Generating solar electricity at home

After I switched to an electric car, I started to care much more about where the energy we consume comes from. With petrol and diesel you don’t really have that option. We are in a comfortable situation that we have some small hydro electric dams nearby. Thus all the electricity we use at home and for driving around, comes from 100% renewable, local production. When you meet with other E.V. drivers, renewable energy production is always an interesting topic. Lots of these folks have their own solar panels on the roof. Solar is especially interesting as it has no moving parts, and can be employed by private people. It becomes more problematic however if you don’t own a house. We live in a rented apartment, thus we have no option to put our own solar panels on the roof. Not all is lost fortunately. Recently I learned about panels with an integrated micro inverter that can be plugged directly into a regular plug on your balcony. According to Swiss law, up to 600W can be installed by private individuals. They only have to notify their power provider.
So I ordered an ADE Geranium from Energiegenossenschaft that I could pay with Bitcoin. Last week it arrived, and I immediately installed it in our garden. It can feed up to 250W into the plug. I don’t expect to feed a lot of this into the grid. It is more to reduce the standby consumption by refrigerators and computers. 250W is peak anyway and not often reached. In the first week after installation, it only produced 3.5 kWh. So it will likely take 10 years for it to amortize. But it comes with a 25 year warranty.

tinkering with the kids

This Easter weekends the weather was really crap, so we stayed home. We had lots of time to spend with the kids, and we all enjoyed that. The boys are still a bit too young for the projects I usually do, but we just did our first electronics lession.. Even if Levin didn’t fully understand how a photon derails an electron in the silicon of the solar cell, he still liked to see how the prop blew more air when he better aligned the cell to the sun.

What you need is just a pack of match sticks, some glue, a small solar cell and a tail boom of a broken RC helicopter.

Levin also created a Triceratops. You see it on the photos, that’s the dinosaur with the three horns.