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Survival and Preparations Long and short term survival and 'prepping'.

View Poll Results: where to get the power
City power 20 35.09%
Solar and a gen 34 59.65%
Other 3 5.26%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 03-06-2014, 6:16 PM
problemchild problemchild is offline
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Default 4-5k for electricity which would you choose?

You can spend 5k and bring the power from the road to your house or you can spend 5k on solar panels, batteries, inverters and a generator.

Which would you get and why?
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Old 03-06-2014, 6:30 PM
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One good inverter is going to set you back 1500 bucks. Pay the bucks to get power hauled in. A 6 kv solar system with battery and generator backup is going to set you back 25 grand even if you do it yourself.

Your budget is too small for solar.

Remember you have to run a well.
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2014, 6:32 PM
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Solar panels with back up generator and batteries would cost you at least 40K. Most likely more
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Old 03-06-2014, 7:17 PM
problemchild problemchild is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habub View Post
Solar panels with back up generator and batteries would cost you at least 40K. Most likely more

Why?

9,000 watts is 3000 dollars for the panels. I do not need 9k watts. 4k would be enough. 4k watts is 1600 dollars for panels. About 2k for the inverter. The batteries are maybe 2.5k and the charge controller is 200. You can do it for 5k.

Last edited by problemchild; 03-06-2014 at 7:24 PM..
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  #5  
Old 03-06-2014, 7:20 PM
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You are thinking peak output. You still have to run a well. A decent generator is going to set you back 5 grand.
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Old 03-06-2014, 7:23 PM
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If youre building a survivalist bug out cabin go solar. If youre building a house go with electricity or you will never be able to finance it and neither will future buyers if you try to sell it.
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Old 03-06-2014, 7:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinB View Post
You are thinking peak output. You still have to run a well. A decent generator is going to set you back 5 grand.
I can get used diesel gens for 600 all day long. I can run a water tank to store water and run the gen to fill the tank only. Small cabins dont use a bunch of power.
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  #8  
Old 03-06-2014, 7:31 PM
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Did you know a phone line puts out around 24 volts?
Enough to charge some batteries...
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  #9  
Old 03-06-2014, 7:35 PM
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generator will cost you $$$$ and fuel and services if you run it all the time. most generators require a full service if ran continuous for 100 hours. I saw them service the generators we used in Iraq once a week and they changed out all fluids again harsh environment but it helped.

it sure sucked on 115 degree days and no AC in the tents. no work either which made it boring also. but it is what it is.
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2014, 7:57 PM
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I have a big solar-battery-generator system at the ranch. I run PG & E unless the power goes out. I like selling them power but would lose my *** without the tax savings and being able to write off everything for the ranch.

We have a dedicated gen set just for the well. Replacing a burned out pump a couple of times will change your mind quick. Short days and weather is going to limit your ability to cycle the batteries and keep them charged. Calculate your daily KV needs and triple your solar output and battery storage.

Living off grid ain't a bowl of cherries. Run your power then build your system as the funds become available.
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Old 03-06-2014, 8:02 PM
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Quote:
the charge controller is 200.
Even I know thats far too cheap, even for a standby for a little house.
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Old 03-06-2014, 8:41 PM
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Ahem - look at the earthships - if you know the house is going to be off grid and plan around primarily DC you can be much more efficient. Earthships usually get by with less that 1kw in panels and 2kw inverters or less.

Reading a story about a families furnace quitting while they were away during winter and destroying their house - just another reason while my next house will be earth sheltered - no furnace.
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  #13  
Old 03-06-2014, 9:03 PM
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Unless you are going absolute bare bones on your electricity needs, what you propose is too small of a solar setup.

The setup in my truck camper cost over $3K and the controller cost more then the $200 you allocate.

A friend of mine just did a 9KWatt grid-tie system on his house (no batteries at all) and it ran $22K.
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Old 03-06-2014, 9:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_In_29 View Post
Unless you are going absolute bare bones on your electricity needs, what you propose is too small of a solar setup.

The setup in my truck camper cost over $3K and the controller cost more then the $200 you allocate.

A friend of mine just did a 9KWatt grid-tie system on his house (no batteries at all) and it ran $22K.
Why is it so expensive? I can get 9k (21% mono 20yr) of panels for $3.6k, the other parts cannot cost 18.5k.
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Old 03-06-2014, 9:14 PM
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Panels are running .73 per watt so 9kw is gonna be about $6500 plus an off grid inverter at about $2500 for that size. Then the charge controller, batteries( only a 5-10 year lifespan) not to mention wire (which people forget is expensive), and racking of some sort!
At your budget get power brought in!
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:03 PM
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I have solar, grid tied, 7.5 kw system. you would be far better off to get the grid power and purchase a backup gen to start.
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Old 03-06-2014, 10:16 PM
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check this out... http://solarhome.com/offgrid-hyper-x--solar-kits.html

look at the homestead 1 kit, 6960 watts of solar panels, doesn't include the batteries (these can be real spendy!) includes inverters and most of what you will need to get up and running 19k plus and you will need to do the installation.
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  #18  
Old 03-07-2014, 5:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by problemchild View Post
Why is it so expensive? I can get 9k (21% mono 20yr) of panels for $3.6k, the other parts cannot cost 18.5k.
I didn't look at his cost break down and only know the total from what he told me. I would think at least a couple grand of that was labor but even if it was half the total that still leaves $11K of cost without any batteries.

