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  #1  
Old 09-08-2017, 10:10 AM
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Default Wind or Solar?

We're getting ready to install our wood burning boiler that requires 50W for the control panel & air flow control motor and two 87W circulating pumps-- 224W x 24 hr ~ 5.4 kW-hr/d.

We're located ~43*N in cloudy WI, on a ridge with plenty of wind.

?? Thoughts- suggestions- opinions- experiences ??

BTW-- my cost for grid power to supply the need would run ~$28/m x 7m/yr. My concern is energy security vis-a-vis an unreliable grid to keep us warm in WI winters.

Last edited by doc; 09-08-2017 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:30 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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Sounds like up here a bit. Solar works fine in summer here when the need is small. Wind works better if you have a good supply and good storage. The real off-gridders up here have both and use the same battery storage. I'm sure 12vman will have good advice.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:30 AM
hunter88 hunter88 is offline
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Are you looking for power to run the boiler in case of a power outage, or are you looking to power other stuff even when the grid is working fine?

I ask because if you are just looking for emergency power to run the boiler if the grid goes down, wouldn't a generator be easier and cheaper.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:03 AM
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Good point, Hunter. If I were only worried about the occasional short term power outage after a big storm, I'd go with a generator.

But given the influence of George Soros' billions on buying mercenary rioters, the chances for a long term, wide spread disruption of services & trade have gone up considerably.

I'm looking for complete independence in providing for my water and heat.

I figure I'd spend $4000 on grid juice for the heating system over the next 20 yrs (I should live so long.) A system to provide that should easily pay for itself in 10 yr or so. But I'm money behind for the well pump: it's too deep to go with a hand pump, and too far away from the house to keep batteries heated cheaply in winter, so its got to be big enough to provide enough power on demand, even tho that's only for about 5 minutes each day.

Ironically, I'll be using grid as back-up for the solar.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:35 AM
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I don't have enough knowledge on the subject. But I would be interested to know just how much you actually need to use a wind or solar setup each day to make sure the batteries are discharged and charged enough to insure a long battery life.

I take it you would run your boiler daily on this system, and use the grid as back up if you don't have enough wind or sun.
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:20 AM
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Lots of questions and rough.. *224W x 24 hr ~ 5.4 kW-hr/d.

Watts divided by working voltage (120).. 45 aHr./Day.

Battery voltage @48 volts. (Suggested for an A.C. voltage system) 86.4 aHr. reserve with 20% reserve added.. (Figured @20% depth of discharge)

A quick figure on the panel wattage being your location..

You might get an hour/day of good charge time during the Winter in December.(Good sun, clean panels, proper Winter angle) Add 20% for the extra battery and 20% for semi cloudy periods.. Right around 7.5K..

Wind is nice but don't forget the fact of mechanical things needing maintenance. Pulling a big genny down is a job! No fun for an old guy..
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Old 09-09-2017, 04:39 PM
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I have also seen solar, wind AND a diesel/gas generator. One friend of mine who lived where commercial power was not available had all three with a relay that monitored the batteries and when the charge got below ideal, the generator automatically started to charge the battery bank then shut off when charge was achieved. He never actually ran off the generator but used it when welding I think.
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Old 09-10-2017, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12vman View Post

You might get an hour/day of good charge time during the Winter in December.(Good sun, clean panels, proper Winter angle) Add 20% for the extra battery and 20% for semi cloudy periods.. Right around 7.5K..

Wind is nice but don't forget the fact of mechanical things needing maintenance. Pulling a big genny down is a job! No fun for an old guy..
a)Who you calling old? I'm only 68 and don't look a day over 66.

b) $7.5K? Proving once again you've either got to be stupid or willing to live in a spider hole to use solar any place but in the sun belt.
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:55 AM
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The problem is the constant 24/7 load and the assurance of reliability. Trying to fulfill the demand in an hour during the Winter in December..

A) The old guy statement wasn't meant to be derogatory. I was thinking of myself..

B) I'm at 45*N in Ohio and live rather nicely on 512 watts. It's how you design/plan to use the energy..

I'm not totally operating on solar. I have 2 fridges and my cook stove uses propane. I could survive without propane if I couldn't get it. My water heater is propane also. A room temperature shower is better than water from a well. I store my water in my living area. It would just be a small glitch. Everything else would work as normal..

Call me stupid and my place a spider hole if you like. I understand that you don't understand. I'm not offended, being that is the usual comment from many and I've dealt with it for years..

There's alternatives for many issues in normal living situations that can be achieved if one can only look outside of the box. (And some sacrifice) Many get the dream of throwing some panels on their roof to replace the power company. It can be done but there's a price to pay.. (As you see)

I would challenge anyone to show me a better way to operate a home on 12 v.d.c. and to parallel the functionality I have. (With no water well or septic) I have created the Hilton Spider Hole, trust me..

