[FoRK] Solar power

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Feb 9 06:51:01 PST 2004

On Mon, Feb 09, 2004 at 02:08:19PM +0000, Russell Turpin wrote:

> That sound you heard was a thousand sailors falling
> off their barstools, laughing. ;-)
> None of us find lead/acid batteries "sexy." But if
> you're going to live from self-generated juice,
> they're necessary, and you're going to have to

I'm not sure. The whole off-the-grid idea is most likely a red herring,
anyway. I'm just trying to examine all the possibilities (the price gradient
is very steep here, so I can buy a lot of hardware for a place in the

Why can't I use a small generator for overnight/spike use, and avoid
batteries altogether?

> plan for them, just as you plan for some way of
> handling sewage. Bite the bullet and read up on

I have a plan for sewage, but it depends on local regulations.

> deep-cycle batteries.
> >Internal house grid could be 12 or 24V..
> 24v is more efficient. 12v is more convenient,

12 V should do with large-crossection copper, and welded connects.
There's also custom controllers which can synthesize realtime sinus from
individual cells, but I need to research the photovoltaics costs yet.

> because of all the accessories and equipment
> made for the auto/RV market.
> >If it wasn't for washing machine and cooking, the power requirements would 
> >be pretty low.
> You don't cook with electricity. You cook with

I don't see why I can't use a microwave or a ceran plate if I have a couple
surplus kW during daytime peak insolation. Propane or wood during night, okay.

> propane. You also refridgerate with propane.

Uninsulated cellar is good for most of the year hereabouts, for the rest
there's garden and shop. Maybe a large freezer has enough thermal inertia to
stay below 0 C with daytime juice only. Maybe I'm smoking crack. 

> There are ammonia adsorption refridgerators
> sold for RVs. (Ice cream vendors a 100 years

They're pretty expensive, no doubt.

> ago used sun-powered ammonia adsorption for
> their carts.)
> Plan on a large propane tank. You may get

I'd rather just use one for cooking (wooden stove is a bit too rural for my
tastes, though it would work well, if time is no essence).

> off the grid. But as long as you plan on the
> standard conveniences (washer and dryer,
> big fridge), you'll stay dependent on
> petroleum. I think it's time to buy some

Local appliances are lots more energy efficient. There's no need to run
washer/dryer during nighttime.

> more ERF. ;-)
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