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have you ever tried to explain how solar and wind works

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by hank2222, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    Today when i was eating at this little place i like in NYC i was reading a copy of home power magazine i had picked up to read about this new solar panels that are comeing out of Germany and should be on the market in about two or three months time frame..

    The guy next to me said that no house could be run totaly off solar in this country and i was looking at the guy like ok explain your self and he was trying to tell me his knowage of how solar works ..

    i lay out how the appliances work in a off grid home and how many watts your battery system has in it along how many watts are draw off the bank when it going at full peak load and with the size of the battery bank and how it wired in a 12.volt 24.volt or 48 volt string set up and the size of the solar panels that you need along with the prostioning of them to get a clear veiw of the sky and mounting them on a sun tracking device to get the most out of the sunlight to charge the battie and what size of inverter to run the 120.volt appliances off the battery bank along with makeing sure they are enegry star rated to get a low wattage draw from the of the system

    then i asked him about wind turbine and are useing a small less than 400.watt turbine or are your up to a 5kw turbine system to produce the power from the wind and how much hieght on the turbine do you have and are you a good spot that has wind comeing off the ocean or river area also ..

    The guy get this deer in the headlights look and then i asked him where did he hear or who told him that a home could not been run completely off grid ..he goes i have been reading about solar and wind ..

    I basically go you need to your local library and check out some newer books on some solar and wind because they have come along way since what ever your books that you have read ..

    After the guy leaves and i finishing up my lunch the lady who took my order goes you really know your stuff about solar and wind and i explained to her i live off grid in a place in Sunny Az and i learned a thing or two about the basic of solar and wind and belive me it cost me enough money to know what works and what does not work in some areas ..

    I told her the basic idea is go to the library and check out books on the subect of wind and solar and RV and sailboat how to electrical and other subect that comes up inside those areas ready everything you can on those areas and reread them again and then sit down and design your system and then figure what you what to give up in the way of modern appliances inside the place and the one you will not give up and go from there ..

    When i went back later on tonight she was at the counter with about four or five books on those subects we had talked about and she goes you know your right about the money on the mistake that you make when you do not think it through..

    I did tell her some areas of the solar and wind system for your home it best to get with a company that does that for a liveing and they can really keep you from beening really spending more money than it needed in some areas of trying to run a off grid home ..
    STANGF150 and chelloveck like this.
  2. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    chelloveck, Tracy and hank2222 like this.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Nice, but did you tell her to come to SM and really get the lowdown?
    Tracy and hank2222 like this.
  4. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Far too many "experts" out there that read something or watched a u tube video and now they are the know it alls of the world !
    I gave up and do my own thing, and it works....I figured that's all that matters anyway.
    Gator 45/70 and hank2222 like this.
  5. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I've tried to explain it if someone is really interested, but when I run into experts that have never really done anything, I don't waste my time trying to re-educate them. My time is worth more than their education.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    There are those, who know enough to HIRE the right folks, who have designed and built systems, that actually work. Then there are those folks, that chose to invest the time, to learn the current technology, and design their own systems. There are those, that don't have the FIRST Clue, and go with the FIRST Yahoo, that comes down the Pike, that has a fancy Website, and Brochure. I am with TnAndy, on this one. If the folks asking, are in the first two groups, I can steer them to KNOWN competent outfits, or share with them the Institutional Knowledge that I have acquired,over a couple of decades of Off-Grid living. If they are in the last Group, My time is move valuable to "Me" than their "More Money, than Brains" attitude, and they deserve what they get. I find MANY in this last group, do "Wake Up and smell the coffee" after some "Sad Experiences" and join one of the other two groups. Then again, some DO NOT, and those are just "To Stupid to Learn".... YMMV....
    hank2222 likes this.
  7. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Bruce, some of them are, as a nurse friend of mine says, "too stupid to breathe".....she says if breathing weren't an autonomic response and they actually had to THINK about it, most of them would simply die.
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yep, Nurses are very good at getting right to the ISSUE at hand. Momma is an RN, and she just about feel of the chair, laughing, [lolol][ROFL] at that last post..
    Falcon15, TnAndy and hank2222 like this.
  9. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    The whole thing i was sitting at the counter going through the magazine and turning down the pages corners on the pages that i wanted to reread at a later time to get more info about the products or how to parts when the guy started to speak to me about solar and wind ..

