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Rationing solar power

Sometimes normal awareness is not enough to keep a solar setup functioning with usable power. In these situations one might need to take steps to minimize loads and maximize power intake.

minimizing loads

  • find and eliminate parasitic loads
  • turn off anything you don't need right now
  • shift charging of phones, laptops, etc to periods of excess power
  • charge light sources during full sun and use them at night
  • go to bed early, sleep late :-)
  • use low-power entertaining like reading instead of power-hungry entertainment like TV, gaming console, etc
  • reduce or eliminate use of an inverter
  • open your refrigerator as little as possible after sundown

maximizing solar harvest

  • ensure the panels are not shaded by natural obstructions: move out from under trees, overhangs, etc.
  • ensure the panels are not shaded by obstructions on your own RV: antennas, A/C units, vents, etc. One way to minimize shading is to park so that the greatest expanse of panel is facing south and any obstructions are on the north side of the van.
  • tilt panels if possible
  • ensure no tarps, awnings or other obstructions are preventing cooling breezes from passing under/over the panels; panel output drops as cell temperature rises.
  • clean the solar panels. Dust or dirt on the panels can decrease panel output by 5-10% in some cases.1)

small systems

unusual conditions

electrical/solar/rationing.1506985471.txt.gz · Last modified: 2020/10/11 19:48 (external edit)