Necessity threw me into the world of small and simple solar power electrical setups. I found the perfect spot to park my camper trailer - minus an electrical hookup. No electricity! Being “off the grid” was the last thing I had in mind! But, it was such a great spot otherwise – waves, sun, sand, trees, breezes. . .  So, “off the grid” with solar electricity, it had to be.

I figured I could put together a simple, inexpensive (cheap), small solar PV system for camping. I’d heard of solar panels. I supported renewable energy (as if my position on that would be helpful). No way was I going to miss out on music, lights, and definitely not my portable computer, furnace fan, or other creature comforts. I just needed a small solar set up to be happy. It’s just a camper trailer; a weekend retreat (sometimes longer) where I take work occasionally.

How confusing could basic solar power energy be for a simple solar set up?

Solar electricity can be pretty confusing as it turns out. Even for a simple camping environment.

I determinedly perused the Internet which is filled with excellent information on solar powered electrical setups provided by experienced, knowledgeable, kind people who assume you know what “AWG” means.

The words for describing a small solar energy set up are almost the same as those used for describing a solar energy electrical system for an entire house! The concepts and basic components are the same if you’re in a house, trailer, or tent. No matter how small your solar power energy system may be you’ll be talking about a lot of the same stuff.

In my effort to pursue all resources for my simple solar power set up, I also made local inquiries about solar energy and was met with lots of blank stares.

The “Language” of Solar Power Energy Setups
Through solar energy research, I became familiar with words like array combiner, deep cycle battery, and charge controller, and power inverter, PV, and amps, and amp hours, watts, volts, electrical wire, cable, solar panels, and sine waves, 12v solar, ring terminals, AGM, gelled, standard flooded, monocrystalline, AC, DC,  blah, blah, blah; the list just went on and on.  

Plus, in a solar electrical system, all the components and parts relate to each other and you have to understand the relationships, even for a small setup. There isn’t a one size fits all solar energy system and you need to learn solar electrical energy “language”. Who knows all this stuff I wondered? I didn’t know much when I started.  

That for me was over seven years and a variety of Internet purchases, upgrades, etc., ago. Now, I’ve had over 7 lovely seasons so far of great tans, cool kayaking and plenty of solar electricity. I learned that once you get the basic concepts down it’s not that hard to find solar solutions that fit your needs.

I could have learned faster and made better choices however, if I’d found a simpler explanation of the whole solar set up thing in the first place. You  know, what you need, where it goes, what it does, why you need it, what the choices are, etc. It’s a good place to start. . . This site is a good place to start. Understanding more is good.

Now, people are often asking me those kinds of “off the grid” solar energy questions. But, there’s more to it than a casual conversation can cover. This website is their answer. It’s all about solar energy and it’s filled with solar energy facts that will help you put your own simple, small solar set up together or, at least help you understand enough to ask good questions should you decide to work with a professional.

And, many thanks to solar electricity, the associated technology and the sun for providing the energy for putting this project together! I’d much rather work at the beach. Go solar!


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