Town of Bell installed a solar electric lighting system in 2016 that offers lighting at both the Town’s flowing-well gazebo and the Swenson Pavilion. The 600 watt photovoltaic (PV) array is mounted on two wooden masts, the base of which incorporates a double-sided bench. The system’s battery and controller are installed below the bench seat, with wiring trenched underground to both the Pavilion and the Gazebo. While this solar system was installed to simply provide lighting, the addition of a small inverter may also provide limited power to small 120 volt loads in the near future.
The solar lighting system near the eastern end of Bell’s Siskiwit Bay Beach is actually the second, stand-alone (off-grid) solar electric system the Town of Bell has installed. The first was the water pumping system installed in 2013 at the Town’s Siskiwit Lake Campground. It consists of a single 300 watt PV module mounted on a steel mast and a 24 volt deep-well submersible pump. The battery and controller are housed below the solar module in an equipment box that includes the push-button switch used for dispensing water.
The original hand-pump failed after years of service, and during an attempt to replace the pump it was determined that the bottom portion of the well had likely collapsed. Melin Well Drilling was contracted to drill a new well, and the solar powered pump was installed at a depth of approximately 200 feet.
It is worth noting that the pump is designed for year-round operation, and while the campground only operates during the warmer months, the well can offer residents of the Siskiwit Lake area an emergency drinking water source during any extended power outage (without having to drive to the flowing well). The system was also upgraded to provide outdoor night-lighting at the campground’s “potties” in 2015.
Thanks to Kurt Nelson of SOLutions solar energy for the great work.