Advice on Generator for New System

We're planning on a small office w/bedroom & bath at our new property. In future will be having a house to relocate to. For now, we'll just commute the 20 or so miles to new property to take care of some of our Longhorns we will be moving there to graze.

Now, the question(s):

We plan to have an LP (propane) Generator to pump water from a new well (for livestock & some irrigation as needed) using a regular AC well pump (need high volume gpm). Also, will plan to use the generator for our Clothes Washer and Dryer as well as for back-up to charge batteries (when solar system is up and running) , and/or to run power for the Office unit before we get solar system up and running.

We're looking at about a 10 to 12 KW Propane generator. (I might add that Northern Tool has a Honda generator that you can switch between propane and gas as needed)

1. Will a generator "safely" run our front loading clothes washer and/or dryer, and computers (when NOT hooked up to Solar system or batteries)? Is the generator power to these items OK, or, does something else need to be added to the system?

2. Do we need a true sine wave device between the generator and the appliances when the generator is NOT being used to charge batteries?

I am very naive at this point when it comes to Solar power...just learning. When we do get our system in place it will be designed by "pros" with equipment specified as needed.

Thanks,
Bill in Texas

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Advice on Generator for New System

    *Most* modern, name brand generators produce pretty good power, and I would not hesitate to run any of my gear off them. Frequency may wobble around a couple off hertz, but other than a clock being slow or fast, should not affect much.

    Some inverter/chargers will sync to a generator, and "pass thru" its power, so possibly you could have a 2KW inverter, and a 5KW generator, and supply 7KW of power ??

    LP gas is good, in that it does not go "stale", but it is heavier than air, and will settle to the floor or basement if there is a small leak. Just a FYI.
    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 ,

  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Advice on Generator for New System

    I researched this quite a bit before buying my 1,800 RPM Generac 15 KW Propane Generator back up unit.

    It's a model 6692110100 with the new H-100 Digital Control Panel with weathertight sound accentuated cover. The unit also incorporates manual or laptop/software programming/monitoring/diagnostics.

    I believe they also make a 10KW and 12KW propane versions. If you are at higher altitudes you'll need to derate and size the KW output to meet your needs.

    1,800 RPM model generators run slower, are quieter, last longer but are a little more expensive.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Advice on Generator for New System

    thank bill for starting this thread. i want very similar system for my cabin.
    i am new to this and very confuse, i hope to see good response to this thread. it is not cheap to run generator even a small unit 10-15 kw, lp usage about 1-2 gallons per hour, that about 5-10 $ per hour.


    We're planning on a small office w/bedroom & bath at our new property. In future will be having a house to relocate to. For now, we'll just commute the 20 or so miles to new property to take care of some of our Longhorns we will be moving there to graze.

    Now, the question(s):

    We plan to have an LP (propane) Generator to pump water from a new well (for livestock & some irrigation as needed) using a regular AC well pump (need high volume gpm). Also, will plan to use the generator for our Clothes Washer and Dryer as well as for back-up to charge batteries (when solar system is up and running) , and/or to run power for the Office unit before we get solar system up and running.

    We're looking at about a 10 to 12 KW Propane generator. (I might add that Northern Tool has a Honda generator that you can switch between propane and gas as needed)

    1. Will a generator "safely" run our front loading clothes washer and/or dryer, and computers (when NOT hooked up to Solar system or batteries)? Is the generator power to these items OK, or, does something else need to be added to the system?

    2. Do we need a true sine wave device between the generator and the appliances when the generator is NOT being used to charge batteries?

    I am very naive at this point when it comes to Solar power...just learning. When we do get our system in place it will be designed by "pros" with equipment specified as needed.

    Thanks,
    Bill in Texas
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Advice on Generator for New System

    As a general FYI on generators for off grid situations: Consider using different generators for different purposes if you can afford it. I use a honda eu 1000 to power my 20 amp xantrex charger. A honda eu 2000 will run a tc-40 charger. We only run this generator when we need to charge our house battery, (almost never!)

