Monday, 28 July 2014

More Solar Power...

For a long time I have been wanting to install more solar panels 
and therefore have more power and therefore
 be more self sufficient... Off grid for a long time.
Finally, after months of debating and
pro's and con's and lots of advice the decision was made.

Here I am, parked at UCC in Christchurch. This place
was recommended by Able Solar in Auckland where
I purchased the panels. UCC's service and workmanship
was excellent. Ross at UCC gave me a quote that
included all panels, all new wiring, controller, batteries and
labour... And that's what I paid. I liked that, I knew what it was
all going to cost and didn't need to worry about any hidden
extras. I think the job took a little longer than anticipated...
 But there was no increase in price.

As soon as I arrived at 8am... I was plugged into power so I could 
have my  heater going. It was a freezing cold morning and in the
workshop couldn't light my fire. The big dock was secured
alongside and the work began...
 2 x 150 watt Hilight Monocrystalline shade tolerant panels...

3 x 12volt 95A/hr Exide batteries...

A Morningstar MPPT charge regulator with remote display...

Discussion over the batteries, where to fit them...
And the regulator...

The old batteries were taken out and an old charger plus an old
wooden shelf at the top...

The old 85 watt panels were taken off... to be repositioned...

Moss under the old panels...  Next job is to clean and paint the roof...

Here they are... All the panels in a line along one side...

They just fitted... Why all on one side?
So I can put a kayak on the other side!

The batteries fitted in a row... And being wired up...

This is the end result in my locker... The starter batteries
on the right, then the solar batteries. On the left the
 regulator and underneath the bit of wood I use when 
parking on my levellers so I don't roll backwards. 
The finishing touch was a little free standing shelf over 
all the batteries to sit my levelling chocks on. 
UCC were wonderful, nothing was a bother.

And here I am the next morning... Parked outside in the sun...
Well... Daylight as there wasn't any sun! checking that
everything was working... And it was.
All you can see from the ground is the four edges of the panels...
But I know they are charging up the batteries
and with 470 watts of panels and 285 A/hr of battery
capacity... I think I will survive the south island winter
with absolutely no worries... Plenty of power and some to spare.

Today (a few days later) is a beautiful sunny day, after
a succession of several cloudy days.
My batteries are full up to 14.5 volts and 7.20 Amps
is going in... Well I don't think it can as the batteries are full.

I just have to put a wee 'add-on' here...
If you are observant you might notice in the photo above
that I don't have any hub caps... Well just in case
you are a mere female like me... Or like  me didn't
know... It is now required that I take my hub caps off
for a Cof so the wheel nuts and whatever else can be inspected.
The first time I went to VTNZ in Jipcho Rd, Christchurch I sat
in the queue for 2 hours. One of the men there walked along the
line of trucks and asked me to move into another lane. He
looked at my bus but made no comment. When it was my turn and
I was over the pit he looked at my wheels and would't look
any further - the hubs caps were still on... so I had to go back
another day. It was a simple job to take then off. I could
have done it while waiting in the queue - if I had known.

While at VTNZ I bought some more diesel road tax miles...
In the government money making scheme, I sold back the
ones I hadn't used during the last year and re-bought them
at a higher price! I also re-licensed my bus, so all done
for another year... Well not quite... I have since applied for
another DoC Pass and am about to pay my NZMCA sub.
I think I'll go and live in the wilderness for a while.
Hopefully one where money grows on the nearby trees!

Soon I'll have to decide... New jeans or diesel tax!

1 comment:

  1. It all sounds and looks wonderful. Here's to self sufficiency and off grid living.
    Good on you...