Switch Theme:

Solar Powered Generators  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
»
Author Message
Advert


Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.




Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

Greetings,

My area has a persnickety power grid, and it is not uncommon for it to fail for an hour or two every few weeks. The recent problems in Texas has only heightened my concern over this issue, as we have some cold winters in my region.

To help remedy this, I was thinking about getting a solar powered generator as a back-up for these annoying, but infrequent power outages. However, I know next to nothing about this topic.

What would I need to act as a back-up for a standard home for forced air heaters, fridge, range, and other utilities? Is that even feasible or is more for an emergency space heater and a hot plate?

Guidance and resources would be greatly appreciated before I go to my local Solar store* and get shanghai'ed into buying a full solar panel and windmill array for my home at the cost of a second mortgage!





*= Yes, I actually have a local, specialized Solar store I can walk into......

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Exalted Beastlord




You'd need to get some electrical work done on the house if you want it to run basically the kitchen, furnace and other essentials.

Ours was set up that way with an input socket and switch into the house's system. (though we use a gas generator, rather than solar, as the weather conditions that knock out our power generally preclude the use of solar powered anything)


For infrequent outages of an hour or two, it doesn't strike me as worth the cost at all.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/02/24 17:16:48


Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





You'd not only need the solar panels, you'd need battery backup to store power from when it wasn't needed for when it is.

You'll also have to sweep snow off the panels for them to work optimally.

As far as cost goes, depending on your state laws you might be able to sell excess power back to the grid and wind up not having much of an electric bill. Thus, that money can instead be used for a more robust solar power system.

HOWEVER. Batteries don't last forever, and neither do solar panels. Panels generally require replacement after twenty years or so, batteries might not even last that long.

There will also have to be some rewiring done to be able to switch between 'grid' and 'local' power, but this will be a one-time cost.

CHAOS! PANIC! DISORDER!
My job here is done. 
   
Made in ca
Fireknife Shas'el






 Easy E wrote:
Greetings,

My area has a persnickety power grid, and it is not uncommon for it to fail for an hour or two every few weeks. The recent problems in Texas has only heightened my concern over this issue, as we have some cold winters in my region.

To help remedy this, I was thinking about getting a solar powered generator as a back-up for these annoying, but infrequent power outages. However, I know next to nothing about this topic.

What would I need to act as a back-up for a standard home for forced air heaters, fridge, range, and other utilities? Is that even feasible or is more for an emergency space heater and a hot plate?


Money is far better spent on a backup liquid propane or natural gas generator. Winter is the worst time for solar and requires a big battery bank (that'd you'd primarily charge off the grid in the first place) to sustain a house for a long period of time unless the house is purpose built for energy efficiency. And in a worst-case-weather scenario, solar is basically worthless as you can't clear snow fast enough and you're not getting much sunlight during a blizzard. And if you have a 'normal' roof, clearing snow or ice off the solar is damn dangerous!

   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

I all ready live in a passive-solar home design.



Does this impact any of the above insights?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/02/24 19:59:25


Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Exalted Beastlord




Nope. You'd still need the electrical work, the battery and the panels, and still have to maintain them the same way, and still have to deal with the limitations of solar during inclement weather, fewer daylight hours during winter when it matters, and etc.

Worst case, the installer may decide something isn't compatible with your roof layout, but that should be unlikely- I'd presume your roof is still angled in a functional way for your climate, and has the usual supporting infrastructure.

----
Solar is _great_ if you're in the right environment for lowering daytime power costs long term and dropping your environmental impact. For emergencies, its a poor-to-ineffective solution, simply because of its inherent limitations.

Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

If you've got or get an electric car it can substitute as your battery to run your house off during blackouts etc

https://www.edfenergy.com/electric-cars/microgeneration


you'll also want some way of cutting yourself off the grid as one of the folk I know online had a functional solar setup during the texas problems but couldn't use it as he wasn't allowed to (I presume because they didn't want power being fed into a broken grid risking injuring repair workers etc) check your local grids regulations and reqirements

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/02/24 21:25:30


 
   
Made in ca
Fireknife Shas'el






 Easy E wrote:
I all ready live in a passive-solar home design.


