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edited 12 January 2023 at 10:53PM in Green & ethical MoneySaving
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  • Magnitio
    Magnitio Posts: 877
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    No desire to go off grid. It would mean I couldn't sell the excess solar during the summer to pay for usage in the winter.
    6.4kWp (16 * 400Wp REC Alpha) facing ESE + 5kW Huawei inverter + 10kWh Huawei battery. Buckinghamshire.
  • EricMears
    EricMears Posts: 3,222
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    Domestic wind turbines are probably already affordable and reliable.  However,  few of us live somewhere that's open to wind from all directions or have enough land to site their WT far enough from the house so that noise becomes bearable.  And of course we don't have a nice steady wind 24/7  so a WT would need a fairly large battery system to keep things running when wind isn't sufficient.
    NE Derbyshire.4kWp S Facing 17.5deg slope (dormer roof).24kWh of Pylontech batteries with Lux controller BEV : Hyundai Ioniq5
  • Screwdriva
    Screwdriva Posts: 1,117
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    Quite simply, cost and bureaucracy. Without substantial wind + solar and a very large battery bank, running the air/ ground source heat pump would be impossible in the winter.

    Sadly, acquiring planning permission for a micro wind turbine isn't as straightforward as it should be. 
    -  10 x 400w LG + 6 x 550W SHARP BiFacial Panels + SE 3680 HD Wave Inverter + SE Optimizers. SE London.
    -  Triple aspect. (22% ENE/ 33% SSE/ 45% WSW)
    -  Viessmann 200-W on Advanced Weather Comp. (the most efficient gas boiler sold)
  • paul991
    paul991 Posts: 348
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    long term cheap storage is the the main thing that would make it easier but unless you live miles away from any one  and mains services are too expensive why would any one want too.There are loads of videos on youtube of  people on remote islands or places in america  who have achieved this but why  spend lots of money and time just to prove you can seems stupid 
  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,145
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    No desire to go off grid totally, very happy to sell excess from solar in summer, which helps cover cost of gas/electricity I do use over winter.

    Having the grid available also gives peace of mind to cover PV/battery equipment breaking down now and thinking of the future and old age, I don't want to be worrying about if I would be healthy and strong enough to be finding/chopping/storing/carrying wood to keep me warm. Much easier to press a button  :)
    Barnsley, South Yorkshire
    Solar PV 5.25kWp SW facing (14 x 375 Longi) Lux 3.6kw hybrid inverter and 4.8kw Pylontech battery storage installed March 22
    Octopus Agile/Fixed Outgoing and Tracker gas
  • Screwdriva
    Screwdriva Posts: 1,117
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    edited 3 December 2022 at 12:20PM
    Your intuition on turbine reliability was accurate when I used to install micro off grid hybrid systems in the late 2000s. Even American turbine manufacturers like Southwest's Skystream (all the rage back then) struggled to go 5 years without breakdown.

    That said, I believe things have improved of late and 7+ years of hassle free turbine operation are possible. Sadly, without a 2+ kWh wind turbine or a hydro generator on your property, paired to a 20+ kWh battery bank to support heating, going entirely off grid is untenable. 

    Have you looked into SD energy in your neck of the woods?
    -  10 x 400w LG + 6 x 550W SHARP BiFacial Panels + SE 3680 HD Wave Inverter + SE Optimizers. SE London.
    -  Triple aspect. (22% ENE/ 33% SSE/ 45% WSW)
    -  Viessmann 200-W on Advanced Weather Comp. (the most efficient gas boiler sold)
  • chris_n
    chris_n Posts: 605
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    edited 3 December 2022 at 12:46PM
    OK, I'll share some of my thoughts/findings.

    We live in a large, 20 year old, 4 bed bungalow with 2 big lounges. We're in rural Scotland. 2 adults and 4 dogs home all day. We're very much into sustainable living (not for any 'green' reason, but simply because we have no faith in the 'system'). We grow our own food sustainably, do all our own repairs and modifications to our property etc That's our 'job'/lifestyle.. Not a small holding (we live in a regular street) but that's kind of our mindset. We have a huge garden and we back onto a farm. 

    I can eliminate need for gas completely - our single woodburner is heating the home, water, some cooking. We have the option to add another in the kitchen that's ideally suited to cooking and heating water. We have access to free firewood.

    We have solar. We've used generators to keep it completely separate from the grid and it's working nicely. Like others - more than we need in the summer but not enough in the winter. We have comfortably and easily reduced winter electricity usage to 3kwh a day. In the depths of winter we only get about 500wh a day from solar. Our system has capacity for another 1kw of panels, but even then it wouldn't be quite enough. 

    I suspect (just from watching the trees etc) that we have too much turbulence for wind turbine. I also don't trust that they'll be reliable enough - all those moving parts!!!

    So that's our 'gap' that's keeping us on grid.

    1300wh is used by fridge freezer and separate freezer. We have a brand new, unused DC fridge in our motorhome which could be moved into the house. Solar would run that all winter. However, until we work out better ways of preserving the veg we grow we really need that big freezer. We're doing a lot of canning and drying of food. But still need that freezer for now....

    The washing machine is the other thing that needs electricity. Yes, we could do it by hand, but that (at this point) is a step too far. But for sure we could manage in an emergency.

