How much Solar Power & Battery Storage do I Need for my RV / Cabin / Cottage / Tiny Home?

This question can be broken down into steps that give us the information we need to make a decision.

1. How much power do I need?

Residential homes use 900 – 5000kWh a month (30-166kWh per day). To generate this much power with solar / wind and to store it, you will need a lot of space and a large budget. It is unrealistic to generate that much power with portable power or when space is at a premium. Instead, power conservation and realistic expectations should drop your power needs by prioritizing what equipment and appliances are essential.

Something we rarely do when we are on the grid, but must be much more aware of when off-grid, is adding up the power usage from all sources.

Typical equipment and power that you may want to run are: *

  • LED Lights 6W each x the number of hours you will have the lights on (6Wx6 lights x 7 hours=252Wh)
  • TV (unplug when not in use, as it will siphon power even when turned off) 150-200W / hour 4 hours of viewing is 800W
  • 12V fridge 24-48A x 12V 576Wh
  • Larger AC Fridge 800Wh
  • Satellite Receivers / Direct TV, usually have to run 24-7, 30-40W per hour 720W
  • TV Antenna .1A 4W
  • Radio (3.3A) 2 hours 40W
  • Cell phone charge 10W
  • Laptop computer 75W
  • CPAP 30-60W
  • Fantastic Fan (1.15/1.6/2A) 260-461W on medium (cycles on and off as needed)
  • Bathroom Vent Fan (1.25A) 2 hours/ day 30W
  • RV 12V Water pump (2.8-6.1A) 30 min / day 35W
  • Fireplace fan (1.2A) 172.8 for 12 hours
  • Heated blanket 40-50W per hour 7 hour 315W
  • Furnace Blower for Propane Furnace (4.6A) x 8 hours 441.6W
  • Radiant heater 1300W (not usually an option for off-grid)
  • RV Roof Air conditioner with soft starter (to help with inverter overload)– newer type 1PS 13500 BTU 150A 1800W/hour
  • Window AC unit 500-1440W/hour
  • Floor Fan 100W / hour
  • RV Compact Washer and Spin Dryer (not heat dryer) 300W washing, 150W drying/hour – 2-3 very small loads per hour.
  • Full size washer, energy star rated 500W
  • Full size dryer 3300W (this is just not an option for typical off-grid use)
  • Blender 350W – 30W for 5 min
  • Hot plate – induction, 1800W, 450W for 15 min
  • Microwave, 1000W, 166W for 10 min
  • Instapot for 30 minutes (pressure cook for an hour) 900W
  • Keurig Coffee Maker – 12 minutes run time 36W
  • Inverter power loss: 2 hours of AC output, min 50W **

*Note: the numbers above are average estimates only. For more exact numbers, look at the Amp / Wh rating on your appliances. Use DC appliances wherever possible as you lose power when you run it thru an inverter. Some items can be replaced by hand-crank appliances (blender, washer/dryer).

**Some, less expensive or older, inverters are highly inefficient and may double the power consumption for AC appliances. Check the specs.

Go thru this list, estimate your hours and add up your numbers in priority order of must haves to nice to haves. This total will give you how much power you need to have access to every day to live like you want to. This is your starting number. You may find that some items are not possible to use off-grid with your budget or space limitations. Keep running the calculations taking non-essentials off the list until you reach a balance of power that you can both afford and have room to install.

2. How much battery storage do I need?

Take the Total Watt Hours from Step One, for example, 3000Wh. This is your one-day storage requirement but this leaves little room for variations in use and supply. One days storage is your bare minimum power. The recommendation for off-grid use is to multiply this bare minimum times three for 3 days Wh of storage needed.

3000Wh
3000Wh x 3 = 9000Wh

This gives you the range of Wh of storage that you will need.

Batteries are usually purchased in Ah. We are basing all our calculations on 12V batteries. You will need to adjust the math if the batteries are a different Voltage (for example 4V or 6V)

Take the Wh and divide by 12V for the amount of usable storage power in Ah that you will need.

