Just put 520 watts of solar online to supplement my generator. Hope to expand it to over 1,000 watts soon. 464 amp hour battery bank. Ran 8 hours today on solar alone for the computer and radio gear, just switched the computer over to mains power for the night.
Very nice Mary B. Between the solar panels and generator, you are well ahead of most people. Take advantage of natural solar energy as well as using you panels and generator. South and West curtains open during the winter for natural light and heat, air draft flows through your house during the summer, etc.
My third wife had a large cabin in the Colorado mountains. It was deep in the woods, about 23 miles beyond the end of the nearest power line. And on the roof were solar panels, which kept a bank of deep cycle (golf cart) batteries charged up. From there, there were two inverters, producing 120-240 volts ac. The 240 volts was necessary to run a water well pump, and the 120 volts for the household items like compact flourescent lamps, stereo, TV, ceiling fan, furnace fan, kitchen appliances, etc.
With a little presence of mind, like not leaving fans or lights on when unnecessary, and not running a bunch of lights and appliances at the same time, you can live very comfortably deep in the mountains. And 23 miles beyond the end of the nearest power line is definitely off the grid!
Oh – the kitchen stove and refrigerator ran on propane. There was a freestanding cast iron woodburning stove in the livingroom. Everything else was just like any modern suburban home.
I need about 200 more pounds of cooking wood pellets for the traeger smoker/grill/oven/what do you want cooked? 40 pounds of propane for the camp stove, 100 gallons of gas for the generator(gets cycled thru the lawnmower/snowblower/car at 6 months and replaced).
For anyone that is looking to do the same as MaryB, I would suggest that you use a solar tracker with these panels. By using a solar tracker increases your solar efficiency by 70% – 90% with less solar panels. It doesn’t have to be motorized, as you can physically move it for sun alignment throughout the day.
Nice job! Solar panels are expensive compare to the amount of watts they produce. I’ll stay with buying gold and silver and I’m already having hard time buying silver right now. My house especially needs that 4×8 foot solar hot air panel since I live in the north and it’s not fun during winter cause using the electric heater is very expensive!
I thought about a tracker but with winds hitting 65mph+ for 2-3 days at a time in winter and winds hitting 90mph+ once a summer I wanted a solid mount. The solar hot air dropped my heat bill 10% last winter so a decent ROI n a $250 build.
well, nowhere in my post did I claim OU (and running the ABSOLUTE numbers I measured against true solar cell and charger efficiency, it seems to _approach_ 100%) Seems I claimed a 4X greater charge rate.
Just throwing the link up there if anyone wants to see it.
I, for one, and another, etc will have power after the ah-porky-lips
in my ‘day job” I work with ‘lectric all the time, plus tinker with these emerging technologies.
I’m currently trying to get the BATTERY BANKS out of the equation.
I Like Your Setup, MaryB, better than what 99.5% of everyone has!
Nice Price. I got a source of “blems” around $50 each, but it’s just a 65AH deep cycle Interstate Batt. (12V)
BUT the type for backup power are much better than a “car battery”. I bought the ones I have for the experiments. Good batt., but I need something like you have.
As for the passive hot air panels, my dad got a system in the 70′s that was prolly about twice as big, and less efficient (but 2 panels, MAYBE 150 sq. ft. or less) Worked Great! Between the state and fed. tax credits, he paid about 1/3 of retail, 65% was tax credits.
There is a simpler version to make that is even more effective using roll type furnace filter material that gets a spray of flat black paint. Needs less electrical energy to push the heat through too. I think Builditsolar.com has the plan or a mention of it.
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