So, we took a short cut. Instead of trying to design our own solar configuration, buy all the components and connect them into a functioning system, we went for the plug-and-play approach. Yes, it cost more initially to buy a system we could set up and have running in an hour. But we avoided underbuying and overbuying; we avoided compatibility issues; and we avoided a slew of other novice errors and a whole lot of second-guessing.
Which is a long way of announcing that we have solar power fueling the batteries that run our fans and lights, charge our computer and phones, keep our fridge humming and power our tools--with more energy loads to come. Our SolMan Classic from SolSolutions of California is a portable solar generator that's an all-in-one, integrated system we can place far from the trees that shade our tiny house and we can easily move throughout the day to track the sun. No noise, no fumes, no fuel, no additional costs, no maintenance required.
All the working parts of the SolMan Classic come encased in a weatherproof unit that sits behind the solar panels. The unit can be moved easily thanks to two heavy-duty wheels.
Here are some specs (for those of you to whom this means something):
· Three Kyocera 140-watt PV panels.
· Three, 110-amp hour Firefly deep-cycle, sealed-gel/AGM batteries with 3000 usable watt hours of battery storage capacity.
· Blue Sky Solar Boost 2000E MPPT charge controller.
· AIMS Global 1500-watt pure sine wave inverter/charger.
· Output: 12 volts DC or 120 volts AC.
· Digital meter for AC volts/amps/watts and cumulative watt/hours used.
Paying more than $5000 for our solar unit wasn't a decision we took lightly. It's a big chunk of our total house investment. It's not a way to save money; we could stay connected to the grid for years before our SolMan pays for itself. But when it comes to sustainability, this feels like a smart investment for our collective future.
Learn more about SolSolutions and their line of clean, off-grid products here. See our new "sun deck" here.