As for the sun belt, they have the opposite issue. Cooling! How much panel do you believe it would take to run an A.C. unit? I never worried about it here. The short period I would enjoy it doesn't justify the added cost and equipment. Skibbies and a shade tree works just fine..
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:46 PM
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Please don't take offense at my comment either.

If one is not willing to conserve as you have, then the cost of providing the average 1000kW-hr per month via alternative power sources (solar/wind) leaves one ~$!00K behind over the course of 40 yrs vs a grid connection. People always forget the lost investment potential of tying up $20-30Kfor 20 yrs, and then having to spend it again to replace the installation-- all to save <$200/m in grid costs. Dumb.

OTOH, the true spirit of conservation is re-use, re-cycle and re-duce. You're doing it but many of us don't want to cut back that drastically on some things.

If you're in OH, then you can't be doing this because it's necessary. You must be getting some secondary gain-- like those gearheads that invest $100Gs in their LowRider cars with all the boom boxes and hydraulics and special paint jobs-- they're getting a kick out of it beyond it's use as basic transportation. That's why I go to all the trouble of growing tomatoes when they'll be selling in the store for only 10 cents a lb at harvest time.

Thanks for setting me straight about the cost of my idea. I can't afford that price for the potential benefit. Back to the drawing board.
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:04 AM
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Doc

The circulating pumps, and inside thermostats/ relay for my zones and the fan use such a small amount - a small portable generator is the way to go. Only other power I used is the well pump to top off the boiler every so often , mostl about every 2-3 weeks a- but in realty I could do that with a bucket from the pond same time I fill the toilets.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:35 AM
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Quote..
"If you're in OH, then you can't be doing this because it's necessary. You must be getting some secondary gain-- like those gearheads that invest $100Gs in their LowRider cars with all the boom boxes and hydraulics and special paint jobs-- they're getting a kick out of it beyond it's use as basic transportation. That's why I go to all the trouble of growing tomatoes when they'll be selling in the store for only 10 cents a lb at harvest time."

No intended gain. Just a passion and personal satisfaction. I made it a lifetime experiment to live outside of the box and to engineer the possibilities of what can be done with a very small, simple alternative power supply. I'm not a pioneer but very committed..

Back in '89, there were no power lines near and the cost for the install was staggering! It was out of necessity at first. Over time, power lines have came within reach but the conversion of my home would be extreme with not much benefit, beyond a monthly bill and relying on them for constant service..

I came from very meager beginnings and didn't have much as a child. My first bedroom stereo was a recycled car radio and the battery from a car that my older brother crashed. (I was 14 at the time) The battery thing is in my blood..

The grid and all of the luxuries that it provides has the masses trapped and to deviate is costly! I only supply information.. (Hence the Robert Frost quote in my signature)

IMO.. If the wood burner was inside your living area, there would be no need for the pumps and all of the extra things needed for your situation.. K.I.S.S.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:26 PM
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Either hot air or hot water have to circulate - a fan or a pump.
Just a matter of preference but I prefer to have the flames - chimney - creosote outside my house.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:11 AM
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I understood the need of air flow when I built my current home. I lived in a 20' camper for 5 yrs. using a kerosene heater to supply heat, heat my bath water, and even cooked on it..

The inside of my current home is designed to use convection for circulation. Basically a split level floor plan that is open for air flow and the wood burner in the lower level. None of my interior walls are connected to the ceiling which allows heat to enter the room(s) and cold to flow along the floor, back to the heat source. No rooms have doors but provides privacy by design. I use ceiling fans in a few strategic spots to assist..

Its give or take. I use very little solar energy to heat with beyond the need of chucking wood and hauling ashes. The 3 ceiling fans use ~1.5 amps @ 12 v.d.c. combined and was an afterthought. Things work fine without them but I had a couple cool spots in the areas farthest away from the wood burner. I only need to use them during the very cold nights..

If one wants luxury, it costs..
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:23 PM
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One day if so feel inclined I'd be curious to hear about your 12V setup...like number and type/rating of batteries, panel and inverter choice. Also curious about the 12V appliances that you use. I assume LCD lighting. Wondering about the ceiling fans and water pump especially. I am closing in on retirement and a cabin in the mountains with a combo of solar and wind hopefully will be in my future.
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:49 AM
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Sure..

Perhaps in another thread..
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:35 PM
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We have a small scale solar/wind system at 49 degrees Lat. Little to no sun in winter, but there is more wind in winter. Its a hybrid system, but it works for us. It consists of a 400 watt windmill, a mixture of 5 PV panels, 4 lead acid 6 volt batteries wired in series/parralell, sine wave inverter. Major appliances run off propane. Well pump and domestic water pump are DC, wired directly to the battery bank. Have to run a gas genset in winter to make up for the lack of sun, but basically 6 months of solar power. When I installed the windmill, I thought that I would get a lot of power, but that never really happened. When storms move in and out in the winter, thats when we get windmill activity.
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