Tag Archives: solar

Solar Ivy?

I saw this link about the SMIT Solar Ivy project over on the Jetson Green site, and I thought it was quite clever.  Little solar ‘petals’ rather than one big panel.   I was thinking that while I don’t have huge walls to cover with something like this, I do want to add a sun shade/rain catchment sail over the container and deck area of the build, and having something like this on top would be a nice way to break up the surface and enhance the potential shade provided, while also producing power!

Anyway, check out the SMIT Solar Ivy site for more on this interesting idea.

How about shutters “inside” the building?

My current shutter design requires:

1) Cut out the shutter interior material (~4″ less than the final opening) out of the wall itself

2) Cut out the actual shutter space (this will create a 2″ wide “O” cutout from the wall, with the shutters already removed from the interior)

3) Weld 1″ wide by 2″ deep steel tube around the opening, and the shutter (after cutting the shutter in half and removing another 1″ from the new cut sides of the two shutter sides).  This is trick, and needs to be square

4) Insert the shutters back in the opening (tubing to tubing) and weld on the appropriate hinges.

I still think this will make a very nice shutter, but it is complicated by the fact that the shutters need to be cut out and then trimmed.  Keeping everything square is the big trick in this, and that’s where an alternate idea has presented itself.

We had dinner with friends Chad and Anna (and their charming daughter Nimue) this evening, and as we were discussing this particular component of the container process, Chad suggested just welding the frame to the interior of the container.  I thought this made a lot of sense, in that you can build the frame, add the hinges, make sure nothing binds (perhaps even add some cross bracing), and then weld the shutter frame to the wall.  You can add a baffle of either 1/8″ thick steel plate, or just add an appropriately cut out 1×1.5″ tube steel insert, which will fully connect the frame at the top and bottom of the shutter. If you leave an appropriately sized gap (1/8″ should be adequate) around the shutter frame and its mounting frame, you should be able to:

1) Weld the frame up on a known flat surface and weld on the hinges

2) Check for and remedy any twisted hinges, or areas on the frame that bind (which should be ok with the 1/8″ gap).

3) Weld the frame to the sidewall of the container

4) Drill through the container wall to mark the actual location of the shutter gap (between the wall frame and the shutter frame) on the exterior

5) cut through the exterior, either with a cutting torch, plasma cutter, a cutting wheel on a rotary grinder, or even a reciprocating saw (like a sawzall)

Using 1″ tubing would still take a small amount of the interior space away, but this would potentially be masked by the interior walls anway. The biggest benefit is the ability to attach the shutter to the frame prior to cutting out the shutter, and being able to make sure the frame isn’t binding prior to cutting out the shutter!

Now, with a 3.5″ metal stud set all the way to the “outside” of the corrugations int the side wall, there is stil a 1″ gap between the shutters and the wall edge.  This isn’t enough for the doors I’m looking at (5″ framed width is in the spec sheet), but perhaps I’ll look into some custom doors instead.  They’ll stil be thicker than 1″, but if I can get them down to 3″ rather than five, then they don’t stick so far into the interior as to look odd.

I think this model makes even more sense than the original, even if it means sacrificing an additional interior inch of space on one wall.

Power – an interesting option

Kevin sent me a link to an interesting alternative power company that I though I’d share.  These folks provide both wind and solar systems, and it makes good sense to have both if there’s any reasonable wind at all.  Having also spoken with our neighbor, it looks like both are plentiful (wind more in the winter than summer, and sun in the opposite).


I’ve also been thinking about a classic home-built wind turbine, with blades made out of sections of schedule 40 PVC pipe to augment the 3 135W panels I already have.  Something like: http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine

In addition to the turbine/solar setup, there’s clearly need for a battery storage box, an inverter (I have a 600W inverter at the moment), and a battery disconnect.  For the wind turbine, I’ll need to either build or acquire a power disconnect to let the turbine run free when the batteries are fully charged, or they may be damadged!

Quite a bit more to look at!