th!

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 March 2013 11:30
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January, 2015 Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 02 February 2015 11:30

Overview:

pvjan152015 got off to a good start with a PV generation of 313 kWhrs. It would have been even higher if two snowstorms hadn't decided to 'dump' on us. That's not sour grapes, just a little perspective. In fact, it's snowing now and if the forecast is right, today's 12 inches will be added to the combined total of 21 inches from last week for a 7-day accumulation of 33 inches. Now that's winter.

Solar Living in Maine During the Winter:

You've heard it before, but there is great joy living in a solar home. The benefits in the winter are considerable:

  • Passive solar gain through the south-facing windows - yielding an indoor temperature in the high 70s on sunny days.
  • Having to open the windows to 'manage' the extra heat.
  • Enjoying our wood stove when the temperature goes down below 20 at night.
  • Enjoying our radiant heat in the floors and shower in the morning - much of it from our 1,000 gallons of hot water generated by the solar thermal panels on the roof.
  • Trusting that if the power goes out, our battery backup system will provide power to our necessary loads until the grid power returns.
  • Etc, etc, etc!

    Here's a video shot several years ago about Solar Living in Maine:


Last Updated on Saturday, 28 February 2015 16:03
 
November, 2012 Report PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 02 December 2012 13:39

nov12Overview: We're headed toward the end of the year and the positive results are piling up. PV electricial output registered 310 kWhrs of electricity produced in November which brings us to 4,049 kWhrs year to date. We'll make our goal of 4,200 kWhrs for the year handily (our minimum goal is 4,000). Now that the approach of winter is chilling the air, the passive solar gain in the house on sunny days is a blessing - up to 78 degrees without the heat being on!

The Plugin Prius is still doing nicely at 111 mpg. I notice that as the temperature in the garage declines, the capacity of the battery has declined from 13 miles to 11.5. Still, not too shabby a way to pass by the gas station - under power generating by the sun.

Amazing!: From time-to-time, this site attracts solar pioneers who have made a significant impact on the industry - witness Andy Baker of Anchorage Alaska. His company is using cold sea water to heat the Alaska SeaLife Center, replacing 500 gallons of heating oil a day! Best way to view the 'unbelieveable' is to go here. Thanks, Andy for contacting us.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 10:03
 
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