Newbie ready to go off grid

13

Comments

  • Ethan BrushEthan Brush Posts: 231Solar Expert ✭✭
    > @SupraLance said:
    > I love the idea of stepping voltage up and back down to bring in utilities cheaper, but a 2400v line buried only 7" down over 1900' sounds very dangerous.  Would not want to hit that with a shovel....

    If the utility was running the line in, they would not even put it in conduit and it would generally be 7200 volts. Granted they would put it (usually) 36 " down, but here is the thing with burial depths - this is a pet peeve of mine- I don't see that going deeper makes it safer. Actually maybe even the opposite. When you are digging with a machine, , the deeper you go the harder it is to see down to the bottom. I think you are more likely to see and catch a conduit buried 12" than 36" . Regarding hand digging, I just don't think it is very likely that one would be hand digging and hit and damage , let alone not even see a shallow buried line. I mean there is some common sense that needs to happen here, I wouldn't run it through the garden for example. One can certainly go deeper if it makes you sleep at night, but my point was that 7" bed edger machine can go through trees where nothing else can get to. In my case, it was 1900 feet through the woods. Clear cutting a swath for the tractor to get through was absolutely out of the question. Even if I could slither the tractor through the trees, I love my trees and wouldn't want to do all that damage digging a deep trench. Of course trenching down the driveway makes sense, but for me much of my driveway is ledge and It wold be twice as far following the driveway.

    For full code compliance, one could use IMC (intermediate metallic conduit) which would only need to be 6" deep. It's a big cost jump from schedule 40 pvc though from 20 cents a foot for the pvc to about 1.20 for the IMC. I guess in the scheme of things, that's only $2500 premium for a half mile run and better for the environment.
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,087Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Are "BURIED CABLE " notification signs on a post every 300 feet or so not required in your neighborhood?
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,164Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    When burying an electrical feed, a plastic caution tape is usually placed about a foot below the surface, 2 feet above the conduit, along the entire length, to prevent possible damage. This may or may not be a local requirement but is good practice none the less. There may also be a requirement to register where the service is located so records can be kept, for example in BC Canada there is a "Call Before You Dig" hot line which will provide, for free, where utility lines, electrical, gas, sewer are approximately located.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • Ethan BrushEthan Brush Posts: 231Solar Expert ✭✭
    > @westbranch said:
    > Are "BURIED CABLE " notification signs on a post every 300 feet or so not required in your neighborhood?

    There is no such requirement in the nec and I have never heard of such a local requirement. As mcgivor said, usually just buried line tape.
  • wayneworkman2012wayneworkman2012 Posts: 15Registered Users ✭✭
     I say go off grid - but downsize your electrical needs greatly. Referring to what @Estragon said about lifestyle aspects, you can try this now at your current residence simply by limiting your electrical usage. A simple 5 dollar watt meter can tell you how much juice each appliance uses. You can start rationing your electrical right now before you make the jump to see if you can do it or not. If you are not willing now, you won't be later either.
  • PorschephanaticPorschephanatic Posts: 26Registered Users ✭✭
    edited March 1 #67
    We're leaning toward going completely off-grid, but are still exploring all of our options. Any system will be somewhat expensive, but we don't necessarily want to pay a monthly bill on top of it. Safety and reliability are also concerns. I have lived in (and preferred)  homes with gas appliances and wood stoves and fireplaces, but my wife hasn't. She seems willing to make the necessary adjustments, as she is falling in love with this scenic property.  :)
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,874Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    If your house is not built yet, you should seriously consider a Masonry Heater instead of a wood stove
     we have one and absolutely love it.  house is warm in the morning.


    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 ,

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,962Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I hate to disagree with Mike but a well designed wood stove is just as functional as a masonry heater. A well designed and properly specified wood stove will also meet local codes and have the Certs that some building departments require.

     I am up to near 150 homes offgrid and very few went that route in the end. Pretty soon the pressures of building in a remote place add up and the ease of installing a very nice wood stove wins out. They are both lovely when done right!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,874Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 3 #70

    I hate to disagree with Mike but a well designed wood stove is just as functional as a masonry heater......

