But she is saying to me: 

- You are stupid woman,

Your wick is burning

Very little,

While I have

Wonderful light,

Because of sky lightning 

Is my brother! 

S. Marshak

This chapter was co-written by me, Uriy Balashow (“UtthanaEnergetic”, Altai) and Petr Undalov (“Sunny land”, Krasnoyarsk). 


No, don’t be wrong. I’m not going to write here about so popular today human energetic, distant thing moving and so on and so forth. You can read about those a lot in big quantity of different esoteric books. I will write here about energy for house lamp.  This book about rural lifestyle and I will write about so called “alternative energy”.  

Alternative energy sources are sources which doesn’t need fossil resources for energy getting. Something like that. And this is very actual topic in the world today because there are resource wars and especially fossil source wars (“energy wars”) everywhere and we know different names of them. 

Imagine how our world will be changed if all people begin to use renewable energy sources. Have you imagined that? Or imagine our world in which all fossil fuel suddenly disappeared. Is it a serious problem? Let’s study how we get light in a lamp previously to not be amazed after. We will not face peak of oil disaster (read more about that) in our lifetime but alternative energy research is at least interesting. And if you live in some remote place then you need it badly also! 

I’m not going to talk about sources like torsion fields which are indeed alternative sources because I even didn’t see it and have no experience of its usage. And I don’t have friends who recharge their laptop from Tesla generator. When I say alternative sources I mean photovoltaic systems (PV systems) like light generator, wind generator and hydraulic generator (We used wind energy generator but it was spoiled. We still haven’t used hydro power plant but we think about it and we will definitely study it in a future). 

             I think that rational asceticism is the best way of living and I live like that by myself. I want to know how can I get necessity easy even more than about new technologies. But even being very ascetic I faced the problem that I wasn’t satisfied by solar panel near my house. In winter we can’t use lightning in my house and recharge laptop with a comfort.    This is why I began to think about upgrading electricity system in my house, its optimization and taking in order of house electricity in whole (further when I will talk about our system I will use abbreviation “A.I.” which means Aleksandr Ivanovich). 

In this searching I found Uriy Balashov (further “U.B.”) which is my neighbor on Altai and has powerful and effective PV system which satisfies him from lightning to work of all electrical building tools. And I found Piter Undalov. He is very educated electronics and experimentalist. In this way they became to be my co-writers of this part of this article. When we began to talk about electricity Uriy told me “You are ascetic. But I’m not. I need more comfort.” We have very different approaches. This is why I try to unite our approaches and to find only one middle way to “optimal PV system”. Actually I just describe our thinks and life experience in places where there is no central electricity. 

In some places of this book we decided to mention prices of electrics. Of course when you will read this book prices will be absolutely different. All changes. Anyway I think they will be useful for you for preliminary estimation. 


You should understand what electricity is. Intermediary.

Before beginning of conversation about “alternative energy sources” and particularly about PV systems I want to say some words about one of the most beloved issue among those ones who is interested in self-development. I will say some words about “being understanding” and “transformation”. Why am I talking about that? I will try to explain. Because my asceticism was founded on those thoughts.

We (people) learned enough to use for satisfying of our needs energy of warm (burning), light and kinetic energy (movement). I’ve written and thought that word “energy” today means so many different things. Better I will try not to use it at all to avoid ambiguity.   

This is why I will cross out word energy and will write “We learned how to use warm, light and movement for satisfying of our needs”. We use them already for many thousands years. There is nothing new. We still need light, warm and movement. From ancient time we illuminate our covers by sunlight, heat by bonfire and drill hole in some shell by some stick. And all were the same for a long time until electricity appeared in our world. It appeared and began its triumph spreading from dusty scientist’s chambers to everywhere on our planet. It spread absolutely everywhere. We got used to that miracle very fast. Electrification is a symbol of our world and it was performed successfully. How wonderful it is! You only touch button by your finger and immediately there is a light. Time passed and electricity became a routine. It’s just a habit nowadays.  We know very well that the strongest addiction is addiction to habitual things!

And what we have today? Electricity in our life became intermediate using which you can carry out any operation.  We like sunlight and we want to have it at home but we still can’t fill jug with it and bring it in our room. But we can burn fuel outside of our house in generator, it will begin to rotate and we will get electricity in this way which by wires will come into lamp in our house and there will be a light inside of our house. Or we can take a battery inside of which chemical reaction is going and again there will be a light inside of our house. We still don’t know how to store the light but we already know how to store electricity.  If we need a warm then we burn fuel inside of generator engine. We get electricity this way. After we transport it by wires and transform it into warm of heater spirals.  Again we took warm, transformed it into electricity and we got warm again. We took movement, transformed it into electricity and got movement again like for example in rotating drill bit. Or you can do it in some other way.

I think you understood my idea. 

This is very comfortable for us and we got used to that and even stopped to remember way of transformations and what do we need exactly. Electricity was turned from intermediate into purpose and we again didn’t pay attention to that. And when we began to think how to disconnect the plug from the outlet and about more understood electricity usage it will be great if we will understand what exactly we need…

In today’s world it is not very easy to understand what exactly we need because nowadays we don’t solve by ourselves what we need exactly; advertisement makes us think that we need to have every good which they want to sell. 


What do we need energy for?

Or “electric austerity” anatomy

Ok we need the light! We don’t need Watts and Volts. We need the light! We need the light for lighting of our house. We want to read book in the evening, to embroider or not to meet stools or cabinets when we go in the dark. If you are living in multi-storey building then every evening you can see how your neighbors watch TV… and we surely need to know how to locate each lamp in our flat. But if we live in a village and built our house by themselves then we can select windows location by themselves to use natural light more effectively. Second. We should think about our day schedule. If we live synchronously with natural solar rhythm then we think less about lack of electricity which we got during the day.  These two thinks are very easy but on one hand I never could live according to the sun (try it by yourself) while on other hand location of my house to sun is enough well but not perfect. I’m talking about those two things but I understand that it’s very difficult to bring it to life. And you also should have skills. And you should have knowledge. Yes knowledge. Bill Mollison told that before beginning of building of your house you should live on its place some years.  And this is very good idea. In this way you will know how sun shines in your location. You can think about a lot of things before house building but after house is built many thinks will be very surprising for you. Trust me.

