Author Topic: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...  (Read 519690 times)

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Offline rick91351

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1250 on: June 05, 2015, 03:11:50 PM »
Some of us are even off the map. Hope you are doing well and hey Don! I have been lurking incognito!  Friday!!!

Glad to see you post Dave.... thought maybe the killy-wiggles might have toted you off...   ;)
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Online DaveOrr

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1251 on: June 05, 2015, 05:41:48 PM »
Point being?  In many of the cases here 'off-grid' means we're too far from any grid to even consider grid tie systems...we're off the grid in more ways than just a cable ;)

Yep!!!
My place is 15 miles from the grid.  ;)
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Offline OlJarhead

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1252 on: June 06, 2015, 03:56:02 AM »
Some of us are still kickin' here ;)  Glad to see you're still with us :)

Offline Dave Sparks

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1253 on: June 07, 2015, 11:39:40 AM »
Sometimes life catches up and this last month they found out that I was overdue. One of my neighbors got sick and my old grey male feral cat got sick. Then the replacement cat would not play well with the senior outdoor cat.

My wife is always saying stay away from any hospital.  She has a ton of nursing behind her developing that sentiment. She likes this quote as far as medical things go.

There are two dangers that arise form being ill informed.
One is that you will do something stupid.
The other is you won't realize what you have done!  William F Sharpe

So this month we are going stay under the radar and work outside on the house. Having avoided the big killy wiggles last month (thx rick) and looking for the marine half of the family camping out here for a Canadian whiskey taste test soon. Might even have time to finally hire John and get a real architect to make our boxey place have some curves.

How many of you folks really chose to be away from the power lines?  I know we did and recommend it!  c*
 c*
"we go where the power lines don't"

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1254 on: June 07, 2015, 02:56:28 PM »
Most of my goal for wanting to build is to be away from those nasty lines. 
I don't want to hear or see anything electric... the most I can stand is a fridge by necessity (solar and battery, propane) and LED lights.
Maybe a pump... but even there I might go manual. 

Offline rick91351

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1255 on: June 07, 2015, 02:58:06 PM »

So this month we are going stay under the radar and work outside on the house. Having avoided the big killy wiggles last month (thx rick)
 

Not a problem Dave...  Really don't know what one is but my buddy the ex 'lectrition now coffee house owner use to talk about them.  Sort of guess I would figure whatever it is when I run into one....  Sort of like Olympia Beer and their artesians.  Knew sooner or later knew was going to see one so I quit.... COLD TURKEY..... Yeppers   c*
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline Dave Sparks

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1256 on: June 09, 2015, 11:01:07 AM »
My father would poor out all the beer I put in the refrigerator unless it was his Olympia brand. I think that may be a willy nilly.
"we go where the power lines don't"

Offline MountainDon

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1257 on: June 12, 2015, 09:20:11 AM »
Point being?  In many of the cases here 'off-grid' means we're too far from any grid to even consider grid tie systems...we're off the grid in more ways than just a cable ;)

OP post removed as pointless. FWIW, it was posted from Mohali, Punjab, India


Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1258 on: June 12, 2015, 09:26:55 AM »

How many of you folks really chose to be away from the power lines?  I know we did and recommend it!  c*
 c*

We did not choose to be away from the power lines as a prerequisite to buying the property. However, even with the lightning damage last year, I am happy with the choice.  A monthly power bill for when we are not even there would start to add up after this length of time. No grid tie net metering available there either. With a small increase in PV capacity I am now reasonably confident we could go with a new small electric (Energy Star) refrigerator in place of the 8 cu ft propane burner fridge.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Dave Sparks

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1259 on: June 13, 2015, 05:42:51 AM »
When you start shopping for an electric frige check the access for cleaning the coils underneath. Some are so tight that there is not a vacuum attachment made that will get in there. In that case you have to use a spray coil cleaner and hope that it does not react poorly with the coils or damage your flooring. Nice to bask in the glow of an electric LED light. You will be living the high life!  Hope you all have a safe fire season. We call it the mean season.
"we go where the power lines don't"

Offline MountainDon

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1260 on: June 13, 2015, 07:29:46 AM »
I love our LED's!  That is all we have now. I made a set of strip lights at the kitchen counter. Direct China import, run on DC avoiding the inverter as there was DC present for the water pressure pump. I could get rid of one of the parallel strings of batteries we use so little power now. The inverter on idle uses as much or maybe more than our normal complement of a couple of LED's for reading at night. But we do have a bigger TV now... 40" LED.

