Reasons We Live Off-Grid

124

Comments

  • inetdoginetdog Posts: 3,121Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Reasons We Live Off-Grid
    Alaska Man wrote: »
    Great thread, Tony.

    We like many others could spend about $5,000 to run the "Man's System" onto the homestead, but why? We are our own power company, nobody sends me a bill every month. The power only goes out if I say it does and according to my wife, it brings out my "Inner Nerd".
    We want independence and not just because of the Mutant, Zombie, Bikers that may take over after the Aliens destroy Metropolis. I'm also proud that we are doing our part to reduce our carbon foot print and lesson the country's dependence on Oil.

    And that is a reasoned judgment, as long as you do not also hold the belief that you are saving money. The economics of battery banks for off grid are still (but hopefully not forever) such that even when you amortize the $5000 up front investment your power would be cheaper from POCO than from off grid unless your power needs are very small.
    Can you give us an estimate of your daily/monthly kWh consumption? From the pictures, I am guessing pretty low.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Posts: 252Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Reasons We Live Off-Grid
    inetdog wrote: »
    And that is a reasoned judgment, as long as you do not also hold the belief that you are saving money. The economics of battery banks for off grid are still (but hopefully not forever) such that even when you amortize the $5000 up front investment your power would be cheaper from POCO than from off grid unless your power needs are very small.
    Can you give us an estimate of your daily/monthly kWh consumption? From the pictures, I am guessing pretty low.



    We are pretty conservative. In the summer we have plenty of sunshine to keep us ahead of our usage. In the winter we unplug the fridge and use a cold room, we heat with wood, use propane on demand hot water. Our use comes down to about 660AH a day. I never let my batteries get below 12.2V and that's under a load. If you google the rates for power in Fairbanks, Alaska I think you would be surprised. My elctric bill before I started down this journey was an average of $240/mnth being very conservative. At the farm I usually had between a $600-$700 electric bill in the winter. Heat tapes, Trucks plugged in etc. Now even in the dark of winter and having to charge with the generator a lot more I hardly ever burn more than $60 worth of gas/mnth.

    However, all that being said, I'm not doing this to save money. That's just a bonus.


    ETA........... this week I'm adding a 400W wind genny. So I hope to impact the winter generator run time. I'm also toying with the idea of adding a Thermo-Electric generator to the woodstove. The the stove is running 24/7 anyway. Why not add another 5-10 Amps/hr to help out? Hell, I may even get two........
  • inetdoginetdog Posts: 3,121Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Reasons We Live Off-Grid

    660AH at 12V, as in 7.9kWh? That is not all that small. You must have an awfully big battery bank to support that on a daily basis. Or is most of that coming from the generator?
    Taking 660AH daily out of an 880AH bank would be pretty bad! And your 960W array can only contribute on the order of 60AH/hour while the sun is high.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Posts: 252Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Reasons We Live Off-Grid
    inetdog wrote: »
    660AH at 12V, as in 7.9kWh? That is not all that small. You must have an awfully big battery bank to support that on a daily basis. Or is most of that coming from the generator?
    Taking 660AH daily out of an 880AH bank would be pretty bad! And your 960W array can only contribute on the order of 60AH/hour while the sun is high.

    Well I got into this with another guy, I guess my figgerin is not correct.

    At 50% DOD the bank has 440AH usable, but like I said I never let my batteries get below 12.2 and that's with a load on them. I charge to 100% at night usually around by 9:00 p.m. at least once a week, if the sun didn't get me there during the day. Then we sit and watch T.V. (led) for another hour or so usually with 2 lights on, again LED about 4w each. For ghost loads and all the TriMetric tells me we average about 7-8amps constant draw on the battery bank.

    The fridge (Danby) uses 8-12amps during it's cycle.


    In the morning when we get going, the bank is anywhere from 88%-93% full. My day starts about 6:00 am and the bank will do okay with the water pump, lights and T.V. running to about 10:30am, when we are now reading about 72%-74% full from the TriMetric. This is when I start to get jumpy. Then the sun comes around and with full sun the array will get me back up to float by 2 or 3 in the afternoon. This is my non-generator day.

    So with all that I guess I'm not using 660AH like I thought?

    To be honest it would be nice to have a bigger battery, but there is only so much cash one can layout, before it just hurts too much to lighten ones carbon foot print any further.


    The peak I've seen from the array is high 700's Watt reading and low 60's amp reading on the Classic 150. I do have plans to add another 1KW to the array next summer or should I push that up?

