by Josh Reinhart
How do you make a house that runs on sunshine? How about hydroelectric power, nuclear power, cogeneration or anything else? The thing that must be remembered is that the wires in the wall don’t care where the electricity came from. All that matters are that the voltage and amperage are correct. So how do you build a house that can move from one spot to another and still charge your phone indiscriminately?
For the Northern Nomad, we decided batteries were a potential solution to this problem. With refurbished Tesla lithium batteries, a Schneider inverter charger, and two charge controllers the Nomad can use power from an impressive range of power sources (including the sun!). For the solar savvy reader, this is explained as a DC coupled system. For everyone else, this means power comes to the batteries from the sun as light harvested by solar panels. The batteries then provide the inverter with direct current electricity, which is inverted to provide clean alternating current electricity throughout the house.
A novel feature of this system is that if the sun is not shining the inverter charger can use electricity from another source such as a Hydro One connection, or electric vehicle charging outlet and charge the batteries. This ensures that, rain or shine, the lights stay on.