Solar energy, a complement to fta – satellite tv technology – nigeria gas bike alley


Well, great people of FTA, I think I should start this on behalf of George_D because of the request made by others who have expressed interest in alternate electricity, especially solar energy. Our FTA independence is not complete if we are to suffer frequent power outages and been dependant on the nation’s electricity grid system always. I have read in this house many times, from members “PHCN don go off, so I will track later when they come back”. No one can run away from power outages in the main electricity grid – not even the west, it happens. Hence, we all should have alternate electricity and using renewable energy is, to me, the best. This means one can enjoy their FTA fully by being totally free and not “dom” (dominated).

Without going into detail, one can enjoy electricity by means of using solar energy (energy from the sun), wind mill (using energy from the wind). Don’t forget, where there is frequent electricity supply from the utility company, you can store some energy for back up.

d.c). The panels can last up to 20 years plus. The panels can be fixed, adjustable or of the tracking type. You can decide to go for a complete panel from manufacturers (already made) or build panels by yourself using solar cells- the latter is for the hobbyist. The panels are rated in watts eg 80w solar panel supplying 12v continuous at a given time

Power Inverters are available in 3 basic designs, two of which I remember very well now – the one that out sinusoidal waves and those that are modified sign wave type (meaning not pure sine waves and do have limits when it comes to its application) . The power inverter converts your storage battery power into the 240 volts AC that runs your appliances. It is the heart of your solar energy system. Unless you only run 12 volt DC appliances you will need a power inverter to supply your AC. This is just the basics.

Firstly, it is very necessary to know what gadgets you will be using (, sat. receiver) and how long you will use how long you would have them on the solar power and how much energy your battery can store and which solar panel (rating in power) will supply the required energy.

A lot goes into calculating the cost of setting up a solar system. First one has to consider the period of usable sunlight available at their location to do this calculation. For us here close to the equator, we get about 7 to 8 hours or more of sunlight during dry season, just a rough estimate.

3. since there are bound to be losses in the system However, to account for natural losses, we multiply the result by 1.2 (this factor allows for natural system losses, assuming 85% efficiency). Therefore, we will assume the panels will actually need to be able to supply a total of

5. Your battery should be able to store 1008Wh of energy. Since batteries capacities are rated in Ah (Ampere Hours) you need to multiply Ah by the Volt rating to know the Watt Hour. Power(W) = Voltage (V) x Current (I) ; Watt hour = VxIxHour

After the exhuastive explanation last Aug/Sept. on the subject, I went back to where I kept all my junks and found an old 650va Superb UPS i got in 1997 which suprisingly was still working. The special thing about the UPS is that it had a soft touch button which I can press once to stop the beeping sound expecially when there is enough juice left in the battery.

Funny enough after a week of acquisition, the transformer in my area in Ogudu Lagos gave up since Oct 28 last year. The battery and the UPS has been my saving grace as the entire str. is still left in the dark. Every morning I will just disconnet the battery from the UPS, put it in the trunk of my car and straight to the office where I have kept the charger since I bought it. I get about 5hrs of electricity from 7pm to 12am with a 100watts TV, 25 watts decoder, 50 watts standing fan and a 20 watts energy bulb b4 the UPS starts to beep and then I put every thing off except the fan which I control the amount of current that it consumes with the help of a light dimmer.

I felt so silly not realising that I had all I needed to prevent the burning heat at night. Like they say bro. "information is knowledge and knowledge is power". I spend about N500.00 a week to run my big gen by weekends for ironing and other heavy power needs including charging my battery and running 2 freezers.

I’m reluctant to delve into the issue of solar power here seeing as this thread is all about FTA but since we all need stable power supply to enjoy whatever stations we succeed in tracking, maybe it may not be out of place to give a little info about my installation.

The system comprises basically of a 5kva inverter with a 48v battery bank of four 12v 200AH deepcycle batteries. This feeds the house load while the solar modules feeds the battery bank. All this while I’ve been recharging via nepa light until recently when I installed those sharp solar modules. The panels are two pieces 200w, 34.8v/4.9A sharp modules connected in series combined to give a total 400w/69.9v/4.9A charging power for the battery bank. The modules supply power through a charge controller which regulates the charge current-as the name implies. As a hybrid system, I can use nepa to charge when public power is available and I can also use the sun to charge when nepa fails. Better still, I can use both at the same time.

As for the cost, I’d say it’s not for the faint-hearted. And that to me is what has been discouraging most people from going this road. One 12v/200AH battery alone is about 52k. A good 5kva inverter goes for around N180k. One 200w sharp solar module goes for about N180K. You do the maths and see what I mean.

However, cost aside, for those who can afford it, its still way better than having a heavy duty diesel/petrol guzzling gen set at home. Why? Because besides the batteries which may need change out every 5 to 7 years, the system is virtually maintenance-free. No petrol or diesel, no servicing, no smoke, no noise, no black oil on the floor. Just press the buton and use power from heaven to watch nilesat!

Let’s do some maths here that will help the future reader. Firstly, this set up of four 200Ah battery and 5kvA inverter belongs to one faithful member of this fraternity George_D. He will be the best person to tell what and what he is using in his home.

Now, let’s come to the calculation a 5kvA inverter (5000vA) can support a load maximum of approximately (5000 x 0.85 = 4250W) at any given time, assuming the power factor here is 0.85. If we also assume the power factor is 1 (which will not be) then the maximum load the inverter can support will be (5000 x 1 = 5000W). Anything above this will “not be”. With this size if inverter, you can power your tv (even LCD), fan, fridge (400W), iron (1000W) and other domestic appliances.

E.g. a 12v 200Ah battery can store (12 x 200 = 2400Wh of energy) if I should load this battery with a 2000W appliance, then, I can enjoy a working period of 2400/2000 = 1.2 hours of operation. If the load is 1000W, I may expect the supply to last 2400/1000 = 2.4h.

If I should double the capacity of the battery by connecting them in parallel, the voltage will be common here and the currents will sum up. Therefore with the above battery 12V, 200Ah, connected in parallel the capacity will be 12v, 400Ah and this means that the bank can store energy of 12 x 400Ah = 4800Ah and this is double the operation time of 12V, 200Ah.