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  • #31
    Originally posted by t0mmy91 View Post

    its really horrible on gas usage, thats why i was looking for other options. the tank holds 16 gallons and it rips through it quickly. i keep the tank full and 50 gallons in reserve but it would only last 2-3 days.
    Why would you use gasoline? Whole house genny's use diesel, NG, or LPG with tanks sized to run a week or more. Gasoline goes stale in 6-months and clogs up injectors.
    MSEE, PE

    Comment


    • #32
      Does diesel have a slightly, or considerably longer shelf life?

      Comment


      • #33
        Is the gasoline that's been in my boat transportable tank with no stabilizer in it for years, useless?

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by Brian53713 View Post
          Does diesel have a slightly, or considerably longer shelf life?
          Will last years and years. There are utilities data centers and even Walmarts that have tanks with 10 plus year old fuel in them. They do get topped off from time to time like after a real usage of a few days. Gasoline is time for portable generators like a contractor uses for work, or a camp site.

          Once you get above 10 Kw, diesel is the preferred choice unless you have utility NG. LPG is also another good choice. One big difference is pad mounted genny engines are made like airplane engines designed to run at full power. Portable gasoline maybe rated at say 10 Kwn, but like your car engine if you try to run at full power in about 10 to 20 miles you let the magic smoke out of the engine. Portable gas genny's power is peak power to get a motor running and then run at 50% or less power

          MSEE, PE

          Comment


          • #35
            First, I am astonished to read so many ANTI-SOLAR/BATTERY posts on a solar power forum.

            Second, I have lived off grid, yes with a Solar /Battery based system for over 12 years and have run a Solar/Battery Food Truck for 2 years.

            tOmmy, the first thing I would tell you to do is install a cistern with a very small jet pump. Pumping your water up 420 feet every time you flush the toilet or get a glass of water is a big waste of energy, firing up a 1.5HP pump with 35 AMPs surge is a major problem that can be easily addressed as I stated above.

            That is what I did. (My well is 330 feet down. I have a 3/4HP 220VOLT pump down there and I pump water from the well usually every 3 to 5 days to a 225 gallon cistern that is 6 feet down right next to my house that is pumped automatically on demand with a 1/4HP 120 VOLT AC jet pump.)

            Next for backup power you most likely can do what you need with a 2.4KW or even 1.2 KW inverter (most have 50% surge rating over those numbers or greater). You do not need a 6KW inverter unless you are oblivious to power usage and have to have everything running at the same time.

            At my house I have 6 185WATT panels and a battery bank consisting of four 6Volt Lead Acid Batteries (a 24 Volt DC System that converts to 120VOLT AC)
            For my food truck I have 8 200WATT Panels and a Lithium Battery Bank / 18 cells (also a 24 Volt System that converts to 120VOLT AC)

            I have a gasoline generator as a backup. It costs about $500 bucks and it has come in handy for miscellaneous uses: such as I use that to pump my water with the 330 foot well pump UP into my cistern thus it runs for minutes to do this activity every 3 to 5 days while I am out in the garden or work shed doing other things. It has lasted over 12 years, too.

            During THIS 2016-2017 winter when my Food Truck has not been on the road, it is in my driveway so I run my house off the Food Truck system and it works terrifically.

            I can always alternate from one system to the other if I want but so far this year the 8 solar panels and 1.2KW inverter (with surge greater than that) has worked for me 100%!

            I live on 21 acres of land and do NOT have any grid power lines even coming into my land. The closest power line is 1/4 mile away in either direction out on the road.

            Somehow I have not died and I have not needed an LPG or PROPANE generator.

            After over 12 years of living with a 100% Solar/Battery based electric system, I think I have some understanding of what actually works and what does not.

            I heat mostly with with wood, passive solar, along with a mostly independent solar heating system using borosilicate tubes and heat exchangers. My house is warm and somehow I am not dead yet even after 12 years of living this way.
            Last edited by Zoar; 01-11-2017, 02:57 PM.

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by Zoar View Post
              First, I am astonished to read so many ANTI-SOLAR/BATTERY posts on a solar power forum.

