Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

nu2solarnu2solar Solar Expert Posts: 29
My husband and I are coming up on our 3 year anniversary of building our off grid berm home. We are now in the stages where we can tweak and hopefully perfect what we have done.

I would love to see pictures of other off grid homes/cabins/shops. Please post what you have and the equipment you use. I think this could be very helpful for people interested in going off grid.


Here is a picture looking at the front of our berm house. We still need to paint.
newawningfromthefront.jpg



From the hill in the back:
3-19backview.jpg



We have a 1620 watt 12 volt system and 1540 amp hours of batteries...we need to add more batteries. Right now we are producing more electric than we can use or store....this is not a bad thing, lol.


We have twelve 135 watt Kyocera 12 volt panels, two Outback 80 amp charge controllers, one Outback 12 volt inverter, fourteen 6 volt golf cart batteries and a back up Honda generator which is only used for pumping our well water into an underground storage tank. My husband did the installation. Our system works flawlessly.

When my husband designed our system he wanted to have 2 redundant systems so that if something happened to one we would still have power from the other. We also went with two larger charge controllers for future upgrading which we are now in the process of doing.



Please tell us about your sytems no matter how big or small.:)
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Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,090 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Welcome to the forum, looks like a nice set up, nice area.

    (Nice Sprinter too!)

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    I have moved the PV system discussion to its own thread...

    And, we have another thread here about:

    Reasons We Live Off-Grid

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • samuelsamuel Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Wow, looks like a nice place. I love the topography.

    I couldn't help but notice how similar the system I assembled at my families cabin is to yours. For reference, I'm a college student from Wisconsin who's major has nothing to do with electricity/engineering.

    My set up used the same 14 x 6V golf cart batteries in a 2 battery x 7 string common bus bar design @ 12V. The solar array is made up of 6 x 135 Watt Kyocera panels. I've heard the cons of >2 stings and how the panel to battery ratio is all backwards. In my situation, it is a cabin, and our length of stay favors our specific design (12V LED security lights, length of stay, etc...) I'm interested to hear how your current battery set up stands the test of time. So far as I can tell, every battery set up has its own pitfalls, and to claim a best design (beyond higher voltage for larger battery banks) seems a bit iffy at times.

    Great post, and great comments. Thanks for showing it off, here's mine (link below):
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,203 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    I think this is a great idea for a thread, and do hope to do a thread on growing a system, a question that often comes up and is diffficult to do. Here's my Tiny 10x16 Cabin;

    7.jpg?t=1304984507

    It's built with a single idea, that being to live off grid in an airconditioned space. It has 6 inch thich @R20 walls insulated windows, all heating devices are in a seperate kitchen/bathroom building, even smaller @8x14'

    8.jpg?t=1304984507

    The array is free standing, this shows the original 8 - 115 watt panels, the ones on the left rack are designed cantilever out for different orientations to the sun. I don't try to adjust to the seasons anymore, but all panels are cantileavered for the stress relief on the actuall panels. I've built mounts for the 170 watt panels to be at the bottom of these racks and a third beside them, and will mount the 115 watt panels, 3 each above them on these older racks and 2 on the new rack.

    bb.jpg?t=1304984507

    My battery box, power center/controllers and inverter live outside in a split level box. This last photo is taken from the front door of the cabin, the roof at the bottom is the top of my work bench, shown below, made from scraps from the assorted projects, Nothing to do with solar, just like the design...

    workduo.jpg?t=1304987540
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • nu2solarnu2solar Solar Expert Posts: 29
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    samuel- I checked your blog. Great info. I like that you show your changes along the way.

    Photowhit- Nice set up. I am thankful we don't have to worry about A/C. It sounds like a good plan. Have you ever thought about going underground for your cool spot?
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,203 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)
    nu2solar wrote: »
    Photowhit- Nice set up. I am thankful we don't have to worry about A/C. It sounds like a good plan. Have you ever thought about going underground for your cool spot?

