Hurricane Fay began creeping northward from Naples, FL on August 18. The very day we had scheduled to initiate on our new PV solar panels to power most of our houseís electrical needs with the sunís energy. The rain began … it didnít stop for five long days, but the panels worked! Even on rainy cloudy days, our system charged the storage batteries. Our two refrigerators were never in the slightest jeopardy of losing power. Almost everything in the house is now solar powered.
On August 30th, we conducted another experiment with the system. We totally disconnected our house from Progress Energy “grid.” The air conditioners, the clothes dryer and the electric range and oven ceased working. We’d planned to see if a portable air conditioner could keep us comfortable throughout the night but guess what … it rained all day. Hurricane Gustaveís outer bands showered our house. I did manage to wash four loads of laundry on solar power and hung the clothes up to dry on racks, but we didnít want to take the chance of testing the portable air conditioner. The lights, fans and computers worked all evening. When the sun rose the next day, the batteries totally recharged. A new day dawned and a fresh source of power was available. It was so exciting!