Clara wrote:I have 720v 24w system with 2300Kw inverter, this is fairly new and replaces a system that was cobbled together over 20years (which we have retained and will be using elsewhere in the future). Before we had a dual voltage system with 12v lighting. Since the conversion we have changed all that to 230v (and we can now see eachother across the dining table!).
Dual system here as well: 12V and a 110V (through an inverter [1200 W], obviously). did you have trouble with 12V lighting? We use that.. (must say there's some kind of..er.. transformer?.. build in in each individual light"bulb". I'm not sure how to describe it or how it works. Anyway, we never have troubles with the lights not being bright enough.
Clara wrote:In terms of usage, we are still monitoring to learn what we can get away with, though to give you an idea we are using 230v lights (mostly with energy efficient bulbs), laptop and wi-fi, tv and dvd player and washing machine (though the water is not heated by the PV system, it feeds in from the solar hot water tank via the cold feed). The previous owner had converted a small chest freezer into a fridge (using a thermostat and a switch) and used that during the day during the summer with the old much lower powered system. We have not felt the need to keep a fridge running, since we mainly eat veggie and find that the pantry works just fine even in the heat of the summer. so we are thinking about converting it back to a freezer as this would be useful to help us with preserving our harvests.
Why did you choose NOT to have a dual system anymore? I'd say getting the lights to work on 12 volt, well , in your case 24V, instead of 230v is saving you a lot of electricity, right?
Washing machine on generator, here. Also without heating.
Water is warmed in the normal piping/plumbing by the sun, no need for a solar hot water tank even! (Caribbean...). It gets really hot during the day (and we do not have cold water to add, hehehe).
Fridge on gas (not very environmentally friendly, actually).
Clara wrote:We expect and get a lot of sunlight days per year, though being in the mountains it can get cloudy for days at a time. With the old system, that wasnÂ´t meeting our needs at all, we would run out of power sometimes in the winter, this is disasterous for the batteries. We have learnt a lot since we started living like this and would never allow that to happen again, but we now have the option to charge the batteries from a generator in extended periods of little sun (not brilliant for the environment in one way, but better for preserving the life span of the batteries to only use the top 30% of their capacity)
same here. hardly ever have to do that, though..again: Caribbean..
Clara wrote:Phew, that was a ramble, but do ask anything else you would like to know about the practicalities of living off-grid....IÂ´m not too technically minded, but I do tend to retain bits of information!
I know about it
. I'm just very curious what other people's experiences are, especially as I want to promote
solar energy as much as possible, and the more I now about it (including experiences of other people), the better I can do that.
Clara wrote:BTW IÂ´m a Brit, IÂ´ve lived here for just over 2 years.
don't know why, but I figured you were probably not a native of Spain. So, how do you like it? What made you decide to move to Spain?