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72 bytes added, 08:13, 8 November 2012
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In December 2010, CCAT lent their Mobile Energy Operations Wagon [ (MEOW) V1] to a local eco-hostel. While away from the CCAT house, the MEOW V1 was not properly locked and stowed at night and the 720 W photovoltaic (PV) trailer was subsequently stolen and vandalized. Some days after the burglary, CCAT received a call from the local police who said they had found the MEOW V1 abandoned on the side of a nearby highway. It turns out that the vandals had broken the hitch lock, attached the trailer to their own vehicle, and drove it miles away where they could remove all the components of value (i.e. the 720 W array, batteries, charge controller, and inverter) in a less conspicuous area. After the vandals stripped the trailer of all high-value components, they covered the trailer with a patchy coat of black spray paint to make it seem as though the trailer had been deserted by its owner (Fig 1) [[File:Hideous MEOW.jpg|thumb|Fig 1: The MEOW V1 returned to CCAT's drive driveway after system theft]]. The MEOW V1 had been one of CCAT's most effective tools used to disseminate knowledge of renewable energy and appropriate technology to students and community members. The theft of the MEOW V1 was a disappointing, but not a devastating blow to the employees and volunteers of CCAT. It took nearly 18 months of hard work spent designing, fund raising, building, and repairing, but the CCAT house was finally able to get their beloved MEOW purring again. So was born, the MEOW V2*ADD PHOTO*.
CCAT operates on a very limited budget (roughly $6,000/year for ALL projects). The most difficult task of bringing the PV trailer back to life, by far, was acquiring funding for the new components (i.e. PV modules, inverter etc.). After two rejected proposals to the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund [ (HEIF)] committee *ADD LINK* and many phone calls/emails to community members and local solar companies, it was David Katz of AEE Solar who was the most helpful at getting us what we needed. David donated four REC 230 W panels as well as his personal Outback GVFX48 inverter to CCAT. For the remaining components, David put us in contact with the Trojan Battery Company and Outback Power Systems from whom we were able to procure a battery bank at cost and a refurbished charge controller at no cost, respectively. We at CCAT would like to extend a hearty thank you to David Katz of AEE Solar, Outback Power Systems, and The Trojan Battery Company, for without their support, this project would not have been possible.


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