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Funding Available

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by animalspooker, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. animalspooker

    animalspooker Monkey

    I want to produce my own energy. I already have an outdoor wood stove that heats the house in the winter and heats the water year round, but I want something more. SOLAR or WIND will be my best options. Is there any funding available to help with the costs???
  2. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    If you are looking for assistance in putting solar/wind on your personal property, I don't know of any. The only "assistance" that I know of is in the form of tax breaks for adding such items.
  3. animalspooker

    animalspooker Monkey

    Thats kind of what I figured. I guess those are the one time, flat fee breaks you get when you submit your taxes?
  4. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Some states and power companies also give breaks... especially if you agree to sell it back to the power company...
  5. animalspooker

    animalspooker Monkey

    I'm a 'bottom of the barrel' novice at all this, but why would you not sell back your supply to the power companies?
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Largely because of the capital investment necessary for proper controls. Plus, they buy it from you at wholesale rates, then sell it back at retail. Life cycle costs are fairly high, too. See TNAndy's threads on solar for a better idea of the extent of it all.
    VisuTrac likes this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    There are 3 basic types of home based solar or wind systems. Grid tied with no batteries. Everything you don't use goes to them. ($) stand alone, where all your power goes to batteries, then inverted or used straight as DC, and hybrid/grid tied, you have batteries, that fill first, then sell surplus, and draw from grid when you are low due to no sun or wind. With, of course, different rules for different places.
  8. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    Actually, most states have net metering laws and over half of those provide that the utility pay retail for the power that comes into the grid from one's power systems.

    Net Metering | SEIA

    There are tax credits that can cover 30% of the system costs and some states have more. There is no longer a $2000 limit on the credit and they can be carried over to subsequent years if they are more than your tax liability in a given year. These presently expire end of 2016.

    If one has the luxury to reside in a location for a very long time, the investment in a system tied to the grid can pay for itself over many years. With no rise in energy costs and a professionally installed system, numbers I've seen are in the 20-25 year break even point for solar PV systems. However, energy prices are going up so the time to break-even will be much less. These are not that hard to install and one can save a lot of cost with a DIY install. Probably down under 10 years with tax credits.

    Personally I think it makes good sense to add some cost to a grid tie system by NOT using the micro-inverters on the back of each panel which seem to be vogue and use a central inverter system from Outback, Xantrax or similar which can operate in a grid tie mode or run off grid. Cost a bit more but can provide power when the grid is down.

    Gas or Diesel? | Page 3

    One also need not have to buy it all at once, and purchases can be phased over time. So you might effect a plan like this. Step
    0. Just get 500-1000 watts of panels, a small charger controller, some 12v lights, boat battery or two and small inverter. Bare bones system for entry to have something. Can be done for under $1000.
    1. 3500 watts of solar panels and one Outback inverter. Set it up as grid-tie only.
    2. Add a few batteries, charge controller and wire in with transfer switch. Provides limited power at night for a couple low wattage lights and security systems (cctv, alarms, etc) but run refrigerator, and microwave and well pump during the day.
    3. Stock up on some more batteries, interconnect cables then store the batteries dry for the day the grid goes down for weeks or months or years. Yield more night time capability and cloudy day capability plus longer battery life.
    4. Add second inverter for 240v operation and 3500 watts more panels.
    5. If dollars allow, store spare panels and spare inverter. (EMP and hail storm contingency)
    6. If dollars are not an issue, add another 3500-7000 watts and 1-2 more Outbacks for about 11000-14000 watts of energy production and if you are efficient and conservative, you will hardy pay for energy ever again.

    This ain't cheap but peace of mind can be worth a lot. Outback inverters are roughly $2500 each depending on model etc. and charger controller and Hub monitor is somelike like 1500. Panels are roughly a dollar a watt. Plus bucks for cables, connectors, mounting hardware, transfer switch, etc. As you can see, a good 3500 watt DYI installed start (step 1) can be had for roughly $7000 and dont forget the tax credit will cover 30% and reduced power bills over the next 15 years or so will cover the rest of the cost. Then you can also grow from there to total self-sufficiency with a lifestyle comensurate to present day.

    Have fun.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
    kellory likes this.
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Actually, adding a Second Inverter to "specifically" make 240Vac, is a waste of the Inverter costs. One would be much better off to to put the Second Inverter in Parallel, with the first, to double the Maximum Watts available to the 120Vac System, and then use a Transformer to make the 240Vac from the 120Vac Inverted Buss. This approach makes more sense, in that you get the SAME amount of Total Inverted Power, but you now have Redundant Inverters, where in the above system if you lose either Inverter you lose 1/2 of your 120Vac Loads, as well as yur 240Vac capability. In a Redundant System, If one goes down, you still have the other one to run your basic Loads. Also, It is very inefficient to figure on running 240Vac Loads, for any length of time, from an Inverter/Battery Setup. About the ONLY Exception would be a Well Pump. That is because, it doesn't need to run, except if your Water Storage Tank is low. Most Off-Grid Folks with Well Pumps, only use them to fill Gravity Feed Storage Tanks, that then feed the Domestic Water System. It is a much more efficient way to deal with Domestic Water. If Gravity Feed Storage can't be worked out, the alternative the Off Grider's will use, is a 12Vdc Vane, or Diaphragm, Pump, with a 20USG Air Bladder Tank/CheckValve to maintain a 40PSI Domestic Water Pressure. In this way a typical system will only need 12Vdc * 7Amps = 84 Watts to maintain the 40 Psi System Pressure @ roughly 5 USG/Min and can do that until, say a 350USG Storage Tank is empty. Then refill the Storage Tank using the 240Vac Well Pump that can do 25USG/Min for 15 Minutes. (240Vac * 10Amps = 2400 Watts * .25Hours = 600 WattHours)
    ....... YMMV.....
  10. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    If considering only off-grid, yeah parallel may be better for many situations. However, I guess I didn't make the point well or clear enough that the system and configuration I was discussing was to be grid tied. Sorry. Being grid tied allows us to not need/use batteries much by effectively using the grid for energy storage when the solar production exceeds our demand and facilitates seemless consumption of grid power when it doesn't. This yields a transparent system that ultimately pays for itself. But we also want to configure a system that will still be quite useable when the grid goes down. As noted, I would not fill batteries with acid and bring all those on-line until it was clear the grid was going to be down for a long while. For short power outages (tree fell on powerline) I'd just use a gennie.

    Don't worry, be happy.
    STANGF150, kellory and BTPost like this.
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