Baby it’s cold outside

Early afternoon sunshine on the panels

Early afternoon sunshine on the panels

Down to 5 degrees in fact, with a strong cold wind whipping through the open flat fields of Little River and trying to squeeze it’s way through the gaps in the windows.  The kids and I are home today because we all have throats as scratchy as the bottom of a budgie cage.  Plus, it’s nice to be home with the fires going with no need to go out into the rain, wind and traffic.

It’s been overcast all day, with intermittent rain.  By midday the battery bank was still around the 97% mark, up from 94.4% first thing this morning.  By 2pm we had about half an hour of sun, before the hail started at 3pm.  Yup, Melbourne truly is the ‘four seasons in one day’ kind of city everyone says it is.

Anyway, it’s now just after 3pm and the battery bank has floated (aka hit 100% power).  This despite the weather, one teenager playing x-box on the TV, me with the washing machine, fireplace fan, microwave and kettle going at regular intervals.  Oh and the other teenager plugged into three power points with various computers and screens.

Hail on the driveway an hour later

Hail on the driveway an hour later

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4 thoughts on “Baby it’s cold outside

  1. We never saw the hail here in Ballan but it did snow on and off all ofternoon and was still snowing around 6pm. Nothing to rest on the ground here but definitely a day to snuggle up in front of the fire indeed. With chicken stock simmering, rice and veggies on the fire for dinner and a bowl of warm custard for lunch (I wanted something warm and easy), it’s definitely a day to stay snuggled inside. I’m well impressed that your batteries saw sunset at close to 100%! Have they ever dropped below 90% that you’ve seen?

    • Wow, snow! Sounds like we had the same thing in mind…I had minestrone soup simmering away on the wood heater and the kids and I made pizza dough and raided the fridge for leftovers as toppings. Now I want custard as well 🙂

      We’ve never seen the batteries below 90%, lowest was 92%…for longevity it’s best to cycle the batteries between 100 and 85% state of charge. We were meant to have 26 panels, but as the prices had dropped so much between the original quote and the installation (around 14 months between the two) the guys from Radiant suggested we add the extra four. It means we’re generating more than we need, but that also means we should have happy batteries.

  2. What happens if your batteries are full, the panels are still producing and you aren’t needing much in the house? Obviously, unlike me, you can’t send the excess to the grid. It’s taken me some time to learn about grid-solar, but I’m completely in the dark as to how off-grid works.

    • There are two inverters – one a straight inverter the other an inverter charger. Both are brainier than Einstein, so shut down operations when the batteries float (or hit 100%). We try to use as much as possible while the sun is shining – for instance my daughter has the oil heater in her room (it’s on the south side of the house and quite cold) going flat chat right now while we’re at 100% – but there is so much extra that we just don’t need. I know a guy who uses excess to power up some extra batteries that sit around until winter and charge his power tools. I’m often telling friends to come around to charge their stuff!

      Guess I just need to get that hybrid plug in car soon 🙂

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