Energy Options > Solar Power

Solar Power Off Grid Near Seattle..

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Solar and wind map for Washington State

(Still looking for the 2 vids I want to show you)


Alan Georges:

--- Quote from: whatmecrazy on August 22, 2016, 07:51:23 PM ---The amp-hours are the easiest to calculate, it's the 9 months of no sun that is throwing off my calculations..  Because I made them in Colorado....  Where there is an abundance....

--- End quote ---
I'm afraid that there's just no answering that one with solar.


--- Quote from: Alan Georges on August 22, 2016, 07:55:34 PM ---I'm afraid that there's just no answering that one with solar.

--- End quote ---

Yes there is. More batteries, more panels (or larger watt ones), and a generator.. I have seen it done. They live on an island in that same general area, and have electric, water catchment, hot water showers. I still think you can do a hybrid.

Still looking, but I got waylaid for a bit..


First, see what you can power in a sustainable, non-electric way, to lessen electric load. Look at what your needs are, and how to fulfill them, rather tahn just transforming how you live now to there.

And, I get what you are saying about propane and gas, that is still part of the grid, you can do without, if you realy want to.

Wood. You have access to plenty of that, so space heat with wood, cook with wood, heat water with wood.

Biogas. Contact Hestia Biogas about your area, they have even relocated to Washington state and are the experienced designers of Pacific Northwest Biogas, and home biogas plans and units. Biogas can cook your food and  heat your water, someimes there is enough excess to power a generator, but contact them about this.

That leaves lights, refrigeration, clothes washing and gadgets. None of which is absolutely necc for survival, although I like them.

Assuming it gets cold there when the sun isnt out ? So, for refrigeration, look to a thermal mass refrigerator with an electric compressor for back up -- Mike reynolds in his Earth house systems book describes this. Basically, this is a built in place refrigerator. Lots of mass inside ( in his case he plastered in sixpacks of cheap beer on the inside, but whatever you choose, thick inner mass to hold "coldth", surrounded by insulation, and then, key part, is an operable opening to the outside cold night air. You also build in a standard DC refrigeration compressor, so when the sun has been out, you have solar and it uses its compressor, when you have little solar, it is cold outside, and you let the cold in.

There are other ways for keeping some food cold.

So, if you build in your thermal mass refrigerator, that leaves lights, clothes washing, and gadgets.

You can also wash clothes without an electric washing machine. Look to Lehmans non-electric catalog for bought options. Or, scour the internet for DIY plans to run a washing machine off a pedal power or what have you.

That leaves lights and gadgets.

Anyways, you dont need any electric, look at the Amish. So, if you want a small solar and battery backup for gadgets and electric lights, and can afford it, you will also survive just fine on days when your batteries dont have any juice. I realy like the Aquion batteries, check those out if you are going to put in solar/batteries

edted to add thoughts on having water : Duh. Sorry about that. Can you have a tank just a bit uphill ? My tank is barely uphill, and gives enough pressure for the downstairs. Rainwater catchment ? Well ? well pump can get water out of the ground to your tank when the sun is out. small rain catchment tank built into your second story ? or uphill ? for when You have your long sunless, but rainy times. You may also be able to hand pump frpm your well. I hear that not that long ago, it was a short, daily task for a member of the household, often a young boy, to hand pump water to a small tank on the roof, that would be enough for the households needs for 24 hours. You can let the rain do that for you

Smurf Hunter:
Hey whatmecrazy

I'm not far from you.  I live in south King County. 

I have recently started working with a portable solar setup for field use of amateur radios and other gadgets.
As Alan and others have stated, sizing the battery bank is key.

In theory I'd rather have way more battery than way more solar panels.

In mid-sun during July, my 100 watt Renogy monoscrystalline panel output 6amps.  This is on the high side, but I watched it on the meter.
For summer time at mid day, I can count on at least 4 hours @ 5 amps from that panel.  So very conservatively that's 20amps.  When I'm only working with a 35AH battery at a picnic table in the park, that's more than enough for an afternoon running a 100watt HF transceiver if I arrive with a charge battery.

I think of solar systems like water catchment.  You gradually capture small amounts over time, and once you've accumulated a large amount, you have pressure (or current) that's usable.

That all said, the economics for solar in WA are about the worst ROI for the USA.
The base rate for my location is $0.0849 per kWh

That's 1000 watt hours of 110 voltage for less than 9 cents an hour.  Not to mention of relative lack of full sun for a lot of the year.

Carl and I did the math while talking on the echolink once, and it'd take me almost 30 years for my portable solar setup to pay for itself based on these rates.

In summary, solar is cheaper than ever and does work well - but it only makes economic sense if you CANNOT get grid power.


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