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Necessity launched me into the world of small and simple solar power setups. I found the perfect spot to park my camper trailer - but minus an electrical hookup. No electricity! Being “off the grid” was the last thing I had in mind! But, it was such a great spot otherwise – waves, sun, sand, trees, breezes … aaah, perfect. So, “off the grid” with solar panels, etc., it had to be.
I figured I could handle a simple, inexpensive (cheap), small solar PV system for camping. I’d heard of solar panels. I support renewable energy. I felt I could do it. And, no way was I going to miss out on music, lights, and definitely not my portable computer, furnace fan, or other creature comforts. I wanted it all. I just needed a small solar set up to be happy. It’s just a camper trailer; a weekend retreat (sometimes longer) where I take work occasionally.
How confusing could basic solar power energy be for a simple solar set up? Pretty confusing as it turns out. Even for a camping environment.
I determinedly perused the Internet which is filled with excellent information on
solar powered electrical setups provided by experienced, knowledgeable, kind people
who assume you know what “AWG” means. Did you know that the words for describing
a small solar energy set up are almost the same as those used for describing a solar
energy electrical system for an entire house! They are! The concepts and basic components
are the same, even if you’re in a house, trailer, or tent. No matter how small your
solar power energy system may be you’ll be talking about a lot of the same stuff.
A house powered by solar electricity just needs more and bigger stuff!
In my effort to pursue all resources for my simple solar power set up, I also made
local inquiries about solar energy and was met with lots of blank stares. So I knew
I was alone and it was the Internet or nothing.
The “Language” of Solar Power Energy Setups
Through solar energy research, I became familiar with words like deep cycle battery, and charge controller, and power inverter, PV, and amps, and amp hours, watts, volts, electrical wire, cable, solar panels, and sine waves, 12v solar, ring terminals, AGM, gelled, standard flooded, monocrystalline, AC, DC, blah, blah, blah; the list just went on and on.
Plus, in a solar electrical system, all the components and parts relate to each other and you have to understand the relationships, even for a small setup. There isn’t a one size fits all solar energy system and you need to learn solar electrical energy “language”. Who knows all this stuff? I didn’t know much when I started.
That for me was over seven years and a variety of Internet purchases, upgrades, etc., ago. But, I’ve had over 7 lovely seasons so far of great tans, cool kayaking and plenty of solar electricity for what I want. I have learned that once you get the basic concepts down it’s not that hard to find solar solutions that fit your needs. You can put a solar energy system together. And, it’s not that hard!
I could have learned faster and made better choices if I’d found a simpler explanation
of the whole solar set up thing in the first place. You know, what you need, where
it goes, what it does, why you need it, what the choices are, etc. It’s a good place
to start. . . This site is a good place to start.
Now, people are often asking me those kinds of “off the grid” solar energy questions. But, there’s more to it than a casual conversation can cover. This website is their answer. It’s all about solar energy and it’s filled with solar energy facts that will help you put your own simple, small solar set up together.
And, many thanks to solar electricity, the associated technology and the sun for
providing the energy for this project! I’d much rather work at the beach. Go solar!