I am transiting to completely Solar power. One step at a time.
The first step is lighting. I had switched all of the bulbs in the past to led lights instead of the CFL bulbs that were there. That dramatically reduced the electrical bill. The LED bulbs for that cost about $50. Still the lights will last a very long time, and it became much brighter in my office so that was worthwhile.
I shared that I then bought a NowLight. This is a solar panel connected light that also allows you to charge it through USB and it can charge other USB devices itself. This has worked well. I use this at night for lighting. I still at times have to use the bathroom or kitchen light, but I am working on plans for those. I have another solar powered light coming in today that I might be able to place in those locations for light. If that works, I will share it with you and you might want to try it as well.
Now right now I have only 1 60W solar panel. I have a 120W solar panel coming in tomorrow. Based on the light available to me so far, it takes about 6 hours of cloudy weather to charge 25% of my Beaudens 166w unit. If it was a sunny day I could probably charge it in 16 hours or two days. I also did some calculations and read other peoples experience charging a 50amp battery. Since I have two 50 amp batteries, I have some measure of backup.
So clearly the power batteries I have are more than enough for lighting. Now I have to figure out how I want to handle my other electronic devices. I don’t think I want to invest the money it would take to power something like the fridge. That can consume 800 watts, which would mean that I would probably need to buy a 1500W generator since devices pull more current when they startup. It would make more sense to buy a smaller cooler fridge that I can run directly off the DC voltage and just store the most important things.
Right now the fridge is not a priority. I use two laptops and a big monitor and the wattage I need for that could easily be done by a 500W generator. Now the problem is will I be able to use my 60+120w device enough to charge that battery? I don’t think so. I think I need to buy another 120w solar panel, and another battery. I am basing this off of calculations and others experiences.
If I buy those things, then I think I can use this to power my equipment full time. That would be another $300. So far I have spent $600. Being able to generate solar power is something I have always wanted to do since I read about it as a child. To me, this is a privilege to be able to afford this and to support these companies that are helping people be energy independent.
I’m not ready to take the next step yet. I just need to do more research and be sure that this is the right step. However one day I will be completely off the grid and solar powered, and what a great feeling that will be.