“This is only a test”
We are going off-grid for a week to see if our solar+battery system can provide house power during a simulated 1-week grid failure such as we might experience following a hurricane. We will try to live like we normally do, and learn by trial and error what adjustments we have to make to live within our battery capacity.
6:15 pm, Friday, 8 March 2019, main breaker for FPL power is turned… OFF.
Here's a video of me turning off the switch for grid power.
(why do video's always choose the most awkward-looking frame to freeze?)
We are off grid!
That was fun. Should I plug in the car now as the sun is dipping or wait until the sun is up and the solar array is producing power?
Efficiency says no - it's inefficient to charge batteries with charged batteries.
Convenience says yes - we will want to use the car tomorrow, so we'd best charge it tonight.
Let's favor convenience (this time, anyway) and plug in the car under the premise that we're going to try to live a normal life and compromise only where we have to.
Car-charging on battery power works OK on the Level 1 charger (regular house current, 120 VAC).
The sun is down, the grid is off, and all the power is coming from the batteries. The car charger is drawing 1.4 kW and the house is drawing another 0.3 kW for a total draw of 1.7 kW.
We had dinner on the patio this evening: grilled salmon, pasta with cilantro pesto from the garden, and green beans from the garden, salad, ice cream and strawberries with Cointreau, and good company. Load the dishwasher and push the button.
It all works so far.
What we will cover this week.
- Details of our solar system and how we got here.
- Solar home economics.
- The best way to go solar.
- Solar powered cars.
- Laundry day (not sure how that’s going to work).
- Appliance usage under a microscope.