Posts Tagged ‘solar’

Solar panels installed in June 2009

If it looks like these panels were not purchased all at the same time it’s because they weren’t.  I bought them as I could afford them.  The bottom four were purchased first.  When I wanted more I was told that Brazil was buying all they could make…just wait a few months.  I didn’t want to wait but found some compatible ones built by Solar World right here in the US.

I wanted to be able to produce my own electricity for “just in case” scenarios.   Since we get all our water from a well, if the power grid goes out, we can’t get water.  While the power doesn’t go out very often, when it does, we are without both water and electricity for several days.  I wanted to be able to power those ‘critical load’ items like the well pump, a few lights, the refrigerator and freezer.  Plus I wanted to prove that solar power can be used even in cloudy climates in states that are “north.”  I live on the Oregon Coast.  If it works here, it can work in 75% of the US.

In fact, this system works so well that in the summer time, I have so much extra power I can run my printing presses with it.

This is a sticker I apply to everything I print with solar electricity.  I would be surprised if any other printers in the US could claim that.

During the rainy season it’s a different story.  Our rainy season is roughly mid October to late May, so it was a big surprise when we had an unexpected sunny day a couple days ago.  We had had rainy weather for about a week and my batteries were down.  The meter said I was a MINUS 109 amp hours.  I was going to have to do some  serious charging.

Minus 109 amp hours  before noon

The charge controller shows we have 34.3 amps coming in right now.  If we can keep that going, it’ll take a little over 3 hours to charge up.  I hope the sun stays out.

Minus 57.9 Amp Hours at about 2:20 pm.  We are catching up while producing power at the same time.

We’ve already produced 134 amp hours and the sun is still shining!

170 amp hours produced by the end of the day.

The sun stayed out and the batteries are full.  Not bad for an autumn day.

My “Solar Roller” water pump and a solar oven…

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Get out the Solar Oven and let’s have enchiladas for lunch.

Enchiladas for lunch.

Now that the sun has warmed up the soil enough to plant, we’ve got to hook up the Solar Roller. These panels are mounted on a 2 x 4″

Solar panels on handmade wheeled cart

cart with some old lawnmower wheels attached. Since I have many trees shading parts of the garden, this roller allows me to follow the sun. I can actually get 12 hours of sun-pumping water into the large tank in the background and then gravity flow to 1/2″ pvc placed in the raised beds. The kit came with solar panels, submersible pump, and a Dankoff control box. This control box allows the pump to kick on in low light and works so well that it’ll pump on a gray shadowless day. I’ve even seen it pump during a light rain.

Gray shadowless day, solar pump still working…thank you Mr. Dankoff, for inventing the controller that makes the pump work on a very gray day!

The tank feeds into a regular garden hose and into the water grids. The grids are drilled with 1/16” holes. Hook up the hose to the grid and plant next to the holes.

Drip water grid in tomato bed

Drip watering potatoes

Placing the plants next to a pre-drilled hole.

Ready to close the tent on the warm loving eggplant and peppers

And that’s how we spent Mother’s Day, how about you?

For more solar check out my little solar system.

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