Diesel generator vs. solar power??????

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by abbey_tor_acres, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. abbey_tor_acres

    abbey_tor_acres Well-Known Member

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    Let me start by saying that my hubby and I are having a discussion/argument about which to buy. He wants a diesel generator and I want solar. he has put our doublewide 1000' ft back on our property off the hwy. I don't think we can afford to put in electricity--Besides I want to get off the grid. We already have an inverter and some batteries ( maybe to old to use). He thinks he can get a generator for around $4000. I think that much would get us started with solar and we could add more when we sell our old place. I like the quiet of solar. we will heat with wood and we don't have a AC or a clothes dryer. We do have computers. He thinks we could collect used cooking oil, clean it and use it to run the generator. Is this true and where?

    Please those in the know, opinions, please!!

    P.S. I hope I've got this in the right category.

    Thanks so much Vicki
     
  2. mike3367

    mike3367 lost in my own mind

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    for starters 4k is alot of money for a generator. go to ebay and type in lister engine and you will find the type of motor and generator head you should use, as the motor will last you a very long time you most likely should use a combination of both but to get by this winter the lister engine and generator head will be your best bet with a nice battery bank and charge controller added might add up to that 4 k you got to spend
     

  3. NWSneaky

    NWSneaky Well-Known Member

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    Anything you must go 'looking for' is a no-no right off the bat. Half the world already knows to try and find used oil and grease from stations, restaurants, etc. Thing LONG-TERM --- what is available that they won't quit making or the Earth won't run out of?????????? Sun, wind, ????????????????
     
  4. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Just so you can sort of compare. We have about 6000 bucks into our solar stuff. that includes 4 - 120 kyocera panels, a 2000 watt modified sinewave inverter/charger, a charge controller and 10 Trojan L16 HC batteries plus all of the wiring and fuses and stuff. We did all the work ourselves which I figure saved us a few thousand dollars. We use a gasoline generator for back up and really heavy loads (washer and dryer going at same time etc) We run a computer, all in one fax printer, television, sat dish times 2, vcr, lights, fans, compost toilet, stereo and battery chargers for phones and tools. We seem to do just fine though I would like more panels. Dont know if this will help or not but thought i'd throw it out there for ya!
     
  5. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    You are both right,I'd get both.Seriously.And you must have a genny either way,at least I would.

    BooBoo
     
  6. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ............look here..http://www.portable-electric-power-generators.com/

    ..........Look on the leftside of your screen and scroll down to ...Yanmar Diesel generators.........they have 3 models listed with the YDG-5500 watt model priced at ...$3,459 . Yanmar builds quality diesel engines and tractors and lots of other products as well . fordy.... :dance:
     
  7. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    As has been said, you will need both- gen & PV.
    You could start with a *gen-verter* system.
    Your what ever generator charges the battery bank and the inverter powers the house loads.
    PV can be added to the system as you can afford it.
    Turning on the generator to power a light bulb- to use the potty in the middle of the night is not a good thing.
    Also "when needed" the gen can back up the battery-inverter for heavy loads.
    It is much nicer sleeping without a gen moaning and growning all night long.
     
  8. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well I think your both right. You will find out that even with solar you will need a generator, Doenst have to be big but you will have days without enough sunlight to keep the batteries up.

    4K for a diesel generator is not a bad deal, You didnt say how big a generator but a good generator will cost big bucks.


    Its all going to be based on your power needs. You really dont want to hear the drone of a generator all day, not to mention the fuel cost for a all day run.
    Solar is an option but not a cheap one unless you have VERY minimal power needs. As I showed on another thread to buy new you will spend almost $20K just to get a single 20amp outlet with 24x7 power.

    I would check with the power company and see if they will run the power lines 1000ft isnt that far.

    He is also true that bio diesel will work but again it takes work to make, time to make and comes out at about 1/3 of what pump fuel cost.
     