Is that $3600 for the panels DELIVERED to your middle-of-no-where location? Panels aren't light. Includes tax? Forklift to get them off the truck? Doubt delivery guy will wait for you to breakdown the pallets and move the panels individually by hand off his truck.

As mentioned, racking, hardware to mount panels-to-racking and racking-to-roof, wire for panels and to controller, a quality controller, a quality inverter (the 2KW Prosine in my camper cost $1600), batteries are at least $100 a pop (my 4 AGMs were $250 each), the LARGE cables for connecting batteries together and then from batteries to inverter (several dollars a foot), etc.
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:25 AM
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your budget only fits a wind generator from amazon.. maybe 4-5 of the sunforce or windmax 400 watt.

then an inverter and a battery bank.


on a budget you could probably pull a solar system for 6k, enough to power a refrigerator :|

anything else would cost you 10k min.

Last edited by caburian; 03-07-2014 at 6:30 AM..
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:53 AM
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Grid power with two genny back up. A big genny for well pump and a smaller one for pressure tank and household power. No need to fire up the big benny just to light the house. As money comes in build a battery pack so when you run a genny you charge the batts.
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Old 03-07-2014, 7:13 AM
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for that budget it's city power and prayer
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  #22  
Old 03-07-2014, 8:38 AM
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Why would you rely on power from the grid when you can be self-sufficient? Not to mention the cost savings over time.
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  #23  
Old 03-07-2014, 10:03 AM
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There is barely if any costs savings being off grid. Bring the costs if you maintaining. ..I guess if you value your man hours at under $100 an hour ...go for it.

Batteries are $240 for non sealed, if you are goid at battery maintenance you can get 7 years ish. Sealed batteries costs more, have shorter life 5 years ish , but no maintenance.

My father in law has lived off grid for 7 years now. It's expensive and is a bit crappy. To bring grid in will be $50-75k....so he wasn't ready to do that. They power a 1500 sqft 3 bed 2 bath home. Batteries/solar/generator.

Not even a second guess...get on the grid!!

Go buy a $500 generator for backup. Down the line save for solar, it will only get cheaper, but not as cheap as grid juice for many years.

Anyone who says solar is cheaper is clueless, ir the property circumstances are very...very rare.
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Old 03-07-2014, 5:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by problemchild View Post
You can spend 5k and bring the power from the road to your house or you can spend 5k on solar panels, batteries, inverters and a generator.

Which would you get and why?
It really depends where you live. If you have lots of solar exposure I would go with solar.
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:08 PM
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This might be a little off topic, but make sure you understand the bid to bring the grid to you. I ran power to a piece of property with an allowance from the power company. After a year, they sent me a bill for the power i didn't use. I guess they gave me the price assuming I'd use a certain amount of power, when i didn't, they charged me anyway.

On topic, off grid is way more work, maintenace etc. For 5k i vote grid tie.
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:12 PM
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I have a 8k solar system in my garage right now. I paid $1.40 a watt which was 11,215. I got everything from racking, panels, every nut and bolt and all the clamps, all the way to the warning stickers and even the AC disconnect, also the web monitoring box as Edison requires.. I got 28 285w panels. Government subsidy is going to pay me back 4k back and ill pay off system in 2.3 years. I got the 8k sunny boy inverter. Its in my damn garage cause the damn city is sitting on my plans in review as im installing myself. I also got 60 roof mount orion flashings. Orion racking and LDK panels. Anyone in so cal the company is solartecusa in Northridge. No tax but thats another story

Permit and total amount will be $11,600 as my permit is only 200 and all I need from here is couple J boxes, 8 gauge grounding wire (grounding clips came with system), and 10ft steel conduit. He even gave me a few hundred feet of USE-2 10 gauge PV wire. PM me if any questions it took me a few month before I chose those dudes. If you go in there tell Fred John sent you. The guy that came in with hundreds.

Edit. This guy sells about 30 pallets of solar a day. He probably had 200 pallets there and gets them straight off the ships. Hes got canadian, LDK, LG, Sharp, Trina panels. Trina panels run .79 a watt and LDK was $73 a watt. He also sells a lot on ebay.

