Category Archives: Solar

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PG&E Forces 800,000 Customers to Begin Living Off Grid in California

Off Grid Living - Installing Solar Power to Produce Off Grid Electricity

Off Grid Living – Installing Solar Power to Produce Off Grid Electricity

PG&E confirms power will shut off to 800,000 customers statewide

Sacramento, California (October 8, 2019) – PG&E announced that many of the northern counties of California will see a power shutoff beginning at midnight Tuesday; a second round of outages is expected to impact the Bay Area starting at noon Wednesday.

“The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions, beginning with counties in the northern part of the state,” PG&E said in a statement.

After days of warning, Pacific Gas & Electric confirmed Tuesday afternoon that 800,000 customers across 34 California counties would be left in the dark starting at midnight.

To help homeowners without power, PG&E offers customer both solar incentives for installing solar power and well as rebates for adding solar battery backup banks for their solar power arrays so that they will be able to generate their own electricity, even when the power grid has been turned off.

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

The utility planned the shutoff as a precaution due to “unprecedented wildfire risk,” the company said in a Tuesday night press conference.

“The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions, beginning with counties in the northern part of the state,” PG&E said in a statement.

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

PG&E said it would communicate with affected customers directly via automated calls, texts and emails. It also created a map of affected areas, which you can check for your neighborhood. PG&E’s site was intermittently down Tuesday, so we’ve put some of the maps in the gallery at the top of this story.

PG&E said the shutoffs would begin just after midnight early Wednesday morning. PG&E meteorologists forecast high winds to last until midday Thursday, but power could be out for several days longer.

“Before restoring power, PG&E must inspect its equipment for damage and make any necessary repairs. That process cannot begin until the severe weather event has subsided,” the company said.

The outages could last “five days or longer” in some areas.

“It’s also important to remember that some of our customers may experience a power shutoff even though the weather conditions in their specific location are not extreme,” said Sumeet Singh, PG&E vice president of the Community Wildfire Safety Program in a Tuesday night press conference.

“The reason why this happens is because of the inter-connected nature of our electrical grid and the power lines working together to provide electricity through cities, counties and regions. We’re working directly with state and local agencies to help prepare our customers and the public for this safety event,” he added.

ALSO: Map shows neighborhoods impacted by PG&E power shutoffs

The weather this week is expected to be dry and windy, which makes the risk of a catastrophic wildfire high, PG&E officials said. The utility company wants to shut off power so its electric equipment doesn’t start a wildfire as has happened in recent years. Singh stressed that the shutoff is only implemented as a “last resort.”

The number of potential customers affected in each Bay Area county, according to PG&E, is:

  • 32,613 customers in Alameda County
  • 40,219 customers in Contra Costa County
  • 66,289 customers in Sonoma County
  • 32,124 customers in Napa County
  • 14,766 customers in San Mateo County
  • 38,123 customers in Santa Clara County
  • 32,862 customers in Solano County
  • 9,855 customers in Marin County

Read more:
https://www.sfgate.com/california-wildfires/article/PG-E-power-outage-800-000-customers-length-number-14501984.php#item-85307-tbla-10

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How to Build Sturdy, Long Lasting Fences for Off Grid Properties

Off Grid Living – How to Build Sturdy,
Long Lasting Fences for Off Grid Properties

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Off Grid Living - How to Build Fences for Off Grid Properties

Off Grid Living – How to Build Sturdy, Long Lasting Fences for Off Grid Properties 

Building Sturdy, Long Lasting Fences for Off Grid Properties

California – Off grid property fencing is a time-honored part of security on the homestead. It’s used for all kinds of purposes. From keeping out big critters, like deer, elk, moose, coyotes, mountain lions or bears, to protecting crops from smaller critters like bobcats, foxes, opossums, rabbits, raccoons and skunks.

Electric fences are one of our favorite types of fencing for off grid properties. Today, solar chargers can be purchased relatively cheaply and prove to be an asset in security on the off-grid homestead. We have used it for such a wide variety of projects and fencing needs.

We’ve used it for protecting our flower, medicinal and vegetable gardens from deer and rabbits. as well as to serve as temporary fencing between pastures when moving livestock.

One of the main drawbacks of an electric fence, for some people, is you must check it daily depending on the use. A limb may be on the fence or grass may be growing up into it causing a short out.

There’s also the possibility of a broken wire which can shut down the whole fence. To help alleviate some of these risks and others, we prefer to use a barbed wire fence in tandem with an electric fence. Especially once you consider upfront cost, upkeep, and reliability.

Hog panel or cow panel fence panels in combination with T-posts can be very cost effective for providing a very sturdy fence that is difficult to knock down and can be used to enclose the entire property or the one acre tract that protects the house and backyard gardens.

