New to off-grid

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New to off-grid

Postby keanw141175 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:08 pm

G'day, My wife's brother is going to build a new house on the family farm but has found that running power to it will be a 100k cost that they cannot support.
Being absolute newbs into the Solar/batteries Idea I thought I would post here to get an idea for what they would need.
The house is situated between Geelong and Colac in Victoria. 3 degrees this morning.
Family of four, two young primary aged kids.
Gas cooking, Wood fire heating,
I have spoken to them a bit about it as I have hydronics for heating, 4 kw solar system, evacuated tubes and my fire place with heat exchanger for the hot water system.
So I know a little bit of what they need but the battery stuff has me stumped and them absolutely confused.
If you were going to start again and needed to power a new house totally off grid what would you do.

I would be expecting a normal houses power load with kids watching tv, and other devices etc.
Would they need a back -up geni?

I have read the other posts but am still trying to get my head around it??

Your input would be greatly appreciated. They are starting to get quotes and ideas from people but I thought I would access the brains trust here as some of you guys have been living the real world in this situation.

Many thanks Kean
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Re: New to off-grid

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:32 pm

You really have to start with how much energy they use, and how that usage is distributed across the day, taking into account maximum load that needs to be catered for, plus what battery chemistry they plan to use, then factor in weather conditions, generator usage etc. Also, is that usage likely to increase or stay the same over time? A generator to charge the battery will probably be required, it will be much a less expensive option than going way oversize with PV and battery to cater for occasional (probably not the right word for winter in Vic ;) ) extended cloudy weather periods.

We have at least a couple of off-grid forum members not too far away from there, so experiencing similar weather conditions, although their energy usage will be different.
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Re: New to off-grid

Postby keanw141175 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:35 am

Thanks Gordon,

Average daily use at the moment is 12kw and that usage is mostly between 7am-8.30 and 4pm- 10.30/11pm.
I believe that their power usage may creep up a little as the kids get older but thats sort of "How longs a piece of string question" if you know what I mean.
Batteries, they are thinking of Lithium and a gas generator after I told them about the info I have read here.

Does this help?

Cheers
Kean
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Re: New to off-grid

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:54 pm

Are they in town now? On a farm their usage is likely to be more, due to needing to run pumps and possibly other equipment like welders etc, so I wonder if that 12kWh/day is an underestimate of what will be required?
Also really need to know what the maximum load will be, as the inverter will have to be able to handle it without cutting out. Pump start-up current can be very high.
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Re: New to off-grid

Postby davidg » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:21 pm

keanw141175 wrote:Average daily use at the moment is 12kw...........

.............I believe that their power usage may creep up a little as the kids get older but thats sort of "How longs a piece of string question" if you know what I mean.

Batteries, they are thinking of Lithium and a gas generator after I told them about the info I have read here.

To do a really decent job, I'd suggest between 50k and 60k installed with everything, this is not someplace to cut corners. If one does, you can expect it to comeback and bite you very hard indeed in the backside down the track.

I've installed systems based on this sort of cost a number of times, work extremely well and behave basically like your on the grid. You can also expect them last a very longtime without issues (some maintenance required occasionally).
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Re: New to off-grid

Postby keanw141175 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:26 pm

Good Afternoon Guys,

Yes at the moment they are in town. The 12kw is what they use now not an estimate for later.
Yes they may use a welder in the "once in a blue moon" time but other than that yes too the water pumps.
I would be chasing the biggest inverter to handle all their power requirements.

Davidg , they are expecting a price range like that but its still cheaper than the 100k to run power.
What would you suggest they be using?

Cheers for your help.
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Re: New to off-grid

Postby Learjet » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:34 pm

Some farmers I have read of just use a generator when they need to do welding rather than strain the house system.

You do have to think a little differently when off grid. Like turning lights off when leaving the room, using laptop computers instead of hungry desktop PCs. Like wages, most people can adapt to a certain solar budget. But coming from the grid can take some reeducation.
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Re: New to off-grid

Postby davidg » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:48 pm

Learjet wrote:Some farmers I have read of just use a generator when they need to do welding rather than strain the house system.

Out in the field maybe but it's hard on a generator running a MIG for instance. In the "shed" with a good SPS system, the welder will work much better off something like an Selectronic SP-pro or similar based system much better.

I've been using my MIG on the system I installed here on and off for nearly 7 years now, it works much better on thee system than it does on a generator by itself. The MIG I have a 200A light industrial unit a generator to run it properly needs to be about a 15KVA+ Diesel which is not a small portable generator.
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An OTT Genset for a house.
PVOutput Stats

Sparkys light up your life :)
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Re: New to off-grid

Postby juk » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:42 am

davidg wrote:To do a really decent job, I'd suggest between 50k and 60k installed with everything, this is not someplace to cut corners.


We gotta stop perpetuating this myth.

6kW of Solar is $6k
Inverter charger is $4k
Ancillaries is $2k
Batteries is $700/kWh

If old mate spent $60k, that would then require him to have bought at least 60kWh of useable lithium batteries.

So to spend $50-60k you would be doing a really decent job on him.

Budget pricing should be $20k for 6kW solar and 10kWh batteries, and $7k for every 10kWh thereafter.
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Re: New to off-grid

Postby Warpspeed » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:36 pm

Its kind of like "my wife needs a second car what should I get that she will be happy with".

Answer, A brand new Ferrari should make her very happy.
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