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Old 09-20-2012, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in deep in Maine
3,493 posts, read 2,552,792 times
Reputation: 4240

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Oh a good little bit.

We did.
OK... Sorry I asked. I guess you don't want to talk about it.

I have some panels and left over stuff from when I tried to do this back in a very rural place where running a line would have been very very steep. But we gave up and just trucked two charged batteries in on the weekends when we needed to be there.

Not enough more much more than the lights. We used a small sine wave inverter which was only rated at 300 watts, and cost almost $400. But these have come way down in price from back then. We had planned to use a 12 volt system for everything but the computer. Eventually we just gave up and started saving for the power line since the well would have had to be 300 feet down to avoid the sulfur water, and we needed more power for the pump than we could afford putting in.

We used a small gasoline generator for 3000 watt power stuff, and bought an 1800 watt China Diesel, which we never put on-line.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,757 posts, read 47,613,863 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slyfox2 View Post
OK... Sorry I asked. I guess you don't want to talk about it.
Twice now, IRL men have gotten into my face attempting to prove to me that I was an idiot for going off-grid. They argued that unreliable Bangor Hydro is so much better because it is cheaper. No body really needs power every day anyway. To spend more for power, simply because you want reliable power is stupid. Both times they were very passionate in their belief, and were very adamant in wanting to convince me that wanting reliable power is stupid.

I have came to understand that for some men, being dependent on municipal services is like a religion.
As a religion, debating it is futile. I admit that if it is seen as a religion, I fall on the other side. I would prefer to independent of municipal services. [though I have no desire to get into someone's face about it]

I realize that solar panels are only thought to last for 25 to 40 years, investing in something with such a short lifespan may leave you without power in 50 years. I understand that meteors could fall from the sky and destroy my system. I am aware that cycling batteries harms them and may cause them to fail, needing replacement. I understand that un-foreseen circumstances could cause my power system to fail. I get it that in the first ten years of operation the average price per watt may be more using solar power, then if I had stayed dependent on the utility company. I have been through these arguments before. Some online and some IRL. After having seen how some guys are so passionate on this topic, I am now more gun-shy of discussing the details.

I did not mean to offend you with my hesitancy. I do apologize.





Quote:
... I have some panels and left over stuff from when I tried to do this back in a very rural place where running a line would have been very very steep. But we gave up and just trucked two charged batteries in on the weekends when we needed to be there.
A system that charges everyday, but is only used on the weekends, would be a much smaller system.

I see them marketed for island camps at the Common Ground Fair each year. To run a complete house, I think that around $8k can completely setup a camp for weekend power.



Quote:
... Not enough more much more than the lights. We used a small sine wave inverter which was only rated at 300 watts, and cost almost $400. But these have come way down in price from back then. We had planned to use a 12 volt system for everything but the computer. Eventually we just gave up and started saving for the power line since the well would have had to be 300 feet down to avoid the sulfur water, and we needed more power for the pump than we could afford putting in.

We used a small gasoline generator for 3000 watt power stuff, and bought an 1800 watt China Diesel, which we never put on-line.
When I wired this house, I did separate circuits for interior lighting assuming that our lights would be low-voltage. We really like some lights that we found that use 3vdc.

I had assumed that we would also use 12vdc for the battery bank. Since that was what we saw folks using years ago. But now days 24vdc and 48vdc is much more popular. At 24vdc the invertors come with 240vac outputs for well pumps.

Due to where our house is located, we have septic pumps along with our well pump. Water-in and water-out are large loads on our electric usage. Where many homes would be fine with a much smaller system, our system needs to be larger because of 'water-in and water-out'.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:26 PM
 
17,217 posts, read 22,254,666 times
Reputation: 31364
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Twice now, IRL men have gotten into my face attempting to prove to me that I was an idiot for going off-grid. They argued that unreliable Bangor Hydro is so much better because it is cheaper. No body really needs power every day anyway. To spend more for power, simply because you want reliable power is stupid. Both times they were very passionate in their belief, and were very adamant in wanting to convince me that wanting reliable power is stupid.

