Solar Power For The Cottage

In this day of climate change, extreme weather is often an issue, the storms we get are often quite serious and power outages not unusual.

In fact, during the last hurricane we had, folks around the cottage went days without electricty. That can be fun for a day or two, but stretch it out any longer and it gets kinda frustrating and somewhat dangerous too, depending on your age and situation.

That’s why people are looking hard at alternative power sources, that and the rising cost of power and heating fuel etc. Lastly, I think folks, especially cottagers, are often interested in doing things that leave less of a footprint, or as they say these days, ‘carbon footprint’ which basically equates to the pollution we create from consuming fossil fuels.

So…what are the alternatives? Dammed if I know, although I am starting to pay more attention to things like this Sunsei Solar Charger

This is what is often called a ‘solar panel’ It’s a 65-watt 16.5-volt charger that can provide reliable, renewable energy that is an alternative to noisy and expensive diesel, propane and gas generators. We all know how annoying those things can be around the lake, when the quiet nights are disturbed by the continuing hum of generators used at the cottages that don’t have power.

This solar panel can replace the daily power consumption of 12-volt lighting systems and appliances. It gives an immediate trickle-charge when exposed to daylight, even on cloudy days. This is the kind of thing that would be great at the cottage or on your RV. It can also be used for charging small backup power systems.

But you need more than the panel, you need batteries, because what happens is the unit charges multiple batteries at once and works with your vehicle or cabin’s electrical system. Its “Plug-n-Play” features allows connection of multiple panels in seconds without tools or rewiring, and its blinking indicator shows when the panel is charging. It also requires a charge controller (Sunsei SE-CC10000 10 Amp Solar Charge Controller (shown below, which is sold separately)

Then of course you need to make sure your system, whether that’s your appliances, or lights, or whatever, will run with DC power from the batteries as opposed to AC, which may involve some wiring.

All that said, these are going to be the wave of the future and the future is now.

You’re going to see solar panels showing up on houses and cottages everywhere, if not for the cost of oil, for the environmental reasons. Although, they aren’t perfect either, because they need batteries, and batteries eventually need to be disposed of, which of course, leads to more environmental issues.

I still think a solar panel system is a worthy investment, and something I am seriously considering for the cottage. As these gain ground, they will probably become more refined, more versatile and more common, therefore less expensive too, something that will be a big plus.

Speaking of solar panels, and in particular inexpensive solar panels, in addition to the commercial panels available, inventive people are coming up with do-it-yourself ideas to make heat and energy, like this pop can solar heater that I find rather intriguing…so much so that I am thinking seriously about starting to build one in the new year, just to see if it really works.

I think it might be fun, even if just for a conversation piece around the cottage. If it does what the author says, it would certainly provide some heat for the camp, or at least the garage, which would be good in winter as my camp garage is unheated.

Anyone else using any solar power at the camp, or thinking about it?

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3 thoughts on “Solar Power For The Cottage”

  1. Our cottage is completely off the grid and have been using solar for a while now. The panels from Canadian Tire work good and are cheaper to replace when a tree falls on your roof. We don’t bother with an inverter and run the whole place on 12V. Lots of interesting 12V items and appliance coming onto the market.
    I think you can use beer cans for the solar heater too.

  2. Hey Laker, I will have to come up and see your place. I know you are on the same lake somewhere. I’ll look for the solar panels!

  3. Stop in any time, company is always welcome.
    Finished closing up this past weekend, spring seems like a long ways off.