              Second, I have lived off grid, yes with a Solar /Battery based system for over 12 years and have run a Solar/Battery Food Truck for 2 years.

              tOmmy, the first thing I would tell you to do is install a cistern with a very small jet pump. Pumping your water up 420 feet every time you flush the toilet or get a glass of water is a big waste of energy, firing up a 1.5HP pump with 35 AMPs surge is a major problem that can be easily addressed as I stated above.

              That is what I did. (My well is 330 feet down. I have a 3/4HP 220VOLT pump down there and I pump water from the well usually every 3 to 5 days to a 225 gallon cistern that is 6 feet down right next to my house that is pumped automatically on demand with a 1/4HP 120 VOLT AC jet pump.)

              Next for backup power you most likely can do what you need with a 2.4KW or even 1.2 KW inverter (most have 50% surge rating over those numbers or greater). You do not need a 6KW inverter unless you are oblivious to power usage and have to have everything running at the same time.

              At my house I have 6 185WATT panels and a battery bank consisting of four 6Volt Lead Acid Batteries (a 24 Volt DC System that converts to 120VOLT AC)
              For my food truck I have 8 200WATT Panels and a Lithium Battery Bank / 18 cells (also a 24 Volt System that converts to 120VOLT AC)

              I have a gasoline generator as a backup. It costs about $500 bucks and it has come in handy for miscellaneous uses: such as I use that to pump my water with the 330 foot well pump UP into my cistern thus it runs for minutes to do this activity every 3 to 5 days while I am out in the garden or work shed doing other things. It has lasted over 12 years, too.

              During THIS 2016-2017 winter when my Food Truck has not been on the road, it is in my driveway so I run my house off the Food Truck system and it is great and it works terrifically.

              I can always alternate from one system to the other if I want but so far this year the 8 solar panels and 1.2KW inverter (with surge greater than that) has worked for me 100%!

              I live on 21 acres of land and do NOT have any grid power lines even coming into my land. The closest power line is 1/4 mile away in either direction out on the road.

              Somehow I have not died and I have not needed an LPG or PROPANE generator.

              After over 12 years of living with a 100% Solar/Battery based electric system, I think I have some understanding of what actually works and what does not.

              I heat mostly with with wood, passive solar, along with a mostly independent solar heating system using borosilicate tubes and heat exchangers. My house is warm and somehow I am not dead yet even after 12 years of living this way.
              You have my admiration for living off grid for over a decade. That is not an easy life style and almost impossible for a typical US citizen.

              There are others on this forum that chose to live that way and they all have different system set-ups that work for them along with the tasks needed to keep their equipment running and happy.

              I understand why you feel there is a lot of anti solar/battery comments on this forum. But you also need to understand there are a lot of people that have tried to go off grid and failed because they did not get the correct equipment or understood the process to keep it all running. So we try to get their attention to make better choices and limit what they spend if possible.

              While you may have gotten along with a small gasoline generator, it is not the best solution if you really need a lot more power to run your appliances should the batteries fail or the sun not come out. Not having that larger generator has caught a number of people off guard causing their batteries to fail an early death.

              So again congratulations on living the life you do off grid. And please contribute more information if possible or when asked so that others can achieve what you have.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Zoar View Post
                First, I am astonished to read so many ANTI-SOLAR/BATTERY posts on a solar power forum.

                Second, I have lived off grid, yes with a Solar /Battery based system for over 12 years and have run a Solar/Battery Food Truck for 2 years.

                tOmmy, the first thing I would tell you to do is install a cistern with a very small jet pump. Pumping your water up 420 feet every time you flush the toilet or get a glass of water is a big waste of energy, firing up a 1.5HP pump with 35 AMPs surge is a major problem that can be easily addressed as I stated above.

                That is what I did. (My well is 330 feet down. I have a 3/4HP 220VOLT pump down there and I pump water from the well usually every 3 to 5 days to a 225 gallon cistern that is 6 feet down right next to my house that is pumped automatically on demand with a 1/4HP 120 VOLT AC jet pump.)

                Next for backup power you most likely can do what you need with a 2.4KW or even 1.2 KW inverter (most have 50% surge rating over those numbers or greater). You do not need a 6KW inverter unless you are oblivious to power usage and have to have everything running at the same time.

