When we hit the road in 2014 we had already installed a solar system on our trailer. It allows us to park anywhere there is cell signal and do our computer work stuff. Overall its one of the best home improvements we have ever done. It has worked great for us and has improved our understanding and respect for electricity.
Now we have built a cabin on our land. We are planning to power it with solar power and have used our knowledge from the trailer to build a larger system. We are also getting great support from our supplier to ensure everything works safely.
This is going to be another multiple part series because there is a lot to talk about.
- Grid Tie vs Off-Grid
- AC vs DC
- Solar panels
- Solar Charger
In this part I will talk about the 2 basic types of solar electric systems for a home
- Grid Tie
Most residential homes and businesses are grid tie solar systems. When we lived in Phoenix we put solar on our home and haven’t paid an electric bill in 8 years. These systems create electricity from the sun and then put it back into the larger electrical grid. Then as the home needs electricity it pulls from the grid. Laws called net Metering force the utilities to give you credit for the energy you give them.
Our trailer and the cabin are going to be off-grid solar systems. This means that we not only create the electricity, but we also have to build a storage system like the electrical grid. This is done with batteries. Because batteries have a limited amount of power the trick is buying enough batteries for what you need. This is done using a spreadsheet or any number of online solar calculators.
For the cabins system we are going to double the size of our solar production and battery storage capacity. This will allow us to have a residential refrigerator, a clothes washer, and a few appliances. The plan is to make it a killer guest house, and maybe we will spend some of the colder months in it.
In the next episode we will talk about batteries.
I am taking it easier this week and have cut back on the strength training. Its not my favorite workout right now and I have enjoyed sleeping in a little bit.