I finally found an internet connection here in Anguilla (eastern Caribbean). I’m here on the edge of the water enjoying a very nice lunch (with wifi internet) at the Arawak Beach Inn (the food is fantastic). This week I’m upgrading a system I installed in 2008. This system has been operating flawlessly for 3 and a half years, but the client wanted additional lighting and fans, necessitating two more panels (Kyocera 135 watt) and additional battery storage (maintenance free AGM deep cycle). The weather here is nicer than South Carolina. It’s in the 80’s, and the batteries are fully charged by 10am. We now have two 130 watt panels and two 135 watt panels connected to the system. The two original 130’s’s are connected to the original xantrex c35 charge controller, and the two new 135’s are connected to a morningstar ss20. We are adding two outdoor light fixtures (now totaling 4), a wall fan, 5 electric outlets, and lights in the bedroom and bath room. All bulbs are 13w CF. We did wash today, which consumed 6ah (the washer is rated at 200 watts), but at 10am the batteries weren’t hit at all, the load was carried by the solar panels. The client is switching from buying bottled water to a DIY Berkey Filter filtering her rain fed cistern water, and a Energy Star electric fridge to replace her Consul propane unit.
Popular Science had an article on building a solar bag charger for cell phones and iPods. We believe the basics of that article can be expanded into many other similar projects. Check it out in our knowledgebase and participate in developing new applications and improvements. Larger pv panel, in-bag battery storage, power source for lighting, pumping etc. Great hiking or camping tool. The possibilities are endless.