Maui Makers is looking for suggestions for an alternative power setup for a MakerSpace. Please sound off if you have any ideas or resources to contribute for the project!
PV array and batteries with an offgrid inverter is a nice solution but could have a high initial cost for running laser cutters and other machinery. One consideration is shading at the site. There are several large trees surrounding the container which would severely limit peak sun hours.
Willy Bennett was one of my professors in the Sustainable Tech program. Very knowledgeable.Sometimes you can find used panels for sale.
Another option would to attract a solar company as a sponsor and they could donate/subsidize the cost of the panels.
Battery backup is definitely a requirement. Much of our activity will be after sundown, when people can make it after work. Lynn R. introduced me to a neighbor of hers (Paul T) who has a really awesome off-grid workshop.
I'd also consider some wind, although thats rather intermittent in the area, and the same trees might limit wind. Either way, I'm looking at this as an extended project to explore various alternative energy solutions. Thats something in which several people have expressed strong interest as makers. Fits with our sustainability goals too. (sustainable means maker space keeps functioning, and on larger scale, so does Maui)