MasTec Alternative Power
is involved in developing and marketing alternative power systems.
Many years back MasTec develped an off the grid small research and development centre for Alternative Power.
The completed systems continues to evolved and has over the years consisted of several solar panels types and wind turbines, large storage batteries under trial and several types of inverters under trial.
2014 Report: At present the research is on appliance power usage.
With the inclusion of a weather station in the measurement system, extra value data on system performance can be amassed.
A report is available for this research at the end of the 2014 year. products include, Refrig systems, Freezers, Washing machines, Dishwashers, and other applianses plus water pumps.
In 2006, new low cost Asian deep discharge cells were added to the system and the charging characteristics and discharge times were monitored. These batteries are low impedance 6 volt units with a large cell area and take charge readily even when it is very low charge currents which can be typical of solar systems on cloudy days or low wind days when the turbine is making 10-20 watts.
In 2008 MasTec started testing lower cost Chinese made solar panels for performance, beside Australian or USA manufacturers and to date the results are as good or better than USA panels. These panels are mono crystaline and not polycrystaline or amorphous like the Australian or USA panels.
The monos do extremely well in bright sunshine.
2008 a bank of Low cost deep discharge wet lead acide batteries ( 16 units ) was installed witjh a total of 900amphrs and 24 VDC. This bank will run a large 500 sq meter centre at the research site with a full appliance set and services for a building.
2013 report. The Asian deep cycle batteries are doing very well at the two test site with no failures or problems.
2014 report. The Asian deep cycle batteries are now into their 7th and 9th year and doing very well at the two test site with no failures or problems.
The overall focus for MasTec is on practical, reliable, easy to install products that will serve well.
In 2011 a 600watt 24VDC wind turbine was installed but failed in the first storm that went through The controller was not strong enough to rectifier all the power coming through the system and the controller wiring caught on fire and burnt.
In 2013 a smaller 300/500 watt 24VDC wind turbine was installed and immediately failed in high winds. This was due to a fuse with onloy a 15 amp rating. A 25 amp fuse was installed and has not blow yet even though on several occassions 30 amps + charge has been measured into the batteries on peak wind spells. This does mean that this turbine is making 800 watts+ of power and it only has a rating of 300 watts and peaks of 500 watts.
See photo above
recommend deep cycle units from several manufacturers
|Solar Panels|| We
now recommend Powercom and Powertech Solar panels
|Inverters|| We recommend Asian Electron and Power
Master for most applications
| We recommend TrippLite for simple applications.
Power Master for more demanding and advanced integrated systems
are some simple rules for turbine installations.
Use large gauge wire for the three phase run back to the controller
for best results
Mount the turbine as high as you can, no lower than 6 meters,
better 8-10 meters.
| We are now recommending the 300 watt
chinese made units both 24 and 12 VDC. These units are well priced
and after 1 year of opeartions in huge storms we can say they
are tough and reliable. Measuring 700+ watts coming off these
units is quite amazing.