    Maybe we're not talking about the same thing.  I'm talking about 2 tons of brick and rock, with labyrinth of smoke passages to extract the heat out of the smoke, before it goes outdoors.  The surface is always pleasantly warm, never hot enough to burn skin. It provides a radiant heat, and the wood is burned in a raging hot fire with little emissions and no catalyst required. There is only loading the wood, and lighting it. No adding, no banking for overnight.   How can a 300# iron stove or plain fireplace compare to that? 
     here's some pics of ours going in.  The slab under the heater  (and 36" around) is 24" thick instead of the normal 6" house slab, and we have a SS Boiler tube that preheats via thermal-siphon, a 90 gal tank on 2nd floor, giving us 90F preheated water to the tankless

    "Hearthstone" soapstone stoves, have a iron core, connect to a standard flue, and have some thick soapstone walls to buffer the heat, one of them would be my 2nd choice, or the Vermont Bun Baker is also soapstone, but small.

    Our core:  "Temp-Cast masonry heaters can serve as the primary heater in a well-insulated modern home of up to 2000 sq. ft. (185 m2), when located in the middle of an open plan living space. On each firing of 50 lbs (22kg) of wood, a Temp-Cast 2000 fireplace can deliver up to 250,000 BTUs (73.2kw) of radiant heat. Total heat output"


     





    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 ,

  • SupraLanceSupraLance Posts: 21Registered Users ✭✭
    Thanks for that info, Mike.  My background is in architecture and I'm big on passive solar heating via large masonry mass, so was already planning a mid-room masonry woodstove just far enough back from a south window where the winter sun will hit it but not summer sun so hopefully I won't even need to build a fire when the days are warm enough and you only need heat at night, when the masonry will radiate it back.  I think the plans for that masonry woodstove just got a lot more complicated and more efficient for when a fire is needed. 
  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,164Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    Spent a few winter months in East Berlin, the apartment had a coal fired masonry heater in the center, a bucket of or two of coal kept the place warm all night, not the most environmentally friendly means, but very comfortable source of heat. 
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,962Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 4 #73
    I compare it the same way you do Mike. I am as warm and comfortable as I want to be be in the morning. It may take some planning (a log in before bedtime) but not a big deal. I have clients and a neighbor with one like yours. They are nice but not for that  big of a deal. I also have had clients get old and their desire to deal with firewood is lost. In an afternoon a good stove company can switch them out to a pellet stove and this challenge is instantly reduced 90% for them.

    Maybe you have never tried a really well designed wood stove? I am not talking about what hardware stores sell. The best, I think are Canadian. You can get the same mass by designing for it in the home. It really is not needed though. Everyone has their favorite ways to do the same task right?  Wood heat is so nice as we are as warm as we want to be. Don't let that mass get too hot though ;)

    Big tree down in the road a couple miles down the hill. More oak firewood.... I forgot to add the purpose of the picture is what is not in the picture. There is not any smoke coming from the fireplace as the home is being electrically heated from a mini split heat pump with close to 4 to 1 the efficiency of resistance heat.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,087Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    ave, Mike, we have the '' Pioneer Maid '' cook stove... into its 12 th year so far and can cause us to open a window or 2  in the loft to let the heat out.... usually after 3 or 4 days of occupancy in the winter at -20*C or lower, it is amazing how much heat the  timber framing holds and then the whole house is warm all over.  One thing we did was stop the flooring a foot away from the wall, along the outer edge of the loft floor, in the zone where you have to crawl due to a 2.5 foot pony all and a 6:12 slope roof, because we noticed the cool air dropping to the main floor when the cook stove was fired, thus making more 'hot air'.... so now our natural central heating works like a charm...http://www.northerncookstoves.com/temp/gallery_suppertime.php

    Their process is that the entire stove is welded together... making it  air tight.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,962Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    They are nice Eric !  Can't imagine not having tea and coffee off the stove and the added moisture is nice also. Air tight is code now everywhere I think? The reburners for keeping the glass clean and all. I can't keep up with all the stoves my clients use. They are all good though and I look at it from the early days when people were using ground source pumps and how quickly they were replaced with the mini-split and other air source pumps.

    We never see your temps and our challenge has never been winter. It is easy here in the blue oak woodland. The summer is pretty hot and R60 in the attic is what we had to do. Every region is different!  Just like every shot of canadian whiskey ;)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • PorschephanaticPorschephanatic Posts: 26Registered Users ✭✭
    > @SupraLance said:
    > I love the idea of stepping voltage up and back down to bring in utilities cheaper, but a 2400v line buried only 7" down over 1900' sounds very dangerous.  Would not want to hit that with a shovel....

