Time to harvest some solar energy
With the roof completed, it’s now time for us to put our solar panels up on the roof. To tell the truth, we have been harvesting solar energy right from the start. In fact, our solar setup was one of the first major purchases. Why? Our build site doesn’t have any power so, in order to be able to run our power tools, we needed panels to harvest some solar energy.
Our reasons for using solar energy
One of the main reasons for our tiny house adventure was the desire to live off-grid and to use only renewable energies for our everyday routines. It also makes a lot of sense to make the most of Australia’s intense sun.
We felt that in order to do this one has to own its own home. It’s hard to convert a rented city apartment into a renewables heaven. And trust me we tried! But as we all know it’s almost impossible for first home buyers to get into the housing market. So tiny houses were and still are the solution for us.
Our plan is to use solar energy to run appliances like fridge, TV, washing machine. We also want to use it for powering our lights and to charge our phones and computers.
So many options
I recommend doing your research before buying a solar setup to get the system that is tailored to your needs. Also, be sure to find out your appliances energy usage and your average energy consumption.
There’s a lot to know and learn about solar panels, inverters and especially batteries. These days there are a lot of different types of batteries out there and they are constantly evolving. Batteries are still the most expensive item on the solar shopping list. But with ongoing research, innovative materials and new technologies they will perform better and eventually come down in price.
Once it’s time to replace our current battery bank in about 10 years time I trust that there will be even more efficient and cost-effective batteries out there.
Our solar setup
In the end, we went with a package solution from Aussie batteries. It wasn’t cheap but that’s mainly due to the batteries. The package came with six solar panels, an inverter, 24 batteries and a cabinet to store everything in.
Each panel brings in 310 W, so in total, we will get around 1.86 kW of continuous solar power. But on a sunny day, we will get even more than that. The batteries are deep cycle gel batteries and should last us up to 10 years if we maintain them well, e.g. watch their discharge.