Solar-Powered Vehicles Horn Lake MS
Wind And Water power turbines
Solar Power For Your RV?
By William D. Siuru, Jr., PhD, PE
As you add more electric powered creature comforts to your RV, you eventually reach the capacity of your electrical system. You can add more batteries or a generator. Another solution is solar power. Solar generated electricity is clean, quiet, environmentally friendly and free, that is once you have paid for the equipment and installation. Solar power systems are now available that range in size and capability from "trickle chargers" to keep batteries charged while parked in storage to systems sufficient power to run everything in a well equipped RV.
Electricity is produced when sunlight strikes the solar or photovoltaic cell. Voltage depends on the type of semiconductor material used, whereas the cell area and the intensity of the light determine the amperage of the current. By connecting together a sufficient number of individual PV cells, you can obtain the voltage, amperage and wattage needed, within reason. While brilliant sunlight is of best, they will work on cloudy days but with reduced output. Indeed, the PV will supply partial power in as little as 5 to 10-percent sunlight. Fortunately, the U.S. is blessed with lots of sunshine anywhere from 4 to 6 hours of annually averaged peak sun hours per day in most areas of the country. .
If you want energy when the sun goes down, part of the energy will have to be stored in batteries connected to the solar module. A charge controller or regulator can be added to prevent over-charging. Many smaller systems use self-regulating solar modules in lieu of a charge controller. More complex systems might also include meters to monitor system operation and fuses for protection. While this simple system will power DC items,you will need an DC to AC inverter if you want to power AC appliances. .
Choosing the right battery system is important. Special "deep-cycle" batteries are much better than ordinary automotive batteries for solar power systems. Deep cycle batteries can be repeatedly discharged and recharged, that is "cycled", and the discharge can be to a very low level, thus the "deep" terminology. By contrast, automotive batteries are primarily designed to supply a powerful, but short bursts of electrical energy to get the car started. Then the alternator takes over and recharges the battery as well meeting electrical needs when the car is running down the road. Deep cycling, that is almost completely discharging the automotive battery will result in a much shorter lifetime or even a premature failure for automotive-type batteries. .
When choosing the battery, it must have enough ampere-hour capacity to provide the required power until there is enough sunlight to recharge the battery and do it without exceeding the maximum desired depth of discharge. Usually the ampere-hour capacity is specified along with a standard hour reference, typically ten or twenty hours. If the specs say the battery is rated at 80 ampere-hours with a 10 hour ...
By Bill Siuru, PhD, PE
Solar panels fitted to a Dynmac utility truck.
Solar-powered cars have been pretty much confined to solar races and science projects until recently. However, there are several solar-powered neighborhood electric vehicles, or NEVs, on the market. Being classified as low-speed vehicles, their top speed is limited to 25 mph and, depending on the locale, their use is restricted to only certain roads.
Steve Titus, an electrical engineer in Bozeman, Montana, decided do something about energy conservation, the result is the Solar Bug. His company, Free Drive EV, builds the Solar Bug on an ATV (all terrain vehicle) chassis. It has an enclosed fiberglass body with tandem seating for two.
The roof-mounted solar panels provide 200 watts of power, sufficient for 10 to 20 miles daily. The remainder of the up-to-60-mile range between recharges comes from six 12-Volt lead acid AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries. Regenerative braking helps keep them recharged and there is an onboard charger, with a four to six hour recharging time.
The Solar Bug has great visibility and solar panels provide 10 to 20 miles of the Solar Bug�s 60 miles total range.
Since an ATV chassis is used, the driver and passenger straddle the seat and the handlebar is retained that also includes the throttle, hand lever for braking and lighting controls. For safety, there is a rollbar and seatbelts. The 300 pounds worth of batteries are located low in the chassis. This greatly lowers the center of gravity reducing the chance of tipping, or rolling over. A problem typical with ATVs. Titus has sold over 50 Solar Bugs priced at $15,000 each, and soon will begin delivering the first vehicles to people on his pre-order list.
Handy with tools? Well if so, the SUNN Solar Car comes as a kit. Its designer, Art Haines, says it can be assembled, and it takes between 80 and 120 man hours to construct. Since the square tube chassis comes already welded together, assembly requires only simple hand tools. The outside panels, floor and other body parts are made of fiberglass reinforced plastic.
If used without solar panels, you can drive for about 20 miles on the 12 Volt deep cycle marine batteries. Install solar panels and you will get 3 more miles from the 55-Watt panels mounted on the hood and another 12-16 miles per day from the 150 watt roof panels for a total of over 35 miles. There is regenerative braking and a built-in 120 Volt charger.
SUNN solar car.
The two-passenger SUNN EV features four-wheel suspension with shock absorbers, rack and pinion steering, two-speed transmission with reverse and hydraulic disc brakes on all four wheels. It is street legal as a low speed vehicle (LSV) so the kit includes a windshield wiper, seat belts, horn, turn signals and lights. Safety glass...