New guy with questions

I hope this is the right place as its my first post. I found this site while searching for batteries and am enjoying the information. A few years I got the chance to buy a place that my grandparents had farmed and at the time it had no power and the nearest grid was over 1/2 mile away. It only cost $7500 to have them run a line then but I knew it would be 10 years before I could move out so I didn't want to waste the min usage bill. (big mistake)  Now I am ready to fix the place up and the utility estimate is about $30,000! Now I am not completely new to off grid things as I was in the RV world for years but that was in the early 90s and lots of things have changed. Now let me tell you about my needs, its a 3 bedroom home built of stone but I am going to spray 3 inches of freezer foam in it and put new windows in, also I plan on using a geothermal heat and air system. I am not real excited about solar panels, the house looks pretty much like it would have in 1900 so a bunch of stuff on the roof would really spoil its looks.  I have looked at building a couple of 20ft wind generators designed by "The Other Power" along with maybe a large gen set. I have a 30 inch natural gas line on the ground with a tap so gas is pretty cheap. I am just open to about anything right now, the 30K was kind of a shock and really messing up my remodeling budget. I have even thought of running some 1awg underground cables for the half mile but not sure what my loss would be?  I am open for any ideas if you have any.
Thank you in advance, KRB

Comments

  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    For a distance of 1/2 mile, it would probably pay to put step up and step down transformers at the ends of the run and carry a higher voltage but lower amperage over the long distance.
    You could go up to 480V with a normal electrician, but if you look at what the utility would probably use (4120V) that is definitely out of the DIY or even residential electrician category and the cable for underground is quite expensive too.  You pay for insulation instead of copper.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,380 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2015 #3
    Sounds like you have enough room to ground mount some solar.  That would keep the house aesthetics as is, besides before one does a solar roof the first order of business is to assess the current roof condition and replace if needed to get through at least 20 years.  With a very conservative usage numbers an efficient setup can get by on about 3KW worth of panels just as a starting place.  I would not expect a heat pump to be part of that, but perhaps a well can be included.  You may want to reconsider the big central heat pump and use mini split systems as needed.  Your location would be a big factor in all of the above.

    Not enamoured with small wind.  Do you have a wind survey for the site? if not that would be the first order of business.  To make wind work you will need a lot of clear ground around the turbines and be able to erect the towers and have a way to service the turbine annually, either by climbing the tower or lower the turbine.  If done correctly solar can be pretty maintenance free for at least the first 5-10 years. 

    With Nat Gas at the right price and not knowing your location I would bet a spreadsheet of the heating system over time would be hard pressed to beat the Nat Gas with anything else.  
     
  • KansasrustbuzzardKansasrustbuzzard Registered Users Posts: 3
    Thanks for the reply Solar Dave, your right, I got plenty of room, however, the two problems I have with solar are the blowing dust and the hail. I know you can insure the panels but its a pain to be broke down while waiting and we average a roof totaling hail about every 5 years or so. The guys who put in solar pumps a few years ago have mostly went back to windmills because of the dust and dirt. One of the reasons for the Geothermal was I can tap into an irrigation pipe pushing fresh water and basically do nothing as far as wells or trenches.

    I have checked on my average wind speed and its 13.9, Chicago is only 10.3 so not sure how they got the title.  I can see 3 wind farms from the property and more are coming. Its flat as a pancake and completely treeless. Lots of people still pump all their domestic water with windmills as there is seldom 2 days in a row with out it. I do have a digger derrick that can lay the windchargers down and put them up, I have worked on pumping mills my whole life.

    I do have a trencher, backhoe and all that so I am investigating the possibility of doing an underground also. If it were just me, I would probably go with gas everything, lighting and all but that is not always practical with a couple nor do I like the idea of someone else down the road having an accident.

    I am going to have to do something and do it by next spring so I appreciate everyone's input. Thanks
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,807 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think you may have got some bad advice on the problems of dust and solar. It certainly has not been my experience with more than a 5% loss with dust and even a flock of birds with lower GI issues is not going to be that bad. The wind as a supplement in winter might be OK but I would just design for solar and do what Inetdog suggested and you will not need a generator. 

    If you can even get 5 amps of  240V AC the 1/2 mile you could skip the solar and just use a battery based inverter charger. I have done this with a client.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,380 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2015 #6
    If anyone has dust issues it is me in PHX this time of year, The haboobs around here make dust an issue but a garden hose is sufficient to cure the problem.  We have had golf ball size hail a couple times and all the panels survive, they are pretty resilient against hail damage.
  • JoshKJoshK Solar Expert Posts: 232 ✭✭
    It sounds like negotiating might be a good place to start.  Go offer them 10K.
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2015 #8
    30K in itself oughtnt be that big a deal breaker, as a system capable of equivalent service will cost you at least  that, and then you have maintance, regular battery and electronics replacement, and im talking long term here. Batterys every 7 years, electronics every 10. Over the several generations life of the grid connection, that will add up.

    However, if your consumption is very low, your grid daily rate quite high, and your intial budget low, then the math can start to look different. Basically you just need to do long term cost comparisons and make a decision. Where that gets interesting is trying to project the costs of both solar and grid. You have to make assumptions and hope for the best.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,544 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2015 #9
    zoneblue said:
    30K in itself oughtnt be that big a deal breaker, as a system capable of equivalent service will cost you at least  that, and then you have maintance, regular battery and electronics replacement, and im talking long term here. Batterys every 7 years, electronics every 10. Over the several generations life of the grid connection, that will add up.

    Sounds like a Good time to point out to the "Rust Buzzard" that  2016 is the last year (at least to this point, I haven't heard about an extension) of the U.S. federal governments 30% tax credit on alternative energy. This is a straight credit against any tax liability.

    As to system size we don't know what his "equivalent service" will be. but he does appear to want to use "geothermal heat and air" which is still electric, though I would guess you could do some sort of gas version for heat(I'm clueless here). Since the system would be completely off grid your peak energy use is important and electric heating would be a deal or "wallet" breaker!

    I do remember riding a motorcycle across Kansas at a 15 degree tilt, but wind is fickle perhaps more so than solar. I would want a generator that could completely support my electrical system, for any wind  based system in most areas.

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • inMichiganinMichigan Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    As part of adding PV to our homestead, we had the last 2 poles from the 1930's pulled.  Moved the main disconnect and meter socket to that point were it went underground.  You can find panels that don't scream solar.  From the driveway and road, most people don't notice.    These are SP-335 'black'.



    42 SP-335's (14.1kw) ->   4 FLEXmax 80's /  100 AH CALB /  FLEXnet DC  /  MATE3  -> 2 Radian GS8048A and watched over by Vantage Pro 2+ PWS
  • KansasrustbuzzardKansasrustbuzzard Registered Users Posts: 3
    That is a very good looking installation. 
  • inMichiganinMichigan Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    That is a very good looking installation. 
    The 'inside' parts are here:   http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/345134/behavior-of-grid-tie-hybrid-outback-radian-8048a#latest
    42 SP-335's (14.1kw) ->   4 FLEXmax 80's /  100 AH CALB /  FLEXnet DC  /  MATE3  -> 2 Radian GS8048A and watched over by Vantage Pro 2+ PWS
  • inMichiganinMichigan Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    That is a very good looking installation. 
    The inside parts are over here:  http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/345134/behavior-of-grid-tie-hybrid-outback-radian-8048a#latest
    42 SP-335's (14.1kw) ->   4 FLEXmax 80's /  100 AH CALB /  FLEXnet DC  /  MATE3  -> 2 Radian GS8048A and watched over by Vantage Pro 2+ PWS
  • inMichiganinMichigan Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    That is a very good looking installation. 
    The 'inside' parts are here:   http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/345134/behavior-of-grid-tie-hybrid-outback-radian-8048a#latest
    42 SP-335's (14.1kw) ->   4 FLEXmax 80's /  100 AH CALB /  FLEXnet DC  /  MATE3  -> 2 Radian GS8048A and watched over by Vantage Pro 2+ PWS
  • inMichiganinMichigan Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    That is a very good looking installation. 
    The inside parts are over here:  http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/345134/behavior-of-grid-tie-hybrid-outback-radian-8048a#latest
    42 SP-335's (14.1kw) ->   4 FLEXmax 80's /  100 AH CALB /  FLEXnet DC  /  MATE3  -> 2 Radian GS8048A and watched over by Vantage Pro 2+ PWS
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