Running house off grid

Discussion in 'Renewable Energy' started by YELROM, Mar 14, 2019 at 10:35 PM.

  1. YELROM

    YELROM Member

    Location:
    North Yorkshire
    Have a building that i am looking to convert to a farm workers dwelling that has no power supply.
    What would be the approx cost ( i know a lot of variables) of fitting solar panels and battery storage as a electricity supply
    @Slowcow if i have got it right you posted a while ago in another thread that you had a similar system
    How long have you used it and is there any on going costs once fitted
     
  2. upnortheast

    upnortheast Member

    Location:
    Northumberland
    Would think you need another power source
    Almost impossible to get enough from the solar Oct - March to keep you going
    - unless someone knows differnt ?
     
  3. YELROM

    YELROM Member

    Location:
    North Yorkshire
    Would probably have a generator backup and if possible would charge the batteries as well while running
     
    manhill likes this.
  4. upnortheast

    upnortheast Member

    Location:
    Northumberland
    Not dificult to do the sums. - cooking by leccy or gas, heating ??

    Suspect the price of a big enough pile of batteries is the killer.
    Probably cheaper just to run a genny
    @Exfarmer might know ?
     
  5. YELROM

    YELROM Member

    Location:
    North Yorkshire
    Just after ideas of what other people have done before i contact any company's and get bombarded with sales people trying to sell me renewable energy
     
  6. Slowcow

    Slowcow Member

    Hi,
    Ours is homebaked! If your prepared to get your hands dirty its not too bad.

    Health warning! You do need to know a bit about electric and wiring, if your happy to fit a consumer unit you should be OK otherwise find a friendly sparky

    We have 2kw of solar, panels and charger were off the top of my head about £600 a kw.

    We have a 48v 1000amp/hr forklift battery which was ~£2k 4 years ago, it still works fine but capacity has dropped a little bit.

    A second hand super silent 10kva genny which was again about 2k.

    A victron multiplus charger/inverter which does 5kva constant 10 kva peak for a short time in case the kettle and washing machine are on at the same time :).
    Think that was 2k or so?

    I'll stick some pictures up later, hot water / heat is the biggest draw, we have a super insulated house and at the moment can still stick the Rayburn going for hot water, so it the last 48 hrs the Genny has run for 2hrs to keep us going, in the winter its about 2hrs a day in summer sometimes go a week before it needs to go on.

    Good luck!
     
    honeyend, YELROM and upnortheast like this.
  7. Still Farming

    Still Farming Member

    Location:
    Glamorgan Wales
    Easier to do these days with better renewables,batteries,led lights and low energy appliances,inverters and items.
    How far away is electric by the way?
     
    honeyend likes this.
  8. Exfarmer

    Exfarmer Member

    Location:
    Bury St Edmunds
    The problem of such properties is that it requires the occupier to be of the right mind with regards to electricity usage.
    Remember that production in the winter months can be pretty dire at times, without a very substantial array you will need a huge battery supply to keep going, just a fairly modest house during a sustained period of cloudy weather we can experience sometimes.
    Some people enjoy the challenge of working with whatever the elements may chuck at them, however if you are looking to house a farmworker they may be a lot less understanding when the power goes out, as they try cooking tea after a long days work!
    Whatever some may advise, I would go for LPG heating and cooking possibly some panels with battery and a genny to back them up.
     
    simon-0116, br jones and upnortheast like this.
  9. Still Farming

    Still Farming Member

    Location:
    Glamorgan Wales
    Wind turbine maybe also ?
    Any steep mountain brooks for small hydro unit possibly?
     
  10. Slowcow

    Slowcow Member

    Your quite right, the person managing it needs the right mindset but the inverter will start the Genny and if you have a farm diesel tank you can plumb to the Genny it won't need filling up so its not very onerous.
    I would say we get less power cuts than the mains.
    Yep gas cooker, heat the house from gennys water jacket with a big heat store but that's another story...
     
    Exfarmer and upnortheast like this.
  11. honeyend

    honeyend Member

    We have a neighbour who is totally off grid. To start off with they had a homemade set up but now have a professionally installed one. The problem seems to be that there are not enough installers who work with solar panels who understand totally off grid, and have had teething problems.
    If you have any sort of central heating you are going to need a pump. I would look at getting as much solar gain to heat the building as possible, with perhaps LPG/solid fuel for cooking, and dare I say it an Aga type stove.
    The main drains on the electricity are the electric kettle, fridges, washing machine and pumps you may need. Having seen the problems my neighbours have had I would even have a separate battery system for the pump, so someone doesn't drain it by leaving something non essential on.
     
  12. anzani

    anzani Member

  13. Slowcow

    Slowcow Member

    That's genius, thought I had daft ideas, not sure there's a milk or live weight gain there!;)
     
  14. Slowcow

    Slowcow Member

    Just read first post again, ongoing costs are, avg 20l of diesel a week and I think the batteries will only last 7 ish years, we've done 3 years on them now and they seem OK still, as long as they last overnight + a bit we will keep using them.

    The whole off grid thing is a bit like money, if you can get away without using too much you don't need to make too much. Led lights and as much insulation as you can afford. Put the washing machine on when the suns out etc.
     
  15. Zetor

    Zetor Member

    Location:
    Northumberland
    Unless your going to live off grid yourself you really need to put mains in.
     
  16. milkloss

    milkloss Member

    Location:
    East Sussex
    manhill likes this.
  17. milkloss

    milkloss Member

    Location:
    East Sussex
    Get a leccy car: go to work and charge it for free, come home and power the house with it. Or haven’t they done that yet?
     
    simon-0116 likes this.
  18. rollestonpark

    rollestonpark Member

    Location:
    Burton on trent
    Depending on the location etc, the money for the generator, batteries, solar panels and setup etc, might go along way towards the supply install.

    However if off grid is the way it has to be, and your going to put in a generator, I'd try and do a CHP, so when it turns on (the CHP/generator) the heat from the block and exhaust is recovered and used to heat the house and hot water, as this would essentially be a 'free' by product of the electric output.

    Chris
     
  19. Slowcow

    Slowcow Member

    Yep, 15-20kw of heat out a 10kva Genny running full chat is what I've been told.
    Just need to stop hanging pictures, putting up shelves and getting my plumbing kit out again!
     
  20. rollestonpark

    rollestonpark Member

    Location:
    Burton on trent
    Yeah and if you had a big buffer tank to go with it, you could store excess heat for use when the Genny switches off.
    Probably install controls to try and bias the central heating to run more when the generator was running.
     
    Slowcow likes this.

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