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Anyone running on solar energy/power?

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posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 01:41 PM
Hi everyone,

I'd like to talk about Solar Energy/Solar Panels. First, does anyone here have their home setup to fully run on Solar power? If so, is there a monthly bill? What kind of maintenance will need to be done? Is there a storage cell to hold power for night time? How long does the system last? How much does it cost?(Cheapest).

I would only need power for a few things (TV-Xbox360, Washer, Fridge, Computer, Laptop, Air Conditioning but not necessary, fans will do the job). Where I live, the sun is always beaming at 89-98'F throughout the year, some rain, no snow, cloudy every few months or so. I am sick of paying 250.00$ a month for my electricity, and am looking to switch immediately.


Edit: If you watch Survivor Man, there was an episode where he built a house out in the middle of nowhere using a solar setup, consisting of about 10 special batteries(similar to car batteries) and a few solar panels attached to poles around the house. I'll try to find details on it. Fairly simple though.

[edit on 1-10-2008 by Ferengi]

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 02:29 PM
I'm curious about this also, wasn't there some breakthrough recently wtih highly efficient solar panels? have they made it to the market yet?
If not which are the best on the market? (that incluse best price too

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 02:35 PM
My family and I were discussing converting our house from electricity provided from a company to solar panel output. I havent researched this yet, but we did discuss the fundamentals...

At first, buying and installing the panels would be expensive, though it would more than pay itself off in 5 years. The set up would be run off of solar power during the day, and at night run off of wire power (from power company). If the solar panel produces more power during the day than what the house consumes, then that excess power is routed into the power companys power grid, and you actually make money b/c you yourself is feeding into the grid. Also, it is a tax write off since everybody is "Going Green".

So understandably, during the summer months you'll be making your own power more, and during the winter months you'll be using the grid more.

It is a very good investment.

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 03:06 PM
Hi DirtyHarry,

Interesting, so the excess energy is rerouted into the grid. Sounds like some extra setup, but nice. Will definitely be looking more into that. So far I've found a setup for $2500. Not bad at all, still surfing around though, there's gotta be cheaper.

Keep me updated on your setup and any information you come across.


[edit on 1-10-2008 by Ferengi]

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 03:09 PM
Hi Anonymous,

Didn't hear about that breakthrough, going to look into that right now!
Thanks for posting. Also if you come across any links, quotes, prices,
let me know. I'd appreciate it.


posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 03:34 PM

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 04:46 PM
I got a great pdf on the Meyer Fast Hydrogen generator.

But I can let it go for fear of indigestion from the Science Dictatorship.

I think that would be the one to suppress if I were part of the SD.


posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 05:19 PM
if you want to go for renewable , i recommend you will have a mix of 2 (or more) sources. Like Wind+Solar. The solar energy is still very expensive at the moment , and you would need a lot of $$$ to fully run on alternative energies.

What you should do first - is to gather all your electricity bills you paid in the last 12 months then try to calculate how much energy you used so far. For example, I live in UK and I used about 2000 KW per family member in one year + gas bills for winter (lucky you if you do not have harsh winters in your place)

for the argument , let say you need 10 000 KW (kw/hour to be more correct ) , then divide that to 365 days in a year - you need about 30 KW a day , or 30 000 watts .

I guess this is a start , so you can think on what can be done. Now as energy sources - solar is very expensive , but it can be fine for small amounts of energy generation. A very cheap way to go is to build your own Vertical Wind Turbine .

For the situation above, i would say a 5 KW / hour wind turbine will be great , together with about 4-5 square meters of Solar Panels and unfortunately at least 20 "deep cycle" gel batteries (very great for renewable energy ) of 100 ampers . And do not give up the grid as you can still use on emergency situation and you do not pay anything extra to keep it connected.

about costs -

solars could go any near 10 000 $ , wind turbine about 2000 $ if you make it yourself (and it would produce more than the solar panels ! ) and the batteries and control circuits would be around 10 000 $. You can say "bye" to your bills for about 30 years after this.

The cheapest option would be to only use wind turbines and forget the batteries, this would cost less but you cannot totally independent. Go on Video Google and search "build your own wind turbine" to get more clues, lots of nice people are happy to advice for free!

Well, this is the mainstream technology , however there must be some non-conventional technologies too (like TESLA) but I would not put my cash into experimenting it unless the reward would be really good.

[edit on 1-10-2008 by sty]


posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 05:26 PM
o, if you want to know more about prices - go on the old good e-bay

and search for the "photo voltaic panel " or "wind turbine" or "build wind turbine". You can be lucky to get good deals if you are not in a rush .

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 05:27 PM
Yep.. and my Calculator works great.


posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 05:38 PM
reply to post by Ferengi

wow, 2500 $ is cheap - so how much would be the output for this setup ? (when sunny ) ?

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 03:33 PM
reply to post by DirtyHarry

You use a bank of batteries to store the energy for use at any time. The solar panels would connect to a charge controller which would feed current to a bank of batteries and prevent over-charging. Then you step up the voltage using an inverter to output the usual 110v from 12v. Ideally you would want enough batteries to last while other batteries are charging, and switch off.

It's pretty dam expensive to get any usable power output. I am waiting till they become dirt cheap, and that shouldn't be too far off with all the recent break-throughs.