And one more thing I want to mention. If you live in village then you spend a lot of time outdoor. This is also your house only under the sky. And God created light outdoor in the best way. No one lamp which was created by human is better. And so we understood we need the light not electricity! But all of those are not very simple.  Let’s don’t think about ideal sun house or our ideal day schedule. And don’t think that in long winter evening you will not want to read book. You will. This is why we think about light in our house. And we need it sometimes so badly.

As we live in energy savings condition. We locate lamps in places where we need it badly.  For example we need it under the dinner table. Or we need it under the place on the oven where I like to lay and read book. We switch on only that lamp which we need now.

That is all about light. (Now there is switched on lamp under the place where I’m laying and working. Lamp’s power is 30 watt and it’s is more than enough.)  

Second thing is a heat. You will understand it good if you are sitting on the warm oven and it’s cold outside. And this is not only for pleasure, it is a necessity. I think this is not a secret that electricity heating is very expensive. Sun heating is the best. This is why we make warm in wood oven. If there is a plenty of wood it’s the best decision. It’s very good if oven is good, effective and it was made from breaks. Heat from small stove is not so pleasant like from break oven. And small stove becomes cold very fast after finishing fuel burning in it

Second thing is house quality. If your house is good then you need less wood to keep it warm. 

Third thing is the sun. It’s very good if you use it for heating of your house. For example if you have a greenhouse near your house. So for heating you don’t need electricity at all. It is not affective there. We can’t use electric kettle, microwave oven, toaster because there is no central electricity in our house. 

Third think which we use  electricity for is movement. I mean our tools like circular saw, jigsaw, drill and so on and so forth. They are very important in the village. We build something all the time. And another very popular think is a pump for lifting of water which is also an engine. And we have some house equipment like a sewing machine, blender and mill for flour. 

By the way fridge which there is in each flat in the city is also engine. Actually we don’t need fridge a lot in a village because there is nothing to store there. We usually don’t have meat, we store dairy in the creek.   We don’t need fridge for anything else. We can use micro fridge in a car if we haven’t eaten all soup. We store meal usually in cellar. Cellar doesn’t need electricity for its work. Perhaps it will be useful only for freezing and storing of fresh berries.  We want it but not so badly to worry about it.

Actually all moving tools use big quantity of electricity. For example a circular saw uses 1.5kW, some simple pump – 0.8kW. It is not so little. Our first little PV system allowed us to use only accumulator screwdriver (A.I.).   It is very useful thing. After we began to use sewing machine. All else like different grinders and circular saws were working from gasoline 3kW generator.  We expanded PV system of our house and stopped to switch on generator. Now our PV system has power more than 650W, there are a 40A controller, old accumulators with capacity 560 A*h and 3kW inverter. Now I use sun as my only one battery. We are planning to expand power of our PV system to 1kW. And this is perfect. We are working on that now. Thanks to God we don’t need often tools which need much electricity. Usage of generator is not very comfortable. It needs gasoline, makes a loud noise and smells. It has a small power. We use most often hand tools (for construction and household).    

Uriy installed big PV system in his house and never switched on generator even during building. But big PV system costs a lot. 

You should use electricity directly, without convention like in hydraulic ram. In hydraulic ram water is lifted by energy of a creek.  It’s brilliant idea. 

Forth thing is very electrical and very important too. I even don’t know how to name it. Perhaps I will say “electrical goods”. They are computers, telephones, music players and so on and so forth. They are very useful things. They help us to do different things like to write books, articles. And good news is that they use very little quantity of energy. Perhaps because we don’t convert energy in them, we use it directly. 


Some automation of our life is other important function of electricity.  And we think about used time and power. Electricity helps us to make our daily labor easier and saves the time… For example you have no need to make splinter from the log, you just turn on switch and in you hut there is a light! You have no need to bring water in bucket. You can just turn on switch and there is water in a tap.  And now you have a question how many thinks you want do in your life by yourself? What to give to electricity? If something was automated what will you do with your free time? Perhaps you want to leave some manual labor? But which of them? How much? This is a question of ideology and preferences… 

Let’s study structure of PV system.




On his journey Czigun had come to [imperia] Chu on the south and then was coming back to Czin. When he was walking to the north from [river] Han, he noticed gardener which was digging grooves for seedbeds and climbing down in the well with big jug to water [his seed beds].    He was working a lot but did very little. Czigun said:

- There is a machine which waters hundred seed beds a day. It needs a little but you will get a lot. Do you want [to try it]? 

- How does it look like? – gardener asked  rising his head. 

- I was made it from wood boards. Rear part is heavier than front one. [It] brings water pumping it [like] boiling soup. We call it pumping machine.

Gardener’s face changed because of anger, after little giggle gardener replied:

- I don’t use it not because I don’t know about it. I’m ashamed to use it. My teacher told me “One who uses machine has mechanical deeds. Heart of that one who has mechanical deeds becomes mechanical. Chest of that who has mechanical heart in him will loss integrity of simplicity.  He who lost integrity of simplicity will not improve himself in life of wisdom.  One who didn’t improve himself in life of wisdom will not go using right way [= hasn’t dao]”.

Czigun  being ashamed was repenting. He  lowered his head and was keeping silence. 


Chjan-czi. Mechanical heart. 


Structure of Photovoltaic system (PV system)

I believe that majority of you who reads this book knows little bit what is photovoltaic system and its structure. Nowadays you can find a lot of information.  But I think I should say some words about it to be sure you know why lamp lights. 


Solar panels. You undoubtedly know shape of them.  They are black-blue plates in which sun rays transform into electricity. There are two types of panels. They are monocrystalline panels and polycrystalline panels. There are also amorphous panels. We use it in calculator. And there are some other types but they are rare. Differences between panels are possibility of transforming of different parts of sunlight into electricity and effectiveness. There are panels with different power and different voltage (12V and higher). 

The charge controller. This is a box with electronic which controls  accumulator charge process. There are MPPT(MaximumPowerPointTracking) and PWM on our market.  MPPT is more expensive. 


