Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Solar power  (Read 3398 times)

john and helen

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Devon
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Solar power
« on: August 04, 2013, 01:23:05 pm »
Could you generate enough electric for one 3 bedroom barn.... being realistic, there will only be the two of us 95% of the time..so only hot water, and a few lights, plus TV, washing machine , tumble dryer , fridge, freezer and PC will be used.....

anyone have experience of just using solar instead of being connected to the grid

john and helen

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Devon
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Re: Solar power
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 01:26:11 pm »
sorry..wrong section

henchard

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Carmarthenshire
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Re: Solar power
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 01:40:46 pm »
Could you generate enough electric for one 3 bedroom barn.... being realistic, there will only be the two of us 95% of the time..so only hot water, and a few lights, plus TV, washing machine , tumble dryer , fridge, freezer and PC will be used.....

anyone have experience of just using solar instead of being connected to the grid


I have no experience of being off grid myself. But would say anything is possible if you have enough money! I have both solar PV and solar thermal and very nice it is too to complement our other fuels. In fact the payments in from the Solar PV are greater than all our other energy bills because we have put in loads of insulation and use energy saving appliances and LED bulbs. You read that correctly we get paid more from our solar electric production than we spend in energy costs; our house pays us to live here (which was the plan).


If you must be off grid because of the cost of getting a supply to the property - the problem you will have is that the sun doesn't shine at night or during many a winter day often when you need the biggest load. There is a house being done close to us (and presumably not far from where you are looking) that is going to be completely off grid and I could probably arrange for you to visit the contractor to take a look if you wanted. However, I know the whole project has a mega budget.


As nice as they may sound these technologies are fairly expensive. Here's our PV installation.


« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 01:45:05 pm by henchard »

john and helen

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Devon
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Re: Solar power
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 01:53:44 pm »
Thanks henchard, we are weighing up the pro's and cons..we have seen another property very close to the other one... and £40k  cheaper.... same size roughly, but no electric, or septic tank... electric is close by..but that could mean thousands of ££££s  to get connected .......

the price of panels for a 4kw set up ranges widely, but an average cost of £5.5K

not sure how long the batteries would last either   :thinking:

mab

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Solar power
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2013, 03:56:29 pm »
difficult to give a definitive answer. Certainly 40K (say 30K after fitting the septic tank) would buy you a fairly good off grid system.


If you want a fully automatic fit & forget system which will supply all the power a typical household uses when on grid, then forget it - they don't truly exist.


but if you're reasonably frugal, are willing to use power preferentialy when it's coming in, perhaps include a backup genny (most off grid folks I know of have a genny even if it only runs once or twice a year), and are willing to learn about battery/genny/system maintenance then, yes, you could do it for less than 30K.



If you do go off grid it's best to have a mix or sources if you can manage it solar & wind, say, or solar and hydro(though there's a lot of red tape for hydro).


But with solar panels being relatively cheap, maintenance free, and easy to install you could do very well with just solar, a big battery, and an off grid inverter, like Sunny Island, which (I think) includes a charge controller with auto generator start. As long as you maintain the battery, the genny and make sure the fuel doesn't run out you can live like a 'normal' person. Say, 6K for solar panels (12KWp), 4-6K for a good battery, 2K for a generator and 3-4K for a good inverter and another K for bit's'n'bobs, I'd guess 18K would cover it (NB. I've plucked these figures out of the air a bit so don't quote me).


As Henchard said the problem with solar is you get the leaset when you need it the most.


I generate most of my own power even though I still have grid power, though I do it mostly 'cos I want to. I have just 900W of solar and during the recent heatwave I was running lights, radio, laptop(TV), two chest freezers (one small 24/7; the other big, but just making Ice during the day), and still dumping enough surplus into the immersion heater to have daily hot baths for a month straight (tank up to 75°C on occasions). I could have run the washing machine too but my inverter can't handle it. I run kettles/ arc welders, etc of the grid for the same reason.


During last mid-winter month I had enough power for lights, radio, laptop(TV), and the small chest freezer 24/7 for about 4 days in 5 on average (had to switch the freezer to grid power when it was really dull for extended periods).




ShaunP

  • Joined Dec 2009
    • Timber Chalets and Lodges
Re: Solar power
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2013, 06:33:00 pm »
It would be worth posting this question on the Navitron Forum. I think MAB has the basis for a plan. I would include some solar thermal for hot water and possibly a small turbine to keep some  sort of charge on those cloudy windy days. But it does depend an how much roof space and land you have available!!

john and helen

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Devon
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Re: Solar power
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2013, 09:41:09 pm »
thats really interesting mab, thanks for the reply :thumbsup:

 

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