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Galen Young

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since Mar 14, 2017
out in the woods of Maine
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Recent posts by Galen Young

We have a 48vdc battery-bank because our biggest load is a well pump [240vac] and the only inverters that can make 240/120vac are 48vdc inverters.

I used welding cable 4/0 for all the cables between batteries.

Setting your 'Low Battery CuttOff' at 80% is smart.
1 day ago

Jonathan Ward wrote:I hear it about the property taxes.  That is one of my concerns as well.  I'll look at Maine and see what's there.  Are there other New England states that you would suggest?



Some people really like NH, others Vermont.

Maine is the oldest state in the nation. The average age of residents is the oldest. We have the highest percentage of retirees. People may think of Florida, but ... if you do not mind winter and want to be active outdoors this is the place to be.
4 days ago

Jonathan Ward wrote:Galen, what made you chose Maine over the NW US?



I grew-up farming in a drought prone region. I need to avoid drought prone regions.

I had many co-worker who had bought land and homes in Washington, and then their property taxes had doubled or tripled. We pretty much knew that my pension was not going to be enough to support our family if we stayed in Washington.

So we needed severely cheaper land, with much lower taxes in a region that is drought-free.

The local culture of independence, and off-grid sustainable farming does not hurt either.



... General question again:  Do you guys/gals have issues with many Apex Predators in the area?  Bears/Wolves ect?



We have a lot of coyotes. Bears usually hibernate on my land every winter, but they are not seen as 'predators' here. I have seen them wander into my pig pasture, in ignorance. As soon as they detect the presence of my pigs, they turn away and they move along quickly. Wild bears are scared to death of free-ranging pigs.

:)
5 days ago
I was stationed in Washington for five years. While living there I consumed every day of my earned leave exploring the surrounding areas looking for a good site to homestead. After all of that effort, we decided to homestead in Maine
5 days ago
In my town there are four homes that use Photovoltaic power. One of these homes is grid-tied net-metering, and three homes are off-grid. One home is all 12vdc [it works just fine].

The 12vdc home has been on solar power since the 1980s, and it is the simplest and cheapest system I have ever seen.
3 weeks ago
Su Ba-

All good points.

With 4400 watts of photovoltaic panels, during a sunny day we make way more power than we need.

We can charge the battery, run every appliance we own, and every power tool. But it is a lifestyle change.

If you want to toast a piece of bread, you must be willing to conform to considering things like will the overcast clear-up first? And how are the batteries doing?

My wife has one of those new Freeze-Dryers. It is seriously a cool device. But it runs a 30-hour cycle. Our system can not generate power for 30-hours continuously. So for her to run th eFreeze-Dryer, we must first cycle power breakers to put us back to grid-power.

Among off-grid home-owners it seems agreed that your first battery-bank will die within the first ten years. This is due to the learning curve, so you need to budget to replace your batteries.

My wife was working, and she was eligible for a pension. So she decided that she wanted to reduce our monthly bills a bit before she took the pension. Our solar power system did that. Sort of. It was a big investment, and it will require further investments as the years go by.


3 weeks ago

Jim Wong wrote:It's been a big question to many homeowners, how can you save fast? Will my savings outweigh what I would pay on an electric bill?



No.

Generally you can not install a photovoltaic system to power your home for less money than paying a utility bill.



... In short you may jump to the conclusion that your home is not big enough to save enough, but that's not true, installing home solar will immediately stop your bills, and you may find yourself not paying too much out of pocket after installation. Plus depending on your state, your tax incentives could be huge!



No longer paying an electric bill is nice.
The depreciation write-offs on our solar power system is nice [however we live on a farm, I can not swing a dead cat without hitting other depreciable items].
I do not see any 'tax incentives' that equal the cost of our solar power system, and our system was DIY installed [which saved a big chunk of the expenses].

Our primary benefit is to now have reliable power. I live on the East Coast, our public utility power goes down frequently, every time the wind blows trees blow down, pulling the power lines down. We were here ten years before installing solar power. During those first ten years, there was not a single calendar month without a power outage. Our public utility is not capable of providing continuous power for more than a week at a time.

I do appreciate the tax incentives. Our solar system depreciates out over 7 years [in accordance with IRS guidelines] Every penny spent on solar is a write-off. The 'pay-back' cannot exceed 7 years, because at 7 years you have written off the entire cost of the system.

4 weeks ago
Mis-matching batteries is generally considered to be a bad idea.

I have batteries in series to add voltage up to 48vdc, then I have six of these strings in parallel to add the amperage up enough for my system. All my batteries are the same type and were setup within a month of each other.

On the other hand, one of my neighbors has a 12vdc system. For his battery bank, he uses regular automobile batteries in parallel. His system has been operating since the 1980s, just fine. Check the water once a month, and once a year he tests every cell [any battery that has a bad cell gets replaced with a new battery].
1 month ago
I am saddened to read that you are going through this phase.

I hope that it works out in the end.
1 month ago
You are familiar with Unity, so I assume that you know about MOFGA and the Common Ground Fair.

MOFGA originated 'Certified Organic' in 1970. They have a full calendar of events across the state all year round.
http://mofga.org/Home/Calendar/tabid/417/Default.aspx

MOFGA has a wonderful Appenticeship program, many farms have Apprentices.
http://mofga.org/Programs/FarmApprenticeships/tabid/502/Default.aspx

MOFGA also has a Journeyman program, where experienced former-Apprentices are placed into positions as Farm Managers.
http://mofga.org/Programs/JourneypersonProgram/tabid/228/Default.aspx

I am active in the Penobscot County Chapter of MOFGA, we host a potluck and workshop every month, here in this county.

There is also a forum for MOFGA member farms where you could post:
http://www.mofga.net/Forums/tabid/56/Default.aspx

You could do a search of organic farms, to find those in the area you are focusing on, to start a conversation with those farmers:
http://www.mofga.net/tabid/130/Default.aspx?c=%&k=&m=1

Or here:
http://www.mofgacertification.org/?page_id=1492

Or look through the list of CSAs, to find those in your focus area:
http://www.mofga.net/Directories/CommunitySupportedAgricultureinMaine/tabid/268/Default.aspx

There is also a Maine Federation of Farmer's Markets, that might provide roughage for your quest:
http://www.mainefarmersmarkets.org

There is an active Permi group in Portland, one in Orono, and one in Belfast. I can see if I can find points-of-contact for each if you need them.

Good luck


1 month ago