Small-scale Solar

The following post is a good accompaniment to the information at this page:

(Small-scale Solar Energy) + (Positive Sacrifice) = Sustainability

Emma and I live off-the-grid on an acre of land. We have two small solar energy systems: the bigger system is powered by 650 watts of panels, the smaller 325 watts. Water wise, we have 33,000 litres of water storage capacity; the systems are constructed so that gravity does the hard work of getting water to flow from our taps.

This info may not sound that impressive, but we have managed to construct our energy and water systems by ourselves, and on a relatively tight budget. Further, we have adapted our habits so that we use electricity mostly during the day when the sun is shining.

I have taken the route of using 12 volt power supplies to power most of what we need, which means that conversion losses (from DC to AC power) of using an inverter are not an issue. Overall, I’d say that the solar energy systems, and gravity water systems, we use are (relatively) cheap, cheerful, effective and fit for purpose.

Crucially, Emma and I have not tried to replicate the power ‘requirements’ that people in conventional scenarios are used to. For example, someone might be used to using a few kilowatts of power at night in their townhouse (or wherever), and they may leave fridges and freezers and geysers/boilers on constantly. You can do this, of course, but it comes at an immense cost to you and other life on the planet.

I can talk you through the ‘hardware’ of off-grid solar energy and gravity water systems if that’s what you need. I can also offer you the conceptual platform for understanding how to make-do with a very small solar energy system. You will need both the theory and the practice in this regard.