We started with three, but that just wasn’t enough. Make it four. Okay, keep it coming… Double it! Eight- Eight it is!!
After nearly two years and a two-stage 500 Watt upgrade, our gruesome little 300W start-up stick-mount PV system has been elevated to its proper form and function to meet our off-grid power needs. (HUGE thanks to Mark for being our indispensable consult along the way… We’re waiting to see what’s next for the little yurt!!)
Our first step in increasing our solar power production and storage was adding a 4th 100W panel on a proper south-facing static mount with two additional 76Ah AGM batteries and 1K charge controller in a utility cart for a total of 400 Watts on-line to get us through our first winter. It worked pretty darn well, but we quickly learned how to power cycle our electronics during the very short days.
In August the following summer, we doubled-up the battery bank for a grand total of 8 AGMs complete with a fancy chicken coop powerhouse, which also provided some much needed storage space and a level parking place for our trusty back-up generator.
Finally, coming out of our second winter, we were able to lift another mounted array of 400W to round out the system. The tower was an undertaking unto itself with managing weights and working at heights. We poured concrete and set posts in the fall before we were unexpectedly called out of town, and we were sure to add a main power shut-off switch between the panels and charge controller.
Other than configuring the remote communications module so we can monitor system status from inside the yurt, this will probably do it for our first 12V system. As we determine the next steps for outbuildings and more permanent structures, we may consider upgrading this system to its full 1K capacity and adding a 24V set-up later down the road. For now, we are loving all the additional time we have to share our story with you… Thank you so much for reading and following, and be sure to leave comments below to let us know what else you’d like to see!!