Energy Just to try to get this started,Into RE

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Cruisin Sloth, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    The most successful battery-based power systems begin with a clear knowledge of the LOADs that the system needs to supply, and when these loads will occur.

    Will this be an off-grid system, or connected to the Grid?

    It seems that you might well be starting in the middle, or the end of a process, and trying to work backward.

    Would suggest that you STOP buying any more hardware, and concentrate on your loads, and then do several paper designs to make certain that the system will work on paper, before buying any more neat things.

    Batteries need to be charged, even while sitting waiting for the rest of the system to come together ... are you doing this now, and how?

    Parallel strings of batteries can often cause trouble, with that number of batteries, you might really want to consider a 48 Volt system.

    And, if you will be off-grid, your three refer units, a 48 V system is probably best. 48 V systems make better use of a Charge Controller's (CC's) output current -- the same output current yields twice the power on 48 V vs a 24 V system.

    Here is a Link to another Forum, which has a broad range of topics, and has fairly good participation, as does this site:
    Northern Arizona Wind & Sun Solar Forum
    The Link above is funky & was good 10 years ago .
    Outback , Midnite have better

    Just to try to get this started,
  2. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Off grid is always loads. Light a room with a regular light bulb, need severl hundred watts, use f tubes, cut that by over half, use LED cut it to a fraction, use window, cut it to 0. Old timers did not have juice, went to bed at dark, got up at light, read during the day, drank beer, told stories, indulged in other activities that require only the light of a wood fire at night. Seemed to work. Same with computers, can use 100's watts for a tower, a dozen or so for a laptop, or a few for a raspberry or smart phone or tablet. Electric heat is in KW's, gas or fuel oil with fan, pumps, circulation pumps, etc, is usually about 1 KW, wood heat can be 0, and a $ in design and insulation can save power for generations. In my thoughts off grid is a mind set. If you wish to live an on grid life off grid, you need $10,000's + worth of panels, batteries, generator backups etc. A good potion of the world uses no juice at all, need to set priorities and meet them. If you need insulin, a good refrigeration system might be the highest priority, or it could be an oxygen concentrator, or if you have infants, climate control in their living areas and adequate water to wash their clothes, etc. Don't need to survive naked in the woods, but don't need a bus with a diesel generator either. While we can it would be nice to camp in a small well insulated cabin with a lot of windows, a good porch, a view of the lake, a composting toilet, indoor water with either a windmill or solar pump, russian fireplace with wood heat, a solar powered LED light at night and a raspberry pi set up with internet and kindle. My grand dad had that in a sense at his fishing cabin, used aladdin lamp for lights, a kerosene refrigerator, a hand force pump and a water tank, and an outhouse. Have many fond memories of the place as a kid and never missed the electric power. Never considered it off grid and he saw no reason to replicate the grid life style at the cabin. At some point it might either be an option or a requirement to go "off grid" and a very small adjustment in life style now could make a major difference later.
  3. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    We started here just trying to cut the power bill. CF bulbs helped, then we went all LED as they became available. Next was learning to live with less air conditioning, more efficient clothes washing, then on to how to make the generator supply everything. PV only came a few years ago, and only 260 watts, but it now supplies all of the lighting. The evacuated tube panel gives all the hot water. Maybe in the future I can add to the PV at least enough to run the pump on the solar. Loads = $$ so we started backwards trying to reduce them.
  4. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    That's not backwards, most people just throw a bunch of PV panels on the roof and expect to live as they always have. What amuses me is that people that want to go to solar to "get off the grid" and save money.

    Not going to happen, grid power is cheap solar power is now getting to the point that if you don't have access to grid power you can get by with cutting out electric heating and cooling, planning washing cycles, drying you clothes on the clothes line, turning off the computer except for sending/receiving Email, no 60" LCD Satellite TV, well you get it.

  5. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Over on the Arizona wind sun forum the mods say that it's cheaper, easier and you are better off in the long run if focus is put on saving or not using watts as opposed to trying to generate, store and invert more solar watts.
  6. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    ...and this is true whether you are intending on using alt. energy or not. A win-win scenario.
  7. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    They lost 5 Great mods years ago !! on the change from a failing software company on the downgrade.

    Yes if you use 12KW a day & make way more your going to make if your grid tied to sell .
    im down to 5-8 KW with full living . Some days I can suck 21-25 in full shop mode , but I can make that on a full sun day .

  8. rockriver

    rockriver Monkey+

    great thread and awesome timing... we are "trying" again to get a system...
    we live rural in a state with hardly any installing companies... I've talked with a few from our capital city area..
    great and friendly representatives... and then as process proceeds, I figure out there is a rat in the wood pile..
    either the company is financially on their last legs or that their is misrepresentation in what they say.
    current question is batteries? what are the pro's and cons? if anyone has a link or personal experience, then I would appreciate it.
  9. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    With batteries, when selecting the type it's all about how you are going to use them, where you live, access to your battery spot and most of all how much $ you can spend.
    Then once you have figured out that then you need to figure out how big. Then it's only a matter of $.
    rockriver likes this.
  10. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    When the thinking about Batteries, there really is only ONE Chemical Type, for practical Use.... Lead-Acid...
    In that Class, there are Three Types.
    1. Flooded
    2. AGM
    3. Gell Cell
    Each has it's own Pluses and minuses.... Flooded is Cheapest, and most common... AGM is Maintenance Free, but has charging
    and Discharging Issues, if you are NOT Careful.... Gell Cell has serious Charging andTemp Issues....

