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Old 04-07-2011, 07:56 AM
 
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What are the greenest and most effective ways of going off the grid?

I have a 16 acre farm, I would like to power with alternative energy. Wind, solar, water, what is best?

I'm in the peidmont of NC so I am doubting wind would be the most effective. I'm thinking solar is probably the best option. However, I also have access to a spring fed pond and am sitting on a very large water table. My pond or well have not gone dry since the early 80's I know for sure and probably have never gone dry. My home has been a working farm since 1888 and used to encompass 500 acres.

Where is a good source of information about this?
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Minnysoda
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I wish I had water like that!!! If you have or can build a pond to develop some storage capicity and head pressure you'll be set with hydro..Good luck!


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Old 04-07-2011, 08:58 AM
 
Location: outnabout
97 posts, read 220,257 times
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For starters, you will need to determine what your power needs and/or consumption is. IF you are committed to changing your lifestyle, then you can make it work.
Generating LOTS of power is costly.

Search the internet...lot's of useful reading, such as;
Hydro
Solar
Home Power
Wind turbine
just to name a few !
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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Lets see, I already have geo thermal heat and air (since the mid 80's), I would say the majority of my power use is running the pump on the well.

How would I determine power consumption? I have it broken down on my power bill but I really don't think it is accurate as far as what the power is running.
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Backwoods of Maine
7,488 posts, read 10,488,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outnabout View Post
Generating LOTS of power is costly. !
It sure is!

We have decided to go with an 8-battery bank that is charged for about an hour each morning by a generator, which is then turned off for the rest of the day, leaving the "topping off" of the battery bank to a few solar panels. We can't afford too many large ones, and given our location (far northern New England), solar would be weak in winter, anyway.

Another idea we had was to run separate systems off of a 12V battery, with its own dedicated mini-solar panel. For instance, we could run the radios from a 12V battery, and several sets of LED lighting connected to another 12V battery, each battery connected to its own small solar panel.

To be sure, this would not be running as a "normal" household. We are expecting to heat and cook with wood, light with propane and kerosene, and run refrigeration in the warmer months only, by using the generator-charged battery bank. On-demand hot water units would be fired by propane, and they would run in the morning only, when the generator is on. Ditto for the water pump, washing machine and dish washer.

If you have a well and it seems complicated to power it, you can order a hand-operated pump from Lehman's. Nothing like living the way your grandparents did! We look at it as an adventure, and as long as we are warm and have good lighting, we're not going to be fussy.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Minnysoda
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Solar well pumps are easy and in use in many places
http://www.solarwellpumps.com/
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:54 PM
 
4,918 posts, read 22,681,995 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmabernathy View Post
How would I determine power consumption? I have it broken down on my power bill but I really don't think it is accurate as far as what the power is running.
If you go to the Hawaii Forum, you'll see several people who regularly answer questions on Off-Grid living. Since many parts of Hawaii still are not on the power grid, do not have piped in county water, or have no utility services, off grid is common from living off the land all the way to mini-manisons that don't depend on utility services. To many on Hawaii, off-grid is just the norm. Those people who respond often provide good advice on how to detrmine what you need, how to conserve energy, good equipment for off-grid, etc. I'm sure they will be happy to share their real world living off grid. The only major adjustment you will need to make from what they say is on Hawaii, you can buy PV cells, invertors, battery backup and all the stuff at the local hardware store, where on the mainkland, you probably need to order it or do internet sales so you can not do the touch, feel and smell before buying.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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If the pond was drained dry, how long would it take to recover? A pond doesn't seem fitting for a dam and gennie to me, unless a real good river feeds it.

Solar is a far better option, and off the grid completely. Don't get the idea you will sell power to the company, as that ends up a rigged deal.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Minnysoda
10,659 posts, read 10,727,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_Muz View Post
If the pond was drained dry, how long would it take to recover? A pond doesn't seem fitting for a dam and gennie to me, unless a real good river feeds it.

Solar is a far better option, and off the grid completely. Don't get the idea you will sell power to the company, as that ends up a rigged deal.
Spring fed pond....small hydro is the way to go, micro turbines.... I would add this. If you are liveing of grid, your energy needs must be tailored to that lifestyle...I hooked up with a local girl on Molaki way back in the early 80's They cooked outside all the time, no tv, just a few lights.... If you expect to run a whole house of electronics, refrigeration, lights and well pumps like your hooked to the grid You aren't going to do it with solar, or wind... you might do it with hydro if you have the water source. Low head hydro is doable. The other point is this; If you off grid goals dovetail with your SHTF preps there is now way your going to want your compound ablaze with lights 24/7 nor are you going to want 100 ft wind towers and an acre of solar panels shouting "COME GET ME" an operational plan is a must. ration your power. ration your fuel, use alternative heating sources etc. Someone mentioned lots of indivual DC units charged by solar...That's a good idea and similer to what I'm doing. A couple of Dc lights in different sheds and the barn give me enough light to work...My major power requirement will be a well pump. but I can pump a weeks worth of water in @ 2 hrs. I have enough on board ng generation to run the farm that way for about 6 months if I'm careful. That even lets the wife rinse out her nickers in a machine every other week or so....Has to hange em on the line though!!!!
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:38 PM
 
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My place in Utah is completely off grid with solar and wind power system design to be use this two element's to charge the battery bank i use in the pace to power the lights and other system i use in my place ..

Here is my new solar and wind system set by Solar Stik model 160 it design to charge battery system with a combo solar and wind unit ..
Attached Thumbnails
going off the grid-ss360silo.jpg  
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