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Author Topic: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?  (Read 7797 times)

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Offline moonhill

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2009, 06:30:40 AM »
Maybe we need a regulation saying it is ok to swap one smart one for 5 stupid regs, that would get rid of 4 regs. 

I also see that the roof top PV system as I have outlined has plenty of room for improvements, adding hot water to the system would be fine by me.  We have the technology it just need to be implemented.  I wonder if water flowing over the surface with a collection system and tank would keep the system cool and efficient. 

At what temp does PV's start to loose out put?  Is it gradual or is there a tipping point?

Tim
This is a test, please stand by...

Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2009, 09:02:21 AM »

 I was selling-installing, back in the 70's-80's. Seems that I recollect someone doing a water-cooled panel. Don't remember much more, though ???

  It was all mostly experimental in those days.

  On the subject of being harsh, We sold Solarex brand, and they made everything in-house, using Solar as their only power supply, in the factory. Factory was in Maryland??? I believe ???

   Might have to dig out their brochure I saved.  ;D
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Offline Lumbergent

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2018, 07:16:01 AM »
It's been suggested by my solar supplier that its wise to rewire the living quarters as much as possible with multistrand wiring and use DC power directly without an inverter. I did this in my tree house which is completely off grid and have reduced consumption. We still need to add solar panels to compensate for rainy and cloudy days.
Futur Hobbit

Offline RjMaan

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2018, 06:05:24 AM »
My relatives have installed the solar panels for their full two story house. They have used large dry batteries for them. Initial the investment was high but in the long run it will save their a lot of money because they are not paying for electricity charges to the government.

Offline JRHill

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2019, 11:07:16 AM »
We've been off grid for 10+ years and have two separate systems:

-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Tristar 45 Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-House: Outback FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Honda EU7000is w/2 wire auto start via the inverter aux relay, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat.

I thought it was important to have the well as an independent system 'cause if we don't have water we can't be here. And the Grundfos pump will take about any power, AC or DC, 40 to 300 volts, you can throw at it.

One of the biggest cost wastes has been on generators. Too small too big, too inefficient, spoiled fuel in storage, etc. Finally, I have the best options in place for power needs and efficiency. A close 2nd is batteries. My 1st bank was changed out at the 5+ year point and that was a disappointment. The batteries were still working but tired. It turned out I did not have my charge settings correct out of fear of overcharging them. Wrong. The replacement bank was working great until I had one of three cells in two different batteries fail about the same time recently. I'm still resolving that problem.

We can't do hydro or wind here. Wrong location.

Its an on going education, for sure.

Offline Paxton

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2020, 05:27:37 PM »
Offgrid for just about 5 years now too....4.8kw solar system, agm batteries, kubota 8kw diesel.  We've just hit the time of year where we get enough sun (if its not snowing or cloudy) to be generator free....love february! 

We have a dishwasher, propane dryer, regular clothes washer, normal appliances, Navian hot water on demand....you wouldn't know we were offgrid other than the panels and diesel hum at night in the winter.   :laugh:

Offline hedgerow

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2020, 09:20:37 AM »
Offgrid for just about 5 years now too....4.8kw solar system, agm batteries, kubota 8kw diesel.  We've just hit the time of year where we get enough sun (if its not snowing or cloudy) to be generator free....love february!

We have a dishwasher, propane dryer, regular clothes washer, normal appliances, Navian hot water on demand....you wouldn't know we were offgrid other than the panels and diesel hum at night in the winter.   :laugh:
When you made your set up did you do a cost compare between operating a diesel gen instead of a propane gen since it looks like you have propane on site. 

Offline mudfarmer

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2020, 04:31:18 PM »
We have been off grid since a tree fell on the service entrance to a place we were renting 10 years ago and the landlord wouldn't fix it. Started with 45w of PV panels, a marine battery, a LOUD b&s gas generator and an automotive charger :o

Now it is 1800W of PV, 900Ah of LiFePO batteries, Magnum inverter/charger and an inverter generator. It's been a hard knock life. We have always been pretty broke but work hard. Most people would not want to live like we do, and they tell us so. Sometimes we wonder why we keep doing it but then step outside into the middle of paradise.

Time to go kiss the wife and say sorry/thanks for the 10,000th time :-*

Offline 62oliver

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2020, 08:20:02 AM »
I know this is an old thread, but the advice remains the same. To anyone considering going off-grid, educate yourself first, a lot.  Do this long before you start plunking your money down.

There is a lot of info online, google "Northern Arizona wind and sun", they have a great forum on this subject.



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Offline peakbagger

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Re: Anyone using solar, wind or living off grid?
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2020, 07:07:36 AM »
solarpaneltalk.com is also an active forum on solar (I am active on solarpaneltalk). Between the previous Arizona Wind and Sun forum and this one, they are the most active forums. Both have various levels of moderation and both have various approaches to spam control which can be annoying on occasion but really keeps things relatively clean.

Another great resource is Homepower.com. Home Power was the longest and best magazine from the beginning of home renewable power to last year. Sadly they stopped publication last year but their archive is online at the site. As the years go on their advice will gradually get dated but still a great resource. They missed the Lithium battery revolution which still is in its infancy for home use. They do have a lot of articles on wind turbines and they should be a must read for anyone considering wind as it reinforces that with very rare exceptions it rarely is good solution for off grid. They also were advocates of microhydro. If someone has the site with adequate elevation and flow it may be nice option many do not consider.

A caveat is that there are many folks working on Lithium chemistry battery solutions for off grid currently but they are still in the "homebrew" stage. Due to the chemistry and charge density, when things go bad they can go real bad like burn your house down and kill your family bad. There are vendors on Ebay repackaging surplus EV cells into home battery packs but in many cases they are not complete solutions, many have the infamous asterisk symbol stating a Battery Management System (BMS) is required. Lithium battery packs are composed of many cells and each cell needs to be monitored and switched in an out of charge mode by a BMS. In general Lead Acid batterys are far simpler but have their limitations.

I am long term, grid tied solar user but have never been off grid, nevertheless I have on occasion in the past been asked to advise on "orphan" off grid systems and also have talked to several current and former off grid owners over the years. The most successful are run by technical folks who learn the basics, design the system and then maintain it. The least successful are purchased systems unless maintained by the person who designed and built the system. Probably the most unsatisfied  owners are the ones where they buys house with a homebrew system, they inevitably end up having to spend a lot of dollars rebuilding the system and many end up reselling the home at a loss and moving back on grid.   

Living off grid is a major lifestyle choice that imposes a lot of limitations on those who use it. Someone used to grid power would be hard pressed to really understand those limitations until they try it and doing it right is an expensive learning experience. In many case couples try it and fairly frequently one side of the couple decides its not for them. While working in VT I ran into several divorced spouses that claimed the divorce was partially or substantially caused by off grid living.      



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