Category — SOLAR

Off grid hiccups


A while back my current deep cycle batteries began to get weak, they would charge up quickly and not hold much of a charge, unfortunately the batteries are the part of the off grid system that need to be replaced on a semi-regular basis. I am hard on my batteries, that has never been a secret. This next week I plan on buying four 6-volt deep cycle golf cart batteries. In the past I have used marine type deep cycle batteries, they are more heavy duty than regular automotive batteries, but aren’t near as hearty as golf cart batteries.

As my current batteries began getting weaker and weaker, it began creating problems with my inverter, causing it to go into fault mode for a few seconds, meaning it would cut off the power during that time, it only did it during the day when the batteries were charging or fully charged, never at night, it took me a while to figure out where the problem was. (more…)

Chinese solar farm $2m crowd-funding
by TECHSTAR on FEBRUARY 20, 2014 - 2 Comments in SOLAR

A state-backed firm teamed up with Chinese online financiers to fund off-grid solar facility in Qianhai, near Shenzen, southern China.

United Photovoltaics Group, controlled by state-backed finance-to-logistics conglomerate China Merchants Group, aims to raise 10 million yuan through what it claims to be the world’s first megawatt-scale, off-power-grid solar farm project funded by an internet “crowd fundraising” platform. (more…)

SunPower to compete with Marfa lights


Marfa Texas is more known for eccentric-quirky artists and the Marfa Lights, an unexplained phenomena that happens on some nights, I have seen these lights and found them to be interesting and hard to explain, I thought I was seeing car lights, until I watched one go across the desert floor then shoot straight up into the air…. Now the company SunPower wants to build a power plant in Marfa, and the residents of Marfa have questions for SunPower.


MARFA – SunPower will host an open house Thursday, January 30, from 5pm to 7pm at the Marfa School Cafeteria. SunPower, based in San Francisco, California, is one of four companies interested in potentially setting up solar power plants in Presidio County.

The open house will allow residents to learn about the proposed 50-megawatt project called Texas Solar Star that would produce enough energy for around 40,000 homes. It was previously reported that SunPower is looking to locate their project in the Antelope Hills area east of Marfa. (more…)

Power giants hate solar in Australia
by TREETOPSJEN on FEBRUARY 7, 2014 - 1 Comment in SOLAR

democratisation of energy steals power from the utilities

Solar power is people power

The Australian solar industry is preparing for what it calls a “David and Goliath” battle against the country’s biggest generators and network operators. The outcome will likely decide the immediate fate of rooftop solar in Australia, and the pace of the so-called “democratisation of energy” — a contest that pitches households and their solar modules against the centralised utilities that have dominated the industry for a century or more in Australia and across the developed world. (more…)

Most solar panels are facing wrong direction
by TECHSTAR on NOVEMBER 19, 2013 - 3 Comments in SOLAR

Extra revenue generated by pointing panels Most solar panel installers follow conventional wisdom handed down from architects, which holds that in the northern hemisphere, windows and solar panels should face south.

This makes intuitive sense since it would seem to maximize the amount of sunlight a panel will get as the sun tracks from one horizon to the other. But it isn’t true, at least according to a single study of homes in Austin, Texas. The Pecan Street Research Institute found that homeowners who aimed their panels toward the west, instead of the south, generated 2% more electricity over the course of a day. (more…)

Underground home in Cumbria

Underground house

From what I have read, the underground house is often considered the holy grail of off grid living, it’s known to be warm in winter, cool in summer, making life more self sufficient for the occupants of the home. I ran across this video recently about a family creating an underground home, taking advantage of a former sandstone quarry, most of the “hole” their home would go in was already there. (more…)

Solar Thermal System for Heated Swimming Pool
by PABLO on OCTOBER 31, 2013 - 0 Comments in SOLAR, WATER

solar heated swimming pool doubles as awning

Toasty Autumn swimming!

Imagine taking a dip in your outdoor swimming pool in late October, even November as the ground hardens and the frost thickens. The steam is coming off of your heated pool, and its not costing you a cent – apart from considerable installation costs that is.

There are some design factors to be considered, including proper sizing and location. But there are many web sites to help you, as well as the off-grid technical forum for advice. It’s not imperative to have your solar pool heater configured and installed by experts. (more…)

Solar powered pyramid
by WRETHAOFFGRID on OCTOBER 27, 2013 - 2 Comments in OFF-GRID 101, SOLAR, WRETHA

Pyramid power

Ever see an off grid pyramid? Well you are about to. This is the video story of Greg Grant, who began his off grid existence slow and small.

He didn’t put a lot of money into his project. What he had was land, lots of natural materials, a great bunch of talented and helpful friends, and a unique vision. He chose to make his off grid home out of short straw-bale walls, but with a steeply pitched, pyramid shaped roof. (more…)

UK solar homes pass 500,000
by TECHSTAR on OCTOBER 21, 2013 - 0 Comments in SOLAR

Recent data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows that nearly 460,000 homes across the UK have solar panels installed, and that does not include off-grid homes, since these do not show up in official stats.

The data was released recently by DECC and published on the website of the Solar Trade Association (STA). It represents a combined peak capacity of 1.3GW, making domestic solar the largest sub-sector of the solar market.

The popularity of solar in the UK has largely resulted from huge subsidies that have now been scaled back. The result of intensive lobbying by the green movement, it has made a few companies super-profits and further enriched some wealthy householders, but done little to decarbonise Britain. (more…)

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