I was sort of hoping we would have gotten more out of this storm this weekend. Would have made for a better article as you read this by candle, but oh well. Man plans….God smiles.
Over the last ten years I have posted a bunch on getting more self reliant. Not that anybody listens to me. But for some reason when I mention that I learned about solar, people start asking me questions. And they are always the same.
To me, it isn’t putting away a bunch of food that is all that important, I wanted to be able to grow it. And let me tell you, growing things here in Montesano is an art form. Failure after failure, but we are pretty good at it now. Even able to produce seeds. Linda has turned into an expert. Sort of a hobby.
What I wanted was to be able to power a greenhouse if the world went upside down. And it looks more like it ever day doesn’t it? Crazy ole Tom. Digging and building. Ya, I don’t feel that crazy anymore.
Ok back to the solar. A typical two panel 200 watt kit system and a decent marine battery are all you really need. Going to set you back about 600$ or so (Whitney’s has the batteries). My advise would be to go to a 400watt and three battery system, but it really isn’t necessary if you just want emergency power.
What can you run on it? I have lousy sun on my property. Just spotty sun, and we all know how grey it is. I will speak to the worst day and what you can get. On the worse day in December you would be able to run a couple of 40 watt light bulbs all evening, power your computer for an hour, play radios, charge up all your devices, power tools, rechargeable batteries and then some. In summer maybe 4 times as much.
With my 400watt system I can even add a small chest freezer. I put a meter on my little chest freezer and it is taking only 450 total watts of power all day. Talk about a middle finger to the apocalypse! I would imagine these little 400 watt systems would power a cabin for everything other than space heaters and the such. Even a washing machine load here and there. They are that good.
Very easy to set up. You just take the panels out of the box, hook up the supplied cables, run those cables into what is called a Charge Controller. From them the cables go to your marine battery. That is it. Just attach an inverter to the battery, I recommend no less than a 1000 watt inverter, cost around 100$. Plug what ever you want into the inverter and away you go.
No gas, no propane, just day in day out reliable electricity. Emergency power and all the difference.
When I went to the 400 watt system for the house, I just took the old 200 watt system out to the greenhouse. Works perfect.
I probably will never need it, but for some reason I feel better knowing I can do it.
For those that want to do it but just don’t know what to do it is really simple. If you want you can come look at mine if you need help. For me, the biggest stumbling block was reading all the watts/amps/killowatts conversions and things. Drive you nuts. You will learn it. Its like a light bulb that goes off over your head. Simple.
I am by no way an expert on this stuff other than small systems. I know nothing about connecting them to the power grid of your house, but that future is coming, they really are that good and that reliable.
One last thing. Everyone always starts with one battery. You soon add another. Storing more power is always good!