Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hothouse Update

I had four solar electric panels I bought more than a decade ago.  I wrestled with whether I should use them.  I bought them when I was a strong advocate for "renewables".  I actually had three high quality solar hot water panels and controls that I traded for a high quality wood cook stove.  

The decision to use the photovoltaics was because I already had them.  I needed to buy a deep cycle battery and some controller/diverter electronics.  I think this will give the next generation to use our farm a leg up.  I had solar panels at my old place that had been up 22 years when I sold the place.  They appeared to be putting out the same amount of electricity as the day I installed them.  The weak link is the batteries and then the electronics. 

Yes, there is a  sense of being a hypocrite given my feelings about "renewables" simply being an extension of the fossil fuel stream.   However, given my feelings about fracking, tar sands, and deep ocean drilling, I am being hypocritical every time I drive, rototill and blow snow.  And so much more.  Damn.

We plan to use this set up at the hothouse/greenhouse to pump water using a 1/2 hp 12 volt motor on our pumpjack,
for  12 volt grow lights, and
when the batteries are full the load will switch to a 12 volt heater in the drying cabinet. 
See also:  



  1. My objective is to get off the grid in the long term. In the short term, I'm trying to figure out what would be the minimum PV system to provide up to 3kW in the northeastern US. I want to set it up separately from the grid tied system for starters, as an adjunct. Any suggestions?

    1. Retrun - I would ask local installers and users what they have. Here at the home where we live we have 24 120 watt 7 amp panels that give us about that much. It is grid-tie as oppose to how I use to live because this is a more traditional home for here in the USofA. The farm is being design to be off grid with minimum electricity use.
      Good luck.