This is our first post to the Aranya Bodhi blog that is not made possible by a gasoline generator. I am writing from the Sangha Hall on the electricity provided by our newly connected solar electrical system. Though the sun has yet to shine upon the completely wired array, the batteries arrived fully charged and are providing the power right now. Eric, Mike and Rody from Pure Power Solutions made a lot of progress today. Eric (top photo) installed our inverter and charge controller in the battery room. Mike installed the rails for an additional four solar panels on top of the laundry shed. This will add 450 watts more to our hermitage solar electrical system, for a peak potential of 1920 watts of electricity. The batteries are strung together in six groups of four batteries each. The generator was filled with diesel fuel, tested and connected to the inverter. Tomorrow morning as the sun comes over the hillside, the battery bank will begin its cycle of charging on the sun's power.
Rody gave us the gift of an ac outlet directly on the inverter so we could have electricity right away. The Sangha Hall and kitchen trailer now have household ac electricity by way of extension cords until our ac electrician can install the proper wiring in January. For now, our cook can can make use of a rice cooker and the microwave oven.
Because the sun will not be able to provide all the electricity year round and we are presently experiencing the shortest days of the year, the diesel generator will be keeping the batteries charged. This means that we will be using diesel fuel instead of gasoline but rather than using the generator directly, we will be using it indirectly and far less often. Rody told us that red diesel is less expensive because it has no highway tax -the generator is strictly for off road use :) so we are asking our friends to help us look in our nearby cities of Santa Rosa and Petaluma for a red diesel provider.
Stack, our ac electrician is tentatively scheduled to help us on January 5th and 6th. With her help, we will have electrical outlets for each of our main buildings. So a lot has already happened to get us to this point from the very first thoughts of how to bring electricity to our remote forest wilderness. And still there is a little more left to do. A little more to plan on and wait on but for now we have silent light. There is no generator running. A little more on the horizon.