3000Wh/12V = 250Ah
9000Wh/12V = 750Ah

Considerations:

    • Space for storage of batteries
    • Ability to recharge your batteries from solar and likelihood of bad weather
    • Ability to recharge your batteries from a fuel generator, if needed
    • Type of battery chemistry, lead acid cannot be depleted more than 50% but carbon foam and silicon dioxide can be depleted to 100%. You will need fewer days of reserve power if you are able to access the full power of the battery bank if needed.
    • Ability to adjust consumption (reduce your energy use) if solar conditions are not good
    • Number of days you will need power before recharging from shore power (i.e. totally off-grid all the time, only off-grid for a day or three at a time (weekend and back to home to recharge)

Solutions:
If you need 250Ah of available power at minimum, then that would look like this:

  • 500Ah of lead acid batteries, can only use 50%
  • 350-500Ah of carbon foam batteries
  • 350-500Ah of silicon dioxide batteries
  • 350-500Ah of li-ion batteries

A better storage number would be at least 500Ah of usable power, to avoid depleting your lead acid below the 50% threshold and to avoid running out of power.

That would look like this:

  • 1000Ah of lead acid batteries
  • 700Ah of carbon foam batteries
  • 700Ah of silicon dioxide batteries
  • 700Ah of li-ion batteries

If this number is too high, then go back to step one, and reduce your power consumption.

3. How many solar panels do I need?

Solar panels are measured in Watts. This number represents the maximum power that the solar panel can produce under ideal conditions. It is not the actual power that you will get from your solar panels. For this reason, when figuring out how much solar power your will need , we always reduce the max power in by 25% to account for more typical power in (multiply Watts needed by 1.25).

Solar panels also only collect power during usable daylight hours. Much of the day, even when it is clear, the sun is at too steep of an angle to generate much power. The number of hours per day that the solar panels will collect significant power varies by season and by geography. Luckily, there are charts that will give you an estimate of how much sun insolation you can expect in your area. insolation chart for Canada

 

 

For example, Vancouver, BC

  • Peak daylight in summertime 7.4 hours
  • Low daylight in winter (without snowpack blocking the panels) 2.3 hours
  • Average daylight 4.9 hours

To charge 250Ah of storage, you need to figure out your Watts in.

250Ah x 12V = 3000W of input at 12V

Take the total Watts needed / number of daylight hours

3000W /4.9 hours of light * 1.25 for efficiency loss = 765W needed.

So to generate enough solar input to recharge 250Ah of storage every day, this person would need approx. 765W of solar panels.

Recommendations:

  • 3 each 60 Cell 245W residential panels (for a cabin or tiny home) 735W
  • 7-8 100W glass panels (for cabin, large RV or tiny home) 700-800W
  • 3 210W folding panels for portable power (RV or seasonal cabin where you don’t want to keep the solar panels there off-season) 630W

In December & January, in Canada, the days are short and the cloud cover can be substantial, which makes it challenging to depend 100% on solar to replenish your battery storage banks. Expect that you may need to top up with generator charging or substantially restrict your energy consumption.

If you are only using your cabin in the summer, you may need fewer solar panels because you will have more hours of daylight or if you are willing to run a generator when you have bad weather to supplement your solar power.

Summer only use:
7.4 hours of sunlight

3000W / 7.4 x 1.25 = 506W of solar needed

Recommendations:

  • 2 245W glass 60cell residential panel for cabin or tiny home 490W
  • 5 100W glass panels (for cabin, large RV, or tiny home) 500W
  • 5 100W flexible panels (for RV, Marine, tiny home, curved roof trailer) 500W
  • 2 x 210W folding panels for portable power 420W
  • 3 x 150W folding panels for portable power 450W

Another Example –
Small RV needing 1000W of Power

Batteries needed:

1000 / 12 = 83Ah

    • 170Ah at 12V of lead acid batteries
    • 100Ah of carbon foam, silicon dioxide or li-ion batteries

** double or triple these batteries for 2-3 days of power without recharge.

Solar input needed:
Average Daylight hours 4.4 Quebec City, Quebec
1000W / 4.4 x 1.25 = 284W

 

  • 3 100W panels in glass or flexible panels
  • 2 150W folding panels
  • 1 210W folding panel * some supplement with AC or generator charging may be needed on heavy use times.