    I'd like to do a berm shelter, but the covenants prevent it here, requiring windows or doors for egress on 3 sides, but I may yet, kinda looking for a new project now. I'm a bit claustrophobic so the idea of having the tonnage of earth above my head might haunt me.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    I was actually thinking of starting a thread like this!

    Here's my small off grid bedroom setup. (yes.. I live at home..:blush:)

    Box - Power Center
    attachment.php?attachmentid=1773&stc=1&d=1305151572

    2 Optima Yellow Top AGM batteries, 55AH each, 12V nominal. (used what I had from car audio setup..)
    attachment.php?attachmentid=1774&stc=1&d=1305151572

    3 KD135 Panels in series. ~60 degree roof tilt, true south (imagine that) Looking at finding a way to mount these permanently.
    attachment.php?attachmentid=1775&stc=1&d=1305151572

    And here is my fuel efficient 5.7L Hemi Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd.
    attachment.php?attachmentid=1776&stc=1&d=1305152172
  • trkarltrkarl Solar Expert Posts: 33
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    My house is on grid but my system is an off grid system. Through the transfer switches I can run my house off grid and have done it for several days just to see what it would be like. Also when the power goes out in the neighborhood mine never does.

    P1011304.jpg

    P3231309.jpg

    I have even ran my central ac over night off the batteries just to see what would happen. The system easily runs my well pumps so if need be I could live right here in a long term grid down scenario no problem.
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    trkarl, what do you run day to day from your RE system? Nice setup BTW!!8)
  • trkarltrkarl Solar Expert Posts: 33
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)
    trkarl, what do you run day to day from your RE system? Nice setup BTW!!8)

    The fridge and freezer run 24/7. During the day as long as we're getting decent sun I run everything except the ac, water heater, and well pumps. I have an induction hot plate and other regular hot plates we can cook on. Also the toaster oven for small things to avoid using the oven. We run the computers, vacuum, washing machine, iron, t.v. etc. when it's feasible.

    It all depends on how much sun is out since I try not to discharge the batteries more than 15% or so. That way I'll have them if I really need them. Usually, according to the Outback CCs, it makes between 12 and 17 kwh a day. I have made as much as 23 kwh during one winter day but to get the most out of an off grid system without running down the batteries you have to keep using things while the sun is up. But not use too much or you discharge the batteries during the day which you don't want to do. It's a fun juggling act.

    Unless of course I run the batteries down more at night then it would make more during the day. I plan on getting 10 - 12 yrs out of those batteries and then buying a bigger bank of HUP Solar one batteries.
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Bump. C'mon guys and gals! Lets see your systems!:D:D

    TBR:cool:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Mine is boring... 20 panels on a roof and a GT inverter in the garage... I can see the local shopping mall from my house!

    It is a landmark--Perhaps one of the first suburban shopping malls with Sears, Macy's, etc..

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 871 ✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Mine is available through the links in my signature.

    Ralph
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,331 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Mine is 72 panel grid-tie with dual 5200 watt inverters
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    See mine in the signature.

    OT: guess it is time to update it some day.
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Nu2solar, when I saw the house I immediately remembered your epic thread on another forum! :) Quite a fascinating read. Had to go back and read through it again, it had been a year or so since I'd last looked at it.

    Glad to hear things are still going well. You have a beautiful place, I'd love to do something like that - but I'm still a little too used to the convenience of being in town! Maybe some day...


    My system is pretty basic - 1kW in panels, 220AH 48V battery bank, plus 130W panel and 100AH AGM battery for the ham radio bench - mostly installed as a backup to grid failure, but also because I just love tinkering with stuff like this. Used to have a small wind turbine as well, and also found it just wasn't worth the expense. I don't get clean enough wind here, the thing spent most of its time spinning around and facing the wrong way! :p

    For now I mostly use the system to power my rather large collection of computers and networking gear during the day, keeping the battery bank mostly topped up. But I've had a surprising number of 1-2 hour outages lately - the grid used to be so stable here - so the system has come in quite handy already.

