125 posts tagged with solar.
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Are all solar lights terrible, or just mine?

I bought some cheap solar pathway lights and some decorative solar lanterns. They provide next to zero light, for about three hours. Then they really provide zero light. Also, about 80% of them turn on at all on a given day, though they all turn on *sometimes*. It's a shady area, so I know they aren't charging as much as they might if I lived elsewhere, but might higher quality solar lights be better and brighter, or is this just how they work?
posted by OrangeVelour on Sep 19, 2016 - 11 answers

Printing photos in the woods

As part of an art project, I would like to be able to use my Canon Selphy CP910 portable printer to print about 30 4x6 prints while at a remote campsite for 5 days. I was thinking maybe I could get a portable, rechargeable UPS like this. How do I figure out how many prints I can get out of something like that? Is that the best option? [more inside]
posted by sockpuppetryarts on Jun 21, 2016 - 4 answers

Power on the Playa

What are my options for power while on the playa at Burning Man for 4-5 days? I don't want to buy or use a generator. [more inside]
posted by otherwordlyglow on Jun 2, 2016 - 17 answers

I'm so close to trying a community solar provider, but need facts.

Where should I start getting some better info on this? [more inside]
posted by JackT on Apr 28, 2016 - 12 answers

Using a Luci Light in Alaska

How can I charge my Luci Light without the sun? [more inside]
posted by jsslz on Dec 23, 2015 - 5 answers

Using solar power to charge a large battery

We have a small cabin out in the middle of nowheresville, USA that is probably five miles from the nearest human being. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, wood stove for heat, that type of thing. We recently decided to use a big ol' marine battery to power some electric lights because the lp gas lantern lights really just don't cut it anymore. To charge those batteries (we have two), we are currently using a generator, but we would like to use solar instead. What are we looking at for equipment and cost?
posted by NoMich on Nov 13, 2015 - 21 answers

Solar System geometry - Neptune in solar conjunction

I'm writing an SF story which involves something akin to a space station/industrial complex in orbit around Neptune. I need to know whether Neptune ever goes completely behind the Sun when seen from Earth and if so for how long, or whether the line of sight between Earth and Neptune just grazes the edge of the Sun. [more inside]
posted by Devonian on Aug 30, 2015 - 11 answers

Back-up power for DC loads only

My property's at the end of a PG&E power line and during the winter, fallen trees and mud slides cut the power for a few days at a time. Most utilities (heating, refrigeration, cooking, water heater) have propane or wood-fired back-up but Internet connectivity has not. I would like a power supply for +5 VDC and +12 VDC, capable of about 60 Ah, and rechargeable with solar cells. [more inside]
posted by jet_silver on Aug 18, 2015 - 14 answers

Awesome minor solar/wind-energy diy projects?

We'll be on holiday with our two just-teen kids in a house on a Spanish island that's off both the water and the electricity grid, but with plenty of sun and wind. What are some cool little projects we could do - without having to ship out complicated gear/components - to own and appreciate the situation, and its potential? Self-built solar cooker? Makeshift wind turbine? Would love suggestions plus pointers to how-to's. [more inside]
posted by progosk on Jul 26, 2015 - 7 answers

Solar panel plus LED for plant growing.

I am (Very much theoretically) wondering, given that chlorophyll has quite a tight absorption spectra could you use a solar panel to power an LED array that just outputs blue and red light and get more/better plants per square meter than using that square meter of sunlight. (Taking into account the significant losses in the system etc.)
posted by Just this guy, y'know on Jul 1, 2015 - 4 answers

Solar installer info for Bay Area, CA

I'm interested in buying a solar system for my roof (not interested in a lease option) and am not sure I'm getting the best consumer info from various review sites. [more inside]
posted by quince on Apr 8, 2015 - 2 answers

Which solar panel should I buy?

I want to get into solar by putting ONE solar panel on my roof, then plugging it into a generator. Which solar panel should I buy? [more inside]
posted by cda on Mar 23, 2015 - 6 answers

Any experience with SolarCity?

SolarCity wants to put panels on my roof. The deal looks too good to be true: they claim it will knock my average monthly bill from $90 to $26, no money down, free repairs for life. [more inside]
posted by Camofrog on Jan 20, 2015 - 11 answers

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun..

Our insurance company won't insure our solar panels on their own - they'll only add the value to our "replacement amount" on our insurance policy. We want them to have their own coverage. Any leads in Ontario Canada? [more inside]
posted by VioletU on Jan 9, 2015 - 9 answers

A house without a furnace?!

Help me understand the heating and cooling system of this house we just toured. [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Jan 9, 2015 - 25 answers

How can we optimize our annual family camping trip?