    Then it's just lighting (solar would cope with that) and TV, laptop, computers and a few odds and sods like hoover, alarms etc. 

    So, it's a matter of finding ways of doing things that don't use electricity, combined with finding ways to get that bit more electricity in winter. 

    It costs us £300 a year (standing charge) for the privilege of being able to buy a bit from the grid in winter. I don't mind that as things stand. It's good to have an emergency backup - even if you're managing 100% off grid. So it's like paying an insurance policy. But if people on here are correct that option won't be available to me much longer (as I won't have a smart meter in the house).  So my strategy is to hope for the best but prepare for the possibility that I need to be completely off grid in the next couple of years. 


    Is it feasible to pay someone else to charge your generator batteries when required? 
    Most who are off grid regardless of wind turbines (don't work near buildings), hydro, solar etc have an actual generator of some sort as backup to keep the batteries charged when required.
    Living the dream in the Austrian Alps.
  • Screwdriva
    Screwdriva Posts: 1,117
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    edited 3 December 2022 at 1:53PM
    I'm looking at your signature text and you're clearly a much bigger user of energy than me. Those systems are far bigger than I'd need. I've seen some little titchy 500w or 700w models (cheap, easy to self-install) that people have had working (on youtube) for a year with no problem. That would probably be enough for us. But I just don't trust they'd be reliable. 

    We're living EXTREMELY comfortably - we just cut out the waste and changed how we do things - but we've got it down to a shortfall of :

    For comfort: 250 kwh (spread over the winter months - solar covers completely for summer)

    To cover the bare minimum basics: 100 kwh (rough guestimate)

    We're SO close. But of course, these figures don't give you any wriggle room if there's a long, cloudy spell or if something unexpected happens. I'd want to have room to spare and backup plans.

    In theory, adding another 1kw array would get us very close - but again....in practice I have a feeling it won't do enough. Obviously better but not enough is still not enough.

    If you could take a battery down to the local filling station to top it up when needed that'd do the trick. But obviously that's not practical due to the time it would take to charge. If I had family or a close friend within walking distance that I could pay (a premium) to charge up a battery when needed that would do it. But even then - not sure I'd want to be reliant even on very willing to help family in that way.

    It's frustrating that we're SO close!!!

    In my experience, solar will never cut it for the winter months (in the emerging world, it didn't work during the monsoon either). Hence the need for wind or hydro. 

    You can go for a cheap DIY turbine but then the reliability factor comes into question. A 3kW turbine like the SD3 will produce 3kW at peak but on most days it will be closer to 1-1.2 kW, which suits your needs perfectly. More importantly, it has a warranty from a Scottish company with favorable reviews and a long standing reputation. I believe installations are < £3K with a service plan included. Doesn't get much better than that, IMO, and you'll never need a generator. 

    (I would ignore my own spec - with these export tariffs, we have no desire to remove our connection to the grid, only to minimize our gas draw and export as much to it as possible)

    -  10 x 400w LG + 6 x 550W SHARP BiFacial Panels + SE 3680 HD Wave Inverter + SE Optimizers. SE London.
    -  Triple aspect. (22% ENE/ 33% SSE/ 45% WSW)
    -  Viessmann 200-W on Advanced Weather Comp. (the most efficient gas boiler sold)
  • zeupater
    zeupater Posts: 5,350
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    Hi
    If 'solar isn't up to the job in winter' then the cheapest 'off grid' option to most (not in rural surroundings) is simply either increased efficiencies or more solar, everything else involves various degrees of unjustifiable cost, compromise, inconvenience, planning rules or own technical abilities ...
    There is only one option that I've ever come across that would support anywhere near an affordable 'off grid' lifestyle, but even that has it's own level of compromise ....
    ... Many years ago (probably late 80s) we looked at a mill house with it's own pond (controlled levels) on a small-ish local river which was ideal for retro-fitting low level generation which would effectively provide a guaranteed electricity supply ... the problem for us at the time was that there was a public right of way effectively right past the back door, through the garden, over the millpond wall, weir & sluices to cross the river ... okay, it wasn't a busy foot path, probably a couple of dozen people a day if the weather was fine, but it was definitely what you'd consider an 'inconvenience' ... apart from that the site was listed as having a mill in the doomsday book and the current building, dating from ~mid 18C,  is listed, so effectively limiting our plans ... suffice to say we didn't buy!
    With current solar & storage to assist with short-term demand loading it would be pretty easy to live a quite comfortable 'off grid' lifestyle without having to always worry about what's being used, so, in hindsight, maybe we made the wrong decision .... but then again, few years ago the property suffered some major floods .... compromise, compromise, compromise ....
    We might go off-grid for gas at some time, but, for us & probably most others, the convenience of having grid connected electricity, to call upon at whim, far outweighs the necessary compromises of not.
    HTH - Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • EricMears
    EricMears Posts: 3,222
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    But if there was some kind of service where you could just get top ups when needed then that would be enough for a lot of people, I'm sure. Although I'm not sure it's viable as it takes so long to charge them. 
    You might consider an EV that supports V2H  and use that to top up house batteries when needed.  Relatively simple (albeit extortionate) to drive to a rapid charger and top car battery up if necessary.
    NE Derbyshire.4kWp S Facing 17.5deg slope (dormer roof).24kWh of Pylontech batteries with Lux controller BEV : Hyundai Ioniq5
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