Thursday, August 2, 2012

Adding A Little Power

With the awesome weather in the Pacific NW this summer, I decided to take advantage of it and added two new solar panels to my mix. I purchased them from one of my two sources of solar equipment, GoGreen Solar. While their web site was not clear on the minimum amount of panels you could buy (I wanted only 2, they now have a minimum of 5) They were good to work with and went out of their way to make this work for both of us (I got a very good deal on these panels). The panels are 235 Watt Conergy and since I now have two I am pumping 470 watts of goodness into my batteries. I also added BZ MPPT500 Charge Controller, seen below as the white box.

As you can see from the picture I am coming in off the two panels into a bus bar, go through a 40 amp fuse and into a cut off switch and then into the Charge Controller. Coming out of the Charge Controller I go to a 50amp fuse and then into the batteries. I am running 4 - 12volt, 100 amp hour batteries. I monitor all this with my TriMetric battery monitor (TM-2020). I got it from Backwoods Solar who is also excellent to work with and would recommend them highly.

The Cottage is coming along nicely and I love my new location. The panels seem to fit in well and they are making a big difference on my lack of reliance on the grid power.

While I am located in this field I have had to add a little ambiance to make this place a home. Nothing like a little color to brighten thing up.
For those of you who have been following along, we have had no rain for a while now. I am still with the 205 gallon tank I started with and I was able to go from September 2011 when I moved in, to July 2nd with never needed to pull water from any other source but rain. When I moved out I drained about 100 gallons out of the tank into tanks for my brothers garden. At my new property we have a well so it is not a big deal for me to fill my tank which I just refilled over the weekend. I went about 30 days on the first tank so I am averaging  around 6.8 gallons a day usage (good to know).

I am thinking about getting a bigger tank but at this time, there really is no demand for it. The tank I am looking at is 550 gallons and at my consumption rate I could go 80 days on it without rain, pretty cool.


  1. How do you move all your stuff? The house is one thing, but then the porch, the tank, all the solar gear..

  2. Great question. I have a truck and another 18ft trailer that I will probably build an additional tiny house on. While it would take a couple of trips, I can fit the "extra" stuff in the back on the truck and if I use a U-haul a most of my stuff goes in there. The decks breakdown to transport.

  3. Hi B !!
    WOW, I am catching up on the blog and even with Scott's detailed verbal account I can't believe how great everything looks!! Well done!!!
    I love the flowers in the wine barrels. awesome

  4. Very cool, Bryce! Thanks for writing about on your blog. In the future, feel free to contact us for consulting. Your system will produce more if your panels were right next to each other because the front panel is shading a bit of one behind it. That's a pretty cool setup you have there!

  5. What a great solar power unit you’ve got there! It is good that the panels can pump almost 500 watts into the batteries. That’s definitely going to be useful for powering your electronics at home. In addition to what Mr. Tom Jackson had said, it would probably be better if the bus bar can be tilted and change direction. That setup would help in maximizing the input of the solar panel.

    Kurt Amezcua

  6. I actually move the panels by season as they are on 2x4 skids. I can also change the angle of the panels by 4, 12 inch settings. Currently have them at the highest angle (most upright) and facing south. I am behind some large trees at this location so my winter accumulation with less then ideal but I am still getting enough to make a difference in my draw from the grid.

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