Ken asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 1 month ago

Living off the grid with solar?

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  • 1 month ago
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    Hey Ken, lots of people do it. Our cabin is solar and wind powered, but it is also still connected to the grid. We just hardly use any utility power these days, maybe $5 a month at most.

    If you want some numbers, our solar array is 1.4 kw, made up of 12 Kyocera 120 watt panels. Those panels today are about $150 each. There is also a 40 amp charge controller and a 4000 watt sine wave inverter that not only converts our 24 volt battery power to 120 volts AC, but synchronized with the grid to feed excess power out when it’s sunny, and bring extra power in at night. We have a “net metering” arrangement where the power company meter runs both ways, then they just charge us for the difference if we used any of their power that month.

    If you want to go truly off grid, you’ll need a more robust battery bank, something that can provide for your needs for at least two full days. We have four Trojan T-105 golf cart batteries, really only enough for maybe 12 hours, but that’s all we need with both our solar array and 1 kw wind turbine and grid power available. If you bought a system like ours with a stand alone inverter instead of a grid tie like we have, and more batteries plus a small back up generator, the parts would probably cost around $6,000 or $7,000. Then you could run a small homes lights, appliances and electronics, not including heat, hot water, cook stove and clothes dryer. Virtually anyone with a solar home runs those items on propane. We do have solar hot water here, and our primary heat is from wood.

    What you need is to read more stories about people who have done it, preferably with specs on their systems. Forget Y answers, everyone loves to chime in with their expertise, even though they’ve never laid a hand on a panel or inverter. Go to home power.com and register your email address. It’s free, you can then download old magazine articles written by people who have built and lived in solar and wind powered homes, like ours. Ours was even published in one of the issues years ago, I’ll try putting a link below. If you’re still interested after doing some reading, try getting to an energy fair near you this spring, we did 19 years ago, and here we are today. Take care Ken, Rudydoo

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  • Mmm J
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    No... but we did install solar panels on our house (no batteries) and I've made a couple of solar generators with 100 amp hour batteries for (portable) emergency power back-up when commercial power goes out - for the refrigerator, only.

    Solar-only means on very cloudy days (or if panels are covered by snow), the batteries in the solar generators don't get recharged.

    If there is enough battery storage, and wind or water power generation are possible, then off-grid may be a little easier, though more complex electronics design will be needed - which increases the $.

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  • 1 month ago

    It can be done without too much trouble.  You will need a lot of batteries and a backup generator.  Get propane stove and refrigerator.  Use led lights.  The price of solar panels has come way down.  Batteries will follow eventually.

    Source(s): Nearly off grid myself.
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  • cmac'm
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    needs lots of panels and lots of batteries

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  • 1 month ago
    • Rudydoo
      Lv 6
      1 month agoReport

      This your company Ken?  I noticed many of the questions you ask here are answered by you, all with this weblink attached.  I like solar power too, been using it for almost 2 decades, long before places like "choose green solar" came along.  This site isn't intended to sell your products.

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