I have came to understand that for some men, being dependent on municipal services is like a religion.
As a religion, debating it is futile. I admit that if it is seen as a religion, I fall on the other side. I would prefer to independent of municipal services. [though I have no desire to get into someone's face about it]

I realize that solar panels are only thought to last for 25 to 40 years, investing in something with such a short lifespan may leave you without power in 50 years. I understand that meteors could fall from the sky and destroy my system. I am aware that cycling batteries harms them and may cause them to fail, needing replacement. I understand that un-foreseen circumstances could cause my power system to fail. I get it that in the first ten years of operation the average price per watt may be more using solar power, then if I had stayed dependent on the utility company. I have been through these arguments before. Some online and some IRL. After having seen how some guys are so passionate on this topic, I am now more gun-shy of discussing the details.

I did not mean to offend you with my hesitancy. I do apologize.







A system that charges everyday, but is only used on the weekends, would be a much smaller system.

I see them marketed for island camps at the Common Ground Fair each year. To run a complete house, I think that around $8k can completely setup a camp for weekend power.





When I wired this house, I did separate circuits for interior lighting assuming that our lights would be low-voltage. We really like some lights that we found that use 3vdc.

I had assumed that we would also use 12vdc for the battery bank. Since that was what we saw folks using years ago. But now days 24vdc and 48vdc is much more popular. At 24vdc the invertors come with 240vac outputs for well pumps.

Due to where our house is located, we have septic pumps along with our well pump. Water-in and water-out are large loads on our electric usage. Where many homes would be fine with a much smaller system, our system needs to be larger because of 'water-in and water-out'.

I like the fact someone is self sufficient
id love to be off-grid
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in deep in Maine
3,493 posts, read 2,552,792 times
Reputation: 4240
Submariner,

I didn't find it to be cost effective for me, but back in 1999, I bought everything I would need for the system, including the diesel generator for period of time when there was not enough sun to charge the batteries. Things have changed a lot since then, and now there are even tax credits. I have a friend who when it finally comes back will have purchased a full $45,000 system and will never have put a cent into it himself. Right now he's not off the grid, he's selling electricity TO THE GRID. I'd like to install some of the panels here in Maine, but I don't really have enough sun, because my house is completely shaded and I almost live in the woods with really high trees. I'm not sure how it would work. But it would be nice to sell the power to the GRID, to low my electric bill.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,757 posts, read 47,613,863 times
Reputation: 17641
Quote:
Originally Posted by slyfox2 View Post
Submariner,

I didn't find it to be cost effective for me, but back in 1999, I bought everything I would need for the system, including the diesel generator for period of time when there was not enough sun to charge the batteries. Things have changed a lot since then, and now there are even tax credits. I have a friend who when it finally comes back will have purchased a full $45,000 system and will never have put a cent into it himself. Right now he's not off the grid, he's selling electricity TO THE GRID. I'd like to install some of the panels here in Maine, but I don't really have enough sun, because my house is completely shaded and I almost live in the woods with really high trees. I'm not sure how it would work. But it would be nice to sell the power to the GRID, to low my electric bill.
I looked at 'grid-tie'.

I got the contract that Bangor Hydro insists you sign to allow 'grid-tie'. They require that you submit your system design, component list [including model numbers and serial numbers] for their review, and that you pay their fees for their engineers to inspect your system. If they approve of your system, they may give you permission to grid-tie.

The Bangor Hydro contract includes 'net-metering' [which is Federal mandated]. When you are making a surplus of power, you feed the grid [spin the meter backwards] and get credit. When you need power the meter goes forward, the grid supplies you and it uses up your credits. Therefore your total electric bill is less.

There is still the monthly minimum charge for being hooked up. You are still charged for any power you do use.

You still pay the 'transport fee' and maintenance fees [the other 2 components of your electric bill]. 'Net metering' only effects the power part of your electric bill. Not the other parts of the electric bill.

