5 Mar ’12
Hah, if you saw my wiring in the barn you would think different.
I would be a happy camper if I could get the panels mounted in the next few months and if I could add 6 more panels. I don't need any more panels or power with our current loads in Spring/Summer/early Fall but I got my butt kicked this past winter where there were only a few hours of sunlight every few days -- you just need more panels to absorb the limited sunlight in a shorter period of time.
21 Feb ’12
nice setup, thanks for posting it. next month we're expecting 10 days of interrupted electric throughout the entire country because thailand uses natural gas from burma to power their generators and burma is taking that natural gas offline for ten days for maintenance. i should have done something like this sooner, damn i'm lazy.
5 Mar ’12
10 days gets long if you have to run a generator 24/7. Could you get by with just temporarily running a generator?
If you have any batteries you can charge them while running the generator and then use the batteries for power.
If I lived somewhere on grid that lost power only for a day or 2 at a time I would just install a battery bank and put it on a charger plugged into the grid. When power would go out you could just switch over to the batteries. No need for the expensive of solar panels.
21 Feb ’12
haha! it doesn't happen all that often really, and typically not for more than a few hours at a time. i don't want to run a generator here, if i couldn't do it with all the sun we get or steady ocean breezes then i won't bother with anything other than solar lanterns. the battery idea is a decent solution as i can source batteries here without much difficulty, just have to pay the price.
3 Jun ’12
Pork- THANKS for taking the time. very early stages of trying to learn about this stuff.
As it stands right now, the only thing we are connected to is electricity. Have a propane tank, no land lines, no cable, sat internet, well, septic. so we feel like we really could be completely off grid alot easier than most folks.
How did you decide how much juice you would need? or did it evolve the other way - "this is how much juice we have, deal with it"?
why aren't you interested as much in wind for the dark months?
5 Mar ’12
MM -- glad you are getting some use out of the information.
Looks like you are in a good spot for a transition off the grid or for back up purposes. What electrical appliances do you have?
We basically bought as much solar as we could afford at the time. You are supposed to measure all of your electrical loads and add a large buffer, like 50%+ or so. There are a few theories with solar power a) you will kill your first set of batteries because you are new (I did this) and b) you will use a lot more power than you expect because your loads will grow over time (true for us, too).
If you only have an electric fridge and an electric well pump than you can make it happen with solar. If you have an electric oven (even some propane stoves use a lot of electricity) and/or and electric water heater and don't want to switch it out then you really can't do solar, or at least do it well. Anything than generates heat via electricity uses a ton of power -- more than can be feasibly gathered or stored via solar or wind.
I am interested in wind for backup to solar but wind turbines require a lot more maintenance than solar due to the moving parts and I have found mounting the turbines can be extremely tricky. We have high trees around us and getting over the tops of the trees would require an 80+ ft self supporting tower -- which would take a lot of effort to install and money to buy. Large self-supporting towers can be cheap if you find them used, but you have to disassemble and move them, which is a whole 'nother can of worms.
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