Here is episode #18 of my off the grid project. In this episode I show you my handy-dandy solar power shed. What is a solar power shed you may ask? Well, it is a shed where you house your alternative energy system equipment, and install your solar panels on. In addition, I use it for storage so it serves two purposes, thus the handy-dandy designation 🙂
See complete transcript of video below:
Gary Collins: Hey, everyone. I want to show you the solar that I have set up so far. I only have a little bit of it set up. In the last year I had to get it done, because I thought I’d be further along, so I popped the batteries. You can’t leave batteries over the winter. Without them having over at least some sort of charge they can freeze. Once they freeze, they’re done.
Just this small bank of batteries, I have eight. I actually made a 48‑Volt system. That’s 2,500 bucks in batteries. You lose 2,500 bucks over the winter, so I scrambled near the end of the season, and got the basic solar in to be able to charge the batteries. It’s not fully functional. I know people are going, “Gary, that’s not the code, those batteries got to be vented, and got to be boxed.” I know. I’m working on that.
We’re getting to that. We’re getting the permits pulled. We’re getting everything done to be able to install the electrical, hopefully, in the next four weeks. I have the inverter. I have the charge controller in. Everything is charging the battery. I have two panels up, and that’s all that I’m using. I have power in here. It’s enough.
I have roughly wired in, in a light, and I can charge a cordless power tool battery, and stuff like that off it. It’s working, I’m learning a lot about charging batteries, and how it all works, and equalization. There’s a lot more to it than I originally thought, to be honest with you. I thought solar and alternative energy would be a heck of a lot easier.
That is an early warning I’ll give you. There’s a little more to it, and you’re hands on, because you are your own power company. You’re not tied to any utility. If this goes out on you, you have to fix it, or go someone to fix it. People who work on solar, it’s expensive. You better learn it yourself, and at least realize how to maintain it.
I’m also going to be using another generator. At my generator, that’s just gas that I use for working around the property, which will work. It will charge the batteries, and you can hook it in on line, or in line with your solar system. I’m going to have one permanently, that is a mobile generator, but it’s gas and propane, as well. We’ll run off both.
It’s a little bigger generator, and I’m going to permanently melt that in here. We’ll tie it in to the system, so if the batteries go low, I can charge them. I think there is a way for it to auto‑start. I’m looking into the technology if it exists, it run off a generator that’s used as a portable and back up to see if that will work.
Your normal backup propane, those will kick on, but they’re like 4,500 bucks for a cheap one, maybe 3,500 if you get a deal. Then, you got to get it installed. That’s not really in the budget right now, so maybe later on I’ll do that. We’ll see, but I’ll definitely let you guys know when I get further along, and I get everything installed, get all the panels up, and have you guys take a look and see my off‑the‑grid power source.
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