                At my house I have 6 185WATT panels and a battery bank consisting of four 6Volt Lead Acid Batteries (a 24 Volt DC System that converts to 120VOLT AC)
                For my food truck I have 8 200WATT Panels and a Lithium Battery Bank / 18 cells (also a 24 Volt System that converts to 120VOLT AC)

                I have a gasoline generator as a backup. It costs about $500 bucks and it has come in handy for miscellaneous uses: such as I use that to pump my water with the 330 foot well pump UP into my cistern thus it runs for minutes to do this activity every 3 to 5 days while I am out in the garden or work shed doing other things. It has lasted over 12 years, too.

                During THIS 2016-2017 winter when my Food Truck has not been on the road, it is in my driveway so I run my house off the Food Truck system and it works terrifically.

                I can always alternate from one system to the other if I want but so far this year the 8 solar panels and 1.2KW inverter (with surge greater than that) has worked for me 100%!

                I live on 21 acres of land and do NOT have any grid power lines even coming into my land. The closest power line is 1/4 mile away in either direction out on the road.

                Somehow I have not died and I have not needed an LPG or PROPANE generator.

                After over 12 years of living with a 100% Solar/Battery based electric system, I think I have some understanding of what actually works and what does not.

                I heat mostly with with wood, passive solar, along with a mostly independent solar heating system using borosilicate tubes and heat exchangers. My house is warm and somehow I am not dead yet even after 12 years of living this way.
                My hat's off to you - honest. However, my guess is you're about 2+ std. deviations off the mean for what most folks in the developed world have come to expect and rely upon for their day to day existence. I bet most Americans would die rather quickly if they were to suddenly find themselves in your situation. They'd be clueless and mostly helpless. I also suspect those are the folks that comprise most of this forum's readership. You appear to be the exception that tests the rule. That you don't fit the mold may be part of the reason for your perception of an anti solar/battery bias. Things that seem to be easy and common sense no brainers to you may well have little if any reality to others. Be astonished no more.

                Comment


                • #38
                  The thing that has truly made it simple and as close to no-brainer is the Lithium Batteries. No mess and no maintenance and no wondering IF I need to do something to them. I also have good OUTBACK charge controllers that automatically charge, float and regulate everything.

                  It really is not that complicated or difficult. I would say 8 to 12 solar panels in the 300W each range and anyone can be self sufficient painlessly.

                  Cost would be under $18,000 and of course you get 30 cents BACK on every dollar spent so $12K... and I am FREE! Free of Utilities having all the power and paying a power bill every month! and nothing like going into the coffee shop and everyone is moaning about how they lost power yesterday and all the food in the frig went bad.... I just look at them every time and say, "Well, I make my own power with solar and batteries so I had power all day and all night when everyone else was apparently without."

