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.
Update Day 7
After a full day of sunshine the battery is full charged and in ‘float mode’ which is sort of a trickle charge. We connected the 2 new Renogy panels, connected the new 1500 watt inverter and we’re back making power. With the additional panels and some nice full sun, the connected items don’t seem to be draining the battery at all. The additional battery, to be wired in parallel, is due in today so we’ll have another update soon!
The additional Renogy 12V 100Ah battery has been added and so far the system has been able to keep up with our usage. The amount we might save off the old electric bill still remains to be seen, but coupling the solar with other energy saving measures should reap some savings in the long run. Remember, our primary reason for this system is not replacing our grid power, but rather supplementing it while adding back up power other than our gas generator. The total cost at this point is around $1600.
So why solar a friend asked me, isn’t it cheaper and easier just to have a gas generator as back up – the answer is of course, yes. However, gas generators (and I have one) have drawbacks, primarily that they need fuel which could become hard to get and that they are LOUD! I do keep about 30 gallons of gas on hand for the generator, but how long will that hold out? Will more be readily available if the grid goes down due to a storm or other SHTF event? In a disaster situation generators are I high demand, will someone attempt to take yours from you? With solar there is no sound to attract the undesirables. Remember the old adage that 2 is 1 and 1 is none? Solar gives me that additional back up. It’s not necessarily cheap, but what price do you put on your family?
The adventure continues!
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.