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Is it worth it to get solar panels for a smaller home?

SMALL ITEMS (some items worked from attached small solar panel without battery, though windup better in emergency): VOLTAP diode chain for items < 12 volts – “ tiny brilliant torch that needs only about 1 squeeze per week, shaver, calculators, stirrer, 3 clocks, watch, doorbell. Hose-reel garden pump where small solar panel drives its windscreen wiper motor directly – if not driven by a stream or wind – to drip-feed food plants. Blackout Kit = 12 volt battery charged by mains if you on grid, able to power small TV, fans, radio, mobile phone, camera, LED lights but $30 gets garden-charged & switchable Solar LED lamps for inside & emergency.


INVERTER on Solar car battery for machines such as: mini microwave cooker, also to produce 240 or 120 V to drive mains adaptors to charge scooter, & other batteries for whipper snipper, chain saw, saw, tyre pump, hedge trimmer converted to a lawn mower + brush cutter with handle & 2 trolley wheels, Computers & Printers, table lamps. Bed Hot water bottle like 2 litre drink bottles heated by microwave etc to avoid water waste.


KEEP COOL: Water evaporator for entire house, though ceiling fan is usually plenty. We hand-spray our T-shirt with water, then have a small fan playing on the moist T-shirt in real heat waves, that usually gets too cold & we have to slow or redirect the fan. With 2 or 4 watt car fan playing on bare legs is much cooler than if fan playing on face, arms etc; fans can often save more than ½ air conditioning power that we find unnecessary even in Queensland. For low-humidity areas we have a tiny 12volt water evaporator; big home units are very economical & take little power to supply cool air ducted around to each room. For outside in the sun, my favorite is a white hat topped with a small solar PV panel powering a cute little fan built into the front brim. Air Conditioning: Simply have a fan blow air into a bucket of ice if available. Cool water drinks help + cool water swim or garden hose spray. All these replies are using the wrong type of inefficient fridge. Our old unit “TOP-LOADING FRIDGE: Homemade most efficient 40L plastic trash drum = 12 volt, 2.3 average-watt unit under house, in breeze & shade + part-buried & never in hot kitchen, with 15 cms polyurethane foam all around; uses 30 times less annual energy than other fridges + good ice maker. Alternatively, Commercial FRESHIELD vacuum food preservers + hand pump + many sized containers replaces fridge, ours now for 1/4 century (sausages fresh for months; check weekly & pump again if the pressure rises slightly). Power from a car battery used for entire 12-volt house that is charged by the cheap small 46 watt solar panel. Fridge takes about 2 days to cool down. In cool climates, this outside fridge can be permanently off during winter. The unit uses a 12 volt DANFOSS Danish kit compressor system. Ceiling insulation + attic venting + summer trees shading the home are all useful. Take a summer holiday up a mountain!


TO KEEP WARM IN COLDEST WINTERS: 3 layers of box cardboard insulates on floors under carpets. Also on walls behind Book cases & cupboards against walls facing outside + in ceilings; there are millions needing it!!! Long socks on your hands are wonderful in bed etc. Hotwater bottle covered in a knitted bag keeps bed warm all night. Our 46 watt solar panel provides total house power including summer fridge, blender, fans, LEDs, pumps, TV & radio etc; but best of all a bed warmer comprising a rheostat – variable power resistor – inside a MILO or big coffee can which is placed in the bed. Save bathwater there till cold to warm house a little. In bed we have all 3 meals as well as watch TV, use computer & phone, read books, play & listen to music + radio etc. Our single-stick air preheating & after-burning Helixtove with flu heats wonders with no wood chopping. Wellington gumboots are real warm outside; fill with water & walk around for a few minutes to clean boots & your feet. Migrate to warm New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu or Australia where we virtually have every day cloudless & no violence or racism etc. Cold-climate solar heating needs: Not the electric type but the cheap hot water panels heat all our water real hot. Like my home in Cornwall I had a glassed-in veranda south-facing which heated the entire house via big slot in top & bottom of door to house from veranda. But big east & west-facing windows heat house most of day. Ideal cool-climate plan-view house shape is my “SUNNY HOME” with veranda above & big windows on sloping ends that house-heat most of the day if sunny; /TTTTT\ like our Cornwall UK home having long sun-facing glassed veranda that over-heated entire winter home to summer temps; door to house from veranda had wide slit above & below, covered at night. Note corridor connecting rooms below – This figure is made entirely of keyboard entries including 5xTs etc in Bahnschrift font. A lake facing the house sun-side heats house even more by reflection. Let us know if you want finer details!

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