Thursday, August 11, 2016

We’re on the new homestead! Solar power update!

It’s early morning as I sit at my kitchen table in my cabin, drinking my first cup of coffee and writing. The sun is just coming up and is streaming into the window and pouring across the table. I’ve already fed the chickens, cleaned the composting toilet, and started my day. (As soon as possible, we’ll have a flush toilet in the cabin. Still need to get more sewer plumbing put in and a gravity fed system to fill the tank for flushing. We plan to use gray water for that.)

We made the final move to the off-grid cabin.

It hasn’t been exactly smooth sailing. I won’t paint you any rosy pictures of glamour or romance in living off grid. But it’s not super difficult, either. It has its ups and downs, just like any lifestyle does. In upcoming blog posts, I’ll share those ups and downs with you, and I’ll also make some short videos to upload to my YouTube channel so you can get a better idea of what’s going on.

We now know that we need at least two more batteries for the solar array. Four more would be best. We also need at least another 200 watts of solar panels. The mere 205 watts plus a little 10 watt panel just aren’t quite enough to power even our few needs.

We are able to operate our 1.9 watt LED RV lights, though we need probably 6 more of them to get all corners lit up. We have 3 coal oil lamps, one of which needs a new glass chimney, to supply part of our lighting needs. These will be nice in the winter when the extra heat they generate will be more appreciated.

Our 750 watt inverter bit the dust, so we’re now depending on a very small 200 watt inverter plus the generator to run the fans and charge various devices. like this laptop I’m using now. The little LED lights run straight from the solar charge controller, at least, and we’re hoping to get more things that can use straight solar instead of the inverters. You lose 15% to 20% of your power through the inverters.

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