Category Archives: Diesel

Off Grid Living - Prepping to Live Off the Grid

Guide to Off Grid Living Launches New https://livingoffgrid.home.blog/ Website to Complement Its Facebook Discussion Groups and Business Pages

The Facebook pages/groups and the off grid website provide info on building off grid homes, producing solar power, growing organic gardens, raising livestock and harvesting rainwater in Arizona, California, New Mexico, New York and Texas

Please Follow and Like our Off Grid Living Facebook Arizona Group Page

SACRAMENTO, California – The Guide to Off Grid Living announced today that it has launched a new website to educate people that want to buy a rural piece of property and build an off-grid homestead in Arizona, California, New Mexico, New York or Texas.

“Today’s world is full of high-technology gadgets, computers, cell phones, cloud-based services that are all dependent on electricity, but as more than 2 million people found out in California, that can change instantly overnight and without warning,” said Robert Hoskins, Editor, Guide to Off Grid Living. “Our living off grid guide is written specifically to help beginners learn how to survive as long as the sun is shining and the clouds are raining.”

“Even if you live in a suburban or a downtown urban environment, almost anyone can prepare themselves and their family to live in a world without water, gas or electricity from local utility companies, which might vanish overnight, whether it be just for a couple of days or many months at a time,” Hoskins continued. “On the plus side, imagine what it would be like to live in a home with zero utility or grocery bills.”

The site is located at Living-Off-Grid.com and covers a wide variety of off the grid subject matters, how-to articles, video tutorials and guides for beginners, which provide top tips, tricks and strategies for off grid living and homesteading.

Building an Off Grid Shelter

For shelter, the site provides insightful information that beginners can use to research, plan and build their first off grid home, cabin, shed, tiny home, container house, earthship, steel building, terraced homes, yurts, glamping tents, Indian Tipi, underground bunker or wilderness shelters.

Living Off Grid - How to Turn a Shed into an Off Grid Cabin or Home

Living Off Grid – How to Turn a Shed into an Off Grid Cabin or Home

Installing an Off Grid Renewable Energy Power Source

For energy, the site details how to harness solar, wind and hydro energy to produce solar electricity, solar hot water, passive solar window furnacesolar lighting systems and solar ovens for cooking as well as the best backup generators.

Guide to Off Grid Living - How to Select between Mono-Crystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Guide to Off Grid Living – How to Select between Mono-Crystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Planting an Off Grid Garden and Raising Livestock

For food, the site details how to plant organic raised-bed gardens to grow vegetables, grain, medicinal herbs; how to build aquaponic gardens/fish farms; and how to raise chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, bees and other live stock to put food on the table.

Off Grid Living - How to Build a Predator Proof Chicken Coop to Protect Against Foxes, Skunks, Opossums and Raccoons

Off Grid Living – How to Build a Predator Proof Chicken Coop to Protect Against Foxes, Skunks, Opossums and Raccoons

Providing an Off Grid Source for Fresh Water

For water, the site details how to collect water utilizing rainwater harvesting systems using rooftops and collection barrels/cisterns; how to build fresh water ponds for raising fish/aquatic plants; and how to drill your own well if the water table is close to the surface.

Off Grid Living - How to Install Rain Barrel Cisterns to Collect Rainwater and Store It to Provide Water

Off Grid Living – How to Install Rain Barrel Cisterns to Collect Rainwater and Store It to Provide Water

Providing an Heat Source for an Off Grid Home, Cabin or Shed

For heating, the site details how to select wood stoves, micro stoves, stove top blowers, small rocket stoves or large rocket mass heater/masonry stoves and tutorials on selecting the best chainsaws and how to build a firewood shed to keep wood dry.

Living Off Grid - Using an Efficient Wood Stove to Heat an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

Living Off Grid – Using an Efficient Wood Stove to Heat an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

The Best States to Start Living Off the Grid

In addition to its first five business pages on Facebook, https://livingoffgrid.home.blog/   provides information for beginners that want to learn more about what it takes to live off the grid in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming or anywhere in the United States.

