Friday, August 7, 2009

First Solar-Powered blog update

Finally getting around to some long-delayed projects.

Last February we ordered a solar panel kit from our Visa card points catalogue and when it arrived I promptly placed it in a storage shed. There it has set, right where I put it, until yesterday. Finally I made the time to unpack the kit, read the scanty installation guide and set the panel up.

Our EnerG+ 43 Watt solar power kit came complete with a solar panel, overcharge protector, deep cycle battery and an inverter. The most difficult part of the installation was finding a stand for the panel - I chose and old stationary bicycle stand - and deciding where to set things up. Then it was a simple matter of connecting a few cables to get the whole thing running.

I suppose it's fair but after enjoying weeks of bright sunshine, today turned out to be cloudy and cool. Nevertheless, the panel is still producing current. This has given me the opportunity to run an extension cord into the house and use the "free" electricity. So far, I have connected a power bar that supports my desktop computer, LCD monitor, a laptop computer and a few accessories. In spite of the cloudy weather, I have been running for 3 hours or so and the battery is maintaining its' charge.

While a 43 watt panel will not do much to offset our total electricity consumption, it does give us a good opportunity to experiment with solar power. By monitoring power usage at various points in the house, we should learn alot about our overall power usage and find the most effective way to utilize solar power. The construction of our log house also provides us with a great deal of flexibility in running solar power from outside the house to various points inside. If things continue to go well, I expect we will invest in additional panels and batteries to power strategic points around the house.

In addition to this, solar panel kits are a cost effective way to bring electricity to our "off-grid" workshop. and solar power provides us with some additional energy security for the power disruptions that commonly occur on Vancouver Island in the Winter.

All those concrete benefits AND I can honestly say that this blog update is completely carbon- free.

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