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Outdoorsman, Bladesmith
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a motorcycling associate in Arizona who's built a "bunkhouse" for traveling bikers. They live 3 miles off the main line, and decided not to tie in, but run a closed system.

Rather than direct you to a thread on another forum, filled with all sorts of other junk, I'm clipping the relevant part here...

Our home in the Arizona white mountains is 100% solar powered.



8 120 watt panels on a tracker that follows the sun all day and 4 80 watt panels on a fixed mount on the roof of the workshop, provides 5 to 8 KWH of power per day depending.



The panels charge a bank of 8 6 volt Rolls S-530 Lead Acid Batteries wired to a 48 volt configuration. The battery charge regulator is an Outback MX 60, looks to be the same as yours, The Inverter is a Zantrax 55-48, ie 5500 watts at 120 VAC continous out with 48 VDC in. Surge capability is 9,000 watts out.



This shows the 1/2 HP house pump that keeps a constant 48-55 PSI water pressure in the house and the MC B&Bat all times. The power from this set up powers and provides water to the house the MC B&B and the workshop. We have been 100% off grid since '96, out of necessity as grid power is 3 miles away. We started with a small system origionally with the 4 80 W panels and have added to the system thru the years. Damn rite it is expensive and we have had no financial from the gov. what so ever.

 

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Outdoorsman, Bladesmith
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The house is heated with an Airtite wood burning stove.



The temps up here have gotten to as 15 below 0 F but the house stays as warm as toast.



The sunrises are fantastic.



All this powers a 60"TV, my computer, a fridge w/icemaker in the house and chest freezer plus a fridge in the MC B&B, ceiling fans etc.

The MC B&B prior to paint, located about 450' from the main house.



None of was done for altruistic reasons as we live over 3 miles from the nearest power.
__________________
Dean O
BMW nut and Happy Camper
Show Low,Az.
The Motorcyclist Cafe
Taken from advrider.com (Independant Power Production - Page 3 - ADVrider), and Dean is one cool son of a gun. His description offers a good view of just what's involved in setting up a self-sufficient place, and if you follow his Motorcyclist Cafe link you can see the rest of the build process, which he did himself, with minimal pro gear.
 

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Outdoorsman, Bladesmith
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What blew me away the most, is that it doesn't seem all that hard to do. And he's not running "survival" level off-grid, but "profitable". With a modest outlay, and a grid tie-in at first, working up a battery bank later, I think it's something that most people can achieve if they make it a priority. It is not cheap, but it's not exactly prohibitive either, given the will. The only outside resource he's consuming now, is propane, which he gets filled once a year (timed to the lowest prices, summer, in his own tank). Get a couple tanks, top 'em off, and you're set for quite some time at normal consumption levels. Pull it back to survival levels, and you're set for a rather long time, as far as your power needs go.

All that said, this requires some considerable property where you can install the panels with out shadow interference, and in his case for heating, an adequate supply of wood you already own and a means to reduce it to stove-size. But if the grid goes down, Dean will be enjoying his DVD collection on his big-screen a lot longer than most people.
 

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What blew me away the most, is that it doesn't seem all that hard to do. And he's not running "survival" level off-grid, but "profitable". With a modest outlay, and a grid tie-in at first, working up a battery bank later, I think it's something that most people can achieve if they make it a priority. It is not cheap, but it's not exactly prohibitive either, given the will. The only outside resource he's consuming now, is propane, which he gets filled once a year (timed to the lowest prices, summer, in his own tank). Get a couple tanks, top 'em off, and you're set for quite some time at normal consumption levels. Pull it back to survival levels, and you're set for a rather long time, as far as your power needs go.

All that said, this requires some considerable property where you can install the panels with out shadow interference, and in his case for heating, an adequate supply of wood you already own and a means to reduce it to stove-size. But if the grid goes down, Dean will be enjoying his DVD collection on his big-screen a lot longer than most people.
very nice setup!
 

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Pincushion
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15-20 thousand dollars is a drop in the bucket when you consider how much it would cost to run power to that house. Add a well and misc. stuff necessary to support it and you're in high cotton.
 

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Survivalist
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I always wondered what the lifespan of those batteries are, and how much they cost to replace. I would imagine frequent inspection of electrolyte levels is a must.
 

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How do you spin the panels?

Do you use a photo cell and a micro controller or do you just have it set to a timer?

Does it rotate with a chain/belt or does it have a bar + actuator?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm setting up a simple thing in the backyard for a grid-tie in set up.
 

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YourAdministrator, eh?
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How do you spin the panels?

Do you use a photo cell and a micro controller or do you just have it set to a timer?

Does it rotate with a chain/belt or does it have a bar + actuator?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm setting up a simple thing in the backyard for a grid-tie in set up.
How long will the batteries hold a charge before they run out? I mean, how many sunless days could go by before you are out of luck?
I believe that the answers can be found at ADVRider.com - another forum that is dedicated to Adventure Motorcycle riding .. the OP was just cross-posting the information for us to see as well.
 

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How long will the batteries hold a charge before they run out? I mean, how many sunless days could go by before you are out of luck?
Unfortunately there are too many variables to that question, my system will last for a couple of days without wind or solar, just by conserving we can make it last longer. After that the propane genset will come on and take up the slack. In just over two years my generator has accumulated only 340 hours, its automatic, will come on as needed, run, then shut itself off.
 

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Very nice thank you for sharing this information I am now starting the overwhelming process of alternative power no that my food stores are in decent shape. It is very confusing
 

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you and i are not that far apart there my friend .. i find it funny that a people tend to think that Az does not get snow or cold weather in the upper parts of the state ..when i show my friends pictures of snow up there they go so you really do get snow up there.. they think it all sand and not a treee in site..
 
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