Off-grid officially since March 4, 2011.
Since 1980 I had a desire of being able to power my home independently from commercial power. Between 2009 and early 2011 I was extremely close to achieving that goal. I was hesitant to cut the cord. A perfect storm of bureaucracy in the local electric co-operative finally convinced me. I have not regretted shutting it off.
Todays PV status
1 - 100 watt Arco Tri-Lam PV panel (in use since 1990 and 2 moves)
3 - 120 watt AP-1206 . 1 on line 5/1/99. 2 and 3 on line 7/9/99 note 1, 3
4 - 130 watt KC130's . Online mid May 2008
6 - 205 watt KD205's . Online July 14, 2009
1 - 300 watt Southwest WindPower Air 303 mounted at 45 feet
on a Rohn 25 tower
2 - Outback FM80 80 amp mppt controller used for the solar panels
8 - Duracell GC2 215A/H Golf Cart Batteries 1/3/2014 . These replace 8 US Batteries L16HC 6V/420A which were put in service 4/9/09. see service note2
1 - Magnum Sine 2800 with Trace DC250 Cutoff
1 - Coleman PM9375 7.5kw 16hp generator. Converted to propane fall 2012 (out of service as of 8/2014 no AC output)
2 - Harbor Freight 66604 6.5kw 13hp generator, both converted to propane note 4
1 - Self designed adaptive autostart that I can attach to any electric start generator. It is an Arduino Uno with a Velleman Ethernet Shield for communication.
1 - DC charge cart - 8hp briggs and 10 SI alternator. Converted using an adaptor plate from The epicenter
1 - SolarSheats 1500GS air heater
Pictures of July 14, 2009 upgrade installation: upgrade
1 - Xantrex C-60A charge controller with DVM
4 - Rural King 190a/h golf cart batteries
1 - Trace DR2412 2400 watt inverter
2 - Sunelec 90 watt PV panels
The garage power system has 1/2 the battery capacity and 10% of the charging capacity of the house. It is configured so that it can serve as a secondary backup for the house.
Alternative Energy Forums/Websites:
12 Volt power
Links to Alternative Energy Vendors:
Arizona Wind and Sun
the Alternative Energy Store
From way back when I found the pictures on the left. In 1980, while in college I became interested in solar power. I constructed a panel from 36 Radio Shack 1 amp cells that the local store had to call most of the other stores in the state. The cost was around 10 dollars per cell. I fiberglassed a plywood board and used silicone caulk to place the cells on the fiberglass. There was a lot of heat stresses and at the time I didnt really understand all the "right" ways to do it. It worked for about a year. I kept a plexiglass cover on them when I wasnt around. Even with that I accidentally left the cover off one day and some pea size hail obliterated it. I ran one light bulb and an Ten-Tec Argonaut 509 off of it.
This wind generator is located in Ashmore, IL.