Please join our Off Grid Living 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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#OffGridLiving #LivinOffGrid #Howto #Build #Fences #HogPanels #CowPanels #WeldedWire #BarbedWire #TPosts #ChainLink #Solar #Electric

How to Build a Predator Proof Chicken Coop to Protect Against Coyotes, Foxes, Skunks, Opossums and Raccoons

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

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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 Bobcats, Coyotes, Foxes, Skunks, Opossums, Raccoons and Other Annoying Varmints

How to Build a Predator Proof Chicken Coop to Protect Against Coyotes, Foxes, Opossums, Raccoons, Skunks, Snakes, Owls, Hawks and Eagles

New Hampshire – Raising chickens for meat and eggs has been an important staple for pioneers for thousands of years. We highly recommend researching the links below and use them to plan ahead before building your first chicken coop and chicken run.

Building a predator proof chicken fortress will prevent a lot of worrying and stress about coming home to find all 50 of your chickens with their heads pulled off by a raccoon, fox or skunk that was able to grab them through flimsy chicken wire fences. Welded wire fences, buried hog panels, stones, electric fences and other valuable defense mechanisms will help secure your chicken coop and chicken run and make it safe from all predators.

Click on the picture above to view more photos of precisely how to build a rock solid chicken coop and utilize proactive steps that will help you build a chicken coop that is easy to clean and that will keep all of those dang nighttime varmints out including bears, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, mountain lions, opossums, raccoons, skunks, snakes, wolves and other varmints as well as protect against daytime flying predators such eagles, hawks, owls,

Please join our Off Grid Living 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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#Bears #Bobcats #ChickenCoops #ChickenRuns #ChickenWire #Chickens #Coyotes #DuckHuts #Ducks #Eagles #ElectricFence #Fence #Foxes #Hawks #HogPanels #MountainLions #NewHampshire #OffGridLiving #LivingOffGrid #News #Opossums #Owls #Predator #RabbitHutch #Rabbits #Raccoons #Skunks #Snakes #Solar #SolarLighting #UnitedStates #Varmints #WeldedWire #Wolves

How to Build an Outdoor Solar Heated Shower for Your Off Grid Cabin

Off Grid Living – How to Build an Outdoor
Solar Heated Shower for Your Off Grid Cabin

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Off Grid Living - How to Build an Outdoor Shower for Your Off Grid Cabin

Off Grid Living – How to Build an Outdoor Solar Heated Shower for Your Off Grid Cabin

How to Build an Outdoor Solar Heated Shower for Your Off Grid Cabin

New Mexico – Outdoor showers are a great way to get clean outdoors, a smart way to provide an auxiliary shower for guests during a crowded weekend and a convenient place to clean up sandy feet or after messy yard work. But the question is: What type of outdoor shower? A fully plumbed shower can be complicated. A solar powered shower, on the other hand, is appealing in its simplicity.

But you can still enjoy a warm – and fashionably green – shower under a blue sky by making a few tweaks to the traditional design. In this shower plan, the tank is replaced with a homemade solar coil connected to a garden hose, with both cold and hot supply lines. The end result is an open-topped, efficient solar shower with plenty of pressure and a quick recharge time, perfect for a quick rinse after yard work or before going for a dip in the hot tub or a steam in the sauna.

Source: https://cabinlife.com/articles/article/how-to-build-enjoy-an-outdoor-solar-shower

Please join our Off Grid Living 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” => https://livingoffgrid.home.blog/guide-to-off-grid-living/

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#Bathroom #Cabins #Corrugated #Metal #Design #Ideas #Homes #NewMexicos #News #OffGridLiving #LivingOffGrid #Outdoor #Sheds #Showers #Solar #HotWater #Heaters #Stone #UnitedStates #Water

Rustic Outhouse and Bathroom Design and Decorating Ideas for an Off Grid Sheds, Cabins or Homes

Off Grid Living – Rustic Outhouse and Bathroom Design
and Decorating Ideas for an Off Grid Sheds, Cabins or Homes

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Off Grid Living - Rustic Outhouse and Bathroom Design and Decorating Ideas for an Off Grid Sheds, Cabins or Homes

Rustic Outhouse/Bathroom Design & Decorating Ideas for an Off Grid Sheds, Cabins or Homes

Off Grid Living Bathroom and Outhouse Design Ideas

Arizona – Many off grid cabins use self composting or septic systems. In addition, many off grid bathrooms are designed to conserve and separate gray from #2 waste which is either composted or fed into a septic tank.

If you’ve never hear of using black soldier flies in tandem with composting toilets, you should do some research on them. They are a great way to turn human manure into free chicken feed.

Different areas of the country have different regulations about this. For example, most cities are against it and only more rustic regions of the country will generally be accepting. Even if you are allowed to have one however there will be a lot of restrictions put in place including the distance away from any water source for sanitary reasons.

Feel free to like, share and make comments about which off grid bathroom design you think will work best for your home.

Please join our Off Grid Living 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” => https://livingoffgrid.home.blog/guide-to-off-grid-living/

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#Arizona #OffGridHomes #OffGridCabins #OffGridSheds #OffGridLiving #LivingOffGrid #HowTo #Build #Rustic #Outhouse #Bathroom #Bathtubs #Design #Decorating

How to Heat Water with Solar Hot Water Heaters and Stove Water Heating Jackets

The Benefits of Using Passive Solar Heating and Wood Stove Water Heating Jackets to Heat Water for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home

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How to Use Off Grid Solar Collectors to Product Free Hot Water

How to Use Passive Solar Collectors to Product Free Hot Water for Off Grid Properties

Various Types of Solar Hot Water Heaters to Heat Water for Off Grid Homes

United States – There are many options for solar water heaters that range from inexpensive home-made jobs to high-end state of the art commercial models.