Off Grid Living - How to Buy Raw Land Parcels for an Off Grid Homestead

Off Grid Living – How to Buy Raw Land Parcels for an Off Grid Homestead

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What Electric Power Outages Mean for Solar’s Potential in California to Solve the PG&E Electricity Blackouts

Recent blackouts in California have millions of people looking for ways to keep the power resulting in a huge spike in interest in another technology – solar panels and home batteries

What Electric Power Outages Mean For Solar's Potential in California

Living Off Grid – What Electric Power Outages Mean For Solar’s Potential in California

Solar Power to Solve Northern California Wildfire Electricity Blackout Crisis

The recent blackouts in California have millions of people looking for ways to keep the power on. Some bought portable generators, but there was a huge spike in interest in another technology – solar panels and home batteries. Lauren Sommer of member station KQED reports.

Interview of Anne Hoskins by Lauren Sommer, KQED

LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: Power is out at every house on this block in the Berkeley Hills. You could tell ’cause all the cars are parked outside the garages ’cause the garage doors won’t open, except for one.

HOWARD MATIS: Well, it works.

SOMMER: Hi, there.

MATIS: Hi.

SOMMER: I’m Lauren.

MATIS: Hi, Lauren.

SOMMER: The lights were on at Howard Matis’s house during the last PG&E outage. His fridge…

MATIS: Which you can see – fully powered and cold.

SOMMER: That’s because inside his garage…

MATIS: OK. We can go up here.

SOMMER: …Are two Tesla Powerwall batteries, about four feet tall, mounted on the wall.

MATIS: The whole house – everything – everything is powered by these two batteries.

SOMMER: The solar panels on his roof keep them charged. Solar alone won’t usually work during an outage because it’s still connected to the grid. But batteries let you wire a house to be its own little island, a 24-hour microgrid. Matis bought this system because he expects California’s fire problem to get worse.

MATIS: I lived through one disaster, and so I know what a wildfire is like.

SOMMER: Matis lost his home in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire. Some of his neighbors died trying to escape. People there are more fire-aware now. The power lines are buried underground. But they’re not immune from PG&E’s blackouts. Matis is still frustrated with the utility.

MATIS: I’ve talked to PG&E in the past, and I realized they didn’t know what they’re talking about.

SOMMER: Folks from the utility beg to differ. But other companies see an opportunity in that resentment.

ANNE HOSKINS: We’ve had a very big uptick in – I guess we would call them leads.

SOMMER: Anne Hoskins is chief policy officer at Sunrun. It sells solar and battery systems.

HOSKINS: We have a better way than relying on this, you know, over-a-century-old system.

SOMMER: Hoskins says the batteries aren’t just for emergencies. Homeowners can use them every day to store solar power, unlike portable gas generators.

HOSKINS: They’re loud. They’re dirty. And that also contributes to the problem, in our view, that we’re facing, which is climate change.

SOMMER: But batteries are pricey. A Powerwall costs more than $6,000, plus installation. Hoskins says state rebates and federal tax credits can knock thousands off that price, and Tesla is offering a discount for Californians affected by the blackouts. Still, there’s the potential for wealthier homeowners to buy their way out of these blackouts, leaving everyone else feeling the brunt.

HOSKINS: How can we build a system so that all those investments that people are making can bring a benefit to the grid as a whole?

SOMMER: Hoskins says that’s possible. You can have a bunch of solar and batteries in people’s homes that can feed into the local grid and supply everyone. It’s called a virtual power plant. Sunrun is planning one in West Oakland, where 500 low-income households will get solar and batteries. The idea is that making power locally means you don’t need as many big transmission lines to bring it in from far away.

Read more of Lauren Sommer, KQED report => https://buff.ly/2NM45Xk

How to Size a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

Off Grid Living – How to Size a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

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Off Grid Living - How to Size a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

Off Grid Living – How to Size a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

Sizing a Generator to Back Up an Off Grid Solar System

California – When searching for a generator to support your off-grid solar system, keep a few things in mind:

  • Generator output should be 2x your inverter’s output
  • Match generator voltage to inverter voltage
  • Generator must be warrantied for off-grid use
  • 2-wire start is mandatory to work automatically with solar system
  • 3600 RPM generators are more cost-effective, while 1800 RPM generators cost more up front but last longer and are more efficient

Generator Sizing

As a general rule, the generator should be around 2 times the size of the inverter’s continuous output. For example, a 4,000-watt inverter should be paired with an 8,000-watt generator.

