Reasons We Live Off-Grid

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  • FlyFly Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭

    Rancher: I wish that they had explained it that way. They didn't.

    But with $8000.00 upfront for the privilege of writing them monthly checks, solar is the right choice for me anyway.

    Thanks for the information.

    Vince

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,812 admin
    edited March 22 #153

    For folks that are living the "cabin existence" (lights, laptop, radio, cell phone, RV water pump)--Solar can be cheaper than bringing in power and monthly connect fees (which seem to be going up now).

    Add a refrigerator, and your small 500 to 1,000 WH per day "cabin" system becomes 3,300 WH per day (or ~100 kWH per month).

    And if you you need more power (typical N. American Home is around ~500 to 1,000 kWH per month), spending $10k-$20k+ for utility power--Usually a better deal (if available). And install/run a genset for backup power (end of line in remote area, takes a couple weeks to restore power).

    Add that when you get old--Solar power maintenance no longer is "fun". And when the property is sold, the value is usually increased because of utilty power. Having solar power system in the home/cabin--Usually does not add value (and in some cases, people are afraid of solar and it will reduce property value).

    -Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • FlyFly Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭

    Thank you for your insight, Bill.

    I do appreciate it,

    Vince

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,497 ✭✭✭✭✭

    $8K is not much for a grid connection of unlimited cheap power. My quote was in the $80K ballpark, and I had to install their poles.

    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 ,

  • cow_ranchercow_rancher Solar Expert Posts: 117 ✭✭✭✭

    Fly, I agree with mike, when you add up what solar will cost you to make your home comfortable, grid power is very cheap. Off grid means you become your own power company along with all the equipment/battery replacements and maintenance that is necessary. $8K sound expensive, but I haven't looked into what SSVEC charges now (I'm in Hereford AZ), but I know it was a large chunk of money for what I put in which was around 800' about 25 years ago. People say that solar is approaching the cost of grid, however if I had gone off-grid, my panels would be approaching end of life at 25% less output after 25 years... think it over, only you can make the best decision.

    Rancher

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,450 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 23 #157

    Not wanting to question your numbers but one report I read (I believe from Kyocera) stated that panel output degradation after 25 years was turning out to be closer to 10% than the 20% number that is the common number in warranties. Some as low as 8.3%

    https://europe.kyocera.com/index/news/previous_news/news_archive_detail.L3NvbGFyX2VsZWN0cmljX3N5c3RlbXMvbmV3cy8yMDEyL0tZT0NFUkFfU29sYXJfTW9kdWxlc19UZXN0ZWRfdG9fU2hvd19Pbmx5X01pbmltYWxfUG93ZXJfT3V0cHV0X0RlZ3JhZGF0aW9uX0FmdGVyXzIwX1llYXJzX2luX3RoZV9GaWVsZA~~.html

    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.

  • FlyFly Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭

    Rancher and little harbor2:

    You both and BB are great. What a wealth of good advice and experience are available here! I am going ahead (while better informed now) with finishing my system.

    I need a good 48 VDC 3600 watt+ inverter/charger for 120 VAC only. I am thinking of running EV Li-Ion batteries, probably used Chevy Volt or Tesla. Is the Outback VFXR3648 w/display (from our sponsor) the best value for my $ or is there a better choice available?

    More wattage is attractive, naturally.

    Again, I really appreciate your help!

    Vince

  • FlyFly Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭

    I did not mean to ignore the comment made by mike95490.

    Thanks Mike!

    Vince

  • MrM1MrM1 Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭✭
    edited March 23 #160

    IMHO opinion, (in spite of it's oddities - although Outback has it's own set of oddities) Pound for Pound I think the Schneider Conext SW with System Control Panel (SCP) and optional Combox Is the lesser expensive choice. And if offers an 120v L1 and 120v L2 which can deliver 240v if needed later - which while you say you do not need 240v now would make using a standard breaker panel to your loads much easier, and then you have the 240v option if needed later.

