Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
It must be said that an off-gridder's mood is affected by the weather as much as any football fan's mood is affected by his team's performance on any given match day!

I put this under the Off Grid section because I believe we are the most affected (The Grid-Tied club have it much easier - they just get home and look at the day's production graph and that's the end of it). Us off gridder's have to worry about the health of our batteries, how much we have available to use, and whether or not we need to make the harshest of calls - switching on the generator or grid.....!

It is stressful stuff!

But what is worse?
The looming winter months for the northern folks?
Persistent cloudy weather?

I have endured a winter, I got my setup 2 months before the June winter solstice, it was tough but I survived.

But the depression never quite hit me like it has now - I had a thing called "hope". Hope had a name, it was called "Spring". But Spring has yet to deliver! Sure the days are longer, the sun is higher, but the clouds are thicker, more common and much more persistent!

I think a spring or a summer that fails to deliver must be the most depressing thing there is for any off-gridder! It's something I'm afraid my wife and my friends just don't get.....

Comments

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    I needed sunshine before I ever had a solar electric system. I find my mood is as dark as the days...

    I think/hope you will find the solar for the most part just becomes a fact of life. I rarely worry, though I do adjust...

    Now I load shift with out thinking much about it, now excuse me I need to start the laundry on this bright sunny day, I already have the dehydrator going...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    A realistic approach helps.

    As our days dwindle down to 6 hours of light here I know I'd be crazy to expect solar to provide any power. Yet some people try it.

    Snow is in the forecast. We've had several killing frosts already. The sky is a mass of gray.

    I need to fetch in more wood.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    There is proof that a great functioning system can be built if people are willing to follow the advise of principals that Coot and others freely give here.

    Member " jcheil " has a link to the data in his Sig line from his newly installed off-grid system. While there is only about 10 days of data captured so far it is impressive to watch. Yes, location has a lot to do with it, but with that understanding one should make adjustments to their system to compensate.
  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Solar Expert Posts: 252 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    I do believe I'm the northern most "Off-Gridder" that tries to contribute to this site, so let me just say this........ with three hours of dusk type light from now until March. "I hear ya brother". LOL

    My little array produced .8KWh .3KWH and .5KWH over the last three days. I was thrilled!! but I'm not right in the head anyway.

    Tomorrow trapping season starts so I'll be busy in the dark. Makes the dark times go by fast. If I get enough Marten more PVs are top of the list.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    How far North are you, Alaska Man?
    We have a user Arctic Donkey who's pretty far up the Latitude. :D
  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Solar Expert Posts: 252 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    right about: 64.9539° N, 147.6283° W If he is on the Circle or higher then he is indeed further north.
  • CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    Alaska Man, I take my hat off to you! I used to live in Ireland (53.5°N) before moving to "Sunny" South Africa...

    In Ireland I would never have considered solar simply because of the incessant cloud cover more than anything else. But taking the cloudiness out of the equation there's one further issue that would put me off straying too far from the equator - the sun's path through the sky. What do you guys do in summer when the sun spends little more than half the day in the right part of the sky for your array? I mean - it rises and sets very close to North doesn't it? Only spending 12 hours or so of a 20 hour day in the south, so you have to contend with losing potentially valuable early morning and late evening production???
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    Your "Summer" is our "Winter". :D

    Yes, six hours (or less) of daylight is so much fun.
    On the other hand sixteen hours of daylight in Summer has its advantages.

    Above the Arctic Circle it's six months of either sun or dark!
  • CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    One small consolation for me in all this cloudy weather is being close enough to the equator compared to people like Alaska Man. Currently the sun is spending more than 3 hours of the day above 60° altitude. It has more "cloud penetrating power" at those altitudes so it does help. I'm trying to jog my memory as to what the weather was like last year before I became a solar enthusiast. One memory I have is that the ground was too hot to walk on bare foot on most days! So far this spring it's been pretty cool to touch on most days, bare foot has not been much of and option for the opposite reason - too wet and chilly! So hopefully this spell of bad weather is an anomaly. I hear El-niño may be affecting weather around the world at present?

    Anyhow, not losing hope just yet - there are 2 or 3 partly sunny days forecast for next week, this weekend however is looking pretty miserable....
  • ReedReed Solar Expert Posts: 55 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    CALLD

    We're full time RV'ers. When it gets cold, miserable, cloudy, sleet, snow,depressing...we just head to Mexico (and avoid the dangerous areas). Moving south slowly visiting our kids on the way. They have spots for us to mootchdock. With autonomous solar, we don't have to mootch power even though they have installed 30 amp outlets for us. Currently in mountains of northern New Mexico and harvested 5080 W-hrs today since we are running the Dometic fridge on AC.
    Reed and ELAINE
  • creekycreeky Banned Posts: 31
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    I've lucked out the past two days. It's very cloudy Oct thru Dec where I am. Forecast has been cloud but I've been getting sort of sun. I'm in good shape. It does improve one's mood to get up and see 13.1 at 84 watts on the controller and not 12.4 0 watts. I do resent this time of year tho. The roar of the genny. The unending cloud. The decline in temps. Having to wear long underwear and shoes. dagnabit.