Accumulator. This is very important part of a system. Namely it gives us autonomy. While there is a sun we accumulate energy in accumulators when there is no sun we use it. There are different types of accumulators. Differences between them are their capacity and technologies from which depends their productivity. We use armored acid traction ones like in electric trolley (forklifts). I will tell you more about accumulator little father.

Invertor. It is a box which makes alternative current from direct current.  We have electricity 24V net at home.  But we want electricity 220V net. First we want use at home different ordinary tools which need alternative current. Second we can transfer 220V current by wires easier because of current power is low and losses are little.   While 12V net and 24V net can be very small. 

Differences between invertors are voltage (12V, 24V, 48V), power and type of alternative current (sinusoid and pseudo sinusoid). Engines and some sensitive tools need sinusoid current. Such inverters are more expansive but they produce sinusoid current of high quality and safe for all tools. They have no voltage surges and voltage drop which are harmful for household appliances.    

According to type of operation principle there are two types of invertors. They are high frequency invertors and transformer invertors. Second type we use more rarely because they are more expensive and heavier but more stabile especially if we use often tools which have starting current twice more higher then nominal current. But high frequency invertors are very common and you can find one of high quality. 

Users. They are all tools which will work from our net like lamps, computers, pumps and so on and so forth. There are two types of users. First one uses 12-24V current (car tools) and second one uses 220V current (all other household tools which are connected via invertors). 


Technical equipment. They are wires, terminal blocks, junction boxes, switches, fuses and so on and so forth. There is ordinary (and extraordinary) electricity equipment in this section. 


That is all which basic PV system includes. 


What is quantity of electricity? What types of kilowatts are there? How to count them?

We use word “kilowatt” very often but we don’t understand it enough well. People wants “kilowatts”, they want a lot of them. If they begin conversation about electricity they surely ask “how many kilowatts?” And after you will hear questions “Is it enough for you?”, “Can you use more?” Let’s take a look closer what is kilowatt. 

When you chose sun power station you should know how many panels you will install, what type of inverter you will use and what type of accumulator you need. And each one of those things has characteristics which are measured in kilowatts… 

            Power of Solar panels is measured in watts for example there are solar panels on 2000 watts. This means that if sun is at its zenith and there are no clouds panel produce current of 200 watts. This means that roughly speaking this panel during 10 hours of working in a summer will give approximately 1.5kW per hour, in winter it gives in 3-4 times less.  

            Invertor also has power which is measured in watts. For example you can use with 600W inverter and 3kW inverter 600W tools and 3kW tools. For example average laptop needs 60-70W, borehole pump needs 500W and more, circular saw, grinder need approximately 1000W, kettle needs 2000W. This is why you need to chose inverter thinking about maximal power of all tools which you will use in same time. According to my experience I can say that for ordinary life you need to have inverter with power at least 1.5kW, better with 3kW, in last case you can use any tool you need for building and living.  

Accumulator has capacity which is measured in kilowatts per hour. Usually accumulator has a notification with something in A per hour and voltage for example 12V – 200A per hour. If you will multiply first one on second you will get 2400W per hour, this means that you can use roughly saying tool with power 100W during 24 hours. Label on all starter accumulator’ says capacity in case of you will discharge it for 20 hours. If you will discharge it faster then it will give you less capacity. This is why we recommend usage of traction accumulators for autonomous supply system. Their capacity which is noticed on the label is for 5-hour discharge and they are able to work longer with bigger load. Ordinary starter accumulator on high current gives half and even less from their capacity and became failing soon. 

Let’s talk simpler. Think that electricity is ordinary a water.

Accumulator is a jug which we fill. Panel is a tap or water jet which fills jug. If we have many panels then jug will be filled faster. If capacity of the jug (accumulator) is big then we can pour in it much water. If we have powerful inverter then we can take more water and it will flow faster and we will use it faster. Something like that. In hole it’s important to have balanced system. Panel power and accumulator capacity should be balanced first of all. 

If there are many panels and little accumulator in your system then you should constantly use electricity or in another case it will heat your equipment and equipment will fail more quickly. But you also should have suitable inverter. It is not bad if it has little power. In this case water from your jug will flow slowly but you can use it anyway. But if you have little accumulator and powerful inverter then you will have lack of capacity to store big energy flow of powerful inverter. 


Photovoltaic system. Details.

We (A.I.) use “alternative” energetic especially photovoltaic system for three years now. We had wind energy generator but one day during strong wind it lost its wings. And we stopped experiments with it. But maybe we will continue it in a future. We got experience, a lot of equipment. There are black-blue plates on each building which we have.  We got not only experience and a lot of equipment but also we understood that alternative energetic has many little things which you should know to have good working system. Now I will try to tell you what I now know about that. 

1. Solar panel gives power which is stated on the label only in case of excellent conditions. Rays strike on the panel at right angles, weather is not hot, there is no anything which can hide panel from rays for example cloud or grass. 


2. First our accumulators were gifted to us. But they didn’t have capacity of 132 A per hour which was stated on a label. Our equipment couldn’t work well with it. In addition they were ordinary starter ones, not traction ones.  Some of them were spoilt soon, but some of them still give the light little bit. New accumulators are very expensive. And they were working with parameters which were noticed on a label only at the beginning but soon became worse.  


3. Controllers and invertors and electronic which we have or we had become spoilt after some time. And cheap Chinese electronic become spoilt very fast. No guaranty. And we couldn’t repair it. And it also works bad. And if you bought cheap Chinese electronic you probably will buy new one soon.  


4.It is electricity. This is only 12V but sparks, short circuits, heating and melting of the insulation and even fire may occur. There is no difference you use alternative current or other one. This is why you should be very careful with all of that. Perhaps better first to ask electric how to do all basic electric works right. For example you should know how to connect and to isolate wires. 


5. To continue previous paragraph I should say that if solar panel appeared in your house then immediately you will have in your house such things like hanging wires.    It happens always. There is no difference you got electric pole or photovoltaic system. We recommend to design house wiring and to prepare places for all equipment.    And do it first of all even before electricity will appear in your house. And don’t forget about hanging wires which wants to be hanged permanently. 