 

Other equipment needed:

  • Charge controller to control the charge from your solar panels to your battery. These are measured in Amps and the size of controller is based on the total Amps of your panels. These come in MPPT and PWM. MPPT is more efficient and is usually programmable to different types of batteries for more efficient charging. PWM is fine for smaller systems.
  • Inverter – this converts the DC current from your batteries to AC current for your AC appliances. You will need a pure sine wave inverter if you are running any electronics other than lights. The size of the inverter is based on the maximum number of Watts of AC power that you need at one time. There are two ratings for inverters: continuous and peak/surge power. Continuous is what power is needed to run the appliances ongoing. Peak power is how much oomph you need to start up compressor motors, like in your fridge or air conditioner. It can be a significant number and affect what inverter will work for you.
  • Cables and connectors and mounting hardware – the equipment all needs to be wired together and the panels may need to be mounted to a temporary or permanent structure.
  • Monitoring hardware, circuit breakers, fuses

 

 

 

What if I can’t afford everything I need right away?
If you can’t afford to buy all the batteries and all the solar you need ideally, start with the correct number of batteries and a slightly undersized solar bank. It may mean that you need to run a generator more to recharge the batteries or go somewhere to plug in your batteries to recharge them, but it is more expandable.

It is hard to add more batteries once you start using them as battery banks need to be balanced… all the same sizes and ages to charge correctly. It is easy to add more solar panels if you find that you do not have enough solar in. Just make sure that you buy a slightly more powerful charge controller than you need for future expansion or assume that you may need to replace the charge controller if you purchase more solar panels.

Worksheet for solar and battery needs to help you calculate how many deep-cycle batteries and how many solar panels you need to power your off-grid tiny home, cabin or cottage or to boondock with your RV, tent trailer, camper van or vintage trailer.

Solar Power 101: An Introduction

150W Briefcase Mini Solar Generator System.

As concern over the increasing cost of energy grows, many people are looking into alternative sources of power, like solar. There are four main components in a basic solar setup: Solar Panels, Charge Controller, Batteries and Inverter. All components and the wiring connecting them need to be carefully chosen and sized appropriately to work together. Use this guide to demystify the terminology behind solar, and kick-start your journey to energy independence!

Solar Panels absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity through the Photovoltaic Effect (PV). They are available in rigid glass panels (seen on rooftops), flexible panels (for curved surfaces), folding solar panels and blankets. Panels are rated by their maximum power output in Watts, and produce Direct Current (DC). Many factors, such as angle of the sun (azimuth), shading, temperature and weather, influence how much power a panel will produce.

Charge Controllers are an important buffer between Solar Panels and the Batteries they charge. They monitor the settings of both the panel(s) and the battery and make adjustments during charging so that the power from the panels does not overload the battery. There are two types of charge controllers Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) and Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM). MPPT charge controllers are more efficient and are programmable to work with a wider range of batteries and settings.

Batteries are used to store the power your panels produce. Battery capacity is determined by multiplying the Voltage (V) by the Amps (Ah) to get the Watt-hours (Wh). Example: a 12V 100Ah battery can store 1,200Wh of power. Batteries come in a wide range of sizes and chemistries. Your optimal battery choice will depend on what you’re using them for, your budget and the conditions of use.

The Inverter transforms the Direct Current (DC) stored in your battery to Alternating Current (AC). Your fridge, television, coffee pot and most electronics in your home run off of AC power. USB plug-ins, most RV appliances, and well pumps are examples of DC appliances that do not need an inverter and can be powered directly from the battery. Inverters come in two types: Pure Sine Wave and Modified Sine Wave. Pure Sine Wave is preferred. Modified Sine Wave is cheaper but can damage sensitive electronics. For ease of use, some inverters come with plug-in outlets built into them.

The Boler Turns 50!

Matt & Shari’s Green Egg!

UPDATE: Matt and Shari’s presentation has been rescheduled to 3:00 pm on Saturday the 18th August at the Red River Exhibition Park. A reminder that the event will be open to the public on this day – the gates will open at 10:00 am and admission is $10.00!

August 15th kicks off the beginning of a four-day event to celebrate the iconic Boler trailer’s 50th anniversary! Boler enthusiasts are set to travel from as far as Southern California all the way to Winnipeg’s Red River Exhibition park to attend the event. Winnipeg’s Mayor Brian Bowman will be attending on August 16th at 3:30pm to officially open the event; and a special open house for the public will begin on Saturday August 18th. Public attendees will be welcome to tour the trailers, chat with the owners while enjoying live music, a beer and wine garden, and various food trucks. The gates will open at 10 am and admission is $10.