    Thanks for taking the time to help out us beginners.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Posts: 2,486Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Reasons We Live Off-Grid

    Your math sounds ok, you meant to say that your using about 220 amp hrs and have 660 amp left at 75 % SOC. Sounds like a balanced system for what you use.
  • softdownsoftdown Posts: 1,909Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Reasons We Live Off-Grid

    Reasons?
    Freedom
    Privacy
    Clean air
    Quiet
    Clean water
    Elbow room...I was able to build the big shop that I always wanted.
    Econ major...if the debt doesn't concern you, consider yourself lucky?
    I like to think of myself as more akin to an eagle than a sheep.

    Built this sunroom last year. Great heat engine when the sun shines. Keeps away some winter doldrums. Been building for over four years. Shoot, someday I'll have a kitchen that works and working plumbing during the winter.

    Attachment not found.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • AudiomakerAudiomaker Posts: 100Solar Expert ✭✭
    For me... in short... so I know I can.
  • WulfmanWulfman Posts: 7Registered Users
    I live off grid for the freedom, the pleasure of knowing that i don't have to be tethered to the grid and if the SHTF I will still have the same lifestyle i have now. Been living off grid for 20 of the past 30 years. Just love the freedom.
  • just startingjust starting Posts: 221Registered Users ✭✭
    Just to piss off my first wife and to know I can
    200ah LiFePO4 24v Electrodacus Sbms40 quad breaker chest freezer to fridge- Samlex PST 1524 - Samlex pst3024  - 1hp shallow well pump-Marey 4.3 GPM on demand waterheater - mama bear Fisher wood burning stove, 30" fridgarair oven ,fridegaire dishwasher  Unique 290l stainless D.C. Fridge-unique 120l portable fridge/freezer 
  • LumisolLumisol Posts: 374Registered Users ✭✭✭
    3 words. Fortress of solitude.
    I like living with and among nature rather than fighting to keep it at bay.
  • katlupekatlupe Posts: 1Registered Users
    I live off the grid because I love the forest, nature and privacy.
  • OceanOcean Posts: 40Registered Users ✭✭
    Hey @Ecnerwal

    look into used Lithiums from a Chevy Volt.  You might find a 16kWh batt for 3k.  Just need the right inverter to use them - like a Magnum...
  • kamchukakamchuka Posts: 55Registered Users ✭✭
    edited October 2017 #104
    Lot of different reasons but one of the big ones is I'm just tired of wasting my hours talking to idiots on the phone! I'd rather get a coffee enema than talk to comcast ever...period. every other day its an hour trying to fix something or get 12 dollars back from some "accidental" overcharge. We went flat rate gophones to avoid tmobile or the likes. We only have dish internet available and only have it so I can finish a degree I wont even use lol. we dont have heat if i dont chop wood, no power, no water.....etc. I guess I can call myself and transfer me to a dumber version of myself and I can ask to speak to the manager version of me and leave myself a voicemail and wait for me to call me back....then I'll call myself an a**hole and hang up because its not worth $4,32 to argue.
    900 watts pv (building on) on poles, off grid 60a mppt, magnum 2k 12v msw, 1400 ah forklift battery (rewired to 12v), 8k diesel gen for house. honda eu6500, 2x 8D, coleman 800w inv for shop, honda 5k for well (pumps to 1000g cistern), ryobi 2k suitcase for mobile ops. 
  • OldManOldMan Posts: 32Registered Users ✭✭
    I want to live off grid because after a life in corporate America, in the asphalt jungle, in hell...I want to be beholden to no one. I want to be able to flip a hearty freeway salute at the electric utilities, wherever they are. I want to be free...for the first time in my life. My solar system will provide great juice (it will be overbuilt for my needs) You'd have to ask my wife for hers.
  • softdownsoftdown Posts: 1,909Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    There exists a potentially large risk to living off the grid. Rural property taxes are often much more willy nilly than urban property taxes. For example, my 10' tall pole barn with steel siding is called a 20' tall steel shop by the county. So my property taxes are over $2100/year when they should be less than $600. 

    I have another undeveloped property that my experienced realtor says is worth about $11,000. The county says the "actual value" is about $46,000 and taxes me at $750/year. The neighbors have homes on their properties and pay the same amount in property tax.

    Side Note: I gross about $30,000 year and "net" about $15,000 before property taxes. Property taxes currently exceeding $9,000/year. That is an absolutely untenable financial quagmire. Moving unto a boat has not worked out. I consider a move to Chile at present. *I do require an ethical government with low risk of deciding to nationalize foreign investments.



    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • OldManOldMan Posts: 32Registered Users ✭✭
    We will be traveling in an RV. No property taxes. I make about 14,000 in combined pension and Social Security. Will will do about the same. We don't own property We'll be fine. I want out of Fereng...erm...American society as much as is possible.
  • OldManOldMan Posts: 32Registered Users ✭✭
    kamchuka said:
    Lot of different reasons but one of the big ones is I'm just tired of wasting my hours talking to idiots on the phone! I'd rather get a coffee enema than talk to comcast ever...period.
    I snipped the rest in respect to the "don't get me started" idea.

