Solar Power System

Discussion in 'Going Off The Grid' started by Corzhens, May 15, 2017.

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  1. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist
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    We did a little research on this solar thing because we had a dream of having our own supply of electricity. That was in 1994 when power outage of more than 8 hours was a daily routine here. I think that problem lasted for 6 months that punished us with the summer heat. Anyway, the recourse at the time was a generator which we did not like. And now that renewable energy is the fad, we thought that solar power systems have advanced in technology. Sadly, it is the same. Solar power cells and the system using batteries cannot be reliable and is not practical. Using solar cells is more expensive than connecting to a grid. Maybe it will take another 10 years before the system can be perfected.
     
  2. Arkane

    Arkane Master Survivalist
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    It is not the same as 1994!
    Here in Australia anyway solar panels run at about $1 per watt, back in the 90's it was $10 a watt or the equivalent of $30 a watt in todays money!
    Batteries in a 12v system run about $3 a kwh and interters run at about 10cents a watt!
    Over all a vast improvement in performance/costs!
    Still not as cheap as the grid but getting much closer than in the 90's!
    Currently setting up a 1kw solar system at 24v!
    Total setup costs at about $3100 with 270ah of battery storage!
     
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  3. m33kuh

    m33kuh Active Member
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    Solar power is lit! We have been using it for quite some time now and it performs well. We use it for lights and charging devices so it greatly helps in saving a lot of wattage. There are many houses in our neighborhood who use solar power. And they are cheap although it depends on the the size and the battery.
     
  4. Edprof

    Edprof Expert Member
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    We have two solar electric systems: A 6,000 watt system for our house and a 750 portable system in case we have to bug out.

    The 6,000 watt system has battery backup and Generac propane whole home generator backup. No, generating our own electricity would not be as cheap as buying it from the power company when things are good. But when the power goes off, we are VERY glad to have some backups. The solar is quiet and infinitely renewable, also.

    Yes, we did have to learn some things with the new equipment. No, on 6,000 watts, when we get forced off grid, we don't live quite as well as we would with Entergy supplying all we want. But it's enough to do well. We have a liveable amount of electticity (more than 2,000 watts) from 9 to 5 during the spring, summer, and most of the fall.

    We went through what most solar users went through as we acclimated to our new equipment: The realization that we had been using a LOT of electricity that we were unaware of.

    Solar has come a long way in the last few years. I encourage people to plan carefully and plan to put some resources into it, or wait awhile before getting into it at all.
     
  5. koolhandlinc

    koolhandlinc Expert Member
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    My only experience with solar and wind is my family in Occ. Mindoro, Philippines. They have a what I would call hobo set up. They are outside of town and so can't connect to the grind.

    They have 4 deep cycle batteries. Similar to what I would put in a boat. A multimeter is wired to read voltage. They have 2 small solar cells on the roof of this small out building that the batteries are in. The wind generator is only about 6 or 7 meters high. Its only about .75 meter diameter. The wind blows constantly at this location as its near a beach. This "auntie said if she new now she would have put in 2 wind turbines and no solar cells.

    I stayed in a little hutch next to the main house. This was a cousins other side of the family so I didn't go in the main house. She ran a generator once a day for 2 hours to run the refrigerator and freeze ice. Once the ice was froozen she shut it down. I think it took about 2 1/2 hours.


    She told me she can run her fans and lights without any issue. But that frig pulls to much. She and her family are pretty frugal. 1 or 2 compact florescent are good. In the cabin we only used 1 light at night. They did run a karaoke machine about 1/2 the night.
     
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  6. SirJoe

    SirJoe Expert Member
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    Things have evolved a lot and now it isn't that difficult to get off the grid. It's more then just a fad it has come to stay and it has has very positive effects on the way that we use electricity these days. There are a lot of electronic devices that consume very little electricity these days because of it. Normally what stops people from doing so is local legislation.
     
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  7. koolhandlinc

    koolhandlinc Expert Member
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    Yea, local regulations requiring water, sewer and electrical hookups or the place isn't habitable. They often force people even when complete sustainability has been attained. They need everyone to pay the minimum fee's and taxes associated with them. So they force you or evict.
     
