Having gone through many hurricanes and long term power outages and living in south Florida I couldn't imaging being reliant exclusively on solar. Being on my fourth genset (once upgraded from small one, second (fairly cheap 4kw model) burned out on long term power loss, third lost in divorce) My current one has taken me through three long power outages running TV, refrigerator, well pump, clothes washer / dryer (all 220v stuff was resource balanced not run all at once), and two 6000 BTU window shaker AC units. I stayed comfortable and sacrificed nothing but a bit of load balancing and fuel runs to fill my five 5 gallon jerry cans every 4 or 5 days. Disadvantages of a Genset are;1.Fuel, 2. Noise, 3. ReliabilityFuel availability has been mostly been negated by Florida statutes (526.143) requiring fuel stations to have backup power.Noise? tough nuts, the noise is worth it.Reliability? Get a genset with a Honda motor, start it regularly, store with gas conditioner no problems.Advantages of a genset:No worries about code and regulations and grid tie issues.Ability to power most anything in your home (depending on genset size) and not worry whether / or when it can be doneWorks at the same efficiency post storm in sunny or cloudy and rainy conditionsNo issues with batteries.Many "kits" are available for gas gensets to run on propane or natural gas too.My experiences with gensets are... those ~4.5kw are not very happy running (serially) clothes dryers, pool pumps, and hot water heaters. 4.5kw will do it but they complain loudly :-) So, my last 2 were 8.5kw. I can run all day on mine with a bit over 5 gallons of gasoline, and sleep with it off. Solar / batteries can run my fans and exterior DC lighting at night. Larger than 8.5kw or so, fuel is a bigger issue.Getting to the fuel and bringing enough of it back home is a pain. I'm not saying a genset over 4kw is some sort of de facto standard, just what I find that works for me. My dad who lived upstate New York always had a 4kw genset and never had an issue with enough power. His refrigerator, well pump, 8k btu window shaker, TV, and satellite were all he needed for his little farm house to be comfortable.Oh, I keep my genset running cooler (and fumes away from the house) by plugging a small table or squirrel cage work fan into the genset. and blowing on it and placing it under the shade of a tree. I'm fairly certain the reliability and lifetime of the genset is improved under these conditions.
here's the link for gas stations I have:
I use aviation gas from the airport, has 1 year stable life, no ethanol.
I had the impression they were telling us the Atlantic was now so warm that it developed in between Europe and the US. Which I thought - BS. The first picture didn't show where it had originated and traveled from. Its a make hurricane anyway - aka: himmicane. Give it a couple beers and a cigar.
Re: Choosing a good generator
My batteries can easily consume several kW without breaking a sweat. The generator will be used for bulk charging to 80% SOC. My batteries have approximately 90% average charge acceptance efficiency between 0% to 80% SOC. The charge efficiency degrades rapidly at higher SOC. So, when using a generator, the batteries will target 80% SOC. This is within the "bulk charge" region of the battery, which can easily accept constant-power charging of several kW without needing a power rolloff. This generator is intended to charge though an OutBack GS8048, using the generator AC input.
The generator will run 4-5 hours of constant-power operation at approximately 75% of rating. This is generally near the highest operating efficiency of the generator engine. Operating continuously too close to the rated power invites overheating or destruction of the alternator. Running a 6.5kW generator constant-power at 75% rated power yields 5kW. Assume half (2.5kW) of the average output will be consumed by loads (lighting, cooking, etc.). This is a rather liberal assumption. The other half goes to battery charging. Assuming the bulk-charge efficiency of the battery and the charger efficiency are both about 90%, this results in:
2.5kW * 90% battery efficiency * 90% charger efficiency = 2.025kWh per hour of battery charge
It would take 5 hours to charge the battery 10kWh, which is a reasonable charge rate for bulk charge. It would take less time if fewer loads were being used and more of the generator's power went towards the batteries.Therefore, the usage profile of the generator is 4-5 hours of 5kW constant-power output at 75-80% of rating, probably once per day during occasional emergency or off-grid situations. 5kW / 75% derating = 6.6kW rated power.
The generator needs to be of sufficient quality to work when needed, which doesn't happen often. I know the Honda, Yamaha, and Subaru-Robin generators ($2000) are excellent. For occasional emergency purposes, are the Generac portable generators ($1000) reliable enough to count on? I could use that saved $1000 to retrofit to LED lighting and other efficiency improvements that have much more profound energy consumption benefits.
Note: Regarding maintenance, regular oil changes are mandatory. I looked at an oil sample from my Yamaha EF2000iS with a material analysis microscope. The sample contained a slew of metal particles and shards. Obviously, the engine sheds bits and pieces during break-in and running. These bits end up in the oil, which is circulated through the machine, carrying the particles with it. Use a magnetic dipstick and change oil frequently! Otherwise, these particles will grind up your engine. The Generac incorporates an oil filter, which should help this.
Very roughly, the average speed of a mixed used car is 35 MPH (I have actually confirmed with my GPS over many years of driving).500 hours * 10 years = 5,000 hours5,000 hours * 35 MPH (fixed engine vs car engine conversion) = 175,000 Miles (rough equivalent) to car operationThat is a lot to expect from a simple genset--Especially ones that are splash lubricated and no oil filter. Changing oil every 100 hours is to an oil change in a car every 3,500 hours (vs 5,000 to 7,500 miles for average car these days).Expecting >2,000 hours from a Honda genset is pretty much a given (good maintenance, nothing else "fails"). And one poster here got >6,000 hours on a small Honda eu1000i (900 Watt generator). Still ran, but a bit harder to start and smoked a bit.Some of the gensets have failed for other reasons (the flex coupling on my old Generac was known to fail in even as little as 500 hours).Get one genset that is "high quality" and a second genset that is good enough for backup? One suggestion I have made is get one smaller genset (very fuel efficient). And a second larger genset for backup and full loads--Such as battery charging in winter (fuel usage is not as critical for short runtimes; also large genset for power tools/shop tools/when needed)....snip...Is there anyone in your area that you know that is happy with their present genset and fuel choices?-Bill