Tag Archives: solar package option

Solar Powered Inflator Fan Update & Alternative

We have been continuing to get many inquiries about solar powering the inflator fan for greenhouses and livestock buildings, which is used to put air between two layers of plastic roof cover. For the last year we have been experimenting with a solar collecting package to determine what is required, while we work to keep our interested customers updated along the way.

The first thing that must be emphasized, is that you MUST use a squirrel cage type of fan and not a propeller type. The propeller type can not continuously run against back pressure.

The output required will be determined by the size of the greenhouse or livestock building. Our regular 110 volt fan draws .25 amp and puts out 80 cfm. Some small buildings can use a smaller fan and some of the bigger ones require our double output fan which gives 130 cfm.

Our inflator fan works quite well going through an invertor. Any 12 or 24 volt fans which we have tried have been extremely noisy and therefore not feasible.

The biggest challenge which we encountered, is that the specific time the fan is needed the most for heat insulation, is also the time where there is the least capacity for generating power.

We used a single solar collector and a single battery and there was simply not a quick enough capacity for the battery to hold charge when we had several consecutive cloudy days in December/January

To add another solar collector to an already fairly expensive package, really becomes prohibitive and can deter from moving forward with it.

Based on this experience, we wanted to offer an alternative that balanced economy with feasibility. We have come up with a way where the extra roof plastic can be used on the inside of the structure.

This means that you would not need the inflator fan but still have the effect of double plastic with the air pocket for better heat efficiency. This system does require a bit of extra “fiddling” but the net cost will be a little less.

1. The structure is covered with a single layer of plastic just the same as you would if you were only doing a single layer.
2. Take the second piece of plastic inside the greenhouse and fold it double lengthwise.
3. This double plastic will be attached to the underside of the ridge using the same aluminum as you would use to fasten the plastic to the roll up pipe.
4. Next remove the purlins from the one side of the structure and after you have pushed over the plastic, reinstall the purlins under the plastic. You will be pushing the bolts through the plastic.
5. The plastic will be fastened with wirelock to the underside of the end hoops.

We have already had some customers try this out and are very happy with the result. Please call us with any questions or to discuss your specific application and situation where you might use this. We would be happy to help you with your project!

Solar Powered Inflator Fan Update

We want to take a moment to update everyone on how the solar powered inflator fan project is coming along. We are working on the perfect combo of blower, battery and collector right now. It’s a finicky process balancing duration and cost that we want to get just right. We appreciate your interest and patience with this project. We will update you more soon when we have been able to achieve the results we are hoping for.

In the meantime, you can email us your name (multisheltersales@gmail.com) to get on the list to be one of the first to get it once the package is all ready. Thanks again for following along with this project!

Organic Greenhouses/Shelters-uses and benefits

There are many benefits to having a greenhouse structure for organic growing and housing. They are often used a season extender for protecting crops from the elements, blight, and fungus. Since Organic growers and farmers do not use pesticides, this type of protection is often required for some of the more sensitive crops.

The structures are easy to move to allow the expansion of the growing area. Much like Jean-Martin Fortier’s initiative for Growing Better, Not Bigger, these structures can help to give you the opportunity to grow more crops in a limited area. What many of our customers also do, particularly with Hanley Caterpillar structures, is start growing the early crops under the protection of the structure, and as the crop is stable enough, they move the structure to be able to start the next planting.

Our structures are also used for organic livestock raising to ensure the animals have a healthy, safe and protected environment out of the elements. They are versatile structures, and only require the changing of clear to white plastic for the various uses. The environment allows the animals to have sunlight, but still get the shade they require.

The combination of the double layer of plastic, roll up sides, and inflator fan, on both the greenhouse and livestock shelters, helps to reduce condensation and keep the structure ventilated. We are excited to be working on a solar powered fan option for those off grid customers or if the structure is out in the field away from electricity as we know many of our organic growers and farmers are in these situations.

Solar Power Fan Update

As many of you are aware, we have installed, and are testing an inflator fan which is run totally by solar power. We would like to eliminate or reduce the amount of variables and unknowns before we make this package available. One of the big questions has to do with how many days the little fan can run the way it is supposed to on consecutive cloudy days. During the aftermath of Hurricane Patricia we experienced numerous cloudy days in a row with the temperature just above freezing.

There is not enough margin for leeway in this package so we are checking out a smaller fan. If this works, then this would be the way to go for the smaller greenhouses. Our greenhouse has about 500 sq.ft. of double cover which is not all that big. This would also confirm that we need either need a bigger storage battery or a second solar panel.

Please stay tuned for more updates.