Solar & Rainwater Harvesting At Our Farm

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Asia-Off-Grid, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    1. Our main array, providing power for a 12vdc SHURflo pump, some 12vdc appliances (tv / dvd player / phone chargers), and interior LED lighting.


    2. Our secondary array, solely to provide LED perimeter lighting around the house. It was tiresome going to bed and waking up in the dark. An easy fix, though.


    3. Our small farm house also has a total of 55 m2 (592 ft2) of rainwater collection area, to collect the water for household use, showers, drinking, etc. The water is then routed to a single 10cm (4in) x 3 meters (10ft) PVC tube first flush system. After flushing the roof, the water is then routed to five (5) 1200 liters storage tanks (1585 gallons, total) piped together, with ball valves between the tanks. Each tank can be individually isolated from the system for repair / replacement.

    From the tanks, which are located adjacent to the house, the water is piped through a meter (for me to monitor our usage), a filter system, the pump, and then to the various spigots and water outlets.

    I know it doesn't sound like much. But, during our rainy season here, I could probably fill ten times that many tanks from the roof collection system. I am going to be expanding the system, and replacing the current tanks with two 10,000 liters tanks. That will increase our water storage capacity to almost 5,300 gallons, using just those two tanks.

    The SHURflo pump provides the farm with a complete pressurized water system, and a western toilet and shower. Sorry folks. I tried to use one of those composting toilets. It is NOT for me. I like feeling fresh after my morning meetings. I can live a pretty simple life. But, my toilet is going to be a proper flushing toilet, pressurized water and a bum gun to insure that. (In SE Asia, most people do not use toilet paper.) On a positive note, my toilet uses less than 3 liters on every flush.

    EDIT: I tried to add tags, but the system did not allow me to do so.
  2. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I installed 9 watts, 12vdc, edison based LEDs. They are very bright, especially in an area where you have the only light around for several kilometers!


    My reasoning behind it is, ultimately, mains power will be run to the house. Then, we can leave the bases and just replace the lighting with 230vac LED lamps, when the house is rewired. On a home where I knew mains power would never be installed, I would probably go with MR16's as well.
    chelloveck likes this.
  3. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I neglected to add in my OP, or my recent reply, the outside lighting I run from the second array. They are 10 watts, LED flood lights.
    EDIT: These flood lamp units are 12vdc input.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  4. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Who makes those, source? Are they 12 VDC or what?

    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  5. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Yeah. Sorry. 12vdc input. Lots of them, as Sloth stated, are on eBay. They are available in a variety of wattages as well. Mine are all 10 watts units, ~ $10.00 USD each. I find them bright enough for what I need at the moment. After I build our home there, I will use larger wattage units to flood a much larger area.

    On the current set up, I run a single, Just Solar 100 watts panel, a MorningStar Sunlight 10L-12v PWM controller, and a 50 amp hour deep cycle battery. The controller will allow you to change the load settings on it for the number of hours you wish for the lights to run. I run 3 hours on after sunset, then off, then 1 hour before sunrise, because the family are early risers at the farm. At sunrise, the lamps are cut off by the controller at the load circuit. The sun has ample time to completely recharge the battery during the day.

    NOTE: My schematic, above. Take notice that I could have gone smaller on the fuse for the panel. I just didn't have a smaller one at the time. The controller is only rated for 10 amperes anyway. Not to mention, all wiring can handle more than 10 amps. So, basically, I have short circuit protection more so than overload protection.
  6. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I didn't realize MR16s came with Edison style bases? I just looked at some, for the first time in ages.
  7. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Sorry for the late reply. Tangent is my middle name. I live on Easily Distracted Street. Anyway, I just buy those locally, at a hardware store here. Tons of 12vdc stuff available here, for those who live in outside the cities and towns.
    Cruisin Sloth likes this.
  8. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    I know what you mean.
  9. cabot

    cabot Monkey

    Thank you, nice post and I am considering installing a 10,000 ltr system soon. Just wondering if your water is stored above ground or below ? Also do you use a uv disinfection to guard against bacteria ?
  10. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    First, thank you for the comments.

    Our water system is above ground. Arsenic is in the groundwater in parts of this province, as well as in other areas of the country. I do not want to take a chance at contaminating our water system, in any manner.

    However, with above ground tanks, bacteria could become an issue. So, I would suggest building a structure around them to keep sunlight out, paint them black so as not to allow sunlight through the tanks, or do both?

    Not at this time. I probably will in the future, though, just as an added measure of purification.
    Cruisin Sloth likes this.
  11. cabot

    cabot Monkey

    Hi Paul

    I was looking at 2 x 5000ltr tanks and my reason to bury was to keep the water cool because at low temp. less chance of getting Legionnaires as stored water can provide ideal conditions for the growth of this organism.

    I do have a place off grid but then obviously need more power to operate pumps and UV lighting.
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  12. budgetprepp-n

    budgetprepp-n Monkey

    Where can I find the 12 volt bulbs that look like regular bulb? Like the one in the picture?
  13. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    The base is called an "edison base". Like typical bulbs we grew up with (I'm 49) in the US and elsewhere around the world. I would imagine online, if not locally? I live in Cambodia. They are all over the place here. All sorts of 12vdc appliances and bulbs can be found here, due to the numbers of Khmers who don't have electricity run to their homes.

    Um, maybe look on eBay?
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    One of many. Scroll down. 12 volt 5 watt light bulb
  15. budgetprepp-n

    budgetprepp-n Monkey

    5 watt? I would like to find 9 to 12 watt bulbs that look like the bulb in the picture above.
    I have 12 watt bulbs now but they are really big compared to the standard bulb.
    Like to find them to fit in a standard size to fit a standard light fixture.
    this is what I'm working with now really bright but just to big
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