    I put a more detailed writeup and some pictures on my website, which is in my sig.
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Progress... I like it, but lets get some pictures! Everyone likes pictures!! Right?:D:D:D
  • rrroaerrroae Solar Expert Posts: 46 ✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Our voyage into off grid started with finding a good chunk of land back in the woods. Property we found was an old farmstead set 1/4 mile back in the woods. No one had lived there for 25 years. Had 2 gas wells on the property and a nice gravity spring running to the house.



    CCI00005.jpg

    DSC01249.jpg

    CCI00002-1.jpg

    DSC01245.jpg


    When we were looking at the property, we didn't even know there was a house until the 3rd visit. It was all grown in and the house was in such shape the realtor didn't think it was worth mentioning.
  • rrroaerrroae Solar Expert Posts: 46 ✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Here's what we saw when we finally found the house.


    CCI00001-1.jpg

    After some clearing and a bit of hard work.

    house022.jpg

    Another interior pic.

    CCI00003.jpg


    And after.

    DSC01244.jpg
  • rrroaerrroae Solar Expert Posts: 46 ✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Only have a small 620 watt pv system but just doubled the pv recently so we can add AC. The 2 natural gas wells on our property run about everything including fridge, heating, hot water, cooking and lights. We wouldn't even notice if we didn't have electric. The gravity spring also helps us minimize our solar needs.

    IMG_0641.jpg
  • rrroaerrroae Solar Expert Posts: 46 ✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Added a 1 1/4 acre pond and a couple apple orchards.



    P1020337.jpg



    IMG_0697.jpg



    Even added a little camp up on the hill overlooking a small ravine. Of course, solar powered.

    IMG_0767.jpg


    IMG_0753.jpg

    IMG_0758.jpg
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    rrroae,
    you do some nice work. i'm kind of in a similar ongoing project here. 2 words come to mind. money pit.:grr a few others i could also say, but i'll keep it toned down.:-):p
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Very nice!! I am impressed with the amount of work that has been performed! Perhaps you could go into more detail or a picture of these gas wells?
  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Trying not to get off topic, but I am glad you were able to reutilized the existing infrastructure. In my county, wells of any kind are highly controlled, new wells have been made so expensive that only government can afford to develop them.
  • rplarryrplarry Solar Expert Posts: 203 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Here is my little piece of paradise on the Sea of Cortez. I have been putting this system together now for 12 years. It started out as 12v and just stayed that way. If I was to start from scratch I would probably go to a 24v system. But this 12v system does everthing I need, it runs my Mig welder, metal lathe, table saw, and all my household appliances.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,331 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)
    rplarry wrote: »
    Here is my little piece of paradise on the Sea of Cortez. I have been putting this system together now for 12 years. It started out as 12v and just stayed that way. If I was to start from scratch I would probably go to a 24v system. But this 12v system does everthing I need, it runs my Mig welder, metal lathe, table saw, and all my household appliances.

    Are you open to adoption? ;)
  • rplarryrplarry Solar Expert Posts: 203 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)
    solar_dave wrote: »
    Are you open to adoption? ;)

    Always, what have you got to offer?
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 537 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)

    Arizona Desert Mountains. Off grid ranch set up.
    Ranch Off Grid System: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, Rastra House Construction, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,331 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)
    rplarry wrote: »
    Always, what have you got to offer?

    I thought adoptions were from the goodness in your heart! LOL
  • nvysealnvyseal Solar Expert Posts: 108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Show Me Yours And I'll Show You Mine:)
    Mangas wrote: »
    Arizona Desert Mountains. Off grid ranch set up.

    Nice setup... Interesting place for a fly swatter:p:cool:

    I've heard of a kill-a-watt, never heard of a kill-a-fly till now ;)
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