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Author Topic: Off the grid and into the trees.  (Read 5368 times)
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2012, 11:49:55 AM »

I would as well avoid  , that big upfront investment  fume fume

 a  say 5 kw  PV  off grid system   ( hope you have no shade in winter in the forest   and the PV angle should be 50-70 ) We have 4 kw  and are three people as well   , but in South Ireland  
5 kw PV     about 5500 GBP
5 kw  Victron Inverter  2500 GBP  or the Sunny island   ( more money)
5 kw MPPT charge controller 600 GBP
750  ah 48 volt  PzS(forklift) battery about 3000-4000 GBP ( i guess)
Frame , cables , battery monitor  i estimate another 1000
Perhaps a small windturbine as well  just to learn and explore

I do not know if DIY  off grid installs can get  FIT payments

And then live fine for  most of the year  depending on your needs off course and have a backup generator helping  in winter  and  invest in a windturbine   later   or find a stream of water  or a storage lake   in Sherwood forest  Grin


Click your location  here on the map  and  play

I would echo everything that billi just said.    Grin

When I started planning my system a good few years ago, and did the sums, I worked out that it would be better to spend a few quid on a reliable generator, and then size the solar PV to only cover 100% power from april-october.  Then use the generator to make up the shortfall.

Years went by between making that decision and actually installing the solar bits which saw PV prices fall a LOT.  With hindsight and the current price of PV, I should have bought a cheaper standby generator and invested the difference in more PV.

The costs for the turbine you list are just the initial costs - how much is it going to cost you over a 25 year period in maintenance and time?
Things that move, break more often than things that don't. Wink
2.8kW PV, SMA Sunny Island 5048, 5 PzS 700 battery bank, stinky diesel.
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2012, 11:55:43 AM »

Hi Numenius,

we've lived off grid for 9 years like a lot of these guys.  We have probably all made expensive mistake first time around.  I would be very hesitant about spending huge sums of money on a wind turbine when surrounded by trees. Oh if I had 30k to spend!!

IMO you need to learn to "live off your batteries" Get a good SH Lister generator 5 to 8 KWH with a good quality inverter charger (Trace if you can afford it) with batteries and inverter you can reliably live and learn as you go. With 1000ahr 24 v battery set in good nick you should go 3 days without charging.  I would then add as much PV as you can afford. OK in winter output is low, but there is no maintanance and virtually nothing to break. I myself don't get FITS.  If you keep outside government schemes you can get on a do it your self. PV is pretty straight forward.  If space permits put the PV array on the ground and make panel supports your self to save money.

FYI you can get FITS payments if off grid but your install will need to be done by qualified persons.  At present you can buy PV very cheap so if you can DIY you may figure its better to buy kit and save on capital outlay against unknown future FITs tarrif.

If you can create a head of water for hydro you would be on a winner, even 500 watts running 24/7 will give you all you need.

You will learn that living of grid you need to make choices,  Ie if batteries are low and wind and sun are not available then don't run the automatic washing machine, as you'll kill the batteries.

Hope this is some help and wish you well.


8 KVA Lister TS2 Startamatic Genny
24 Volt 1000amp battery bank
Outback VFX3024
4.6 Kw PV array ground mounted
Outback Flexmax 80
2 X Flexmax 30 PV CC
2.5 Kw WT H Piggot design 4.5 Mtr Dia AC coupled
12 Mtr free standing Tower.
u/floor heating from oil boiler cross linked to 12 K wood stove
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2012, 01:27:23 PM »

Mmm - good interesting stuff. Definitely PV seems a lot  more attractive from what you guys say who have actual  experienced with it -this is exactly the stuff from people's real life experience (rather than the sellers and glossy brochures from which you'd be forgiven for thinking they equal a nuclear power station in output! ) I needed to know thank you.

