So! The tech stuff. Our problem from the start was the slow progression of technology. First we started off with a Marlec FM1800 turbine. We did dabble with solar early on but the technology was not there at the time, the cost per watt was prohibitive in reality. However, we got a second turbine, a Marlec again, FM1803. This is the three phase version of the FM1800. At about the same time solar became more realistically affordable. So as a test installation we bought two Kyosera panels and a PWM controller. The results from 2x 250w panels was astounding! This encouraged us to invest more. When my pension came live we had a bit more money available and invested heavily in solar and brought our solar input up to 1.8kw. But then we hit a problem. We were buying so little power in that the ESB were hitting us with bills of 70 Euro for 7 Euros worth of actual power use.
I did the maths and most of the bill was levies tax; madness! So we bought a generator from IGE.ie and tested if we could make up the shortfall ourselves. We could!
So, we called the ESB and asked them to ‘de-energise’ us. They did, cost us another 78 Euro, thank you very much!
Projecting forwards, we bought two generators, so that if one was down for servicing the other would be doing the job and vice versa. Likewise we bought two inverters and share the service time between them. Our battery is about 2000Ah and we get a good few days service from them if there is no, or little input from renewables (as often happens in winter.)
We make up any short fall with the diesel generator, this is standard practice for off-grid installations. Not ideal, but it is what it is! The inverters we use are Power Star LE, a Chinese machine, very powerful, but a little crude in start up. Our first inverter was a Trace1524 model, super robust and quick on the startup, sadly that inverter failed after 10 years of good service. So, we had to look for an alternative and the only one that got anywhere near our set specification was the Power Star.
Where we are now.
So far we have been off the ESB grid for 4 years, We have no TV so we do not pay for that ‘service’, service, bloody hell, did I really say that? Insult to the intelligence of the people more like!
We also do not provide information to the CSO as they are not to be trusted with personal information.
So, all in all, the system we have is robust and when our neighbours are off because the ESB has gone down in bad weather, we are the only house with light and power. People need to think about this, because in a ‘grid down’ event, by nature or man made, the power could be down for months; as happened in Puerto Rico!