Monday, March 14, 2011

Solar Cooling

I am no longer living out of a cooler, as I have done for the last couple of years.  Gone are the times where I purchase a big block of ice and watch it melt over the course of a few days as delicate food items drown in the glacier melt. 

When my new refrigerator arrived via Fedex, I was still skeptical. I wondered if my minimal solar system would hack it. Can the sun really power a refrigerator? The idea seems like a conundrum. 

I had been looking at the Sundanzer refrigerators, an off-gridders dream, but they are priced way out of my range and also are bigger than I need. After much research, I found the perfect fridge for my needs. It is 43 quarts of arctic containment and about 1/3rd the price of a Sundanzer. The Edgestar refrigerator opens chest style so that the cold air doesn't spill out. And it only uses 60 watts, the same amount of energy as an average incandescent light bulb. And only while it is cooling. It can run on both AC and DC, which means that I can take it in my vehicle on tour with me as well. 
There is so much space when that huge block of ice isn't hogging all of it. After about a week of using it, so far, so awesome.

In other news, my new friends Michelle and Jim left this morning after making the Earth Language their home for the last two weeks. For a moment there, it was like a little village. 

In even more news, my neighbor and friend, John Wells, was written up in the New York Times for making the leap from the desert of New York City to the desert of Far West Texas. Just in case you haven't stumbled on it yet, here is the link. There are many off grid pioneers around here doing interesting things. Some of them broadcast what they do, some of them don't, but it is nice when off grid success stories get picked up by mass media.  Hopefully soon, this kind of living will be the norm. 


NewJuraNaturalBuilding said...

Excellent Trevor!! let me know how it progresses!!!

Sarah said...

very cool! literally. :)

Abby said...

Trevor, I'm curious how the fridge is doing at the one month mark. Are you able to tell how much power it's *really* using in your specific environment, as opposed to what the box/manual says? Is it maintaining a steady temp inside?

trevor.reichman said...

Abby, it had exceeded expectations so far. My tiny power system can handle it just fine. There is an exterior programmable thermostat that keeps the temperature at a steady 37 degrees. I'd buy another one of these in the future and use one as a freezer.