Eight days of solar power at Burning Man 2015

Burning Man 2015 solar power PV

Burning Man 2015 solar camp power. We had the same setup except for a different inverter (pure sine wave) and that we brought a chest freezer.

2015 was a stormy year on the Playa. Camp setup had to rest for almost an entire day and that also meant our energy system had to wait until Sunday to be fully operational. The novelty at this years Burning Man was the decision to buy a chest freezer to help cooling the food and beer. We had to mod the cooler with an additional temperature sensor connected to an Arduino Uno – which was controlling a relay to stop the freer from actually freezing the food.

SOC battery condition recorded during four data points per day

SOC battery condition recorded during eight days with four data points per day

It all worked well (except one morning the preparation of pancakes had to be delayed because of half frozen milk!) but the handling and access to stuff at the bottom needs more thought and organization for the coming years.

1.8 kWh average daily energy consumption

Daily energy consumption vs. generation over the period of 8 days

Daily energy consumption vs. generation over the period of eight days. Day two hit the mark of the max energy production for the location and time of the year.

The Energy statistics chart on the right shows the energy consumption vs. production. You can see that generation is overall greater than consumption. It seems there is still some room for increased consumption for the next years.

Due to lower temperature and higher consumption was the peak Watt output at 520W

Due to lower temperature, higher consumption, and better placement the peak energy output reached stunning 520 Watt!

A closer look at the SOC chart reveals that we had a minimum of 29% capacity left. Looks like a lot but there can always be a day or two with many sand storms and you never want to run the battery lower than 10% capacity. Also in comparison to last year you can see that we never got the batteries back up to 100%.

Recorded daily temperature maximum from Saturday till Sunday – maximum of 42.5°C (108.5°F).

Recorded daily temperature maximum from Sunday (8/30/15) till next Sunday – maximum of 42.5°C (108.5°F).

Conclusion: we have roughly met the safe margin for our solar energy system and in order to increase consumption we would have to acquire more solar panels.

Temperature vs. peak power

By looking at the Peak Watt chart and the max temperatures you can see a nice correlation of decreasing energy output with increasing temperatures. Maybe we can invent a shower bag heater that also cools the panels?


Recommended also: Burning Man 2014 camp power, Sustainable camp power

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