    The thing you can do is email the CEO (better yet, call him at Comcast HQ in Philly) and you'll be put in touch with the "Executive Customer Service Team" and they CAN get things done, but calling the 800-comcast gets you out to the Philippines where they read their script. Call Philly. Raise hell. Things get done, and DEMAND discounts for your trouble. Ask them what they're going to do to make all this up to you. If they balk, tell them Mr. Roberts (Brian, CEO of Comcast) won't like you calling his personal cell to complain. Even if you don't have it, it plants a seed of doubt. I'm sure there's a big, red "A" on my account at Comcast that stands for a-hoe. I hope they do. I earned it.
  • aksalaaksala Posts: 37Registered Users ✭✭
    Why? Because the utility quoted me a base of $90,000 to bring power to the property line less than half a mile away! 
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,856Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    Speaking of quotes, the phone company ran wire to a demark box at my cabin, presumably as part of a government rural cyber-access blah-blah grant thing. I called them shortly after I bought the cabin to inquire about getting broadband. They couldn't tell me, because the property doesn't have a street address :smiley:
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,226Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    Details account for evertything, in order to get grid power, I have two options, pay to have the transformer with poles installed around  $2000, or get 40 people who want grid in the area, then it's free. Been working on the demand, so far 20 confirmed, guess it's off grid for a while.... but then again battery costs are close to the connection fee, decisions to ponder :#
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Posts: 4,709Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    mcgivor said:
    Details account for evertything, in order to get grid power, I have two options, pay to have the transformer with poles installed around  $2000, or get 40 people who want grid in the area, then it's free. Been working on the demand, so far 20 confirmed, guess it's off grid for a while.... but then again battery costs are close to the connection fee, decisions to ponder :#
    If you are already setup the continuing expenses of replacing batteries and electronics over time should be less that grid costs.

    It's pretty much why I'm still off grid. When I moved to my new place the grid literally ran through it, but where do you sell at year old forklift battery? That along with a good price then, 7 years ago, for solar panels, about 85 cents a watt delivered. Made the long term costs about the same. Since I used my existing inverter rather than replace it and have used electric water heater, I'm money head. Though a bit uncomfortable with 'sun showers once in a while during the fall.
    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.
  • MangasMangas Posts: 547Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 26 #113
    The utility companies want it both ways. 

    Some of them complain independent rural solar set ups erode support for grid infrastructure yet they make hooking up uneconomic and without any up front cost sharing even if those customers might be willing to sell power back to them at or below market rates.

    Furthermore, in some parts of the U.S. the rural grid suffers from frequent outages and surges.

    Solar and battery hardware, application software and storage management technology will continue to steadily deliver best practices solar reliability, installation and system operating simplicity.

    To power a large modern equipped home like ours 24/7 using utility sourced power would cost $400 to $500 per month or about $5k to $6k per year.  Set of FLA batteries every 5 years about $24k. For us, the economics were pretty much cut and dried. 

    After 15 years, we are very satisfied with our 24/7 powered "off" grid alternative.  Stand alone solar prices have declined compared to the escalating costs of hooking to the grid.

    Just another perspective  :)








    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 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, ICF House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,023Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Adding to the perspective! The large Utility in California PG&E lost 2.5 billion dollars in the wildfires last year. It is said the lawsuits will be over 20 times that as they were found negligent by Cal Fire. 

    Guess who will pay for it?  Not me ;)

    I see the utility guy who said we would not make it thru the first winter decades ago. B)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,856Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    If losses are 20x 2.5bn, you'll pay for at least some of it, one way or another. Say PG&E gives the keys to the state, that's maybe 20bn. Unlikely the other 30bn ends up on ratepayers statements.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,023Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    California might slap a Tariff on Canada for the money ;)  If you don't pay we cut off the clean air going north.

    It will be interesting how the courts play this out. One thing is for sure, we are paying for decades of bad environmental policy managing our forests.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,856Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    I dunno about clean air, but there does seem to be a lot of hot air coming north recently :smile:
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,023Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    The hot air is from the California Air Resources Board. They make gasoline engines run poorly on special gasoline that gives you 20% less MPG for 20% more cost and shorter engine life. :#
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • bearqstbearqst Posts: 5Registered Users ✭✭
    Re: Reasons We Live Off-Grid

    Retired and getting back to a quiet living out if town to enjoy life and the woods.

  • PorschephanaticPorschephanatic Posts: 30Registered Users ✭✭
    bearqst said:
    Re: Reasons We Live Off-Grid

    Retired and getting back to a quiet living out if town to enjoy life and the woods.

    +1  Someday soon.   B)
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,925Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    What's this "retired" thing folks are talking about ?
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

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