                  With this lithium battery based system my work consists of flipping on and off light switches or pushing the button on my electric grinder for my coffee. No extra work. Really.
                  Last edited by Zoar; 01-12-2017, 07:30 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Moreover, I live in the Finger Lakes of NY State. It is notorious for the reputation of "not much sun!". So, I have heard it to the point of idiocy about "how solar don't work around here!"... Such statements issued with great bravado are wrong. It does work, and even when we have "poor" sun days I still get enough power in any 3 day period to have an off-the-grid system that works. And, as stated, this whole winter I have been fine with 8 solar panels and a lithium battery bank. I have not needed to use my back up generator, and even if I did I would use it for like an hour and while it is running have it charge my batteries. So I do not understand this design objective of providing backup generator that would need to run for a week and certainly NOT even a 24 hour period. It is way overkill to have such an objective and the required expensive backup system. The cost for such a generator is truly substantial and my approach was to put that money into my batteries instead. When I run my small $500 generator I have it ALSO charge my batteries. To not have it wired in this way is myopic. And if you do wire it that way the most I can ever see needing to run a generator is in the magnitude of five or six hours, a far cry from a 24 hour day or a week as it appears many are thinking they need to have from a backup generator.
                    Last edited by Zoar; 01-12-2017, 04:03 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Zoar View Post
                      Moreover, I live in the Finger Lakes of NY State. It is notorious for the reputation of "not much sun!". So, I have heard it to the point of idiocy about "how solar don't work around here!"... Such statements issued with great bravado are wrong. It does work, and even when we have "poor" sun days I still get enough power in any 3 day period to have an off-the-grid system that works. And, as stated, this whole winter I have been fine with 8 solar panels and a lithium battery bank. I have not needed to use my back up generator, and even if I did I would use it for like an hour and while it is running have it charge my batteries. So I do not understand this design objective of providing backup generator that would need to run for a week and certainly NOT even a 24 hour period. It is way overkill to have such an objective and the required expensive backup system. The cost for such a generator is truly substantial and my approach was to put that money into my batteries instead. When I run my small $500 generator I have it ALSO charge my batteries. To not have it wired in this way is myopic. And if you do wire it that way the most I can ever see needing to run a generator is in the magnitude of five or six hours, a far cry from a 24 hour day or a week as it appears many are thinking they need to have from a backup generator.
                      Because not everyone is as adaptable as you are, My wife does not like driving to town to do laundry. Or having wet hair, using a generator solves those problems.
                      And folks that had an existing lead-acid bank, have no choice, until it's time to replace the batteries.
                      And when I run my 3Kw genset, it's only for 3 or 4 hours max, usually 90 min AM and another 90 min PM, pump some charge into the batteries and go quiet again.
                      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post

                        Because not everyone is as adaptable as you are, My wife does not like driving to town to do laundry. Or having wet hair, using a generator solves those problems.
                        And folks that had an existing lead-acid bank, have no choice, until it's time to replace the batteries.
                        And when I run my 3Kw genset, it's only for 3 or 4 hours max, usually 90 min AM and another 90 min PM, pump some charge into the batteries and go quiet again.
                        Precisely, you run it very briefly. My point entirely.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Zoar View Post
                          Moreover, I live in the Finger Lakes of NY State. It is notorious for the reputation of "not much sun!". So, I have heard it to the point of idiocy about "how solar don't work around here!"... Such statements issued with great bravado are wrong. It does work, and even when we have "poor" sun days I still get enough power in any 3 day period to have an off-the-grid system that works. And, as stated, this whole winter I have been fine with 8 solar panels and a lithium battery bank. I have not needed to use my back up generator, and even if I did I would use it for like an hour and while it is running have it charge my batteries. So I do not understand this design objective of providing backup generator that would need to run for a week and certainly NOT even a 24 hour period. It is way overkill to have such an objective and the required expensive backup system. The cost for such a generator is truly substantial and my approach was to put that money into my batteries instead. When I run my small $500 generator I have it ALSO charge my batteries. To not have it wired in this way is myopic. And if you do wire it that way the most I can ever see needing to run a generator is in the magnitude of five or six hours, a far cry from a 24 hour day or a week as it appears many are thinking they need to have from a backup generator.
                          And a well deserved reputation. Now it makes sense to me. I lived in CNY & WNY for about 45 + years (Zip 13021 in CNY). I tried to make solar work for many years. FWIW, rather than a dichotomous "it works" or "it doesn't work", I found it works some and doesn't work as well as a lot of other places. Example: I retrofitted and existing urban residence and lowered the nat. gas use by ~ 2/3 down to ~ 35,000 ft^3/yr. from prior users and elec. use to 3,400 kWh/yr. Of the after retrofit, about 25,000 of that 35,000 ft^3 usage was for space heating in an ~ 7,200 F. DD heating climate (zip,14214 - Buffalo).

                          IMO, insulation and envelope sealing is a much more cost effective investment and probably better for the environment than a lot of solar in upstate NY.

                          After all the insulation and sealing, I designed and added a passive solar sunspace to the residence (189 net ft.^2 glazing area, 4,000 lbm H2O and ~ 3,000 BTU/deg. F. concrete thermal mass, and very good (measured R value ~ 6-8) night insulation + double glazing that contributed about 15-20 % of the annual after-retrofit and thus heavily reduced heating load of the house. It was fun and educational, but at a cost of ~ $ 12K + sweat equity less 25% state tax credit at the time, not cost effective by my criteria (Saved ~ $60/yr. at the time - early/mid '80's).

