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Kaneka Solar Modules

 

KanekaThe least expensive solar panels available, dollars per watt.  60 watts, thin film, 25 year 80% power output warranty, UL listed, made in Japan.  Rated 91 volts open circuit.  Great for water pumping or residential array, where there is plenty of space.  These panels produce about 1/2 the power per unit area, compared to crystaline type solar panels.

Manufacturer’s Data Sheet

$75 (yes they are that inexpensive!)

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RV Solar

Parked at Hotwire for a solar installation

Solar electricity is a wonderful solution for an RV that isn’t always plugged in to the electric company.

In a storage yard, you can use a trickle charge to maintain batteries.  Full timers can run everything but the air conditioning.

We also have many RV customers who enjoy visiting and staying in remote locations where there’s no place to plug-in.

We also have inverters, batteries, battery chargers, energy efficient refrigerators, LED lights, system monitors, wire, fuse holders, mounting brackets and free consultaion.

Hotwire can design a system to meet your needs, and we can do the installation for you if you’re close by or if you come for a visit.

A nearly complete roof installation for electrical freedom!
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Residential Solar

As electric bills continue to rise with the rising cost of fuel and the need for new power plants, this is a great time to invest in solar electricity (photovoltaics, or PV) for your home and/or business.

 

Hotwire Enterprises recently designed and installed the first-ever solar grid-tie PV system in Hillsborough County, Florida.  Our customer EcoFarm grows organic food crops and landscaping plants in Plant City, FL.

Installing a solar array on the barn roof at Eco-Farm in Plant City, FL

With the PV array on their barn roof, EcoFarm produces all the electricity for their household needs and power tools in the workshop, charges the electric golf cart they use to get around the property, and runs all the water pumps for agricultural and residential needs. They sell their excess electricity back to the power company!

Hotwire’s John Gambill passed his Florida State Solar Contractor’s Exam in 2005. Along with his many years of experience living with renewable energy, conducting seminars on solar power and wind power, and designing and installing systems for marine and RV customers as well as a PV array on our own home, this Contractor’s Exam further qualifies him to do residential photovoltaic consultation, site surveys and system designs in partnership with a licensed electrician.

With a Solar Pathfinder, John can determine the best location for your solar array. A PV system would be chosen to meet your household or business needs according to your kilowatt use. A sort of blueprint drawing made for your system will show where and how the array would be mounted. All of the above is included in a $250.00 charge for a site survey.

We have found that a residential PV “kit” from SunWize is the most cost-effective way for us to provide you with everything needed for installation. All components are sized for compatibility and approved by the Florida Solar Energy Center. All components are provided, down to the smallest nuts & bolts & washers, making time-wasting trips to the hardware store unnecessary and reducing labor time and expense. And SunWize ships to your location for free.

We have a licensed electrician we work with, or John is willing to work closely with your electrician during installation to ensure quality. And John can assist you with the paperwork required to qualify you for the substantial Florida State solar rebates, utility rebates, and federal tax credits available for grid-tied solar electric systems. As a further incentive, all solar systems and components are exempt from Florida State Sales Tax.

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Solar-Powered Water Pumping

Solar Powered Water Pumping

Hotwire has the technical background to recommend, design, and install solar powered water pumping systems for swimming pools, landscaping projects, fountains and any other pumping project you may have which you want off of the electric bill.  

We can help with remote pumping. Solar powered water pumping makes a lot of sense, especially if you have a situation where the power lines are a long ways away. Solar can be used for wells down to 400 feet, surface pumping, pressure water system, or water aeration. The USDA has offered incentives available for some applications. Call us for a quote.

Pumping water in Polk County with electricity provided by solar panels

Cattle ranch in Lakeland, Florida

Solar can provide pumping for livestock. In the summer when there is little wind and more demand, the solar system provides more water. Pictured is a system that provides 1200 gallons per day using two Kaneka 60 watt solar modules with a Grundfos SQ well pump.

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KISS charge controllers

 

The TriStar operates only in one mode at a time. Most of Hotwire’s customers will be using it with the KISS on the Diversion Control setting.

TriStar
TriStar

A small to medium solar module can also be used with the KISS since the surplus power will flow into the divert load you select for your system. For those of you using a larger solar array, we recommend a separate wiring circuit and different charge controller. Please see our info on the MPPT solar controllers, a far more efficient technology for larger solar arrays aboard.

Standard Features:

Silent, solid state microprocessor control — increases system performance and maximizes battery life.  5 year warranty.

Data Sheet

Diversion Controller Mode:

Automatically diverts excess power to a “dummy” load such as a water or space heater to regulate hydroelectric, wind generators or PV/wind “hybrid” systems. (Please see Hotwire’s Divert Load info to see the options we offer.)
Provides 3 stage control of the battery charging process. (If you want the specs on the other 2 modes, please contact Hotwire.)

Optional LCD Digital Display with back-lighting continuously displays battery voltage DC amperage,

TriStar 45 $175, with isolation diode and diversion load – $310

Optional battery temperature sensor $35
Copyright © Hotwire Enterprises — John Gambill & Libbie Ellis
102 West Fulton Street (map)
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Phone/Fax:   727-943-0424
Cell 727- 638-7417
hotwiregam@aol.com

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Charge Controllers

Blue Sky 2512i

Hotwire Enterprises has many charge controllers (commonly but incorrectly called “regulators”) for both solar and wind powered systems or for a hybrid system. Basically, a charge controller prevents your batteries from becoming overcharged and consequently damaged.

