Solar and Wind Power

April 25th, 2017 by Joe Stokes Leave a reply »

While at Cape Fear Community College, I worked to implement renewable energy into the Electronics Engineering Technology (EET) program. In 2005 hydrogen based fuel cells were introduced into the engineering department. I enjoyed learning about fuel cells, and proposed our program also expose students to solar and wind power. Emphasis was placed on small scale power generation and pratical applications of the technology. Students gained hands on experience with wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, power inverters, and more. Projects emphasized proper use of test equipment, safety, working in groups, and documentation.

CFCC Renewable Energy Lab

The first system was downtown and was not a grid tie. We had a 600W 24 Volt photovoltaic (PV) array consisting of four 150W panels wired in parallel. We also had a 24V wild three phase AC wind turbine. The solar array was on an active tracking system following the sun.

The solar and wind worked to keep a battery bank powered and ran a web server. At the time the web server hosted a web site on renewable energy. The system also published real time data from the hybrid system including: wind current, solar current, DC battery current and battery bank voltage. A positive current indicated the battery bank was charging while a negative current implied the batteries were discharging.

The battery bank was connected to a 120VAC true sine wave inverter that was used to power the web server. The AC current, voltage, and kWhrs generated was also published on the site.

I have received certificates in wind and solar power from both NC State and Application State Universities while working on this project.

The Electronics program moved to the North campus, and we started with a wind survey before moving the equipment. While the results matched the true wind maps for NC, and found that our campus was not a good source for wind, we decided to install a turbine for educational purposes.

The system we installed at the North campus was basically the same as the system from our downtown location except we used a passive tracking system for the 600W solar array, and the system was grid-tied. The grid tie allowed us to treat the grid as our battery bank. The software available was also improved and we were able to publish more information on the website.

Below are some links to the work we did to install the PV and wind power at the North campus. We also installed a Davis Instruments weather station and a web camera that updated weather and pictures to the internet and propergated to Google.


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