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I live on 12 acres off-grid in the foothills of the Ozarks and have for several years. I use DC power in my 180 sq ft cabin. My lights are 5 watt squiggle bulbs (the came with 45 watt solar panel kits from Harbor Freight at $200 a pop which included a small charge controller, numerous adapters for charging cell phones etc., and 2 -5 watt bulbs) and the big lights – twin tube fluorescent (17 watts) are out of old RVs. My fans are $12 at Wal-mart and pull about 12 watts dc. O2 Cool camping fans are 12 volt and work great. I also have $150 12 volt ceiling fan that draw 12 watts. I disagree that you should invert and use 120v appliances. There are 9v DVD players, 3 volt wind up radios, portable cd players all can be plugged into the solar battery bank via the cheapo Harbor Freight charge controller.
I have 2 larger inverters (4kw and 8kw.) I have used one once to plug in a 120v charger for my Droid cell phone. In 5 years I have not had any reason to use 120v at the cabin.
My well is 12/24 dc submergible pump at 230′ that is powered with 60 watts of PV. 5 gallons a minute at 45 psi. I have the panels wired in series to keep 2 12 volt batteries charged which send 24v down the well. Draw is 1 amp at 24 volts.
I have 700 watts of solar, a 4 battery (6v Trojans) battery bank that has about 4000 amp hours of storage. If I turn every appliance, including the propane refrigerator my total current draw for the cabin is 75 watts. Less than a 2 tube, 4 foot long florescent light. I use a 12 volt breaker box out of an RV for the house circuits. Old RVs are a great source of everything for a small cabin.
I use my 56 degree well water to air condition the cabin. I took the air conditioner out of the dashboard of a Ford Explorer. I run a pencil stream of well water through the heat exchanger, turn on the squirrel cage fan and have the cabin ACd in a few minutes. I run the waste water on the garden. The temp of the exhaust water is 80 degrees. It draws 2.5 amp at 12 volt. The main thing is it takes and condenses the moisture (it is humid up here) out of the air as it moves the heat outdoors with the water. In a few minutes I have the cabin humidity free and down to about 75 degrees – which is VERY comfortable when it is in the high 90s with 90% humidity outside.
I even have a solar outhouse. 50 watts of PV, small charger controller, 12v battery – indoor and outdoor lights complete with a small stereo.
Living large in the Ozarks! LOL!