Going Solar Phase 1

I am most excited because Kim has just negotiated to purchase batteries and an inverter for our planned solar power system.  We have VERY limited funds to put towards the system and so we are having to penny pinch every step of the way.  In fact the energy matters website quotes $25,000 for a solar system the size we are hoping to get, and we only have $8,500 set aside.  🙂  Always the optimists, hey?  However we do have the advantage of being prepared to purchase things second hand, and by God’s grace Kim has the ability to understand how to put it all together and is able to assemble components to save on cost as well.

The batteries were always going to be a large chunk of the cost and we were hoping to be able to get about 20 of the ex-lighthouse batteries that we already have 4 of, but these ones have all that is needed in just 3 huge batteries instead.  New with the inverter they would have cost $8,000 but at 2 years old we are getting them for $3,100.  Their expected lifetime is 10-12 years so we are hopeful that they will work well for us.  The inverter is a Latronics brand which is the best type as far as we have been able to determine.  It changes the 12 volts from the batteries into 240 volts so that we can run the fridge, freezer, microwave etc.  As an added blessing the people selling them have family in Deloraine, a nearby town, and are prepared to deliver them to us.  That is great as with the batteries measuring 30cm x 40cm x 60cm and weighing in 100kg each they would have been a challenge for us to collect from south of Hobart!

We still need to get our slow combustion stove finished, installed and hooked up to the hot water.  This will be an integral part of the whole system and KIm has been renovating the stove as health permits over the last few months.  He has also been investigating LED lighting as there are many very powerful LED lights available now.  It is quite astounding what they are able to do with them these days, and unlike the compact fluorescent globes we are forced to spend a fortune on now, they actually don’t die after a few months.  We also need to fix our generator sometime.  We bought the generator a little while ago from a family in Northern Tassie, who had brought it with them from WA.  In fact the lady of the family has a German Shepherd and used to be in my dog training class in Albany.  It is a small world!  It worked fine until recently but Kim is sure that it is nothing too serious and that he will be able to fix it.

Anyway, I feel like we actually have made a start on going solar now, and I am looking forward to getting the batteries etc this Saturday.  Tonight we saw in the news that power costs in Tasmania are expected to go up another 42% over the next 3 years.  They already went up 25% last year and 20% the year before!  Also some day soon the power company is going to condemn our power pole, it is already a year past the due date for the inspection, and so the sooner we get the alternative system up and running the better.  Thankfully Kim has been feeling a little better lately and so has been able to put a bit of time into sorting things out for us.

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