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Old 03-01-2015, 10:32 PM   #1
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Going off the grid

How's everyone? Haven't been on in a while.

We took a full time position in Salem Oregon and had the beauty in storage.

I've made deal with a local land owner and he is going to let us set up our own site on the bank of the Willamette River.

Here is the issue. PGE will put a meter at the site but it will cost a pretty penny.

I've seen several threads about boondocking but I'm looking at being there full time. I was thinking about doing free standing solar/wind power and a large free standing bank of batteries.

My question is has anyone done this? How much power will the 'Mini power station' have to put out to be the same as shore power?
What size inverter?
How many batteries?

I want to be able to run everything including the AC's

I will have backup gene for the cloudy days to recharge the batteries but I don't want to do that every day.

Basicly I want to produce enough energy to seem like I'm on shore power.

Suggestions?
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:39 PM   #2
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Don't know, but wouldn't be surprised if you end up spending more trying to be self sufficient than what the electric company would charge.
To run everything in the RW will take numerous inverters as I don't thing you can get a single unit big enough, then you'll need a massive battery bank to support them. Next you getting into some pretty good sized solar panels and wind charger.
If you do it, keep everyone here updated on the progress.
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:17 AM   #3
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Honestly, I'm guessing a few thousand dollars at a minimum. Your likely going to want a good 3k-5k generator in addition to the solar or wind farm you setup to provide for the cloudy days (I used to live in Portland). It could be done and would be fun to build but it won't be cheap.


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Old 03-02-2015, 01:57 AM   #4
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I was wrong, you can buy a single inverter to do the job, here's one from the Inverter Store:

12000 Watt Pure Sine Inverter 48 volt DC to 120/240 volt AC - on sale now $2530.00

Not cheap, then the Battery bank to supply enough juice. What does the Electric Co want to run power? We had to pay to have the line extended to our property and had to install a pole, anchor, and breaker box with outlet, but total cost wasn't even close to what that inverter cost.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:46 AM   #5
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M&A have it right. Inverter size is not a problem, batteries and panels will drive the price up. A friend of ours just got done with a nice solar system, self installed, 6 agm 6v batteries, 3 commercial panels....cost..about 7k. Run a/c? Not for more than a few minutes, otherwise ok. Generally a solar system will do fine off the grid if you generate enough watts, have large enough battery bank and don't need a/c....and have abundant sunshine.

Btw, That cost has no labor...just materials.
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:14 PM   #6
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The main issue, besides cost is that you are looking to run air conditioner(s) While it's not impossible, it is very impractical. It would take a HUGE battery bank to store that many amp hours, not to mention the panels, etc to feed it. Again, I'm not saying impossible. Now, if you are looking to run everything except A/Cs, and are going to run refrig and hot water heater on propane, a solar system with 4 to 6 golf cart batteries is easy enough to set up or install on the rig. We boondock with ours and sometimes forget we are running on solar, EXCEPT when it's really hot and we can't run the air conditioners.....
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trfield58 View Post
The main issue, besides cost is that you are looking to run air conditioner(s) While it's not impossible, it is very impractical. It would take a HUGE battery bank to store that many amp hours, not to mention the panels, etc to feed it. Again, I'm not saying impossible. Now, if you are looking to run everything except A/Cs, and are going to run refrig and hot water heater on propane, a solar system with 4 to 6 golf cart batteries is easy enough to set up or install on the rig. We boondock with ours and sometimes forget we are running on solar, EXCEPT when it's really hot and we can't run the air conditioners.....
I would agree with this. If it were me I'd build a system to cover everything EXCEPT the AC. When the AC is needed I'd kick in a generator to cover that load. It's the easiest way.

In OR your rarely going to need more than a single AC unit with rare exception of an odd heat wave. A good 3K Watt generator could easily cover that load and only costs about $1k-1.5K unless you wanted a smaller genset.
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:58 AM   #8
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If we knew exactly what the Electric Company was going to charge, would make offering suggestions much easier.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:03 PM   #9
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Not really sure yet on the cost. PGE is coming this week to give an estimate but it sounds like it might be cheaper after all.
Too bad! It would be nice to have more options other than fossil fuels.

I am also looking at ways to recycle grey water to use as landscaping water.

We are going to put a holding tank in for black water and have it pumped out by the local honey wagon service but didn't want to just dump the grey water without treating it first.

My research shows that if you run the Greg water thru a sand and gravel mixture it may not be potable but its fine for plants as long as you use the correct laundry detergent.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:22 PM   #10
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You need to be really careful with your disposal of grey water being so close to a river as noted in your post.
All chemicals used... dish soap, laundry soap, shampoo, cooking grease etc. could possibly end up in the ground water or the river.
You should do your research on what you can and cannot do in your area before you go too far with your plans.
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:03 PM   #11
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Unless you are in an unincorporated area,
you are right, would guess the municipality would have an issue with just dumping the grey water....

but its not just the filtering, it's the right mix of bacteria that will breakdown the 'stuff'...

we are in 'the country' around the dfw, tx area and do not have sewer service in our neighborhood, so we all have aerobic systems which basically is our own sewer system...

