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Solar Panel Off Grid Living

 
Old 04-27-2019, 08:12 AM
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Default Solar Panel Off Grid Living

I have been spending a little bit of time looking into solar panels and trying to find reasons for me to get some and start messing around. I am looking at picking up a small DC pump for my rain barrels and using solar to power it; and maybe grow it to support some lighting in the yard and maybe some of my chicken coop stuff. There are tons of starter kits out there to pick from and sizing the system is keeping me occupied.

Have any of you done project like this? Who is running their home off solar?
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by funk.regulator View Post
I have been spending a little bit of time looking into solar panels and trying to find reasons for me to get some and start messing around. I am looking at picking up a small DC pump for my rain barrels and using solar to power it; and maybe grow it to support some lighting in the yard and maybe some of my chicken coop stuff. There are tons of starter kits out there to pick from and sizing the system is keeping me occupied.

Have any of you done project like this? Who is running their home off solar?
My neighbor installed solar last year and is net metering with the grid. DC components would be good for things that need power during the day but batteries add a lot of cost. I'd probably net meter.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:09 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Solar panels will power your stuff right then & there, but you'll need some type of battery system to store & house that energy collected from the solar panels.

Also, look into your municipal as most of them require that you cannot live of the grid, and that you must have some type of utility hookup for your house. I've seen people skirt around this by rewiring their home so only 1 'major' appliance is on the grid so the power company still see's something and can bill you for it (albeit for a few bucks a month), but then you can wire the rest of the house to the solar panels. Not an easy job and not legal in some cities, but it's possible.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:42 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

How many amps will the pump and lights draw? And for how long will they be used daily? I wanted to build a van and looked into that stuff. But panel space is limited on the roof of a van.
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Old 04-27-2019, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

depends on what you'll use it for the size of your battery will have to last until the panels are able to charge em back up.
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Old 04-27-2019, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by ScareyH22A View Post
How many amps will the pump and lights draw? And for how long will they be used daily? I wanted to build a van and looked into that stuff. But panel space is limited on the roof of a van.
The pump I am looking at is 13A and will be used occasionally to water plants. Looking into just a 100W panel with a 10Ah battery. Have no idea for the lights yet.
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Old 04-28-2019, 03:28 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

We follow these guys on YouTube and they have a pretty solid solar system in place.

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Old 04-28-2019, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by LightningTeg View Post
We follow these guys on YouTube and they have a pretty solid solar system in place.

https://youtu.be/wJdr61thqfQ
Saw a video with that guy last night. He was explaining his battery choice. Seeing things like this is so motivating but thinking about the in initial cost is depressing. Once Li-ion batteries reduce in price battery storage is going to explode.

I drank one too many beers last night and pulled the trigger on the small solar panel and components needed to run our ran barrel pump. About $200 total for panel, battery, charge controller, pump, fittings.
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

I seriously doubt solar is anywhere near to being a thing.
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:18 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Solar panels and rain barrels.

Oh boy.
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by rico91stang View Post
I seriously doubt solar is anywhere near to being a thing.
Lol
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Old 04-28-2019, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by ScareyH22A View Post
How many amps will the pump and lights draw? And for how long will they be used daily? I wanted to build a van and looked into that stuff. But panel space is limited on the roof of a van.
My wife and I are in the early stages of planning a van build. We plan on having solar with a battery bank, but also generating power from the alternator with a battery isolator.
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Old 04-29-2019, 03:24 AM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by rico91stang View Post
I seriously doubt solar is anywhere near to being a thing.
If you can handle being a minimalist and sacrifice some luxuries you definitely can do it.
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Old 04-29-2019, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by LightningTeg View Post
If you can handle being a minimalist and sacrifice some luxuries you definitely can do it.
I see it as a similar path of automation taking over the job industry. It is bound to happen and the scale is growing. Might as well get on the train now. The cheaper and more efficient battery and solar tech gets, the more popular it will get.

I am just doing this to make watering our plants a little more easy (or maybe I just have too much money and time on my hands). Currently the barrel gravity feeds our hoses but adding a little pump to the system seems like a neat idea. Have to dip my toe in the technology somehow so I don't fall behind.
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Old 04-29-2019, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by funk.regulator View Post
I see it as a similar path of automation taking over the job industry. It is bound to happen and the scale is growing. Might as well get on the train now. The cheaper and more efficient battery and solar tech gets, the more popular it will get.