6. Actually in a summer sun stronger then in a winter. This means that you can get less electricity during a winter then during a summer. But we need a lot of electricity in a winter. You want to read (and to write) books in a winter a lot. 

We wanted to solve all of those problems and that is why we began our experiments to optimize the system. I will write about that.  Of course you should from the beginning make your system from normal parts.  But we couldn’t do that so we should rebuild it after.  So this way we got some accumulators of different types, some controllers, some power invertors… We spent a lot of money on all of those and got big experience of using of different components.   

Of course we are not alone who thinks about PV system.  This is field for big quantity of experiments for many people on many years! And when I was talking with some people about that I got a question. Is it possible to have normal working PV system? Yes it is real.  


Optimization of photovoltaic system and could it work well? 

Panels and its location

The most popular panels today are monocrystalline panels and polycrystalline panels. But they are not effective enough.  When they calculate effectiveness of panels they use reference which equal to 1kW of sunlight energy for 1 square meter of Earth surface.    This is like energy maximum you can get from 1 square meter. Monocrystalline panels can process 25% and this is the biggest index among other panel types. 

Panels on solid crystals (monosrystalline and polycrystalline) were designed for aerospace field for wavelength of direct sunlight without refractions (as in an airless space). This is why they work well only in sunny weather. In cloudy weather their productivity can decrease in 10 times. Isomorphic silicon panels were designed for work in cloudy weather and they decrease their productivity in cloudy weather only in 2 times.

And one more think. When panels became overheated they decrease their productivity. This is why the best time for PV system work is early spring. 

We have many sunny days on Altai. This is why we still use monocrystalline panels. They are cheaper then amorphous, have a small size and work longer. If in your place quantity of sunny days is not big then it will be better for you to install amorphous silicon panels. I hope they will work better in your case. I will check it later.  

Situation in the world changes permanently. Scientists find new good thinks all the time. This is why solar panel effectiveness will increase. And they will become cheaper. We can see new types of panels very often. You can find nowadays concentrators. Concentrator is device which allow to photocells to “catch” light more effectively. And nowadays you can find absolutely new types of panels which like film can be slicked even on window glass…  Perhaps soon they create photocells for which sun location will not be so important.  We will wait and will see.

Now sun should shine directly on panel. In another case panel effectiveness is decrease very mach. Take a look at this chart.


             You can see on chart that if angle between rays and panel changes on 20% then efficiency decrease on 5% and if angle is very big then efficiency can decrease to 20%. What can we do? 

There are two ways of optimization. 

1. Tracker. Firstly I fixed the solar panel on the rotatable stand. Before that it was standing leaning against the house wall.  It wasn’t the best direction. And kids several times kicked it. In case of its broke it could be very expensive for us. 

Stand is very simple structure. I made wood frame and fixed panel on it. I fixed frame on dug pole. That is all. It’s very easy to use this structure. You should only turn it to sun manually several times a day. System became more effective. But soon we understood that there are some difficulties. Wind can turn panel to wrong side and we sometimes forgot to turn panel to the sun. Besides if size of panel increase then stand also become larger and it is not very easy to turn it to sun. At the beginning we used that wooden stand. But then we began to use automatic tracker. It became to turn panel to the sun by itself. And structure began to work on 30% more effective. It is working without of our help. It is conveniently but expensive. There is only one panel on our tracker today. Tracers for many panels are expensive because they should be big to withstand strong wind. All other panels just hang on the house wall and are focused to the east.

Using of trackers makes charge of accumulators more stable during the day. And this is good for accumulators.   


2. Increasing of panel quantity. You can hang panels on stand but it shouldn’t be turning stand (especially if there are a lot of panels), you should hang it on stationary stand.  Stationarity (this means that panels not always are turned directly to the sun) is compensated by additional quantity of panels. This is economically more effective than installing of trackers. But installing of trackers is convenient because it allows to decrease panel quantity especially if you use very expensive panels.  

You can often see on some pictures solar panels which are installed on the house roof. We were using them in this way but we denied from it because in winter panels often were covered with a snow and after snowfall we had to clear the snow from their surface.   You will not climb on roof very often! And we have roof which is not very convenient for that. 

You should hang panels in two meters from the ground.  This is important because soil absorbs light and if panel stands on the ground it produce 10-20% of electricity less than that which is raised. You should clean panels by broomstick in the morning after snowfall. But you should do it only in a cloudy weather. But if the sun is shining then black plates are warmed and there is no need to clean them, snow slips down by itself cleaning surface from dust.

Optimal panel inclination angle in the vertical plane is latitude angle (on the equator panel can lay horizontally at angle 90° to sun rays but on pole it should stand vertically at the angle 0°). In our area it is approximately 51°. In a winter sun is lower and in a summer it is upper. This is why if panel on stand leans you can change its angle from 36° in a winter (latitude is -15°) to 66° in a summer (latitude is +15°). But if there are a lot of panels it is not very conveniently to move them. Then we keep all panels at average angle. 15° of inclination will change productivity only on 5% (look at chart).


There are three types of traction lead-acid accumulators on the market. They are AGM, GEL and wet accumulator. Let’s take a look little bit closer on each type. 

Accumulators of AGM type. There is fiberglass material which is impregnated with electrolyte between positive and negative electrodes.  Cell of such accumulator is like layered cake.  In accumulator there are 6 cells which were connected successively. Accumulator voltage is 12V. Producers say that accumulators will work 10-12 years. But this is not true! Technical documentation says that they are able to be recharged 300-400 times in the cyclic mode. They should work for 1.5-2 years but they work less because of sulfation and mockery by the user.  

Price of one accumulator of AGM type with capacity 200 A per hour and voltage 12V is 28000 rubles on April of 2016.  

Accumulators of GEL type. They are similar to accumulators of AGM type but their electrolyte is thickened with using of special additives. It is like gel. Users call them “gel accumulators”.  

           In one accumulator there are 6 cells. Accumulator voltage is 12V. They work so long like AGM, only they have other requirements to charge mode. Heating is very harmful for them and reduces wok term considerably.  Sellers promise 10-12 years of work but it is also only marketing! In circle mode they have quantity of circles same like AGM accumulators. Price of 1 accumulator of GEL type with capacity 200 A per hour and voltage 12V is 32000-33000 rubles on April of 2016 year. 

