Hurricane versus solar panels and wind turbines

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by oil pan 4, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    This is eastern Puerto Rico wind and solar farms.

    The media has been talking about how one roof top installed solar panel array in San Juan survived the storm. And how the whole island needs to be repower ed with solar and wind.

    They are not telling you the real story.

    On the bright side the wind turbines did exactly what they were supposed to.
    A few did get leveled.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
    Asia-Off-Grid and Tevin like this.
  2. Out in the woods

    Out in the woods off-grid in-the-forest beekeeper

    Regardless of how you want to power the island, it needs power.

    When you get into discussing wind and solar 'farms' a lot of the discussion turns to politics and it gets ugly.

    Was there some point that you wished to make?
  3. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Insanity is defined as doing the same thing and expecting a different result. It's not politics it's insanity.

    So every time a major hurricane rolls through their wind turbines will be severely damaged and solar panels completely smashed.

    At least the wind turbines should be repairable.
  4. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Children Hospital - Power by Musk.
    jasonl6 and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
  5. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    If you invest cheap, you get cheap .
    My wind mill is designed to disengage if winds get to a certain point, other than that I have it designed to lower and remove if necessary .
    My wind and solar is attached to my 3,500 lb shop trailer.
    We don't yet get hurricane force winds, but I suspect that with the changes in the earths axis continuing, we are likely to see more radical changes in the weather.
  6. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I would like to reattempt wind power but the wind turbine would have to be on something I could raise and lower.

    The solar panels that survive appear to be inland and surrounded by wind breaks.
    The ones that were devastated were in open areas or near the coast.

    I like how a bunch of those hospital panels are shaded. You can lose up to half your panel output from the shade from a single leaf the size of a child's hand.
    Looks like Elon musk should have sent a chainsaw too.
    If your panels are seried up for really high voltage one panel with a little shade can really screw up that whole series of panels.
    Thunder5Ranch likes this.
  7. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Love my solar and wind hybrid system but it is fragile. Get a hail storm with quarter size hail you are going to get some cracked panels. Have blowing debris from a tornado or shear winds Mr Murphy's law clearly states it shall hit your turbine or panels. You will find that one rock when mowing down panel row and break a panel. Thieves are not stupid and with a cordless drill or screw driver they can have a dozen panels off in a couple of minutes and for sale on craiglist within a hour. 2009 ice storm here that dumped a coating of 6-8 inches of solid ice followed by 10 inches of snow, bowed and crack (7) 200 watt panels in my array, was not cheap to replace :) Even with disengage and brakes on a wind turbine a 150 MPH wind has a very good chance of sending it flying off the tower or bending the tower. Shear winds get under a roof mount system and it rips the panels off and as a bonus weakens your roof in the doing. Grid tie and commercial systems are even more vulnerable in some aspects, mostly due to scale. There is still a lot of improvement left to go before wind and solar is disaster and idiot proof enough to be dependable and viable enough to provide consistent uninterrupted power. Kind of like old sail powered ships, great so long as there is wind in the sails, not so hot when you hit a calm and just sit there drifting....... and hoping the wind picks up before the water barrels go dry.

    A lot of ups to a personal off grid hybrid system, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Some you can minimize and other eliminate the risk, but some like hurricanes.......... let be for real, your system is going to get trashed either by flying debris or the force of the winds. You can find the one soldier that was spared because the bullet hit his pocket bible. But due to the hundreds of corpses on the field you can hardly say that is the rule, when it is clearly the exception.
    Tevin, Dunerunner and sec_monkey like this.
  8. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Good panels are supposed to be able to take a pounding from golf ball size hail and come out unharmed and have been reported to take glancing blows form base ball size hail and not break.
  9. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    It would be much easier to comment on this if there were a link to the actual media story.

    Anyway, I can take a good guess how it went: They found one single solar installation that somehow survived the storm. The media then extrapolated that out to suggest that renewables are superior to everything and if the entire island had solar, or wind, or whatever, all the power would be on right now and the world would be wonderful. They didn't forget to slip in something preachy along the lines of "it's for the children" or "for our future" or some similar hippy canon.

    If this loopy logic sounds familiar, it's because it is also used all the time to push for gun control. It's an old trope: Take some gun control policy or procedure that would work only 0.01% of the time, presume that means it will work for the other 99.99% of the time, and overlook all the baggage that goes with it.

    The media is classically famous for left wing "if only" arguments that make assumptions even a drunk Vegas gambler on a hot streak would not go near.

    People who actually use renewable/alternative energy (myself included) will tell you that it is complex, difficult, rarely cost effective, and no more hardened against disasters than anything else. In many ways, it's more vulnerable.

    On second thought, you don't have to post a link. I think I nailed it pretty good.
    jasonl6 and sec_monkey like this.
  10. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Oh how i wish Our Fearless Leader @melbo was around as he could give his opinion on the survivability of BIG Wind Turbines, in Hurricane Winds... or even our own @Quigley_Sharps could shed some light on the question... I suspect I know the answer, but I do not have the experience to state my opinion... on this issue..
    sec_monkey likes this.
  12. sec_monkey

    sec_monkey SM Security Administrator

    theoretically they can survive a Cat 3, anythin bigger than a Cat 3 might cause yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge damage
  13. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    The 1 to 1.5mw rated wind turbines i worked with were rated to 96mph sustained.
    I don't know if the bigger 3 and 4mw ones are rated for higher wind speeds because they are stronger or rated lower because they are bigger.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
    sec_monkey likes this.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Based on what I think I know about structural design, my GUESS is that the large machines are designed for 110mph steady winds. All bets are off if there's fluctuation in the breeze. What I can't guess at is the wind speed that will feather the blades and set the brakes.
    sec_monkey likes this.
  15. sec_monkey

    sec_monkey SM Security Administrator

    96-110 mph is a Cat 2

    a Cat 3 is 111–129 mph

    typically the equipment that gets installed in hurricane prone areas is certified up to a Cat 3 or thereabouts

    if there are no manufacturin defects they are supposed to survive but might get damaged or fail completely if the conditions exceed the design limits **
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  16. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    If the blades got snapped off with no other damage to the hub or transmission I would call that pretty impressive.
    But it's still going to cost up to 1 million dollars to repair each one.
    sec_monkey likes this.
  17. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Years ago I saw a smaller mill the size of mine that was designed for the head to tilt back if the loads became too severe.
    It is merely a spring loaded provision ,and not all that complex .
    Seems to me that the same provisions could be built into the larger mills , not spring loaded of course but a good linier motor could handle the weight and tilt the head back the by command of the unit or the controller in the office.
    Either way ,if you know that the potential exists for dangerous winds , than it would be prudent to have a means to avert the problem .
    I suspect however that owners of these that suffered damage had insurance on them, expecting that to take care of the problem , however in the mean time they are going with out power .
  1. sec_monkey
  2. sec_monkey
  3. Gator 45/70
  4. john316
  5. Seepalaces
  6. Meat
  7. Tempstar
  8. Seawolf1090
  9. Oddcaliber
  10. hot diggity
  11. Witch Doctor 01
  12. Yard Dart
  13. Dunerunner
  14. Motomom34
  15. Ura-Ki
  16. Asia-Off-Grid
  17. arleigh
  18. Asia-Off-Grid
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary