Saturday, May 4, 2013

Now Painted

Painted Beige

My Spring Solar Project

Solar panel in the new box/stand
EarthFest at the Berea fair grounds featured new energy technologies such as wind and solar power. Solar has been around for a while but I finally see a application that makes it work for me. For the past several years I have spent time camping in primitive camp grounds without electrical hookups. Cell phones, computers and tablet have become such an important part  life that going without power for even a few days is difficult.  Last year we brought a gas powered generator but running an engine is noisy and part of the camp experience is getting away from such distractions.

While still not cheap the prices a have come down to the point where it was worthwhile to look into doing this. The Grape Solar panel I bought is rated at 235 watts in full sun.  This should be enough power to charge all devices, power a computer and light the night with efficient led rope lights.

The challenges to overcome have been cost, weight and portability. The panel itself is about 45 pounds. so too much plywood would make it a back breaker.  So the box is made of 1x5 pine with some 1x2 slats on the back.  Originally I was going to have plywood doors that open, but after framing they would add a lot of weight.  When I was at Loews I saw some translucent blue PVC panels (think tin roof) that would be about the lightest way to protect the panel during transit. My guess is it only adds about 10 pounds.

The wood working is done, so today is painting day.  The box is bound to see some rain so this should help make it more water proof. Pics to follow.

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