future off grider

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by johnson, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    i would like to hear what your solar electric systems consist of. (ie. panel types and sizes,charge controllers,inverters etc.) i would also what kind of appliances you run off your system or how hard you use it. any suggestions or advice would surely be appreciated. i am in the proccess of buying 23 acres in central louisiana. i wouldn't mind looking at a system if someone had one near baton rouge. thanks for the help i look forward to your replies.
     
  2. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    i would also like to know what kind of house you live in and how you stay cool. down here it is hot and humid.
     

  3. FreightTrain

    FreightTrain Well-Known Member

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    Hi, i settle tomorrow on 20 acres in upstate Pa myself, and am looking for same type of info...

    i prolly want a smaller system than you.
    I am looking to go compact solar-wind and make a LED lighting-12v power system for inside a tipi. also using a high quality 12v mobile stereo system w possibly satellite, a duel voltage TV,.. laptop, kero or Aladdin lamps...

    have a 1000w Honda gen and a 10,000 to run most big stuff but will prolly put grid power to the barn because of power needed for the lathes and such... jury is still out on that tho.

    Planning on 5 years in tipi while i settle the land and build a cord-wood home., building the barn in the 1st year.

    i like the Aero-X wind gen... but might make or buy a home-built using old DC motors.. like found on a wheelchair. dad gave me a huge solar panel from his bus so ill incorporate that into the system... i don't plan on using much electricity for general living.

    i will be interrested in others replys to your post
     
  4. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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  5. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have 4 Arco M51 PV panels (1981 vintage about 35 watts each), 2 Solavolt 85 watts panels, with these 6 PV panels on a Zomeworks tracker and connected to the batteries through a diode, fuse, and ammeter. Also a set of 12 125 watt Kyocera KC125G panels on an adjustable angle rack, connected to the batteries with a Outback MX60 MPPT charge controller. A Trace/Xantrex C40 controller is used to control a dump load. A 1940s vintage Jacobs 2500 watt wind generator is on a 60 foot tower about 400 feet from the batteries. The battery set is a 24 volt 1500+amp hour lead acid set, similar to fork lift truck batteries. We have a Trace 4024 sine wave inverter, and a government surplus 24 volt 3kw 4cylinder gas-engine generator for back up. We are actually connected to the utility and use it as a back up. We use a Tri-Metric meter to keep track of the battery state of charge, and power use from the batteries.
    The set of 12 Kyocera panels puts out about 6kw-hrs a day, figured on an annual basis. The wind generator gives us 100 to 200 kw-hrs a month, varying with the wind of course. We have been using the Jacobs since around 1978 or 79, and even moved it from our old place to this current farm. The batteries should last us another 15 years or so--they are only about 8 years old and show no signs of deterioration. (I have learned a lot about batteries since we started using them for powering our home in 1976).

    Our shop and garage are all run from the batteries and inverter, including wire feed welder, table saw, band saw, scroll saw, drill presses, wood lathe, metal lathes, grinder, small tools, air compressor, etc.
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    WisJim, you have a neat system. As you are on the grid, do you sell power back to the utility?

    --->Paul
     
  7. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No we don't, but if I add any more solar or wind generation capacity I will have to consider selling back.
     
  8. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if you could make your own hydrogen or something on your peak days.
     
  9. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    I install wind/PV systems.
    I might suggest you think twice before getting a areo-x...toy

    Unless you live in a high wind area and don't mind the roar.
    I had one years ago. I called it my backyard Cesena trying to take off. All that roar and only 200+ watts.-----only on a very windy day.
     
  10. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

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    Quote..
    "I had one years ago. I called it my backyard Cesena trying to take off. All that roar and only 200+ watts.-----only on a very windy day."

    I had one mounted on a metal tower tied to the trusses under my metal roof.. WOW! Needless to say it isn't there anymore..

    My system is very small. I have 8-Unisolar 64's, C-40 controller, And 4-6 volt golf cart batteries in parallel/series for 12 volt D.C. I have 400aH reserve which will get me through 3-4 cloudy days easy. The Air-x was an experiment that went bad. There isn't enough wind (Constant) enough to justify using one in my area..

