Our electrician neighbor came over last night to help us install a power transfer switch. We needed this switch to enable us to switch from solar power to generator power when we go off-grid. There will be times when we want to use more electricity than our solar can provide (like when I use the washing machine to wash quilts, when I need to vacuum, if we need to pump a large amount of water from the well, etc.), so the generator will be available for backup. We’ll also need a generator to charge the batteries if we experience prolonged cloudy conditions. If the batteries completely drain they’ll be dead, and will cost a fortune to replace. It’s important that we keep them topped off.
Until we completely disconnect from the grid, we can use the power transfer switch to alternate from grid power to solar power. We’ve been running our fridge, freezer, and computers off of solar power via a drop cord connected to the inverter. Now that the transfer switch is installed we can plug whatever we want directly into the wall outlet and it’ll run on solar.
We don’t really know what all the system can handle yet, ’cause we haven’t been able to connect the whole house to it up until now. This way we’ll be able to see what we can use with the solar, and what we still need to work on while remaining on the grid as backup until we’re all set to pull the plug for good.
We went with a Reliance Power Transfer Kit, basically because it was the only option our local Home Depot had available to us. It was sufficient for our needs. I’ve gotta tell you the story behind this switch… it still makes me nauseous to think about.
The day we went to Home Depot to get this kit, we had several other things we were shopping for. It was me, my husband, and our four kids. I swear we walked up and down every single aisle of that store, and lapped it a hundred times. It felt like we were there for HOURS. The kids were antsy, I was losing my patience, and I wanted nothing more than to just be DONE.
When we finally checked out and left the store, I had only one thing on my mind: GET BACK HOME.
My husband loaded our trailer up with timbers and other stuff, and I unloaded the kids from the shopping cart and got them buckled into their carseats. The kids were in, the doors were shut, and the A/C was cranked. I settled into my seat and breathed a sigh of relief.
…this is where it gets sickening…
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