This is because the generator needs to charge batteries while still powering the loads (appliances using energy). If the loads total 4,000 watts, and the charger is 60 amps at 48 volts, that totals around 7kW of continuous power:

60a x 48v = 2,880 watts + 4,000 watts = 6,880 watts

8kW would make sense as a minimum generator size to power the loads and have enough power to charge the battery bank as well.

It’s a good idea to round up slightly to give some headroom for the generator, especially at higher elevations where your generator is going to lose some of its power. Engines can lose around 3% of their power for every 1,000’ increase in altitude. Make sure you account for this if your system will be installed at a high elevation.

Can I Use a Larger Generator?

A larger generator can be beneficial if you have large loads like an air conditioner or a welder that will only be used when the generator is running.

We frequently sell 12kW and 14kW Kohler generators with our off-grid systems using a 4000w inverter. A larger generator is going to burn more fuel, but otherwise will work fine.

Can I Use a Smaller Generator?

Smaller generators will still work, but it typically requires adjusting the settings to limit the battery charger’s output. Most battery chargers allow you to adjust the AC input amperage and charge rate.

You will need to match the generator’s voltage with the inverter. For example, 120Vac generators should be paired with 120Vac inverter/chargers, while 120/240Vac generators need an inverter that outputs 120/240Vac.

In the rare case that you are using a three-phase generator or inverter, the same rules apply: the generator’s voltage would need to match the inverter.

There is one exception we are aware of. Magnum PAE inverters are 120/240Vac but can handle a 120Vac input, provided you turn down the charge rate to 50% or lower, and adjust the AC input amps to match the size of the generator. This is useful if you need an inverter that can output 120/240Vac but are working with a smaller generator.

Generator Fuel Type (Natural Gas, Propane, Diesel)

Most standby home generators work on natural gas, propane or diesel. Diesel generators tend to be much more fuel efficient and longer lasting, but the initial cost can be 2-3 times more than a natural gas or propane alternative.

The Kohler 12kW & 14kW generators we sell can work with either natural gas or propane. Off-grid customers typically use propane instead of natural gas, but these models can be configured to work with either fuel type.

Warranty

Most generators don’t have a warranty that covers off-grid or prime power applications. Check the generator warranty closely to be sure it can be used off the grid.

Kohler’s 12RES and 14RESA generators are both warrantied for 18 months / 1000 hours of off-grid use (whichever comes first).

If you need more power, dual 14RESA generators can be combined in parallel with the Kohler Powersync module for 28 kW of output.

2-Wire Start

Off-grid generators paired with solar power systems need 2-wire start capability to allow the automatic generator start (AGS) function to work. When your batteries drop below a certain voltage, the AGS kicks in to turn on the generator and recharge your battery bank.

Note that 2-wire start is different than electric start. Some generators will have a button for electric start/stop, but they can’t be controlled by a 2-wire signal, which means the inverter can’t communicate with the generator to trigger the AGS mechanism.

The Kohler 12RES and 14RESA are both capable of two-wire start.

1800 RPM vs. 3600 RPM

Most generators operate at one of two engine speeds: 1800 or 3600 RPM.

The difference is based on engine design and the alternator being used. 1800 RPM generators are generally considered superior because they are more fuel-efficient, but they cost quite a bit more up front. 3600 RPM generators tend to be cheaper but less efficient.

The Kohler 12kW and 14kW generators we sell are 3600 RPM. They are very durable, reliable and more cost-effective for typical off-grid applications. Kohler doesn’t make any 1800 RPM generators smaller than 24kW, although there may be options from other manufacturers. Be sure to do your research and read reviews to learn about the company and make sure you are getting a quality product.

Source: https://apelectric.com/general-faq/

Want to Learn More? Join our Off Grid Discussion Group on Facebook!

  1. To learn more and discuss off grid topics, please join our free Facebook group at:
    Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid
  2. Or, read more topics in our “Guide to Off Grid Living” at:
    https://LivingOffGrid.Home.Blog/Guide-to-Off-Grid-Living/

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