We have to stay away from certain things that would kill the bacteria in the aerobic system... as that is was makes the water ALMOST potable coming out the sprinklers out back...

if sized correctly works well, even for 5 to 6k sq ft homes and more than 5 people in some...on a few of the homes they een have rainwater capture systems as well as water wells!
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradPAjax View Post
You need to be really careful with your disposal of grey water being so close to a river as noted in your post.
All chemicals used... dish soap, laundry soap, shampoo, cooking grease etc. could possibly end up in the ground water or the river.
You should do your research on what you can and cannot do in your area before you go too far with your plans.
The research I have done says a biosand filter will take out all biological containments then all you need to do is be mindful of chemical additives. You can get laundry detergent that is biodegradable that will break down into plant nutrients. No bleach, cleaning products or phosphates can go down your drain
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnboytoo View Post
Unless you are in an unincorporated area,
you are right, would guess the municipality would have an issue with just dumping the grey water....

but its not just the filtering, it's the right mix of bacteria that will breakdown the 'stuff'...

we are in 'the country' around the dfw, tx area and do not have sewer service in our neighborhood, so we all have aerobic systems which basically is our own sewer system...

We have to stay away from certain things that would kill the bacteria in the aerobic system... as that is was makes the water ALMOST potable coming out the sprinklers out back...

if sized correctly works well, even for 5 to 6k sq ft homes and more than 5 people in some...on a few of the homes they een have rainwater capture systems as well as water wells!
Are you using what we call a 'turd pond'? I have that on my house back in Kansas but wasn't sure how to do that on a smaller scale
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:47 PM   #14
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never heard it called that -
and it brings up terrible images in my mind

https://www.google.com/search?q=aero...utf-8&oe=utf-8

As shown in the links,
it's basically 3 tanks with 3 purposes -
raw, processed, and aerated for pumping...
nothing open to the atmosphere other than the sprinklers in the back yard...

and they can be sized any way shape or form...
but imho would never be a DIY effort...

get on google in your area and do a search for aerobic systems, everywhere but the north east probably has some installers...

it's free grass watering and even though they say it's potable, we keep the sprinklers away from the pools
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Old 03-03-2015, 06:39 PM   #15
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FWIW, the bulk of the power in the PNW is renewable energy. I believe they have more energy from wind and hydro than anywhere else in the nation. I was really impressed when we lived in Oregon and I researched this.
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:30 AM   #16
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So how many watts and amps would be needed to run everything except the ac's. Any guesses?
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:40 AM   #17
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2000 watts, 20 amps, give or take. It would be like running off of an adapter into a regular outlet, not 30 or 15 amp.
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Old 03-04-2015, 02:29 PM   #18
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I've got an email in to Magnum Energy. According to their website, they have a new technology that is an inverter/charger combination. 4000 watt inverter and if you plug in with an outside source of power(gene or extension cord) the inverter combines the outside power with the battery power. Their example: 4000 watt from inverted battery and 4000 watt external input gives the RV 8000 watts available power. Its pure sine energy. When the RV doesn't need all of the power from the external input, the inverter uses the excess to charge the batteries.

$1200 on Amazon
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Old 03-04-2015, 02:50 PM   #19
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When we wintered in Mexico for a few years we had to watch the power draw as 15 amp service was the normal and in one RV park 3 of us shared a 30 amp breaker.

I used a clamp meter to measure what amps we were consuming at minimal usage (water heater and refrigerator on gas, lighting on and sat internet with router and laptop), the trailer drew about 4 amps.

You may want to do something similar with the the stuff you want to run operating and then checking the draw, that would give you an idea of the correct sizing. Running stuff on propane is generally more expensive than running on electric at current pricing, perhaps factoring in the additional load of the furnace is also important in cold weather.

Most electricians have clamp meters and can check for you but it may be cheaper to buy a meter and do the job yourself.
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Old 03-04-2015, 04:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by almcc View Post
When we wintered in Mexico for a few years we had to watch the power draw as 15 amp service was the normal and in one RV park 3 of us shared a 30 amp breaker.

I used a clamp meter to measure what amps we were consuming at minimal usage (water heater and refrigerator on gas, lighting on and sat internet with router and laptop), the trailer drew about 4 amps.

You may want to do something similar with the the stuff you want to run operating and then checking the draw, that would give you an idea of the correct sizing. Running stuff on propane is generally more expensive than running on electric at current pricing, perhaps factoring in the additional load of the furnace is also important in cold weather.

Most electricians have clamp meters and can check for you but it may be cheaper to buy a meter and do the job yourself.

Didn't even know those were available. Thank you

What was it like wintering in mexico?
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