Below is how we make wind and solar coffee on
the Rock, 120 feet above the creek and parking area. Our satellite Internet
dish (no it does not get TV stations) is on the left corner of the porch. The
steel poles that are installed in front and behind the house were originally
for the hoisting system for building materials and and now for groceries and
firewood since there is no road access between where we park our cars and
the house. We walk a trail to get to the top of the hill (about 10 stories
high, a five minute walk) to get to the house. The rear pole (with a 20 foot
extension for the turbine) now doubles as support for the wind system.
The wind turbine, installed in June 2001, has been
running flawlessly (we had a record 319 inches of snow in 2001-2002). The solar
array (bottom left) was installed in Mid-June 2002. It works GREAT!
The solar array is 13 feet wide and 8.5 feet
tall for 110 square feet of surface area. It consists of 12 Photowatt 105 watt
panels that I bought for just under $4 per watt.
The 9 foot tall, 6" diameter schedule 40 pipe stand
(designed by Steve and fabricated by Marquette Machine Works here in Marquette) is
bolted to bedrock. The entire unit, stand, rack, tracker and wiring (inside
and outside), took about 5 days for Steve to install alone. The sensor
that "looks" for the sun and aligns the panels for maximum output is on the
top corner of the array.
The solar panels are rated for 1,260 watts output as
long as the sun shines but I only get about 1,000 watts (enough to continuously light
ten 100 watt light bulbs while the sun is shining) because some solar energy
is absorbed by the relative humidity in our local atmosphere (typically 75%
RH year round) and other inherent losses. If the panels were in Arizona (10%
- 30% relative humidity) I would get much closer to full output.
The tracker motors keep the solar array accurately
pointed (left-right and up-down) towards the sun from sunrise to sunset.
The tracker offers a 30% annual energy gain from the panels (double the output
during the peak month of June, only about 10% improvement during December).
Winter offers less solar energy because the days are much shorter, but the wind
will be stronger so the wind turbine makes up for the lack of sunshine.