I know I know-- it's been a long time since I posted... But I have some time today to tell ya'll about the solar panels and my "kitchen." Last May, we found solar panels on sale on Craigslist! Murv checked them out and they were in good shape. The guy selling them got them from an unpaid storage unit from which he had siezed all the contents. Anyway Murv offered him about half what he was asking-- and of course he said no. He also said someone else had called and would probably be buying them that day. Murv followed up the next day though and lucky for us the guy never showed. So, my employer at the time, gave me a loan for the amount we wanted to pay and Murv drove over to the storage facility in Austin with the cash and the trailer and offered it to the guy. At first he said no, but as Murv was walking away he folded! Hooray! We put our six panels and 8 batteries in our storage unit. I then had to work very hard for my employer and I paid the panels off working about 9-10 hours a day for about three weeks. Even at half price those babies cost a pretty penny. Obviously they pay for themselves over time (if you actually have them hooked up and working which for some reason hasn't been able to happen at our house yet) but the initial cost is not cheap. And it was not until many, many months later that they re-emerged from our storage unit.
Anyway, in December my dad called and asked what it would take to get the panels up and running so his pregnant daughter could have some electricity. He offered to come out in mid-January with his electrician brother and help us get them going. Murv told him what it would take to be ready for them to come out and committed to have everything on the list in place by January 15th. The goal was that when they arrived the control panel room would be built, the ditch dug from the panels to the cabin, and the panels mounted. Unfortunately there were a few glitches along the way. 1- My dads brother had some family problems come up and wasn't able to come, and 2- Murv did not get his part done. With some help from some great people in our co-op Don and Lucky and a welder friend of Murv's, he was at least able to weld the panels together and install a huge heavy mounting pole in the field behind the cabin. So, when my dad and his wife Tammi arrived we were not on schedule, but we made the best of it. Tammi, me and my friend Jamie set to work on our own project-- making a "temporary" kitchen. Murv and my dad built the contol room. The project of getting all six panels (already welded together) mounted at the top of a very tall pole was undertaken by Murv, my dad, Dale-- our next door neighbor, our home teacher from church Richard, and another man from church. I don't know for sure how much those things weighed but let me tell you-- watching those six guys on the scaffolding trying to heft all that weight was SCARY. But it was awesome seeing those panels flying high in the sky catching sun. Too bad they are just sitting there catching sun and not going into my house-- the project has not been worked on since my dad left and we still need an inverter...(very expensive).
Anyway we have the temporary start of a kitchen, a new bed and the panels are up and the control room is half built.
Solar Genesis 2008
Base for the Control Room (made from free SIP salvage scraps which will insulate and protect the batteries)Kitchen Floor Base (we created an area that is sectioned off and stepped up from the rest of the room so I can reach the kitchen window and so we have a seperate space sort of...)Shelves and counter space and my new propane stove--a gift from my number one supporters on this journey scott and jamie "beckbuckle" (check them out here, click on "about us")--they are so awesome!A sink! Its not hooked up but at least its on it's way-- I now have a big water cooler spiggot thing in the corner and a bucket under it so it functions sort of like a real sink...Hard to tell but this is the barA real bed and a place to hang clothes! Good bye backaches and piles of clothes in the car and on the floor!-- thanks for all your help Dad and Tammi-- i can't tell you how much it meant to me!