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Anyone have a solar charging station?
#1
I'm thinking of building a solar charging station for my Solo. One thing we have plenty of in west Texas is sun. I don't want to reinvent the wheel so if anyone has one or a link to a good website I would really appreciate the information.
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#2
(02-09-2017, 09:04 PM)Texas2gun Wrote: I'm thinking of building a solar charging station for my Solo. One thing we have plenty of in west Texas is sun. I don't want to reinvent the wheel so if anyone has one or a link to a good website I would really appreciate the information.

Smart Smile
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#3
(02-09-2017, 09:04 PM)Texas2gun Wrote: I'm thinking of building a solar charging station for my Solo. One thing we have plenty of in west Texas is sun. I don't want to reinvent the wheel so if anyone has one or a link to a good website I would really appreciate the information.

I don't have one yet, but I have plenty of ideas on the subject.

If you build a big solar farm, there's no problem at all plugging in your Solo through a suitable inverter generating 3.3kw of 120V or 7kw of 240V AC.

If you want to minimize the size of your array of solar panels, add a battery that can store a few hundred or a few thousand Wh. Then connect an inverter that can deliver 3.3 or 7 kw AC at 120 or 240V. When you plug in the car it will drain the battery more or less promptly and the inverter will disconnect but the solar panels will recharge it again and you can cycle along that way until the car is charged. The fastest charge will be with about a 20kWh battery so that the Solo can charge without completely discharging the battery. Batteries are expensive. Solar panels are somewhat expensive. You can mix and match the size of solar panels and battery and inverter to most suit your pattern. If you use the car every day, you probably want a big battery so that you can charge even if it's cloudy.

It would really help if EM published data on the specifications for the power needed. Will the Solo charge if the AC voltage sags or will it disconnect? The EV charger is supposed to negotiate current/voltage with the car. What ranges are acceptable?

The battery for this application should be a "deep discharge" type. The best might be NiFe but they are very heavy to ship and only made in a few places. Deep discharge lead acid are pretty cheap but only last a few years, so what you save on the purchase you lose on the replacement. NiFe will last decades.

There are other energy-storage devices that can replace a battery like pumping water uphill to a reservoir and turning it loose on a water-turbine to turn an alternator, compressing air, electrolyzing water to hydrogen and running that into a fuel-cell or engine, or spinning a huge flywheel... or... but batteries are pretty simple and reliable.

EM could save all the DIYers a lot of trouble by providing a DC connection that would take whatever voltage a solar panel array puts out and convert the voltage to what the battery needs. All they really would have to specify was what was the voltage range acceptable and what was the minimum power requirement. A converter in the car would do the job just as they do now for an AC input. Alternatively they could sell a unit that plugs directly to the Solo's battery to manage the charging.

However, everyone has 120VAC so EM is not likely to divert resources to alternative energy sources until they are filling the backlog of orders...
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#4
Anyone have any updated info on charging requirements? I would like to calculate the cost of an overnight charge on the Solo, as our electricity rates are pretty high, and it seems that to compare apples to apples I need to calculate the cost of fuel per mile.
Currently my van runs about 11 cents / mile. The Volt we use goes 28 miles on an overnight charge, but that seems like it could be more than the van.
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#5
(07-19-2017, 09:27 AM)Hog Wrote: Anyone have any updated info on charging requirements? I would like to calculate the cost of an overnight charge on the Solo, as our electricity rates are pretty high, and it seems that to compare apples to apples I need to calculate the cost of fuel per mile.
Currently my van runs about 11 cents / mile. The Volt we use goes 28 miles on an overnight charge, but that seems like it could be more than the van.

Sadly, there is a dearth of technical specs. We do have some fairly solid datapoints though. No one has found a range less that 100 miles/160km. The CEO has said some report up to 200km range, so I think 100 miles is dependable. The other known is a nominal 16.1kWh battery. The charging circuit is likely 90% efficient. The battery itself can store up to 90% of the energy it gets, so that 16kWh in the battery takes about 20kWh from the utility. Where I live, that costs about $2.00 CDN. So, my number should be about 2 cents CDN per mile. My gas-guzzler costs us about 25 cents CDN per mile. That's the number one reason I want Solo. It's very efficient. Repairs/maintenance advocates even more towards Solo.
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#6
The costs vary widely in NY, this from a few years ago - "In Westchester County, a Consolidated Edison customer using 600 kWh of electricity in their home paid a monthly average of $142 in 2015, according to data from the state Department of Public Service.

Compare that to a typical Rochester Gas & Electric customer, who paid about $80 a month for the same amount of electricity last year, according to the data..."

Last I checked (years ago) we were around 20c /kwh.
So - is that 0.20 * 20 (kwh) to charge? ($4 US)?

On that basis the Volt costs 0.14c/ mile? If so, my gas powered van is cheaper to run than the Volt.

I am very new to electrical stuff, so forgive my ignorance here.
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#7
(07-19-2017, 11:15 AM)Hog Wrote: I am very new to electrical stuff, so forgive my ignorance here.

Utilities don't make it easy. Some have a "base" charge for the privilege of connecting to their system. Almost all have "step" charges where the rate varies depending on the size of service entrance or consumption.  All one can do is take the bottom line of a bill and divide by consumption as it shouldn't matter whether the car takes the first or the last kWh. Some people do have a very small service and have to spend $thousands to increase capacity. That should be rare for Solo as it can charge in a few hours from a regular 120V outlet. Adding a Level 2 charger can be expensive. I'm fortunate to have 240V outlet in the garage already but I'm going to add some solar capacity.

Some places have different rates based on time of day. It might pay to get a timer. I don't know how Solo responds to power turning on unexpectedly. It could/should do the right thing and charge.
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#8
200 amp service is pretty standard, so newer homes should have 220v capacity. Rochester electric is really cheap in NY, Con Ed is twice the price. I had "Day/Night" service here for a few years, it was not worth it. The "reduced" rate was from midnight to 7am, then you paid a surcharge over the normal rate if you used it during the day rate. We saved money by switching to the flat rate. Everything here was on a timer (some things, like the water heater still are). Running the 220 would scare me though, I removed the central air because when it ran the meter spun so fast it was a blur. Now we run three window a/c units with no increase in electric cost. A normal monthly electric bill here is about $275. Just the usual stuff, washer/dryer, stove, water heater, furnace. I will take a look at the bill again to see what the actual consumption is, would be good to know. Power failures and brownouts are pretty common as well. We are typically without power about 3-4 days per year, went three weeks (20 days) in 2012 and a week for superstorm sandy.
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#9
In case you are unaware of the new Tesla Solar Roof check it out at https://www.tesla.com/solarroof
White Hot Solo #166
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#10
hmmm interesting, and expensive I bet. Says it will generate 126$/month in electricity and cost me $144 / month in payments.
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