Off Grid Fish/Hydroponics Farm Questions

DawnDawn Registered Users Posts: 5
Hi there. I'm new here, but saw your post about the Generac Eco gen. I'm thinking of getting a natural gas one of these installed to run off my N.G.well as the first step to being off grid. I was going to run it dedicated to operate a fish-hydroponics set up in the garage, and maybe a second one to run a similar operation in the basement.

Just wondering if anyone has any advice about these generators. Or any information they would be willing to share. Trying to do this the best, least expensive way possible so I don't have to go back in and redo anything. Please bear in mind I am a mechanically minded novice with basically NO understanding of natural gas generators yet, so you might have to deliver the info as like to a baby. Cheers and THANKS anyone,

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,482 admin
    Re: Off Grid Fish/Hydroponics Farm Questions

    Welcome to the forum Dawn.

    I moved your question to its own thread--There will be a lot of discussions about your plans and it makes more sense to keep it contained in its own thread (less confusing).

    Is the natural gas generator going to be its own power source, or are you looking at solar panels too?

    Also, roughly, were will the system be installed (amount of solar power, local laws and regulations).

    Usually, the first place to start is to understand your loads and do as much conservation as you can. It is almost always cheaper to conserve power than it is to generate power. The size of your loads (watts, watt*hours per day, etc.) will greatly affect your choice of genset, hardware, batteries, etc.

    Pumping (and grow lighting, if needed) will affect your power demand too. Pumps and any mechanical devices that lift/move water, etc. use a lot of power. And dedicated grow lights use a lot of power too (unless green house/only using a bit of extra light to extend growing/flowering cycle of plants).

    Second, look at the warranty of any generator you purchase of off grid / "prime mover" use. More and more manufacturers are voiding the warranties if used off grid--And many "residential" designed gensets tend to shake themselves apart anyway.

    Watch the local air pollution laws in your region too... In California it is becoming difficult to obtain permits to install generators anywhere due to pollution laws.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Fish/Hydroponics Farm Questions
    BB. wrote: »
    Watch the local air pollution laws in your region too... In California it is becoming difficult to obtain permits to install generators anywhere due to pollution laws.
    For portable generators (intermittent use), the California Air Resource Board (CARB) does not recognize emission control warranties beyond 300 hours of run time. At the end of that time period, I guess the idea is that you will have the engine rebuilt as necessary to bring it back into compliance or just take it out of service. We all know how often that is going to happen. :-)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off Grid Fish/Hydroponics Farm Questions
    inetdog wrote: »
    For portable generators (intermittent use), the California Air Resource Board (CARB) does not recognize emission control warranties beyond 300 hours of run time. At the end of that time period, I guess the idea is that you will have the engine rebuilt as necessary to bring it back into compliance or just take it out of service. We all know how often that is going to happen. :-)

    Honda requires, as routine scheduled maintenance on their inverter generators, that the engine be torn apart and the combustion chamber cleaned every 300 hours. I think this has something to do with the CARB rules.
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?24017

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • DawnDawn Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Off Grid Fish/Hydroponics Farm Questions

    Hey thanks for taking care of me! All great information and questions too.

    I bought this place in 06 because it was already nearly off grid having its own water well, cistern, and septic and its own natural gas well. I looked into solar in the beginning as well, but the placement was difficult for the house without taking down a bunch of trees. I have always had being off grid, perhaps running a grey water system ... then got too busy and put this project away until early this year when my situation changed and I needed to think seriously about how to do this.

    I am now willing to take these trees down, and I am only starting out on the hydroponics/aquaculture idea, so starting small in garage and basement and building from there. I will not need air conditioning I don't think, so I wanted to look into a small generator for only the garage project, keep it within the range of the generators capacity, and go off grid a building at a time. Having said that, with conservation thinking, I purchased a gas stove/gas oven combo last year that uses very little electricity to run, and most everything else in the 2800sq ft house is also run off the gas since it is supplied at no cost. The clothes dryer is the only machine that I haven't repurchased in gas format yet. So currently my household use is only at 110-140$ maximum a month.

    BUT, I still do want to incorporate solar into the mix, but maybe not right away? Or, get the gas generator up and running and then look into solar because I think it will require a bank of batteries will it not? When I take the trees down, I will be positioning greenhouses on that side of the property (south) and it is then that I expect I will take that step. So first, just need to gain an understanding of what I should be looking for and what I will need for the small project(s) first.

    Have done an inventory of house and garage and figure garage project with 3 tanks of fish and 3 medium beds of hydroponics will be very close to 6K. So naturally thought of eco gen by generac because it has a warranty that covers off grid continuous usage and comes in natural gas. But see now from ebay there are many other providers, (used onan 55kw, nat.gas $5900) but buying a used generator without any knowledge of what I am doing doesn't seem like the smartest thing to do.

    Thanks mighty!
    Dawn
  • DawnDawn Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Off Grid Fish/Hydroponics Farm Questions

    Hi ya.
    Thanks for your post.
    I have checked into all the sorts of limitations, bylaws, zoning, etc., etc.
    Everything is a go and in the works. Cheers. Dawn
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,482 admin
    Re: Off Grid Fish/Hydroponics Farm Questions

    I am guessing you are in Ontario Canada.

    Do you know the production rate of your well? Will it support months/years of sustained production?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • DawnDawn Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Off Grid Fish/Hydroponics Farm Questions

    Hi back Bill.
    Yes, this well is fortunately one of the best. With my current year-round usage I don't even make a dent in it.
  • DawnDawn Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Off Grid Fish/Hydroponics Farm Questions

    Hi again Bill.

    Thanks for all your help and consideration.
    I have recently seen a $1500 rebate offered for a Generac LP eco gen Generator.
    Do you know if this is available in Canada?
    Also, is it possible to get this originally in LP design, and then buy a kit later on to switch it over to NG?
    Can't not consider half price offer...

    Also, now thinking I should consider solar as part of the initial systems, with generator to charge in low sun times, instead of adding on later. Do you know what it might cost, roughly, to outfit the garage, containing 3 fish tanks and pumps and lights? Does this sound like a better, more stable alternative to you? Thanks for your input.
    Cheers,
    Dawn
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