Photovoltaic advice please

2 Posts
Jun 27, 2009 06:38 am
Photovoltaic advice please

I wonder if anyone is running their home using photovoltaic energy, off grid? We are having a house built and it seems a viable option to use pv instead of grid electricity, but we don't really know much about it. We have done some research but it seems most people use it to supplement their power. We would be dependant upon it all year. I know the supplier would give technical advice, but I'd really like to hear from anyone using it already, in general terms, for their opinion. Can you help?
97 Posts
Jun 27, 2009 12:11 pm
Re: Photovoltaic advice please

Hi Carol M.  This is a noble mission you go completely off grid with your alternative energy system.  This was also my intent when I first got into this a few years ago.  So far, I have been able to achieve only about 90% off grid condition. I don't know your location and conditions of sunlight exposure, but in my case, the Midwest, I have had to supplement the PV power with wind power as well.  There are few times when there is a lack of both wind and sun, but this happens on occasion too, and this requires a massive amount of battery storage to maintain household power under all conditions.  There are many variables and one has to take all of these into consideration.  Sometimes we simply try things and see how they work for us......going for the practical instead of just the theoretical method.  In any case, its a time consuming and expensive process.  In order to go completely off grid, I think that one would have to make some concessions on occasion, like doing without home entertainment, hot showers, hot food (there is always McDonalds, haah), and some sacrifices of comfort and convenience that may not appeal to everyone. I started with a personal audit of my typical power consumption for various needs to identify the major power consumers, and then tried to trim my consumption to an absolute minimum for daily living. It has been an interesting experience, however, and a work in progress.  I wish you good fortune in this endeavor. :-) Jon C.
2 Posts
Jun 27, 2009 04:13 pm
Re: Photovoltaic advice please

Hello Jon,
Thanks for the comprehensive reply, it is really useful.
Our house will be on an island in Greece, (so NO McDonalds!) and it is in a place where it would be almost as expensive to put in mains electricity as it would be for a pv system. That means initial set up costs are fairly irrelevant. Although we would have solar water heating (when available) and gas cooking, I am afraid we would still need a large (and let's face it, rather ugly) pv set up for all our other needs.
The suppliers seem confident we would be ok with no other power source, but I always had my doubts. You have highlighted these doubts for me and since we are not technically minded people nor are we determined to 'go green', this project may not go ahead after all. It's a pity as I was starting to feel all virtuous! It had a lot of appeal, but we are moving there for an easy life, not one where we worry if the lights will work in the winter!
Again, I really appreciate your comments and advice. Good luck with your own progress!


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