getting started need help

1 Posts
Mar 11, 2010 11:53 am
getting started need help

I am just starting my research on going off the grid, I want a wind turbine, but not sure how big to go. If I use around 2797 KWH per month , how do I know how big to get the turbine and converter, inverters as well as how many batteries to use?? Thanks love the sight, hoping to be off the grid by this time next year.
97 Posts
Mar 11, 2010 04:14 pm
Re: getting started need help

Hi Amy Q.  In setting up a energy system, there are so many variables, that I am not sure where to start, but I can mention a few based on my own experience.  I operate off grid about 95% of the time, and have not found it possible to go completely off grid without distastefully altering my life style......I do like my creature comforts. ;-)  Your calculation for energy consumption sounds very precise, but I am sure there are variations in this figure depending on time and seasons of the year.  I found that my energy consumption was doubled in the winter time as a result of the difference between air conditioning and heating needs, and was far from a constant figure.  The solar panels and wind turbines are rated under ideal test conditions, which seldom exist in the natural setting we live in, so you will probably not get the rated output unless wind is gale force and sunlight is totally un-obscured by clouds, fog, rain, and you can adjust the panel tilt for optimum solar angle every day and hour and month.  Besides normal load currents, there are startup surge currents on devices like pumps and compressors, and your inverters must handle these currents as well.  With electronics, there are a multitude of inefficiencies and losses which will detract from your expected performance based on equipment ratings, so precise calculations likely have some inaccuracy in the practical sense. I simply over-rated all the components by a factor of two, which is not terribly scientific, but it has gotten me to a place where I now have a rather serious and workable system.  :-)  I wish you good fortune in your endeavor.  Jon C.
Mar 14, 2010 04:45 pm
Re: getting started need help

There is a web site that should help you, some what.
2797 kwh's a month, thats a pretty tall order to fill for an "off grid" system utilizing just wind.
If you were to install a wind genny rated for 10,000 watts max. in a wind speed of 28 mph then, roughly speaking, that would need to be sustained 28 mph winds for at least 9 hours a day, or some variation of that. Maybe sustained 14 mph winds, 18 hours a day. Everyday. But there are a lot of variations like, in a 14 mph wind, the genny may make less than 5,000 watts.
Also if there is one day the wind does not blow at all, battery storage for one 24 hour period would need to hold more than 90 kwh's or more than 1875 amphours at 48 vdc nominal. Thats just one 24 hour periods worth.
You may want to supplement wind with PV as well as conservation.
To give you an idea, if I were paying for my electricity at a rate of $0.12 per kwh, my electric bill would be about $7.00 a month as opposed to your $335.00 a month electric bill. I admit though, my propane is higher than normal. It performs the tasks of; refrigeration, cooking, hot water (assisted by solar), and supplemental heat. But even the LP bill averages out to about $45.00 a month.
As distasteful as it may be to some, I am quite comfortable here on our farmstead. I did have an advantage though, I learned how to live without any electricity at all for over 25 years first.
I never get tired of writting this.
From whatever beginnings one believes that mankind had on Earth, we can all agree that several thousands of years went by up to the advent of electricity, which started only about 100 years ago. Mankind flourished without electricity for thousands of years but now in just the last 100 years we cannot live without it?
There is something wrong with that picture.
Or is there?
I am sure that somebody is laughing about it, all the way to the bank. Probably the only sour note in their day is when they think about how its not illegal to live without electricity under punishment of law... Yet.

Total revenues in 2008 increased from $343.7 billion in 2007 to $363.7 billion in 2008 primarily due to the 6.7 percent increase in the average retail price despite a 0.8 percent decrease in total retail sales of electricity.

Its understandable why RE is trying so hard to get a slice of that pie.
Good luck!

10 Posts
Mar 20, 2010 11:38 am
Re: getting started need help

2797 kwh/month, wow I thought I was an off grid energy hog.
The first investment you might consider is the kilawatt meter.
  I have lived a majority of my adult life off the grid. Mostly by living with out, and running a generator, propane appliances, wood heat and cooking.
 In the last year we have started over building from scratch. Energy efficency is the key. We now are living pretty comfortable. With appliances like washer, dryer (propane), dishwaser, full size refrigerator, upright freezer, satelite tv, satelite internet, microwave, coffee maker and toaster.
  When we bought our current property the bid to put electricity to our site was $15,000. So we used that as our budget to stay off the grid.
   we did most of the work ouselves and have been able to limit our generator use. It does take a lot of paying attention to battery status before running things like the dishwasher.
   Our system consist of:
    bergey XL1 1kw wind generator and controller
    8 sw solar 175 watt panels 1400 watts
    outback:  combiner box
              fm80 charge controller
              vfx3524 inverter
     Iota 4024 battery charger
     12 Trojan t145 batteries
     dewalt 4300 watt generator
    We have been able to ionstall ourselves with a little help and alot of advice. And we have stayed under our $15,000 budget. And that does not even take into account the tax credits.
  I would have to check the history of our use but I would guess it is well under 10kwh a day (300kwh month)
  Location is key
  we are in sunny texas hill country on a breezy ridge.

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