Azimuth’s owners Matthew Longman and Shari McDowell are Boler enthusiasts who are excited to join in on the celebration and will be driving to Winnipeg with their own lime green egg in tow! For any fellow attendees Matt and Shari will be speaking from 11:15 am – 12:15 am on Friday August 17th as part of a workshop and demo presentation on Batteries and Solar for RV’s and trailers.

Be sure to go check out http://www.myboler.com/ for full details of the event schedule and location!

The inside of the Green Egg; lots of work being done.

Boler History

The Boler was one of the first moulded fibreglass trailers to be introduced in Canada and are known for their lightweight towing ability. The original Boler has inspired the design and manufacturing of many fibreglass moulded trailers since.

Raymond Olecko and his idea to manufacture a lightweight, fiberglass trailer came to fruition in 1968 when he approached Sandor Dusa, a fibreglass mould maker, to help him create his vision. Olecko wanted to build a compact trailer for his family to take on camping trips. Once complete Olecko realised they had manufactured a product that would appeal to the small, average income family who did not want to tow the standard heavyweight camper. They continued production and in 1969 moved to a larger facility to keep up with demand.

Rigged for power! This Boler is powered by ULL batteries and the 800W off-grid mini!

Before Olecko’s invention of the Boler trailer, he found success manufacturing and selling a fibreglass slingshot from the basement of his Winnipeg home. This unique design that could be ordered for either left or right-hand use was the first of its kind to be introduced to the outdoors/sportsman market and quickly gained popularity. He went on to register his slingshot business as Boler Manufacturing Co. and it was the success this business saw which lead to him continue the use of the Boler name for the fibreglass trailers (not to mention their uncanny resemblance of the Bowler hat!).

 

 

Unrivalled Systems: How ASP Portable Solar Generator Systems Compare to Leading Competitors

At Azimuth Solar Products Inc., we want to give you powerful and dependable solar power when you need it. Whether you’re an adventurer looking for a safer and cleaner way to keep comfortable on the edge of the wild or just looking to keep your fridge and lights running when the worst happens. We know solar power has a lot of ways to improve security and the quality of life of anyone to whom the grid is unreliable or inaccessible. That’s why we’re raising the bar for portable solar and introducing the first affordable mid-range solar generators to take advantage of the falling costs of solar panels to deliver something truly durable and life-saving to as many people as possible.

Affordable High-Power Solar

Our solar generator systems offer unparalleled power output for each dollar. No other portable system in their price range offers the same power rating or includes as many essential components as the ASP Portable Solar Generators. We’re taking advantage of the falling price of solar to offer high-range portable systems for prices that compete with systems with less than a third of their capacity.

These portable and dependable solar power generator systems have unique, compact folding designs suitable for disaster recovery, off-grid living, tactical expeditions, and adventuring. Our systems use high-quality solar panels with a specially designed high capacity tripod and frame support for unrivaled high-output mobile solar power. Our rugged systems use the most innovative components to function in extreme conditions from arctic, desert, to downpour. There are some comparable solar generators used by the US Forces, but our systems are a fraction of the cost, weigh less, and are quicker set-up. Our M400 system has been developed in collaboration with SBM Solar, a primary supplier of ballistic-rated solar panels to the US Marines. Read SMB Solar’s Press Release here.

 

The ASP 360 features compared to those of nearest competition. Watt-per-dollar, we offer a smarter, cheaper, and more powerful generator than any other portable solar on the market.

Powerful Portables

All the support components for our systems are designed for easy assembly, disassembly, and transport. They can be set-up in less than five minutes without tools and the tripod, pillar, and 2-axis frame fold into compact pieces to be carried by hand or in a case. The highly portable designs allow Azimuth systems to be put into a trunk of a car and set up in any location no matter how remote or hard to reach.

Most portable solar is designed for charging small devices or topping off partially-discharged batteries. Meanwhile, with a single day of sunshine, Azimuth’s portable solar generator systems can power appliances, entertainment, communication and medical equipment, and construction tools. Traditional portable solar generators may only charge a few cellphones or laptop computer, and can take several days to charge a battery pack. Our systems will run appliances and work as a back-up generator for adventure or crisis.

