How do you store excess energy? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 09-22-2013 Thread Starter
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How do you store excess energy?

So I was thinking... Do boaters who generate power from renewables like wind, towed hydro, solar etc... have systems on board to store excess generated energy?

For example.

You're in the Caribbean and a couple of hours sunlight in the morning has topped up your batteries from overnight use.

What do you do with the rest of the days energy?

Do you have a small electric water maker to use the excess solar to top off your fresh water tanks?
A small electric ice maker?
Etc...

Can these systems be designed in to automatically come on once the batteries are topped off?

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post #2 of 17 Old 09-22-2013
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Re: How do you store excess energy?

I know some people will dump it into a hot water heater. It will take a lot of it and it is nice having hot water.
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post #3 of 17 Old 09-22-2013
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Re: How do you store excess energy?

Hot water heaters work off the engine or shore power. Watermakers need a generator or engine.

Basically unless you have the battery bank its wasted.

I am in that problem area. (Actually I'm not unless I have my bimini back. It tends to cover a bit of the solar panels in the morning. But when I get davits the panels will go on top giving me lots more electricity!)
What I tried to do but didnt work was put 3 freezer blocks in the frige/freezer during the day so they could slowly thaw out at night. Difficulty is the frige at 40 deg F / 4 deg C will not drop down to 0F/-18C fast enough to freeze freezer blocks in the day.

The other problem is that you need a massive oversupply of solar to make any plan for excess work because we tend to use all the power we have... for example: I have 15 minutes before I have to turn off the computer becausse the battery is down to 12.45 and its only 22.23pm.

Oh woe! LOL

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post #4 of 17 Old 09-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: How do you store excess energy?

I suppose that a better way of thinking would be, do people plan excess generating capacity as part of their on board systems? If i was calculating my consumption to generation ratios, i think I would install enough capacity to generate twice my consumption if my generators were running at 100%. That way I would still be comfortable if my generators only produced 50%of their max daily capacity.

I suppose the problem becomes a technical one where you have a how to use unstable voltages and average without the need for a moderator like a battery. I can't imagine that a fridge will run if it can't draw the amps it needs when it needs it......

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post #5 of 17 Old 09-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: How do you store excess energy?

Woops. Meant amperage where it says average.... D**n predictive text

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post #6 of 17 Old 09-22-2013
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Re: How do you store excess energy?

I made a simple circuit that flips a relay on the thermostat wire whenever the voltage gets to 13.5V during the day. The freezer/fridge compressor stays on (at the higher speed) until nightfall.

It's only about 4 or 5 amps, and we have 590 watts of solar strapped to our bimini.

Next step is to put it into the hot water heater, but I want to understand more about how the hot water heater's circuit works and how many watts the element is. (We have an extra, WalMart type inverter but may wait until I gat a marine inverter.)

There was one cruiser who put the extra energy into a watermaker. He had the extra fresh water going into a bucket in the cockpit for doing laundry. (Forget who it was, but google "Bene505 watermaker bucket cockpit site:cruisersforum.com" and "Bene505 watermaker bucket cockpit site:sailnet.com" and you may find the thread.)

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post #7 of 17 Old 09-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: How do you store excess energy?

Another random idea might be grow bulbs in your onboard "sprout" mini greenhouse....

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post #8 of 17 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: How do you store excess energy?

Who really needs to use excess energy? If you needed it it wouldn't be excess.

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post #9 of 17 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: How do you store excess energy?

Spectra makes 12v watermakers, which would be happy to soak extra juice.


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post #10 of 17 Old 09-23-2013
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Re: How do you store excess energy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by allio View Post
i think I would install enough capacity to generate twice my consumption if my generators were running at 100%. That way I would still be comfortable if my generators only produced 50%of their max daily capacity.
Why the hell would you double the spend on solar panels? Have you priced them? Bloody expensive! And you want to double them so you have too much electricity?

And where are you going to put them? On a monohull you are starved for space. A cat has more space above the hard bimini.

If someone spends $3,000 on renewable energy you would wonder why they would spend another $3,000 for 'excess'??

I'd prefer to spend the other $3,000 on restaurants with hot chics in sleazy parts of the world.


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