I'm looking for your favorite schemes, gadgets, and systems which make camping with large groups easier and more fun. Things like "a different campsite hosts dinner every night" or "get lots of solar lanterns" or "color code all the tent parts." Our specific details are inside. [more inside]
posted by chaiminda on Aug 22, 2014 - 21 answers

Light to the outdoors

I have a deck, and it needs a light fixture next to the door. There's no electricity on the deck, and I can't cut through the wall (mounting a fixture to the siding is fine). Do they make battery-powered, wireless, remote-controlled exterior light fixtures? [more inside]
posted by mgar on Jul 7, 2014 - 1 answer

4 Solar panels and salespeople that want sales

So I find myself with 4 185 W Solar panels AND 4 enphase M190 Micro inverters (that onboard connect to each panel). The system from what I can tell is "made" for a grid connected solar system. Which is great but NOT what I want/need (Also I am too far from a station to qualify for microfit in Ontario). [more inside]
posted by mrgroweler on Jul 3, 2014 - 5 answers

How would a spaceship be protected from solar wind and deterioration?

Once we develop the technology of manned, long-term space travel (such as star trek, for example), how would our spaceships hulls and housing be protected from things such as solar wind, other "energy debris", and deterioration? [more inside]
posted by lain on May 9, 2014 - 8 answers

Anyone know who runs colorado-solar.org?

As a consumer I'm evaluating their bias in helping me find installers, but I can't find it's affiliations & organizational structure. [more inside]
posted by wonderfullyrich on Apr 21, 2014 - 4 answers

Help me make this rotating globe

Making a desktop clock out of a 24-hour clock movement, a globe, and an LED. Help me design it within! [more inside]
posted by rebent on Apr 8, 2014 - 2 answers

Vivint Offers to pay for solar panels....what's the catch?

This offer feels too good to be true. Is it? [more inside]
posted by PsuDab93 on Jan 21, 2014 - 7 answers

Where to learn about 12v DC electrical type stuff?

I'd like to learn about the basics of 12v electrics. I'm looking for recommendations for books, videos, websites, etc. [more inside]
posted by Solomon on Nov 2, 2013 - 6 answers

Is PV solar more cost effective locally produced or at a remote "plant"?

ASU (Arizona State University) as made a huge investment in PV solar: https://cfo.asu.edu/solar My friend and I are arguing about the costs of ASU's solar program. [more inside]
posted by cowmix on Oct 24, 2013 - 16 answers

Tell me where to buy / how to make a DC light timer

Our chickens [!] have trouble hopping up on their roost at dusk. We have glued a keychain LED to the inside of the coop and have been turning it on every night, and then off when they are roosting. I would like to have this turn on automatically at dusk and then off again an hour later. If this were AC I would buy a timer from the dollar store. For DC do I need to build something? [more inside]
posted by Acari on Sep 8, 2013 - 8 answers

Help me use a solar panel and splice it all together!

I'm in over my head on a DIY project involving electrical terms I don't understand. I want to use a solar panel to power both a water pump and a computer fan, and need to know if this is possible with the components I have, and if possible how can I splice/connect these non-matching wires? [more inside]
posted by croutonsupafreak on Aug 19, 2013 - 9 answers

Best Beach Canopy To Shade The Family?

Going on our annual summer vacation an need to get a canopy for the beach that can: -provide shade -not fall over in typical beach wind -handle the sand [more inside]
posted by thankyoumuchly on Jul 20, 2013 - 7 answers

Looking for a solar lit acrylic, plastic, whatever sheet

I bought a number address plaque from Etsy and I love it. However, the wall it is mounted to is blue, and consequently it is pretty difficult to read the sign from the street. I'd love to mount something behind it to solve this problem. [more inside]
posted by cacophony on Jul 13, 2013 - 4 answers

Electricity math! Need help planning for solar...

So instead of providing an answer, please help me by showing me how you got your result. I have a 12v device that consumes 1W in idle mode, and 5W in active mode. How many "amp hours" am I looking at over a 24 hour period (always on). I am looking specifically for amp hours... I don't understand the relation between amps and amp hours yet.
posted by squirbel on Apr 23, 2013 - 14 answers

Considerations for choosing a solar panel provider

If I buy solar panels for my home, what are things that I need to consider in the supplier and product? [more inside]
posted by gttommy on Feb 26, 2013 - 10 answers

green geek gift

As a gift, I am looking for an "off-the-grid" charger thingy. I have read a bunch of posts and reviews on these things, but I'm a little in the weeds. Plus, it seems like this stuff is developing and changing rather quickly. Hoping you can help! Specifications after the jump. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 4, 2013 - 9 answers

How to keep animal's water from freezing in winter without electricity?

