Dec 25, 2015

Local offgrid enthusiasts

I got a chance to visit a friend here in central PA who is setting up his property to be self sufficient on both energy and water needs.

 A quick photo log follows of some of the efforts at two locations.

Caption is above image.
Solar photovoltaic system (rooftop) and a solar thermal water heating system on the side of the barn wall.
PV system is 7kW and about 6-8 hours average sunlight in a day with peak between 11-3pm

Direct solar thermal water heater (in detail)
Water flows through a loop changing direction at the ends, this keeps it long in sunlight to heat up sufficiently. Higher absorbent coatings or color on the pipes help further.

Micro hydro potential.
While the drop is relatively small, it is possible to build a penstock system that takes water through a steeper drop to the side and after the turbine can be released back into the stream.

He also has electric cars and batteries hooked up to the PV system. Further, he has a van with solar panels installed in top for road auxiliary power as well as power for lights, electric stove etc when they park/camp.

He also has 2 diesel cars that run on used vegetable oil! That's waste oil being used as a fuel! The house heating is supplemented by local wood furnaces. A lot of dead trees can be used as firewood (at least in PA), he also used wood pellets, that burn cleaner and completely.

All in all it was a great visit!

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