Larman66: Want to run off grid--Disconnected home from Utility Power

This discussion was created from comments split from: Charging AGM Batteries from Car Alternator.


  • Larman66Larman66 Registered Users Posts: 3
    edited March 2019 #2

    I was green as you get when it comes to running off AGM batteries deep cell batteries solar panels all that but I'm a little bit more involved now then a year ago. I'm going to try to keep this story short but I'm looking for some advice on what's going to happen to me down the road and what I could do to make it better cost-efficiently of course site I studied enough to understand o works I just want to cost efficiently build up the system 2 where I can run everything in my house.

    I started out with the electric company cutting off my electric cuz I was hurt didn't work for a long time still haven't gone back yet again I'm trying to keep the story short I was charging cell phones and running a few things around the house believe it or not off my lawn mower and in a really small inverter after I found out what they were lol.

    So then I decided to dig in and I found out about paralleling batteries deep cell batteries lithium batteries paralleling them does keep the same voltage but it increases the wattage so you will not fry your battery at AGM. But I have three batteries right now and I'm going to buy lithium I hope soon but right this is what I have right now I have one Deep Cell battery one AGM battery that I brought back to life from my mechanic friend gave it to me and said it was dead I was going to use it as a core. Instead I read on how to charge them and hear I have an AGM so to refresh I have a deep cell and a GM and a very very good LED battery out of my pickup truck that's been parked for a year no running in parallel circuit and I have an inverter it's only 750 watts.

    I know I can get a bigger one I know how they work but I came up with the idea cuz I bought a generator as well to run my well pump refrigerator blah blah blah but it was too damn loud for my neighborhood so I needed a way to do otherwise and I've been charged charging my 3 battery system from my car that sits in the driveway when inverter cost for it maybe it's wrong to run it down that far I don't do it every time but I do do it a lot I know the truck batteries not made the cycle as much but it's holding up for almost a year now daily use but I had to kick out some things I don't like it's hardly as much television which doesn't bother me I'm just online all the time.

    Edited for readability. Periods and Paragraphs are our friends (😀) and helps to better segment our thoughts and information. Really helps the reader understand the flow of your writing. -Bill "moderator" B.

  • Larman66Larman66 Registered Users Posts: 3
    edited March 2019 #3

    wow so much for short.

    All right I'm going to sum it up I know that I have to pump up my battery packs I know eventually the alternator is going to go on my car where it's been going so far do I have to have the batteries all the same if I buy a lithium battery now so I have to be all lithium cuz right now I have three separate batteries doing the good job but I know it's my inverter can't put out enough for my refrigerator.

    I've tried bigger inverters and I don't have enough battery power to keep them running long so I need a bigger stockpile of storage of power bigger inverter and how to charge these everyday is my question as well...

    Ultimately a battery pack big enough to supply my small average house that could be charged from itself or from solar or a combination of things is what I'm getting at and trying to figure out and I've investigated it all the way down to military batteries and all sorts of crazy stuff help me out if you can give me some more ideas.

    Thank you

    Also edited for readability. -Bill B.

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,741 admin


    Welcome to the forum. I have moved your posts to their own thread so we can discuss your questions and system without confusing with the poster's system in the old thread.

    I have also added some periods and paragraphs. Reading a "wall of text" is really challenging when we try to understand what is happening and trying to formulate answers.

    In general, conservaration (which you are doing now out of necessity) is a good way to approach going Off Grid with solar power.

    However, solar power is not cheap if you already have utility power available for your home. I understand the desire to be self sufficient, but off grid solar power costs 5-10x the cost of utility power, for most people in most places.

    Between buying hardware, replacing batteries every 3-5 years, and weekly/monthly maintenance of the system--It is usually more cost effective just to use utility power.

    People here who have been off grid for decade or more, shopped for good deals, and closely monitor their energy needs and amount of sun they get, as well as getting good quality batteries and doing the required maintenance, has reduced his power costs to ~$0.50 per kWH... But for most people in the US, your cost for utility power is closer to $0.15 to $0.30 per kWH (plus $10 per month connection fee)... And for solar power systems, you have put "10 years" of energy costs up front just building the solar power system.

    Yes, you can run a refrigerator and the rest of a small home, with lots of conservation, on (perhaps) 3.3 kWH per day (~100 kWH per month) and maybe $2,000 to $5,000 in hardware costs (possibly building permits, and issues with city codes and some state PUC laws that prevent you from disconnecting from the utility using solar power)--Using utility power, that may be a $30 per month utility bill. it will take you 5-7 years of utility bills just to "break even" with your solar power system.

    And if you live in a region with poor sun (Northern/North Eastern) US in the winter) or shading (nearby trees, buildings, bottom of a valley), solar electric power becomes very difficult to justify (you need good sun to run a solar system).


    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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