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Opinion

Which window in my apartment works best for solar power?

Today I couldn’t get a charge with the solar panel due to the trees being so green and leafy so I hung the panel out of a different window and it worked great. It charged very well for about 3 hours. I started late in the afternoon but if I had started in the morning, the battery would be full.

Of course I knew there was lots of light in this window but my concern is that it wouldn’t be as hidden as it was from another window. I thought it might attract more attention. It might still attract attention, but it might also be what I need to use until the tree loses its leaves. The management company is also trimming trees so it is possible they might trim it as well.

I mentioned that I will get a second solar panel. I am waiting for my solar generator to come in. Once I test that then I will commit to a 24 volt panel. Either way, I am going to need more solar panels to handle charging this big battery each day. I can connect each solar panel to one solar generator and then I can share the DC between them with a cable that I have. It doesn’t matter which unit gets the power more because I will be using both units.

Right now the day turned cloudy and the weather reports say it will be cloudy the rest of the day. I should take the panels in, but I am still hopeful. Weather reports aren’t reality they are just an average. Often it can take up to 20 minutes for the weather reports to accurately predict the current weather. What I have learned by watching the weather reports more closely and hour by hour is that they don’t update unless the weather continues differently for 20 minutes, and then they will update. Earlier today it said it would be partly cloudy which means some sun. Now they say Cloudy. It is possible I won’t get more charge, but I’m ok with waiting and seeing what happens.

In the winter I will use my new insulation system and I won’t get any cold from outdoors. I was able to buy neoprene insulation and it works very well to block out the wind and cold. So I have no concerns anymore about putting the panels outdoors and getting cold. My plan is starting to come together and I love it. I will write another post about how I have the insulation in case it helps someone.

What makes a solar generator portable?

What makes a solar generator portable? Size, weight? It isn’t an easy question to answer.

Right now my biggest solar generator is the Lion Safari LT. It weights 11 lbs. Almost everyone can carry this weight. However I have looked at other solar generators and the larger the capacity, the heavier they get, and in my opinion stop being portable.

The next weight of the next solar generator I am ordering is 45 lbs. I have no problem with this weight, but many people would. I don’t think that most children or mature people would find this a portable size. Which means that its usefulness in an emergency situation is limited. To me, solar generators are an amazing product of power and features. The first one I got was 5 lbs and I could have more battery power than anything I could have imagined in the past. This 11 lb unit has 3 times the battery power, and the 45 lb unit has 10 times the power of the 5 lb unit. Which is incredible that it weights less per watt and still fairly portable.

One other solar generator system I liked was 61 lbs. I really liked that system but the weight was a red flag to me. I can lift 61 lbs but in an emergency would this be something I would grab and go with? Probably not. If the house was on fire or some emergency situation happened, putting this 61 lb tower computer like size into my car isn’t something that I would do. I would grab the solar panel and 11lb solar generator and put that in the car however. At that 61 lbĀ  size and weight, it would slow me down too much to be portable.

Now I understand that when you need to have a battery there is a tradeoff. The more energy you want to have, the bigger and heavier your battery is going to be. However there is a point where you cross that line and the weight becomes a liability. The 61 lb solar generator had more storage than the 45 lb one, that is true. However the 45 lb one allows you to connect another 50 lb addition, so for 95 lbs you get 3KW of power. If I bought a second 61 lb solar generator I would get the 3KW of power, but the weight would be 122 lbs vs 95 lbs. Now that is a difference in portability in my opinion.

If you plan to keep the solar generator in one location this all is a non-issue. I move frequently in apartments so weight matters to me. I also like to be somewhat mobile, so if I had to I could put it in my SUV and still have working power. At 61 lbs it would take up too much space and weight and I would leave it behind.

Is it likely I will need to evacuate NYC? I hope not. However if I do, I am prepared now to do it.