If you switch to a solar water heating system, your use of electricity or propane will drop significantly; that number will approach zero rapidly if your backup heating system is a wood stove or firebox with a water jacket rather than occasional use utility electricity.

The home-made options are typically not suited for use during times of the year when temperatures dip below freezing. You would need to winterized them before any threat of fall or winter weather arrives.  There are probably hundreds of variations that may be found on the internet. They range from coils of black plastic pipe on one’s roof to coils of copper inside a box with outer glass cover (creating a greenhouse effect).

Some of these utilize a DC electric circulating pump. It pushes the heated water into a storage tank and bring fresh cool water into the heater.  This pump may be activated by a switch that is temperature controlled. But some are directly connected to a solar panel and only run when the sun is shining (precisely the same times that the water is being heated and needs to be circulated).

Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water Heaters

Evacuated tube models are composed of numerous rows of glass tubes with another smaller tube inside each of the larger tubes.  A vacuum is pulled between each of the two tubes which greatly lessens the loss of heat to outside weather.  Water or an antifreeze solution is then circulated through the inner tubes.

The advantages of evacuated tubes lie in greater efficiency and less heat lost.  So they work quite well even during surprisingly cool temperatures.  However they are somewhat fragile and may not be as suited to areas with a great amount of snow and ice due to the potential for breakage from buildup.

Flat Panel Solar Hot Water Heaters

These heaters look much like solar electric panels but contain tiny water passages which enable a great amount of surface area to come in contact with the heat from the sun.  While not as efficient as evacuated tubes, flat panels still work very well and are certainly more rugged when faced with heavy snow and icy conditions.

Typically an antifreeze solution is circulated through the tubes or panels and the hot fluid is routed inside to a heat exchanger which transfers the heat of the fluid to the home’s hot water.  There are some varieties of evacuated tube heaters that are called drain down systems, which do not require the use of antifreeze because the water drains away from exposed areas once the water cools off.

Thermo-Siphon Solar Hot Water Heaters

It is possible to set up a solar water heating system that doesn’t require an electric circulating pump.  This would be called a thermo-siphon system, operating on the principle that heat rises.

This was the type of system we planned to install for our cabin in the summertime.  The disadvantages would be the amount of work involved in installation, significant cost of commercial systems, and reliance on an electric circulating pump (unless it is set up as a thermo-siphon system).

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Solar Powered Lighting Systems for Off Grid Cabins and Sheds

Off Grid Living: Solar Powered Lighting
Systems for Off Grid Cabins and Sheds

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Solar Powered Lighting Systems for Off Grid Cabins and Sheds

Solar Powered Lighting Systems for Off Grid Cabins and Sheds

How to Install Off Grid Solar-Powered Lights

One of the first things you’ll learn when camping or off grid living is that without electricity, it gets dark quickly.

But solar power is a great way to provide a wide variety of lighting and security systems that will let see what is making that big bumping sound in the backyard at 2:00 am in the morning.

How Off Grid Solar Lights Work

Solar spotlights are powered by photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight to electricity on the atomic level. Each cell contains a thin, flat semiconductor panel with a positive charge on one side and negative on the other. Sunlight causes the semiconductor’s atoms to blow apart, releasing electrons; the electrons are recaptured as electric current between the positive and negative charges. The electricity then travels through a cable to power the spotlight. Solar energy is also stored in the interior battery for use at night or on cloudy days.

Uses for Off Grid Solar Security Lights

Solar spotlights are particularly useful in illuminating outdoor spaces where traditional extension cords or bundles of wiring aren’t practical, such as in formal gardens, large open lawns or residential entrances. Newer models offer light emitting diodes (LEDs), which illuminate more effectively and efficiently than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Whether you choose to light a wide area from above or train the beam from ground level on an individual object, such as garden statuary, you can easily install individual spotlights without hiring a professional contractor.

Best Places to Install Off Grid Solar Lights

The foremost concern with installing solar spotlights is ensuring that enough sunlight reaches the photovoltaic cell. Spotlights today usually feature a long power cable between the cell and the actual light, so you can place the cell in a sunny spot that receives about eight hours of light a day, and position the spotlight where you want it.

For ground-level lighting, stake the cell in the ground so the cell faces the brightest sun, and then stake the light in the ground a few feet away from the object you wish to illuminate. Train the beam upward to focus on the object.

Mounting solar spotlights over entrances, garage doors or decks involves screwing the light’s baseplate into the vertical wall or post over the area you want to brighten, then angling the light’s beam downwards. With these types, the solar cell may be attached to the light’s hood or via a power cable; in both cases, the cell still needs to receive sufficient sunlight for operation.

Source: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/install-solarpowered-spotlights-79769.html

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 Read more about Solar Powered Lighting for Off Grid Homes: