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My off-grid dilemma  RSS feed

 
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Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:

Su Ba wrote:It's not the panels that need replacing. Ours are 20+ years and still doing fine the last time we tested them. It's the batteries that will need replacing and maintenance. Plus the back up generator. We replace ours every 5-7 years. And if you've never run a solar system before, you'll most likely ruin your first battery bank rather quickly. We did!  



This is a great reminder. Thank you! Any tips on not ruining the battery bank quickly? Is that in its own thread somewhere?



Man this thread got huge! HA, not sure if this was talked about yet. You can look into NiFe batteries which are very forgiving and long lasting. Again, like everything they have their advantages and disadvantages. Some have said they discharge at a faster rate. I haven't had a chance to compare the two yet. They are more expensive but then you never replace them. In the end they are less toxic and the chemical in them is alkaline not acid so it preserves the metal inside the battery unlike lead-acid. I have experience with this company. http://www.beutilityfree.com/
 
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Location: Manitoba, Canada
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I have reflected a lot on all of your feedback.

I have decided (for various reasons) that the plan is to prioritize finding a way to not need to commute before I move out to the land. Then I can install a system that is much cheaper and has a smaller footprint.

Thank you for helping me sort through this.

Shawn
 
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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For what it's worth, Shawn, one of the things that will add the most value to your property is a grid electrical connection.  So even if you have to spend $30,000 to do it, it will increase the value of your property at least that much, if not more.  It won't get any cheaper if you wait.  It gives you the option to sell if you want to, or get a bigger loan if you need one, and to actually make a real profit off of a remote place.  

I've had solar for 20 years, and it's got some real maintenance expenses.  Five days without sun and you've got to have alternative energy sources.  I thought I'd be able to run a bunch of stuff on the solar, but instead I have an electrical hot water heater that's unused, an electrical hotplate that's unused, a 700-watt microwave that's not strong enough to do popcorn (sometimes you just want quick popcorn!),and  a smaller refrigerator than we're used to (which is not bad, actually).

I wouldn't even think about charging a car on our house solar set-up, and it's been a very good system.  A separate car-charging station would also be something that would add value to your property.

We have 25 gallons of gas always stored, 2 seven-gallon tanks of propane + 1 five-gallon tank just in case,  just for cooking, not heat.  10-gallon tanks are too heavy to lug around.   Always backups, particularly in the winter.
 
Cristo Balete
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One more recommendation, if/when you do solar, have one shed for the batteries that you can stand up in and be completely out of the weather to add water to them.  Have a second shed for the components, the controllers and converter, etc.  The batteries off-gas acid that will eat up very expensive components.  So there's the cost of two sheds.  You will be very happy and relieved 20 years from now if you don't skimp on them.  
 
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I like the idea of having hybrid vs a full electric car, in case of disasters and emergencies. Also a full electric car is still powered by fossil fuel at the power company.
Also you can charge your car at work, and how about an electric bicycle or electric motorcycle, they are much quicker charge and can get the job done 50% of the time.

Solar Panels cost a bit less than $1000 for 1kW x 4hrs/day aka $250 will give you 1kWHr per day
Charge Controllers cost about $200 for 1kW (https://www.wholesalesolar.com/2950000/magnum-energy/charge-controllers/magnum-energy-pt-100-charge-controller)
Batteries cost about $500 per usable 1kWHr (LiFePO4, 3000cycles at 80% dept of discharge aka 15yrs life vs 7yrs for lead batteries)
Inverters cost about $500 per 1kW output

So $1500/kWHr not counting support structure/labor/misc

 
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As we all know that solar panel installation is increasing day by day. And, in future the scope of solar energy will definitely increase. Therefore, you should not ditch your electric car. Furthermore, there are portable solar panels available in the market for recreational vehicles. You can also use these portable solar panels for your car. Not only it can power your car, but also you can power other appliances in the absence of electricity.
Before you go ahead, you need to know the operating power consumption of the vehicle. Based on your lifestyle and how many appliance you want to operate via these solar panels, you can choose its size. A 500-watt portable solar panel can generate 2400 watts of energy if it gets sunlight for 6 hours. It is one time investment, which cost around $3500 to $4500, but you can recoup it in a few years.
If you need some more information about portable solar panels for recreational vehicles, then you can check out this blog: https://www.sunpowersource.com/portable-solar-panels-for-motorhomes/
 
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I have always had good luck with Northern Arizona Wind and Sun. They have a very informative learning center online, you have to scroll past the annoying banner ad but the topics are thorough and well explained.


https://www.solar-electric.com/learning-center
 
Shawn Klassen-Koop
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Shivam Aggarwal wrote:A 500-watt portable solar panel can generate 2400 watts of energy if it gets sunlight for 6 hours. It is one time investment, which cost around $3500 to $4500, but you can recoup it in a few years.



Unfortunately it's not quite that simple for me. Up here during the cold months we average only 3 hours of sunlight per day. It takes a massive number of solar panels to get the job done.
 
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