If at year's end you have a surplus of credits, those credits roll-over to the following year. Credits are good for one year. Federal law does not require that credits be good for any longer than a year. It is only due to Federal law that utility companies are forced to accept home-owner power, and spinning the meter backwards.

Utility companies are forced to 'net meter', to allow your power onto their grid, and to give you credit for you power for one year. Net Metering does not address how a utility company handles excess credits after they are over a year old. With Bangor Hydro after that one year your accumulated credits disappear.

I assume that most utility companies will comply with Federal requirements whenever they are subject to lawsuits otherwise.

If you can find a utility company that will lower the other 2/3s of your bill, that would be get.

If you could find a utility company that would pay for your credits that would be great too.

If you could find a utility company that did not charge you a monthly minimum fee for being hooked up to them, while you were powering their grid that would be great also.

I have no plan to grid tie.
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Log "cabin" west of Bangor
5,501 posts, read 6,450,039 times
Reputation: 9436
Quote:
The Bangor Hydro contract includes 'net-metering' [which is Federal mandated]. When you are making a surplus of power, you feed the grid [spin the meter backwards] and get credit. When you need power the meter goes forward, the grid supplies you and it uses up your credits. Therefore your total electric bill is less.
Actually, the way I saw it explained, they called it "net-zero", meaning that you could pump enough back into the grid to lower your bill to 'zero', but if you put in more than you used they would not pay you for the surplus.

[At least] Part of the reason for the engineering inspection for the grid-tie is to make sure that the system is designed in such a way as to prevent what they call "islanding"- if the main grid goes down but a privately owned system is producing power, it could become an "island" of power which could be hazardous to the linemen sent out to repair the failure. The system tie-in to the grid must be designed in such a way that it will sense the power loss in the main grid and disconnect from it until such time as the utility power is restored. There are certain signals in the main grid which can be sensed and used for this purpose.
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,757 posts, read 47,613,863 times
Reputation: 17641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zymer View Post
Actually, the way I saw it explained, they called it "net-zero", meaning that you could pump enough back into the grid to lower your bill to 'zero', but if you put in more than you used they would not pay you for the surplus.
Yes.



Quote:
... [At least] Part of the reason for the engineering inspection for the grid-tie is to make sure that the system is designed in such a way as to prevent what they call "islanding"- if the main grid goes down but a privately owned system is producing power, it could become an "island" of power which could be hazardous to the linemen sent out to repair the failure. The system tie-in to the grid must be designed in such a way that it will sense the power loss in the main grid and disconnect from it until such time as the utility power is restored. There are certain signals in the main grid which can be sensed and used for this purpose.
" ... The system tie-in to the grid must be designed in such a way that it will sense the power loss in the main grid and disconnect from it until such time as the utility power is restored. ..."

It must automatically shut your system down. When the grid goes down you go down. If the gird goes down every week, we go down every week. You must be just as unreliable as the grid.

You may have an isolation breaker. So after your system goes down, then you may manually isolate yourself and then re-start your system for you.
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:24 PM
 
828 posts, read 1,406,722 times
Reputation: 1025
Quote:
Originally Posted by michael_atw View Post
Only downside with wood stoves is the air dries out.
[Hint] Keep a bowl or vase with water it it around. The water will evaporate into the room and keep the air moister
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in deep in Maine
3,493 posts, read 2,552,792 times
Reputation: 4240
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoxCar Willie View Post
[Hint] Keep a bowl or vase with water it it around. The water will evaporate into the room and keep the air moister
I have a big Cast Iron pot that I got at Reny's. I sit it on top of the stove and fill it with water every morning.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:50 PM
 
3,598 posts, read 3,778,270 times
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Here in AZ, ahem (this has zero to do w/ ME but here goes, lol) we have no humidity for like last 10 yrs. I miss it & use humdifiers in my room to sleep due to need for lung moisture vs dryness. But in ME I'll be fine as the % of daily humidity is far better than here. I'm so used to desert heat that a winter may cool me off, as extreme AZ summers have taken a toll & it is far more dangerous, health-wise, to experience heat daily than cold. In cold you can always add clothes. In heat there's only so much you can take off.
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