    I have a 2800 watt A.C. generator and a 50 amp charger for back up. It will run for 3 hrs. on a quart of gasoline which will about top my battery off in a session. I don't use it often anymore for charging. I have a pretty good balance of energy usage figured out. The generator gets used most in the summer for the washing machine. I'm a laundry mat user in the winter..
     
  11. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    That was my overall impression. Capacity factor would be too low to be useful. You would not only need to have additional battery capacity, you would need to keep your batteries in a low state of charge waiting for the wind to blow strong once a month or so. Small wind systems for power system should probably be at least 30m off the ground and in a very good location clear of trees. This probably means at least 2-3kw to justify the tower, and is probably only compatible for open farmland, not forest land. A really nice hill might justify clearing some trees for blueberries, but then you have to transmit the power to your house also, hopefully not too far away.

    Closer to the ground, perhaps even on a barn roof, a small savonius rotor might have applications for water pumping, irrigation, or compressed air. Very simple design and very good performance for low torque applications, but doesn't lend itself to being raised 30m off the ground or higher, unless you already have water tower of something like that. If you had a stream with an upper and lower pond you could run a small waterwheel micro hydro between the two streams and use the savonius turbine to pump water back up to the upper pond when the wind blows. The ponds take up a lot of land though, so they would have to exist naturally or be useful for other things like raising ducks and fish and irrigation and stuff. Nice idea in the right location though.

    12v man is probably right on the money though. Small and simple is the practical way to go for most of us. The most essential thing is to reduce your consumption down to Amish levels. I think it would be very liberating if you went about it right. No sense going off grid only to be a slave to your own power generating station, or the loan to pay for it all. If you are the sort of person that converts a summer camp into a city home, rather than a city home into a summer camp, then off grid is probably not so practical. But everyone has there own personal sense of what is practical.
     
  12. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    what i'd like to do is have grid power for my ac only (we do live in south louisiana) then use solar for the rest. starting small of course. i guess that would require two breaker boxes. i assume that the power will go from the batteries to a breaker box, then to the interior wiring?
     
  13. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I think the best place for everyone to start is by reducing electricity consumption. I want to switch to a batch solar water heater for summer use. The next thing after that I suppose would be to reduce my electric heat. Electricity is still so darn cheap here, but it will be going up. At some point I will have to tackle the clothes dryer. That's a biggy.
     
  14. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    If I lived in Louisiana I am not sure what I would do for air conditioning. I understand it is very humid so there is only so much you can do, but I would think if anything was on solar power then maybe it should be the AC since that is when you would need it the most. I think I would be interesting to build an airconditioning system that used a combination of solar panels for running a compressor and solar heated evaporators. You might be able to get your hot water out of it also.
     
  15. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    i too was thinking i would just run the ac from the grid. we are already trying to cut consumption. my wife wants me to put up a clothes line. but we are in the process of buying 23 acres. so i don't want to do a whole lot at this location at this moment. still got my garden though. we're trying to see how long we can go without the ac currently. it's not too bad in the night.but in the day its been getting pretty warm and humid. i plan to build my next house. i'm thinking drystack cinderblock with sbc. i want to at least put it partially underground and thinking about an earth roof. thats another thing i havent seen or heard of down south. so i'm searching to build the most passively cooled place i can.
     
  16. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    That sounds like a great idea for your house! Why dont you just string a line between some trees that is what we did for a cloths line
     
  17. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Yup ... ya can't beat a good old fashion low tech clothes line.
    Zero amps
    Zero voltes

    and the best part, the clothes smell fresh, far better than any of that chemical crap that people add to their hogs....I mean >>clothes dryers<<

    what gives you a clew that I have a low opinion of clothes dryers.
     
  18. headwaters

    headwaters Member

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    You'll stay cooler with a berm house, that's for sure. A living roof of the sort you describe would help too.

    I understand a net metering law was passed in Louisiana in 2004, so –depending on your capacity– if you're going to be grid-tied you'll be able to use it as a 'bank' for your excess power production during the daytime while drawing back out at night or on cloudy days. Check the LA net metering law for specifics, or talk to a local installer.

    FWIW, here's an article about wind power in Louisiana.
     
  19. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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  20. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Excellent thread.This forum has turned out very well,no chest thumping,just the facts.

    Well done Ladies and Gents.

    BooBoo