  8. Scarlet

    Scarlet Member
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    Solar power system is an advantage if you live in tropical countries where sunshine is abundant all year round except during rainy season. I would definitely switch to solar power system if it is stable but unfortunately our country's technology about it right now is unreliable.
     
  9. Scarlet

    Scarlet Member
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    Solar power system is an advantage in tropical countries because sunshine is abundant all year round except during rainy season. I would switch to solar power system if it is stable but unfortunately it's technology right now here in my country is unreliable.
     
  10. GS AutoTech

    GS AutoTech Expert Member
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    I'm interested in solar for several reasons. I've been studying the different setups. New inverters that can function as a grid tie / grid assist & can also work as full off grid with battery storage. Better panels now have gotten cheaper. I'd like to start of with 10kw grid tie system then add the batteries later as the solar savings start to kick in.
     
  11. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Master Survivalist
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  12. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    no solar panels for me, i'm not technically minded and I don't have a clue how to set it up or maintain it and I think the cost would be well outside my budget.
    wife and I have both lived off grid so its nothing new to us to live without power of any kind.
     
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  13. koolhandlinc

    koolhandlinc Expert Member
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    None for us either. I am still gathering parts for a gasification system. I have 1 12 volt fan for starting the system up. I keep watching for used propane tanks. I do have a 12 inch heavy wall pipe x 3 feet long to use but probably won't use it. I don't have a lot of money to sink into it.
     
  14. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    As long as electricity is available I will use it. The problem with it in a major long term collapse is that lighting up your place at night is like calling out to the predators to come and get you. A little of it for a few fans and maybe a little refrigeration is one thing but a big generator or massive solar panels will just attract too much attention for me. I want to go unnoticed for at least a year or two.
     
  15. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    I want to be unnoticed for ever! or as long as I can.
     
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  16. koolhandlinc

    koolhandlinc Expert Member
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    Exactly, if the predators in training today (drug dealers and gangs mostly) are out and about. I want to be well hidden.
     
  17. GS AutoTech

    GS AutoTech Expert Member
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    I've been doing a bit of research on solar power. A huge hang up is storage. I found Iron Edison batteries & have been reading about whole home batteries that are coming to market. I feel these solutions may be key to making solar systems more viable.
    It's nice to think of clean, green energy but I'm more interested in the off grid independent self sufficiency & SHTF survival.
     
  18. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    yes,me too!
     
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  19. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    I wonder how well a solar electrical system would do with an EMP? I also wonder what a hail storm would do to the cells? We have hail here pretty often along with a lot of other rather spirited weather. The problem with electrical dependence is that it is dependent on a vast infrastructure to be available with replacement parts and batteries. So to me any of this is at best a stop gap to make your transition to a more primitive lifestyle easier. My concern is the price that you might pay for this temporary comfort.

    If you are going off grid now they will be great. If you are looking at them for a short term convienence so if your power is interupted by storms or such they will be super nice to have. If you are thinking of them as something to help you stay alive in a world without rules with hungrt and crazy people wandering around looking for someone with food that they can try to beg, borrow or steal from then maybe it isn't such a good idea.

    One of the things that I have noted on survival shows is that people seem to be stuck on living a certain lifestyle even when the accouterments that made that life style possible no longer exist. Primitive people didn't have clocks to tell them what to do. They didn't live nearly as structured a life style as we do. People can't sleep enough to sleep all night. People don't do well in the heat of the day.

    What this means is that you need to break out of this mold as fast as possible. If you are worried about someone sneaking up on you at night or if the bugs eat you alives at night then maybe you shouldn't be sleeping so much at night. Have you ever wondered how and why most ancient people knew so much about the stars and movements of planets? Most people these days don't know much of anything about the stars but to the people that lived without lights on all the time saw in the skies all manner of stories and movements.