Their good qualities are:

they don’t require good room ventilation (but they extract hydrogen);

you don’t work with liquid electrolyte;

Metal corrosion possibility is less. 

             But those good qualities are not considerable. There is big bad quality. They don’t have a big capacity for autonomous power supply systems.  

          It supposed to be noticed that maximal accumulator capacity is 200-230 A per hours and producers can’t make capacity bigger because accumulator with bigger capacity will have big weight and big size.

Also it supposed to be said that sellers have usually accumulators of AGM and GEL types. Perhaps because of:

а) there are economic benefits (they can only resell it and have a good profit); b) there is no need to work with electrolyte, so everyone is able to install it; c) there is no need to use accumulator complex, this decreases considerably mounting time and additional expenditures of labor for installation of power supply system.  Next type of accumulators is accumulator with liquid electrolyte. Positive and negative electrodes are in liquid electrolyte solution. There are two types of such accumulators depending from electrode (plate) type.  They are: 

а) monotestaceous – they can work no less than 600 cycles; 

б) testaceous- they can work no less than 1500 cycles. Voltage of those accumulators is 2V. For getting 12V accumulator you need 6 ones. Their capacity varies from 160A per hour to 1200 A per hour. 

Price of accumulator with capacity 160 A per hour and voltage 2V is 3000 – 3500 rubles on April 2016.  

Work term in autonomy supply systems in several times higher than AGM and GEL.  

Producers and sellers give guaranty on them on 1 year. After if something wrong it’s user problem. But problems appear after 9-11 months of using when guaranty term is finished. Accumulators begin to work bad but their praise was very high… 


At first we (A.I.) had not very good accumulators which were written off from railway locomotives. They were good at first but they were starter. They couldn’t work in our PV system and became spoilt quickly (even plates were damaged badly). After we found traction accumulator unite with liquid electrolyte on 24V and 560 A per hour. That accumulator consisted to parts on 12V which were connected by wires. Its weight was approximately 450 kg and it was approximately 10 years old. Now our system is working with that accumulator.  We don’t know now for how long it will work. 

Usage of accumulator which consist parts on 2V is better than one on 12V because you can change one or two spoilt parts instead of changing of whole unit in case of fail.  And in unite with 2V parts you can align charge in each part with balancer device (we use tool from company “Sunny land”, Solar124.ru) and it makes it more effective. And your accumulator will work longer and you can do desulfuration separately in each part of unit.

Why we should use balancer device? Many books about alternative energy supply say that you should take parts for one unit from one batch of one year. Why? You should do it to spread charge evenly between parts. But in nature there is nothing absolutely same and even accumulators from one batch will work differently. They accumulate charge differently and give it back also in different way. And if you take a look inside of accumulators then you will see that some of them are boiling (Electrolysis of water is going and this is very harmful for electrodes) but some are not (they are not fully charged). And if you will check a charge in each accumulator then you will see that in different 2V accumulators it is different. If you checked charge in each accumulator and all is well but accumulators are still not in good condition. Balancer device should be connected to each accumulator. It will check charge in each of them and balance them. In this way charges become same and accumulators operate smoothly. Imagine that accumulators are singers then balance devise is choir conductor. 

If you will disassemble 12V accumulator you will see that it consists 2V parts which contain different charges. It is same situation.  

About capacity. Don’t think a lot about capacity. Your accumulator should charge well and discharge also well. There are not strict formulas for calculating of accumulator capacity. In each case you will use special one. There are different types of panels and tools and they work also very differently. So we have to say that it’s important that in sunny weather and without of usage of energy accumulators should be charged completely during one day.  In another case your accumulator will not be recharged fully often and they will be spoilt soon. You should remember the rule “Better little less then little more” because accumulator should be discharged completely also regularly in another case all plate area will not work and capacity will decrease.   

About electrolyte. It’s important to open accumulator lids often to check electrolyte quantity. If there is a lack you should pour distillate water to hide plates. But you should not use water which you bought in a shop because it contains a lot of impurities like iron.  They just sell filtered water from tap. The best water for this is prepared in distillatory by yourself.

You should measure electrolyte density especially if you have bad quality accumulators. You can do it using hydrometer. You should check density at the end of sun day when accumulators are completely recharged. Fully recharged accumulator should have electrolyte density approximately 1.42 g/sm3. You can correct it by acid with density 1.42 g/sm3 (almost each car shop sells it) or by distillate water. 

About winter. Accumulators love warm. They don’t keep charge on negative temperature. In case of electrolyte is outdoor you should increase electrolyte density because high density electrolyte becomes frozen less and accumulator keeps charge better.  In any case accumulator should not be cooled lower than -20 °. Constant keeping them in the house with positive temperature is the best way of usage it.

Now we think to put accumulators inside of warmed corpus and put inside of corpus firm for infrared heating on 24V with thermal relay to heat little bit block when it is - 20°С… and to heat inner porch also.

In a winter we have days sometimes when there is sun lack even in our sun area. We try not to use any powerful tools to not discharge accumulator in such days. We are waiting for days with plenty of sunlight. 

             Now let’s talk about controller. I was talking about it already but now let’s take a look a bit closer. 

Usually we don’t pay much attention to it. We buy it according to current power which can be produced by solar panels. And this is not good. Actually charge controller is very important thing! From its quality depends accumulator life which (if it is good) is very expensive. 

We deal with it in this way. While we had free accumulators which were working bad we didn’t pay attention how controller works. Little lamp was lighting a little and it was OK. We were using tools mostly during time of the sharpest daylight (we didn’t recharge accumulator in that case). To light house little bit with lamps that accumulator was fit. When we began to want more from system we changed accumulator and began to think for how long they will work. 

For understanding why controller is so important I will tell you about accumulator recharging and how to use it! 

             Following chemical formula describes recharge process of lead-acid accumulators. 


