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It looks like we're going to be on low power next few days at #spider-farm. It's 1130 and we're at 12.1 volts with steady rain with more rain and clouds until we get a break on Thursday or Friday.



"Cloudy" can mean anything from heavy rain clouds (no power) to a thin solid layer (used to cloud me out, but new panels can easily make 100-200 watts under those conditions) to cirrus (basically no effect on sun).

Weather forecasts could so easily be so much better for PV users if they said how many lumens will get through the clouds..


I wonder if you could infer this from the UV index?


it is nice to have diesel/ gas generator in such cases


hahaha, @balon don't even suggest that. Bicycle Generators!

@Trigger Warning

@Dominic suggested:

Bicycle Generators!

A bicycle generator can run a washing machine, but is not usable for working at a computer as there is too much leg motion. A treadle desk, like the old Singer sewing machines, but with the treadle driving a small 25W generator (e.g. electric hand drill), allows detail work while self generating the required power.


Interesting idea to use the UV index. While cloud cover does factor into the UV index, clouds let a lot of UV through, and lots of other things go into it, including eg, ozone levels. So I'm doubtful it would be a very useful number for anticipating cloudy day PV production levels.

Also, at least on wunderground, there's a single UV index posted per day, for the solar noon hour, so only 1/4th of the main productive hours are included.


@Joey Hess Have you thought about putting in a small wind turbine for cloudy days?

Ideally, one could get a small gasifier stove that produced heat, electricity (~1kW) and hot water from a quiet sterling engine. One can only hope that this will be in our future.


My topography is not good for wind. But, my plan of upgrading the solar panels to get as much power on cloudy days as I used to get on sunny days worked pretty great. Except for the odd day when a rain cloud is parked overhead all day.


If you have the space, the cheapest/simplest is probably to just get enough solar panels so you can still get good power on a cloudy day. Solar panels have no moving parts, make no noise, and are typically gauranteed for 25 years! A wind generator or other contraption is gonna require at least occasional servicing.

You'd just have to develop self restraint to not become dependent on the sunny day power. Maybe use that extra power for mining crypto currency and turn that off when it's cloudy?

I don't have the space for many solar panels, so I have a small wind turbine on the way...

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It's at home! We're unpacking the container tonight if you're free.

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