Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Self-Reliance: Solar System

I went with solar to run the well.

There IS a power line crossing part of my property, and yet it would mean paying to set poles and run line to the homesite or well head or somewhere to get hooked in to that.  It was going to be  extremely expensive.  And then I'd be paying a monthly bill.

So, I skipped it.  As I plan the real cabin to live in properly, I'm planning to stick with stand-alone solar.  Not grid tie.  Grid tie here means paying to set those poles and hook up, and then having a more expensive solar system to avoid feed back and meter it and etc.  So, skip it.  I might get more panels.

Right now the system is 2 panels (I forget the size, but biggish, not crappy little ones), 8 batteries, a 24volt system into the inverter which runs the well and has an outlet on it.  There is also a charge controller, The panels are on a pole that can turn and tilt them.

I have learned that I should have gotten a 220/240V well pump, or a DC well pump, or a special one that can run on any power (220, 110, DC, whatever).  I got a 110.  Oh well.  We can't get it all right the first time.   It draws much amperage especially at start up so one scraped wire dropping volts meant it didn't work right for about a year until I found the right solar guys to figure out the issue.  That wire will be replaced when the real cabin goes in and the solar is moved and that portion will need to be re-wired. 

IF I wanted a fridge and washing machine and freezer and to live like someone on the grid, the solar would be too expensive or too high maintenance for me.  I will have lights, a bathroom fan, a few outlets, the well.  That's about it.  I may get a couple more panels to keep the charge up and I'm exploring microhydro and microwind for the not-so-sunny times, but that will probably end with exploration.

I'm not "self-sufficient" with the solar since someone built the panels and other components and I don't do my own wiring etc. I am self-reliant in that with this system in place, I am currently fulffilling most of my electrical needs.  I did bring the electric weed whacker and battery to work today to charge, but that was because I didn't want to leave the charger unattended, and yet I want to weed whack tonight while it's cool out.  I COULD have charged it at home.

Having the solar run the well pump, even the poorly chosen pump, is pretty darn self reliant.  The whole well/water system is pretty cool but I guess that's another post so I will save it.

Here is a picture of the solar panels and the well pump controller (power thingy) stuck on a post by the spigot.

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