    I then use a Honda 1800 or a Mitusbishi 2800 to run what ever shop tools I need. Our washing machine is gas powered, but the 2800 would run a conventional. (Using electricity for dryers is crazy if you have to generate it yourself from PV or genny)

    Using the 1800 or the 2800 just to run the charge is very inefficient, hence the eu 1000. (Quiet too!) I know that the up front cost of multiple gennies is significant, but using one that is too big just wastes fuel, one too small takes a toll on wear and tear.

    Used gennies that are crap box duty are cheap, and if all you are going to run off them is power tools who cares if they are noisy. They don't even have to be real fuel efficient if you are. I plan my shop work so that I can do as much as I can, set up, run the genny, kill it, set up some more, cut some more. (Not every shop can do that!)

    Tony

    PS I could always fire up the 5kw Lister SL2 Diesel, or even my 1948 Onan 3kw auto start! I've got a few others too! Anyone want the SL2?
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Advice on Generator for New System

    > Anyone want the SL2?

    Darn right I want it. I just don't have a way to move it, or property yet to park it at. I've been looking at the clones from India, and they are beginning to scare me, with the stuff that is so wrong with them.
    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 ,

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Advice on Generator for New System

    hey Tony, am i understand you correctly, your 210 watt PV charge your batt for all your electricity need.

    icarus wrote: »
    As a general FYI on generators for off grid situations: Consider using different generators for different purposes if you can afford it. I use a honda eu 1000 to power my 20 amp xantrex charger. A honda eu 2000 will run a tc-40 charger. We only run this generator when we need to charge our house battery, (almost never!)
    I then use a Honda 1800 or a Mitusbishi 2800 to run what ever shop tools I need. Our washing machine is gas powered, but the 2800 would run a conventional. (Using electricity for dryers is crazy if you have to generate it yourself from PV or genny)

    Using the 1800 or the 2800 just to run the charge is very inefficient, hence the eu 1000. (Quiet too!) I know that the up front cost of multiple gennies is significant, but using one that is too big just wastes fuel, one too small takes a toll on wear and tear.

    Used gennies that are crap box duty are cheap, and if all you are going to run off them is power tools who cares if they are noisy. They don't even have to be real fuel efficient if you are. I plan my shop work so that I can do as much as I can, set up, run the genny, kill it, set up some more, cut some more. (Not every shop can do that!)

    Tony

    PS I could always fire up the 5kw Lister SL2 Diesel, or even my 1948 Onan 3kw auto start! I've got a few others too! Anyone want the SL2?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,489 admin
    Re: Advice on Generator for New System

    You need to know how much power you will consume per day...

    Basically, take the wattage * time for each device you want to run and add them together...

    For example:

    8 hours * 30 watts = 240 watt hour (laptop)
    4 hours * 13 watts = 62 watt hour (CFL light)
    =======================
    302 Watt*Hours total (example)

    If you get 5 hours of sun per day (summer), and assume a 50% derating for for the solar panel + charger + batteries:

    302 Watt*Hours per day / (5 hours sun per day * 50% derating) = 121 watt of solar panels (summer months)...

    Battery wise, use 6x your daily load (for various reasons)...

    302 watt*hours * 6 = 1,812 watt*hours of battery storage.

    For a 12 volt battery system, that would be:

    1,812 WH/12v = 151 Amp*Hours of battery capacity.

    You can use a Kill-A-Watt meter to measure your loads.

    And there is more detail we can go into for figuring out how much solar panel power you would require over the year (perhaps, you would only need a small generator for 3 months of winter).

    Solar power (and even generator power) is not cheap--reducing your loads and sizing the source (solar/battery/generator) to your loads will give you the best bang for your buck.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,228 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Advice on Generator for New System

    210 watts does almost all our needs. (Not counting shops) Granted we live rather simply. All lighting, water pumping, telephone, internet laptop charging, radio etc. (No TV) Propane fridge, honda powered washing machine.

    We use ~40 amphours (12vdc) per day, and get most of that back by around noon or so.

    Tony

    Ps Your best pv dollar is the one spent on conservation. If you don't have the load, you don't need to generate it.
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