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NovicePrepper

Would Solar Power be a good alternative to power a home if SHTF?

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Generators can be expensive to keep your electrically powered home running.

 

So I was wondering, do any preppers here have houses than run on solar power or the majority of the house runs on solar power?

 

I would like to know if it is expensive, and if solar power is a good and cheaper alternative to electric power.

 

One last thing, do you guys think Solar Power would be powerful enough to keep a home running in a SHTF scenario?

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Its got advantages and disadvantages.

 

IMO, the biggest disadvantage is cost. It'll cost you quite a bit of money to get enough panels to power a home. You'd be better off trying to power just one room.

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I've been considering purchasinga Solar Generator (around $1600). with additional panels and batteries around 2500 to $3000. Would also have to be professionally installed so you can hit a switch when you loose power. In No. CA we have so much sun, it makes sense for me, since it might pay for itself especially during the summer months to run the AC and refridgerator.

Gotta come up with the moolah first!

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The Federal government was offering a 30% cash rebate on solar investments. My state was kicking in another 25%. So a $30,000 cost is dropped to $13,500. That is a good deal!

 

Solar power generates SREC's. Solar Renewable Energy Credits. It is one credit/1,000KW generated. An 8,000KW system would produce about 1 SREC per month. At an average price of $200 per credit that is 200 X 1 x 12 = $2,400 per year. Lets say I can save $200/month on electric costs. That is another $2,400 for a total of $4,800/year.

 

$13,500 divided by $4,800 = a 2.8 year payback. So by year 4 the solar installation has been paid off and your cash flow has increased by $4,800 per year. Most solar energy systems are good for at least 25 years.

 

Electric prices are only going up so you will save even more over the coming years.

 

A "hidden" benefit is increased property value. That means if you take out a home equity loan the available funds are increased.

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solar panels are cool and all but I wouldn't use em to power my whole house. I would probably use one for a refrigeration unit, to charge batteries, maybe a radio. I don't like the idea of using one for an HVAC system, but thats just me

 

That being said my Dads got a fresh water well on his ranch (also my planned Bug out spot) thats powered by its own solar panel, and I think thats pretty sweet.

 

similar to solar panels I have seen roof mounted solar water heaters, don't know how much they are but seems like a pretty good idea to me. (Hot Showers in TEOTWAWKI FTW)

 

Lastly, In TEOTWAWKI, if I didn't have solar panels for power, I would consider making a Boiler/Steam Engine Generator setup. A few years ago classmates of mine converted a regular internal combustion engine into a Steam Piston Engine as part of a Senior college project. Attach that to a generator and a boiler and I could be swimming in power. (Day and night) Cool thing is you can burn damn near anything to power it with the right boiler setup. But thats probably not something most people would be able to pull off without it blowing up in their faces lol

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The trick to solar panel survival isn't more panels, but less necessity. Find necessary electronics that run with very little wattage.

 

My recommendations;

 

Sun heat your water if possible. Depends where you live.

 

Sun-Frost RF-12 10.12 ft³ 171 KW per year (Amazing fridge)

Raspberry Pi (Personal Computer wait till OLED's drop in price for screen)

The IQDrive or any 20 seer AC from American Standard (http://iqdrive.net/iq-save-energy) they both run on about 200-300w per hour vs the standard AC equal that runs on 2000-4000w per hour

 

As far as a stove goes I recommend fire cooking if possible with a heat diversion built in to help warm your hot water reservoir.

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I think they're a good idea, but with everything you need a backup. My parents are wanting to move out of the city and into the country, with some land and a medium sized house. They also want to be somewhat self-sufficient and off the grid. I talked to my dad about solar panels, you can use them to power the home or like someone else said, to power a generator to power your home. Someone else mentioned the credits, that's not bad, why not, let them pay me for harnessing the sun. I think a combination or solar and generator power would be good for a whole house solution. I also liked what I saw on Doomsday Preppers, one guy had one of those gasifier setups. He ran an old '60s pickup off the thing for farm work AND he had a modified generator so that he could run a hose to the genny and run it off the gasifier as well. Living on a farm with woods, you have close to an infinite supply of wood.

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Habor Frieght has a 45 watt system that includes 3-15 watt panels, controller/battery charger, and a couple lights for around $180 you add a battery and inverter and or a few more panels (which they sell) they also have a 18watt suitcase unit that is pretty interesting as well as several controller, combines,etc to build a small system no ac and refig but lights radio computer and charging for stuff

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mine is for recharging batteries and small items like computer fans for comfort at night in the heat.

radios etc.