It was a slow drive home lol


All the trendys were waving at me in their little cars lol.
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Last edited by john67elco; 03-25-2014 at 5:31 PM..
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:33 PM
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LDK is insolvent, they are bringing in liquidators it looks like.
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john67elco View Post
I have a 8k solar system in my garage right now. I paid $1.40 a watt which was 11,215. I got everything from racking, panels, every nut and bolt and all the clamps, all the way to the warning stickers and even the AC disconnect, also the web monitoring box as Edison requires.. I got 28 285w panels. Government subsidy is going to pay me back 4k back and ill pay off system in 2.3 years. I got the 8k sunny boy inverter. Its in my damn garage cause the damn city is sitting on my plans in review as im installing myself. I also got 60 roof mount orion flashings. Orion racking and LDK panels. Anyone in so cal the company is solartecusa in Northridge. No tax but thats another story

Permit and total amount will be $11,600 as my permit is only 200 and all I need from here is couple J boxes, 8 gauge grounding wire (grounding clips came with system), and 10ft steel conduit. He even gave me a few hundred feet of USE-2 10 gauge PV wire. PM me if any questions it took me a few month before I chose those dudes. If you go in there tell Fred John sent you. The guy that came in with hundreds.

Edit. This guy sells about 30 pallets of solar a day. He probably had 200 pallets there and gets them straight off the ships. Hes got canadian, LDK, LG, Sharp, Trina panels. Trina panels run .79 a watt and LDK was $73 a watt. He also sells a lot on ebay.

It was a slow drive home lol


All the trendys were waving at me in their little cars lol.
Thanks for sharing. It's good to hear what the real world prices are right now.
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Old 03-07-2014, 6:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john67elco View Post
I have a 8k solar system in my garage right now. I paid $1.40 a watt which was 11,215. I got everything from racking, panels, every nut and bolt and all the clamps, all the way to the warning stickers and even the AC disconnect, also the web monitoring box as Edison requires.. I got 28 285w panels. Government subsidy is going to pay me back 4k back and ill pay off system in 2.3 years. I got the 8k sunny boy inverter. Its in my damn garage cause the damn city is sitting on my plans in review as im installing myself. I also got 60 roof mount orion flashings. Orion racking and LDK panels. Anyone in so cal the company is solartecusa in Northridge. No tax but thats another story

Permit and total amount will be $11,600 as my permit is only 200 and all I need from here is couple J boxes, 8 gauge grounding wire (grounding clips came with system), and 10ft steel conduit. He even gave me a few hundred feet of USE-2 10 gauge PV wire. PM me if any questions it took me a few month before I chose those dudes. If you go in there tell Fred John sent you. The guy that came in with hundreds.

Edit. This guy sells about 30 pallets of solar a day. He probably had 200 pallets there and gets them straight off the ships. Hes got canadian, LDK, LG, Sharp, Trina panels. Trina panels run .79 a watt and LDK was $73 a watt. He also sells a lot on ebay.

It was a slow drive home lol


All the trendys were waving at me in their little cars lol.
I think that is a grid tied system. Power goes out and your solar is out also. No batteries and no generator and no labor.
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Old 03-07-2014, 7:12 PM
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I think that is a grid tied system. Power goes out and your solar is out also. No batteries and no generator and no labor.
You can splice to a bank. I have a real good plan on second off grid tie after the use-2 to a bank it's not as hard as everyone makes out
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half of you here are weak and lame that will basically wind up being happy with .22 single shot pistols or single barrel shotguns..


Last edited by john67elco; 03-07-2014 at 7:30 PM..
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Old 03-07-2014, 7:28 PM
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Originally Posted by everyreggie View Post
LDK is insolvent, they are bringing in liquidators it looks like.
Exactly why I got them so cheap lol a few to change out if bad down the road is no biggie. For the price I did like trina as they been on NYSE since like 1996? Trina are good panels for the low price
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half of you here are weak and lame that will basically wind up being happy with .22 single shot pistols or single barrel shotguns..

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Old 03-07-2014, 7:43 PM
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$5,000. I might say tie into the grid and then over time replace it with solar and generator power. A diesel generator for an hour or two a day is going to cost you plenty. Might check on a propane generator just because you might enjoy a lower cost delivery service. If you could pencil out generator / fuel at $3k for the year and barely meeting your needs add a $2k solar system for a little extra, and next year double that and the year after do it again and ideally you start cutting off the fuel.
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Old 03-08-2014, 6:03 AM
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John, you bought "out the door" panels, unless you work as an approved installer - there is even less warranty. Along with that is the Permit approval.

Stand alone in the yard and do what you like... just the Union way of getting your $$.

Specs on the panels?
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Old 03-08-2014, 6:03 AM
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John, you bought "out the door" panels, unless you work as an approved installer - there is even less warranty. Along with that is the Permit approval.

Stand alone in the yard and do what you like... just the Union way of getting your $$. No one wants you to be able to turn wrenches.

