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Off The Grid

I'm going to live off-grid. Read my blog and learn how to do it yourself!

Archive for the ‘electricity’ Category

Living off the grid is a challenging effort, but the success of the lifestyle is worth the effort. Living off the grid essentially means using nothing more but renewable energy sources, like wind or sun for power supply. Maybe to have the entire home power supplied with a renewable energy might be a little difficult at the beginning. To gain some experience, you can easily start living off-grid with the renewable energy household items.

Solar energy is the most common type of off-grid energy source currently in use, and solar energy driven household items are fast gaining grounds for those who want to break the mould and take control of the home electric supply. We all probably have or had in our lifes some solar-powered calculators, one of the most popular devices that use solar power to work (though we didn’t use them in the daylight, but rather under a desk lamp). (more…)

My story about renewable energy sources begins in 2006 when I bought my Volkswagen RV/camper. At the end of summer that year I bought my first renewable energy source — the first solar panel. I wanted it to be a off-grid energy source for my first camping holidays, but only found out that such panels have many disadvantages.

The panel I bought was rated at 10 W and 12 V. I connected it to an unused old car battery to store the solar energy, using a charge controller. While we were driving, the battery was charged from a lighter socket, and on the campsites I used the lighter plug to connect the controller to the solar panel. That’s right — the panel has a lighter socket that allows it to be used directly, without any battery.

Here’s a photo I took when working on my first photovoltaic system. (more…)

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  • For those of you who read my blog for a while it won’t be a surprise when I write that I own a Volkswagen Vanagon Camper (RV) and spend some time camping in it each summer.

    This year I had my first fully off-grid holiday. Last year I connected the camper to the mains on the campsites I wisited, while this year I didn’t and relied entirely on energy captured by my solar photovoltaic panels and stored in my two gel batteries.

    The batteries have total capacity of around 80 Ah (ampere-hours) which is roughly 900 kWh (kilowatt-hours). That’s more than enough for my laptop computer, some chargers, water pump. Even lighting in my camper (two fluorescent bulbs) would get enough power if I finally connected them to the camping batteries (at the moment they suck power from the starter battery). (more…)

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  • 5 things you need to produce solar electricity

    If you want to produce renewable and free electrical power using solar energy, here’s a list of things you absolutely need.

    1. Solar radiation

    It’s obvious, right? No, it’s not! Not for many people!

    Solar radiation is everywhere, but not everywhere it’s enough to produce electricity using solar photovoltaic module. All the modules are described by one most important parameter — output power, for example 200 Wp — 200 watts (peak). The peak subscript is used to specify that the solar module won’t produce that power at all time, but only in specific conditions. Those conditions are:

    • solar radiation intensity — 1 kW/m²,
    • radiation spectrum similar to the one reaching ground at 35°N lattitude in summer,
    • temperature of solar panels equal to 25°C (77°F).

    Without using solartracks you won’t have that solar radiation intensity except for a very brief moment during the day. So you shouldn’t expect your solar module to produce the peak power during the whole day. (more…)

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  • Hard rime cuts people off the grid

    In some areas od Poland people are disconnected from the electrical grid by the weather. A lot of hard rime covered electrical lines and caused some pylons to break.

    It is not uncommon in Poland to have temperatures below -20°C (-4°F). But such weather with very high humidity is not something we would expect. (more…)

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