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angel waiting
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4,071 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, ok I started a post last week about building a small windmill to power lights for our veggie grow room, I have become more convinced about building a larger system to power the whole house. By our calculations we would need a windmill to generate at least 1-2k of power per hour. Now most of the systems we have looked at cost around $5,000- $20,000, not an option on our budget. I have recieved alot of feedback from people who claim you can build one alot cheaper. If anyone out there has built your own windmill or solar system please let me know how much it cost and how much power you generated and where you bought your plans from. We are from NY and I have to admit this state is light years behind alternate energy sources so please any info would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Green Eggs and Spam
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5,071 Posts
Hello everyone... at least 1-2k of power per hour. Now most of the systems we have looked at cost around $5,000- $20,000,...
And, AGAIN, most of the "systems" are BS.

Lets see if I get the MODERATED THREAD TROLL HIGHJACK AWARD again.

The answer is NO! You do NOT likely need 48KW per day of electric.

There is NO way I plan to write a book on real costs of real solar on this forum.
 

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Member
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1,049 Posts
Bear in mind that you need to consider the conversion efficiencies involved. You may need to generate 200-300% of your required capacity to achieve your desired power needs.

Ideally, you would have equipment that uses the system voltage directly. If you plan on using off-the-shelf line voltage equipment, the inverter conversion will need to be considered.
 

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woefully unprepared
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1,489 Posts
Are you trying to keep your electric bill low so you don't get your door kicked in, keep your electric bill low so you don't go broke or grow when there is no electricity? I think you had better look at the wattage requirements and how much food you could realistically produce with no help from the grid.
 

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angel waiting
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4,071 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Ok to answer all the questions during the summer we only use 400-600kw of electricity but during the winter we average 1000-1200 (blower on the wood stove, x-mas lights etc.) so we do need a system that will produce 1.66kw per hour. We want to get off the grid completely so as to not have to pay an electric bill and also to have power if ever the shtf happens. I know many of the systems out there are BS all I want is some info from someone who has built their own. As for growing food with no help from the grid I have plenty of seeds, soil, lights, etc to grow for years but without some kind of power to power the lights and process the food it is useless. And fYI I never asked for a book just a little info, these forums are for helping each other not being sarcastic if you have no pertinent info why bother wasteing time. Thank you to everyone else for your info it is greatly appreciated, in our state there are very few personal windmills I'm just looking for people with personal experience so we can make a choice based on sound information.
 

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Banned
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742 Posts
I salute you for creative thinking. But, I've grown hydroponic vegetables under artificial light and, while it's a luxury to have a fresh tomato in February, it's not suitable technology for a survival strategy. The energy demands are simply too great for the amount of food produced. There is virtually no way this could be accomplished without spending tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars on an alternative energy source.

The best strategy in northern climes is to grow summer vegetables outdoors and preserve them through canning or drying, and grow greens in an unheated greenhouse in the winter. This strategy costs very little and will give you a varied, nutritious, and tasty diet.

Here's the book to read to give you the details on growing food in the winter (the author lives in Maine, if I remember correctly):


Amazon.com: The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses (9781603580816): Eliot Coleman: Books
 

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angel waiting
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4,071 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Yes I agree trying to grow stuff indoors is not the end all answer but it is a beginning to what we already are doing. We already can and freeze vegetables, fruits, and meats, and have already been stock piling foods in case of an emergency. I'm just looking for a way to produce food in case the worst case scenerio happens and resources are depleted quickly. I was going to try hydroponics but after doing research the yields do not seem that great so I have instead gone with the old soil tried and true method. We have turned our spare bedroom into an indoors greenhouse. We'll see what happens all I can do is try right? It is through failure that we become who we are. Thanks for your help.
 

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Forever Vigilant
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2,260 Posts
If you want to power you home with 100% alternative energy, you must reduce you power consumption OR increase your power generation. Those are the only 2 ways to do it.

A typical well engineered system will cost $6k - $10k for every 400kW (per month) of usage, if you buy everything at wholesale and install it all yourself.

Based on this wind resource map: http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/images/windmaps/ny_50m_800.jpg you are in a very poor location for wind. That leaves you with solar.

It will take nearly 5000 watts of solar panels (20kW per day/600kW per month) to support your basic home's reduced electrical load. That is wicked expensive. A 1200 watt array will produce about 4.8kW per day (144kW per month) which is a pittance for a normal home.