    What I'm saying is that they did NOT go to bed early and then sleep all night. Most of them were up and down several times all night and there was almost always some of them up. When you have to rub sticks together to make fire you tend to try and keep your fire alive. Also if there are critters out there that might want to r=eat you you want to be able to make that fire BIG and bright in a hurry.

    Our dependence on electric lights and the lifestyle that they allow may be detrimental to survival in a world where most people are living in the dark. I will tell you this as a fact. The night is not as dark as most people think. I have always loved the night and walked the woods and swamps in the dark. If you have a flashlight you are blind!!! You only see a tiny part of what is there. Without any light your eyes sharpen and as you learn to see in different ways you will be amazed by how well you can see. A man with a flashlight is easy to sneak up on. He is mostly blinded and can only see the tiny place that the light is pointed. ALSO anyone out there in the dark can see him from a long way off and knows exactly where he is.

    Maybe it is that I don't have any fear of the dark that makes it so easy to just lay electricity aside if it gets troublesome. My wife can't walk around in our home with the lights off so I know that it is hard for some people but those that adapt first to a changed world will have an advantage over those that try to hold onto the old ways that just don't work. Survival is about adapting. If you resist adapting you may be resisting life.
     
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  20. Blackfish

    Blackfish Well-Known Member
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    I snagged up a couple of First Solar FS-385 solar panels, valued at $150.00 ea. new, for $40.00! 2x4, Shatterproof glass, high voltage, etc. Got to look around a bit these days because now there are a lot of solar goodies to pick from on the markets. Look for the deals! They're out there!

    I made up a couple of portable power supplies out of them with 12v deep cycle marine batteries. Works like a charm! Never be without power again! At least build one of these little units!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  21. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    We lived for over 20 years without electricity, & although we are solar powered now, we would have no problem going back to a more primitive lifestyle.
    Keith.
     
  22. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    Well done, good find.
    Keith.
     
  23. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    same here Keith.
    I see solar power as more of a lifestyle change than as a SHTF preparation.
     
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  24. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    Intodays world solar is cheap you can get solar light for a buck at dollar tree after shtf life will be different a small dollar tree light will be all you need for a light for abit more money you can have one you can turn on and off my spotlight cost two bucks works great and has on off switch solar these days has many ways to work from simple to run a whole farm we here have 3 ways to produce power solar wind and hydro we run the entire farm this way we allways have power
     
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  25. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    the trouble with solar lights is that in a SHTF world they COULD give away one's location.
    I know of a case where someone was found in a building that wasn't supposed to be where it was and all because the light was reflecting off a solar panel.
     
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  26. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    The main advantage of solar for us is the fridge/freezer, it gives us an alternative way of preserving foods that is less labour intensive.
    Keith.
     
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  27. Blackfish

    Blackfish Well-Known Member
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    The main advantage with solar for me is that I live in the Southwest, where it's sunshine most days of the year...

    It's just silly not to do solar.

    If I lived in another part of the country, I would be looking at other alternative energy sources.

    All that being said, in building this latest portable power supply, I don't know which controller to get for the panel I just bought. It's a First Solar solar panel, 85 watt nominal power. Any solar experts out there care to point me in the right direction? It would be much appreciated.

    I've checked Fry's Electronics in Las Vegas, and I think they have the correct unit for my panel, but I'm not so sure about their pricing and quality. They're Coleman products. And I know nothing about them. Anyone know of a good product source?
     
  28. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    I think the main problem even in good times is the storage needed for the batteries, in most modern-last 30 years- houses the lack of storage space -for anything never mind solar battery's.
     
  29. Edprof

    Edprof Expert Member
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    As an owner I can answer part of your question. The panels we had installed are guaranteed to not dent or deform with a one inch hailstone at 150 miles per hour. There can be other ways of arriving at that same amount of force. Our experience with our 24 panels for nearly 3 years now and several storms indicate that the panels are pretty resilient.

    Resisting an EMP gets more hypothetical. Some protection is built into our system. We are also hoping that we have some warning, even ten minutes worth, so we can do a lot of switching and disconnecting. The idea is to make any segment of wiring as short as possible so as to avoid antenna effects.
     
  30. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Master Survivalist
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