Almost off-grid

There was some reason why I was awake at 04:00 but I forget what it was. I went to bed with only a sheet over me and a fan on all night. I did pull over a blanket later on as I couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed to turn off the fan! We had the fan on inside all evening while watching TV as it was so hot. Many of the dogs who cling to the seats had migrated to the floor where it’s cooler. Today, while I was on top of the van, I opened the roof light which has been broken for some while. I close it in winter and leave it open all summer. I recall it was the strong winds which brought about its demise. After all, these products are designed for occasional use over several years and not 24/7 for years on end!

Despite the van door being open all night, Skinny was still with us in the morning. I think if I’d gone out for any length of time he’d jumped the gate and then the compound fence. I was pleased to be outside where it was cooler than in the van for a change. The walk went well. Luis was following at a safe distance having been let off the lead once he started to flag a little. He puffs along and catches up whenever we stop for any reason.

We all went back together at the end however Luis was not present when I put them into the van. Skinny and Isabella were waiting at the field gate so I gathered them up once I’d fed the cats. No sign of Luis as we walked up the Promontory however there was a tell-tail sound a little later as we were walking over the rocks. Isabella found some treasure left by a fisherman so Skinny and I continued on our own.

I found Xanthippos who was working at CBV preparing for the opening of their season. He’d not seen Luis he said, at which point there was a familiar barking coming from the camping. Skinny and I walked back into the camping where we were joined by Isabella who caught us up, to find Luis on Janne and Erica’s side of the fence. I left Skinny tied to the fence and went to reacquire Luis before he woke up the dead. I popped him into the van then Skinny, Isabella and I went back to Alonáki Beach to go swimming. Skinny was tied to a table with a bone to chew on and Isabella accompanied me to the sea where I swam up-and-down for ten minutes. Back to the camping and I was off on my bike to Krios via the greenhouses. I didn’t venture up towards Sklavopoula as I was mindful of Antonis coming at 08:30.

I received a message from Antonis that he’d be with me at 09:00 so I spent a little more time watching Gregor painting the septic tank access cover compound. There was a lot of activity at Krios today with trees being trimmed and stones to mark the parking places repositioned. I left to feed the dogs and prepare for the arrival of Antonis and henchman. As it happened, I passed them on the road so at least I knew they were up and about.

They duly arrived and started work. There was a little more strengthening to complete before I could pass up the panels so they could be placed on the racking and fastened down. Due to a slight miscalculation, Antonis had to whizz off to Paleochora to purchase more threaded rod for the bolts. The panels are now positioned and working as I went up and ran the cable back to the inverter after they’d gone. They were working for over four hours on the roof in 33℃ in the sun. I was happy for them to continue as I wanted them to get it finished. As I mentioned previously, it would have been a lot cooler in December or January when he was promising to come to do it.

Mounting the PV (Photo Voltaic – AKA solar) panels. Very hot work on a sunny day.

I was making my weekly call home with elephants stomping up and down the roof above me, the sounds of drilling and cutting with the occasional doggy chorus. I’d not stopped since 04:30 so was beginning to flag a little. They eventually finished the work, packed up to leave me in comparative peace. I had a little rest after the call then connected up the isolating switch, cables and connectors for the PV panels. This involved clambering up onto the roof so I wasn’t in a rush to do this with the sun beating down on me. I connected up all the panels and opened the isolating switch after I’d made some minor programming adjustments to the inverter/charger/controller.

The system is now set up as follows:

There are connections to the 240V mains power, the PV panels and the battery bank.

If the sun is shining and generating enough electricity to power all the loads, this will be used and any surplus charges the batteries.

If there’s not enough sun to power the loads, the batteries will power them unless there is insufficient power remaining in which case the mains power will help out.

What it comes down to is that the PV and batteries should be capable of providing enough power but the mains is still available if all else fails.

With 2Kw of PV on the roof, I should be able to power everything and fully charge the batteries in the summer and most of the year. The battery bank is designed to provide enough backup for three days of rain and no sun. Even on a rainy day, there is usually enough to charge the batteries a bit. In the summer, I’d expect the batteries to be fully charged by noon as well as supply enough power for everything I’m likely to want to use all day and night.

The dogs are fed and my supper is ready. I’m tired so intend to go inside to eat it and to fall into a heap. I expect Antonis and oppo are somewhat more tired than me.


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