I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

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best power for part-time occupancy?  RSS feed

 
elliott hope
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I have a home in France now my parents are retired there and I spend 3-4 months a year there. I don't have electricity other than a fuel powered generator at the moment and was wondering whether there were any better alternatives?

I only want enough electricity to run a tv, laptop and a few lights (low wattage or led). Cooking, heating and hot-water will be done with wood burner or pellet stove as I get free wood.


On-Grid with power company:
Being on-grid seems pointless because I am away working more than I am there.

Battery based system?
Having anything with batteries seems pointless because any battery system is going to go dead by the time I get back.

Wood?
My dad has a four hectare forest so wood is plentiful and free for me, but I am unaware of whether electricity can be generated from wood and am presuming not.

Solar system without batteries?
Is there a way of purchasing just a few panels and storing the energy in a non-battery way for use overnight (storing longer than overnight is not required.)

Wind?
I wouldn't get permission for this where I am so is not an option


There is no 'general-energy' section so I posted in solar because it seemed to have the most users visiting. Thanks for any help, advice, knowledge.

Elliott
 
David Livingston
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Where in France are you ?
If you are on the north coast of France you would have better wind power resources as opposed to the south coast where solar might be better .
Why do you think wind power is not available ? You can even buy turbines at Leroi Marlan .

David
 
elliott hope
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I am in Brittany, in a place called Morbihan. Regarding the 'how do I know I can't have wind power', admittedly I am going on the hearsay of expats who may or may not know, coupled with the fact that the old guys down the local tabac have talked about how annoying they are to look at and being the foreigner I don't want to pee off the old folk. It could be an option though . . . if I grew a pair!

Elliott
 
M Turf
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Location: Southeast Michigan
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You could look into whether or not the utility company would pay you for your power. Then, in the months when you're not using the system it could make you a few bucks.
 
Marcos Buenijo
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elliott hope wrote:
Battery based system?
Having anything with batteries seems pointless because any battery system is going to go dead by the time I get back.

Wood?
My dad has a four hectare forest so wood is plentiful and free for me, but I am unaware of whether electricity can be generated from wood and am presuming not.

Solar system without batteries?
Is there a way of purchasing just a few panels and storing the energy in a non-battery way for use overnight (storing longer than overnight is not required.)


Solar insolation in that region varies a great deal over the year. During what time of the year are you there? If summer, then solar can make sense... if winter, then perhaps not. However, since you mentioned space heating, then maybe you plan for winter? There is also the problem of theft of panels and other hardware in this scenario. Solar doesn't seem like a good idea here.

If you're not on grid, then you will rely on a battery system. Keeping a genny going just to power a few lights and laptop would be asinine. However, since you're only looking at light loads and a few months out of the year, then you could get a single modest deep cycle battery that should be reliable over that period, then just scrap it or give it away when you leave. Use a very small generator to charge the battery when required. If you will have an automobile available, then alternator may be used to charge battery. NOTE: Power loads with small inverter on battery.

While electricity can be generated from wood using a small wood gasifier to fuel a small generator, it doesn't make practical sense here. Still, if you desired to do this, then the best option would be to generate charcoal for a small charcoal gasifier that will fuel the generator for battery charging. See videos by Gary Gilmore for an introduction:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbI6r7hPmHA&feature=youtu.be
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gmg_Uuz5Ps

Running on wood chips or wood pellets is also possible, but more problematic for smaller systems. If you have wood pellets, then running a small gasifier on wood pellets is not unreasonable:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za7mbmZePds

NOTE: The gasifier info is mainly for interest. It really makes sense for running a genny only when refined fuels are not available.
 
David Livingston
master steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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I know Morbihan quite well as we often visit the area to play music . the "little sea " is a very nice area .
Asking the folks in the Pub is not always the best idea. How is your french ?
Do you know where the nearest "Biocoop" is ? ( its a chain of organic food shops )
They often have information about Permie stuff including options for power generation

David
 
R Scott
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If it were me here in the US, I would stick with the genny and add an AGM battery, good charger, and a small inverter. Get a BIG smart battery charger so you can charge it as fast as possible and shut the genny back off. The battery, charger, and inverter would cost $250 here. The AGM battery should hold a charge for 9 months easy, but you could add a small panel and charge controller to keep it charged when there is good light. A small panel that can be hidden from sight to avoid theft.



 
elliott hope
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thanks for your replies everyone, it is all very helpful.

would a deep cycle battery be able to last over the times i am not there as RScott says? say if i hooked up a small hobby solar panel to it to keep
it topped up throughout the months i am not there? then i would have instant electricity as soon as i arrived without having to
do the first night without it before buying a battery? I have done some looking around and I think it is referred to as floating.
if it is the case I can keep a battery for a few years with a solar panel when I am away then I may even be able to stretch to two
batteries.

RScott:
I never realised I could get an agm battery. I thought they were all the same gel type batteries so I will look into this. does anyone
know which one would hold a charge over a long period of time topped up better?

marcos:
the gasifier looks amazing but a little out of my expertise, although if i ever move there permanently i would definately
consider learning about that.

I am here mainly in summer, but quite often over xmas aswell to see my parents but only for a short time.

your idea of having a battery and just chucking it and getting a new one seems best, i'd never thought of that and batteries are only £70-£100.
i am however looking into the idea of installing something cheap that can keep the battery topped up.

MTurf:
I liked the idea you had until marcos mentioned about people stealing the panels if they know I am not there.

DLivingstone:
My French is very bad but I am learning. my parents are quite good so I get by using their French.

Thanks again everyone.
 
Marcos Buenijo
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Elliot, I like R Scott's suggestion. A good AGM properly charged and stored will do reasonably well over 9 months, and a small panel keeping it on a trickle charge would be great, but not absolutely required. R Scott mentioned smart battery charger, and this is important. I don't know how small they make generators, but you sure don't need much.
 
R Scott
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I have personally used Optima and Odyssey brand AGM batteries. Either one will hold a charge forever with no maintenance. The Odyssey on my motorcycle would sit for 6 months at a time and the bike would turn right over like it had only been overnight--and it would have to crank for quite a while to re-fill the carb before it would start (vacuum petcock only lets gas flow while the engine is turning over). Longest I tested the Optima was just over a year, still at 90% charge according to the charger.

Here is the big charger I would recommend for AGM batteries: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006PAGJXQ/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B006PAGJXQ&linkCode=as2&tag=knowledgepubc-20

It is a smart charger that conditions batteries and makes sure not to overcharge them. It pushes a LOT of current to recharge FAST which is good so you can shut down your generator sooner. You can get a smaller charger way cheaper which is fine for a smaller battery and genny, but make sure it is a true 3-stage smart charger.

 
If you are using a wood chipper, you are doing it wrong. Even on this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards-Paul-Wheaton
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