Tag Archives: living off-grid in Mexico

The Last Panel

Last week was a momentous day for the Flores family. It was the day we finally purchased the last panel for our solar electric system. Angels were singing, birds were flying through the air with ribbons in their beaks, rays of light beamed down from the heavens… Ok, well, maybe those light beams were from the light bulb, but it was a red-letter day for us.

The next day, our 6 battery system charged completely. In fact, we had a hard time using some of the power so that we could get maximum efficiency without it overcharging. Another battery was required.

We went and got one at AutoZone and hooked it up. Since then, we have been walking around on cloud 9 (ok enough with the heavenly choir references). We have ample power to do laundry even on cloudy days now. The batteries are still more than half charged at 6 am in the morning even with my son playing video games (em–cough) I mean doing classwork late at night when the internet is working. 

These are the shades I got. Simple, durable and covers the bare bulb!

To finish off our electrical system, I wanted something like a shade to cover the light bulbs in the ceiling sockets. Do you think I could find any locally? Nope. I searched high and low. So I ordered some from Amazon. While I was at it, I ordered a replacement string of lights for the stairway and some new motion detector lights for the front of the house since the old ones had given up the ghost a few months back. None of these was very expensive. The lights will last 2-3 years before they need to be replaced. The light covers might never need to be replaced. 

Thus ends the 12-year struggle for electricity in La Yacata (or at least in our home). If I wasn’t so pleased with the end result I’d say it was anticlimactic. But since I am…

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Read about our struggle to get electricity in La Yacata!

It’s FREE today in honor of this momentous event!

la yacata revolution cover

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Filed under Electricity issues, La Yacata Revolution

Energy Adaptation

Now that we have upped our overall power potential, we’ve been trying to figure out how to use it most appropriately. Each of us has different thoughts on appropriate use so we’ve had a few arguments along the way.

My priority is having enough energy to teach classes, sometimes up to 6 hours a day. Since I start in the afternoon and work until several hours after dark, I want to make sure that there is enough charge in the batteries that I can complete my shifts. We now have 5 batteries, with the plan of purchasing yet another one with my next paycheck, so mostly this hasn’t been an issue.

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Music to my ears!

Of secondary importance to me is power for the washer.  We’ve established a routine whereby wash is done only on days when I don’t have classes because classes are of course of higher importance than clean chonies. Besides, if worse comes to worst, we can still handwash using the lavadero (washboard).

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“Doing classwork Mom!”

My son has different priorities. He is working on completing prepa (high school) online, so theoretically classwork comes first. However, he’s having trouble motivating himself to complete the current algebra course, so playing video games absorbs most of his time. Of course, since we are sharing his computer so that I can teach classes, he’s somewhat frustrated with his gaming time allotment. Furthermore, his desktop computer uses more energy than any other item we use. And since I’m already using it 6 hours a day, he is even further limited.

My husband has gone through a strange transformation since the purchase of the most recent battery. He’s become Defender of the Power. Any unauthorized energy use by either my son or me is up for debate. This includes a light left off by accident when a room is empty and charging my kindle. He monitors the voltage as obsessively as my son checks the internet ping, which fluctuates wildly throughout the day.

He’s even gone back to using a flashlight after dark, although for months we’ve been able to turn on a light in the bathroom or kitchen to illuminate our lives. He’s also begun setting up booby traps using our motion activated solar lights. So any nighttime potty trips are apt to become blinded, fumbling experiences, all in the name of saving power.

We have learned that 2 solid days of rain, unseasonable for this time of year, sends us all into panic mode. Not only does the internet give us fits, but the batteries are not able to fully charge for obvious reasons. Therefore, we’ll have to learn to budget our energy use better before the rainy season.

Otherwise, we are enjoying our solar setup immensely.

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Filed under Construction, Electricity issues