Monday, August 17, 2009
Well we finally took the plunge and I don't know why we waited so long. This 45 Watt system is basically a solar battery charger. I had to purchase a 12 Volt deep cycle battery to go with the system. Basically a marine or RV battery. This system came with a regulator and two DC 5 Watt compact fluorescent light fixtures.
One of the biggest challenges of being off the grid is lighting. As soon as the sun goes down things become difficult especially if it is overcast and no moonlight. We have used propane lanterns, tiki torches and rechargeable lights as well as oil lamps.
I was somewhat skeptical, but I have to tell you it works great. This system is an inexpensive set up made for campers or a remote cabin like ours and clearly has limitations. We will eventually have to purchase an inverter if we wish to operate AC appliances, but for now I am just happy to have the lighting.
As an experiment I ran both lights all night long, which normally I wouldn't do. The two lights only drew down the battery to 12.3 from 12.8 on the regulator.
The solar panels connected brought the battery back to a 13 on the regulator in just a little over a half hour. I am impressed.