Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

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Re: Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

Postby Cherokee Solar » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:37 am

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:
Tracker wrote:12% more power is useless if you cant use it and are being paid nothing or a pittance if you export it, just so the retailers can make a profit at your expense by selling it to your neighbour. Closely matching production to usage is the target these days!


Spot on.

Do you reckon in a more marginal solar area like further south where I am, you could position the panels NE and NW? Do you reckon this may bring on the magic smoke in the regulators?
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Re: Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:04 am

That depends on how many panels you hook up ;) The idea of facing them 120degrees apart, facing E and W is so that there is an even input into the charge controller, other than the slight bulge in production due to decreased cell temps when the panels are only getting ~half insolation each and run a bit cooler. If pointing NE and NW there is a fair bit of time when all the panels are facing less than 60 degrees from the sun, and therefore receiving more than half their rated insolation. If you have double the panels, as allowed by the VT panel arrangement, then the total from both arrays needs to be something that the charge controller can handle without letting the magic smoke out.
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Re: Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

Postby Cherokee Solar » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:11 am

Fair enough. What about if you only had some of the panels connected into the regulators for a few months during the depths of winter.

The reason I ask is because all of my panels currently face NW because of the aspect of the land on the side of the mountain. I could however put some panels up facing N just for those winter months and then disconnect them for the remainder of the year? It is very manual but do you think it is a bit risky?

Thanks. Chris
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Re: Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:18 am

It wont be risky if you use the right number of panels ;) How many that is depends on exactly how they are orientated relative to the sun, and the input limits of the PLs. 60deg off-pointing = ~half power, 45deg off=~70% power and 30deg off =~85% power, all multiplied by the various derating factors- cell temp, radiation intensites etc. Cooler winter temps will generally mean higher output from the panels if they are facing the sun, but for a shorter period per day.
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Re: Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

Postby Cherokee Solar » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:44 am

Thanks Gordon. I'll have to put some serious thought into the virtual tracker. It's my plan B at the moment so it is interesting to see that it works well. Confirmed and Tested! :D

That #$%^^&* generator has to go - no more excuses here. :lol:

Hey, (plan A) I just bought a 600w 24v wind turbine so who knows how it will all work out? :?

The funny thing about bridge rectifiers (AC to DC conversion) is that they all seem to have either a really small capacity or a really huge capacity. What's going on with that? Anyway, this is all pushing the limits of my knowledge on renewable energy so I'm just learning as I go.

Do you know where I can get an outdoor all weather box to seal the bridge rectifier and wiring connections in?

Regards. Chris
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Re: Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:05 am

I picked up a few 40A 3phase bridge rectifiers for $not very much on ebay last year, Jaycar didn't have anything useful listed.
You should be able to pick up outdoor rated electrical waterproof boxes from any electrical wholesaler- get a decent brand like Clipsal.
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Re: Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

Postby Cherokee Solar » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:27 am

Thanks. Yeah ebay has some cheap rectifiers. There isn't much cost difference between them.

I'll check the wholesalers for the box.
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Re: Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

Postby sandystone » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:42 pm

HI Gordon,
Now that 3 months have passed, and the sun is further north, it would be interesting to see what the power curves would look like for the virtual tracker in contrast to north facing.
Again a test around the winter solstice.
Any chance of that?
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Re: Virtual Tracker panel arrangement

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:39 pm

I've been wanting to do that for about the past month, but there've been too many cloudy days. Let me know if you can organise 2 cloudless days in a row and I'll arrange the testing for those days :)
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