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Off The Grid

I'm going to live off-grid. Read my blog and learn how to do it yourself!

Photovoltaic fun

Not so long ago I wrote here about my new deep cycle batteries. I also got a solar charge controller and two 10 Wp solar panels. One of those I am giving away on my other Polish blog to readers, the other is going to be used on my property for the composting toilet.

Almost 1,5 years ago I bought two 30 Wpanels. One such panel is now connected to the batteries via the charge controller. It means I have my own photovoltaic system, with large battery capacity and single small solar panel. (more…)

Two new deep cycle batteries

Who said you can’t have your own alternative energy source for emergencies if you’re living in an apartment?

Having some cash at hand at the end of december, I bought online two large deep cycle batteries, of capacity 140 Ah and 100 Ah.

The larger one was a bit broken (piece of plastic broke, but was glued by the shop who sells them), and because of that cost almost the same as the smaller battery. (more…)

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  • My two new solar panels

    Two weeks ago I go a delivery from a shop modernHome.pl, that contained two new 30 W solar panels. This weekend I finally had some free time to make some tests and prepare some photos to show here.

    At this moment my solar system has 150 Wp and consists of 5 solar panels. I have one 10 Wp flexible solar panel, two 40 Wp laminated glass panels and those two Wp monocrystal panels.

    DSCF1726

    Me and one of my two new solar panels.

    The solar panels are made of 36 monocrystal solar cells connected in series. In standard conditions (1,000 W/m², AM 1.5, 25°C) they give 30 W output each. Since I don’t have a wattmeter that would be able to measure the power of such device (I own a wattmeter that’s plugged into wall socket and measures the amount of energy used by household devices, but that won’t work here), so the only thing I could measure is the open circuit voltage (Voc). (more…)

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  • PV systems energy profitability

    Those of you who know me better, know also, that I am a moderate fan of photovoltaic energy systems (solar panels). The first solar panel I bought (flexible 10 W) 5 years ago, and since that time, my PV system has grown to 150 Wp. Lately I aquired two 30 Wp panels, which I want to review here as soon as possible.

    I calculated some time ago that photovoltaics is not a viable solution from the economic point of view. But is it worth to spend energy od manufacturing PV panels and use them somewhere else to produce solar power? Isn’t it just a way to store electrical energy? What is the EROEI of such an investment?

    I wouldn’t worry about that if I didn’t hear an interview with Steve Harris of USH2.com, who is an expert in the energy field. He said that PV systems are one of the worst investments you can make, because you simply transfer energy in the form of silicon crystals from Japan to USA or Europe.

    (more…)

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  • Pros and cons of flexible solar panels

    I bought my first solar panel (not taking into account the ones I had in my calculator or watch) in 2006 r., and it was a flexible 10 Wp (PowerFlex 10 from ICPSolar). With the charge controller I had and a typical lead-acid car battery, it was my first solar system I used in my RV (camper van).

    At the moment I have in my RV two standard solar panels (laminated in glass) and lead-acid deep cycle batteries (as far as I remember, AGM – absorber glass mat – type). I used both the standard solar panels and the flexible ones, so I have an idea on what are the pros and cons of two types of solar panels. (more…)

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  • Filed under: electricity
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