Power meter

Solar powered startup challenge

While setting up a new company that will bring solar power to any place worldwide to my brother and me it seemed obvious, that the company itself should run on solar power as much as possible.

Currently I am using a few sources of electricity for my home office. Hydro and wind power from the oekostrom AG that comes from the public grid. And some power from solar modules hanging on my balcony that feed in to my home office grid during the day.

Soon, I will add power from the base to my home office. My base is a prototype for the product that we will promote in the near future. A base is  a power source in a box that I will place in a corner of our living room. It will be equipped with a regular power socket for connecting my appliances and with a socket for connecting solar modules to charge it. With my base I want to power

  • a lamp that helps me work through nights,
  • my smartphone that I use for several hours every day,
  • my tablet that I sometimes use for research and presentations
  • and my laptop that I use for office stuff like writing this blog post.

Until my base is available to me I will prepare my home office for it by re-organizing some space. First I separated the appliances listed above and moved them to a corner. Then I attached low budget plugin power meters to measure the energy that I use for my startup and the energy that I already produce myself with solar modules on my balcony.

It will take some time to collect more data on solar production and home office consumption. Data on how production and consumption match, when they match and how energy storage could be used to help do the job. To begin with I will be able to get the total energy production and consumption data for a time period. Of course it would be great to have this data in real time and in a log file to further process it. But somehow from all the tools out there that I came along, none of them seem to do the job I need.

After running the setup for 48 hours I already noticed that either I use to much power for my home office or I find a way to increase the sun power I can bring into my apartment. One of the next tasks will be to install a third solar module as soon as possible to help me get through the winter. Where I live, daytime is getting shorter.