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 03:58 PM
I have search for countless hours on using a solar/wind setup...sorry for the short post, but this link is the best "general" infor I can find:

Electrical Connections

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 04:05 PM
reply to post by Freezer

yes you could use batteries, but thats the more expensive way to go

what i was tryin to explain is run straight off of the solar panels during the day and the grid at would slash the cost of your electricity bills....batteries are for completely getting off the grid ie storage of electricity....

It was just a thought my family members (my brothers) and i were discussing...talkin about the different setups andways to use it.

you can have the solar panels and still be set up on the grid in case of bad weather weeks or you have a long late night party and need loud music and plenty of lights

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 04:09 PM
reply to post by sty

yeah wind turbines are more effective and cheaper, although there is only one problem to this...

it only works if you live in a place that gets alot of wind on a DAILY basis, and you have alot of land. lets face it, you cant have a relaible wind turbine in the middle of your front yard in suburbia panels are good for that, its less of an eye sore, and your neighbors wont complain

now if you had say, 10 acres out in the country of...i dont know...oklahoma (do they have lots of wind? maybe from the tornados...) then it would feasible. how many people have the talent or the means to manufacture their own wind turbines??

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 04:14 PM

Originally posted by Ferengi
Hi DirtyHarry,

Interesting, so the excess energy is rerouted into the grid. Sounds like some extra setup, but nice.

[edit on 1-10-2008 by Ferengi]

no extra set up, the wiring is wired directly into your power grid connection...i live in texas, the country where there are more cows tahn people, and our power comes off of the main power lines down my 1/4 mile driveway, and connects to a transformer on a power pole, then its connected to my house through the meter...anyway, we discussed that the solar panels would tie into the meter, and any energy that is pumped into the grid would be read by the meter in reverse count...understand? so the next time the meter reader comes to see how much energy you've used for March or whatever, and the number is smaller than what it was in February, then you are refunded the difference. Albeit, it may be only a few cents but still, its 250 bucks you save for the month!

it may not be the same everywhere, but thats how it works down here


posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:24 AM
Well, I do not know any "spot" that would not get al least 2000 hours of usefull wind a year . My home town in Romania gets around 4000 hours of good wind a year. This means that a turbine of 1 kw would give you 2000-4000 kw/year. Quite good for the money . However, this is why I said you need more sources - solar alone is not enough too as the output is way too small for a decent house. A mix of 2 + grid is the perfect way to go in my opinion.
About the crowded places of the american suburb - well , this is why I mentioned "vertical wind turbine" , as this kind of turbine is very silent in comparation with the normal turbine + it is easier to set up , runs on low speeds for the wind etc etc. It is far better than the normal wind turbines.
See this one:


[edit on 3-10-2008 by sty]

posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 01:56 PM
reply to post by Ferengi

Hi, I have active solar power for my home. It is not that expensive. about 3k USD for the full set up to run a 2 bedroom house. the power is stored in Lead acid batteries. Lead acid batteries come in sealed and refillable types. With the refillable ones all you need to do is refill them with distilled water every so often. Keep them topped off you don't want to damage your batteries.

Active solar is a life style change (at least in the US) xbox 360? probably not they use too much juice. I have a slimline ps2 and a Nintendo Wii each one draws about 2.5 amps per hour witch is reasonable. Maybe an xbox 360 could work i've been hesitant to buy one because of the amp hour usage. And while we are on the subject of entertainment, small tvs are good. Mine is 19'' and is an energy star model, it uses about 5.5 amps per hour. witch is quite resonable. I had to get rid of my big tv because it sucked too much juice. my dvd player is an engery star model as well and only uses about 1.9 amps. if you want to run a bigger tv and next gen consoles i would recomend a back up generator

Desktop computer is out of the question. Uses too much amp per hour. laptop is fine though only drawing about 3 amps per hour. if you want a desktop computer you need a backup generator.

Electric fridge is out of the question. you need to buy a propane fridge.

Air Conditioning is out of the question. Use a swamp cooler attached to a back up generator (if the humidity in your area allows you to). or you can just have lots of "no shirt days" a personal favorite of mine.

Other things you can't really use on active solar are microwaves, toaster ovens, electric heaters, hair dryers or anything else that puts excessive resistance on a heating coil. I tested a hair dryer one day to see how long it would work it was a 1000 watt dryer, witch is the lowest wattage of hairdryer i could find, most are 2500 watts or more. It took 89 amps to run it and it drained my 6 battery bank (enough for a 3 bedroom house) from 100% full to completely drained in 15-20 minutes. so be careful what you run on it.

also deep cycle batteries are not the kind of batteries that you want to charge and use down to 0. they chemistry of the battery is such that you want to float your charge loads at around 90 - 95 % all the time. this will extend the life of your batteries for quite some time.

it is a great way to live though. my bills are pretty much just propane and occasionaly a cord of wood. that probably totals around 900-1100 USD a year. Remember though that solar isn't a way to "save the planet". It is more like an energy savings bond. It costs about as much energy to manufacture a photo voltaic panel as it will produce in it's life time. luckily for us the panel should be good for 20-30 years.

Anyway i hope you find this helpful.

posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 08:21 PM
reply to post by Ferengi

Here's that Survivorman episode:

Off the Grid 1 hr

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