Now I need a new official Secret Lair photo…

…because this one, taken only a few days ago, still has a satellite dish in it. But it does have the Lair’s new, improved power supply…

Nice, huh? I’ll have you know everything in that picture except the cable, cement, paint and two 2X6s is salvage. Whole thing cost next to nothing except some labor, especially since Neighbor S came over and helped wire it all together. The panels, racks, conduit, 4X4s, diagonals, charge controller, circuit breakers, even the carriage bolts are all salvage. Re-arranging the batteries in Landlady’s powershed not only freed up a lot of floor space and made their monthly service much easier, but it also unexpectedly resulted in a windfall of nearly pristine lumber at the perfect time.

“Uh, you’ve got quite a lot of power for those two little batteries,” S said. And yes, so I do. But the first overcast week we have this coming winter, I will bless my ludicrous oversupply. And it’s on a separate charge controller which – except for batteries – gives me total system redundancy for the first time.

In a few years when I need new batteries, maybe I can go to the next bigger size. But I won’t go hollywood on them. I told S the same thing I told a generous reader who offered to help finance a bigger battery bank – My needs are small, and it’s safer to keep them small. Unlike everything else in a solar power system, batteries inevitably wear out and they need to be replaced all at the same time. When that happens to me, I can get out of it to the painful tune of a few hundred bucks. If I had a battery bank like everybody else in the neighborhood it would far exceed my needs, and the inevitable replacement cost would be a calamity.

So if somebody wants to make fun of my free sample of a battery bank, I’ll just smile in a superior fashion at the knowledge that they know I’m not compensating for anything.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Now I need a new official Secret Lair photo…

  1. Kentucky says:

    Hey, lookin’ good.

    Do the two panels on the roof of the lair get moved to the new array structure, or have you left room for two “new” additional panels there?

  2. Joel says:

    The roof panels are staying where they are. The new racks are 12 feet long and I don’t have the heart to cut off the excess so I just arranged for them to stick out where they’re not in the way. Who knows? It might prove handy someday, or not.

  3. M Ryan says:

    Nice setup. When someone is as far off the grid as you are it’s better to have and not need then need and not have. Good call on not cutting off the excess BTW you never know when that will be needed.

  4. Ben says:

    So I suppose your battery is full by 9 AM or so?

    As a minor advantage of having “too many” panels, it should be that much later in the afternoon before your solar production drops below your consumption, plus you should receive significant production from the panels a bit earlier in the morning. So, on average, your battery should spend a bit less time each day serving as your exclusive energy source than in the past. Correct?

  5. Joel says:

    Pretty much. The old panels, being mounted on the roof, are aimed at magnetic south which is a bit east of where they ideally should be. The new panels are closer to true south, which is more sunward later in the afternoon and it’s a noticeable improvement. The angle is set to take more advantage of winter sun, since I don’t really need any more help in summer. Right now unless I’m doing something outrageous the batteries hit float at 9 or a little after now. Which is pretty ridiculous. The system could survive bigger batteries.

  6. Howard says:

    Why not try a second battery bank with one of those heavy duty marine switches to change from one to the other. That would give you more capacity without having to replace all your batteries at once.

  7. Phil says:

    Damn Joel!
    Kudos, the place looks really good!

  8. Goober says:

    My Dad taught me over the years that you have to keep improving your lot in life. Always be working to improve something. I bought my first house for about 120k. 13 years later, I sold it for a tick over 300k. All of that was sweat equity. I’m doing it all over again as we speak, in my own gulch in my own neck of the woods. Building a house for me and the girls, and making plenty of sweat in the process. Good on you, joel. If you’re going to work your ass off, it might as well be for yourself, and not someone else.

  9. anonymous says:

    Joel when I saw that unused end of the channel iron on that solar panel rack it surely made me think about what might happen if you were to space those panels a little differently and contrive some sort of a reflector on the vertical sides? I’d have to think about what might stand up to your desert environment but even Masonite and heavy foil would last for a while (paint the edges and the back) as you kept your eyes open for some sort of salvage SS sheet metal…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *