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What it really takes to be off the grid.

By FuckCCP89 follow FuckCCP89   2021 Feb 20, 12:32pm 332 views   22 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


Coekaerts, who grew up in Belgium, is a man who highly values reliable, stable electricity— something PG&E has not always provided in recent years amid increasingly ferocious wildfires. And it's not just California: this week, a winter storm has paralyzed the grid in much of Texas, highlighting just how fragile the legacy system is. Coekaerts is senior vice president of software development at Oracle Corp., a legend in the open source community and is the longest serving board member of the Linux Foundation. We all want the lights to stay on; he needs to be able to run his servers and charge his electric Tesla Model S.
His house is the exact opposite of a small cabin: it was designed by an architect and spans 2,800 square feet. Coekaerts started puzzling through the engineering challenges: What if he cut ties with PG&E? What would it take to build his own self sufficient energy system, with the electricity produced and stored on site? He started researching microgrids, a small energy grid with control capability, which typically means it can disconnect from the traditional grid. Coekaerts wanted to be autonomous from the beginning. He started looking at Tesla’s energy products: the home battery known as the Powerwall and larger systems called Powerpacks.
“This is not a tiny home,” says Coekaerts, as contractors put the finishing touches on the three-bedroom limestone house. “A lot of people say they are off grid, but they have a tiny house where they only need two solar panels. I didn’t want to have a lifestyle where I’m just getting by. This is a normal house with normal energy consumption, and I can charge my car if needed.

Coekaerts didn’t want his system to function as a backup to the grid: he wanted to be independent of the grid. So through Luminalt, the San Francisco company that installed his solar system, he was able to get a Powerpack, which is about 17 times what a single Powerwall provides. Tesla representatives have told him it is the first residential Powerpack installation that they know of, though others are in the pipeline. The total cost, including permitting, labor for the installation and a federal tax credit for the solar system, was roughly $300,000.
His system, which was activated in November, combines 27 kw of photovoltaic solar panels with a 232kWh Tesla Powerpack. There are five ground-mounted arrays of 15 solar panels each, or 75 solar panels total, stretching across the yard.


https://apple.news/AArVwoRaZQZCDzvirT80lzw
1   Shaman   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 20, 1:14pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

All that to be 100% solar.
When I was a kid, my family was poor as fuck and we lived off the grid. We had a generator for power and it ran on diesel. Didn’t cost that much to operate either.

All this idiot had to do is install a backup generator instead of the enormous battery. Cost maybe $10k instead of the extra $250k.
2   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 20, 2:09pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Shaman says
All that to be 100% solar.
When I was a kid, my family was poor as fuck and we lived off the grid. We had a generator for power and it ran on diesel. Didn’t cost that much to operate either.

All this idiot had to do is install a backup generator instead of the enormous battery. Cost maybe $10k instead of the extra $250k.

Quite right, but I do not think economy was his goal - he wanted all solar and could afford it. I actually like seeing the rich guys pioneer this stuff so it can be made cheaper and more available in the future.
4   Booger   ignore (7)   2021 Feb 20, 7:01pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Shaman says
All that to be 100% solar.
When I was a kid, my family was poor as fuck and we lived off the grid. We had a generator for power and it ran on diesel. Didn’t cost that much to operate either.

All this idiot had to do is install a backup generator instead of the enormous battery. Cost maybe $10k instead of the extra $250k.


Someone like him is going to spend more like $20K on a commercial grade whole house generator. The $10K ones are what I would call residential grade. The difference being things like better overall quality, the ability to run the unit 24X7 forever if you wanted to, etc. Think of having a water cooled until instead of air cooled.
5   komputodo   ignore (3)   2021 Feb 20, 10:50pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Are you really off the grid is your are calling your solar company for a repair under guarantee?
6   KgK one   ignore (0)   2021 Feb 21, 5:56am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Solar panel last 25byrs, n efficiency decreases as time passes.
Batteries age is varied, 3 to 10. U gotta keep buying.
IN PA, not enough light, and if you have excess , they buy back at low rate.

So whole solar concept has flaws. ROI 7 to 12 years.

House that big, he is not helping environment.
7   PeopleUnited   ignore (1)   2021 Feb 21, 8:08am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Oh please, according to the perpetual climate alarmists the only good human is a dead one. No human can build any house the “helps the environment” in their zero sum game perverse math where an owl or an amoeba is equal to if not more important than a human.
8   Shaman   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 21, 8:24am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Booger says
Someone like him is going to spend more like $20K on a commercial grade whole house generator. The $10K ones are what I would call residential grade. The difference being things like better overall quality, the ability to run the unit 24X7 forever if you wanted to, etc. Think of having a water cooled until instead of air cooled.


I’m sure you’re correct, and you win The Price is Right for today! Regardless, $20k is way cheaper than $250k, although you’d need to have a dedicated generator shed for it. I guess an insulated one with some sound proofing would cost around $30k.
Batteries just wear out so fast though.
9   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 21, 8:26am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

KgK one says
House that big, he is not helping environment.


The article says the house is 2800 sq feet, hardly a "large" house. Or is that a misprint and he has an Al Gore type rich boy house at 28,000 sq Ft?
10   Patrick   ignore (1)   2021 Feb 21, 8:29am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Next, he needs his own water reservoir.
11   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 21, 8:49am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

"What it really takes to be off the grid."

Just a reduction in life style. I am presuming "off the grid" means no utility hookups, and does not mean you have no contact with civilization.

Go to bed when it gets dark, use a pellet stove for heat, be careful of power use so you do not drain your solar recharged Tesla battery, watch broadcast TV instead of cable and listen to radio. Use a clothesline instead of a dryer. Shower during the day (or soon after sunset) since the solar hot water does not work at night. You will need enough land that "perks" and the ability to dig a well for drinking water. Good old fashioned rain barrels to catch rain water for plants or washing.

I have visited several houses in my area on "Solar Tours" that are "net zero." Net zero means they put as least as much power back into the grid as they take out. This includes air conditioning. This is not really "off the grid" but it shows that solar can work with efficient lighting and appliances, plus care about not wasting power with lights left on, and so on.
12   WookieMan   ignore (6)   2021 Feb 21, 9:21am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

HeadSet says
The article says the house is 2800 sq feet, hardly a "large" house.

Larger than it needs to be though. Unless you have 4-5 kids, 2,800sf is obnoxious IMHO. Is that what many people have, yes. But if you're trying to be "green" like this guy, he fucked up from the word go.

I also look a ton at the value of my time and what it gets me. I sleep, shower and eat almost 80-90% of the time at home. Hell, we're normal traveling about 2 months of the year. Not everyone is like me, but it's a good exercise to run some numbers on the time you're at home and what you do. Spending large sums of money on a house is probably one of the dumbest uses of money ever.

A good mattress, master bath/bed and kitchen is really all you need if you want those to be nice/big. Paying for a dining room used 3 times a year if that is the biggest fucking waste on the planet. A bigger house just allows you to dump more shit into it too, so you waste even more money after paying property taxes on a 15x15 room you use 3 times a year at best.
13   Booger   ignore (7)   2021 Feb 21, 9:52am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

WookieMan says
HeadSet says
The article says the house is 2800 sq feet, hardly a "large" house.

Larger than it needs to be though. Unless you have 4-5 kids, 2,800sf is obnoxious IMHO. Is that what many people have, yes. But if you're trying to be "green" like this guy, he fucked up from the word go.

I also look a ton at the value of my time and what it gets me. I sleep, shower and eat almost 80-90% of the time at home. Hell, we're normal traveling about 2 months of the year. Not everyone is like me, but it's a good exercise to run some numbers on the time you're at home and what you do. Spending large sums of money on a house is probably one of the dumbest uses of money ever.

A good mattress, master bath/bed and kitchen is really all you need if you want those to be nice/big. Paying for a dining room used 3 times a year if that is the biggest fucking waste on the planet. A bigger house ju...


I agree. My house is like 800 sq ft. But when I retire I'm going to want a bigger house simply because I'm going to be home all the time.
14   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 21, 11:33am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

Booger says
My house is like 800 sq ft.


Maybe we are not using the same measures. A typical single wide trailer home is bigger than 800 sqft of conditioned living space.
15   HeadSet   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 21, 12:31pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

WookieMan says
I also look a ton at the value of my time and what it gets me. I sleep, shower and eat almost 80-90% of the time at home. Hell, we're normal traveling about 2 months of the year. Not everyone is like me, but it's a good exercise to run some numbers on the time you're at home and what you do. Spending large sums of money on a house is probably one of the dumbest uses of money ever.


You logic is unassailable, and is likely good advice for many people. I had built a large home for my residence in 2014, for the following reasons:

In 2014, I thought Hilary Clinton would be the next president and we would have a high rate of inflation.
I did not see houses getting more affordable in real terms, so I thought the trend would be for multi-generational living.
Since I did not plan this house as my final home, I wanted a home I could sell in the future to such a multi-gen buyer, This house has a master suite on the second floor for the "owner," (along with 1 other bedroom with en-suite full bath, plus 2 other bedrooms that share a full bath), a master suite on the main floor for the "parent(s)," plus a finished area in the basement with full bath suitable for a boomerang kid. Theater room, game room, and wet bar down there, too. 3 car garage for parking.