    Reed that's cruel. ;)

    Alaska Man. hats off. Lived just south of the arctic circle, Baker Lake, for a bit as a kid. Grew up in northern Canada. Good luck with the trapping. Prices have really improved. That should put some panels on the ground.
  • CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    Nice to see so many people on here that can identify with me! Plucked up the courage to switch on the inverter again this morning despite having a look at the the satellite image and being unable to see South Africa under all the cloud cover! Today was mostly overcast although the midday sun did manage to push through a few amps which gave me the hope required to avoid switching back to the grid again. Tomorrow is forecast to be a little brighter although still largely overcast. The next full-sun day is only forecast to be on Thursday. Between now and then if the sun pokes through the clouds even just momentarily it will be enough to ease the pain a little...
  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Solar Expert Posts: 252 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression
    CALLD wrote: »
    Alaska Man, I take my hat off to you! I used to live in Ireland (53.5°N) before moving to "Sunny" South Africa...

    In Ireland I would never have considered solar simply because of the incessant cloud cover more than anything else. But taking the cloudiness out of the equation there's one further issue that would put me off straying too far from the equator - the sun's path through the sky. What do you guys do in summer when the sun spends little more than half the day in the right part of the sky for your array? I mean - it rises and sets very close to North doesn't it? Only spending 12 hours or so of a 20 hour day in the south, so you have to contend with losing potentially valuable early morning and late evening production???


    More PVs are on the list, two pointed east and two pointed west. I also have my PVs hinged so I can go from horizontal to vertical as the sun does.

    Did I say, how much I love my generator? ;-)
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    Depression hits when you have to DISconnect your PVs from your 2 Classics so the batteries have to be boosted with the big genset....

    because you have to apply cement board siding, where the Pvs are temporarily hung, to keep SWMBO happy....Hurry up and get it done!

    Yes, yes, yes Dear...:blush:

    almost there ...
    Attachment not found.



    deck next... then a more permanent array location can be chosen...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    Today is a special day, the first in several weeks that saw a clean sunrise unobscured by "atmospheric condensation". The psychological effects are huge! Was up on the roof early to make sure the PV's were clean so I can milk it for what it's worth!
    Tomorrow is also looking good, but the weekend is a little uncertain.

    "One swallow doesn't make a summer", but at least it gives us some hope.

    The last 2 to 3 months have been horrendous, well below par according to historical climate data for PE. We are supposed to be averaging 5.5kwh/m2 per day for November, but I've been recording less than 2 on most days. A full-sunshine day can yield over 7 for the day this time of year...
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    I used to have to all but shut my system down this time of year, until mid Winter when the weather started to improve and the days start getting longer. Now, thanks to my micro, micro hydro, everything just keeps on ticking, This past Spring, Summer and early Fall we experienced an extended drought, shutting down the hydro for over a month. This resulted in having to really take it easy on usage when the sun didn't shine. But now, finally, we've had lots of rain, more on the way, and my spirits are high again. Loved to see the rain again. Lakes, rivers, wells and my little stream are back to normal levels and we should be all set for the Winter with the hydro producing almost 4 kwh/24 hour day. Of course when it comes to the biggest loads, I live by the sun, using what Nature provides, when Nature provides.
    It's around this time of year I tilt my panels to vertical for the Winter. Snow doesn't collect on vertical surfaces, and a couple of big pluses - - - - the panels get powered by not just the low-in-the-sky sun this time of year, but also from the light reflected off what will shortly be the snow covered ground. And second - - - - since this time of year the sun is so far south and continuing on that journey, with the panels set to vertical, on clear days they produce almost 80% power within 15 minutes of the sum coming up off the horizon. Gotta love that! The panels stay clean of snow and get a super blast of light from the direct sunlight, AND the reflection off the snow. Any slight loss from not having the panels at the "perfect" angle are far outweighed by the advantages of going vertical.
  • CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    Nothing quite as pleasing as seeing a near perfect bell-shaped production curve (can't remember when I last saw that), batteries were into absorb stage by midday, totally overjoyed!

    There is a Sun God after all:)
  • Ks SolarKs Solar Solar Expert Posts: 47 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    I had my first "low mood" last night. I was hooking up my new Meco IR sensor so my wife has light in the garage when she gets home. I hooked it to the battery/not the lighting control on my little sunlight cc . Of course it sensed low Voltage and now the lights won't come on. So I disconnected everything and hooked it up in the correct order so we will see tonight. I hope I didn't screw up the microprocessor . I know it was really dark in my yard last night :(
  • E_FellowE_Fellow Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    Awesome thread you have here!

    I have an small off grid system at my cottage, when I went there this weekend I found the panel and everything else covered in snow and wondered if there will be enough power to not have to be in the dark all weekend. It was quite depressing at first, but luckily we had enough to last us till Sunday when the skies cleared a bit and finally got some more charge into the batteries for the short while the day lasted. :)

    Have to start planning a project for next summer to make the panel tiltable into a vertical position to not have to worry about snow cover next time when visiting the cottage in the winter.
  • CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Psychology, Category: Depression

    Hi E_Fellow,

    Yeah I sort of thought this thread may catch-on a bit more than it did, but nonetheless it has at least got some followers sharing their moods with regards to the topic.

    I cannot quite identify with the extreme northerners and their snow issues due to my location in the sub-tropics, however we all experience "the weather".

    Down here in Southern Africa we're still in the grip of a brutal spring of relentless thunderstorm activity and heavy cloud cover. It's so bad I'm having to shut down my system every time the next cloudy stretch starts because it's so prolonged and thick the batteries would never last. It's depressing because the solar potential is nearing it's peak and production could be so much better if the weather would just play along for a while. On a clear day production is so awesome I struggle to make use of it all as my battery bank isn't big enough to cycle deep enough to make use of it. If I'm not home to add opportunity loads the power just goes to waste. But during these cloudy stretches production is dropping down to around 10 or 20 % of full potential.

    This weather is very unusual for us, South Africa is famed for sunny skies year round, but this is more reminiscent of Northern Europe right now...
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