PbO2 + Pb + 2H2SO4 = 2PbSO4 +2H2O


If we take a look at this process little bit closer then we will understand that we get water not right away but firstly we get hydrogen and oxygen.  This is why you should ventilate room with accumulators to not allow explosion if process will not be ended by creation of water. If we take a look at the process closer we will see that filler lead-acid accumulator is absolutely reversible system in which expendable material is water.  Electric energy (electric charge) locates in electrolyte. Lead plates only accept current and transmit it.

            Quantity of recharge/discharge cycles in such system is not less than 4500-5000 if charge is “correct”. And what charge is “correct”? One which provides complete plate desulphation because main cause of getting failed accumulator is sulfation (lead sulfate formation PbSО). 

You can see in formula that this is normal process during each accumulator discharge. During accumulator recharging sulfate should dissolve but practically this process doesn’t end and remaining lead collects in accumulator after each usage.  As a result plates are covered with white bloom (PbSO4). It is dielectric and it isolates plates from electrolyte lowering area of touching from electrolyte. It leads to decreasing of given currents i.e. capacity loss. 

All of that lead to accumulator change. And this is a cause why alternative systems are so unstable. Almost each of them depends from accumulator (it is very expensive!) and accumulators (even new) will fail completely in couple of years. And if we think about nature accumulators should be reclaimed and this is very big problem. 

Ok controllers.

There are two types of them on the market. They are PWM and MPPT. 

Controllers of PWM (pulse width modulation) type is the most commonly used controller and it is quite cheap. Mechanism of its work is enough simple. All current from solar panels goes on accumulator recharging. For exceeding of a set threshold pulse-width modulation of the current is performed for maintain of the set charge voltage. 

Controllers of МРРТ (monitoring of the maximum power point) type is the most popular nowadays among users and producers. Its work mechanism is little bit different from work mechanism of PWN-controller. МРРТ controller – is “voltage-current” converter with high efficiency which low current with high voltage from solar panels convert in high current with required voltage.  If accumulator is recharged enough there is not impulses like in PWM.  

          Producers say that controller monitors effectiveness of solar panel work with purpose of getting of maximum power. This means that you can get using MPPT controller from sunlight on 15-20% of energy more than from PWM controller. 

           But this is not true. Expensive MPPT controller and PWM controller work in same way using same algorithm which lead to necessity of changing of accumulator soon. 

The biggest swindle is that producers don’t produce the most effective accumulators. It is not profitable for them! And this delays common usage of PV system. All sun controllers which you can find on the market are not able to fully dissolve sulfate of lead during recharging process in accumulator because of their work algorithm.  Users who once changed in their autonomic system accumulator possibly will think why they bought such MPPT or PWM controller and accumulator of AGM or GEL type. In 1.5-2 years power station is not fit for usage. And what is conclusion from all of that? 

We began to study this issue and to seek other algorithms of recharging which will allow to safe accumulators. And we found works of Americano John Bediny who is nowadays main specialist of accumulator recharging. Controllers of his idea are tinkered by amateurs but you can find them. 

Alexandr Soroka1 is known on territory of former Soviet Union. He is working on prolongation of accumulator usage.  He has own algorithms and chargers on its basis for different types of accumulators. 

We can say that recharging algorithms by Bediny are the most effective between algorithms we could found.  


We can control condition of our system by voltmeter. Some controllers have ammeter using which you are able to see how strong sun is shining now and if there are too much of snow on panel or something else have happened and interferes to operate for your system well.  There is no big practical sense to control current power. You can use it only for performing of experiments and then you should have ammeter which is fit for current which panels can produce.   Panel should be located to be sufficiently lighted by sun. I wrote about that but I want to write it again. We don’t need to know current power. It is important to know current voltage. 

Controllers which are working on Bediny’s algorithms will raise current voltage to 30,4V (And sulfating will begin. For 12V accumulators this voltage is 15,2V. See chart) but in the evening recharged accumulator voltage should stabilize to 26V (13V). If you see this number on voltmeter it means your accumulator is completely recharged. 



We (A.I.) didn’t buy transformation inverter before prices on all foreign devices were raised. That is why we use domestic one which has high quality. It works well. We are satisfied.  For years of experiments we burnt some Chinese inverters.  And nobody can repair it. That is why you should buy only good electronic with well known brand. It should have good support service also!  

Now we have 24V inverter. But at the beginning we had 12V inverter which was connected to half of accumulator and that is very bad for accumulator because it destabilizes accumulator by irregular discharge (read above about balancers).

It is good if you have two devices: little one (we have for example one on 300 Watts) and big one (for example on 3 kilowatts).  You can keep little inverter which is used for simple tools working constantly even if there is very low sunlight. It uses very little quantity of energy. You need big inverter only for work of powerful tools. But we need it not so often. It is very comfortable if inverter has energy saving mode.

When you will buy inverter you should remember about start current. This mean that when you switched on tool it can use some seconds more powerful current than it is written in instruction.

              You should pay attention on inverter integrated protection. It must allow usage of net with voltage 220V even in case of accumulator is in desulphation mode (approximately 15,2V and 30,4V).  If integrated protection will switch off inverter earlier (for example 15V or 29V) then you will not able to use it during the most active sunlight. Actually it’s easy to configure and if you get in touch to producer that issue will be resolved very quickly. It is good if inverter has protections from overheating, short circuit, reverse polarity, counter-current, and so on.   


System voltage

At first I had system in my house on 12V but I decided to upgrade it to system on 24V. This system is good because amperage decrease while power is constant. You have fewer losses and you can use thinker wires. Panels of big power are produced on 24V. Price of controllers on 12V and on 24V is same but to second one you can connect more panels.  If you have system on 24V then you should have more powerful inverter. For such system there are invertors on 6 kW (peak loads up to 12 kW). This is very powerful system and you can find it in villages very rarely. System on 48V is more complicated in montage. But you can use more powerful inverter in it. But this is more than enough it seems. So… 24V system is optimal.

There is no big difficult in changing of all tools we use. You can find 24V lamps on the market. And they are very efficient. We have on 3W.  

For those ones on 12V (like car tools) you can install a down converter from 24V to 12V. We use voltage converter from “SibContact”. Don’t use it with a half of block!  

There are 3 nets in our house. They are net on 24V (main), net on 220V (using inverter) and net on 12V (little net from voltage converter). 


