Solar is cool!

The sun is out and apparently you can get power from it… !

While the building process has slowed up little bits and bobs continue for the Happy, simply home, like solar.

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The response since the move to the front lawn at Wellington Rd has been amazing. Lots of people are stopping by and I now finally have time for a chat to explain the building, the learning experiences and the components of the model and project encompassing simplicity, self-sufficiency and sustainability.

the source of energy - the sun

the source of energy – the sun

Yesterday the spotlight was on the sun and to grab its rays to use for power. Really it was only yesterday that the amazing reality of the sun’s potential hit me – every second the sun hits the earth it can be used for our power needs. Luckily thanks to the knowledge and skills of many in the area of solar power I have been able to understand in easy terms the concept, the components and the practical application to power my entire power needs in life, with the sun.

However the process to get this point has taken time, understanding and confusion (as well as frustration I’m sure for those trying to teach me!). In the end I came to know I needed a solar panel, a controller, batteries, an inverter and few extra components like wire, connectors, fuses, brackets, etc…

organising the connections

organising the connections 

In essence I need to show you the photo and get someone to draw a simple diagram but as far as I understand this is how it works…

the original line diagram for my solar needs

the original line diagram for my solar needs but more than I needed


  • The sun hits the solar panel (95W) mounted on the top of the home

    95W solar panel

    95W solar panel

  • The panels are connected by wires (old stereo wires) inside through a hole in the door to a controller

    sorting out the wires

    sorting out the wires

  • The controller controls (technical term) how much energy comes into the batteries and then once again out of the batteries

    the wire to battery plan

    the wire to battery plan

  • The batteries store energy for when there is no sun (night-time, rainy or cloudy – other technical term)
    • You don’t want to overload the batteries with sun energy nor drain too much from them hence the need for a controller
    • I have a series of 8 small lead-acid closed cell batteries of 7Ah each

      the set up at Paul's place

      the set up at Paul’s place

    • From the batteries and through the controller I have two 12v car socket points that I plug an invertor into to convert 12 volts into 240v and the usual three pin socket

      the Happy, simply system - batteries, controller, inverter and set to use

      the Happy, simply system – batteries, controller, inverter and set to use

    • Here I then run a laptop and any other device (up to max 100W) and other 12v devices like lights

      with my 1W LED light for dinner

      with my 1W LED light for dinner

Hope this kind of makes sense and did take me a little time to get this far but it is pretty easy when it is laid out in front of you or photographically as hopefully this does.

One of the interesting and biggest issues I faced in setting up the solar was trying to get people to speak to me as a 5 year old so I could understand the concepts and then to understand my power needs which are minimal and simple. Often I had people try and tell me I had to have extra panels, extra batteries, extra bits and pieces but luckily there were a few people (Paul especially!) who understood my concept of Happy, simply where just enough is plenty and if I run out of power then so be it – get out the candles or just go for a walk and go to bed!

Now that it is here I am very excited to have my own solar system set up that will easily power a laptop, charge a phone and run some lights. This does mean life needs to be without any need for of powered heating devices – toaster, hair dryer, water boiler, heater or cooling devices but again this is the point of Happy, simply where less is more and I eat what I need to eat daily, stoke a fire to keep warm and cook and use the odd gadget or camping style devices (like solar radio, portable light, camp stove and solar shower).

Many might think I am missing out on luxuries or conveniences but for me it is a simple, pure, connected, happy and rich way to live where menial tasks have value, need time and are just as important as the time they are meant to ‘save’ to theoretically enjoy the ‘extra free time’ we accumulate.

Anyway the sun is way cool (hot actually) and I now only use the power of the sun for all my electrical needs – awesome!

the sun setting in Paekakariki - beautiful eh and it gives you power!

the sun setting in Paekakariki – beautiful eh and it gives you power!

Thanks Paul, Tim, Dean, Pete and Stan (in order of confusion! 😉


One thought on “Solar is cool!

  1. I hope that doesn’t look too complicated as even I learnt what is needed to run a lifestyle on solar… It’s cloudy today and for the next few days so will be interesting to see how it goes!

    Cheers, d’Arcy.

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