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New and clueless!!  RSS feed

 
Misty Rayne
Posts: 49
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
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OK so I am interested in going off grid. Wanting to have solar and wind turbines problem is I am clueless!! Have no ideal where to start!! where would be a good website, book to start? I know absolutely NOTHING! I mean I know how to wire in a light socket or plug but that's as far as I know for electricity. PLEASE HELP!!
 
Rick Roman
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Hi Misty, There's great info right here on permies / solar. I also, recommend the book Solar Water Heating - A Comprehensive Guide to Solar Water and Space Heating by Bob Ramlow. Why start with solar water heating? Because it is fairly easy to build, relatively inexpensive and can be used in many different applications.
Good Luck.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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http://www.homepower.com/
 
Ben Plummer
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Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b
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Marcos Buenijo
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Location: Southwest U.S.
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Misty Rayne wrote:OK so I am interested in going off grid. Wanting to have solar and wind turbines problem is I am clueless!! Have no ideal where to start!! where would be a good website, book to start? I know absolutely NOTHING! I mean I know how to wire in a light socket or plug but that's as far as I know for electricity. PLEASE HELP!!


Bill Kerans offered some good sites, I recommend you check them out (that backwoodshome.com site has good info). The site here http://www.wholesalesolar.com/information.html has some surprisingly good info. If you spend some time on YouTube, then you can find some good DIY videos on solar installations. Check out solarcabin for a small off grid set up that is particularly simple. Lots of people here are willing to answer questions, and many are qualified to answer all but highly technical and esoteric questions, so feel free to ask away. I suggest you study the resources, then come back with any questions.

Also, think about and discuss with us what is your incentive to go off grid? If you hope to move to a region where grid power is not available and providing it would be cost prohibitive, then off grid you'll be. However, in my opinion, you should retain grid power if it's cost effective to do so. A solar (and wind) system can be configured as a grid tied system. Unfortunately, these do not produce when the grid fails. Therefore, a modest battery system could be maintained for these eventualities (and I think this makes more sense than a back up generator IF one already has solar/wind systems). A primary reason why I recommend this is that battery systems are costly and they have to be replaced regularly in the off grid setting. However, if a battery is maintained properly (and never discharged except during grid failures), then they can last a very long time.
 
Misty Rayne
Posts: 49
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
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Thanks everyone!! Lots of material to go over! I have to say I just can't afford the cost of electricity any more it's costing us any where between $250-$350 a month just for my hubby and I! my "delivery fee" alone is $175 this month! nothing like paying a huge price just to have the privilege of having hydro! The cost has more then double in the last couple of years and they say it will triple in the next 3-5yrs here!! I have barely any lights on anymore and what lights I have I make sure that they are all the new low watt bulbs, only use wood as a heat source now and changed the old water heater out for a smaller more efficient one still doesn't seem to matter what I do! Thanks again!!
 
Marcos Buenijo
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Location: Southwest U.S.
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Misty Rayne wrote:Thanks everyone!! Lots of material to go over! I have to say I just can't afford the cost of electricity any more it's costing us any where between $250-$350 a month just for my hubby and I! my "delivery fee" alone is $175 this month! nothing like paying a huge price just to have the privilege of having hydro! The cost has more then double in the last couple of years and they say it will triple in the next 3-5yrs here!! I have barely any lights on anymore and what lights I have I make sure that they are all the new low watt bulbs, only use wood as a heat source now and changed the old water heater out for a smaller more efficient one still doesn't seem to matter what I do! Thanks again!!


Seriously, $175 just to maintain the service? That's just wrong. They got you by the short hairs don't they?

Sadly, I suspect based on the numbers you claim here that you will have to dramatically reduce your current electricity consumption rates before you can consider going off grid. For example, you will have to stop heating water with electricity. I recommend using a wood furnace to heat water. Here is one video just to show what's possible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IRLVCJ1olA . Realistically, you'll have to get your electricity consumption below 300 KWh per month before you should seriously consider cutting the hydro cord. Also, what's the source for your water? If you are consuming electricity to power a well pump, then that's another dynamic to consider.
 
Misty Rayne
Posts: 49
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
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yes we do have an electric water pump 2 in fact! 1 pumps water from the well into a settling tank and then the other from the tank into the house not sure exactly why they set it up like that I know we have a lot of clay, sand and minerals in the water perhaps that's why? We also pay an $60 dept repayment fee every month. Nothing like the government making us pay for some one else going out of business (previous hydro company before the gov. took it over)! I'm sure if I racked up a huge bill with my company and went bankrupt the government wouldn't help me out! Anyways I'm going to have to take a good look at my hydro bills as you say and see just how much I am using and do what I ever I can do to lower the usage. We are really considering selling this place and building a much smaller home. We always wanted the BIG house like everyone else, so we bought this place (3000sq feet plus) and now that we have it we are like what the HELL were we thinking!! Bigger is NOT better!! Man I'm thinking a nice SMALL home would be so much easier and cozy! Problem is we are thinking under 900-800sq feet and here building codes are 1200sq feet min! anyways that's another area! thanks again for all the info!!
 
allen lumley
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Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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Misty : When you get around to it, label one area recreational and crafts, power equipment stored here ! - 15' X 20' isn't a very big garage !

A connecting breezeway 7' X 14'can be labeled enclosed Sun porch! Best of luck Big AL
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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It looks like you are using 1500kwhr per month or 50kwhr per day
50,000whr per day is lot of energy.
Solar cells cost around $1 per watt so you are looking at $50,000/4 aka $10,000 just for the solar panels.
Now when you include labor+wire+electronic+batteries to store at half of that energy for the night.
A 25KWhr battery pack at around $1 per whr. Lets just say its really expensive.

So go ahead and build that 1200sqft house. Have 1/4 of it has unheated garage/porch and only heat the 800sqft.
Make it super insulated, buy LED or CFL light bulb. Visit the fridge only once daily. drink tap water, make your own yogurt on the counter vs drinking cold milk.
Try not to iron as much, air dry your clothes etc. Get a LCD/LED tv, and use laptops instead of computers even if you have to use a "bigger" wireless keyboards/mouse and and plug in a bigger LCD monitor.
SO fridge, iron, dryer, light, computer, tv, thats about everything. Hopefully you are not using a welding torch or anything like that.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
58
books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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Misty : Have you checked to see if there is a exemption for required square ft for summer cottages/2nd homes ? A year ago I was talking to a 'Industrial Arts teacher'
who had solar that was mostly payed for by your government, the catch was he had to be hooked to the grid, sell his surplus wholesale and buy extra from the Elect Co.
Retail ! Big Al
 
Brian Knight
Posts: 554
Location: Asheville NC
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There is a very strong argument that grid-tied is better for the environment than off-grid. A net-zero home that is grid tied will be supplying its neighbors with renewable energy during Peak demand hours which is a critical time period for power companies. This reduces their need to increase capacity and build more power plants to supply energy for this relatively short time period.

By connecting to the grid, you avoid the expenses (upfront and environmental) of battery banks and greatly reduce maintenance and avoid the inevitable future battery replacement costs. Energy used by homes represents only 1/4 of that needed to create, transport and convert it. Grid tied renewables greatly reduces this inefficiency and helps society and the community in a very cost and resource effective manner.

The trick to Net-zero of course is reducing the energy requirements of the home and the "occupant behavior factor" ends up being an important variable.
 
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