Like I said, you either have to reduce your power consumption (that is a good thing) or pay the price to get the required solar array, batteries, regulators, mounts, inverters, wiring, etc. to pull your heavy load.
 

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angel waiting
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4,071 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
To SMM123 not sure what map you are looking at but we live on top of a 2200' mountain the wind blows up here all day long no need for AC our house never goes above 80 degrees. Unfortunately though this year has been the worst for sun this July was the second coldest July on record I believe wind is our best source but thanks for the info.
 

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Registered
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Thanks for that map SMM123, I checked into their website and found my state as well, and found out that I'm in a fairly poor (level 2) area....Ive been keeping track of the windy days around here and it's working out to about one or two days of wind per week tops. That might be enough to keep my battery charged if I keep my usage down to a minimum.

So I'm thinking my best bet is to increase my battery bank for more back up power, and just keep it charged with my main power battery charger while it's on. I still have the solar charger hooked up and it seems to be keeping the battery topped off. I haven't been using it much, so it's not much of a test, but the battery is still charged up.

:)
 

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Forever Vigilant
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2,260 Posts
To SMM123 not sure what map you are looking at but we live on top of a 2200' mountain the wind blows up here all day long no need for AC our house never goes above 80 degrees. Unfortunately though this year has been the worst for sun this July was the second coldest July on record I believe wind is our best source but thanks for the info.
Sorry, the map does not show mountains, just average wind values for a given geographic regions. Based on your profile location, the wind map shows you live in a region that is poor for wind power. You should have winds that average 12 knots for more than 12 hours per day, average, for a wind generation system to make sense and pay dividends. Like I said, the wind map cannot account for micro local areas. If you've got wind, great.

A good wind generator (15' diameter blade 48V DC) will set you back about $7-8k plus a tower and cables. You will still need the battery bank, and inverter. Obviously, more wind or longer sustained winds equal more power, but, there is no way to predict mother nature.

Being conservative, and estimating 12 knots wind speed for 18 hours per day for 30 days per month, you would get about 270kW per month. This still is not that much electricity. Smaller wind generator will produce significantly less power given the same conditions.

Though smaller, 5' diameter, wind generators can be easily homemade, building larger ones is quite difficult and not cheap. The blade and slip-ring technology is most of what drives the price - neither can be easily manufactured at home.
 

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angel waiting
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4,071 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
never heard of slip ring technology what is that?
 

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Registered
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What about a handful of smaller, homemade mills?

I've seen a handful of homemade ones on places like instructables that could be much cheaper to build and some of them are portable. I'm just thinking that maybe it would be more economically feasible to build a farm of small windmills that would generate as much or more power than one big one at lower price. the advantage with that may be with it homemade you understand its operation and can have replacement parts cheaper as well. I don't know, my area's more suited for solar so I haven't looked much into wind energy, but I have collected plans for them and will probably at some point put one together just to have done it.
 

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Forever Vigilant
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2,260 Posts
never heard of slip ring technology what is that?
Since wind generators spin around in endless circles with the wind shifts, you cannot have wires connected directly to the generator as they will eventually wind around themselves and break. To alleviate this, they make "slip rings" that the wires from the generator connect to, and the wires from the batteries/grid connect to. These two rings transfer power across the gap and allow the wind generator to spin freely without wrapping the wires around themselves, all the while maintaining the proper polarity.
 

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Former NOPD
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110 Posts
http://www.missouriwindandsolar.com/

$539.99 for a 500 watt wind turbine. I have studied this site extensively and compared it to other products on the market. I've talked to owners of the product and feel that it is by far one of the best products out on the market.

I have my eyes set on the 500 watt, 24volt system. I live in Oklahoma and have great wind, but I have quite a few trees around me. In order to get it out far enough from the house and still get good efficiency on the cables, I'm opting for the 24volt system, otherwise I'd have to run jumper cable sized wiring from the turbine all the way to my house (about 45-55 feet!).

Look into this website! They even put THEIR carbon fiber blades on competitor's windmills and increased the power output! I'm impressed.

Granted, the 500 watt system is in 'optimal wind'. I would guess, based on their calculations and graphs, and MY average constant wind speeds here, I'd get about 300-325 watts of dependable power. On those gusty days, I could easily generate upwards of 550-650watts for $539.99 plus shome shipping. Put an array of these (because they operate on lower start up speeds!!) on your property... say 4 or 5, and you've just supplied yourself with anywhere between 1500-3000 constant watts of power.

BTW, I have no affiliation with this company or website, just trying to pass on info!

- Kevin
aka DarkLaw
 
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