Going off-grid for new system?

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Going off-grid for new system?

Postby TwinklelilSpark » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:59 pm

Hi, noobie here. Thanks for all the info in this post ( Smurf and others). We have a guy coming to quote us for off the grid solar tomorrow, talk about trying to talk himself out of a job already. He warned us that it will be around the $100k mark and he hasn't even been out here yet.
We have an existing house, also connected to 3phase. I have been nagging to go off grid for years, I have no intention of ever having a power bill again, and want to be as self sufficient as possible. We have a gas stove and we have panels for a solar hot water system. My main worry is that we have an electric pump for all of our water ( we are on tank).
We also live on a high hill with strong winds, so a wind turbine is something else that I'm thinking about. My hubby is a sparky, he used to work on wind farms down south, so is familiar with that tech more than solar. But I'm wondering if we could do both? Have one back up the other? We live on 5 acres, which I understand is good for banking excess energy ( quoting someone else, I have no idea tbh) and have storage for batteries.
Can you tell me which threads would be good for me to check out and then tell my hubby about? He won't join here so it will be all me.
ta
yaz
Sparky's wife, but I'm the bright spark!
(And the chief cook, gardener, taxi driver, writer, cleaner, creator, organizer, zoo keeper, child herder... but I don't do ovens or windows. EVER!)
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Re: Going off-grid for new system?

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:20 am

Welcome to the Energy Matters Forums Yaz :)

I've split your post off from the other topic, as it deserves a thread of its own!

Unless it is uncomfortably windy for much of the time there, and fairly cloudy, PV panels will usually produce more output for your expenditure. Do you need 3 phases, as in have 3phase motors or other large equipment to operate?
How may kWh do you use per day, and what is your maximum loading?

I'm off-grid and pump all my water with no problems, that's only a minor energy user here. I also do lots of welding and use 2.4kW power tools, induction cooktop, microwave/ electric oven etc with no problems.

I'd recommend going for a Lithium battery, and not Lead-acid, as they are a lot more efficient, and less expensive than Lead-acid over their lifetime, despite the apparent higher up-front cost. Read about the comparison here: solar-wind-gear/topic5108.html
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Re: Going off-grid for new system?

Postby Cherokee Solar » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:01 am

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:Unless it is uncomfortably windy for much of the time there, and fairly cloudy, PV panels will usually produce more output for your expenditure.


I second that opinion after trying a wind turbine here. Solar PV will beat wind hands down, unless you live right on the top of a mountain or the edge of a coastline where the wind is constant and strong. If it is gusty, then the turbine will produce little usable energy.
Off grid solar + hot water. Heavily insulated + owner built flamezone house BAL-FZ. 300 mixed fruit trees + herbs + flowers + vegetables. Bees + heritage chickens. High up in the mountains north of Melbourne. http://ferngladefarm.blogspot.com.au/
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Re: Going off-grid for new system?

Postby TwinklelilSpark » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:10 am

Thank you both. We are currently meter reading for the week to get
an idea of what our usage is, I'd been going off our power bill.
The guy gave us some food for thought regarding solar pool pump, rethinking our original plan for solar hot water etc and talked to us about a stand alone, generator backed solar system for our property instead of panels on the roof.
Sparky's wife, but I'm the bright spark!
(And the chief cook, gardener, taxi driver, writer, cleaner, creator, organizer, zoo keeper, child herder... but I don't do ovens or windows. EVER!)
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Re: Going off-grid for new system?

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:24 am

With a suitably sized and placed PV array, you shouldn't really need a generator. With a very efficient Lithium battery (21kWh/17kWh usable) and a 4kW array, I go through winter averaging over 10kWh/day usage with no generator (I don't even have one any more, which is a good incentive to be careful with energy demand!). Of course in a run of cloudy weather I cut my usage back to suit, but most of the time I have energy to spare.
It's a good idea to go larger with your PV array than the bare minimum you think you need, as it will help get you through long runs of cloudy weather with no need for a generator.
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Re: Going off-grid for new system?

Postby Cherokee Solar » Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:47 am

TwinklelilSpark wrote:rethinking our original plan for solar hot water etc and talked to us about a stand alone, generator backed solar system for our property instead of panels on the roof.


Even in the chilly mountains of Victoria, solar hot water produces hot water from about August to May.

I second Gordon's opinion. Go hard with more solar PV panels than you think you'll need. Generators are noisy, use lots of fuel - much more than you'd ever think possible - and they require maintenance and may break down when you least expect. There is always a temptation to purchase a cheap generator and you really get what you pay for with those machines. But by the time you've spent big dollars on the generator you could have put so many panels on your roof instead and avoided the previous problems.
Off grid solar + hot water. Heavily insulated + owner built flamezone house BAL-FZ. 300 mixed fruit trees + herbs + flowers + vegetables. Bees + heritage chickens. High up in the mountains north of Melbourne. http://ferngladefarm.blogspot.com.au/
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Re: Going off-grid for new system?

Postby Smurf1976 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:55 pm

From a technical perspective, it's entirely possible to design and build a system that needs no generator to operate reliably.

The logic of including a generator is an economic one. Eg you have what is essentially a generator-based power system, and install solar panels only to the extent that their cost is recouped in savings though less, or no, need to use a generator.

As the cost of panels has decreased greatly in recent times, a point has been reached where it's reasonably economic to go all solar and not worry about the generator in many situations.
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Re: Going off-grid for new system?

Postby Tracker » Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:38 pm

TwinklelilSpark wrote:....He warned us that it will be around the $100k mark and he hasn't even been out here yet....

Yaz - do yourselves a BIG favor.. Ring POSITRONIC SOLAR in Brisbane...
..
.
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Re: Going off-grid for new system?

Postby TwinklelilSpark » Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:46 pm

I emailed positronic but they didn't get back to me.
As it stands right now we are weighing up costs and considering moving house first. But I'm still going to gather info until we make a decision.
Sparky's wife, but I'm the bright spark!
(And the chief cook, gardener, taxi driver, writer, cleaner, creator, organizer, zoo keeper, child herder... but I don't do ovens or windows. EVER!)
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Re: Going off-grid for new system?

Postby karlajensen » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:54 pm

positronic to a decent system yes...
plenty more options

look for certified installers and certified off grid gear
SMA sunny island makes it look easy - basically add $15K to the cost of a normal system with 20kWh LIfepo4 storage like Gordan has -piss easy.

Apolloenergy sell the inverters -all on the shelf
get the batts yourself from www.ev-power.com.au and skip all the middle men.
8E + 8W + 8Nth Garage CMS2000-1 with ~4500W in 3 strings of 8.
Fronius Galvo 3.0 inverter with ~6.6kW panels
12x ZNShine + 12x 180W Solarfuns both NW + ZNShine 12x190 facing SE.
Edwards Solar Hot water


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