Simple Solar System Setup Supports Sustainable Security

Today the sun is shining (somewhat) so I figured is was a good day to set up our mini solar system.  It consists of 6, 15 watt panels generating 90 watts of 12 volt power. This goes through conduit that we set into the concrete shell for just this purpose.The conduit leads into the house on the SE side.  I built a custom “power box” that holds two heavy duty truck batteries salvaged from our old truck Wally, which are charged by the panels.  They then provide 12 volt power for some low voltage lights and cell phone chargers.  I also hooked up an 1100 watt pure sine wave inverter to give us 110 volts  of clean AC power.

I mounted a telescopic pole with several light fixtures including a high powered LED spotlight that can be positioned in any directions up to about 9′ high.  The whole setup is mounted on wheels so that we can unplug the solar input and move it around the house anywhere we might need task lighting or portable power.  This will come in real handy when we have a utility power outage.  The set up is not large enough to power the whole house but it is a great little “portable” system that could even keep our refrigerator going for a while if needed. Eventually we hope to have a large solar/wind system intertied with the Grid to help offset our electrical needs with clean energy.

Home Away from Home

Sunday we managed to get our trailer up the hill and next to the pump house.  While we are sleeping in our amazingly cozy earth sheltered home, we still don’t have kitchen and bathroom facilities.  It’s been a bit of a drag going up and down the hill but now we just have to walk across the parking area.  We are looking forward to the day that we can get rid of the leaky trailer but I’m afraid that will be some time yet.  We do have a temporary sink with running water set up in the future  laundry area which is sure nice.


Who Need Curtains?…

When this is the view we wake up to outside our bedroom window. (guest bedroom actiually)  And did I mention how comfortable it is sleeping in our house even though it’s pretty much an unfinished shell?  At least we will soon move the trailer up the hill so we don’t have to go up and down for the the kitchen and bathroom.

This weekend we tested stucco.

The plan was to make three different batches using two kinds of quartz sand and a silica based sand called Dolomite. You can see the “sparkleys” in the sand which will add depth to the applied stucco.  We started with the Dolomite sand and liked it so much I don’t think we will even try the others.

First we taped off the exposed steel I-beams (we will paint them later), and put down some floor protection.  Then we mixed a small batch of stucco and applied it with the handheld mortar sprayer that we used to make our retaining walls.

Since this is the first time working with stucco, we did an area behind the future kitchen cabinets.  This gave us a chance to practice troweling and finishing techniques. I think we are going to be really happy with the Dolomite sand mix.  We like how “bright” it is and will be a cool contrast to the painted steel.