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Off the Bike

Solar Panels : 46/100

This is the 4th part of a multi part series covering the solar energy system we are building in our cabin. The 1st part discussed grid tie vs off grid systems. We are going to be off grid. The second part talked about AC vs DC and how an off grid system has to have at least DC because of the batteries. The third part covered batteries which we are going with AGM’s with 832 amp hours of power.

Today we are going to talk about solar panels, also knows as PV or photovoltaic panels. PV panels collect energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. When you think of solar electricity the panels are the first image that come to mind.

The cost of solar panels dropped significantly over the last 10 years. Kate and I added PV to our home in Phoenix in 2012. The renters haven’t paid a single electricity bill in 6 years. I haven’t priced our system again but I imagine its about 20% to 50% cheaper to do it now.

When it comes to solar panels there is a lot to consider. Watts generated, size, efficiency, and more. To me the panel is the least complicated item in the entire system. I want to set them up and never think about them again.

In this case since we have 832 amp hours of batteries to recharge we went with four 320 watt panels. This should be a little more solar panel than we need based on usage but its better to have too much than too little. For a cost comparison the solar panels all together cost about 30% of what the batteries cost.

We will mount the panels for the cabin on a top of pole mount. This is because we want to keep the roof clear for a possible future roof deck.

Workout details

I did not manage to get up at 7am and get my workout in. There was a decent amount of smoke in the air from the nearby fires so I used that as part of my excuse. I have walked a little tonight and am going to get another lap in now.

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