March, according to Google. Cold snap.

Google says I was comatose

downtown Alamogordo

I was in ELP until the 11th, then boondocked outside Alamogordo in two different BLM spots. For whatever reason Maps thinks I was at the Walmart Supercenter the whole time. Admittedly, I did reprovision there at least once.

eclipse and snow are both bad for solar

Last year in Los Alamos I rewired my panels into parallel to see if I could harvest more power while hiding in tree shade. I really don’t like that setup1 and didn’t like the Y joiners (too damn tight). I’d already given the portables away by then so couldn’t depend on them.2

It had been massively overcast all day and harvest was unusually consistent. “Hey”, I thought. “This would be a great time to swap back to series and get a free A/B test while doing so.

Took a while to wrestle off the too-tight connectors, but I was glad they were off. Rewired the panels, put away the ladder, and felt raindrops. Harvest fell off so the A/B testing was void. In the pic to the right you can see the flat spot where the panels were disconnected and Vpanel ~triple when they came back online.

Then a all-off as the rain set in. Finally stopped raining and power climbed again.

But around 1245 it started to crater once more. Why? Because snow.

snow Harvest dropped to 2-3w and sat there. I took a nap. When I woke up around 4pm the snow had nearly stopped. I got the ladder out again and used the pushbroom attachement to shove the snow off the far side of the van. By then the sun was low enough the system couldn’t make more than ~125w, but even that was welcome. You can tell on the pic to the right when I swept the 1.5” accumulation off the panels.


Thankfully today was warmer and mostly sunny. The system caught up from yesterday’s harvest shortfall, made coffee, breakfast, lunch, and a meat loaf for dinner. It’s almost 6pm and as of now it’s pulled 3.22kWh. Biggest number of the year so far. According to PVwatts that’s about 75% of what was possible (4.3kWh for 750w of flat-mounted panel).

  1. both my Victron and EpEpver controllers seemed to track better at 90.9vmp than at 30.3Vmp. 

  2. thinking seriously about getting [a 2-pack of Renogy 100w:// at Home Depot for ~$160 after military discount. That way I can leave the mounted panels in series and put the portables out where they can see the sun. I have a spare 50A EpEpever MPPT I might put them on. Right now they are on a 10A MPPT so max harvest would be ~138w in Absorption and ~133w in quasi-float. Swapping in the 50A would allow them to run up to ~170w or so when conditions permit. Not sure if it’s worth the effort or not. .