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Starting our solar project

Last night I ordered the main components to start our process of producing our own energy, and beginning the path to being self sustainable. These will be hooked up to the Yellow Tree bed and breakfast in Put-in-Bay township, on South Bass Island in Lake Erie Ohio.

Our goal is to promote the move towards sustainable living, reduce our energy costs, and provide a back up system in case electricity to the house goes out. As more solar panels and other green energies are added over the next few months and years, the long term goal is becoming energy independent.

I will be posting here to document the process and hopefully help inform others of what my experiences and findings are.

When starting a D.I.Y. solar project it's important to do a good month or so minimum of research before purchasing. Here is a link from the New York times for some very basic information to look at if this area is completely new to you.

For our project, we wanted to have the ability to expand the amount of solar panels we can put on, without having to get a new system in the future. Being a graduate student, I don't have a ton of money to invest up front. But, if we start with higher end components to the system we can add more solar panels later and have the capacity to handle them.

We knew that we wanted to have the capability to go off grid as well. This way we're able to operate key appliances when there is no outside power running to the house. Being an island with one cable running underwater to power us from the mainland, sometimes (not often but every once in a while) the power shuts off. To be prepared for this for the comfort of ourselves and our guests, it is important to have a back up system.

To do so an inverter is needed. This set came with, The VertaMax 1500 Watt AC to DC Power Inverter. This allows us to add up to 14 more of our 100 watt solar panels to the system, while also giving direct sockets to tie appliances into, and a place to run batteries from to charge them directly off the grid.

Solar Project Barn Inverter, Yellow Tree B&B

The system also came with a solar charge controller. This piece of equipment ties into the batteries for the off grid back up system. This prevents the batteries from being overcharged, gives you readings, and would give me the ability to monitor production if I were to tie into the grid as well to try and earn money back from the electrical company.

All wiring and installation brackets were included with the system as well, and one solar panel. Additional solar panels can be bought, just like the one I have for about 100$ a piece. I do plan on adding more to the system as the summer goes on.

****Another important thing to note when looking at panels is the warranty included by the company. Windy Nation, the company I bought this kit off of includes a 25 year power warranty, and 5 year parts and labor. ***

When I come back from Ireland for Spring Break and start setting up the system in mid April, I'll give an update. Hopefully with some pictures and maybe a video.

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