Friday, June 4, 2010

Sowing Some Seeds

With the upgrade of all my plastic 15W amorphous panels to "proper" high power BP and Sharp solar panels complete, there remained the question of what to do with all those spare panels gathering dust in the garage.

We decided to take part in a car boot sale.

We had a load of other unwanted things to unload as well (the usual bric-a-brac) so we saddled up and headed out for the fields of Sussex.

I had the original four wet batteries and eight of the 12 solar panels to sell.  I also had a bunch of little 7Ah AGM batteries that a Hungarian dude gave to me for free when I bought a 40W panel from him last year.

Business was a bit slow at first but by the middle of the afternoon the big batteries had all gone for like £8 each and even some of the 7Ah batteries had gone for £3 each.  

Once I got my solar demonstration working (a panel plugged straight into a 12V fan) people were drawn to our pitch and were curious to know more about solar power.  By the end of the afternoon, I'd sold all eight of the panels for between £15 and £20 each and even had someone come round to my house to collect another two that I'd not had time to unscrew from the wooden frame before the sale.  I'd also sold some of the LED lights that were part of the kits and two of the charge controllers.

Some kids were amazed by solar power, asking where the electricity was coming from and exclaiming "Cool!!" when I showed them that it was coming from the sun, making the fan go slower or faster by having them stand in front of the panel so that they cast a shadow on it.

Hopefully these kids will have been as impressed as I was as a kid when I was given a solar power electronic experiment kit from Tandy (remember those "10 in1" and "30 in 1" experiment kits?).

My other secret plan was to get adults hooked on solar power.  As I've discovered, collecting solar power is addictive.  You start off with one or two small panels and before you know it you've got loads of the things and are making serious amounts of power.  By selling off these seeds at a low price, I hope that some more people will experiment with solar power and eventually take the plunge and get a full blown system.

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