The Definitive Alternative Energy and Home Power Thread
I created this thread in an attempt to consolidate information about residential alternative power systems. I assume that there is a lot of information spread across many forum threads and posts about member’s personal or professional experiences with this subject. I will attempt to do a search for this content and provide links to the relevant posts here in this thread, so that the forum will have an easy to use and concentrated source of information on this subject.
I would also like to ask those forum members who have previously posted information on their personal experiences with alternative energy systems to provide links to their content here in this thread as well if they don’t mind.
For the sake of efficiency, it might be wise to restrict the posts on this thread to providing "how-to" information, and to try our best to minimize all the other "extraneous" aspects of the ensuing conversation.
Some subtopics on this subject might include:
- Solar (Photovoltaic) Panels and Arrays
- Wind Generators
- 12V and 24V Battery Banks
- Solar Water Heaters
- Converters, Battery Chargers, and Monitoring Equipment
- Solar Water Pumping
- Hydro-Power Turbines
- Rainwater Collection, Treatment, Distribution, & Storage
- Passive Solar Architecture
- Wood Stoves and Wood-Fired Furnaces
- Improving Home Energy Efficiency
- Solar Ovens
- Solar Water Distillation Systems
- Back-up Generators
- Grid-Tie Systems and Process
- Sources for Products, Contractors, and Information
There is a great deal of valuable information in this forum’s archive and members of this community. My goal in creating this thread is to try to provide better access to it via better organization.
Thanks and I hope you will join me in this effort.
A few relevant (and semi-relevant) links to threads on this subject:
Great thread, now I’m gonna have to make sure I have enough paper to print all this out before the power goes out so I can get power again to be able to read this on my computer.
Damnit now I’m confused. lol
I have a place where I can generate hydro power and would like to do so in the best way possible. Unlike solar, micro-hydro seems to be strictly a DIY activity so I’d appreciate any advice, good sources for information, equipment, etc. I searched CM but didn’t find much about hydro unless I just didn’t find the hydro thread. As I develop this I’ll be happy to share my data with the forum.
I have a place where I can generate hydro power and would like to do so in the best way possible. Unlike solar, micro-hydro seems to be strictly a DIY activity so I’d appreciate any advice, good sources for information, equipment, etc.
I just purchased a solar catalog and design guide from solarpanelstore.com. It has a few pages on micro-hydro design as well as some turbines that they carry. Dont know anything about the company, but the catalog has been helpful as I design a PV system.
Bear in mind that the more you choose/embrace activities other than sitting still (in the company of display screens), the more your built spaces can be shelter-quality, as they were during 99+% of the human adventure. Why not restrict conditioned air and fine points of building science to the space or spaces in which you will sit still for hours?
Short of that extreme, to size systems (and costs) properly, first do and/or calculate potential energy efficiency improvements to your building. In other words, don’t supply to waste. Also, if you’re in position to do some energy productive things in connection with properties near yours, it may be advantageous to do so.
Here’s a related thread that could have happened here: https://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/has-anyone-bought-home-solar-system-recently/33051
My Wife and I have been off grid since 1983. We live on top of a mesa in central New Mexico in a passive/active solar adobe home we built ourselves with no mortgage and a by your leave from no one. But you have to be on a secluded site to do that. That’s what off grid is all about isn’t it?
For us it was not about payback time or economic feasibility, it was about flipping off the status quo and chasing the carrot. We are not as independent as we would like to be. We still buy food, vitamins, herbs, propane, internet service, gasoline. But I have cut my driving to a minimum [ once a week I buy groceries in Alamogordo an hour and fifteen minutes one way ] and my wife only drives to work and back. We do go to Albuquerque about once every six weeks or so for doctor’s appts and to stock up from the natural food stores there.
I have begun the process of building a 60′ tower for a home built wind turbine. See otherpower.com if you are interested in building your own. And we plan on starting a green house this summer. We have been doing organic gardening on a small scale but need to expand that. We have a composting toilet and radiant heating in the floors powered by solar hot water collectors and a pump, and a slightly bigger than modest PV system with battery storage. We are on 20 acres of isolated, juniper and pinon forrested land. At the other end of our mile long, dirt and rock driveway is a town of 20 people. Fourteen miles away there is a town of 1200. It will soon have a grocery store. This area is an economic dead zone which is why we like it and hope it stays that way.
The only human activity we hear are aircraft and a train nine miles away.
I’d be happy to answer questions from those seriously considering off grid living. I’m no expert. I’ve only done this once and did it my way with the help of a few books. It is not some yuppie system to run a yuppie lifestyle. We have a propane fridge and backup generator that uses propane too. We use compact flourescents everywhere, and even tho we make our own power and water we are very careful with both. We have a modest rain water recovery system. Our cars are old and get good gas mileage. We do not watch TV but our one luxury is we buy and watch movies. We came from LA and have friends and acquaintances in that business and are interested in movie making. At http://www.myspace.com/ron45becker you can find pictures of our home inside and out and part of our energy system. We look forward to hearing from you.
[quote=Ron Becker]We came from LA and have friends and acquaintances in that business and are interested in movie making. At http://www.myspace.com/ron45becker you can find pictures of our home inside and out and part of our energy system.[/quote]
Great looking house. How do you like the Zomeworks trackers? I looked at them and Wattsun trackers but decided just to go with an adjustable angle fixed array. Do the zomeworks trackers have problems in high wind? Just curious so that when people ask me I have another data point.