Our Off The Grid Solar System
Our Off The Grid Solar System by Ron – The Survivalist Blog
This is a follow up to a reader’s question I received from a previous post. As a reminder, my wife and I are the couple living alone 100 miles in the Canadian bush. Back around 1980, when I first started on my off-grid journey, both money and experience were in short supply. One might say I was young and clueless. Nonetheless, I set out to homestead in northern Maine and I outfitted my cabin with an off grid setup which was so small it bordered on the absurd. I had one small solar panel, small charge controller and a car battery. I planned to power a car radio and tiny TV.
I had what you would call a chronic power shortage. In lieu of the electric lights, I used kerosene oil lanterns for many years. I endured that nonsense for quite awhile and then I finally added a couple of small solar panels I built myself from scratch. I also bought 2 marine deep cycle batteries and added a few 12VDC lights. There, that should improve things.
Wrong! I still had a chronic power shortage. Very little improvement! Those panels and deep cycle batteries helped a little but northern Maine is a battleground when the seasons change and there are some long stretches of cloudy, rainy weather. Even with a cheap generator and battery charger, in my 20 years of homesteading in Maine, my setup was never a satisfactory arrangement. But the entire experience was a terrific learning tool and one thing I learned was how much power gadgets consume.
When we made the big move to the wilderness of Canada, I vowed we would up our game and do it right. The following is an excerpt from my book Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness:
“When engineering the system, I had to factor in a multitude of variables. What did we want to power? How much power was consumed by each device, and how long was each device expected to run in a day? How many days of battery storage did I want? Did I want a 12VDC, 24VDC, or 48VDC system? Did it make sense to power some things direct from the batteries? So many decisions. I began by making a list of all the appliances and gadgets we needed to power. I also considered what possible items we might want to buy for the homestead in the future and made an allowance for those things.