Hope you all have a safe fire season. We call it the mean season.

We have had one of the wettest months of May on record.  :)  Many years we have campfire restrictions by Memorial Day. Not this year. Grasses are growing well. That may be bad news later if or when it gets dry.  But the ground and ground cover that is usually quite dry already is moist at present.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Dave Sparks

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1261 on: June 13, 2015, 09:36:41 AM »
I meant the propane reefer being replaced with an electric will allow you to bask in the LED light of the fridge. It's a man thing......

We have a new plane flying for Cal fire this summer. It is an old P3 Navy 4 engine prop that was a submarine killer.  It can really fly low & slow over our roof.  Much better sound levels than the DC-10 that ran full power when at low altitude. Better hold off on losing batteries until you get the electric fridge.
"we go where the power lines don't"

Offline MountainDon

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1262 on: June 13, 2015, 10:03:35 AM »
I have a retro fitted LED light in the Servel fridge.
Runs off the solar batteries now instead of D-cells.   8)
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Dave Sparks

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1263 on: June 13, 2015, 01:26:26 PM »
Wow you are really living!  d*  we just used a flash light back in the day. Say hi to Karen!
"we go where the power lines don't"

Offline rasheedahmed

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1264 on: July 07, 2015, 04:30:11 AM »
PV panel output voltage drops as the panel heats up. A panel laid flat or nearly flat on a roof will run at a higher temperature than a panel mounted so air can freely move around it, like on a pole top mount.

Conversely, as a panel is cooled, as on a -20 degree day, it's output voltage rises. Cold weather performance is enhanced. This is good as cold weather usually means shorter days, fewer hours of sunshine. That won;t make up for the greater number of hours os summer sunshine, but it helps. <removed unrelated ad - moderator>
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 04:53:07 AM by John Raabe »

Offline joeshmoe

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1265 on: September 20, 2015, 01:13:20 PM »
Hi folks. I'm looking for a quick sanity check. I'm considering living in a small cabin in northern Wisconsin with no access to grid power. Could I buy a solar system that might keep the wife reasonable happy for $5,000 to $7,000? It would need to provide power for lights, clothes washer, freezer, refrigerator, laptop, stereo, tv, and various other small appliances/electronics. I have some light electrical experience but have never worked with solar. I'm willing to research/learn and do the work myself. Is this anywhere close to realistic or a recipe for divorce.

Thanks

Offline OlJarhead

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1266 on: September 21, 2015, 04:18:39 AM »
Yes, no, maybe.

There is a calculator here that will help but you must really look at what you need vs what you want and how many amps you'll use in a day etc etc.  If you went with 48v system and GCB's you'd be looking at 16 batteries (~$1500) to give you 440AH@48v and you'd need about 10 panels of about 8amp ea (Sunelec that would run about $3300) an Aims inverter ($1500), say another $600 or so for a controller and then you need cables, breakers, etc etc....that would be twice the system I'm running now and I'm just scratching the surface so I guess you could say a tentative yes provided you spent some time figuring out how much power you will use exactly.

And don't forget the backup generator (in my case the Eco Gen ran about $3500)

Offline MountainDon

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1267 on: September 21, 2015, 06:20:48 AM »
Quote
clothes washer, freezer, refrigerator

How new or old are the appliances? Recent high efficiency appliances would be necessary or at least highly recommended to go 100% solar powered.

No range was mentioned. Probably because a propane range would be planned? That is good as cooking on an electric range doesn't work too well with solar power and batteries. However, there is a gotcha. The vast majority (99% ? ) of gas ranges sold in the USA require AC power to operate the oven, even if the oven is gas fueled. The vast majority of ranges, all the common names, use a heater bar or glow plug for the oven gas burner. IIRC they consume 400 watts IIRC, possibly more, and are on the full time the oven is turned on. Chances are excellent that if the range has electronic ignition for the stove top burners it has a glow bar / plug for the oven. There are some ranges made w/o the oven burner heater bar; Peerless Premier is the name that comes to mind. Or you look for an old range that has pilot lights for the burners and the oven, like we did. That has the downside of gas waste and the heat from a continually burning set of pilots.

No mention of space heating or cooling. Standard air conditioners are another bottleneck off grid.  There are some highly efficient mini splits with amazing SEER ratings. Quite usable off grid. Can be used for heat in winter too.

