Propagation Power

Leisurely pondering growth and propagation of a dandelion this season, it sparked thoughts about growth and expansion of the solar power system here and how it faithfully provided plenty of green power to propagate lots of good works for clients over more than a decade.

The system began when the local power cooperative declared it would cost $10K to run a pole-strung power cable out here and that the cost of that cable installation would not be refunded as power was purchased from the cooperative over time. Yeah, no. To hell with that load of bullshit and the ugliness of power lines strung between poles marring the scenery. So a decision was made to go off grid and build a solar power system instead. An undertaking that was a bit scary at first but has turned out to be the wisest of all decisions. Off grid power has been feasible, affordable and much more reliable than on-grid power is.

Gradually growing the little solar power system here over a span of fifteen years has been an interesting and educational experience too. Starting out with a few car batteries, 150 watts of PV panels, a 15 amp RV charge controller, a couple of small modified-sine wave inverters and a manual-start generator/welding machine, then adding onto it three times now as technology advances brought price drops in almost all categories of components to its current state of a 1172 amp hour deep cycle battery bank, 1175 watt PV array with a pair of MPPT charge controllers providing up to 105 amps of output current, a 2800 watt full sine wave inverter/charger, a 400 watt wind turbine, all of the proper DC breakers, lightning protectors, disconnect boxes, remote control panels for charge controller and inverter, and an auto-start 14 kilowatt generator has entailed a lot of delightful work. And somehow I managed to expand the system each time without experiencing a single electrical shock, arc short, fire or explosion.

From the point of the first expansion (adding deep cycle batteries, another 150 watts of PV panels and a 30 amp PWM charge controller) the system has powered the home studio here throughout the twelve years I operated my little creative services company in it until retirement last summer without fail while grid power provided by cooperative company power lines has (and still does) frequently fail to deliver power to customers. Throughout the fifteen years of service, this little 12-volt off grid system has pumped out power without a glitch, through all severe weather events and even after multiple lightning strikes to it a couple of summers ago. No grid power system in the world can claim such consistent reliability.

A dandelion's growth is an amazing feat of photosynthetic off-grid power driven processes still not fully understood by science. I cannot claim full knowledge of all things related to off grid solar power systems. I'm still learning and technological advances keep providing better solutions for elegant growth of my little system each year. It's a hobby of necessity that brings rewards as reliably plentiful as the seeds produced by a dandelion head.

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