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Old 06-12-09, 10:02 PM   #1
nu2solar
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Default It's Our One Year Anniversary For Going Off Grid

Hi all I am new here. I saw that one of your members posted a link to my story and just thought I would add an update.

I can't believe it has been a year since my husband and I broke ground on our property. There have been a lot of ups and downs and many learning lessons.

We built our home ourselves and my DH designed our solar system without any prior knowledge to solar systems. We have been living off our own electric for almost a year. It is great being so self sufficient.

If you want to see our story you can read all about it at:
http://www.city-data.com/forum...-east-tennessee.html


We are also in the middle of redesigning our solar set up. Here is the link that tells that story. It will be complete in next week's installment of my story.
http://www.city-data.com/forum...286.html#post9239286


Lisa

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Old 06-13-09, 07:28 AM   #2
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Hello Lisa. Thanks for posting updates. I did breeze through your massive build thread a while back. It was quite impressive!

BTW, your links do not work.
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Old 06-13-09, 03:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
Hello Lisa. Thanks for posting updates. I did breeze through your massive build thread a while back. It was quite impressive!

BTW, your links do not work.
Thank you.

Here is the link for the first chapter of our story:
Going Off Grid in East Tennessee - (TN) - City-Data Forum

The new solar design starts on page 134.

Lisa
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Old 06-18-09, 08:41 AM   #4
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Lisa
I just finished reading through your chronicles, and I have to echo Daox's "quite impressive!"!!!
I always thought 'going offgrid' would drive my hyper-sociable wife batty, but it sounds like you have as much outside contact as you want.

Have you considered solar hot water? It could drastically lessen your dependence on gas. www.builditsolar.com

Congrats on your accomplishments!
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Old 06-18-09, 04:46 PM   #5
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Lisa
I just finished reading through your chronicles, and I have to echo Daox's "quite impressive!"!!!
I always thought 'going offgrid' would drive my hyper-sociable wife batty, but it sounds like you have as much outside contact as you want.

Have you considered solar hot water? It could drastically lessen your dependence on gas. www.builditsolar.com

Congrats on your accomplishments!
Thank you. Going Off Grid in no way changes who Mike and I are. So if your wife is very social being Off Grid wouldn't change that.

Mike looked into the solar hot water heating systems and he doesn't really like them. You have to have a special boiler with a heat exchanger. He had concerns about one of the pipes bursting on the roof with no way to fix it. He thinks it might be ok in a warmer climate where you don't have to worry about freezing temps.

Have a great day.

Lisa
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Old 06-18-09, 05:48 PM   #6
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Lisa, for a hot water system in a cold climate, you have to run a closed loop system through the solar panels. This closed loop uses water and coolant to prevent freezing. This is where the heat exchanger comes in to heat up the tank of real water. These systems are very reliable and much less expensive than a solar PV setup. I suggest taking another look into it if you have some spare time.

A quick question too, what do you do in winter to keep your solar array snow free?

BTW, thank you very much for sharing your journey with everyone. Its really great stuff!
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Old 06-18-09, 06:08 PM   #7
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One other thing. Aren't you worried about decreased capacity with having your batteries outside in the winter? warm batteries = happy batteries
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Old 06-22-09, 07:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Lisa, for a hot water system in a cold climate, you have to run a closed loop system through the solar panels. This closed loop uses water and coolant to prevent freezing...
Actually, the system I linked to does not use antifreeze. It is a drain back system. Water is pumped through the collectors only when they are warm enough. Otherwise, the water drains back to the heat sump reservoir and the lines are left evacuated to prevent them from freezing and bursting. Pretty clever.
Tell Mike it's definitely worth a second look.
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Old 06-23-09, 05:49 AM   #9
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Thank you for the facts about the water system. Mike and I just looked at one about a month ago at a home show. Mike was interested until he started asking what if questions. Something about one of the answers turned him off. It was something about one of the parts breaking. He wanted to know what happens. There was no answer.

We had the batteries outside this past winter, which I know is a no no. We had no trouble with them. Mike thinks they will be fine because we never draw them down. Right now they are inside of a building which is better than where they have been for almost a year. If we have problems Mike will insulate them. Right now we are working on the venting.

The panels are no trouble to keep clear of snow. Just go up on a ladder and sweep them off. Even last year when we had a lot of snow we very rarely had to use back up power.

Thank you all for your suggestions. I will pass them on to Mike.

Lisa

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