Posts in category "sustainable-living"


  • Savings Due To Solar Panel

    Last year, around this time, I wrote a post on how much money my solar panel was saving us. I was supposed to write a follow up to it after one year, but I completely forgot about it. Thankfully, a reader reminded me to give an update and here I am. Unfortunately even after one year I still did not finish the software that was supposed to instantly tell me how much I am saving each month. I should be able to get that information because I have a bunch of sensors monitoring my solar panel system. They measure the power generated by the panel, the amount of power we are using at home and how much power we are drawing from grid. All that data is stored in the cloud in Firebase. Yet I did not finish that part of the software. And to think I am actually retired. Wonder where all my free time goes. Anyway, in this post I will give a guesstimate using our electricity bills as a proxy.

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  • DIY Projects

    In an earlier post I talked about how we try to do repairs where possible and upkeep things to extend the life of some products. As an extension of that post, we also wondered how we could possibly cut costs by doing some things ourselves instead of buying stuff. This again while it seems like a frugal activity (which it is) also reduces the environmental impact. I know I am talking a lot about environment without even having a degree in it. Well, my life partner has a Masters degree in it (literally).

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  • How Much Money Did My Solar Panels Save?

    It has been more than 6 month since I installed my lone 320W solar panel. So I wanted to check if it was doing me any favors and how much money is it saving. Normally one should wait for a full year to make any kind of useful analysis. But I get easily excited when it comes to doing any kind of data analysis and here I am at it again. It is a very small installation and hence the savings aren’t huge, but at least I am able to verify my predicted numbers (units of electricity) against the real numbers. Did I have any savings or was this whole solar panel project a waste of my time and money. Let’s find out.

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  • Getting The Most Out Of Solar Panels

    It’s been a while since I updated you on my solar panel project. I thought I should continue where I left off. So after collecting all the data from my solar panels, batteries, grid and load, I observed something interesting. While the SMU was disconnecting the grid so that the load can run on batteries and solar energy, we are not fully utilizing the solar energy. During a perfectly clear day, the solar panel is generating more power than we can use during the day. The excess energy is just getting wasted. Can we do something about it?

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  • Giving Up Satellite TV

    As part of minimalism, we try to reduce stuff from our life every now and then. Like Bruce Lee said, “hack away the unessential”. You may recall some of our minimalism activities from the past like selling our car or the minimalist wardrobe. This time around we wanted to experiment with cutting out satellite TV from our life.

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  • Solar Panel Performance And Energy Savings

    Alright, so I got my solar panels and solar management unit setup all done. Now for the results. According to the spec sheet of my solar panel, it should be able to generate peak output of 320 W. And it certainly did. In fact on some rare occasions it actually produced more than the rated capacity! I was really surprised that something can outperform a spec sheet. From the spec sheet, the panel is supposed to produce 320 W with an irradiance of 1000 W/m2 under standard test conditions (STC). Whatever that means.

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  • Optimal Tilt For Solar Panels

    You might have noticed that in my DIY solar panel setup, the mounting structures were conspicuously missing. That was not a mistake. Actually I looked at many solar panel mounting structures, but most of them are not adjustable. The few ones I found were either too expensive or for smaller panels. So I decided to go find a local metal works fellow and get it built. However, thanks to COVID lockdown and such I decided to go with something simple -- jugaad style instead. More on that later. But first, why is the tilt so important?

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  • Living a Semi-Urban Life

    Some of you might know that I live on the outskirts of Bangalore. The reasons were two-fold

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  • Managing Dry Waste – Part II

    If you have been reading our sustainable living series, you already know that we have stopped generating any wet waste for the trash picker. In the previous post on managing dry waste, I talked about how we are trying to reduce dry waste. In this continuation post I want to talk about more ways to reduce dry waste.

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  • Managing Dry Waste - Part I

    I have been composting my wet waste for a while now (roughly 3 years). The yield of the compost has been good and it has become an integral part of the kitchen. Lots of valuable plants have come out of it and it's been a worthwhile experience for me. I cannot say the same about our dry waste though. Our layout has a BBMP trash van that collects wet and dry waste. I stopped giving wet waste since I have been composting all of the wet waste. However, I have been religiously giving them my dry waste.

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