Part of the Tiny House Project was to attempt off grid living, and a level of self sustainability. We parked the tiny house on a piece of property that had no power, water or sewer – a perfect place to implement off grid living with a solar system and water system.
The solar system proved to be challenging, with very little knowledge, we began researching on the internet. Much of the information you can see on the internet is outdated, which added to the confusion.
The strategy was to purchase as we could afford, and work up to the full system we required, which currently costs around $4000 for a small cabin off grid system. We started with a 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter, one 240 watt solar panel, a charge controller and two deep cycle golf cart batteries. Through trial error, and much frustration, we discovered that you cannot run the larger inverter with a small battery bank. The system just keeps shutting off and we couldn’t understand why. We finally figured out that the inverter was just doing its job, and shutting off at 80% of battery life. We came to the realization that we had to downsize to a smaller inverter so the batteries could run for a longer duration. We purchased a 1000W inverter, and could run the house for a full day using lights and charging our phones and play the tv and dvd player.
We finally invested in solar batteries – Rolls s550 to create a battery bank. We tested with the 1000W inverter and ran the house for a full day, with lights, radio, tv and charging electronics. Next we switched back to the 3000W inverter and ran the house for a full day, but we were also able to run larger items such as the water pump, the refrigerator and a 1500W blow dryer.
We are riding high on our solar success, we are headed in the right direction.
One solar panel doesn’t provide enough to recharge the batteries fully, so the next investment is to add more solar panels to charge the batteries. We may need to purchase more batteries to actually have a system that runs on several days if there is not enough sunshine, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it… for now we are filled with elation!