Our systems will recharge large, deep-cycle battery packs in less than a day, and the scalable design allows the systems to be expanded for additional power. The 2-axis, 360 full rotation frame can easily tilt and rotate to follow the sun for maximum input – up to 40% more power than a fixed solar panel, such as the popular folding briefcase style mini systems. Our exceptional efficiency and flexibility makes our systems suitable for micro-grid systems in cabins, micro or tiny homes, RVs, mobile work sites, boats, and off-grid homes.

Our compact design features on-board electronics which neatly nestles the combiner box and charge controller directly behind the panels. An output panel includes a 12V lighter and SAE socket so appliances, devices, and battery-packs can be plugged-in directly. Our RV connector cable can be connected through the 7-way socket on RVs and trailers to recharge their batteries without hassle. The charge controller can also be remotely mounted indoors for use with a battery bank for an off-grid home.

 

Comparison of practical use of ASP portable solar generators compared to leading competition.

We’re always working to improve our selection of high-quality components and reduce the cost of our systems. Visit our online store to learn more about these portable generators, or calculate your solar needs to find the right products for you.

Help Us Donate Solar Power to Hurricane Irma & Maria Victims

UPDATE: Our campaign to donate solar power to the Caribbean is live! Click here to visit: https://igg.me/at/t6Zysws-3V8

Azimuth Solar Products Inc. has a long-term solution to help restore power to island communities who have sustained damage from recent hurricanes with our Portable Solar Generator Systems, but we need your help.  We want to donate as many of our 360W portable solar generator systems as possible to on-the-ground emergency relief aid in the Barbuda and Puerto Rico.

We are hoping to meet their goal of $7,000 CAD to send two systems and as many power management components as possible. But the amount and nature of items ultimately donated depends on how much we raise. Along with our portable solar generator systems it’s also crucial to send batteries and power management components necessary to effectively store and use the energy generated by the Caribbean sun.

Our portable solar generators are powerful enough to supply power to medical equipment for emergency aid in hospital tents at the sites of impact. They can also power refrigeration for vaccines, insulin, and of course, food. These are high-capacity solar generating systems whose capacities far surpass that of conventional portable solar panels and systems. The ASP 360 is more similar to systems used by NATO or the U.S. Armed Forces for a much smaller cost.

Absolutely none of these donations will go towards administrative, marketing, or salary purposes. Every cent we receive will go towards overhead on sending these systems out to the right people. We’re partnering with humanitarian and non-profit veterans to create the right path for our systems to reach on-the-ground aid.

Why is portable solar the solution?

Island nations like Barbuda and Puerto Rico face some of the highest energy bills in the world because of the cost of transporting fuel. Fuel transportation costs were already high enough to stifle energy security in the Caribbean, with the average electricity bill in the region being three to four times that of the U.S. or other developed countries. Even more so after a hurricane, as fuel reserves are flooded and contaminated and gas generators are helpless until new fuel can make its way in over the water.

As Catherine McCabe, a regional administrator in Puerto Rico, explains, “No matter what precautions we take, the coastal flooding will impact oil tanks.”

In such a situation, solar systems have a huge advantage, as they can start generating power immediately without any fuel. With the Caribbean sunny climate, it’s easy to get the most out solar panels. We’ve already set up our solar generator systems in floods at home during the 2017 Okanagan Floods and designed them to be fully waterproof.

By far the most popular high-capacity solar systems used are the traditional rooftop panel arrays that are exposed to the elements year round. This permanent fixture solar infrastructure is at the mercy of the weather and easily destroyed by a hurricane capable of tearing trees from the ground.

With Azimuth Solar’s portable system, the panels can be taken indoors during the worst of the hurricane. When the storm passes, it can and then taken back out and set up tool-free within five minutes. Even so, the durable design of our unique tripod and support system can withstand winds up to nearly 140 mph with proper securing. With more tropical storms expected to follow Hurricane Irma, it’s important that infrastructure rebuilt in the region won’t be quickly destroyed again by following disasters.

Thanks to their super portable design, our systems can reach remote or isolated areas where infrastructure damaged. Our solar generators are designed to pack up and fit in the trunk of a car or to be easily carried by hand. Because all the necessary electronics are mounted to the folding panel support mount, the entire functional solar system can be moved with very little hassle.

Why Barbuda and Puerto Rico?

