Despite the constraints imposed by COVID we have been able to continue the work to reclaim the equipment we need for Wheely Green from the big old solar power truck.
The major task this week was to remove all of the cabling and structural framework which supported the 8 solar panels atop the truck, and then extract the old lead-acid batteries themselves and deliver them to a recycling centre. As there were 40 batteries, weighing almost 2 tonnes, this was a major manual task (see pictures) which involved Richard calling in 5 volunteers to work over the best part of a day. Many thanks to Mark, Rob and Garth for all their help. These batteries, designed for heavy duty milk floats and fork trucks, are at least 5 times as heavy as lithium batteries for the same energy capacity. This is why we are using lithium batteries for the new Wheely Green trailer!
A lot of load testing has been done on the lithium batteries with a 24v inverter, but with only half of the solar panels we will eventually use. Next month, if the COVID restrictions continue to relax we should be able to turn our attention to acquiring a trailer and building structure we need to mount the solar panels on it.
During April we also invited interested parties to a Zoom meeting to discuss design options and share our relevant knowledge and experience of off-grid solar power. A lot of useful thoughts and ideas came out of it and we plan to follow up with another zoom session in the near future.
We expect the project to deliver the MK2 trailer in the Summer.
In the meantime, the good news is that the MK1 trailer is up and running now, and available for use to support outdoor events.
Please get in touch if you are planning a community event and need a power supply (e.g. for spoken word, music, electric bike charging and even cooking). By helping you it will help us with the project.
Please contact Tony Cooper via email: email@example.com or phone 07796 675385.
By Tony Cooper and Richard Bett