    If the utility was running the line in, they would not even put it in conduit and it would generally be 7200 volts. Granted they would put it (usually) 36 " down, but here is the thing with burial depths - this is a pet peeve of mine- I don't see that going deeper makes it safer. Actually maybe even the opposite. When you are digging with a machine, , the deeper you go the harder it is to see down to the bottom. I think you are more likely to see and catch a conduit buried 12" than 36" . Regarding hand digging, I just don't think it is very likely that one would be hand digging and hit and damage , let alone not even see a shallow buried line. I mean there is some common sense that needs to happen here, I wouldn't run it through the garden for example. One can certainly go deeper if it makes you sleep at night, but my point was that 7" bed edger machine can go through trees where nothing else can get to. In my case, it was 1900 feet through the woods. Clear cutting a swath for the tractor to get through was absolutely out of the question. Even if I could slither the tractor through the trees, I love my trees and wouldn't want to do all that damage digging a deep trench. Of course trenching down the driveway makes sense, but for me much of my driveway is ledge and It wold be twice as far following the driveway.

    For full code compliance, one could use IMC (intermediate metallic conduit) which would only need to be 6" deep. It's a big cost jump from schedule 40 pvc though from 20 cents a foot for the pvc to about 1.20 for the IMC. I guess in the scheme of things, that's only $2500 premium for a half mile run and better for the environment.
       Fascinating possibilities! Thank you all for making this site so viable. I am glad that we started researching this long before we actually build.
       We are now considering contacting a Pennelec/ FirstEnergy engineer to estimate the cost of running an underground line back to the building site. I would imagine that they would need "pull boxes" every so many feet, and at that distance they may require larger diameter conduit and heavier gauge wire to minimize voltage drop.   
  • noradawn456noradawn456 Posts: 5Registered Users ✭✭
    Off-grid solar power also stores DC electricity in batteries. The addition of an inverter allows this system to convert DC electrical current coming from the batteries into AC or alternating current.
  • Ethan BrushEthan Brush Posts: 231Solar Expert ✭✭
    > @Porschephanatic said:
    > Ethan Brush said:
    >
    >
    > > @SupraLance said:
    >
    > > I love the idea of stepping voltage up and back down to bring in utilities cheaper, but a 2400v line buried only 7" down over 1900' sounds very dangerous.  Would not want to hit that with a shovel....
    >
    >
    >
    > If the utility was running the line in, they would not even put it in conduit and it would generally be 7200 volts. Granted they would put it (usually) 36 " down, but here is the thing with burial depths - this is a pet peeve of mine- I don't see that going deeper makes it safer. Actually maybe even the opposite. When you are digging with a machine, , the deeper you go the harder it is to see down to the bottom. I think you are more likely to see and catch a conduit buried 12" than 36" . Regarding hand digging, I just don't think it is very likely that one would be hand digging and hit and damage , let alone not even see a shallow buried line. I mean there is some common sense that needs to happen here, I wouldn't run it through the garden for example. One can certainly go deeper if it makes you sleep at night, but my point was that 7" bed edger machine can go through trees where nothing else can get to. In my case, it was 1900 feet through the woods. Clear cutting a swath for the tractor to get through was absolutely out of the question. Even if I could slither the tractor through the trees, I love my trees and wouldn't want to do all that damage digging a deep trench. Of course trenching down the driveway makes sense, but for me much of my driveway is ledge and It wold be twice as far following the driveway.
    >
    >
    >
    > For full code compliance, one could use IMC (intermediate metallic conduit) which would only need to be 6" deep. It's a big cost jump from schedule 40 pvc though from 20 cents a foot for the pvc to about 1.20 for the IMC. I guess in the scheme of things, that's only $2500 premium for a half mile run and better for the environment.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >    Fascinating possibilities! Thank you all for making this site so viable. I am glad that we started researching this long before we actually build.
    >    We are now considering contacting a Pennelec/ FirstEnergy engineer to estimate the cost of running an underground line back to the building site. I would imagine that they would need "pull boxes" every so many feet, and at that distance they may require larger diameter conduit and heavier gauge wire to minimize voltage drop.   

