Winter Shut-Down options

CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
Ok, while not applicable to us in the southern hemisphere right now - "WINTER" is a harsh reality for us all at some point of the year, unless you're on the equator where winter is not applicable, however, the ITCZ (wet season) may very well be.


I have a very flat roof, only 10 degree tilt although facing North more or less. So what to do? I couldn't be bothered putting them on frames, it would be a mission to install them, would expose them to the 100Mph Port Elizabeth gusts and would make them visible from the street where quite frankly I don't want them visible from due to the high crime rate of the inner city! This 10 Degree roof tilt optimises them for Summer where the sun climbs to 80 Degrees from horizontal at the solstice. Winter is going to Dismal though, Production will drop off rapidly in April and will not return to meaningful figures until Mid-August.

To save batteries, I'm planning to shut-down the inverter and use the grid instead, and keep the batteries topped-up for potential blackouts only.

But the PV will make "Some" power, and would be a shame to let it go to waste - any imaginative ideas to use the feeble, short-lived and intermittent power for? If I can procure a 2 Ohm element it could probably be enough to heat a 3 gallon hot water cylinder on a sunny day. Not much else I can think of...


  • KenZ71KenZ71 Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Winter Shut-Down options

    My initial thought to capturing the solar output would be a water heater where the bottom heating elements are connected to the solar and top to the grid.

    But if the output us really that small maybe run it to a computer UPS? Although the risk is you forget when the sun starts to produce more power for you. Maybe just let it feed the grid and offset a very small part of your usage?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,520 admin
    Re: Winter Shut-Down options

    Most useful? Make an emergency lighting system (and power a few other devices like cell chargers, backup radio, etc.). Some interior lights turn on when the power goes out... And/or some motion detector based lighting. Inside for people moving around the house, outside for security (although--having lights on the outside (and inside) of the home when everyone else is in blackness may attract the wrong kind of attention.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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