I wonder if you got PV installed under FIT authorised installers to qualify the system then added to it yourself later...  I wonder if they'd accept and be OK about paying you for the higher output that would then follow because the system was installed initially by the qualified installers?......
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An unpaid Navitron volunteer who lives off-grid.

« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2012, 01:56:50 PM »

hi numenius,
            obviously fits will limit you as to what you can do yourself as regards d.i.y. and your initial outlay will be much greater with all kinds of obstructive paperwork.i would forget about fits and do my own thing. i would learn to maintain it,fix it and use it to its maximum benifit.

An unpaid Navitron volunteer,who has been living off-grid,powered by wind and solar,each year better than the last one.
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2012, 03:03:52 PM »

numenius, i have been making and putting up Hugh piggott wind turbines 3.7m dia for the last 4 years.

Its very important to have a good straight wind, ie with out much turbulence. We are on the side of a gentle valley near the top but not on it. So the normal consistant SE wind has a good couple of miles of flow before it gets to us. But on the top of the hill there is all sort's of turbulence and a wind turbine will be for ever shaking itself about. A good sign of good wind is that trees bushes etc lean away from the prevailing wind.

I am stopping making wind turbines as the PV panels cost have come down to a price that now makes economical sense, as wind turbine materials have risen about 25% in just one year.

Designing and manufacturing a couple of 1.5Kw PV trackers at 5m high, (us windturbineers got to stick something up in the air). Grin

Everything is possible, just give me TIME.
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2012, 04:40:36 PM »

The way to diy a pv array is to go down the route of an epogee pv course run by Ivan which will allow you to then install your own system under the navitron umbrella.
The array will need to feed into a Grid tie inverter then through 240vac kWh meter, onto ac bus, linked to consumer unit and inverter charger such as Victron Multiplus. Any power not used in house will backfeed through Multi into the battery bank.
This way does several things
1, you meter all your generation output, before any battery/ inverter losses.
2, a  turbine that is non-fit can go to batteries as dc
3, hydro can be grid tied(think they are still Roo fit) or dc into batteries
4, generator can be wired as input to Multi with remote sensing start

It means having a gti as well, but with several power inputs a meter on the house side of the inverter wouldn't be able to sift pv power from genny or wind, but the meter placed on gti output will give ~20% more compared to a meter on the battery output.

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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2012, 05:30:28 PM »

I am not off grid but we are self sufficient on energy.
The CHP system with a Lister CS that runs 24/7 when it is cold and background heats the house cost 2000. Admittedly it is grid tied and you would need batteries but a CS start o matic could be the way to go for the bigger appliances with an inverter and battery for lighting TV etc. You should be able to get one for around 1000. A sine wave inverter for 500 don't know about the battery? Wire the house with a high load ring for the SOM and low load ring for the inverter. Wire the Lister to come on when the battery needs charging and, of course when a load is switched on.

You can get ROCs for the CHP at a rate of 10p per unit generated.

My Lister runs on solid veg oil so is very cheap to run but would be expensive if on derv. Output is 2kw electric and lots of hot water.

Aiming to reduce dependency on 'mains energy'. Own bio for 120k miles, solar water heating (DIY),  CHP done, Solar PV, use wood cut from own trees.
In U.K. near Worcester
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« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2012, 05:46:43 PM »

We live off grid in a wood.

Forget the UV light for the water. They need elec to run 24/7. Think about a system built up of pre filters & a Doulton Rio 2000 sterysyl ceramic filter unit. Gives the same spec of water but no elec consumption.

 We manage on 1.2kWp of PV, 12v x 1500ah battery (just added more but lasted 2 years on that one) & a 5kva genny. As has been said wind is a no no unless you can get it very high.

Navitron solar thermal system
30 x 58mm panel 259L TS
1200watts solar 120vdc
FX80 Solar controller
2 x Victron Multiplus II 48/5000/70
Cerbo GX & GX 50 touch
BMV 700
6kva genny
48v 1000ah
Grid Possibly coming soon
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