So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Monday, September 7, 2015
Waiting for the sun power
It's about 9 a. m. when I'm writing this. I've got about an hour or so before I begin the day's chores. By 10 a. m. the sun will really make a difference on the solar panels. There's a small meter mounted on my kitchen wall displaying the level of power in the house battery bank. Once the needle is firmly in the green it'll be time to wash dishes and do laundry.
My laptop doesn't use a lot of energy so it's a good device to use while waiting for the sun. The major draw on the solar electric system is the water pump. Water intensive use is best done when the sun is shining.
Sure, if I absolutely had do laundry it would not be all that hard to flick a switch and tap into the grid for the extra power. However, I'm not a big fan of the local utility so I give them as little money as possible.
One of the big arguments against renewable power is that it's unreliable. The sun does not always shine nor does the wind the wind always blow. Battery and other energy storage methods are improving in leaps and bounds so that argument is losing force. One of the major trends right now is to use existing power generation more efficiently.
One way some utilities do that is to have variable rates. If you move your heavy power use activities to off-peak hours the cost per kilowatt goes down. You can still use heavy power draw equipment during peak hours, but it's going to cost you. The net effect is that utility can better use existing power generation and avoid building more power plants.
That's great for them, but I'm doing basically the same thing on a small scale, and it's great for me. Of course, I've got the advantage of being able to have power without the grid. By watching when and how much power I use, my moderately sized solar electric system can power the house for a very long time all by itself.
Americans have gotten used to having all the power they want all the time. Much of the rest of the world has learned to use it when they've got it. Grid failures are on the upswing so it's a good skill to acquire. Anyone who's thinking of installing alternative power can save a lot of money by timing their heavy power usage.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.