                          Over the years, I kept track of how many hrs./month the sun actually cast a shadow - not as quantitative as the info available to me now, but maybe a bit more than anecdotal. Anyway, the 4 bad months -Nov., Dec., Jan, Feb., the sun cast a shadow an average of about 60 hrs./month, or ~ 240 hrs. for the worst of winter. My guess is your location is about the same or less. If you live anywhere near the Zoar Valley, the rest of the readers may want to know you're at pretty much ground zero and the buckle for snow belt activity and less sunlight than that 240 hrs. I suggest above.

                          So, does solar work ? - yes. Most of the time it can't not work, but that's a qualitative statement. Will it work without some other measures ? - Yes, but the solar fraction won't be as high. Can you have a cost effective solar contribution ? - Maybe, if your realistic enough to realize that there is only so much solar resource available, and without net metering, or maybe even with it, a high solar fraction is often a bit of a stretch without some lifestyle mods. - sometimes major. For those willing to do some of those mods, it's possible, but maybe requiring a lifestyle not everyone is willing to embrace.

                          Been there, done most of that.

                          What's your zip ?

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                            And a well deserved reputation. Now it makes sense to me. I lived in CNY & WNY for about 45 + years (Zip 13021 in CNY). I tried to make solar work for many years. FWIW, rather than a dichotomous "it works" or "it doesn't work", I found it works some and doesn't work as well as a lot of other places. Example: I retrofitted and existing urban residence and lowered the nat. gas use by ~ 2/3 down to ~ 35,000 ft^3/yr. from prior users and elec. use to 3,400 kWh/yr. Of the after retrofit, about 25,000 of that 35,000 ft^3 usage was for space heating in an ~ 7,200 F. DD heating climate (zip,14214 - Buffalo).

                            IMO, insulation and envelope sealing is a much more cost effective investment and probably better for the environment than a lot of solar in upstate NY.

                            After all the insulation and sealing, I designed and added a passive solar sunspace to the residence (189 net ft.^2 glazing area, 4,000 lbm H2O and ~ 3,000 BTU/deg. F. concrete thermal mass, and very good (measured R value ~ 6-8) night insulation + double glazing that contributed about 15-20 % of the annual after-retrofit and thus heavily reduced heating load of the house. It was fun and educational, but at a cost of ~ $ 12K + sweat equity less 25% state tax credit at the time, not cost effective by my criteria (Saved ~ $60/yr. at the time - early/mid '80's).

                            Over the years, I kept track of how many hrs./month the sun actually cast a shadow - not as quantitative as the info available to me now, but maybe a bit more than anecdotal. Anyway, the 4 bad months -Nov., Dec., Jan, Feb., the sun cast a shadow an average of about 60 hrs./month, or ~ 240 hrs. for the worst of winter. My guess is your location is about the same or less. If you live anywhere near the Zoar Valley, the rest of the readers may want to know you're at pretty much ground zero and the buckle for snow belt activity and less sunlight than that 240 hrs. I suggest above.

                            So, does solar work ? - yes. Most of the time it can't not work, but that's a qualitative statement. Will it work without some other measures ? - Yes, but the solar fraction won't be as high. Can you have a cost effective solar contribution ? - Maybe, if your realistic enough to realize that there is only so much solar resource available, and without net metering, or maybe even with it, a high solar fraction is often a bit of a stretch without some lifestyle mods. - sometimes major. For those willing to do some of those mods, it's possible, but maybe requiring a lifestyle not everyone is willing to embrace.

                            Been there, done most of that.

                            What's your zip ?
                            14864

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Zoar View Post

                              14864
                              Thank you.

                              Expect ~ 1,100 - 1,200 kWh/yr. per STC PV kW. FWIW, see PVWatts, with about 350 or so of those kWh/ STC kW coming in the Nov. - Feb. crunch.
                              Last edited by J.P.M.; 01-12-2017, 07:43 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post

                                Because not everyone is as adaptable as you are, My wife does not like driving to town to do laundry.
                                I guess one key-success factor in going off-grid is that one must consider changing wife every ten years, just like batteries. Just kidding, buddy

                                Comment

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