Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Modern Travelers use Solar Power


Alternative energy is something we have not experimented with much here at the homestead. Since we aren't homeowners, it doesn't make much sense to install solar panels at home. Instead, we have tried to conserve the conventional electricity we use by line-drying our clothes, being careful to turn off lights when we leave the room, and adjusting the refrigerator temp/keeping the fridge and freezer fully stocked for maximum efficiency. Our electricity bills have been pretty low, but we're about to do away with them entirely.

Our gypsy wagon will be powered by a 50-watt solar panel mounted to the roof. We got the solar panel for $100 at the flea market last summer, and our friend Mikey traded us two hefty 6v batteries for some UPS batteries that Tristan recovered from St. John's. The panel will power our lighting and an inverter will allow us to charge our laptops, ipods, and other gadgets. We have an inverter that is meant to plug into a car's cigarette lighter that we will adapt for this purpose. Tristan and I think that this set-up will provide enough power to meet our needs.

Total cost for electricity in the wagon? $100 panel + $35 charge controller + $7 adapter for the inverter = $142. Freedom from non-renewable energy? Priceless.

1 comment:

Grant Wagner said...

If it's at all possible, and it should be, avoid the inverter! For most things like lighting and personal electronics, automotive style chargers are very common and can run directly off of your batteries. It will save the non-insignificant losses from using an inverter.