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Homestead solar power

Discussion in 'The Homestead' started by cariboo, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    If you intend to live off the grid (big boats included) then solar power is the way to go.
    Cariboo's multiple set-up is worth considering = you don't lose it all if something goes hay-wire.

    In my case, the system was simply self-defense with a very unreliable grid that failed at least once a week.
    In fact, there was a "brown out" for a few seconds just last evening that got me to sit up straight.

    I could add a lot more but I won't. The village has a biodiesel gen set, a few MW.
    The Castle River run of the river hydro plant is another few MW.
    The village can flip breakers 10km out and we go off grid with our own power stations.
    The switch is about 15 seconds. I'm not so hard up that I need 100% all the time.
    Of course resetting all the damn digital clocks is a chore. Some, I just don't plug in.
     
  2. cariboo

    cariboo Forager

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    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    We use the power from the sun for electricity and heat with wood. We run our shop, home and lights for the chicken coup, sauna, sheds with solar energy.
    During the winter months here it can hit -40 c. When it snows we pile snow against the cabin. Plumbed in a water tank through our wood cook stove's fire box (it's like having another wood heater). The low sun now can be challenging so we have learned to slow down, read and think. It took a few years to shake off the city anxiety.
    We're surrounded by a forest that is changing. In 22 years I've never cut a live tree for firewood. When we first arrived here, we'd spend 7 or 8 days gathering fire wood for the year. Now it takes 3. Lots of dead standing trees.
     
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  3. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Anybody pondering solar power owes it to themselves to go visit somebody with a functioning system to see how easy it is to set up.
    Panel prices here have never been better. I extend invitations but no takers. They all hat and no cattle.
    Biggest change for me is to run LED lights. They suck so little power, the inverter
    does not even display them as a load!

    Yeah, the short days are a grunt, even worse up here @53N, north of your place.
    What was worst? The fires or Mountain Pine Beetle?

    Have you tried any bimetallic thermocouple for power? I see some expensive fans but that's it.

    If I had the land and the trees, I'd go log heat in a minute.
    A tight house with good insulation here needs at least 5 cords SPF for a winter.
    Maybe 1 winter in 5 we get enough snow to be good for insulation. Usually drier than that.
    All of 2-3 cm in the village last night and a measured 60 cm from the sled areas up top.
     
  4. Deekin

    Deekin Full Member

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    I lived for the best part of 25 years with photovoltaic panels, a marine wind generator, and an old hand crank lister LR1 diesel running on recycled cooking oil, driving a 12 volt alternator. It all worked well, and cost very little. I used 2 banks of 2volt submersible cells linked in series to give 12 volts, charging off a split charge relay linked in with the three charging systems. Not very hi-tech, but serviceable. The biggest improvement was the availability of LED lighting, and more efficient caravan 12 volt/lpg fridge freezers.
     
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  5. Deekin

    Deekin Full Member

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    In addition to the above post, I'm currently playing with a cheap £4 USB wind charger off eBay. It requires assembly and cased, so we shall see how it performs. In my last home, wind power was much more effective, especially during winter, and much much cheaper to purchase, and set up. This is of course suited to my previous location, where there was always plentiful wind. The USB charger will be mounted atop a cut down carbon pole attached to my backpack feeding into Lion battery pack. So far costs are under £20. This of course is a prototype set up and if it works ok, then I'll build something better.
    Here's the cheapo.
    [​IMG]
    It comes with a regulator but I wouldn't connect it to anything sensitive hence the reason for plugging it to a battery bank which will allow me to monitor the thing, and stabilise it. The "motor" will need to be cases up, and a seal fitted to the output shaft but it should all work, for not much outlay, and a bit of time.
     
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  6. Woody girl

    Woody girl Full Member

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    I have an air source heat pump installed here. Much better than the old storage heaters.
    I'm not sure they are massively cheaper but I'm saving some cash.
    Mine heats the water too. I never use the water heating facility as I have a power shower so hot water is always available for washing.
    It heats the water up once a week to prevent leigionairs so I have hot tap water for the weekend from the tap over the weekend if I ration it.
    Washing machine heats water itself and I usually wash at 30 degrees so that's sorted. Not using masses of electric to heat that. And I do one wash a week.
    All in all its a good system... untill we have a power cut.but they are usualy short lived here. So I'm not too worried., and I have the solid fuel heater.
    The icing on the cake for me would be to have a solar system to power it . If I could afford it that would be the best option.
     
    #26 Woody girl, Nov 27, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
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