According to Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne, upwards of 90% of all government and personal buildings sustained some damage by Hurricane Irma with 60% of the population homeless due to the devastation. Barbuda is being described as being reduced to rubble, with nearly every element of the island needing rebuilding, including infrastructure, telecommunications, institutions, and roads. A conservative estimation of the cost of rebuilding is set at $150 Million.

Our solar systems are powerful enough to power communication devices that don’t rely on the telecommunication infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Irma. They can also run power tools, water pumps, and even portable cement mixers, so Barbuda can be rebuilt faster.

Puerto Rico’s crumbling infrastructure and crippling economic crisis has left the region especially vulnerable to the hurricane’s effects. The damage to the power grid has had catastrophic effects on the territory, with some parts of the island predicted to be in blackout for up to six months. Some 300,000 Puerto Ricans lost power before the hurricane even hit, and 1 million are now in dark since Hurricane Irma.

In on-the-ground emergency operations, solar panels can recharge communication devices and keep people in touch with their loved ones during the stressful process of rebuilding their towns and lives. Electricity is important for basic sanitation like powering water pumps and can offer vital air conditioning in a place where hurricanes can be quickly followed by sweltering heat. As well, solar-powered lighting has been shown to reduce gender-based violence in Haiti and parts of Africa and Asia, and allow people to work, cook, and co-ordinate into the night.

For the long term, supplying cheap electricity to struggling regions means going back to normal months sooner. Rebuilding efforts can be accelerated and the quality of life for those living in blackouts can be drastically improved while reparations are underway.

Conclusion

Azimuth Solar Products is ambitious about saving lives and rebuilding regions in the Caribbean, but we still need some help to make that happen. Before Azimuth can begin production, we need to raise $7,000 CAD to cover our initial costs of bulk ordering and manufacturing. These orders are ready to go, and our high-power solar generators can be shipped out in as little as three weeks. We will start our orders as prices come in and adjust them as donations continue to grow the campaign.

A full breakdown of budget and updates can be expected throughout our campaign.

 

Campaign goes live on Monday, September 18th, 2017. Click here to see more or to donate to send solar systems to the Caribbean.

 

Media enquires can contact us through [email protected]

Learn more on our website www.azimuthsolar.ca

Donation, partnership, and retailing enquires can contact us through [email protected]

Or call toll-free in North America 1-888-252-2452

Why Many People with Solar Panels Still Don’t Have Power After a Hurricane

There has been a lot written about installing solar power at home, but unless you have specifically set-up your system for emergency backup or disaster response, then it won’t automatically provide off-grid power.

There are several reasons why your system doesn’t work after the storm passes.

  • If you have a grid-tie system (solar power on your home that feeds into the grid when you have an excess of power to improve your electrical bill)and it is not set-up with a backflow stop for when the grid shuts down, then you will not have power during a blackout. If the grid is down, then all your power will flow into the “empty” grid leaving you with none. This flow could also put a charge into lines that are being worked on and inadvertently electrocute utility workers or others around downed lines, so for safety reasons, your system automatically shuts down when the grid shuts down.
  • Many on-grid systems use a type of inverter that synchronizes with the incoming power from the grid. If there is no power coming in, then there is nothing to sync to and your inverter won’t work.
  • Hurricanes and tornadoes involve high winds and flying debris. Most people have photovoltaic solar panels on their roof or on post stands. When a major storm comes in, the panels are either ripped off their mountings completely or damaged by blowing debris. A damaged panel or one that is partially shaded will shut itself off completely and produce no power. Even a broken corner will result in most solar panels not working at all.

There are solutions. If you have a grid-tie system, make sure you have battery backup and a way to isolate your power from the grid. This may involve a hardwired switch to isolate your house from the grid or may need you to physically disconnect your battery bank from your house power.  Make sure that your inverter can either synchronize the AC power to your battery power or create its own sine wave. Some more expensive systems like the Tesla power wall have this capacity built in already.

If you have back up battery power and have physically disconnected the batteries from the house power, then you need to have an inverter (to create AC power) and extension cords to run power from the batteries to your essential equipment and appliances.  To run most home appliances with a motor, you will need a pure sine wave inverter. Wire your outside solar panels to the battery bank, but make sure you have a charge controller between the panels and the batteries to control the power flow to the batteries.