Place for equipment

Controller and inverter can have big fan for cooling which make a loud noise.  If there is a special technical room with heating for all equipment then noise (and ventilation) is not a problem. We have only one warn room.  That is why we placed all equipment in cold inner porch. I have already written about accumulator cooling. Cold for all other parts of system is not so harmful but don’t cool it so hard (and don’t heat it as well). But you should keep it in dryness. And keep it away from kids (it is electricity!).



During optimization of my system I changed all wires from solar panels to controller and from controller to accumulators. Now there are thinner wires with a cross section of 16 mm2. I covered them by copper brackets, cleaned contacts well, lubricated them with graphite grease and connected them well.   This thickness of wires is enough for 90A current. This is more than enough for our system.   

I connected 24V solar panels by thinner wires with cross section 6 mm2. But this is also more than enough for us. This is enough for 40A current (it is 1 kW for 24V current).   Remember! You should have thick wires because thick wires have fewer losses. 


How to deal with a system in neat way? PV system is ordinary electrical system. And there is no difference you have central electricity in your house or PV system.  You will have electricity mess anyway. You should do everything in your system good when you do it first time. In another case you will have big problem in the future with correction of your system. Don’t think I will do it after better. Do it excellent today.

I will not write about work of an electrician a lot. It seems for me that good thing for wire fixing is tin brackets which you can make from tin cans or cylinders for portable gas cooker. This is also a way to utilize tin garbage. You should cut it into strips (size 1*5 cm) and after do whole in the middle of strips. Fix it to wood wall with 19 mm tapping screws along cable.  And after when you will install cable you should fold those strips keeping cable inside of it.  I made picture of that fastening. This is old Soviet Union way. 

Everything else is ordinary. Wires go to lamps, sockets or switchers in different parts of a house. There are distribution boxes in which wires are connected with each other with help of terminal strips   in key places. Don’t forget about cores of wires, red (or another warm color) ones carry positive current and carry wires have negative current.  You should always follow this rule because it is good for more comfortable work. One in my village made all wires of different colors in his bathhouse. And after it was very difficult for him to understand the system.  

Optimization of tools. Here I want to tell about tools which use direct current and alternative current. We don’t use inverter often because actually we don’t have a lot of tools. Some tools we connect directly to wires on 12V and 24V. For example our satellite router needs 24V current, Wi-Fi needs 12V current, radio extenders of telephone line also needs 12V current. For recharging of telephones and other little tools we use car USB-adapter which works from cigarette lighter socket.   We connected portable radio sets to USB wire which also is connected to cigarette lighter socket.   We have also sewing machine, washing machine, mill and electrical tools which need 220V current.

It is very good if you have energy-saving equipment. For example we have timer on henhouse which switch on and switch off the light automatically at determined time.  It helps to save lamps, accumulator charge and nerves. You can use motion sensors and relay for lamps for lighting of garden, inner porch and lavatory.  

Protection. You must have fuse in positive wire of your PV system between accumulator and inverter. It can be ordinary fuse-link. You can find fuse you need in this way. You should divide peak power of inverter (for example 2000W) on the voltage (24V). And after add to that 25% from result (2000/24 + 25%). So… in our example we need fuse on 100А.

It will be perfect if you will have protection for all tools. There is little amperage in system. That is why you can use car fuses. For example there is fuse on 5A for lightning (24V) in my house.  

It will be perfect if there is also protection on wires between solar panel and controller. Use for direct current special equipment. If you have automatic equipment for alternative current it will not work with direct current tools.  


In how much time it will pay for itself?

Once I told in internet that we don’t have central electricity and how we live with that. One began to discuss that issue with me. He told that PV system is very expensive. Comparing with central electricity it will pay for itself only in 80 years!

Actually good PV system nowadays will pay for itself in 40 years. Considering constantly rising electricity tariff it will be even in 25 years.  But considering that it allows to live in a place where there is no central electricity at all it will pay for itself in no time.

If you will ask some company about a price of electrification of some place and they will say it to you, and it is really huge then you will understand that alternative energetic is really good idea.

Money nowadays became a method of estimation of environment. We think very often by categories “cheap” or “expansive”, “Will it pay off or not”. And we use those criterions for talking of some decision. But we can also think in other way and then you will have absolutely other point of view on a problem. In other case you will think that PV system will not pay off. Someone can say “My neighbor bought PV system, installed solar panels on his roof and now he can’t even watch TV with comfort. He is completely fool!” and it will improve idea “PV system will not pay off”. But we should understand how one spends his money and other sources. If alternative energetic is only fashion then it is possible it will not pay off.

First of all we should understand why we need energy and how we are going to use it. I have written about that. This issue is more important for me then how we can get that energy. And you also should remember what is very important for you. I can tell you only about myself what is important for me in my life without central electricity.

First criterion is very simple. It is autonomic energetic. Autonomy. But of course you will undoubtedly say “How can you talk about that if all parts of system we buy? We don’t produce something by our self. But when I talk about autonomy I mean that I repair, construct, set, adjusts my system by myself. And I use it by myself too. And it is very interesting for me. I know almost all about my wires. I buy my lamps, switchers and accumulators by myself and install them also by myself. I solve by myself what is important for me now and what tools I will use depending from the weather. I depend only from the weather! I also make a decision can I allow to myself now to upgrade my system or not. Or maybe I need money for something else.  

In this case it doesn’t mean that I’m living on an uninhabited island. I just take responsibility for my live by myself (Read more about that in my book “We build a village”). And this make my life more interesting (I can’t even imagine where I could know so much about electricity!). It creates conditions for self education and presents me some tranquility. I have no one to call in case of emergency and no one to blame if light in my lamps suddenly disappeared.   

Recently I saw that electricity in one of houses in neighbor village was switched off.  And they can’t do anything. They didn’t expect that (but disruptions in electricity supplying are very usual here). They called to emergency service but they refuse to arrive (It was weekend). Situation was very nervous. Of course tranquility in whole doesn’t depend only from wires.  But if I was thinking all the time why there is no light in my house and couldn’t do anything with that perhaps I also would began to worry soon. Ok autonomy (self responsibility). There is no responsibility in case of you simply bought equipment on company, employees arrived and installed that equipment while you were sitting and watching TV.  

