Author Topic: Wind and PV make compatible bedfellows  (Read 595 times)

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Wind and PV make compatible bedfellows
« on: January 12, 2018, 04:15:57 PM »
PV gets a lot of praise.  It is cheap(er), predictable, and simpler to install and maintain than wind (though much less fun to watch).  Yesterday we logged ~13 kWh on our solar output, so despite having wind, I ran the turbine only for a few hours when I got home.  We've only had to run our generator once this winter, since this fall when the same engine gets exercised to split wood. Still, I can pretty much tell by the weather report what the panels will do.  At best though we have about 9 hours of daylight to work with this time of year, and we get a lot more cloud cover, snow, etc.

On the flip side, we've had some pretty strong winds and winter storms rolling thru since late December, with another one poised for tonight thru Sat.  I'm still mostly in a mode of operating the turbine predominantly during the daytime and when I'm there.  Lately we've had some night winds that are just downright scary.  None the less I've recorded some of our best days overall for production.  The furling is spot on now.  The balance across the two controllers is about right, though clearly the first controller does the heavy lifting here.  I've jotted down a handful of our better wind days, noting: the date peak output (watts, controller A, B), peak input voltage (from the rectifier), peak battery voltage kWh , and kWh on the PV.

01/09/18 3118, 1,384
115.7V, 6.6 kWh (PV 2.0)

01/06/18 2850, 988
117.2V, 55.4V, 8.3 kWh (1.2 kWh PV)

01/5/18 2959, 1498
118.2V, 54.2V, 4.5 kWh (0.8 kWh PV)

12/20/17 3217, 2094
137.8V, 64.3V, 4.0 kWh

12/19/17 3192, 1559
119.4V, 55.4V, 3.2 kWh

12/13/17 3427, 438
118.4V, 54.7V, 5.5 kWh

The furling actuator is also working really well now.  Last night I closed it in when the turbine was doing about 1,500-2,000 watts.  It takes about 30-secs. for the actuator to fully furl the tail, then another few seconds for the inertia of the rotor to fall off, then the blades stall, and the power drops to precipitously (~100-250 watts).  I close in the load bank and it drops to 5 or 10 rpm (cut-in is about 90 rpm and 59V) and stays there regardless of the wind speed.  It's all very soft which I like, and done from the mudroom, which I like even better.  My only complaint is that the actuator is rated to only -25C (-13F).  When it goes sub-zero - we were recently below 0F, with lows bumping -30F - I have to resort to my hand winch.  Otherwise, all's good.


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Re: Wind and PV make compatible bedfellows
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 05:46:36 PM »
Have you had the actuator for furling very long?  How is it controlled?


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Re: Wind and PV make compatible bedfellows
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 08:54:02 AM »
Would your actuator rating likely be based on the grease in the gearbox?  If so you could use some synthetic lubricant with a more appropriate -40 rating.  Petro canada has a synthetic emb grease.  I am sure you can source something similar.

We have had the -40 weather here too.  It is pretty hard on things for sure. 

I'm in the middle of our first winter off grid.  No turbine up, just solar.  I envy your setup and am modelling things on what you have done to some extent.  That said,  i am very happy even without wind.  We have only run a generator maybe six or seven times so far. 


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    • Wind Turbine Project Field Notes
Re: Wind and PV make compatible bedfellows
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 11:56:06 AM »
13 kWh solar in one day in January?
You have a lot more solar than I remembered.
Memory / age inversely proportional...
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 07:32:11 PM by SparWeb »
No one believes the theory except the one who developed it.  Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

System spec: 135w BP multicrystalline panels, regulated by Xantrex C40, DIY 8ft diameter wind turbine, regulated by Tri-Star TS60, 800AH x 24V AGM Battery, Xantrex SW4024


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Re: Wind and PV make compatible bedfellows
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2018, 04:08:29 PM »
Have you had the actuator for furling very long?  How is it controlled?

I started working on it last spring.  It took a few iterations to get it right, but this is the set up that I'm using.  It works off one of the Aux logic relays on the charge controller:,149230.0.html

This is the actuator that I'm using.  What I like is that it has the built in potentiometer:

The grease may well be the determining factor.  Generally I'd just leave it down in these real frigid spells.  The problem is, this last one lasted more than a week and had some good winds.  I have the line set up so I can just pull a pin and clip it to a beaner on my hand winch.

We have 3.2 kW of PV; fixed mount on the roof (45 degs.)