The solution to the problem of wind damaging or destroying your panels is an easy one. Take the panels down before the storm hits and store them out of the wind. Then when the storm passes, put the panels back up. Make sure your electronics are either waterproof or stored in waterproof cases. Off-grid portable systems makes this easy with quick set-up and take down. Alternatively, some lightweight panels also have additional protection that the rest of the solar panel still functions if one cell is damaged.

If you are in a hurricane or tornado prone area, and you have lost your solar panels to the recent storms, consider replacing them or offsetting them with portable panels and/or making your system emergency backup ready.

solar tracking alignment sight

Harnessing the Sun Track Alignment Sight

solar tracking alignment sight

Prototype for Sun Track Alignment Sight, 2015

The most important part of any solar system is the sun, and how you harness the most power out of it can be one of the biggest challenges. If you take a quick look around the web, one of the regular questions out there revolves around how to get the most out of your system. How do you harness the most power? How do you figure out just what way to turn your panels to get the highest energy output?

For most people the answer comes from a series of calculations. There are websites, books, and entire forums dedicated to the formulas and mathematics behind panel positioning. Global positioning, time of day, and season all have to be accounted for.

At Azimuth we wanted to make solar more accessible to everyone, and that meant not only making it portable and easy to set up, but taking the numbers out of it too. With our Sun Track Alignment Sight we have done the math for you, all you do is line up the red dot.

The sight projects a red dot onto a crosshair display which shows the sun’s position over a five hour period. Simply line up the crosshairs to ensure full solar power production. Or position your panels for the best exposure over a five hour period without repositioning.

Why not make solar simple?

solar flooding waterproof

We’re Weatherproofing Portable Solar

Portable solar isn’t something which can typically survive the elements. Charge controllers, cables, and batteries usually need to be brought in from the rain and moisture while wind topples most portable arrays. But some things need to run even when the weather is poor. Some things need to run specifically when the weather is poor.

Rain, snow, and wind don’t need to be obstacles to solar power. With the right design and components, complete solar systems can be left up to battle the weather and water while still generating power. The ASP Portable Solar Generators from Azimuth Solar Products use high quality and rugged components and enclosures to keep running even when the shine isn’t shining.

Combiner Box

The IP67 rated waterproof enclosure of the combiner box can withstand the rugged demands of adventuring and off-grid living in any weather. MC4 connectors on the outside of the Combiner Box remove the need for opening and securing junction boxes during set up and take down, which is a feature all the more important in poor weather.

30A MPPT Charge Controller

Charge Controllers are the most water-sensitive part of any solar generating system. They are usually stored inside in dry environments and sometimes require additional de-humidifying equipment. More inventive solar users construct their own waterproof casing for their charge controllers. But they can be left frustrated if even a single drop manages to find its way to the component.

The 30A Charge Controller included with the ASP systems is an especially durable and weather resistant model. It is 100% non-condensing, allowing it to handle humidity and water without additional waterproof casing or solutions. The MPPT system is substantially more effective at harvesting power during extreme temperatures and low light than other systems, providing the maximum possible power in any condition. It is also 30% more efficient than regular models, wringing the most power out of any rainy day.

Output Panel

The on-board output panel includes waterproof and dustproof power sockets for 12V Car Lighter and SAE connections. While the receptacles themselves might be protected from the elements it’s still important to make sure the plugs going in are dry, too.

Tripod and Frame

All the panels and components of the generator systems are supported by a sturdy and unique design. The unique tripod, pillar, mount, and frame are all-weather. Made from stainless steel and powder-coated aircraft aluminium, there’s no worry of rusting or toppling in windy conditions. The support system can handle wind speeds up to 140 mph and can be anchored down with included military-grade stakes or additional equipment.

Learn more about ASP Portable Solar Generators.

We're Weatherproofing Portable Solar
portable solar generator

Our Debut

We are extremely excited to be debuting our products at the BC Interior Sportsman Show this weekend in Kelowna, BC! Come see us at Booth 34 from April 7th to 9th at the Capital News Centre. Tickets are available at the door and our own Matthew Longman will be speaking on Saturday the 8th at noon.

Matthew’s Speech – Portable Solar Generators: Solar Power for your RV, Cabin and Emergencies

Show Hours:  Friday April 7th 5pm-8pm | Saturday April 8th 9am-6pm | Sunday April 9th 9am-4pm

Address: 4105 Gordon drive, Kelowna