Tag Archives: Natural Gas

Guide to Off Grid Living

Living-Off-Grid.com Magazine Unveils New State-by-State Buyer’s Guide Detailing Where the Best Places Are to Buy an Off Grid Property in the United States

In addition, Living-Off-Grid.com also offers a “Guide to Off Grid Living” that provides over 100 chapters of information on producing solar power, rainwater collection, growing gardens, raising livestock and everything a family needs to build a self sustaining homestead

Living-Off-Grid.com - Rustic Log Cabin in the Mountain Forest

Living-Off-Grid.com – Rustic Log Cabin in the Mountain Forest’s Fall Foliage

Austin, Texas (May 26, 2020)Living Off Grid Magazine announced today that it is now offering a State-by-State Directory of the Best Off Grid Properties for Sale in the United States as well as a Free Guide to Off Grid Living that details what is takes to start living off the grid for every state in United States.

The State-by-State Off Grid Land for Sale Directory and Guide to Off Grid Living were created to meet the pent up demand from city dwellers who are now actively seeking to buy rural ranch or farmland properties, then build an off the grid homestead due to these recent events:

  • California PG&E utility shutting off electricity to more than 2 million customers without warning and threatening to do so on a regular basis in the fture; and
  • News stories airing on the Coronavirus and COVID19 by ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and other TV News networks that provoked panic buying in grocery stores that first stripped grocery stores of toilet paper and cleaning supplies and then quickly followed suit with stories on meat processing plants closing across America, which led to panic buying of beef, chicken and pork; and
  • And, last but not least, ruthless Democrat state governors issuing mandatory police state quarantines ordering all Americans to cease going to work and not allowing people to earn a paycheck causing the loss of more than 20.5 million jobs throughout the United States.

These events have caused many quick thinking Americans to start shopping for the “best places” in United States to buy an “off grid” or “rural” piece of property so they could head for the hills to start setting up self-sustaining homesteads that would survive even if utility companies started shutting off critical services such as electricity, natural gas and water services and grocery stores were suddenly sold out of meat, vegetables and other food supply items.

Offgrid homesteads can replace on-grid electiricty with solar / wind power, and on-grid water with rainwater collection and grocery store food with homegrown gardens and live stock so that there is no need to be dependent on civilization to make ends meet.

“Regardless of whose fault it was for causing the COVID 19 pandemic, Americans are now frantically searching for 10 to 100 acre parcels of off grid raw land where they can distance themselves faraway from police state governments that are now threating to go door-to-door enforcing mandatory COVID19 testing and forcing citizens to inject unproven vaccinations, which may kill more people than the actual Coronavirus itself,” said Robert Hoskins, Living-Off-Grid.com’s Editor. “We’ve seen our Facebook (FB) Off Grid Homes Discussion Group’s membership numbers increase significantly. In the past 3 months, we have seen growth rates of more than 60% rising from from 2,800 members in March 2020 to 4,624 members in May 2020. Our actual increases were 15% in March, 22% in April, and another 25% forecast by the end of May.”

Facebook Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid Growth Stats 2020

Facebook Off Grid Living: Prepping to Live Off the Grid Growth Stats 2020

“Our website’s Guide to Off Grid Living traffic also saw significant growth. For the entire year in 2019, we attracted around 2,690 readers that generated 5,230 page views.”

“Looking at the numbers for the first 5 months of 2020, our circulation has increased from 2,690 to 17,973 readers who have generated approximately 36,331 page views, up 6,930%. If this trend continues the magazine will have more than 41,000 readers generating 87,000 page views by then end of 2020.”

Living Off Grid Magazines’ Guide to Off Grid Living Website Annual Stats

“As a result of the massive pent up the demand for ‘Off Grid’ information we’ve even been getting calls  from TV reality series program directors asking us to help them put together reality TV show treatments and story ideas for them to begin producing new off grid reality TV shows,” Hoskins added.

“After surveying more than 6,640 off-grid FB group members, we’ve found that our members would be most interested in helping TV producers and program directors putting together an Off Grid version of PC Magazine, but with editorial targeting off grid homesteaders, which would include Off Grid Product Roundups, Off Grid Buyer’s Guides and Off Grid Equipment Bakeoffs to help off-gridders make educated purchase decisions for big ticket items such as rainwater collection cisterns, aquaponic garden setups, high-end wood-burning stoves and solar power arrays that can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000.”

In addition, members stated that the off grid industry lacks an organized supply chain of value-added resellers and distributors or rural area buying cooperatives where off grid customers can see live demonstrations of working products and take education courses to help them make better purchase decisions.

Many feel that establishing off grid buying cooperatives would be a great way to generate economic development in very poor rural areas and counties where jobs are extremely difficult to find and where off grid communities are beginning to see rapid growth and expansion. Buying cooperatives are the perfect way to generate loans and grants requests for the USDA, which can be the driving force in rural economic development.

Specialized training classes are esssential for helping educate a local workforce  installers, dirt movers, septic system installers, home builders, rainwater collection and solar installation experts that newcomers can turn to for expert installation of off grid products and services that every rural homestead will need. This process will generate a workforce of installers that can start news businessses that will would create good paying jobs as well as provide lots of installation companies that compete for new land owners business. Competition for these new products and services helps drive prices down and makes it very affordable to build new off grid homesteads.

About Living Off Grid Magazine

Living-Off-Grid.com provides a magazine with circulation of ~18,000+ readers and two Facebook Discussion Groups with ~ 6,640 members and business pages that allow people to follow, like and share information about what it takes to start a living-off-the-grid lifestyle anywhere in the United States.

Click on the links below to learn more:

Living Off Grid Magazine => http://living-off-grid.com/

State-by-State “Off Grid Land for Sale” Directory => https://livingoffgrid.home.blog/blog/

Facebook Discussion Groups:

Facebook Business Pages:

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Contact:
Robert Hoskins
Living-Off-Grid.com
512-627-6622

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

Click on the photo to see more pictures:

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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