The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Mounting Harbor Freight solar panels

Harbor Freight solar panels mounted on top of wood shed.

The recent power outage motivated me to find a place to mount our solar panels.

The red cable should be enough tension to handle moderate levels of wind.



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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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Curious how many watts those panels produce. It probably says on the back.

I'm just about ready to order 1 kw of replacement panels for my house..

Also, do you still need a charge controller, or how are you charging batteries from those?

Comment by joeyh.name Wed May 31 14:42:24 2017

I'm no expert, but for perspective: The HF system is rated @ 45W. IF (a very bog IF) it could really produce that for 5 hr/d and it lasted you 20 yrs (unlikely). AND if you used all the juice it produced, then you're getting power for ~ $0.12 /kW-hr--very competitive with commercial production costs AND you don't have to pay the taxes, so it's really cheaper. BUT-- you'll probably really double the cost due to inefficiency & erratic weather. And if you're only using it as "back up," then your costs per kW-hr go way up.

You need to add the cost of a battery to the HF system (~$70 for a 35 amp-hr unit). That will take 3-4 days to fully charge, but you can run a typical laptop for 50-70 hrs on that charged battery, or a 100W light for ~40hrs.

Reviews I've read suggest the HF kit is convenient for the inexperienced but can suffer from quality issues.

Comment by doc Thu Jun 1 07:50:49 2017
The power of nature - ocean waves or wind is greater than people imagine. I would anchor this down a bit more
Comment by Jim Thu Jun 1 09:06:38 2017





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