Controlling The Sun

As we know from Greek mythology, in an attempt to escape imprisonment, Icarus met his demise by flying too close to the sun, melting his artificial wax wings and plummeting into the Aegean Sea.  While there is no risk of falling into the sea in the Arizona desert – we haven’t seen significant signs of water since we left Texas! — Betty & I do wonder if we risk being melted by the sun as we escape Winnipeg’s winter…

Of course we came to Quartzsite, Arizona for the sun. We are dry camping in the desert, and I do mean dry! The sun bakes down for more than 300 days a year (I could google the actual average number of days, but the sun is frying my brain just now. LOL) Dry camping, or boondocking, means that we are not hooked up to a water supply, and we do not have a sewer outlet, so we do our best to conserve our fresh, black & grey tanks. And of course there is nothing to plug an electrical cord into. There is evidence of former rivers and streams in the desert, but at this point they are bone dry. Needless to say, I haven’t seen car, truck, or RV washes for a long time, and everything gets a generous coating of desert dust/ sand.

Anyway, to the main focus of this post: the sun. Our little Smart car cover does a good job of reducing Shake-n-bake, and our Home Depot purchase of a 4’ x 10’ sheet of foil insulation greatly reduces sun heat gain through our motorhome’s large windshield (when parked, of course…LOL). But the big deal this week is our new solar system!

Everywhere we look on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) properties, RVs are covered in solar panels. We have been considering solar power for some time now, and what better time than in the sun-soaked desert! Unlike northern dealers who may install 1 or 2 systems a year, Solar Bill specializes in RV solar installation, installing up to 8 systems a day. Solar Bill’s our man!

We chose 2 250w solar panels for our roof, for a total of 500w of power. They are attached to a 2000w pure sine inverter-charger, an MPPT solar system controller, with remote digital meters for both, and 4 coach batteries. Tilt arms allow the panels to be adjusted to catch the most sun each day.

Of course yesterday Murphy’s Law took effect: It was the first day after our system was added, and while it didn’t really rain, we had the first overcast day since arriving in Arizona. Augghhh! Well the double rainbow was pretty anyway!

Even so, we had enough power to run my CPAP machine all night and grind & brew coffee in the morning. All of our interior and exterior plugs are now activated, and we can charge our phones, computers, ipad, digital camera batteries, gps. etc., etc., etc. all day, whether we are parked or driving. Yeah!!

The sun is a marvelous thing, and we continue to be amazed by the sky around us, particularly as the sun sets over the mountains. We now have literally dozens of sunset pictures, and while we are still extremely limited in our control over that big ball in the sky, a few more shots we have captured at our campsite this week are hereby attached. Unlike Icarus, we’ll try not to fly too close, but appreciate the warmth just the same…


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