Specs on the panels?
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Old 03-08-2014, 8:08 AM
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Getting back to the original question, 5 grand is about 1/5 of the money you need to build a system yourself and have it power your home. Even 25 grand is doing thing on the tight side in my opinion.

Another thing to consider is don't take anyone's word except the power company's on how much it going to cost to get power to your home site. Get it in writing !!!!.
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Old 03-08-2014, 8:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdkevin View Post
John, you bought "out the door" panels, unless you work as an approved installer - there is even less warranty. Along with that is the Permit approval.

Stand alone in the yard and do what you like... just the Union way of getting your $$. No one wants you to be able to turn wrenches.

Specs on the panels?
On the approval permit they just suck *** and slow. Most cities have adopted the states streamlined permit application as mine did. On the first page it says who is going to install the system and there is a homeowner box. The califirnia solar permit guide goes over this.

Here's the panels
http://www.ldksolar.com/uploadfiles/...3_20131028.pdf

California's solar act of 1979
"It is the intent of the Legislature that local agencies not adopt ordinances that create unreasonable barriers
to the installation of solar energy systems, including, but not limited to, design review for aesthetic purposes, and not unreasonably restrict the ability of homeowners and agricultural and business concerns to install solar energy systems. It is the policy of the state to promote and encourage the use of solar energy systems and to limit obstacles to their use. It is the intent of the Legislature that local agencies comply not only with the language of this section, but also the legislative intent to encourage the installation of solar energy systems by removing obstacles to, and minimizing costs of, permitting for such systems."

CA guidebook
http://opr.ca.gov/docs/California_So..._Guidebook.pdf
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""Calgunners couldn't wait to start falling all over themselves as to how to best comply""


half of you here are weak and lame that will basically wind up being happy with .22 single shot pistols or single barrel shotguns..


Last edited by john67elco; 03-08-2014 at 8:20 AM..
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  #37  
Old 03-08-2014, 9:35 AM
everyreggie everyreggie is offline
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Originally Posted by john67elco View Post
You can splice to a bank. I have a real good plan on second off grid tie after the use-2 to a bank it's not as hard as everyone makes out
Just to double check, you know that inverters that are allowed to be tied to the grid are made to shut down in the event of a power outage right? These typically can't be used on battery systems, you need a different inverter for that.

Also I think most permitting departments require final sign off by a C10 contractor before final connection to the grid even on homeowner installs. I may be wrong though....

Last edited by everyreggie; 03-08-2014 at 9:40 AM.. Reason: More info
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  #38  
Old 03-08-2014, 11:23 AM
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Spyguy Spyguy is offline
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Another consideration is that you NEVER get the rated power out of solar. Those are theoretical numbers. Plan to get only 70-75% of the rating as actual usable power.

And if you live in a fairly dry climate, be prepared to be cleaning your panels periodically (at least annually).
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by everyreggie View Post
Just to double check, you know that inverters that are allowed to be tied to the grid are made to shut down in the event of a power outage right? These typically can't be used on battery systems, you need a different inverter for that.

Also I think most permitting departments require final sign off by a C10 contractor before final connection to the grid even on homeowner installs. I may be wrong though....
I'm pretty sure that the bold is incorrect. When I was installing my system back around 2005 the xantrax system was modified to allow normal local power through the inverter when the grid was down (via batteries or panels). They actually made the system modification (about three weeks before I finished) while I was installing my system and the building inspector caught the change and required me to get my system modified. They referred to the problem as "islanding" where your inverter would attempt to send electricity back into the grid to your neighbors when the grid was down.

I was wondering why they would have made grid tie systems so disfunctional so I did a quick google search and the page below specs all of the grid tie inverters as capable of grid down normal functions. I imagine it may an option that a homeowner may or may not care about - my neighbor got the bug several years after I did mine and put in a 12kw system with no batteries, not sure if his system operates without grid power.

http://www.wholesalesolar.com/grid-t...ry-backup.html

I would add that I suspect it would be problematic if you did not have a battery bank involved, to act as storage/buffer between the panels and inverter. Maybe there's a EE around that could help me out with that.
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:58 PM
Steve_In_29 Steve_In_29 is offline
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Originally Posted by Ripon83 View Post
$5,000. I might say tie into the grid and then over time replace it with solar and generator power. A diesel generator for an hour or two a day is going to cost you plenty. Might check on a propane generator just because you might enjoy a lower cost delivery service. If you could pencil out generator / fuel at $3k for the year and barely meeting your needs add a $2k solar system for a little extra, and next year double that and the year after do it again and ideally you start cutting off the fuel.
While propane makes for a cleaner fuel with no gumming problems, in a grid-down situation, the likelihood of being able to refuel is pretty nil. At least with a gas/diesel genny you can take fuel cans to what ever location might still be dispensing it.
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