    REC TwinPeak 2 285W 3S-3P 2.6kW-STC / 1.9kW-NMOT Array / MN Solar Classic 150 / 2017 Conext SW 4024 Inverter latest firmware / OB PSX-240 Autotransfomer for load balancing / Trojan L16H-AC 435Ah bank 4S connected to Inverter with 7' of 4/0 cable / 24 volt system / Grid-Assist or Backup Solar Generator System Powering 3200Whs Daily / System went Online Oct 2017 / System, Pics and Discussion
  • MrM1MrM1 Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭✭

    Oh and most of the SW's Oddities are with it's Grid Support Feature, which would not effect you and your set up.

    REC TwinPeak 2 285W 3S-3P 2.6kW-STC / 1.9kW-NMOT Array / MN Solar Classic 150 / 2017 Conext SW 4024 Inverter latest firmware / OB PSX-240 Autotransfomer for load balancing / Trojan L16H-AC 435Ah bank 4S connected to Inverter with 7' of 4/0 cable / 24 volt system / Grid-Assist or Backup Solar Generator System Powering 3200Whs Daily / System went Online Oct 2017 / System, Pics and Discussion
  • FlyFly Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭

    Thanks MrM1! If I have read our sponsor's website correctly for the SW4048 (it says: Important Information!) , it says that the anticipated 4000 watt output is 2700 watts on 120 VAC. That turned me away from that product. Am I mistaken?

  • MrM1MrM1 Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭✭

    That is if you only run it 120v (which it will do) on one leg and not both legs. If you share the 120v loads over both L1 and L2 (and just like a standard house electrical service balance those loads between L1 / L2) it can run the full capacity no problem .

    But you are correct, it would only run 2700W on one leg. But it can do the 2000W loads on both legs at the same time = 4000W continuous. So if you have a standard house 240v breaker main panel with all 120v breakers in it (the box is fed 240v =120v down each side) ... you do not have a problem with your 3600W demands (well so long as the entire 3600W is not on one circuit for more than a start up surge).

    But by using the SW 4048 with a 240v L1 / L2 main breaker panel, it will let you wire the house like a grid connected house, and will let you service the house with a standard breaker panel like a grid connected house. Then if you or some other buyer down the road wants to go grid connected it is MUCH easier of a change out. IMHO.

    REC TwinPeak 2 285W 3S-3P 2.6kW-STC / 1.9kW-NMOT Array / MN Solar Classic 150 / 2017 Conext SW 4024 Inverter latest firmware / OB PSX-240 Autotransfomer for load balancing / Trojan L16H-AC 435Ah bank 4S connected to Inverter with 7' of 4/0 cable / 24 volt system / Grid-Assist or Backup Solar Generator System Powering 3200Whs Daily / System went Online Oct 2017 / System, Pics and Discussion
  • FlyFly Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭

    MrM1: Thanks for your input. (Did you see what I did there ;)?)

    The "Important Information" caution on the website does not explain it the way that you did. No mention of balancing the 2 legs to receive full 4000 watt output.

    It just says on 120 VAC output it only produces 2700 watts.

    Other mfrs I have looked at with 120/240 outputs like the SW4048 also derate the output on 120 VAC only.

    Since our last exchange, I found the XW+ 6848 on the NAWS website. I will call NAWS on Monday and see what is what.

    Thanks again!

    Fly (Vince)

  • MrM1MrM1 Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭✭

    The XW+ is the better option if the price is in your budget

    REC TwinPeak 2 285W 3S-3P 2.6kW-STC / 1.9kW-NMOT Array / MN Solar Classic 150 / 2017 Conext SW 4024 Inverter latest firmware / OB PSX-240 Autotransfomer for load balancing / Trojan L16H-AC 435Ah bank 4S connected to Inverter with 7' of 4/0 cable / 24 volt system / Grid-Assist or Backup Solar Generator System Powering 3200Whs Daily / System went Online Oct 2017 / System, Pics and Discussion
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,294 ✭✭✭✭✭

    FWIW, I do have a 240v load, but chose to use a 240v autoformer to supply it from a master/slave, parallel stacked 7kw pair of Outbacks. I don't have to try to balance panel sides, and have a slave that almost always sleeps.

