Listening to: Magazine – Songs From Under The Floorboards

Perhaps not what you’re thinking. This is about solar panels!

Over the past year we’ve been experimenting with various solar panels. Just for maintaining and charging twelve volt batteries at the moment. The old van sits for periods of time and drains it’s battery quickly. And the motorcycle batteries need to be topped up over the winter.

The initial panel chosen was a 50 watt Monocrystalline unit with charge controller. It takes about four days in summer to fully charge the Van’s battery. Permanent mounting of the unit is proving problematic due to the curved (and deteriorating) rooftop. So it just hangs out chained to the sunny side of the roof while parked. A smaller 7.5 watt panel has arrived and will be hooked to a charge controller for permanent installation. It’s apparently better to keep a lead acid battery topped off than let it discharge then recharge.

Ideally, there would be a permanent mounting point and the 50w panel would charge both the engine and cabin deep cycle battery. Perhaps one day (after new curtains and fixing the deteriorating “beaverbarf” cabinets).

It would ideal to cover the sun-exposed garage roof with panels and generate electricity for the household. And would easily pay for itself as a DIY job. Though I assume hookup to the power grid would require a professional consultant to enable. More research.