Whilst appearances may be deceiving, Wotton Pool has always been a hotbed of technological innovation. Notable innovations over the years include, the home-brewed solar panel created with rubber tubes and asphalt in the 70s, and the space shuttle like enclosure over the pool erected in the 90s.
This time round, we're joining the Internet of Things. In the form of an automatic control for our new solar panels. Put simply, the system monitors the temperature of the water in different parts of the system. When it is sunny enough, a pump circulates water through the solar panels and into the pool
It doesn't just do that though. The pump is controlled by a Raspberry Pi, (a low cost single board computer running Linux) which is connected to the internet. This enables us to record whenever the pump is running and how much the water is heated by, we can even control the pump remotely as well as displaying the current water temperature on the website. But don't worry, we never let the water get colder than 28 degrees!
Combined with data from a flow meter (also connected to the Pi), a simple calculation reveals a pretty good estimate for the power input going into the pool, as a result of solar energy. Whilst we aren't claiming to be saving the world, we are genuinely interested to see how the panels perform, and indeed whether it was worth all that work!
After last season's hacking and building, this year we are ready to watch the data rolling in, which we will be sharing on the online solar panel dashboard. Let's hope it's another great sunny season!
We've connected it all up, and its working really well. The first weekend of running it was producing a fairly steady 6kW of energy!
Let us know what you think?
If you find this interesting at all please get in touch: