The webserver has continiously been running from solar power for 50 days
This website is 100% solar powered! Currently hosted on a Raspberry Pi 2 (soon to be upgraded to a Pi 4), it’s connected to a 100-watt solar panel and a 12Ah sealed lead acid battery. The whole unit is sitting in my back garden in a self-built wood and acrylic case. It’s connected to the net through my 50MB/s internet line, however, due to WIFI interference the Pi’s actual speed is around 12MB/s. I’ll produce a build guide sometime in the future!
A few years ago, I was inspired by a few other project makers out there who have made solar powered websites using Raspberry Pi’s. The first one I remember seeing is the site by the owner of QContinuum at http://pi.qcontinuum.com/. While sadly the website there is no longer solar powered, others have preserved with the idea. For example, Low Tech Magazine, who now host a mirror of their website with solar power.
The thought of a green powered website appealed to me on three grounds, firstly, I love green tech and energy! Why the hell are we burning fossil fuels and screwing up the environment when the sun is literally pumping an almost unlimited amount of power? Playing around with it myself is a good chance to get some hands on experience with the tech.
Secondly, cost. I currently host my website with a webhost who has been pretty enthusiastic about yearly price increases, while at the same time, giving pretty lacklustre website performance. So self-hosting seemed like an attractive option cost wise if the hardware can handle it. Being solar also means no energy bills. Although I’ll talk a little about the actual economics of it in the build guide.
Thirdly, and most simply, I enjoy the occasional tech project.
Initially I’m going to be testing the website on the Raspberry Pi 2, with an eye on power consumption and uptime. If the current systems handles that well, I’m considering upgrading the whole thing to a Raspberry Pi 4 for the increased performance.
Long term, I’m hoping that I can consider migrating a redesigned version of my current website (Leelum.com) here.
While I’m a massive fan of solar power, I also happen to live in Manchester (UK). Which as you might know has a slight reputation of being slightly averse to the sun. I should have no problem during the summer, as even on cloudy days the solar panel will produce enough power to keep it going. However, during winter, the unit might struggle to keep the Pi going. In which instance I’ll have to consider buying another battery or finding ways to reduce the power consumption of the website. I might even end up running a stripped-down version of the website during Winter.
Does that make me this the first website that goes into a semi-hibernation?!
This is for stating when things go wrong, downtime, and such.