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The open floor plan makes the small cabin feel cozy and spacious at the same time.

Take a Load Off

Together, Bill and Louis made a list of the loads in the house. Loads are all of the electrical appliances, such as the refrigerator, the fans, and the air conditioner. They also listed how many hours per day each appliance would be used. Once the list was complete, they added it all up to see how much total electricity per day the house would use, and how much the solar-electric system would have to produce.

Bill faxed his load list as well as a diagram of his available roof space to renewable energy equipment suppliers around the country. He chose Sierra Solar in Grass Valley, California, because of their helpful phone support and competitive pricing. They planned a package consisting of twelve Siemens, 100 watt, photovoltaic (PV) panels; sixteen Surrette, deep-cycle batteries; and a Xantrex power panel. The power panel combines the major system components into one unit, and with the TriMetric meter shows how much energy is being used by the household, how much is being generated by the solar-electric array, and how much is stored in the batteries.

Even though the camp is a getaway for Bill, his wife Karen, and their four children, Bill still wanted it to have all of the conveniences of a normal home. Bill researched energy efficient appliances and found that by installing items like the AquaStar on-demand water heater and a propane stove and heater, the house's electrical energy consumption would be greatly reduced. Bill and Louis figured that the peak electrical load of the house would be around 800 watts without the air conditioner. With the air conditioner, the peak load jumped to 2,000 watts (2 KW). For times when the air conditioner is in use, they decided on a propane-fired, 7 KW Generac brand generator.

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Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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