I doubt it changes the math much. It's better insulated and allows for passive solar heating, but fortifying your house to operate in the event of a grid failure with solar basically is the same as taking your home off the grid and going solar.

I mean, certainly if you want to invest in solar roofing, it's an investment that should pay off in the long term (and hopefully when the time to replace it rolls around you've either moved of the technology has improved to be cheaper and easier) and provide protection against short power interruptions. But it's a big up front cost and won't help against a multi-day power outage unless all you're doing is drawing water from a well and keeping a freezer running. Consider your priorities in this situation:

1.) Keeping everyone alive, fed and hydrated: Food probably isn't an issue, any decent BBQ with a side burner will get you through cooking, and frankly, in a cold weather situation you can just import snow/ice from outdoors to keep food from spoiling. Water means keeping a stock of bottled water (the big re-useable bottles are a lot more eco-friendly), and having cold weather gear for everyone, including layers so you can adjust as needed. Don't forget about blankets, but you probably won't need winter sleeping bags or such - it really depends on your budget. The nice thing about warm blankets is they basically last a lifetime so it's a one time purchase.
2.) Protecting your property value, meaning keeping your pipes from freezing and bursting. Water damage is expensive. Figure out how to drain your pipes if the need arises. At a minimum, how to shut off your external pipes and drain them so they won't burst in a cold snap. After that, it's about keeping the house above 0 Celsius Not a ton you can do here if you've lost electricity and gas unless you have a woodstove, and rooftop solar wouldn't do much unless you have electric heating for that. With decent insulation (which you should have in a passive solar house), the heat of multiple people would probably help keep you above freezing.

I expect home building prices in the southern USA are going to go up sharply in the coming years. People will have to start building for these events because insurance companies don't like insuring water damage and insulation is an additional expense.

   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

I do have a fireplace that does a great job keeping the place warm when I use it.

I am probably overthinking things a bit, and do not want the full up-front cost of going "off-grid".

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in ca
Fireknife Shas'el






 Easy E wrote:
I do have a fireplace that does a great job keeping the place warm when I use it.

I am probably overthinking things a bit, and do not want the full up-front cost of going "off-grid".


Then my only suggestion would be converting the fireplace to a wood stove. It puts more heat inside the house and you can cook on it without needing fireplace furnishings, and it's safer than a fireplace as sparks are fully contained. A face cord of wood will last 2-3 weeks which will get you through any emergency.

   
Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

We recently changed from open fire to a woodburner and they do work well. You can even get these convection fans to put on it which work with heat variation generated electric and turn themselves to help circulate the air.

Our only problems have been that the fire is old design and has a huge open funnel above which is great for catching smoke; and a huge portion of the heat from the burner as well. So at some stage we are putting a metal sheet over the top to reflect heat back down.

The other is that the lid has cracked in two places; which is more a result of a prior issue with the previous owner where the top water tank (it used to heat water as well) got its vents trapped open and vented WAY too much heat to the top. It then spend 10-20 years stored outside and was rather rusty.. That said after a clean up and paint it was a cheap experiment for us that worked and now if we do replace it with a better one we at least know it works as a concept.

   
Made in gb
Wing Commander





Bristol (UK)

Solar is generally not very good for the usage you describe - emergency backup in infrequent circumstances.
Petrol or diesel or whatever generators are better here.

Solar is best to lower overall bills across a long period by supplementing grid power (or in sunny times perhaps even exceeding requirements and selling to the grid).
   
Made in au
Grizzled Space Wolves Great Wolf





I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about backup power because our power is pretty consistent. But when I lived out with some mates in a more rural area where they occasionally had days of outages, they had a backup diesel generator just to keep the fridge / freezer and lights running. Another friend has diesel trucks for work and keeps a spare tank of diesel at his factory to run a backup generator, since his trucks use diesel it's not a big deal to keep the tank topped up with fresh fuel.

