Just returning from a surf trip to Baja Sur and had a chance to sit with Dave Steibel in Baja Sur.
Dave has been building homes and solar systems in Baja for many years and has first hand tips on what works and what does not work when you rely on sun and batteries for your power.
- First, perform an accurate load calculation on all devices and appliances you think you will want in your home or trailer. High draw items (hair dryer, microwave, etc) are less likely to tax your batteries if you run a generator for them.
- Find more efficient, smaller draw appliances if they are available. Example, off-grid homes will use a traditional pool pump for pushing water but another, more efficient mini water pump is available. The 1.1 Hp 850 Watt Esybox is an energy saving automatic pressurization system for water supply. Online price is around $899
- Pass on using 100 watt (12 volt) solar panels (modules) and use higher voltage 240 watt and greater solar panels used by residential homes. The batteries will enjoy the higher amperage you will charge them with via the solar controller.
- You will want a residential size refrigerator and you should research refrigerators with inverter technology to save your batteries. An example is the LG GF22BGSK that is 612L , draws 2.5A 300/280Watts. The inverter frig will cost more but you will make it back by reducing the discharge on your battery bank.
- Strings of 6 volt Golf cart (GC2) batteries are having longer service life compared to the single or double string of 6 volt L16 size deep cycle batteries. The golf cart batteries will require more room but the advantage is that if a cell goes bad, a string can be taken off-line and the bad battery can be replaced with another from the off-line string. Dave is using 2/0 cable we supplied.
photo credit dave steibel