Second. You should remember how much energy you have. I try use energy economically. There is no central electricity in my house this is why I use energy very economically.  This like spiritual practice for me. 

Third thing is stability. Actually I speak about one thing from different points of view. Good solar system is more stabile than gasoline generator (while gasoline generator is more powerful) because it needs fuel for work which I can’t produce by myself.  In this case you need something from outside! But generator on sunlight (it is the most natural fuel) can work without of oil corporations. This is like asset and liability. Asset is something which brings profit to you while liability is something which needs sources constantly. For example car is liabilities if I’m not a taxi driver. Asset is stabile.

I have not to pay each month for electricity if I installed PV system. Yes I paid when I bought equipment. But that money is enough for very long term.  I want to believe in that. But I don’t worry each month where to take money. It gives me stability. 

Forth thing is connection with nature. Of cause it is very naturally to cut log on sticks for lightning or to sculpt candle from wax but it is inconvenient little bit. Solar system makes me to pay attention after environment. Now I know very good how sun moves, how much it shines, how high it is in different seasons. I have little experience of using wind energy generator but it is really very little or in another case I could write about wind energy generator too. In previous time I thought about it but not too much. Now it became a necessity. 


That is all. As for price it is enough big (I will not write here prices because it changes quickly). The cheapest new car is equal to price of good PV system using which you can live whole year and even build something.  I think it is not too expensive. I can easy live without a car but living without of electricity is very uncomfortable.

You should understand your needs very good and build system with possibility of upgrade. Your needs can become bigger for example if your wife will deliver a baby, you will build a shed or you will begin to produce something. Perhaps before building of your PV system you should talk to someone who already uses it. In another case you can buy something unnecessary and you will have a store of equipment. I didn’t know at the beginning what I should buy and what is not so important. Now I would buy little other equipment and some equipment I would do by myself. But now I already have experience. I performed a lot of experiments. And they were interesting! 

What is if system is too expensive? Ok. But it gives you much. We don’t have power poles. And this is well you know? 


Results. How to start?

PV system is expensive. But with it life of your family will become more comfortable. Price for today (2016 year) is from 200000 rubles. But it is price of basic system which you surely will want to upgrade in future. But how you can start even if you don’t have enough money? 

First thing is source of energy. It is a base of your system. If there is no good source of energy powerful inverter and big accumulators are useless. First of all you should buy solar panels. I can say now to you that it should be at least on 600W. It is fit for living and building.  It is optimal to buy panel on 24V and 300W. Couple of such panels now costs 40000 rubles. 3 ones on 200W are little bit more expensive but to use them is more comfortable (for example you can put them in your car). 

System should be on 24V. It is better. 

Now let’s talk about controller. It is very important because from it depends for how long your accumulator will work. Nowadays there are no desulfating controllers which are able to recover accumulator or extend their term of using if they are new on Russian market. This is why the best is to buy it in Chine (on ebay or aliexpres). If you have 600W panels then you should buy 30A controller. But buy better two 20A controllers, in this case if one controller will fail then second panel will still work. In this case you will pay only on 2000 or 3000 rubles more. Don’t pay attention on MMPT, expensive brand equipment and big display because they are useless.  Their effectiveness a bit higher but their price is very high.  MPPT which costs 100000 rubles sulfates accumulator as well as cheap Chinese one which costs 1000 rubles. 

Third thing is accumulator. It is also very important part of your system. Don’t buy gel accumulators, AGM or other Chinese ones. They work only for 3 years. I will repeat. They have only 300-500 discharge/recharge cycles. Being completely discharged is very bad for them. This is why they fail in system very fast. Better buy good accumulators which you can upgrade after. We recommend to use traction accumulators with liquid electrolyte which contains 2V parts. Optimal for today is Tyumen traction accumulators. As for its price it will be worthier than Chinese one. In addition they have 1500 cycles of full discharge. It is easy to work with them and repair them in future. The cheapest 24V accumulator (12 2V unites) with capacity 160 A per hour will cost today approximately 45000 rubles in retail. You can buy accumulator with capacity 200 A per hour which is little bit more expensive. For 50000 rubles you can buy powerful traction 5kW per hour accumulator which you can upgrade very easy in future if you wish.  Nowadays they are the best among lead accumulators. You can make them almost eternal if you will take care after its electrolyte and recharge them by desulfating controller.  


And last one is inverter. The best of all is installing of transformation inverter like “TrippLite”, “Must Power” or “Schnider”.   They are powerful, will work very long time but are very expensive also. You can use cheap high-frequency 1.5kW controller from “SibContact” which costs 15000 rubles or 3W controller which costs 30000 rubles. Perhaps it is the best accumulator. They are not too reliable like transformation ones but they are cheap, not heavy and there is service in Russia which can repair them. We use it and we very satisfied. With this (from 1.5kW) inverter  you can use all tools which are necessary for house building like concrete mixer, a small 1000W circular saw, grinder, drill. Even washing machine with pump will work but without heating.  If you have no electric tools and there is no need to switch on other powerful equipment you can use 300W inverter. They use small quantity of energy and work calm. Such inverter costs approximately 4000 rubles.

In results for 100000 rubles you can build little autonomy electro station using which you are able not only to recharge your laptop or to use lamps but also you can build a house.  In future you can easily upgrade it. You can add panels and accumulator install more powerful 3W inverter. And you will get good autonomy electro station which can provide very comfortable living of a big family.   


What to do next?

In permaculture we should design our system to satisfy all our necessity from several sources.  In this case system is stable. Electricity is not exception. This is why we should do combine systems. We for example think about micro hydro power plant (There is a creek in some meters from our house. And it doesn’t freeze in a winter.) and we want to repair wind energy generator and to continue our experiments with it. We have some more ideas. But now they are only ideas but we will work on them after. When we begin to use it I will write about that but now we use sun.

I will repeat again main idea. We should develop and collect knowledge about work prolongation of accumulators and repairing of them.  This is a key for stability of any alternative energy system!

Now we continue to optimize our system.  We do more comfortable for usage all parts of electric system. And this is interesting. It’s a great study!