All smiles; day 2 and the system is performing better than expected. Day one was sunny and the panels were producing well, day two was a mixed bag of clouds and sun, but again the system kept up with what we’ve put on it. So far we are running a lap top, an all-in-one desktop, modem, router and now a tower lamp. The forecast for today is calling for snow so this should prove to be a good test.
Again, our primary goal is to be able to generate power (aside from our gas generator) in a blackout situation. I should note that we live in a very rural area and are the very last house on this part of the grid; the power going out here is not unusual. We continue to use the Kill A Watt meter to test and document what items burn how much energy to further assess what we might be able to power with the system. Our initial assessment has led us to order 2 additional panels, another 12v GEL battery, a larger 1500 watt inverter and of course various items to connect it all with. The upgrade will allow us generate and store more energy and run larger appliances.
This project has turned out to be a GREAT deal easier than I initially thought it would be. The feeling of producing some usable energy independent of the grid is amazing for us and we feel it has taken us one step further in our journey. Even small steps eventually get you to your destination.
Update: Day 3
We woke up to about an inch of snow and cloudy overcast skies, but after clearing the snow from the solar panels the system immediately started charging the battery. So far our results are better than expected.
Update: Day 5
After 2 days of clouds rain/snow the battery finally dropped to below acceptable levels and the inverter shut down the show. The additional battery and 2 more panels should be arriving tomorrow, till then capacity is an issue.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.