The days are getting longer; the sun is creeping back towards a summer solstice and at this juncture in its journey, it hits my solar array directly. This means on a clear day— of which we appreciate about 300 full sun days annually at this latitude — I am at a float charge by three o’clock every afternoon, that is, providing I’m not running major power tools. An average day of energy consumption at the ranch would include a 19 cu ft refrigerator, 21 cu ft freezer. ¾ horse power water pump, lights, television, computer, and a Viking range and oven, that is, when my wife gets a hankering to bake, which is most of the time.
I recall when my solar ambitions where in their infancy. I was trying to learn everything I could about this alternative energy source. A dealer presented me with a nifty schematic where I was encouraged to write down what my electrical demand might be. It showed examples of lights, refrigerators, televisions, blow dryers, microwave ovens, etcetera. After selecting some of these desirable have to haves, I could add up what it would take to power these gadgets collectively, and the formula would yield how much solar equipment: panels, inverter, charge controller, batteries it would take to store and run these needful things. This helped the dealer match me with a system that would satisfy my lust for electricity.
Screw that! I realized that by taking this route to energy independence, I would be key hold into a system that would not grow with my lust, thus forcing me to upgrade the inverter and charge controller sooner than later.
Instead, I simply envisioned a home with all the amenities, like a grid bound Mac Mansion in the city. Then I bought the biggest non-commercial inverter and charge controller I could, one that would satisfy my growing lust. Since then I have been expanding my array and battery bank exponentially, so now I can focus my attention on more meaningful things, like installing a hot tub and running it on solar power. Now I’m really having impure thoughts.