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Alternative Fuels An energy source alternative to using fossil fuels. Materials or substances that can be used as a fuel, other than conventional fuels. Waste oils, vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used alone, or blended with fossil fuels.

Alternative Fuels

Can you really live off grid?


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Old 02-21-2012, 06:02:32 AM
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Thiel Thiel is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

sure it can be done, but certainly you will have to adjust your lifestyle. Don't spend all the money to upt your power needs. Work on the passive options to save energy. Angle your house to make the most out of harvesting solar energy, cross ventilation may reduce the need for constant A/C usage. Insulation and window placement will help also when it comes to lighting and heating (tile or earthen floor to upsorb heat during the day). Agree with the diesel backup with a possible veggie oil conversion. How do you deal with the water issue, well or rain water harvesting.Personally I like the straw bale buildings (no, not the 3 little piggies version), fun and easy to build and very efficient.
Tom
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:11:11 AM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Power lines will ruin the looks of the farm, but you are talking about a wind generator? You can always run the lines underground. Solar panels and wind generators look more out of place on a barn than a couple of lines.

The costs you are talking about are a lot more than what the power company is going to charge. And you still aren't completely self sufficient. You are still going to have to buy batterys or gasoline occasionally.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:53:06 AM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

How about having a wind power co. lease a spot on the farm and set up a windmill. They pay you for the lease option and you get free power from them. Seems thats what the next county over from us is doing. Only thing is...just the farmers or large land owners benefit from this set up, not the home owners living close by, unless they get flicker pay for being close to the mill.
http://www.indianasnewscenter.com/ne...139730733.html
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:30:35 AM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Hi, if it was me I'd compromise and have the power company run the line part way and run your own line underground the rest of the way and then like everyone else says, Wood heat, maybe a little solar or wind that will feed back to the grid when you aren't using it all. (if your electricity supplier allows this).
You mentioned your distance from the fire dept. That would be a big concern for me. Consider building a decorative pond near by with a cooling loop for help with air conditioning. Install a dry hydrant and buy a used pump and fire hose. You can then handle a small fire and also have a place for the fire dept. to get water in an emergency. Some insurance companies will give a nice discount for this also.
Good luck and have fun.
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:30:20 PM
K-Tron K-Tron is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Go get yourself a Lister CS 12-1 and a 10Kw generator and some A123 Lithium Phosphate batteries which are designed to last 25 years and you will be set.

I plan on doing a performing a very similar operation one day, but it definitely helps to have a brother who manufactures batteries, and the power inverters. All of the final prototypes made by the hundreds are disposed of, and somehow end up at my parents house

Chris
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:54:04 PM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Avery, some members live off grid, I have been waiting for them to respond. I think BT post is totally off grid, and has been for a long time - perhaps you should PM him.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:32:07 PM
Avery22x36 Avery22x36 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

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Originally Posted by Power View Post
Any thoughts on this or should I just call the power company and let them charge me for a line that in the end really doesn't even belong to me (that is what buggs me most)? Thanks
Who says? I knew a farmer in Missouri who ran over 2000 feet of wire & poles himself. He already had tractors and auger. Set poles and strung them. Util hooked pole transformer to his wires.As previously mentioned, you can trench and run UF.
I am trying to absorb all of this, thanks everyone! I guess different areas have different problems. The above post was my first thought, however, the local electric coop absolutely will not allow anyone (unless a line outfit under contract by them) to put up a line with a transformer on the end. To put up a line after the transformer is not realistic at this distance because of the loss. Same thing with underground, I have my own trencher and all but the underground cable would have to be huge to keep the loss at managable levels. The electric company will put in underground service but the cost is more than double of powerlines. If I can hook up for $20,000, it appears to be the best bargan at the moment because every other means I have investigated will cost way more than that in 20 years or before and I really hope to live longer than that!

I would just rather invest $20,000 in somthing that has lugs and a boiler.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:00:50 AM
Rod Fielder Rod Fielder is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

i have a friend that has free natural gas on his property and a natural gas generator. don't know if that's off grid, but he doesn't have any utility bills
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:48:18 AM
theamishland theamishland is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

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Originally Posted by Ronald E. McClellan View Post
No problem! Propane for heat frig. and range. LED lights don't need much power. Then find yourself a nice Amish girl. Ron
LOVE IT. Find me one too while you're at it.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:15:02 AM
Power Power is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avery22x36 View Post
local electric coop absolutely will not allow anyone (unless a line outfit under contract by them) to put up a line with a transformer on the end
Correct - you can't put up hi line, but you may be able to put the poles up, and they install the hi line. That should cut the cost. If the distance is so long that you need hi line and a can at your end, then there is more ugly.
Try thinking out of the box a bit. Maybe they will allow you to come in with 480 and drop it to 120/240 at your house. That halves the drop, and the cans have taps on them, so you can go to a higher tap - say 125/250 to keep full load drop within acceptable limits. We did an installation where they designed for 130/260 once. 130 volt bulbs are readily available.
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