But yeah, I imagine that's the cheapest and most reliable option, a diesel or gas generator that you keep some extra spare fuel around to run in an emergency.
   
Made in us
Daemonic Dreadnought





Eye of Terror

We have this:

https://www.tesla.com/solarroof

Using 2 Powerwalls, we produce more energy than we consume daily. Blackouts are infrequent where I live, but we usually don't notice when they happen.

Total cost, after tax rebates and subsidies, worked out to just under $18k (along with 2 electric charging stations for EVs, there's a local tax credit for those too.)

We pay a nominal amount to the local power company each month, probably about $2. We get some cash selling power back to the grid, which varies month to month.

I still have space heaters and a portable gas generator in a shed out back. There was a problem with the tiles about 6 months after installation, the contractor had to come out and power was about for about a day. No issues since, but having third line of defense feels better than not.

   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

That Solar Roof looks awesome!

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Daemonic Dreadnought





Eye of Terror

 Easy E wrote:
That Solar Roof looks awesome!

Obviously, those pics are not my house, but the best part about this is they don't stick out.

You wouldn't think there's anything special about the roof unless you saw the Powerwalls on the side of the house.



   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

I was thinking of something like this....

https://4patriots.com/products/patriot-power-generator-1800?variant=23129990266965&AFID=ACQ_GO_SHP_PPG_Sr-11&utm_campaign=ACQ_GO_SHP_PPG_Sr-11&utm_medium=&utm_term=cid-9521440059&utm_content=agid-98843950042_adid-421669712091&source=cid-9521440059_agid-98843950042_ad-421669712091_target-pla-838549100285_network-u_dev-c_placement-&gclid=Cj0KCQiAv6yCBhCLARIsABqJTjb4u16dlQ2AbKVu94SFj_h0eIWy78EKlYWmHxQlcuDF5eCkGO-7Gz0aAuw7EALw_wcB





Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Mekboy Hammerin' Somethin'




Crescent City Fl..

This just came across my FB feed. their web page is very irritating. I couldn't discover what battery they are using in this.
The battery specks are hugely important.
If this has enough juice to start a large appliance is one thing but the power draw on the battery is another. You don't want to use more than 40% of the battery, using more will be bad for the battery long term.
At this point I don't know if it can continue to operate while being charged by the solar panels. We don't know how long it takes to top off the battery after using it all night, for example. I don't trust the the way they are selling it. they want to give away a lot of stuff if you buy one and they want about 2500 usd.

I would look very hard for unsponsored reviews before even considering this product.

That doesn't mean it's bad or unusable. Just know what you will actually be able to do with it and set expectations accordingly. I don't expect this will run a large refrigerator, deep freezer and or AC unit.

I would say buy a generator and figure out your plan for when you need to run it and for how long, or buy one, and have it installed, that cuts on automatically. something like the $ patriots 1800, from your post, would be handy to run a few things when you've shut down your gas generator. Also see if it can be charged from the wall. Having more than one way to keep the battery toped off will be very helpful.
I'd shop around if it were me.
There's a few companies out there with more useful products.

"Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would've hidden from it in terror."
My blog http://warhead01.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-art-of-ork.html 
   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

Great! Got a link for better ones?

I want to shop around!

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Mekboy Hammerin' Somethin'




Crescent City Fl..

You can look up the following.

Missouri wind and solar has a selection of products solar/wind and compatible products.

https://windandsolar.com/

This company has a few products that are interesting, a direct hook up to draw power right off of a panel for immediate use as long as the panel is creating power. It's very plug and play they have videos on their pages related to the products.
Solar Global has portable solar power stuff and related products.

https://www.totalsolartechnologies.com/Solar-Generator-Systems
total-solars stuff isn't light weights. But they have sets that can be installed onto a home and upgraded and will give you an idea of what you might actually use them for beyond a tv and a fan. I don't know how reputable they are at this time.

