solar systems

wtf is going on
By wtf is going on on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 - 2:04pm

Does anyone have any experience with in home solar systems in southern alberta?

I've got my food and home heating solutions in place but if the power were to be out for an extended period of time I don't know what I'd do.

 

 

5 Comments

findingmyway's picture
findingmyway
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 27 2013
Posts: 5
Learn together

Hi, I'm in Lethbridge.

I certainly don't have the answer but I am working towards self sufficiently in all the ways I can.  Recently bought a couple of panels to learn and see how things go.  If want to get together/chat I'd certainly welcome it.

 

Ken

 

wtf is going on's picture
wtf is going on
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2016
Posts: 3
At this point I'm just

At this point I'm just interested in hearing about the dealer you've dealt with and what manufacturers you've researched.  Also unsure of the capacity I require.

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 2766
wtf is going on

Welcome to the site and props on your "nom de plume". 

wtf indeed.

findingmyway's picture
findingmyway
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 27 2013
Posts: 5
I bought from Solar

I bought from Solar Wholesaler in Calgary.  Good prices and close enough that I could pick them up myself rather than have them shipped.  Ended up getting the Midnight controller over the Outback (don't recall exactly what made me go that way, but I did research them for a bit).  2x250 watt panels and 2x100Ah AGM batteries.

Its primarily a starter system (overdone on the controller so I can expand it later) so I can get things figured out.  Right now the panels are leaned up against the garage.  I figure I could double the output (about 0.2kWhr per day) if they were better placed.  Right now its barely able to keep up with a small heating pad I'm using for seed starting.   I ran across a study on zerohedge.com that came to the conclusion north of 40(?) panels and batteries are not economical.  That of course doesn't account for the insurance aspect.  My medium term plan is to go as much as possible off-grid and self sustaining somewhere outside of the city; most things now are experimental.

Bought my daughter a single panel, single battery system for her off grid cabin in the woods close to Vernon BC.  She is finding that it's not quite sufficient to run a couple of LED bulbs and a small radio during 3-4 day cloud cover.   More panel means greater recovery time, more batters means more cloud cover time. 

The big thing you need to think about is what you want to power during power down; unless you have oodles of $ you are not going to live like you do.  You can buy a power monitor that you plug appliances into that will give you a power consumption figure. I'm coming to the conclusion that the best approach/payback is to 1) reduce and triage power consumption 2) have many sources of power (solar,wind,hydro and finally a small genny).  3) totally off grid only makes sense if you are starting from scratch and can put the $ you save from bringing in services and put that into the system.

Ken

 

 

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: May 3 2014
Posts: 474
Finding another way that works better

I don't want to come down hard on your attempts to get off the grid, but from my experience and those of my friends, who are struggling to make "renewables" a reality where they live, all I can add is make sure the "shoe fits". First, do a really thorough evaluation of what your energy needs are. There are many conservation measures you can take that are, exceedingly, more cost effective than installing new technology. I have a well-to-do brother, who complained about the cost of heating his swimming pool with natural gas(which is cheap here, north of 50). He ended up putting coiled black plastic poly hose on his asphalt shingled, second story roof and was able heat the water faster and a bit warmer. He has no idea how much he is spending in materials and electrical costs to pump the water up that high, but did say his electricity charges were higher. Now he has a pool heater in his back yard, taking up space and can't unload it, even on Kijiji.

Many times technology is like a battery operated battery charger; great technology,poor application. Small solar is great up north when the sun is shining. Realistically, you have to have your entire roof covered with panels to meet the demands of an average residence. Passive solar and insulation are your best investment, in my opinion in this climate, and will pay going forward. In general, I would suggest you consider your location, season, orientation of your property, access to resources and your time. What you have shelled out in time and money so far is a reasonable cost for research and development. If you plan to eventually move to the sticks and live off grid, plan, plan and plan some more. Keep notes and records of what you've done. Keep at it and share your experiences with others.Try the Solar Energy Society in your area for advice. Good folks and willing to help.That way,we all move forward.

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