A place where one woman has gathered resources and information to help her family survive in an uncertain future; together with occasional personal musings.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Focus on Solar

In about an hour, I'm going downtown to meet with Mr. Solar Electricity. Unfortunately, Homero is not coming with me. He got a job, and we need money. That's that. So, my future grandkids, when you wonder who is responsible for the state of the place you live in, it's me. Whether you are thanking me or cursing me, I take responsibility.

I do not understand electricity. There are too many damn measurements.. watts, ohms, amps, hertz... I thinks watts and amps are what I care about most. I have a magazine in front of me which I think I had better peruse before I go. One of the cover articles is "2009 solar electric panel buyer's guide," and that looks like a good place to start.

Okay, one point: whatever system we have needs to be protected from our extreme winds.

Rated power per square foot (watts): power output at STC (ideal conditions?) per square foot of module area. Also called power density. Higher density means less space needed, but usually more expensive.

Power Tolerance: the +/- percentage by which the unit will perform as compared to its STC.
Look for a unit with a low negative number or positive only.

Warranty: Most manufacturers offer full replacement or free servicing of defective modules. A "power warranty" is to guarantee a level of output that is advertised to produce for a certain period of time, should be 20 years.

Batteries: they don't last forever. They're expensive. And you need a battery monitor, which is much more than a voltmeter.

I have an electric bill from January to bring with me (the highest use month). What I want to know and haven't been able to find out is how much electricity (watts? Kilowatts?) does my essential battery of appliances use (fridge, freezer, stovetop, furnace fan, two lights) and can we reasonably supply that much?

What kind of maintenance do panels need? Batteries? What kind of output can we expect in winter?

okay I'm late

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