Cottage life can
be quiet. That dream can come true by using energy produced by the sun.
Solar panels, known as photovoltaic cells, can produce clean, quiet energy for all your cottage needs. The energy produced is stored in batteries so power can be used when the sun is not shining. Systems can be simple (one panel and a couple of 6V batteries) or more complex (several panels, banks of batteries, inverter, etc.) The more panels that one has, the more power that can be produced, and the more batteries that one has, the greater the storage capacity.
A key component is a "charge controller", a device which regulates the charge coming from the panels to the batteries and which prevents the batteries losing their power back to the panels.
If all you want is to power a few lights and a small DC water pump, then one panel should be enough. If you are at the cottage all summer and not just on weekends, two panels would probably serve you better. With two panels, one can power several lights, a small DC television, a 12 V (Shurflo) water pump and a cell phone. With several panels and an inverter to convert DC to AC, one can power small appliances and a vacuum cleaner.
clean, quiet operation
panels can be added at any time
almost maintenance free
do it yourself or company installed
The photo above is of the solar panels on the tower on Sandy Island. Banks of batteries are in the stored behind the base of the tower. Linked to a satellite, the panels power the entire telephone system on the upper French River.
2011 UFRCA Solar Initiative
During 2010-11, Paul Cormier organized a solar power initiative. The purpose was to coordinate interested cottagers in their research of and possible purchase of solar-electric systems. This was purely fact-finding and the UFRCA had no financial involvement with any cottager or any solar supply company. The final decision to install rested completely with the individual cottage owner.
To that end:
1. UFRCA hosted a conference call with interested cottagers, where we discussed needs and potential suppliers.
2. Cottagers were asked to complete information forms about their solar needs.
3. These responses were then distributed to the 4 solar companies who expressed interest in participating in our Request For Proposal) RFP.
4. We then hosted a conference call where solar installation companies had 30 minutes each to discuss, ask questions, and provide thoughts or recommendations to cottagers, and cottagers had the opportunity to discuss their needs with potential suppliers first hand.
5. The installation companies were then asked to submit RFP responses
6. The final conference call was scheduled for June 22, 2011. The final estimates were discussed among project participants and each was then free to call or contract one of the suppliers based on their need, responses, and costs as provided by the supplier.
We will provide some case studies and an overview of the process in the near future. We will also make some of the information available on our web site.
Solar Power Information
There are many sources for information on solar systems. Here are a few.
Advice And Information
Many cottagers have installed solar power systems and the number is growing every year. Thus there are many who now have first-hand experience and and can give advice that would be useful to the novice. Technical information that abounds on web sites and at solar power supply businesses can be confusing. A forum will be established to share information and experiences.