The most recent thing I have seen that sounds like a slow maybe is by Inergy.

https://inergytek.com/products/flex-1500-power-station-presale-deposit

The Flex could be interesting but it's a little early to say as they are in presale. And I have no idea if they can be set up to hook up directly to a home. But with their battery expansion concept, as a product that all you need to do is buy and it's all plug and play, it might be good. too soon to tell.

You can look up the Yeti as well, can't recall who makes it. Zero something or other.
The issue is a lot of these can be made diy for much less than you'd buy a premade product but you need a bit of know how and will have to read a fair bit.
You might look over Ebay as well.
For example.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/400W-12V-MPPT-Solar-Panel-Kit-Power-Inverter-AGM-Battery-RV-Boat-Off-Grid/252324652369?var=551168668911

https://www.ebay.com/itm/COMPLETE-KIT-200-W-Watt-200W-Solar-Panel-1500W-Inverter-12V-RV-Boat-Off-Grid/251402772891

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1000AH-Solar-BATTERY-BANK-8-VMAX-SLR125-AGM-Deep-Cycle-for-RENOGY-SOLAR-PANELS/301184882897

I have no idea what your budget looks like.
I started with solar powered lightbulbs and another power pack thing I got from amazon a few years ago and am still working on my own solar stuff but I did buy a generator several years ago and that's paid off. I live out in a rural area and we're usually last in line when it comes to restoring power the longest I am told by the old timers out here was 3 weeks.
We have a plan in place for when we run the generator and for how long, how many times a day. which helps us manage the fuel consumption and storage. For me the solar idea is more for the extra stuff when the generator wont but running, fans mostly.. Because Florida.
As a slow grow my next bit will be aimed at my well pump so I can maintain water availability for our plants and livestock.
I'm not worried about heat because we have a wood burning stove and depending on the temp we can heat out home with some candles and a coffee pot though I also use a radiator.

edited to add.
Shop around and do as much reading as you can. There's a lot on youtube worth looking as as well. I started with just google searches and refining my searches. things I've listed may or may not be what your looking for or found at a better price.

I hope this was actually helpful for you.


Edited to add.
Another product worth taking a look out for recharging batteries is the eSpin Bicycle Generator, there are several similar products floating around. The one I found on amazon is in the 270.0 usd range.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/03/17 15:02:18


"Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would've hidden from it in terror."
My blog http://warhead01.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-art-of-ork.html 
   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

Thanks for the info.

Like I said, I actually have a local store dedicated to Solar, but I do not want to walk in with 0 knowledge. This will be helpful.

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in ru
Lone Wolf Sentinel Pilot





Russia

Just install a wood-burning stove. You will not die without electrical light during sleep time and without vacuum cleaner. The central electricity line will be repaired within hours usually.

Mordant 92nd 'Acid Dogs'
The Lost and Damned
Inquisition
 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





Denison, Iowa

If you want to use this for "emergency use" you can go the slacker way I did.

For the very short term I just clip an inverter onto my car battery. This is NOT an electric car BTW. Then I run an extension cord in through the garage and into the living room. It's enough to run the air pumps on 300 gallons worth of aquariums to keep the fish alive, or charge any number of cellphones/ laptops and keep the internet router and modem running.

For something slightly more substantial I have a very small gas generator. It's about the size of a small suitcase and is enough to keep the Refrigerator and 8-foot long deep freeze running.

If I need to cook, I have a fire pit in my back yard with a lot of wood, and I have a Propane grill with a burner on the side.

Unless we are talking about more than a week without power with ridiculously low temperatures I'm fine. I might have to rough it a bit, but nothing too serious.


We had a power outage during the frigid winter this year. One thing that worked to keep the temperature up when we lost power for 12 hours was a few Catering Warmers under ceramic flower pots. Just one of those will burn for 8 hours and keep the room in not-too-chilly temperatures.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/04/02 20:57:05


 
   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

Sounds like I need to just get a lot more firewood on hand.

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
 
Forum Index » Off-Topic Forum
Go to: