Come join me on my adventure into sustainable energy and living, Internet of things and all thing electronics. I have been designing electronic equipment for many years, but over the last 10+ years a clear direction has formed where most of my work and projects have been around clean energy and environmental sensors and monitoring.
- 4 cell 18650 DIY PCB
- My Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) / Semi Energy Storage System (ESS)
- New dashboard for my home monitoring
- Real-Time Solar Energy Sign
- Reconditioning Solar Garden Lights
In 2008 I had my first grid connected 990W solar system installed on my roof, 6x 165W BP solar panels made right here in Australia. The Sunnyboy inverter was fitted with the RS232 module and I built a DIY logger and web interface for it.
A few years later in 2013, I installed my first off-grid solar system with 8x 100Ahr lithium iron phosphate cells (LiFePO4). This was a 2.6KWh storage system. Lithium was very new technology at the time and I had two goals. 1. To understand the excellent cycle life of lithium iron phosphate technology. 2. To decrease my dependence on grid power. This system was 24V and ran all my Internet equipment (Modem, router, switches) and also my CCTV system. It was basically a nice 24hour UPS system. During summer months it also ran my TV and radio.
In 2017 after a 10 hour+ power outage in summer, the off-grid fridge project started. I had a spare inverter fridge from my days living in Sydney, so a solar system and battery was installed to run the fridge. I had already designed a automatic transfer switch so this was used to switch the fridge back to mains if the battery went flat or some thing like the inverter failed. The first cheap inverter did fail so that was great insurance!
2019 saw major changes to the sustainability of my home. Insulation was pumped down the walls and new insulation installed in the ceiling. After this the new 6.6KW solar system was installed. Instead of using power at night as grid power was cheaper and I wanted to maximise my exports, I turned 180 as it was best to use as much of my own energy during the day as this is basically free energy once the system is paid off.
Over the years extra solar panels where added to the first main off-grid system and then 9 years later (2021) the battery was replaced with a pack double the size. Yes, I now have a 5.2KWh of storage off-grid system. This now runs extra equipment all year around with a oversized PV array as 2nd hand solar panels are so cheap!
The old battery pack has lost some capacity, but still tests up very well and is still in use on a smaller off-grid system today.
Demand Energy Response (DER) is now a very big market and I now design systems to shift energy use from periods of high demand to periods of low demand. Households and businesses with solar now have the advantage where this solar energy can be storage for later use or consumed onsite (Hotwater, pool pumps, pre heating and cooling) when excess is generated.
More to come every week!