Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sunbox Mark2 : PV, Modularity and Pumps

14 April :   I had a long discussion with David Atkins of Ice Energy, to discuss the further development of the Sunbox Mark 2. It's important this time to build it more efficiently, ie, instead of building it over weeks, off the wall on scaffolding, to make it as a wholly prefabricated unit that needs only 4 bolts and a single hole in the wall, so it can be fixed off a mobile tower scaffold, in one day.
  The design is precisely 3D modelled in ArchiCAD, so that I can calculate precise aluminium angle lengths and sizes, and precise cutting for the polycarbonate.
  This sunbox will be distinctively different from the PVT panels (only available in USA) because mine will have a large volume of air behind the PV panel, and will be designed for Wall mounting. I will have to paint the back of the PV panel matt black because Sharp have built it with highly reflective gloss white finish.

   There would be a version of the sunbox with either clear or black polycarbonate as the front finish, we could experiment with all three alternatives if I make a mock-PV panel out of aluminium and dark polycarbonate as a comparator, and try switching the front panels. This is for people who merely want to augment their GSHP and are not interested in PV generation.
  If these panels are arranged horizontally, they can be 'modular' for PV and GSHP augmentation. If they are used only for GSHP augmentation, they can also be arranged in a vertical array, as shading is not a problem if there is no PV.

  Meanwhile, I have asked EvoEnergy for some pushfit connectors, so that I can make use of the energy that this spare PV panel will produce, and I will fit a regulator and inverter to it, and it can make a very small contribution to the house when the Sun shines, meeting the running cost of the AC pump. My earlier interest in getting this to work with a DC powered water-pump has waned as it is so difficult to find one at all, let alone one that is affordable or noiseless, whereas AC powered central heating pumps are plentiful and cheap and silent.

Today, I have now placed a firm order for the Aluminium sections, including enough to make a faux-PV panel as an alternative to the real PV panel. Next to buy the Polycarboonate.

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