MOORE SOLAR INSTALLATION

 

Introduction


The Moore installation was the first for Driving on Sunshine and was the experimental proving ground for the concept.  In this case, the solar array was installed first.  This is a 30 panel 6 kW system installed on the roof of a 30 X 15 outbuilding.  The power from the panels is introduced to the house and grid via a Sunnyboy power inverter and, a power bus and a 200 Amp subpanel to supply the house and car charger.  The solar installation was completed by American Solar Electric of Scottsdale AZ (www.americanpv.com) and was activated on September 11, 2007 – an appropriate date.  Since then the system has generated an average of 10,600 kWh per year.

When the Driving on Sunshine test vehicle, the 1998 Ford Ranger, was brought on line; the experimentation began.  The first attempts to mate the vehicle to the system, including an attempt to match the DC solar output directly to the DC needs of the charging Ranger, proved to be impractical. Since one of our goals was to make this technology both simple to understand and implement; we continu
ed to look for the simpler answer.  We needed an approach that could easily be implemented by anyone with the desire and a little roof space.  And then, we realized the answer had been staring us in the face all along.  It was already at work.  How easy is that?

When we were designing an improvement to our irrigation system, an “ah ha” moment occurred.  To use a plumbing example, we realized that the solar panels were our water electron supply, the grid was our cistern battery and the truck was our facet load.  To see this, we simply needed to change our focus from real-time truck charging to a view of energy consumption over time … sounds simple now.  Once we saw this, the rest was easy.

We collected data on how the truck uses power over the miles driven and came up with an annual energy use in kWh based on miles driven per year. 


We then worked from that annual load requirement back to the solar array size rating necessary to produce that amount of power over a year in our area.  We found that we were already producing more than twice the power needed to make the truck run.  We had been driving a solar vehicle all along.


Installation


The solar array is a 30 panel 6.0 kilowatt system installed by American Solar Electric in 2007.  The system cost (after Power Company, state and federal rebates) were financed through a simple line of credit on the home.  The resulting reduction in the monthly power bill was immediately greater than the monthly payments for the loan – a positive cash flow from the day it was turned on.  The savings have only improved as power rates have gone up and the loan payments have not. 


Please bear in mind that this cost reduction is the result of simply replacing grid power with solar power – the vehicle was not in the picture yet.  When the car is added and savings are recomputed against the price of gas, the savings rate increased by at last twice – a 10 year payback becomes a 5 year payback. 



 

Conclusion

This solar installation is now 3 years old and the solar vehicle operation has been underway for 2 years.  This installation is the experimental basis for the Driving on Sunshine approach.  For an article on this systems please visit: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/2008/07/03/20080703biz-solarford0704.html