Self Built Solar Powered Greenhouse

sandhill_farms(10 NV)August 25, 2010

If this has been answered before my apologies.

I wish to build greenhouse that can be powered by solar energy. This would be the only way I could afford to cool it during the (2) or more months of the year that are very hot. I live in Southern Nevada where the sun shines most of the year so there's no problem there. My problem is that I don't know how to go about it. I'm not looking to spend a fortune to just cool the greenhouse, and I don't really think I would have to. My neighbor, (who has since moved), cobbled together a small solar powered system that powered an A/C unit in an insulated room where he stored produce and other food items. I remember that he told me that it hardly cost anything to build it.

Would someone point me to a website, (or share), information on how I should go about this?

Thank you in advance....


Southern Nevada

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Keeping a heavily insulated windowless room cool is easy. Trying to remove heat from a glass box (which is really just a solar collector) is a lot harder. You would need a humongous AC unit and a solar collector bigger than your yard. It would be neither cheap nor easy.

Adding shade cloth in the summer, along with evaporative coolers and roof vents, is far more practical.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calculating Heat Gain

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 8:44AM
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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

Thanks for your response, lazygardens. I should have been more clear, and I know that, so I apologize.

I will be building this greenhouse, actually I should call it a very large hoop house. During the summertime I will be using a specially designed shade cloth that blocks-out the suns harmful rays. In addition to that I want to install a very large evaporative cooler that I already have. What I'm looking to do is to have solar power to power the evaporative cooler to cut down on electrical expenses, which around here, keep going up and up to beyond reasonable. During the winter I will remove the shade cloth and put on a specially designed clear plastic. I used this shade cloth for my tomatoes one year and it worked very well, even without an evaporative cooler.

I hope this makes it a little clearer as to what I'm trying to do.

BTW - I'm sure many of you are aware of the company where I get my shade cloth from, but in case you're not I recommend them highly. I have no connection to them other than being a very satisfied customer. The link is below...

Southern Nevada

Here is a link that might be useful: Shade Cloth - Greenhouse Supplies

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 11:54AM
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Depending on how many amps the fan & pump draw....harbor frieght sells a 3 panel 45W solar array with charger. Hook it to a couple of deep cycle marine batteries. I run a water pump and 1200 cfm fan on this set-up. To calculate the number of batteries:
Number of amps drawn X Number of hours needed = amp hours
Batteries are around 100 amp hours, you can draw them down to around 75 amp hour without damage.

Example: a 3 amp motor ran for 10 hours would use 30 amp hours and in the above set-up would still leave you 30 amp hours reserve. The panels will recharge this daily ... no problem.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 5:12PM
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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

That helps alot, polcat. I appreciate your response.

Southern Nevada

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 7:00PM
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You can use a passive evaporative cooling tower, which only needs a tiny pump to flow water over the pads. The cool air is heavier so it just flows down and out.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 7:32PM
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