Thursday, May 8, 2014

Practical tips, tricks, and information about solar power and going off grid

Doing solar power on a budget can be challenging, but not impossible. The very first thing I recomend is taking on the mindset of Quakers about electricity. Of course, I do not know exactly what that is, but there is a peace that rises when electric consumption declines. Or so it seems to be.

This how-to is for off-grid. Many people I spoke with over the past few days agree, they would rather throw the electric onto the ground than sell it back to the power companies.

There are three parts to solar power
The solar panel, the charge controller, the battery , and the power inverter.

The best how-to video I have seen so far is from Growing In Simplicity

He explains the basics very simply.

My goal was to keep the most basic needs up and going. It was a pressing issue. I had to decide what was most needed. Of course, communications was at the top of the list. The next most important is very small freezer. The theory there is, if you have a freezer you have a refrigerator because you can make ice.

Another goal was to build a portable unit that was also expandable.

I started building backwards. I have a battery in my car. I assume most at this point have not given up their car. I needed a power inverter.

The Power Inverter

The power inverter the most important aspect of the solar power generator. Get the best and biggest you can get. You will be expanding from this key unit. I bought an off the shelf unit from Walmart.
This one to be specific

I did replace my car battery. I figure if I was going to ask it to pull double duty replacing it with a fresh one would be smart.

The power inverter could not handle the small freezer. It is less than one apms, but I do not know the other stats on it off the top of my head. It inverter shut down right away. That is where I conclude the best inverter is the most important part. I do not have the battery bank, nor solar panel at this point,  but even if I did I would not be able to run the freezer.

So invest in the power inverter.