I have been a life long saver and had the cash to buy this home outright. I do not do well in the stock market, and I did not want to own another rental property. CD rates were, and still are ridiculously low. Therefore, I "invested" most of my cash in this house. It seems I was wrong about the multi-gen trend, but have lucked out in that this part of Virginia (Williamsburg) is appealing to people fleeing NY, CT and DC area and it is a serious sellers market for now. Real Estate taxes are low here, I pay less than $5k annually. Also, surprisingly low utility bills despite dual zone heat/cool and dual 200 amp panels, as the house was built to high efficiency standards and natural gas is cheap. I am also not one who keeps his house meat locker cold during the summer.

My next house will be much smaller, located on waterfront or mountain scenic, and will be geothermal and solar equipped. I plan to retire soon, and like Wookieman, will do a spot of traveling.
16   EBGuy   ignore (1)   2021 Feb 21, 12:50pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

While we may not agree some of the choices this guy made, bear in mind that he was 550 ft from the nearest power pole and faced a choice: pay PG&E Corp. roughly $100,000 for engineering work and foot the enormous additional cost of the trenching, or engineer a more personal fix. He'll probably be doing better than most of us after the big one.
17   WookieMan   ignore (6)   2021 Feb 22, 3:43am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

EBGuy says
While we may not agree some of the choices this guy made, bear in mind that he was 550 ft from the nearest power pole and faced a choice: pay PG&E Corp. roughly $100,000 for engineering work and foot the enormous additional cost of the trenching, or engineer a more personal fix. He'll probably be doing better than most of us after the big one.

That logic makes sense. Or sell it and buy property $100k cheaper or closer to power? There's plenty of paths to get to a goal. I'm biased as solar just won't work all that well in IL, but I'd never get solar. We also have some wicked hail storms that would shred even the best panels. Microbursts, tornado and other high wind events.

If worried about earthquakes or other disasters, get a big propane cylinder and gas generator. That's the most fool proof way to have power and not rely on any utility service at all. Depending on severity there's no guarantee solar would work either if panels got dislodged or cracked. I also despise electric water heaters and stove tops.
18   WookieMan   ignore (6)   2021 Feb 22, 3:54am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

HeadSet says
I had built a large home for my residence in 2014, for the following reasons:

I get it. And I'm not trying to shame anyone with a big house. Since we took in my nephew the wife has been scratching the new construction itch..... ugh.... Custom though, no subdivision cardboard boxes. But 3 boys that will likely all be 6'3"+ in high school is a bit of a challenge and we only have 2 baths. One master, one common.

We're 1,260 above grade, ranch, but a full finished basement with 800 usable sf down there. So ~2k. I think it's fine. Our master kind of sucks, at least the bathroom. Tiny is the issue, but still nice. Kids though. Those fuckers take up a ton of space. Adding a third has been an eye opener.

There's a subdivision by us that has struggled to get off the ground since the housing bust. We might just pick up 3-4 lots right where it meets the existing part of town and throw up a big ranch (2k above grade, 4k total with basement). I despise 2 story homes. Depending on your property taxes, you're just pissing away money on staircases every year.
19   zzyzzx   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 22, 5:46am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

HeadSet says
I plan to retire soon, and like Wookieman


Retire to where? No fucking way am I staying here.
20   WookieMan   ignore (6)   2021 Feb 22, 8:55am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

zzyzzx says
HeadSet says
I plan to retire soon, and like Wookieman


Retire to where? No fucking way am I staying here.

I forget you guys are on the east coast. Humidity and hurricanes blow, but Florida is where I'd go domestically. Probably panhandle area. Maybe TX, but feel like it's just brown IL with warmer weather. AZ is another option, summers are brutal though.

Our plan is always up in the air. I like the idea of getting our shit into a checked bag and being able to live in 6 month furnished rentals or so in the Caribbean when there are no hurricanes. Come back to home base during the summer, see family, etc. Mexico has slowly been growing on me, but I don't have enough knowledge or experience there to pull that trigger. The feel, people and vibe of the Caribbean is just so inviting. Slow, but that's what retirement is supposed to be, right?
21   zzyzzx   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 22, 11:08am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

This somehow seems appropriate for this thread:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO839Sayci0
22   zzyzzx   ignore (2)   2021 Feb 22, 11:11am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag      

WookieMan says
I forget you guys are on the east coast. Humidity and hurricanes blow, but Florida is where I'd go domestically. Probably panhandle area.


I think one issue is that by the time I really retire, maybe like 5 years from now, Florida (housing in particular) might be too fucking expensive for me to want to go there. I could probably get a job in Tampa or the Panhandle (near the extreme west part) now if I wanted to, but I am not sure that I want to live in those places. Pensacola was more interesting when I still had a cousin there.

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