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‘SolarTuk’ coming in March
Mon, 23 September 2013
Daniel de Carteret
and Hor Kimsay
Solar-powered tuk-tuks could be rolling off the assembly lines in Phnom Penh as early as March next year, allowing local tuk-tuk drivers a cost-effective and greener alternative to using petrol, according to the company manufacturing the vehicle.
Star 8, the Australia-based alternative energy firm behind the ‘SolarTuk’, is building a factory with a local partner in Dangkor district on the western outskirts of the city.
The firms managing director Jacob Maimon expects to hire 200 to 300 local staff once production goes live.
I think, on a personal level, I am going to start trying to get solar systems set up for Khmers who may want / need them. I hate going up and down the road at the farm, knowing that, every night my family has power, while others are sitting in the dark.
I am currently in negotiations with a company to build a solar controller that will be reliable, yet much cheaper than your average controller offered by companies here. The controller would be manufactured in the USA. My first PWM controller here was $250 USD! This controller should easily come in under $100 USD, and will be customized for this project. It would still be a 20a to 30a controller, offering a 10a load circuit. It will be enclosed for the environment of Cambodia as well. So, it could even be mounted outside, if necessary.
EDIT: July 28, 2018 - Some MorningStar SL-10L-12v SunLight Solar Charge Controllers were donated to me a while back, specifically for this project. So, I will be going with them, rather than the previous controllers I was considering.
I am going to try to get a solar module (panel) manufacturer on board as well, Just Solar. If I can do that, the only significant cost then will be the batteries.
So far, my plan is to include the following in one package price:
PV Panel Parts
1 - 100 watts 12vdc PV Module
1 - 1.5" angle iron mount (could go with aluminum here if cheaper)
1 - Assorted hardware for mounting the panel
PV Panel to Controller Parts
3 - meters two conductor #10 wire
1 - Assorted hardware to secure the wire against the building
Battery to Controller Parts
1 - MorningStar SL-10L-12v SunLight Solar Charge Controller
1 - 10a 12vdc fuse / breaker
1.5 meters red #6 awg wire
1.5 meters black #6 awg wire
1 - Assorted hardware to mount the controller and secure wiring against the wall
Controller to Loads Parts
1 - 12vdc - 50ah Deep Cycle Battery
2 - Brass Battery Bus Bars (to attach loads)
1 - 10a 12vdc fuse / breaker
1.5 meters red #12 awg wire
1.5 meters black #12 awg wire
1 - Assorted hardware to mount the bus bars and attach the wiring against the wall
This is between an off-grid project and a mains electrical project. So, I wasn't really sure where I should post it. The Mains, Solar, Wind & Hydroelectric Power forum won.
So, it just so happens that I have 3 - 100 watts panels sitting around collecting dust, and not producing a single watt of power. I also have 135 watts panels doing the same. So, I need to come up with a little project for them. Anyway, the 100 watts panels project, for now.
I am going to buy a (cheap Chinese made) 6oo watts grid-tied inverter. I will then connect the 3 - 100 watts panels in parallel, directly to the inverter. Then, I will plug the inverter directly into a mains power point (wall receptacle). That will sync with the mains and start pumping up to 300 watts directly into the electric veins of the farm, depending on the amount of sun they receive, of course. This will help alleviate some of the power needed from the mains to run the farm.
Anyway, these inverters run between about $82 USD to $120 USD, each. That would buy you a 500 watts, up to a 1000 watts grid-tied inverter.
The reason behind powering a 600 watts grid-tied inverter with only 300 watts of panels, is so as not to overdrive it and possibly cause it to fail, catch fire, etc. The last thing you want to do, is to overdrive a cheaply made inverter, or any inverter for that matter. Besides, you can always buy another inverter, and three more panels to connect to it, then plug it into the mains. The second inverter will sync with the first, as well as the mains voltage.
Also, when you experience a mains power failure, these inverters will automatically shut down in order to protect anyone who may be working on the cables. You certainly don't want to be responsible for someone getting electrocuted. I know I don't. Once power is restored, they will come on line again.
Anyway, as soon as I get around to ordering one of these, and receive it, I will give you good folks an update on this little project. If this works out okay, I will definitely expand the system so as to reduce our power bill even more, each month.
SUMMARY: A grid tied system can help you kill your power bill, by back feeding power into the mains. It is as simple as installing an array of solar panels, connecting them to a grid-tied inverter, and connecting the grid-tied inverter to your mains power in your home.
Well, it took a while to find one. In fact, we ended up having to order it from Phnom Penh. Probably even paid too much for it ($130 USD, all in). But, we got it, and it is for the whole house. Oh, it comes with a beefy bracket, too, and the mounting screws with washers (4), to mount it to the bracket.
Put the tape measure on it. The filter is a standard 20" X 4.5" charcoal filter. Replacement cost, by the way, he told me is $60 each.