    Around here it would cost about $12 per foot to have the utility run underground primary in. You would supply the trench and protective sand backfill (no conduit). They would lay in the cable and terminate to a padmount transformer.
  • myocardiamyocardia Posts: 118Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    We're leaning toward going completely off-grid, but are still exploring all of our options. Any system will be somewhat expensive, but we don't necessarily want to pay a monthly bill on top of it. Safety and reliability are also concerns. I have lived in (and preferred)  homes with gas appliances and wood stoves and fireplaces, but my wife hasn't. She seems willing to make the necessary adjustments, as she is falling in love with this scenic property.  :)
    Assuming you plan on living there a long enough period of time, your total out of pocket cost will be roughly half, if you are paying a monthly bill (including the monthly bills), compared to replacing batteries, charge controllers, and inverters on the regular basis which they require being replaced. I'm talking on the order of 20+ years, not two or three or five, btw. Also remember that even the panels themselves do not last forever, although as the longest-lived piece of an offgrid system, they will very likely outlive you and I.
    DoD= depth of discharge= amount removed from that battery   SoC= state of charge= amount remaining in that battery
    So, 0% DoD= 100% SoC, 25% DoD= 75% SoC, 50% DoD= 50% SoC, 75% DoD= 25% SoC, 100% DoD= 0% SoC
    A/C= air conditioning AC= alternating current (what comes from the outlets in your home) DC= direct current (what batteries & solar panels use)
  • PorschephanaticPorschephanatic Posts: 26Registered Users ✭✭
    We do plan on spending the rest of lives "out there" when I retire, and if I pass on before my wife does, I wouldn't want her to be saddled with equipment that would need constant monitoring.  o:)   
  • myocardiamyocardia Posts: 118Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Understood. Unless she is the type that sharpens her own mower blades, and repairs her own lawn mowers/automobiles, there is a very good chance that she wouldn't care for it. Also remember that it is NOT the equivalent of the electrical service you're buying right now. No blow drying hair, no electric curling irons, no electric coffee pots, no electric bathroom heaters, no doing laundry on any day that is not sunny, etc, etc.

    Consider just spending a few thousand extra dollars making your new house energy efficient, like using 2x6 exterior walls with lots of insulation, fewer windows, lots of attic insulation, and white shingles or white metal roofing, and your electric costs would likely be less than half of what they are today. The only actual way to save money on energy is to use less of it.
    DoD= depth of discharge= amount removed from that battery   SoC= state of charge= amount remaining in that battery
    So, 0% DoD= 100% SoC, 25% DoD= 75% SoC, 50% DoD= 50% SoC, 75% DoD= 25% SoC, 100% DoD= 0% SoC
    A/C= air conditioning AC= alternating current (what comes from the outlets in your home) DC= direct current (what batteries & solar panels use)
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,962Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I disagree with the above. Everything can be the same if the design is right. You get to choose if you want spartan or seamless.
    Saving money is always nice. Using less energy helps but the larger systems come with more headroom also! 

    Living in a beautiful place at the level you expect is just the price for what you want to do.
    It has never been easier to live offgrid and I speak from over 25 years experience with my wife, and the other 150+ people we enabled.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,087Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I agree with Myocardia but for 2 items .....
    use large strategically placed LOW E windows that allow heat in in the winter, and ... 
    use double 2x4 walls with staggered placement to eliminate "cold bridging'' using  sealant on the places where it is not possible to stagger the studs.
    I recommend using  "ROXUL"  brand insulation as it is a bit more effective on the R value... and not as 'prickly' to the skin and lungs....

     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • MangasMangas Posts: 548Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 29 #84
    See my Sig below for what an off grid system can deliver year round.

    Just serviced my genset.  Excluding monthly exercise and despite extended periods of inclement weather and the delay associated with replacing under warranty one of or CC's it only ran four times (about 16 hours) the past 12 months. Still a mandatory redundancy item for a well designed system.

    Everything continues get more efficient and productive since we built the initial system in 2005.

    Enjoy reading these threads.





