DIY





10 Off-Grid Myths


| 5/18/2018 8:50:00 AM



rehouse 

I’ve been living without any connection to grid power since 1991. The Homeowner’s Energy Handbook can teach you the basics. In all these years I can say that there have only been a few power failures at my home that weren’t my fault. Well, not directly anyway.

After living with a trusty Trace inverter since day one, I decided to upgrade shortly after the turn of the century (I like saying that, it makes me feel “experienced”) from 24 to 48 volts and to a pure sine wave inverter. Three new inverters failed within a year and tech support was as helpful as they could be, but there were no answers. Ultimately, it became clear that modern inverters are far more sensitive than those robust tanks of yesteryear. Nothing like lots of old-school copper and iron to buffer you from distant lightning strikes. I now have no less than 6 ground rods (all tied together), and three surge protectors defending two PV arrays, a wind tower, and a diesel generator against errant electric fields.

When a customer tells me they want to go off-grid, the first thing I try to do is talk them out of it. You can enjoy the benefits of renewable energy with the convenience of grid power. There are many stories about people either wanting to go off-grid, or actually doing it and feeling pretty good about it. Everyone has their reasons and motivations, and there are many rewards, but if you’re looking for a realistic (though perhaps slightly curmudgeonly) perspective from a long time off-gridder, read on. I’ve attempted to support or debunk some of the mythology I’ve heard over the years. Despite advice to the contrary, I know there are some of you who can’t be stopped (insert applause here). Plan well!

Myth #1: No more electric bills! Wrong! You may not pay the local utility, but you will pay. You’ll pay for the cost of the system (PVs, mounting, grounding, metering, site resource assessment, backup generator, etc). Then you’ll pay for batteries, and then you’ll pay for them again, and again.



battbank

Mary Porter
8/8/2018 11:17:53 AM

My husband and I built our off grid home in upstate NY in 1996. Milled wood from our own logs. We were 1,200 ft. From the nearest power. Yup,had all Trace components. A charge controller went kaflooy but a simple fix. Batteries replaced after 10 yrs. We had 2 big Generac generators. Held open houses for 14 yrs. Only cost about $8,000 for 3 microturbines and solar over the course of the years. We never had any problems. Ran our entire organic farm with animals and a maple syrup operation all those years this way. Best life ever


CoolHoop
6/1/2018 4:58:31 PM

Your speaking about off grid as far as you can. I see it differently, from an automation and hybrid system view and no pollution of batteries for electric. Your knowledge of engineering and methods are limited. Your not looking at older tech that is simple and replaces some of the items you mentioned. I'm a fan of comprehensive study and design for function. We have been able to build cheaper, stronger, safer homes for approximately 70 years. Homes that are self sufficient and have the ability to produce sellable byproducts. An automated safe system would require not much more than what we do now with our time on our home. I've had pretty rough times or I would have already built one. I've tried communicating to others what I know but nobody has taken the challenge to discuss or build anything. Gigacrete discovered and produces one of the very old materials. But during my studies the potential of the many things I've learned are barely tapped. I would like to see more comprehensive study and thought on this subject. Your article is very close to selective propaganda both good and incomplete research. Danny R Jewell djquigly@yahoo.com Facebook page NicaMission and hoping to add AmeriMission when ears and minds want my help.


CoolHoop
6/1/2018 4:55:10 PM

Your speaking about off grid as far as you can. I see it differently, from an automation and hybrid system view and no pollution of batteries for electric. Your knowledge of engineering and methods are limited. Your not looking at older tech that is simple and replaces some of the items you mentioned. I'm a fan of comprehensive study and design for function. We have been able to build cheaper, stronger, safer homes for approximately 70 years. Homes that are self sufficient and have the ability to produce sellable byproducts. An automated safe system would require not much more than what we do now with our time on our home. I've had pretty rough times or I would have already built one. I've tried communicating to others what I know but nobody has taken the challenge to discuss or build anything. Gigacrete discovered and produces one of the very old materials. But during my studies the potential of the many things I've learned are barely tapped. I would like to see more comprehensive study and thought on this subject. Your article is very close to selective propaganda both good and incomplete research. Danny R Jewell djquigly@yahoo.com Facebook page NicaMission and hoping to add AmeriMission when ears and minds want my help.




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