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OFF-THE-GRID BASICS

We live on a remote island off the coast of Washington state. There is no electric grid; we have a solar electric system. Though unfamiliar to many people, these systems feature well-established technology.

The "standard" system includes: Photovoltaic (PV) panels to produce electricity; a battery bank to store it; and an inverter to change the DC power of the batteries and PV array into AC for house loads. Part of our project involved replacing our 20-year-old system with a new one. We installed 1400 watts of solar panels, a 3600 watt Outback inverter, and eight L-16 batteries. (We had hoped to get rid of batteries entirely, but this was impossible.) We happily dispensed with the customary back-up generator.

This PV-Battery-Inverter system is the solid foundation on which we built our hydrogen loop.

Above Left: The PV array.      Above Right: The Inverter is in the top middle. DC panel on the right, AC panel on the left, two charge controllers on far right.

   
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