Thursday, May 3, 2012


Today has been a busy day. Last week we ordered a refrigerator. We picked out a fairly energy efficient model and it was delivered today. We have been waiting until the new batteries and inverter for the solar array arrived and were installed. That was yesterday and hooking them up turned out to be a snap. I have to rewire the output from the charge controller to the batteries as where I wanted the batteries to sit is a little bit of a stretch for the positive wire. I meant to do that this morning before it got hot but it turns out I didn't have the right gauge wire on hand, so it will have to wait.

When the compressor in the refrigerator runs it consumes about 715 watts. Our PEAK solar input so far has been 430 watts, so whenever the compressor runs then we are running a deficit which comes out of the batteries. In theory, the compressor won't be running all of the time and therefore when it stops running the batteries will be topped back off. We have the fridge on a power strip so if this turns out to not be the case then we can always switch it off and let it sit.

I'm considering doubling the solar input by adding 4 more panels. My system can handle up to 12 and I'm only running 4. This would provide us with a lot more power than we actually need, but it would extend the life of the entire system by keeping the batteries from being so deeply discharged and since the panels last for 15-20 years then it provides us with a fallback in case some of them are damaged or broken in the future and I don't have the money to replace them.

Essentially, while we have cash and an income we are building infrastructure with an eye to the future. We won't always have this and so we want to purchase reliable things that we will need later on.

We also have a washing machine but it appears that it will need to be run off of a generator. I can't tell at this point. Today is somewhat cloudy so we're running a deficit just with a fan going in the cabin. We're about to go test that now.

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