    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
  • MrM1MrM1 Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭✭

    I use an autotransformer for balance and that works very well with the SW

    REC TwinPeak 2 285W 3S-3P 2.6kW-STC / 1.9kW-NMOT Array / MN Solar Classic 150 / 2017 Conext SW 4024 Inverter latest firmware / OB PSX-240 Autotransfomer for load balancing / Trojan L16H-AC 435Ah bank 4S connected to Inverter with 7' of 4/0 cable / 24 volt system / Grid-Assist or Backup Solar Generator System Powering 3200Whs Daily / System went Online Oct 2017 / System, Pics and Discussion
  • FlyFly Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭

    All y'all are great.

    Thanks for your input!

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,864 ✭✭✭✭✭

    XW+ 6848 can be wired for 120 only and get the full rated power on 120 only BTW.

    My comment about living offgrid for 27 years in fire country up in the mountains is I do not have to worry so much about the utility starting a wild fire near me🤨

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • MarkPMarkP Registered Users Posts: 49 ✭✭

    I am not sure what the power company charges to hook me up but they will not do so anyway untill two conditions are met. First I must pay off my Special Subdivision Power Plan fee (SSPP, about $3,000, separate from hookup fee). Second I must have building permits in place.


    I live in an unpermitted shipping container. My initial solar infrastructure cost less than $5000 so it was literally cheaper than hooking up to the power company.

  • MarkPMarkP Registered Users Posts: 49 ✭✭

    I have Schneider equipment, the SW4048, 60 150 MPPT charge controller, SCP, and ComBox. I am pleased with the equipment although I am trying to get to the bottom of what appears to be a constant 3+ amp @ 48 VDC draw even when nothing is running at night. That is an automatic 3kwh/day penalty by my reckoning. Sent Schneider an email, they answered, agreed that shouldn't be, and asked for more info. Haven't heard from them for several days now.


    Anyway I was confused by the "only 2700 watts on 120 volts. That's better stated as only 2700 watts on one leg. Pretty sure your regular utility power is the same way, 200 amp service is only good for 100 amps or so if you only use half the breakers.

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,864 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Mark, have you tried a clamp-on DC ammeter? Shut off all loads and there should be less than 3/4 amp or with the inverter on.

    I bet you have something on that is for grid mode or zero consumption/zero export. Good Luck!

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • FlyFly Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭

    Gents,

    Thanks for the additional insightful comments. I am learning much from more experienced solar hands. And the XW+6848 with full rated output on 120 VAC only will serve my needs better for future expansion. Thanks Dave.

    Please keep the comments coming.

    Any experience on using used Li-Ion Electric Vehicle or other overlooked high value-low maintenance batteries for storage? As I said, I travel for work and am gone for months at a time.

    I thought that the ~18.5 kWh capacity Chevy Volt at about $3500 was a good deal.

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,812 admin

    Fly, please feel free to start your own thread.

    That way, the conversation can be focused on your needs and system design.

    -Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • t00lst00ls Solar Expert Posts: 229 ✭✭✭
    edited July 20 #175
    title of this sub-forum is why we live offgrid
    I have a video explaining why I do....enjoy and no, that dog isnt dead


  • PluckaPlucka Registered Users Posts: 106 ✭✭
    It's 2019 and off grid is so easy now.I'm living in a caravan travelling off grid and have been for 18 months and I got change out of $5000 Australian dollars to setup DIY with lithium batteries and I have all appliances 240 volts ac because they are so much cheaper than 12 volt . [Toaster,kettle,tv,computer,frig,freezer,counter dishwasher,water pump,lights,power tools and even an electric 5 minute copper cooker. [1100 watts solar, 2000 watt inverter ,360 amp/hr 12 volt lithium battery which are usually fully recharged by mid morning . Hot water is collected from black sewer pipes . I'm thinking of getting some extra lithium to store the excess solar .  .
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