I'd like to heat up a rock or piece of metal to drop in my chicken's water source to warm it up. What should I use? [more inside]
posted by cda on Nov 29, 2012 - 36 answers

Which solar systems should I consider?

We're building a new house and have a roof with plenty of space for number of solar panels, most likely photo-voltaic electric ones. But I'm hard-pressed to find a thorough *current* analysis discussing the pros and cons of various schemes for the systems. [more inside]
posted by wkearney99 on Nov 3, 2012 - 6 answers

Somebody wants to put something on your roof: You say...

Commercial landlords/property management: You are approached by a solar power company or a wireless telecom company that wants to lease space on your roof. Can you list in order of importance (to you and your firm) the issues that you want to be fully informed about and cover point by point in negotiations and any potential lease? [more inside]
posted by thewalrus on Nov 2, 2012 - 3 answers

What is the current status of energy self-sufficiency for a homeowner in 2012?

I have a home in Louisville, Kentucky that I want to possibly put solar panels on but I need to know the whole process for 2012. i have read where solar panels cost are lower now given the glut from China.
posted by usermac on Oct 7, 2012 - 3 answers

Solar powered USB help?

Calling all electrical engineers! Need some clarity on how to figure out solar charging rates and consumption of a USB device... [more inside]
posted by griffey on Sep 8, 2012 - 3 answers

How does electricity work?

I need a primer on how (electrical) power works. [more inside]
posted by asnowballschance on Aug 24, 2012 - 6 answers

Single-family home energy advances?

Home energy advances. Are there any new developments I should know about as I'm about to move into an older single-family home after 13 years of living in an apartment? It is a gas/electric home with heavy tree shade.
posted by usermac on Jul 13, 2012 - 6 answers

What should I rebuild my roof with?

I'm torn between just putting up asphalt shingles or splurging on a metal roof. Hoping to get recommendations on materials with a mind to efficiency and environmental sustainability. Also, who should I contact to plan a more efficient roof/home in Hamilton/Greater Toronto Area? What would be the best roof for planning a solar MicroFIT project? [more inside]
posted by tronfunkinblo on Jun 19, 2012 - 4 answers

Time/temp/solar: What is solar?

Time/temp/solar display: what is the solar telling me? [more inside]
posted by hishtafel on May 18, 2012 - 3 answers

Need solar eclipse glasses -- where to buy???

Where can I buy glasses or such things to view the annular eclipse on Sunday -- at the last minute, for a reasonable price? [more inside]
posted by buckaroo_benzai on May 15, 2012 - 11 answers

SolarPoweredApartmentFilter: Still no cost effective non-permanent solar installation for my balcony?

SolarPowerFilter2012: Is there a currently available somewhat affordable solar power rig of any worthwhile kind I could use to take advantage of my westerly facing, blasted-by-the-sun-for-7+-hours-a-day-rented-apartment balcony? [more inside]
posted by bitterkitten on Mar 27, 2012 - 5 answers

Installing hydronic radiant floor heating when building a new house?

Installing hydronic radiant floor heating when building a new house? [more inside]
posted by no bueno on Feb 1, 2012 - 8 answers

How to unstick brass valve?

How do I unstick this brass bypass valve? [more inside]
posted by NotSoSimple on Dec 16, 2011 - 9 answers

How many kWh would be produced in a year in the south of England (roughly)?

How many kWh would be produced in a year in the south of England (roughly)? [more inside]
posted by sockpim on Dec 13, 2011 - 5 answers

DIY Solar Collector Mounting

How do I install solar water collector panels on my (garage) roof without paying for fancy roof mounting hardware? [more inside]
posted by milkman on Oct 22, 2011 - 10 answers

Should we lease land for a solar farm?

Should we lease our land to a solar energy company? We were approached by a solar energy company that wants to lease 5 acres of our family (3 generations) land in Ontario, Canada for solar collectors. We are having some lawyers and other folks make recommendations and look over contracts, etc. What sort of things might we be missing? Will our neighbors hate us? In 10 years, what will make us say, "didn't see that coming?"
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes on Aug 14, 2011 - 16 answers

Which fridge rating should we use to choose a more efficient fridge?

On a small solar system that trips out a lot, what's the most important rating on a replacement fridge to indicate efficiency: full-load amps, or kWh/yr? [more inside]
posted by TheManChild2000 on Aug 12, 2011 - 8 answers

Energy required to turn seawater into drinking water

Assuming an island with its own supply of power via generator and/or solar power, how much electricity is consumed to turn N liters of sea water into potable drinking water? [more inside]
posted by thewalrus on Jul 27, 2011 - 11 answers

Looking for new ways to make solar look good in tight jeans?

How do I make solar "sexy"? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 22, 2011 - 17 answers

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