Note: The information contained in this periodical weblog may be outdated. This was my personal weblog published before January 1, 2015. Since then I have been the co-owner and Principal Solar Designer at Florida Solar Design Group.

My Solar Experience, The Early Years

I had my first taste of solar energy living off-grid in the Caribbean in 2000. This old system still exists in some form, and it brings back great memories. It’s mounted on the roof of a farm building in which I had an “apartment.”

Solar Powered Farm

In the Caribbean, solar water heating tanks are integrated with the collector. Storage is minimal. Production is great.

The two larger photovoltaic modules are Astropower 110w modules used to charge four Trojan T-105 batteries which provided power for a pump to pressurize the water system. I think there was also a small Trace 1200w inverter for lighting. The other module looks like a Kyocera 85w, but I don’t recall what it was for.

Solar Powered Farm
Peppers grown on the solar powered farm

Energy was limited. Very limited. But it worked! We had a propane refrigerator that loved to freeze up with a flue that had to be serviced weekly. There was running water from a cistern with rainwater collection. Our alarm clock was the rooster.

Times have changed. Solar modules are 1/5 the cost. Systems are more efficient. Safer and more integrated equipment exists. Mounting systems have become simple and straightforward.

If I had only known then what I know now…

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