/ New Eco/renewable energy workshop build, ideas?

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Paul Crusher R - on 10 Jun 2018

I'll be starting a new workshop build in about a month due to relocation. As a base it is a double garage made from prefab concrete with an asbestos roof. Its location is ideal to add renewables and then try to make it totally self sustaining. The orientation is south facing in a very exposed location, it'll get hit by any wind from the south/east/west. There is also a small stream directly at the back that runs through the winter, and after any rain, though dry a lot of the time in the summer. 

Being on a budget and having the tools/ability I'd like to try and make any equipment and do any mods to the building myself..

Its going to need heating, lighting and to run equipment totaling about 4kw..

Any thoughts from the Ukc collective? cheers 

Post edited at 13:52
wintertree - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to Paul Crusher R:

You can get solar panels in good condition from “Bimble Solar” second hand at a decent price.

Your problem with solar is the asbestos roof - can’t see anyone wanting to drill it.  So a new roof it is!  If doing it new use inset panels without slates under them to save materials and time.  I’ve got 5 “solar slates” on a log store; they look great and I’d do the garage roof with them, but they’re very expensive compared to new or used conventional panels.

”Build Your Dreams” (I know) are doing a reasonably priced 48 volt lithium battery system that’ll work with Victron inverter/chargers to give you grid tied/feed in/self consumption + grid redundant 240 V AC power from the solar.  Unlike the Tesla stuff it looks very DIY friendly.  It’ll integrate wind etc.

I know little about wind but there are permitted development rights if it’s MCS compliant.  Small turbines look simple enough to integrate electronicall but beware vibration.

Streams - I’ve been looking in to a run off the river system with pelton wheel for seasonal (5 months around winter solstice) generation.  Not very expensive or complex in itself, although I haven’t yet identified a grid tie hydro inverter that can play nice controlling power output in “off grid” island mode.  What sinks it for me is the cost of legal compliance with water extraction (even if you put it back...) and environmental paperwork.  So far it’s a time cost - a lot of hours research and I still feel I don’t have a bloody clue...  

Any 240V system should comply with building regs, on grid or not.  If you grid tie you need to comply with EREC G83 or possibly G59.  Chances are that means paying a knowledgable sparky for some of the work or for certification.

Beware cheap high power Chinese inverters available for seemingly unreal prices on amazon, flea bay etc.  The isolation between the solar ground and the 240 V AC is shockingly bad.  Literally.  

jimtitt - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to Paul Crusher R:

Heating-wood fired central heating with heat store to keep above freezing at night.

Light-solar with 10 times the daily use capacity (panel and storage) bearing in mind the lighting requirements for commercial premises using machinery if this applies.

Powering machinery- forget solar unless the south facing roof area is about 20 times the size of a normal double garage! You´d probably want about 40kW worth of panels and batteries even for intermittent use. For renewables use a diesel generator converted for vegetable oil.

(My workshop is 100% renewables, it´s part of a bio-gas generating plant

wintertree - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to jimtitt:

>  For renewables use a diesel generator converted for vegetable oil.

There’s something to be said for running the diesel genny through the solar battery/inverter system.  Set up right the renewables smooth peaks in demand out, and allow the generator to shut down in low-load conditions.  This cuts down on generator wastage by trying to run it for less time and always at its most efficient revs, and by feeding in as much solar as possible - and wind etc if present.  





Alex1 - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to Paul Crusher R:

If you have an electricity connection in place you're not doing a lot for the environment by adding storage and to get something that would work well with power tools would be expensive.  The big impact items would be proper insulation, woodburner (or equivalent) and low energy lighting. Your only impact then is a tiny draw on the grid for the lights and a bigger one when you run the power tools.  Add solar if you want to offset, small scale wind is incredibly inefficient - just sign up to a green power tariff...  

Post edited at 19:48
jkarran - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Paul Crusher R:

I'm with Alex1 on this, if it's a working building with a grid connection in place make it cosy with a stove and insulation then buy renewable power as you need it. If it's a hobby then enjoy your research and build.


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