With the improvements in technology today and as the industry moves toward making solar very accessible, a portable solar system may be just what you need to get started.
Here is a great review from our friends at Purelivingforlife where you can read more in detail.
Why We Waited So Long to Jump Into Solar Power
Going off grid and solar seem to be ubiquitous, but not for us. We sketched out many scenarios during the pre-work before arriving to our property last fall. Let’s be honest – we really wanted to get solar right away. Solar is SO EXCITING! However, reality had a different flavor. The conclusions for every solar scenario amounted to a few things.
- We had no idea what kind of solar potential we’d actually have on our property. We basically arrived on our property right before winter, so we had no real chance to experience summer sun. Solar potential was a huge factor in choosing our property (and heaven almighty did it have a huge Southern, non-obstructed view!). That said, we still didn’t know the reality of how much sun we would get. Would it be a decent amount, or a MOTHER LOAD?
- We had no idea what our power needs would be. Coming from on-grid, we simply hadno clue how to live with alternative energy. While we had run endless solar and energy calculators and tried our best to understand what our laptops, cameras, cell phones, lights, fans, heater and power tools needed daily, we just couldn’t really get a solid baseline. Even carefully reading our power bills for months prior left us unsure of what our actually energy needs would be living an off-the-grid lifestyle.
- Solar panels, while somewhat affordable, are nothing more than collectors and are not a complete system without various additional components. Without an equally suitable storage medium (batteries) and a properly suited extractor (inverter) the system isn’t worth much. It’s hard to harness something as unpredictable as the sun. In fact, it’s quite sophisticated and thus, the technology that’s needed to properly and safely capture the sun and store it is sophisticated as well. The batteries and inverter, along with the necessary heavy gauge cables, are the most expensive components to any solar power system easily running into the $5,000+ range.
- It was expected that for at least the first little while, we’d need a lot of power, on-demand, regardless of weather or time of day. Being handicapped in any way (having to time our energy usage for sun-heavy days) would seriously impede progress at crucial moments. Solar and on-demand power are nearly antonyms. That proved VERY true during Windstorm 2015 when upon arriving home late at night in a driving hard rain our home was mangled by a microburst wind.
- Despite all the development in the solar technology, the major components to this day are still not emphatically scalable which makes it hard to “tip toe” into solar. Once you get married to a component, it’s very expensive to upgrade as it typically requires full replacement. Since a system is no small investment, we just weren’t comfortable gambling that we’d miss the mark and pay dearly down the road in upgrades.
There Just HAD to Be a Sensible Way to Get Started With Solar Power?
It finally happened! We started out solar journey. This isn’t how we saw it happening, but we’re very glad it did. Already we’re feeling the benefits of offsetting out generator use. Not just the fuel and cost savings, but the convenience too.
Solar has been on our radar for some time and we recently ran into Go Power at an RV convention. We discussed with them our situation, concerns and frustrations with solar. During the conversation portable solar came up as an option for getting started today on a budget and with the intent to only offset our generator use. This approach had escaped us because we were looking so far forward. We were trying to size the “now-and-later” solar setup, but it’s just hard to do, especially on a budget.
In the end we made the leap, picked up a portable array and are very happy that our generator use had declined to nill. Sure it’s summer so there’s lots of sun available. Perhaps by winter we’ll have a better feel for solar, our power needs and be more capable of sizing a system to fit our future needs.
We wanted to share this story with you because we were overcomplicating solar and it was a huge relief to discover that it doesn’t have to be. Starting small can make sense especially if you’re boondocking, looking for an array to power your campsite or are heading off grid. Had we known this was an option, or at least not overlooked it, when we arrived it would have been in our toolbox for certain.
If you need portable solar or just plain simple solar, give these portable arrays a look or even a try and see if they’ll meet your power needs for today. It’s a great way to get started!
Read more at Purelivingforlife
A simple solar solution…