    Flooded Batteries come in various sizes and AMPHour Ratings.
    Car size- Group 22 up to 8D 200 AmpHour Max
    T105 GolfCart 200 AmpHour
    L16HD 400 AmpHour
    Traction Batteries 700 AmpHour - 1200 AmpHour

    When buying Flood Batteries, you are essentially paying for the Lead,... and buying it by the Pound..... More AmpHours = More Lead = More Dollars....
    rockriver likes this.
  11. rockriver

    rockriver Monkey+

    I see the notes about charging issues...
    is there a charge/controller or other device to make sure I get (or stay away from!) that will help ensure longevity and good maintenance?
  12. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Make sure you get a name brand charger, preferably Maximum Power Point Tracking type that is sized to charge the batteries are around a 10% to 13% rate of the 20hr C value.
    For example if you a 1000ah bank when discharged over 20hr you want to charge it with 100 to 130 amps.
    Gel cells less than that, AGM batteries a little faster for short periods.
  13. rockriver

    rockriver Monkey+

    I hope the following is wrong...

    I thought I needed an 8kw battery system and that it would last me 3 days for basics.

    then I dug up some watt usage numbers
    a worksheet of criticals was 7.o kwh with no tv time. (the ref and 2 freezers hurt us)
    I then dug out the power company bill... the least month was 1000 kwh and the 2nd highest was 2600 kwh (elec heat)
    am I correct to conclude that my usage per day is 1000/30 = 33 kwh per day!!!
    up to 2600/30 = 86 kwh per day!! ??

    unholy sheet watman (deviation of batman!)

    guys, we tried to get solar a year ago... problem with solar company, so we backed up, but did put in a generator.
    it can just about run the house... the problem is it is a propane hog... the thought was that a battery system would run the
    freezers and a few lights, computers etc.. for a few days before we'd need to turn on the generator... please tell me my math is wrong!
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Is that kwh per day? Or is it kw demand? These measurements must not be confused. 7 kw average demand is right high for a residence. I would be far less surprised if that was a peak demand if everything was on line at once. Your battery bank and wire sizing has to account for peak demand as well as longer term "average" use. Your 2+ kwh per month is on the high side for residential use, and I'm thinking you can find some ways to cut that back.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  15. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Yeah that is pretty normal.
    The fridge and freezer should use around 2 or 3 kwh per day.
    Well you better start doing everything you can to reduce and eliminate loads.

    LED lights all around, more insulation all around, good or great windows, insulated doors, no drafts, use natural gas and propane for heat, use at least a 25 SEER a/c, lose the electric clothes dryer, use a gas dryer.
  16. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    Deju vu! We eliminated a chest freezer, added solar hot water, changed to all LED lights, and cut the usage in half (not including the heat and A/C). Going to get a propane unvented space heater to help the heat pump this year. I eventually want to get to self sufficient solar power for all but the heat pump and stove. We could make do without those if we had to, though A/C here in Humidity Central, SC is almost a must if you have an insulated and draft free home. Oh yeah, forgot about all of the crap we found plugged in that sucked power, like phone chargers and such. It all adds up.
  17. rockriver

    rockriver Monkey+

    yes. kwh .. looking at oct bill total was 2300. this total includes 2 wells (we are in drought) and another ref in mother in law apt (empty) a little more info than given above.. and house is total electric... but yes. we do need to cut back... working on it.
    but after typing above post, I remembered something about not depleting batteries below a certain level. so If I have 8 kwh of storage then I may only have ?50%? of available juice.... is that right..
    so I need an inverter that will cut off batteries at 50% ? and go to grid or generator?
  18. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    MT freezers & fridges cost more to run , Use gallon milk jugs filled with water & sealed in both to have a mass of cold keeping .
    Also post your state or where you are , Im in the Pacific WET Coast & have had 2 months of rain , 2 days of sun , Collection is 5% of what a sunny day could harvest out & the sun is farther away also cuts down the harvest strength . Panels need to be 90* to full sun to make 90% of what they are rated . Midnite Classic is the charge controller in my eyes, & 20-30% is what the Battery's can be discharged MAX for a decent life. ALL NEW to RE / Solar with batterys Should start out with GC105 6 Vdc batterys and learn how to kill a set per year .
    I also have a few wells & pump water. This is a major first number to get correct.
    Buy a kill-a-watt measuring unit & start recording . Your not even close to having low enough KW/day and afford solar .
    Solar is 25-60 cents per kilowatt (depends if your a hiring out or DIY) . Take your bill & divide it by the cost & amount of power used.
    That brings the focused in sight ..
    Have 3 systems
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  19. rockriver

    rockriver Monkey+

    south side of Georgia. thanks guys for all the info and suggestions. headed to the midnite website.
  20. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Take your average yearly power bill and add three zeros to the end of that number.
    That should be your off grid budget.
    Cruisin Sloth likes this.
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