 

DonDon has the right track for you on the harbor freight kit just get Optima batteries they last 2x

longer, do not need maintenance here is a link

 

http://www.optimabatteries.com/product_support/maintenance_storage.php

 

can be mounted any direction and can drop way below any other battery and still come back

get the trolling motor batteries one or 2 batteries for each kit that way you can run on one while

charging another.

 

I am getting another set of panels and another battery I want a power source for 12 volt lighting in my

green house and walk way.

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Yeah if the SHTF then just your your power for refrigeration, cooking and batteries. If your house is glowing like a christmas tree at night then you'll be a beacon luring in everyone who want's to use your power "just to boil some water" "just to charge some batteries" "just to make toast" "just to use your fridge space" and down hill from there to the less asking more taking types of people.

 

Obviously you will need to keep the same light discipline as ever but being able to hit a few flood lights if the LED nightlight in the middle of your home brings unwelcome visitors sure beats asking them to wait while you light a couple of lanterns. As with any resource in a SHTF you will want to limit it use to "keep it to yourself and those you choose" and if you were to just keep all the lights on and run your stereo than by all means evolution should kick in!

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Generators can be expensive to keep your electrically powered home running.

 

So I was wondering, do any preppers here have houses than run on solar power or the majority of the house runs on solar power?

 

I would like to know if it is expensive, and if solar power is a good and cheaper alternative to electric power.

 

One last thing, do you guys think Solar Power would be powerful enough to keep a home running in a SHTF scenario?

 

 

If you are serious about solar, check to see if the government or power company is still offering any rebates. You may want to look at propane powered appliances. Everything from window air-conditioners to heaters and stoves.

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Generators can be expensive to keep your electrically powered home running.

 

So I was wondering, do any preppers here have houses than run on solar power or the majority of the house runs on solar power?

 

I would like to know if it is expensive, and if solar power is a good and cheaper alternative to electric power.

 

One last thing, do you guys think Solar Power would be powerful enough to keep a home running in a SHTF scenario?

Solar can be expensive, but could be well worth the cost. Link to a example solar distributer:

https://www.siliconsolar.com/

 

Solar energy is what you make of it. You can have as few or as many solar panels as you want. You'll have to do the math on this see see how much solar power you need 'stored' in batteries to live in relative comfort.

 

Something else to think about though.. solar panels displayed outside the home will draw alot of attention. This is a drawback of conventional home design with the steep pitch and gable roofs.

Edited by NavyVet_77

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I am thinking solar and I have checked out the Harbor Freight panels. Seem okay for what I have in mind. I am not planning on mounting to the roof my house. Instead, I will mount on my shed out back for a lower profile in my 'hood.

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My wife and I are acquiring a small lake lot from a friend of hers for $1 as she is tired of dealing with it, we are looking in to a trailer that we can move on to it. But there is not power hookup on the lot and we would have to buy and trench wire for about 200 feet than pay or the hookup, but I am just thinking that for the same money I can buy a couple of the harbor freight panel sets and run a couple deep cell marine batteries on each so when we go down we can run a few lights and such and let it charge all week when we are gone with two of them I can set two circuits one for lights and one for others and when one goes weak I can still pull off the other also there are a few wind generators that are becoming viable for small scale use this one is a little over $1000 for a 30' 600watt set up

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=wind+turbine+kit&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=13202517574519717545&sa=X&ei=F7-YT4urH4aa9gTPtunfBQ&ved=0CEIQ8wIwAA

Sunforce 600 Watt Wind Generator.

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Solar power is like a tool,and the question we always ask is,Do you really need it?,And what are you going to use it for?.

I have been looking in to it for some time now,and have done some numbers,is not worth it,for my whole house,about $600.00 a year for my electric bill,but in a shtf scenario,a solar power system would be nice for some appliances.

Check (UCAN`s Kilowatt Calculator)on the web,also at Home Depot they sell a Kill-A-Watt meter,it will tell you how much electricity the appl/tool/tv,uses,very tooll.

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I have a solar panel kit from Harbor Freight. Just three panels and a charge contoller and it came with a couple lights I use it to keep a small battery bank topped off, I would love to be able to afford to run my house on solar.

