Getting Ready for the Solar Workshop

We are excited about the upcoming workshop “Everything you Wanted to Know About Solar Power (but were afraid to ask!)” Info and registration here.

For those of you that have registered, please review the longer course description below and make note of the things that you will need to bring with you mentioned in the last paragraph!

Everything you Wanted to Know About Solar Power

In this introduction to solar power we move from the basic starting points of how practical solar power works, to energy consumption estimates, and finally solar site assessments.

We will learn how the basic parts of a photovoltaic system fit together into a cohesive system. From panels to charge controllers, batteries and grid-tie microinverters we will understand the anatomy of free-standing off-grid systems. We will also explore the investment possibilities of going grid-tied and selling electricity to BC Hydro. In doing so we will get a sense of the practical strengths and weaknesses of off-grid and grid-tied solar. We will learn how to read and interpret the electrical labels on appliances and calculate how much solar power we need to run them. We might even find some surprises when we compare a toaster to a refrigerator.

Along the way we can take some scenic detours into historical traps of energy efficiency, neighbourhood trends, economic trends, and some lightweight science.

The second half of the workshop is a solar site assessment. We will head outside with our compasses and simple clinometers to gather data about a specific location. We will use this to make a sky chart and model the annual solar potential of our site.

Please bring a notebook, compass, and a clinometer. You can make one with a straw glued onto a protractor and a string with a weight on the end.

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