Hi! I’m Nico Metais, the electrical team leader for SCU's rEvolve house. Our team has been hard at work designing the energy system for the house. There are many challenges to face when designing a full energy system for such a small house, the first being “where do we put all the solar panels?” This is especially tricky since one of the main features of our house is a deck on the roof. The first step is to reduce the number of solar panels through high efficiency appliances. For this reason, the team has decided to use LED strips for lighting inside the house. We are still working on making them look aesthetically pleasing but these will enable us to greatly reduce our electricity consumption, especially when compared to traditional light bulbs. Additionally, this means there will not be any hanging lights in the house, which is particularly important when the house is on the road.
The team has also been hard at work figuring out the specifics of the energy system. This includes selecting an inverter for converting the DC power from our batteries to usable AC for powering all our appliances. We have also made progress on selecting a charge controller in order to use the electricity from our solar PV array to charge our batteries. It is a challenge to figure out what company would be the most compatible with our system but it seems as though Schneider Electric’s products will work. Their devices are made to talk to each other in order to increase their overall efficiency and send power consumption information to an online database, allowing users to view these results via an online portal.
I joined Tiny House because I love working on solar projects. Working on Tiny House has been different to projects I have worked on in the past in the sense that the engineering challenges are even greater since space, weight and price are all very limiting factors. These challenges are exactly what drew me to the project and overcoming them is and will be extremely rewarding. I can’t wait for the day where everything will be wired and with a flip of a switch, all appliances and lights will come to life!