If you’re not sure what you need, give us a call or send us an e-mail and have the following information ready:

  • the amp hour capacity of your battery bank
  • the type of batteries you’re using (i.e., lead acid/flooded, AGM, gel)
  • how many amps you expect to get from what sources (We can help you with this one.) We’ll be glad to point you toward the best options for your needs.

The charge controllers on our list are by no means the only ones we offer. It’s just a sampling and lists the ones most popular among our customers.

BZ Products PWM Controllers

BZ7-12       7 amp     $39    BUY NOW    ON SALE, NORMALLY $49

BZ 200       16 amp    $95    BUY NOW    ON SALE, NORMALLY $120

BZ Products MPPT Controllers

BZ 250MPPT 20 amp  $140   BUY NOW

BZ 500MPPT  45 amp  $250    BUY NOW 

BZ 250 MPPT
BZ 500 MPPT

Blue Sky Energy SB50 $499

Morningstar MPPT    $259   Data Sheet     BUY NOW

Blue Sky Energy Charge Controllers

SB 2512    25 amps 

The low cost Solar Boost 2512i provides an advanced fully automatic 3-stage charge control system to ensure the battery is properly and fully charged, resulting in enhanced battery performance with less maintenance. A partial IPN™ network interface is also included to allow use of the IPN-Remote or IPN-ProRemote displays. Additional features provided in the Solar Boost 2512iX include automatic or manual equalization, battery temperature sensor input, full IPN network compatibility, and an auxiliary output. The user configurable auxiliary output can serve as either a 25 amp load controller, or as a 2 amp auxiliary battery charger. The load control feature can be used to limit excessive battery discharge in unattended remote systems, where as the auxiliary battery charge feature is ideal for charging a separate battery such as the engine battery in an RV. Blue Sky Energy’s advanced Integrated Power Net™, or IPN Network, allows up to 8 IPN capable charge controllers to communicate with each other and operate as a single machine rather than separate charge controllers. The IPN network also allows networked controllers to share an optional battery temperature sensor and remote display. The IPN network does not require a display or other special hardware to operate.

     $209    Data Sheet    BUY NOW
Blue Sky Energy Battery Temperature Sensor $35  BUY NOW
Blue Sky 3024iLSolar Boost 3024iL’s advanced fully automatic 3-stage charge control system will properly charge flooded lead-acid, AGM and GEL batteries resulting in improved battery performance with less maintenance. The dual 30/40 amp rating will deliver at up to 30 amps in 24 volt systems, or up to 40 amps in 12 volt systems. An automatic or manual equalize function is also provided to periodically condition flooded lead-acid batteries. To further enhance versatility, a user configurable auxiliary output and Blue Sky Energy’s advanced IPN™ network interface are also included. (3024DiL, for display shown) The user configurable auxiliary output can serve as either a 20 amp load controller, or as a 2 amp auxiliary battery charger. The load control feature can be used to limit excessive battery discharge in unattended remote systems, whereas the auxiliary battery charge feature is ideal for charging a separate battery such as the engine battery in an RV. The auxiliary output can also provide fully adjustable dusk to dawn lighting control. Blue Sky Energy’s advanced Integrated PowerNet™, or IPN Network, allows up to 8 IPN capable charge controllers to communicate with each other and operate as a single machine rather than separate charge controllers. The IPN network also allows networked controllers to share an optional battery temperature sensor and remote display. The IPN network does not require a display or other special communication hardware to operate. Note: “D” model (with display) shown.  $389  BUY NOW
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Divert Load FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the divert load work?

A divert load accepts excess power that a wind generator can produce beyond what the batteries are capable of safely accepting and disperses that extra power as heat. With a charge controller but no diversion load, the excess power would flow to the controller and have nowhere else to go, damaging the controller. The divert load helps to maintain system safety.

Hotwire makes a Resistive Load Bank of ceramic resistors to be used as a diversion load, but the preferred option by far is a dual voltage water heater element. It has two loops in one unit.  One loop (element of heating wire) is made to work on 12 volts at 300 watts, and the other operates on 120 volts at 500 watts.

You can make hot water from the 120 volt side using shore power or a gen set.  Because the 120 volt side is smaller than the original heater element, it will take longer to reheat the water in the tank when all of the hot water has been used, typically 2 to 3 times longer.

The 12 volt side is used to dissipate the excess power from a wind generator or solar panels, and the amount of current going to it is controlled by a diversion type charge controller.  The controller senses battery voltage and diverts current into the water heater when the battery reaches the voltage set point.

One of our customers, who has a lot of solar panels on his boat, uses a switch and turns the 12 volt side on every day after his batteries are full.  In the past, diversion type controllers sent the excess energy to heating coils that turned the power into hot air, a bit the way Hotwire’s Resistive Load Bank works.  With the dual water heater element, you get something useful and don’t heat up the inside of the boat. A distinct advantage in the tropics!

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Solar Powered Water Pumping

We Can Help with Remote Pumping
Hotwire has the technical background to recommend and install water pumping too! Solar powered water pumping makes a lot of sense if you have a situation where the power lines are a long ways away.

Solar can be used for wells down to 400 feet, surface pumping, pressure water system, or water aeration. The USDA has offered incentives available for some applications. Call us for a quote.

Cattle farm in Lakeland Florida

Solar can provide pumping for livestock. In the summer when there is little wind and more demand, the solar system provides more water. Shown above is a system that provides 1200 gallons per day using two Kaneka 60 watt solar modules with a Grundfos SQ well pump.