I am just doing this to make watering our plants a little more easy (or maybe I just have too much money and time on my hands). Currently the barrel gravity feeds our hoses but adding a little pump to the system seems like a neat idea. Have to dip my toe in the technology somehow so I don't fall behind.
That's how I feel too, although financially at this point heating in the winter (wood stove) is a priority.
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by funk.regulator View Post
The pump I am looking at is 13A and will be used occasionally to water plants. Looking into just a 100W panel with a 10Ah battery. Have no idea for the lights yet.
So is the pump and lights 12V or 120V?

Originally Posted by smileycvc View Post
My wife and I are in the early stages of planning a van build. We plan on having solar with a battery bank, but also generating power from the alternator with a battery isolator.
The wiring should be easy. Solar panels to MPPT controller to house batteries split to 12v accessories and power inverter and battery isolator to starter battery. The biggest issue is finding an efficient rms power inverter that’s just large enough for your needs. I then had the idea to install two inverters. One for small things like a laptop charger and another for appliances like a microwave. That way you don’t need to run a large and inefficient inverter just to charge a laptop.

I was planning a bed with garage underneath in the rear of the van and all the electronics to one side of the vehicle in the garage. But I also didn’t want the whole rear end to be a bed so that complicates things.
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Old 05-07-2019, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Some more insight.

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Old 05-07-2019, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

I saw that LikeTesla vid a few days ago. Crazy that the Tesla Powerwall only puts out 5 kw of power, so you really can't put too much of a load on them unless you have a few of them wired up to your house.

By then, you're spending thousands ($10k for the first one, around $7500k for each one after) for the Powerwalls, and that's even if you can get them. I know people who have signed up for 2-3 years now for the Powerwalls and solar roof tiles in both So Cal and Bay Areas. They're even Tesla S or X owners, and still no word on if/when they'll be able to buy these products.
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by smileycvc View Post
My wife and I are in the early stages of planning a van build. We plan on having solar with a battery bank, but also generating power from the alternator with a battery isolator.
***** simple. look at my vanlife thread
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:14 AM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by DRAMA View Post

By then, you're spending thousands ($10k for the first one, around $7500k for each one after) for the Powerwalls, and that's even if you can get them. I know people who have signed up for 2-3 years now for the Powerwalls and solar roof tiles in both So Cal and Bay Areas. They're even Tesla S or X owners, and still no word on if/when they'll be able to buy these products.
I think the delay now is the solar roof tiles. If the people you know want solar panels and powerwalls, they'd have a better chance of getting them installed sooner.

I don't see the $10k price for powerwalls, it's closer (still pricey) to $7500 unless you're including hardware and installation costs.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:40 AM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by DRAMA View Post
I saw that LikeTesla vid a few days ago. Crazy that the Tesla Powerwall only puts out 5 kw of power, so you really can't put too much of a load on them unless you have a few of them wired up to your house.

By then, you're spending thousands ($10k for the first one, around $7500k for each one after) for the Powerwalls, and that's even if you can get them. I know people who have signed up for 2-3 years now for the Powerwalls and solar roof tiles in both So Cal and Bay Areas. They're even Tesla S or X owners, and still no word on if/when they'll be able to buy these products.
You take the information you have gathered and design something that will work for you. The guy in the video is right about the powerwall though, its only to power the necessities during an outage. If you need a constant source then a backup generator might be up your alley. But even those require maintenance every yr.
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Old 05-08-2019, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Lol only powers the essentials. If youre lucky and the automatic charge up happens at the right time.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: Solar Panel Off Grid Living

Originally Posted by ScareyH22A View Post
So is the pump and lights 12V or 120V?
Pump is 12V. Unsure about the lights.

Panel, battery, charge controller, and pump have all arrived. Now I need to get some wire, sunny day, and motivation.

The company I work for has just finished the design of a 1.3MW solar design that has 2.5MWhr of solar charge capacity. We are bidding on another new install of a zero net energy building that is solar and geo thermal. This is going to happen to the world.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by tony_2018 View Post
You take the information you have gathered and design something that will work for you. The guy in the video is right about the powerwall though, its only to power the necessities during an outage. If you need a constant source then a backup generator might be up your alley. But even those require maintenance every yr.
What I find interesting about power is there are home owners that install solar with enough capacity to put back on the grid. But if these people run off too much solar the get penalized by being put into the category of a utility. They have to make sure they buy energy from the local utility to avoid that.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:32 PM
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I don't understand people who lease solar panel setups and still claim savings.
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