Hi, from Central Tablelands, NSW

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Hi, from Central Tablelands, NSW

Postby FarmerJohn » Sun May 19, 2013 10:03 am

My name is John.

I am in my very late forties, I am from the UK and came to Australia in 2007, I have never looked back!

In 2009 after I became a permanent resident, I was able to secure a rural property near Bathurst (about 20mins drive) in 2009 and I have been working on spending all my money on it ever since to make it self sufficient.

It has its own water and sewerage, I have a bore, and I replaced the original energy expensive Fermi pump, which ran on compressed air with a 24V DC Shurflo pump together with an array of 6 old 20W solar panels that gives me 360L per hour of water in the sun if I ever need it. (The pump came from Energy Matters when you could still buy stuff on line at that site). Usually when the sun is shining, is when it is needed, but I seem to get enough rain for the moment and our 80kL house tank is full.

Even though I am connected to the Grid, I don't like it. In September 2011 I paid to have the meter converted to TOU, as I am usually only here at the weekend, but I plan now to spend more time here. I do not use much grid power except in the winter. Read on and you will see why.

I started by making my Shed off grid. Victron Pheonix 3Kw inverter, Victron Skyalla 24v 75A charger - both items I bought from the UK with me from my home made UPS.

Over time that system grew. I have three solar arrays, the oldest is 24 x 85W (2.0kW) panes facing north at 35degrees. The next addition was a 6 x 195W (1.2kW) panels facing West at 45 degrees. The very most recent addition is 3x 250W panels facing East (0.7kW). Each of these arrays has its own Outback FM80 and they charge a 24V 400Ah battery bank (AGM) which have now been relocated to the generator shed. This battery bank is only temporary and is going to be replaced soon with a larger one - because that generator shed now contains a new 5000va Victron Multiplus inverter.

I had some wiring work done on the house when the meter was changed, a changeover switch was installed and a 70m run of 16mm² cable goes from the changeover switch in the distribution box at the house to a separate generator shed which I built, meaning that all the house (except the a/c, rarely used, and tile heating, never used) can now be run from a Generator.

I have a 4kW generator with a long run tank. When the house is running on the backup generator we have to restrict the draw to 15A and there is a fuse on the generator end to make sure. The grid round here is 253v most days, and the generator under 50% load is about 245v, so that equates to about 3,7kW which is easily enough power for us - we never blew that fuse, the end of the cable to the house is essentially a 15A inlet plug like you might find on a Caravan.

Adjustments can made and the generator can now feed the inverter charger, and the inverter charger and supply the house from the batteries which are charged from solar - but most of my loads are in the shed. (Domestic house pump, water sanitizer, freezers etc).

To the maximum extent possible I have done work myself, but as you know there are rules and regulations and you end up being forced to engage a "qualified" electrician to do a lot of the work that you could otherwise do. I actually think this is a good thing on the whole but it is a pain for me ;)

In parallel to my fun and games in my shed, I had the Domestic HW system changed to a Hills Solar system based on Evacuated Tubes. That company went out of business and my search for spare parts led me to this very interesting forum and while I lurked here in the past as a guest, I decided to take the plunge and register.

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Re: Hi, from Central Tablelands, NSW

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sun May 19, 2013 10:26 am

Welcome to the energy Matters Forums John :)

EM still sell gear online, although it all goes through the Apollo Energy site now- it is linked from the item descriptions on the EM pages, which these days are there mostly for information.
http://gunagulla.com Loomberah weather and astronomy including live solar radiation intensity and UV + Gunagulla aquaponics, organic eggs and cherries
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