  9. halfpint

    halfpint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you will need (or already have) a tractor on your property you might want to consider a PTO driven generator. You probably wouldn't want this for power all the time, but to supplement your solar/battery power.
    Dawn
     
  10. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    What will it cost to connect to the grid?

    cheers,
     
  11. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There are two unanswered questions, that need to be answered before you make a decision. First, what will it cost to use uetility power? Installation plus monthly bills? Next, how much power do you need? Are your needs low enough to be met by an affordable battery system charged by an engine driven generator and/or solar and/or wind? If you have low energy needs, and it is expensive to have the utility power brought to the home, and to pay the bills (in some cases they charge a minimum monthly amount that could be more than you would use, to justify bringing in the power lines).

    We have about $20,000 invested in our system with a windgenerator, tower, 1800 watts of pvs, inverter, battery, controls, etc., and it provides us with 200 to 300 kwhrs a month, depending on the wind and sun. If I were to do it from scratch, I would probably not put up a wind generator at our specific site as it really isn't windy enough. Just the solar panels installed a year or so ago (1500 watts) cost about $6,000 with mounting, wiring , controller etc AFTER about $2k of rebates. They produce an average (on a yearly basis) of 5.5+ kw-hrs a day of electricity.

    If you have questions about actual installed costs at your site, check with a local dealer/installer.
     
  12. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are off the grid and have both solar power and a generator. You definitely want that genny when you have weather like we have today. As fast as I sweep the snow off the solar panels, it piles back up on them. We run the generator pretty regularly in the winter and unless you live someplace like Arizona, New Mexico, or So Cal, I'll bet you would too. Someday we'll see the sun again, but until we do, our generator is our buddy. Still beats going on the grid for us..the power company wanted 20K to connect us, and the locals lose power frequently anyway...we never do. :D
     
  13. abbey_tor_acres

    abbey_tor_acres Well-Known Member

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    I really appreciated all the comments and helpful advice. :D I will check with the elec. company this week.

    My biggest pet peeve with the elec. com. is that I don't want them walking all over my property checking the meter. :( Here in town I had one idiot open my yard gate ( even tho I had beware of dog signs) leave it open, and walk around to the back of the property. My three dogs were barking their heads off as they should. All he had to do was look/see that the wires attach to the house at the front. :grit: I yelled at him that it was a good thing he hadn't been bitten. Betw. you and me, only one of the dogs might have bitten him but he didn't need to know that. :D

    I will have dh post the particulars: size of gen. what solar stuff and size we already have, etc.

    Thanks again
    Vicki

    P.S. We are in S. carolina--only 1-2 days of snow each year ;)
     
  14. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have them put the meter at the road and run the power down to the house from there.
     
  15. BigBoy

    BigBoy No attitude here...

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    Lot of good info at Utterpower on long life gensets.
     
  16. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    A lot of rural power coops don't have meter readers, you either read it yourself and mail it in, or they have new meters that they read from the office.

    I am all in favor of going off-grid, but it usually costs far more to do it than is practical IF you have grid available.

    I would love to start building our solar system, we have a generator and are on grid already so I would probably just build a grid tied system that doesn't use batteries or an inverter. Just use the grid for storage. ( As in spin the meter backwards when we are making more than we use. )
     
  17. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    I have not seem a solar panel that generates AC power. You need the inverter to change from DC to AC and match the frequency and phasing to the grid.
     
  18. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    I am in agreement with Lisa in Idaho. We are off grid also and have wind, solar and a gasoline generator. solar is not cost effective if you have grid power, in my opinion only. it is one thing to be planning for the future and building a solar system a bit at a time. doing it all at one time is very expensive per watt compared to grid.
     
  19. bbbuddy

    bbbuddy Well-Known Member

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    We got a 6/1 listeroid genset from George at utterpower.com plus all the spare parts we should need for the next 40 years, plus shipping from WA to AZ for just over $2000.
    Yes, you can run it on used veg oil, and NO, half the world is not already carting oil away, we are getting oil from 3 out of 4 places that we asked.
    Put the gen in a strawbale powerhouse, you won't hear it running. It can run for 8 hours on one gallon.
    Runs for 40 years with normal maintainence (keep oil clean, etc)
     
  20. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    I hear lots of good things about that Lister setup

    BooBoo