logging hours of sunlight ????

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by rsbhunter, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Is there any meter or something that can be put together that will tell how many hours of sunlight an area gets in a day? Kind of like the Kill-A-Watt meter but works off of sunlight...... Just figured that it would help to plan on mounting my panels...my land is HEAVILY treed, and i'm thinking about a pole mount to increase the solar time.....What are some of the height limits on 5 Canadian Solar CS6P-230-P panels on a pole mount...Up to sch 80 8" pipe (buried the correct amount in cement). My land is on a ridge, which helps, but there is property across the road that has 30-40 ft tall trees, and i want to know the max height and if it is possible to get enough exposure???? Thanks , rsbhunter
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    rsbhunter likes this.
  3. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Buy (or rent if you can find one for rent) a Solar Pathfinder ( google it ).

    Worth every penny if you think shading is going to be an issue when doing a site survey.

    Thing about shading also is IF you wire your panels in series strings, a small shade on just one panel in the string pretty much kills the output of the WHOLE string.
    rsbhunter likes this.
  4. hedger

    hedger Monkey+

    I regret that this info is not useable for New Mexico (but you may want to check NM State Statutes) but Colorado passed some Solar Easement laws back in the late 70's/early 80's. Since I do not have solar PV panels, I have not kept up with those statutes. Good luck.
    rsbhunter likes this.
  5. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+


    My land is in Colorado, what kind of info does the easements supply? Just curious, as i'm new to solar, land ownership, which means i know squat about easements, and such...Thanks for any info...rsbhunter
  6. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    In the case of solar easements, some places have passed laws mandating you can "access" the sun....meaning if your neighbor's trees block that sun, you can legally have them cut back or down. Sounds like a GREAT way to start off a relationship with the neighbors, huh ?

    Instead, what people OUGHT to do is buy enough property that you don't have to be bothered by some trees on property you don't own, and buy a property with a good, clear view of the sun ( south facing in the northern hemisphere).

    The best use of such an easement would be if you built a house on a postage stamp lot, and put panels on your roof, then, later, the neighbor's trees grew and shaded your panels AFTER the fact, I might could see you having some recourse...might.....

    But if you build or buy on a place where the shade already exists, I see you having NO justification for requiring an adjoining property owner to modify their property for YOU.

    SO, you'd have to look up solar easements for CO, and see how the law ( if it exists ) is written, and then apply a liberal amount of common sense.
    jungatheart and Tracy like this.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Oversimplifying and not addressing a "solar" easement; Your deed SHOULD (but may not) show all easements and any restrictions laid on the ownership (mineral and water rights come to mind) but MAY not.

    Step 1, read the deed. If you are lucky, there will be a detailed survey map and description showing easements; locations and dimensions. If (for example) there are power and phone lines on the property and not shown on the deed, you can hopefully get the info from the utility company. (For some reason, they are NOT shown on my deed, and the utility company records are very sketchy, and over 100 miles away.)
    Step 2, go to the courthouse and do a title search, go further back than the statutory land transfer requirements. Sometimes a search will show things that are not in the deed. (Particularly abandoned wells, mineral leases that may or may not have expired.)
    Step 3, find out what restrictions may exist on placing septic tanks (or anything else.) There are bans on them in some places. You may or may not be grandfathered for an existing tank, but you may not be able to replace it if/when the system shows failure. Especially interesting are any later added restrictions from BLM, EPA, or DEP regulations, these will be generally applicable to all the lands in your area, and probably will NOT be recorded on the deed.

    Your local RE agent should be able to help. The title search will be loaded with arcane language that will take a bit of learning to get around, most of it is pro forma, but you gotta know what it means.

    Observation - Boundaries described by relation to dirt roads and creeks are not too reliable, because both move around with time. Any such property descriptions have to be taken as unreliable, and the taxable area you have may very well be way off the mark, either up or down.
    BTPost likes this.
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Be very careful to understand the Water Rights, that you may, or may not, have transferred to you, thru the Title/Deed to your Land. Colorado Water Right Law is significantly different than many other States. You really do not want to get sued, for messing with someone else's Water Rights. In Colorado, Water Rights violations are as bad as Cattle Rustling, and almost a Hanging Offense. ...... YMMV.....
    hank2222 likes this.
  9. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    water rights

    At 10,000 ft, i'm not even hoping on drilling a well...i'll have either a 1500 gal inground for potable water, which a guy there delivers, and a 1000 gal above ground tank/cistern for rain/snowmelt to use for garden, etc...One of the many good points about being in the "way back up in there" is that everything will have to be utilized to the utmost, and i'll have to live within the boundaries set by my solar/water/heat systems...it will be "unique" but so is living debt free, and waking up to life each day, instead of just going through the motions.....I know some will say, it's not as easy as that....and i'm sure it won't be...but i'm the type that goes elk hunting in a tent camp with 10 above to -5 temps....and do it knowing what it will entail....not Grizzly Adams, just a realist....
  10. jungatheart

    jungatheart Beginner's Mind

    I don't want to rain on your parade but would be remiss if I didn't say something about this.

