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SolMan Portable Solar Generator (USA)

Credits: ©2010 Kent Griswold

by Kent Griswold - A couple of weeks ago we had a “Meeting of the Tiny Minds” and Bill Kastrinos of Tortoise Shell Homes told Jay, Stephen, Michael and me (of Tumbleweed Houses) about this great solar solution that was out there. What if there was a simple solution to this and all you had to do was plug and play? SolMan a company based in Willits, California, has come up with just that kind of solution. They call their system the “one small, easy to move, all in one integrated unit, ready to point towards the sun at your best location, and deliver up to 1200 watts of AC power, and 12 volts DC power, and even charge all your Ni-Mh smaller batteries.” This little unit is on heavy duty bicycle wheels so you can have your tiny Tumbleweed home in the shade and easily roll your solar unit where it gets the most sun.


SolMan Mobile Solar Generator

The SolMan portable solar generator can be expanded to add another solar panel easily, and even a third. The second one sits on its own stand and can be adjusted as needed. If you choose to a third panel, there is a bracket that attaches all three together so that the system can be folded up for moving. ©2010 Tumbleweed Houses

The cool thing about the SolMan is that if your needs grow, so can the SolMan. You can add another solar panel easily and even a third. The second one sits on it’s own stand and can be adjusted as needed. If you chose to get a third panel they have a bracket that attaches all three together that can be folded up for moving.

No need to deal with big panels and connecting them to your roof and knowing you have to park your home in the sun to get the most voltage to your system.

Here is a list of the SolMan features:

1. Silent Operation: No sound whatsoever. Won’t bother your neighbors or you with gas generator noise.

2. Clean Operation: No gas needed, no gas cans to transport, no fumes or exhaust to worry about.

3. No additional costs EVER! : Once you buy a Solman, it doesn’t cost anything else to run, as long as you can point it towards the sun.

4. No recurring gasoline costs, that are only going to go up, no oil changes, no short life span, as unit is designed to keep working for years. ( 20 year PV panel warranty)

5. Completely self contained, integrated unit: Ready to go, plug and play green power. No engineering or electrical skills needed.

6. Transportable: With ramps, the Solman can go with you in the back of a small van, SUV or truck. It can be laid horizontal safely.

7. Mobility: 26 inch heavy duty aluminum spoke and rubber bike tires and perfect balance allow the unit to be wheeled to any location for the best sun, and can easily be turned thru the day for maximum solar tracking and optimal PV energy input.

8. Deep Cycle Batteries: “2 or 3 -100 (200 to 300 amp-hr total) deep cycle sealed gel cell. No acid spills or venting. No maintenance.

9. Enclosed battery Container: Optimizes battery life.

10. Two 12 Volt Auto Plugs: Plenty of places to plug in your 12 volt accessories, lights, chargers, etc.

11. One heavy 30 amp marine trolling motor plug on exterior, for water pumping, external battery charging, or additional external inverter.

12. All external plugs have covers and are set up for outdoor use, even in the rain, and all critical components are inside and protected from the weather.

13. Array only switch: to route unused, excess PV power during the day to external battery charging or water pumping.

14. Blue Sky Solar Boost 2000E MPPT PV Charge Controller: can handle up to 25 amps or 3 PV panels, and Maximum Power Point Tracking gives additional 10% to 20% charging efficiency to PV input.

15. 120 Volt Magnum MM-AE 1200 watt Inverter/Charger: this unit has a built in 70 amp charger for when your batteries are down, and you have access to a gas generator, or the grid, you can just plug in the unit and bring your battery bank up to full charge in as little as two hours, also has an AC transfer switch, that automatically senses external power and switches load to that when on.

16. Magnum Inverter remote switch and status lights on back of unit.

17. Fuse Protected: 150 amp inverter fuse, triplex plug 20 amp and exterior 30 amp plug.

18. Heavy 15 amp solar PV-in plug, wired to solar controller for adding an external solar panels.

19. Toe piece L on bottom, allows for easy transport of optional external PV panel.

20. Solar PV panel hinged for easy access to internal box, and latches and locks if needed.

So if you are looking to take your tiny house off the grid and become independent and want to use solar as your main component, this SolMan option is worth looking at.

Of course there other other RV and home options so do your research and choose what is best for you and your situation. I just like the idea of plug and play and having everything put together where you need it and mobile to boot.

If you're looking fo rother uses, here are some of the ideas from SolMan:

FOR CABINS, REMOTE HOME SITES, AND OFF THE GRID TRAILERS AND RVS ~ SolMan® is an ideal set-up for powering a cabin, trailer or RV short or long term, and because it's portable, and you can take it with you, no worries about theft of your equipment. The system is also capable of pumping thousands of gallons of water.

FOR EMERGENCIES OR NATURAL DISASTERS ~ SolMan® will give your family emergency power for lights and communication equipment such as cell phones, radios, and other electrical requirements, and can run some critical appliances with efficient and careful monitoring.

VIDEO AND FILM SHOOTING ~ You will be ready for your next field shots. Run your lights, monitor & camera while charging additional battery packs. Forget noisy generators! SolMan® can do it all!

SOUND EQUIPMENT, PA’S, COMPUTERS & PERIPHERALS ~ Dramatically increase the usability of your electronic gear by being able to power your equipment for extended periods of time in remote locations, without a gas generator! CAMPING ~ Turn the lights on with your SolMan® generator. Charge flashlight batteries, run the stereo, radio, and CB, run food processors in the wilderness while enjoying peaceful serenity.

Estimated conservative night running times with the 300 amp/hour battery storage fully charged:

- 1000 watt draw - 2 hours

- 500 watt draw - 4 hours

- 250 watt draw - 8 hours

Table of typical electric usage wattage draw, & how long the Solman® will run them

CONSTRUCTION & REMOTE JOB-SHOPS ~ The built-in 1200 watt sine wave inverter allows you to runs drills, saws, small compressors, sanders, grinders and many other power tools. People have been known to build their houses and construct their landscapes from the energy generated by SolMan®.

POWER FAIR BOOTHS AND EXHIBITS ~ Run your booth without having to hassle with gas generators , or long runs of power cords someone may trip on. A great way to show you truly are going green!

FOR BURNING MAN AND OTHER CRAFT AND MUSIC FESTIVALS ~ The SolMan® has been used to power camps and art installations at the Burning Man festival, and can run music equipment, craft and food booths up to 1200 watts at other festivals. No maintenance, clean, silent electric to run your lights, fans, electronics, battery chargers, drink blenders, etc. without disturbing your neighbors, and doing the right thing for the earth.

Relevant book:
A Practical Guide to Solar Photovoltaic Systems for Technicians