    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
  • Ethan BrushEthan Brush Posts: 231Solar Expert ✭✭
    I don't understand where this obsession with living off grid comes from.. practically everyone who lives off grid still has cars and internet. There are many aspects to "homesteading": building your own house, harvesting your own wood, building/improving/maintaining a road, digging a well or developing a spring, growing your own food.....I don't know why everyone jumps to electricity as THE THING to do. I would put growing my own food at the top and making my own electricity pretty much at the bottom of the self sufficiency wish list.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 1,013Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    It's more about location than WANTING to go off grid. If grid power is available it's 99% of the time cheaper to stay grid tied. OTOH, for whatever reason people chose a remote piece of land to develop and live on, the grid may not be available or cost effective to bring in.
     I doubt anybody would willingly pay 5 times the grid price for electricity along with the maintenance involved with an off grid set up.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 2,164Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 29 #87
    I don't understand where this obsession with living off grid comes from.. practically everyone who lives off grid still has cars and internet. There are many aspects to "homesteading": building your own house, harvesting your own wood, building/improving/maintaining a road, digging a well or developing a spring, growing your own food.....I don't know why everyone jumps to electricity as THE THING to do. I would put growing my own food at the top and making my own electricity pretty much at the bottom of the self sufficiency wish list.
    There are those who are misinformed romantics, thinking they would be going green, reducing their carbon footprint, saving the planet, getting free energy from the sun and so forth, couldn't be further from the truth, I would be inclined to agree with you regarding such people. Personally I am almost self sufficient growing my own food raise animals, sometimes actually selling excess rice, can't eat 15 tons, but I would have grid if it were available, now 600 meters away. I'm not off grid for the wrong reasons, in my opinion of course, just trying  maintain a certain standard of living, which is modest, but not excessively, I could just as easily move to the city, but what would I do with all that free time? Lifestyle choices, what's good for me may not nesesarally be good for others and vice versa.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Posts: 4,670Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I don't understand where this obsession with living off grid comes from.. practically everyone who lives off grid still has cars and internet. There are many aspects to "homesteading": building your own house, harvesting your own wood, building/improving/maintaining a road, digging a well or developing a spring, growing your own food.....I don't know why everyone jumps to electricity as THE THING to do. I would put growing my own food at the top and making my own electricity pretty much at the bottom of the self sufficiency wish list.
    I'm off grid with the grid going by my home, because it was cheaper than the grid originally. I first got a solar panel and a single deep cycle battery for my sail boat. The since I had the basis of a system, I added a bit to a van while spending 4 months traveling. Later the base system was cheaper than the high user fees ($25 month) + electric for a camper lot whenI would be using minimal amounts of electric. It was still cheaper when I built a cabin. Some 10+ years after starting. I am actually in the first place where it is likely to be less economical to live off grid than on, but I had most of the equipment so fom that stand point it was cheaper....
    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.
  • PorschephanaticPorschephanatic Posts: 26Registered Users ✭✭
    edited April 4 #89
    It's more about location than WANTING to go off grid. If grid power is available it's 99% of the time cheaper to stay grid tied. OTOH, for whatever reason people chose a remote piece of land to develop and live on, the grid may not be available or cost effective to bring in.
     I doubt anybody would willingly pay 5 times the grid price for electricity along with the maintenance involved with an off grid set up.
         True for us. We don't necessarily want to go off grid, but we spent  30+ years searching for ground reminiscent of a State Park, and the "perfect" spot to build our down-sized retirement dream home. We didn't want to cut a 2000' or so by 50' wide swath, down to scorched earth with vegetation killer, through 100' tall oak trees, nearly through the middle of the property, just to have electricity. That would just ruin the views! We wouldn't be "out there" anymore.
          The 50' wide swath is mandated by PennElec, then an additional $10+ a foot for the lines, plus the cost of the poles, then the monthly bills, then the long outages, etc. 
         We may spend tens of thousands of dollars more now to run the primary lines underground to a grid-tied system. We would still need an emergency back-up system, as our property is the last one on a mile or so long dead end back road, even further back than the last hunting camp. We would be lowest on a utility company's power restoration priority list. After a severe storm, It could be many days, or even weeks, until the power would be restored. 
         That is just the reality of it all.  B)
  • BoFullerBoFuller Posts: 150Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    We chose our property knowing the grid was 5 miles away. We have a 3.8 kW system and we do laundry when we want to. We have a microwave, a toaster oven and an electric Mr. Coffee. My backup generator has only kicked in about 10 days a year, mostly in January, but also a couple days in June when the whole clan shows up, which means blow dryers also.
    We love being off the grid. I firmly believe the grid is a ticking bomb and will start experiencing problems one of these days. Read Lights Out by Ted Koppell.
    I say go for it, and don’t ruin that view.
    12 Kyocera 235 panels, 16 Trojan L16 RE-B batteries, Outback 3600W 48V system, Generac 11K propane backup generator, NW AZ, off grid, 6,000 ft (system installed in April 2015)

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 1,013Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    BoFuller said:
    We chose our property knowing the grid was 5 miles away. We have a 3.8 kW system and we do laundry when we want to. We have a microwave, a toaster oven and an electric Mr. Coffee. My backup generator has only kicked in about 10 days a year, mostly in January, but also a couple days in June when the whole clan shows up, which means blow dryers also.
    We love being off the grid. I firmly believe the grid is a ticking bomb and will start experiencing problems one of these days. Read Lights Out by Ted Koppell.
    I say go for it, and don’t ruin that view.

    For your Mr. Coffee Do you brew then shut off the machine? I pour my coffee into a insulated carafe to keep it hot. Saves a lot of power. The coffee doesn't seem to get old and burnt tasting in the carafe either.   I noticed you seem to be a bit under paneled for the size of your battery. How many amps do you get at full bulk charge? Do you have about 780 ah. of battery?

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

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