    Relying on someone else (especially a stranger) to supply you with one of the basics of life (water) is a mistake in my opinion. I've lived in places where the water delivery guy was a jerk and it caused people who were dependent on him to sell their property because they couldn't get their own water. The jerk delivery guy bought the business after these people bought their property and the original water guy was a good guy.

    TnAndy and Nadja like this.
  11. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    water delivery

    I understand how that could happen, i have a 02 F250 diesel that i can haul my own water if the need arises...and it may prove out to be the best case....but if i can get 1000 gal at a time, then it saves alot of grief....I'm sure i'll have enough of that just in day to day living...i know that i can get 250 gal tanks for the pickup, haven't checked into a trailer and tank set up.....might be an option...rsbhunter
  12. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Darn good advice......and by extension, carry it a bit farther in my opinion and include:

    Sewage Disposal
    Self Defense

    AMAZING how 99% of the population depends on other people for the above.

    If you're the kind of person that is on this board, your long term goal ought to be reducing, as much as possible, the extent on which you depend on other people to supply you with the above......again, just my two cents, but that's been my 20 year goal, and I get closer every day.
    jungatheart likes this.
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    The real question in Colorado, is: "Where are you going to get that water, if you do NOT get it from the Guy in the Truck?" Water Rights in Colorado are such, that you just can't go find a creek to pump water out of it. That would be stealing Water, which is a Criminal Offense, under Colorado Statutes. Best to really understand the Water rights before you set up your Plan.... ..... YMMV.....
  14. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+


    If the worlds situation gets so bad that i need to to pump water out of a stream, my last concern will be that of the "water police" catching me...besides, i wouldn't be using a truck that leaves a heat signature, nor returning to my permanant dwelling, by which i could be followed...i will be in survival mode, and i will not worry about electric lights, running water or a king size bed....HOPEFULLY, it won't go that far, but we all prepare for it the best we can....Honestly, if it becomes where i can't get water to my property, i will relocate....., maybe pick up a small 1 acre with water rights to supply my mountain land...rsbhunter
  15. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    water in the mountains

    If you figure about $18 to $20 per foot for a completed well with casing and pump you will be pretty close. Most wells in the surrounding mountain areas west of Trinidad are between 400 to 800 feet deep on average. Recently I have heard the cost to drill an 800 foot well is about $15,000 not including the cost of installing the pump and that pump for an 800 foot deep well could cost between $6,000 and $12,000 depending on pump size and other factors.
    Some people elect not to drill a well and they instead install a cistern (water holding tank made of plastic or concrete) and haul water from town or have it delivered by a local company. A cistern will usually hold between 1000-3000 gallons of water depending on your household needs. You can purchase a 300-500 gallon water tank that will fit on your trailer or in the back of a pickup and when you go into town you fill it up at the City Water Department for about 3¢ per gallon.rsbhunter
    Nadja likes this.
  16. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    I hauled water in my trailor with a 500 gal tank for years. Then as I destroyed a couple of trucks doing it, decided to let them haul it to me. I get 1,000 gal delivered for $70.00 Actually cheaper then hauling it myself in my truck bed tank. At least if you figure in gas etc. Still have the bed tank though, as you never know about these water hauling co.s. They can go broke and be gone the next day.
    jungatheart likes this.
  17. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Last post

    That was an excerpt from a Colorado Water Rights web site, and i almost fell over when i read the costs...no wonder new homes cost $250,000 plus!!!! Sucks getting old, lose touch with the cost of labor and such....I understand what BTPost is saying, and i appreciate the heads up, it could happen in the blink of an eye....it is a possibility that the cost of someone hauling 1000 gal of water shoot up to .50 a gal......it's known as the "GOLDEN RULE".....he who has the gold, rules!!!!!!And water is more valuable than gold......But i'll do what i can, as long as i can, then i'll let the younger generations have all the fun! Thanks for all the info you all give, BTPost, i read your blog, it honestly is almost a Bible to anyone setting up an out of the way homestead....thank you for taking the time to post all that info.....i will read and reread it til i have it memorized...rsbhunter
    BTPost likes this.
  18. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Get a Grundfos 6 SQF-3.....good for 820' of well, AND you can run it directly off solar panels...no inverter, no batteries, etc...about $2,000.

    Put 800w of PV on it, and it will pump close to 2gal/min....way more than enough to fill a storage tank. Sun shines, pump runs.

    Only needs 400w PV at 500' to do the same 2gal/min. See pump curve on the page below.

    2gal/min at 5hrs sunshine = 600gal of water/day.

    With the Grundfos control box, you can also connect local produced sine wave AC, or a generator, if you need to pump when the sun doesn't shine.

    Grundfos SQFlex Submersible Solar Well Pumps
    Nadja and BTPost like this.
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