    I'm thinking to myself this has all ready been a really crappy day so far and now i got the local expert on solar and wind telling me how they work and i thought what else can go wrong today and when i came out of the place i was allmost ran over by a taxi when i was crossing the street to go back into the building to finish up the meeting i had there ..

    So i stoped thinking about what else could go wrong train of thoughts in my mind and got it back to the business at hand

    Also the solar panels from Germany are all ready out and i sorry for that bit of info ..I guess they have been on the market now for year now ..They are design for high output type of solar panels for the off grid market and they also come with a high price for them also ..
  10. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Like Andy said, explaining is a waste of time to dummies. A great friend has a total solar home. He has back up but normally everything is solar powered. They have an on demand propane hot water heater and propane refridgerator but everything else is prowered via "ole sol".
    hank2222 likes this.
  11. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Generally, when approached by a non knowing person, I will spend as much time as it takes to try and teach them. BUT, if they are the local Expert, then they are on their own. I find that practical experience almost always leads to the right results, even if they take a little time, rather then the experts math type solutions. If you feel you can get by on 2,000 watts, then buy 2,500 watts. As , with solar, more is almost always better then just what you need. If you need a 5k gennie to work through your inverter, then buy a 7k and do it easier. Etc. Interesting post Hank
    hank2222 likes this.
  12. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    The girl gets the math when i laid it out for her later on that night when i came back around to the place to eat..

    First i was way out of element that this meeting i went to with person from the resort second i was trying to figure if i was going to fired at this meeting or was my contract beening extended for another 6 month..

    because of the owner group meeting in NYC and they where asking about some of the money that was spent over the year since i had been with the resort ..

    That was putting me on edge and i was allready not in the best of moods when i walked into the little sandwich shop and set down to eat lunch and read my magazine.
  13. farmboyJD

    farmboyJD Monkey+

    I recently was in Santa Fe, returning home from AZ. I had a cardboard box that obviously contained PV panels strapped on the trailer. At a gas station, a lady was filling her car next to me and started a lengthy conversation about living off the grid. She lived in a 6000 sf home, and repeated the same advice I've heard numerous times.... Don't get china stuff, get top line batteries, solar & wind components, backup parts, etc.
    Nadja and hank2222 like this.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Highly precise calculations don't seem to fill the bill, which is why math is a tool for engineers rather than something to follow slavishly as theoreticians are wont to do. Most of the time, and with very limited exceptions, trying to save money by splitting pennies is to over look life cycle costs. With stuff like solar, there is no substitute for getting first quality, and if you can't get fully set up on the first buy, then size it to add on later. But you knew that.

    For an illustration of theoretical vs practical, go here, post #6 - http://www.survivalmonkey.com/forum/humor-jokes-games-diversions/28556-understanding-engineers.html

    As is sometimes also said, too much is barely enough. Funny how electrical loads grow; I think they follow Parkinson's Law.
    hank2222 likes this.
  15. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    that day was not the best for me as i said i was allready on edge from the owner group meeting where i was beening questioned where 2 and half million dollars went and i had give them the details on my end and the one person who i had the most problems out of the owner group was not buying into the fact that shipping and other cost ate into the money along with special fresh water makers that ran off of solar and wind set up that turned seawater into fresh water for the resorts .

    When i went back after lunch it seam to be going alot better for me because of the outside accounting firm that was hired to looked at my books was saying the same thing that i was saying along and the cost of doing business one shiping company and how they set the amount that you spend on shipping cost of doing business to the state of Hawaii
  16. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey++

    I give that same advice to everyone i talk to about going off grid get with the people who do it for a liveing and talk to them about it and thing is you have to understand it going to cost money in the long run to build your system
  17. spud

    spud Monkey++


    We have all American solar/wind and gensets. But one Yanmar Japan Genset diesel. It is more than I can explain but in simple terms and most folks just glaze over anyway.

    I like a challenge and this sytem took well over one full year of research, testing, install and working out the kinks. I am still not done but 99% and it works ;-0

    It can be done and anything worth doing is worth doing well.
  18. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I cannot tell people enough about this as I have seen far too much of the stuff made in China, give out in the first year. When I buy solar, I buy only parts made either in Japan, here or Germany. The longevity of these will far outweigh the inital cost outlay.
    hank2222 likes this.
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