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I have a solar panel kit from Harbor Freight. Just three panels and a charge contoller and it came with a couple lights I use it to keep a small battery bank topped off, I would love to be able to afford to run my house on solar.

 

That is my plan basically to keep a few deep cells charged so I can use an inverter when I need AC to run or charge something, not tring to run a household on it did you see the folding case unit HF has? Almost pack able

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That is my plan basically to keep a few deep cells charged so I can use an inverter when I need AC to run or charge something, not tring to run a household on it did you see the folding case unit HF has? Almost pack able

 

That is exactly what I am doing, I run a 1200 watt inverter off two marine deep cycle batteries, I can even run my furnace off it during a power outage. Did not see the folding unit, my kit has three panels a controller and two dc lights. Finding good sunlight is important but I like the setup it has come in handy a few times. paid $150 for the kit on sale.

Edited by biblenguns

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This is just my ...ok not so humble opinion. It all depends on what you expect when you say SHTF. If you mean weather or natural disaster things then I'm all for solor power. In the aftermath of the Katrina/Rita hurricane season a lot of people learned that no power means no fuel because the gas pumps are electric too. Also when they got them up with generators they sold out pretty fast and deliveries just didn't happen. I knew one guy that got together with his neighbors and drove one truck over a hundred miles to get fuel for all of them. For a week or so the generators are nice but for 6 weeks they just didn't pan out at all.

 

If by SHTF you mean TEOTWAWKI then I recommend that you start now figuring out how to live without power at all. In a post apocalyptic world I don't want to be the one with the lights on at night! Also no matter what over time your batteries will give out and other break downs will slowly degrade your system.

 

If you start off with a zero power plan you can make decisions now while things are available. If you wait until your grid goes down most of that stuff will be a memory and not available. If you have the money to do BOTH then it isn't an issue but if you are like me and with limited funds then I recommend that you prepare for the worst case scenario. Get a generator and that will allow you some slack. I'm talking 5000 watts or so. I actually went with a 3500 because it is more fuel efficient and being an electrician I know how to distribute the load.

 

After the 2 week period I'll go primitive. Houses built these days are NOT livable structures in the summer in the south without AC!!! If I had the time and money I would buy and move an old dog trot farmhouse in behind me right now. 12 foot ceilings and double hung windows make all the difference in the world when it is hot.

 

I LOVE my fridge, AC and computer but if things go like I fear you will be holding yourself back by clinging to the past and trying to maintain a MODERN lifestyle in a post modern world. We have already made our places as nonpower friendly as possible. For one thing we have 1400sqft of outdoor covered living space in porches. A sleeping porch used to be a must have for all homes. It also gives us a breezy place to work and do our cooking on wood powered stoves and ovens.

 

Look up Clay pot refrigeration and learn about alternatives to powered refrigeration. We have a BIG 2500 gallon cistern that the runoff from the roof runs into we want to expand to two of them. The less dependent you are on modern conveniences the more likely you are to adapt and survive it the situation is indeed a TEOTWAWKI long term situation.

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I would agree that Solar has it's advantages and disadvantages. However, the biggest problem with gas/propane/diesel gens is by far fuel. You would need to either run it very sparingly to get you by a few months or just accept that you may never use the gen again after you exhaust your fuel supply. Next, running that genny is going to give away your location pretty quick....

 

A solar generator does not need gas/propane, etc., it makes no noise and it can be just as portable as a gas gen, even more so because you don't need to drag fuel with it.

 

This company offers a portable model that can run big stuff individually like fridges and sump pumps at least 8 hours straight (on battery alone) and little electronics in combination for days and also workshop tools long enough to get stuff done. Said the battery is good for 6 years but even 3 years of power after the grid goes down permanently would be well worth it:

 

http://www.mysolarbackup.com/

 

Anybody have this or used it?

 

Wolfe

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I've posted How-To for calclating your Electrical needs on another thread

http://www.survivalcache.com/forums/showthread.php?1981-Lets-get-to-the-REAL-question.

 

A good Solar & Wind power product website:

http://www.spheralsolar.com/categories/Solar-Power-Kits/DIY-Solar-Kits/

 

Great info NavyVet.

 

This one's also a great resource. These folks seem more from the purple socks n' burkenstocks crowd but they run their whole operation/factory off of wind and solar. They also just give away plans and how-tos to build things yourself. Great site!

 

www.otherpower.com

 

Wolfe

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