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Author Topic: The Grid or Solar  (Read 770 times)

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Offline Qweaver

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The Grid or Solar
« on: September 27, 2013, 08:42:41 PM »
I've just bought a 62 acre piece of land with a nice 2 story building on it.  2 stall garage down stairs and one large finished area upstairs.  No electric, no water, no gas, no septic.  I'm comfortable with rain water and there is also a very reliable spring. Lots of room and good soil for a septic system.  So electric is the main issue.  I'm guessing three to four poles to get power to the building @ $500 each for the 2 to 3 poles that I may have to pay for.  Not too bad. 
This will mainly be a hunting camp and family retreat so not much electric use.   I'm thinking about a solar system but I know nothing about them.  I'd like to use a pellet stove for heat but that does require a constant electric source.  I could use a wood stove but my experience with them has not been good.  Where should I look to get really good info on selecting a solar system.  I'm thinking this type system may be more trouble than it's worth.  But what do I know?
So Many Toys...So Little Time  WM LT28 , 15 trailers, Case 450 Dozer, John Deere 110 TLB, Peterson WPF 10",  AIM Grapple, Kubota 2501 :D

Offline florida

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Re: The Grid or Solar
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2013, 09:27:22 PM »
The $1500.00 you'd pay for 3 poles wouldn't even get you started on a solar electric system, unless all you need is to charge a battery. If you're talking 120 volts you'll be looking at $25 to $30 thousand to get started and that's with no storage.

Most people with solar don't actually use the electric they produce but sell it to the grid then buy what they need just like everyone else does. The grid acts like a big battery for them so you'd have to have the poles anyway.
General contractor and carpenter for 50 years.

Offline Leigh Family Farm

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Re: The Grid or Solar
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 08:09:41 AM »
There are several solar companies on the web that can probably answer all your questions. Last I heard, the cost was $5 per kilowatt when you tied into the grid. Because you would be completely off-grid, you would need a battery bank to store the power which can severely increase your cost and maintenance. Why poles? What about digging a trench and laying conduit?

Personally, I would run the lines to get steady power then over the next few years install enough PV panels to handle my needs. That way, when I'm not there, I'm selling the power back to the utility.
There are no problems; only solutions we haven't found yet.

Online Hilltop366

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Re: The Grid or Solar
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2013, 09:12:52 AM »
All depends what you want to run, We have a small Solar panel (don't remember the size but we just stuck it in the window) & a 200 w inverter with a used boat battery (very large & free) all we run is 3 cfl lights, but usually only one or two at a time. All for less than the price of one of your power polls. If I was doing this now I would not bother with the inverter and use led bulbs. We only seem to get out there about twice a year. so verry little usage.

Offline scsmith42

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Re: The Grid or Solar
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2013, 11:36:25 AM »
Quinton, is renting a trencher and direct bury for the primary service a realistic option? 
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Offline jdonovan

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Re: The Grid or Solar
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2013, 03:16:26 PM »
I'm guessing three to four poles to get power to the building @ $500 each for the 2 to 3 poles that I may have to pay for.  Not too bad. 

You will barely be able to afford a very minor solar system at $1000-$1500.

Quote
This will mainly be a hunting camp and family retreat so not much electric use. 

Your utility company might have a minimum monthly charge regardless of power usage, so the monthly bill might be more than you think.

Quote
I'd like to use a pellet stove for heat but that does require a constant electric source.

Yes, constant power is required. Its not tons, but 75-150 watts for 24 hours is quite a bit of energy.

Quote
Where should I look to get really good info on selecting a solar system.

Wholesale solar has some good tech articles, and has some 'pre-sized' systems. However I might do a bit of my own planning first rather than pick a pre-sized system that might / might not fit my needs.

Quote
I'm thinking this type system may be more trouble than it's worth. 

From a pure economics situation, its probably more time/effort/money to put in a solar system. But it does give you independence, and depending on local building codes you might be able to do all the work yourself vs. having to hire an electrician to do a grid tie system.

I've got a place that is VERY expensive to bring in grid power $20,000+ so I'm going down the planning process right now about grid vs no grid and would be happy to share what I've learned and what I'm sizing for. PM me if you want to chat in more detail.

Couple of short notes...
Batteries are your big ongoing costs. The best batteries only last 5-10 years, and then need a complete replacement.

For a weekend place you've got the plus of being able to collect all week, and just use on the weekends which means you can build a much smaller collection system. Downside is you won't be there to monitor it.

You also have the plus of not needing a lot of the traditional big electric draw appliances... A/C, water heater, stove etc...

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: The Grid or Solar
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2013, 05:37:29 PM »
No matter what ya do, it's going to cost. Then there's watching over the place when your not around.  Here, a place like that would be double taxed and might not get insurance because it's not occupied. ::)
Move'n on.

Offline WH_Conley

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Re: The Grid or Solar
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2013, 06:53:07 PM »
In my Kentucky you can;t get electric unless you have an inspected septic system. I don't know how much improvements you are going to make. Just something to keep in mind.
Bill

Offline Larro Darro

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Re: The Grid or Solar
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2013, 10:58:40 AM »
If by hunting camp you mean it will get used six or seven weekends a year, I would go with an old fashioned wood heater and a small gas generator {like a Honda}. You can do most of your cooking on the heater, and will only have to use the ginny if you are nuking something, running a pump, or need a light. The rainwater would do for flushing toilets and washing. A small electric pump will pull water from the spring for drinking and cooking. Most hunting trips you stay in the woods during the day anyway.

I have power at my two camps and they cost $22 each per month before I turn on a light. Since we don't use the camps much at all, I wish I had held off on at least one of them. I had the power turned on at my river camp 15 years ago. That is almost $4K just for having it.
Make good money. Five dollars a day.
Made anymore, I might move away.


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