"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Sunny days

We had our best day ever for solar power on the 22nd February 2014.

The days' temperature was in the early 30°C's but there was a nice breeze wafting across the solar panels.  That made it ideal for power production.
5.3kWH / 399 AH went into the solar batteries
The Outback Charge Controller remote display informed us that we had received 5.3kWH of power into the batteries...
Only 3.42kWH was consumed by our appliances /
...but we had only used 3.43kWH at 17.58p.m.

That gave us an additional 1.9kWH.  More then enough to watch our 60 watt TV until 10.00p.m., power our 180 watt fridge (on it's timer - one hour on, one hour off) through the night, and still have the batteries well charged the next morning :)

Nobody - but nobody - tells you when you purchase a solar system that:

1  The hottest days are not the best for charging solar batteries.  If the solar panels get too hot, they don't produce, nor provide, optimum charge to the batteries because overheating reduces their efficiency.

2  The cold winter mornings are also dicey.  If the solar panels are too cold due to the ambient temperature, even if the sun is shining on them, they don't absorb the energy to charge the batteries until they warm up.  Which could mean 9.30 - 10.00a.m. before they even start supplying charge to the batteries.

Be warned.

But, even with that said, I would not change back to grid power!  I'm loving our solar power.  Honestly though, it does take some getting used to what can be run on our total 980watt solar panel system, but once you get your head around that, it's a breeze :)  And, if we ever find that we need dramatically more power (mainly for power tools) then running the genny for a hour or so takes care of that!

No Escom blackouts in this household LOL


  1. I didn't know the solar panels were that much delicate. How do you timer your fridge? Is it the feature of the fridge or did you install something to set the timer? Also how does being on-off for one hour intervals effect especially the freezer part? So many questions I know and I am sorry :)

    1. nihal - No problem - I LOVE questions LOL

      As we seldom open the ridge at nighttime, we decided to use a timer to regulate the electricity consumption. So, we placed the electrical plug from the fridge into a timer, whch gets plugged into the wall socket. This switches off the fridge at 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.. The fridge is then on from 7.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. when it switches off for another hour. This continues until 5.30 a.m. when the fridge switches on for the day.

      I have carefully monitored the contents of the fridge and freezer and have noticed no significant change in temperature, nor any detrimental effects to the contents of the fridge, and the contents of the frozen food compartment stay as hard and frozen as if it was on and running normally.

  2. Well done! So great!

    1. Sprig - Thanks :) We're well pleased LOL

  3. Interesting and helpful information Dani.

    1. African Bliss - I would never have had the patience, nor stamina, to teach children. But Ican't help but pass on what we have learnt through trial and error. Hopefully, it eases and assists those who are planning their off-grid futures :)

  4. You folks are doing very well. We went back to grid but our location in the mountains doomed us from the get go. The people who sold us the system could have told us the site was not adequate for solar power but somehow it slipped their minds.

    1. Harry - Doesn't that make you want to pay them a visit and set them straight...! That kind of service / sale makes me furious - turnover / profit over practical usage which would help you and this planet! Grrrrrrrrrrrr!


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