Once past those hurdles it gets easier. LED lighting saves a lot of energy. Ditto on modern LED TV's.  On TV's and things with remote controls... they all consume power when sitting idle, waiting for a command from the remote to be turned on. A solution to that is to unplug the unit, or to use a switched outlet. That works good. Be aware that some TV's lose their settings when the power is turned off. We returned a TV that returned to the setup screen every time power was interrupted because of that. I don't know how many have that issue.

So,...  start with power needs estimate. A good estimate. That will help to determine the capacity of the battery bank required.  That in turn helps to size the balance of the system.

If this is your full time residence remember you own the power company. If something happens, and things do happen, you are the service department.  Because of that I recommend using top quality name brand equipment. There are many brands out there. Only two manufacturers that I am aware of make complete systems; Outback and Schneider. Keeping to one of those for the charge controller and inverter allows meters and controls that unite the system. The parts work together. I recommend giving serious thought to that. Those brands will raise the price, but also raises the reliability level. If struck by lightning, for example, an Outback inverter / charger can be repaired in the field by installing new circuit boards.



How much good sunshine does your area get?  Especially in winter.  I am spoiled by the sunny skies of the SW USA.


Can it be done for 5 - 7K?  ???  I am doubtful, buy not certain how much more.  Depends on the power capacity you need to make everyone there happy.


Oh, then there is a well pump. Most of the time, unless you are going to collect rainfall. How deep are wells in the area? Deeper = more power to lift the water.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 06:55:15 AM by MountainDon »
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1268 on: September 21, 2015, 06:25:10 AM »
An alternative to doing all your own research and design is to hire a competent designer / installer. We have a member here who does exactly that. Dave Sparks.  He won't come out and advertise himself here, but I have no qualms about referring him. Email him if you want. He will give you an honest response. I would trust him to design a system for myself or any of my friends or relatives.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Dave Sparks

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1269 on: September 21, 2015, 07:34:57 AM »
Thanks Don !  I just finished one for this really beautiful Log cabin.  The owner who had been running a Diesel for 20 years got tired of the maintenance. He did not want solar because he said he won't live that long.  So one route to keep cost down is a battery based inverter / charger. With a 3 hour daily generator run time and once a week a 5+ hour run even Wisconsin is doable.

 All of the guy's questions here need an answer and you can always add the solar later. Unlike where Don lives you will always need a good generator.  I hope this helps you and there is a link to my web page over there somewhere if you need to do this soon! Is today the Equinox?
"we go where the power lines don't"

Offline MountainDon

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1270 on: September 21, 2015, 09:18:00 AM »
 d*  I have a friend in WV who has a generator based system as Dave described.  Member Redoverfarm.   :)   He uses a Magnum inverter / charger along with a propane fueled Generac generator. Single string series,  48 volt battery bank.  Runs a well pump too.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline joeshmoe

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1271 on: September 22, 2015, 04:21:32 AM »
Thanks for the replies. That's exactly the feedback I was looking for although not the answer I had hoped. I'm hesitant to spend too much more because I don't think I'd get it back if we ever needed to sell. Wisconsin is not very remote (at least compared to places out west) so buyers can find something relatively close by to almost anywhere with grid power. This place is a 700 sqft unfinished cabin. No drywall inside so wiring would be easier. No appliances yet so I'd be starting from scratch. Don't need AC up here. There are a few hot days but we do without it where we live now. My plan was to heat primarily with wood and use propane as a backup. The well is about 50 ft deep. I'm not in love with the generator idea because of the increased dependence on fossil fuels. Even though I love the location maybe I'd be wiser to keep looking.

Offline cbc58

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1272 on: September 22, 2015, 04:53:23 AM »
have a stream on your property?

http://www.powerspout.com/

Offline joeshmoe

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1273 on: September 22, 2015, 05:10:58 AM »
have a stream on your property?

http://www.powerspout.com/

No stream. It is adjacent to a river but it gets quite cold up here (-30) so I would guess that things might freeze up. It's also pretty low gradient.

Offline Dave Sparks

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Re: OFF GRID POWER; various thoughts on...
« Reply #1274 on: September 22, 2015, 05:55:11 AM »
Consider moving to the Southwest US if you do not want to use a generator. It really make sense if that is important to you. Pick a place in the foothills somewhere with 15" of rain or more, a blue oak woodland or similar, and property that is wide open to the sun or on the right side of the mountain.
"we go where the power lines don't"

 

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