OFF GRID LIVING No.3 – Installing a solar power system.
This chap gives you a very good explanation of how a basic solar power electric supply set up is configured.The basic off grid solar power set up.
It also shows you how much power things like a toaster and drill use when hooked up to a solar system. This video is a good place to start to try and get your head around how a solar system works.
We have gone for a kit from windandsun.co.uk
The solar kit we have chosen gives us the level of power we require without breaking the bank.
The size of this kit reflected our minimal off grid power needs;
We wanted to run the following items without being compromised,
Lights, laptop, Bose speaker, TV, Fridge, Toaster, Microwave, a few small kitchen appliances, washing machine
The batteries that store the electricity produced by the solar panels are two
of the Rolls AGM2 series and in the kit there are 2 x 220AH cells which retail on the W&S website @ £344.48 + VAT each.
The inverter, the brains of the kit is a unit made by Victron
Because of their large size the delivery charge for this kit is quite high, Lindsey drove the 2 hours up the M5 to the Wind & Sun HQ in Herefordshire to collect the solar panels in person. This also gave him the chance to discuss the whole setting up of the kit in a little more detail than you can just over the phone.
After a good discussion about how the solar system went together, a few additional optional extras were added to the kit list for our particular set up, including a battery isolator switch, and then Lindsey headed for home. The W&S HQ is an impressive set up and the staff were both helpful, informative and generous with their time.
One thing Lindsay did fail to mention however, was the distance that the solar panels would be from the inverter unit. . The kit comes with 6 leads but they are only 2m long so are only suitable if you are installing the panels on the roof of right next to your cabin or shed. We required 6 additional 12m cables to be sent down due to the location of our panels and they could have been included with the rest of the kit had he remembered this detail. No harm done. The leads can be ordered to exactly the specification your system requires and the easy fit connectors are then already attached making connection a piece of cake. They arrived within 24hours so another Brownie point for the W&S customer service.
Ask them a question about solar power set up and your particular off grid or back up plan set up. The inverter and battery charging unit from VICTRON ENERGY
The Victron Energy (Blue power) unit is an impressive unit and it performs all of the clever electrical based tasks as well as keeping you safe.
The unit is finished in a bright blue powder coating which looks very durable and the build quality of the switches etc. itself overall looks very good.
We have housed our unit in an old metal locker to keep all of the wiring tucked away neatly and also whilst the box is an attractive bit of kit it did not really suit the look we were after for our off grid cabin.
The batteries similarly have been hidden away in an old wooden box. The whole kit will soon work in conjunction with the new salamander tiny wood cooking range to supply the cabin with all the heating, cooking and hot water requirements for the cabin.