The Sustainable Technology program has a new relatively new Photovoltaics II class. The focus is on battery-based, off-grid solar electric systems. It is very beneficial for the students to apply their new knowledge to a real-world project and Spring semester we designed and installed an off-grid solar electric system for Sarah Kellogg's tiny home in Triplett. Sarah built her tiny home from scratch and is now very excited to have her electrical needs met by an off-grid solar electric system. A bit of appropriate technology innovation can be seen outside where the PV racking is connected to two logs that ran through a portable sawmill on site. Now named the Appalachian Ballast Mount, this is a great way for this potentially nomadic customer to have a sturdy PV system adjacent to the house and avoid costly ground or roof penetrations.
Inside the home, a bank of lead acid batteries obtained from local battery dealer, Nathan's Batteries in Wilkesboro, is all housed in a custom, vented battery box. On the wall, the balance of system components, including a maximum power-point charge controller from Midnite Solar (Classic 250) and an inverter-charger from Schneider Electric (SW 2524), keep the batteries charged and will power Sarah's loads for many years to come.
Many thanks to the hard working students in PVII and to Sarah for hosting us as we worked through the design-build process all semester long. What an awesome community we have surrounding us here at Appalachian State University!