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-   -   want to build a solar-powered server: any ideas? (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/tech-talk/338258-want-build-solar-powered-server-any-ideas.html)

Eeyore 12-30-03 02:03 PM

want to build a solar-powered server: any ideas?
 
I've been toying with this for a while, but I'd like to make my webserver run on solar power (at least during the day). I've gotten small solar panels like these (great deal, not my auction) and use them to power all my battery-powered gadgets, but powering a whole computer will take MUCH bigger solar panels. I'm unsure now whether I'd invest in a battery system for use at night, or just use solar power and back it up with electricity for cloudy days and nights.

My main concern right now is finding energy efficient computer components. I think laptops generally use less power, but I'd prefer to keep my microATX motherboard and drives. I'll probably replace my case/PSU/video card to less power-hungry models. Does anyone have an idea of any resources that would help me figure out what would use less power?

This isn't a money-saving issue because it will certainly be more expensive in the short-run to get the solar panels, but just seems like a cool statement to make. I like having my digital camera charged solely by the sun, but it'd be really cool to have my computer humming along using solar energy.

X 12-30-03 02:22 PM

You should use a notebook drive and get a very low-end video card - one without any heatsinks.

You shouldn't need a PSU, either get different voltage solar panels or just drop a 12v solar panel to the voltages your system needs (at least 12v and 5v). That would be way more efficient.

Or you could use a 12v battery and keep it charged with the panel. You don't want to crash when a cloud drifts by. :)

sfsdfd 12-30-03 03:06 PM

Hmm... as I understand it, it will be expensive not just in the short run to operate a system like this. First, you'll need some awfully sizable solar panels (and they require a lot of maintance.) Second and much worse, you'll need huge batteries that can keep your computer, your monitor, your peripherals, your cable modem/repeaters/router. And since batteries wear out quickly, you'll probably be replacing it frequently.

Solar technology is getting better, but it's nowhere near consumer availability for powering a computer, afaik.

- David Stein

cheapskate 12-30-03 03:07 PM

I believe they use a similar setup for Geocities web servers...

Darren Garrison 12-30-03 03:09 PM

Google. Always google.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&i...ered+server%22

Eeyore 12-30-03 04:06 PM

ok, now that i'm looking at some of this stuff, what i'm really wondering is why people bother with batteries. i just read a bit about net metering laws that require the power company to make your meter offset any power you produce, or even run BACKWARDS if production is higher than consumption (see this page for info), so why not just run a solar cell directly to the power grid? I try to minimize my power consumption, but I'm guessing any modest solar setup I'd get wouldn't ever completely offset our household usage, so wouldn't this just be more efficient and end up slowing down my power meter during the day? I guess I wouldn't be able to say my server is solely powered by the sun, but the net effect is probably a greater reduction in non-solar electricity being used.

Eeyore 12-30-03 04:20 PM

grid-tie inverters look pricy ($2000 to $12000 or higher?)... but if i was building a new house I'd definitely consider it. maybe i'd better wait a few years until I know i'm settled in one place :>

X 12-30-03 05:08 PM

I would never go with batteries in the house unless I had very unreliable power from my utility. In my opinion, that's what's wrong with the whole solar power/self-sufficiency thing. Batteries have a finite life, are very expensive to replace, and are terrible polluters when discarded.

I think reverse-metering during the day and drawing on your balance during the night is the way to go. The grid essentially becomes your battery. If you can't generate enough to feed the grid you can at least reduce the amount you need to take from it.

sfsdfd 12-30-03 05:16 PM


Originally posted by X
I think reverse-metering during the day and drawing on your balance during the night is the way to go. The grid essentially becomes your battery. If you can't generate enough to feed the grid you can at least reduce the amount you need to take from it.
That appears to be a great solution, but does it actually work that way? I mean, apart from whether or not they're required to do so, will the electric company actually reverse your charges for contributing electricity to the grid?

- David Stein

X 12-30-03 05:22 PM


Originally posted by sfsdfd
That appears to be a great solution, but does it actually work that way? I mean, apart from whether or not they're required to do so, will the electric company actually reverse your charges for contributing electricity to the grid?
Yes.

It may depend on what your state's rules are as to whether the utility has to take the power and pay you for it. Many states do. The utility pays the retail price for your power.

http://www.dsireusa.org/

http://www.sunchoice.net/faq.htm

RoQuEr 12-30-03 08:17 PM

So if the company wants to do maintenance on unpowered lines, how do they turn off your solar power to keep them from being electrocuted?


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