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November 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm #37218
Last year I got some good advice as I was looking to buy a house off the grid. It would cost $30K for grid power. Now I am close to closing on the deal. I have a 6000 watt diesel generator. A small one cylinder diesel sign board engine with a 24 volt altinator. I want to run a 24volt system.I want to buy a 900 watt, 24v wind turbin, How much solar power do I need to have living in SW Michigan? My goal will be eventualy be able to run on all wind and solar. only have to run the genorator to fill the water tank once a week or when needed. Also what sized inverters. Last year I thought I needed 2 5000 watts. a year later I see how dumb that would have been. I was thinking a small on for lights and maybe laptop computers and a larger one for appliances. I also have a 3 way fridge out of a camper.
Thanks again for all your exportise.November 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm #43128
I might add that there will be a family of 4 will be living in a 1800 SF home.November 3, 2012 at 6:21 pm #43129
I would get the latest copy of Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook (which also has wind generators), or an equivalent, to do the worksheets and get an idea of all the components you will need. Then shop around, because the same component can vary a good 50% in pricing/shpg.
I have been living on solar power for over 14 years and the two main things I would now do different are: (1) put thick aluminum foil under the sheetrock between the inverter/chargers and everywhere else(RFI/EMI), and (2) go with nickel-iron battery banks rather than lead acid (more initial cost but worth it over time).November 4, 2012 at 12:12 am #43130
careful with the three way fridges. there power use in elec mode is equal to standard house fridge. sun elec used to have a great 24v fridge but they where lacking a ul tag and got confiscated at custom’s. they could have just said they where for rv/marine. i think if you look at albian that web site that comes up for large lot buys from china you can buy them as a single.
most certainly use the work sheet method. go through your current home and check the tags for amps. you can also get the watt buster. a very accurate way to make apples and oranges equal. it will show you watt draws for what ever period of time you have it attached to an appliance. our local library actually checks them out.
family of four. laundry. i always encourage people to invest in more pv for fridge/heat/laundry/back-up hot water.
propane is still grid in my opinion. trucks driving to deliver a utility from the man with a very fluctuating price point.
wind and 24v. a big decision before you commit to inverter/wind gen. if your going with 24v you’ll most likely need 8/12/0r even 16 batteries. michigan/ more north then south even if your on the southern portion comdined with family of 4 i would think 16 batteries. anytime your going with more then 4 batteries you might as well go with 48v that way you have no hold ups and consider up grading a 3000$ piece of equipment. this will also be important with your choice on wind gen. so once you go 24 your not gonna upgrade to 48.
you mentioned pumping water once a week. how much storage do you have or plan? what or where are you pumping from? well? how deep? or is the water already at the surface. in either case plan on the grundfos soft start much easier on batteries and inverter. then a nice upgrade with the soft start is the instant version that on;y uses a 2gal preasure tank , but another 800 bones for that up grade.
hope that helps
gordoNovember 4, 2012 at 12:14 am #43131
dustoffer question . is the foil for interference. i seem to have interference with my gen on. also compact floresent on same line as my router. any idea’s.
thanks gNovember 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm #43134
Yes, the inverters of all types and chargers, too, send out lots of EMI/RFI and thick Aluminum foil with no gaps keeps them from slowing down computers and putting a buzz in your phone line if they are near. The CFLs and regular fluorescent lights especially, produce a 60 cycle hum in single coil guitar pickups to the amplifier(therefore I use humbucker guitars mostly on most amps). The interference from non sinewave inverters goes through the electric wires to make buzzes in ceiling fans and overheat cheap electric motors. Generators put out a lot of interference within a certain range like the inverters do. If you run one in a dedicated shed it too should be shielded in the direction of the house wires and sensitive equipment within a range of 20 feet or so. In the line with your router, replace the CFLs with LEDs. There are also clamp on line conditioners for wires leading to sensitive equipment. I have one on the power strip wire to my computer and others on the extension cords to my amplifiers.November 6, 2012 at 1:20 am #43137
Gordo, Thank you for your input. I would like to not be LP dependent. But as for right now I will be using it for cooking, gas dryer, water heater and maybe LP fridge. I will be 100% using wood heat. My other fridge idea was to use the chest freezer conversion.
My reasoning for the 24V instead of 48v is about the money. What I found is that the cost is a lot higher for the 48v equipment. The only advantage I see is that the amp draw is lower tha should increase the battery life. If there are other advantages to 48v I would like to know. I am looking to start out with 8 golt cart batteries. I have been looking into better batteries to start out with.
My water supply will be a 500 gallan water tank in the basement. I found a 12v water pump that will put out 5.3 gal a min and 65 PSI. The well is a deep submersable pump.
TomNovember 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm #43138
dustoffer- thanks for the input on the line conditioner. i already use led’s . i’ll try the conditioner.
tooltime- the 48 inverters are the same price but the e pannel for them is more. i know of several the came out of one house. it was a large house off the grid and went to grid tie. the solar company sorta took the client for a ride cause outback’s a field serviceable from off grid to gride tie. however they replaced them all.
remenber the SEQ series for your deep pump it will really take some of the stress off your battery bank. another option between 24/48 would be to stack two 3524’s. the advantage for the 48v would be hi loads like a shopjust one cut on a chop saw surges the inverter to it’s upper limits. batterie life is huge .the upgrade at the begining will pay for itself with one battery bank lasting a couple extra years.
lp fridges while they don’t use too much gas. slightly more then a pilot. just a t-stat is 300 bucks. also very few people work on them. heat exchangers are about 600 bucks. so the first time the fridge goes down your looking at over 30% repair to replace. they also have a short life span about 8-10 years. on the freezer conversion. remember the freezer was made to be a freezer. while most people that have done them swear by it. i question the longevity. also by adding considerable insulation to the exterior of the fridge will keep cold in and hot out. 4-6 in.
if your using wood heat consider a good stainless heat exchanger. plumbed into your holding tank with a differential t-stat. it will work just like solar thermal panels. i get about 5 degrees an hour. i’m also considering those cute little japanese wood fired water heaters i’ll have to get the name it slips me right now. but supposedly a small kindling fire will heat a hot tub in an hour with no circulation pump, works with centrifical flow created by the change in temp.
for instant hot water heaters look at the specs clearly. they will require 8 or 10 guage wiring.
there is always a transition phase. but if you can put the infustructure in first for the switch later it will save alot of expence.
cheers gNovember 17, 2012 at 4:23 am #43167
We went with coolers, then switched to a propane fridge, then switched to a DC fridge built by Sundanzer. It is a chest style and looks like a freezer. Can’t say enough good about it. No smell, no bottles, and keeps food fresh far longer than an upright. If you don’t have a solar system yet, you can just charge up a 12v battery with the generator. We also have some video and articles on our youtube channel and blog, if you are interested in seeing our set up and journey. Good luck.
We lived off grid in Canada North for over 4 years, wouldn’t trade one minute of it. Loved the solitude, the quiet and being accountable for the water we used.
Canada North – Life On and Off the GridNovember 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm #43169
I got my copy of Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook. It is a great book. I would recommend it to any newcomers.November 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm #43265
Glad you got the book! It was a revelation reading it and the Earthship book from our library in early 1994.
I have to amend the tings I would do differently. After more research, I would not go with nickel-iron batteries. However, I would still shield my inverter compartment under the sheetrock, with thick aluminum foil.
Doing it right the first time requires a good location and part of that is how easy or hard the local government makes it.
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