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Our Off Grid House Project Working Toward Zero Energy

When our customers and prospective customers look into going off grid, the idea often seems overwhelming?  We have been living off grid at "Sunshine Cottage" since 2008, and it will soon become what we planned from the beginning, a guest house where you can come and visit and get a feeling for what it is like to live off grid.

In 2011, we started the first steps of construction on our off grid house and slowly but surely, we have overcome the too much project at the end of the money problem, and the house is now completely finished on the outside as of January 12, 2016.  One of our mottos is never give up.  Another is be thankful for what we have.  Another is hang on to your dreams, they will come true some day.  Another is prayers work, and then recall Garth Brook's song, "Unanswered Prayers".

The "big house" with a peek at Sunshine Cottage at the left.

We worked on the house design for a couple of years, the idea being a floor plan 40 x 32 feet (1280 square feet + the 40 x 8 solar greenhouse porch) that is friendly to older folks, handicapped accessible, two modest sized bedrooms and two baths on the main floor.  One of the bedrooms is designed to be a mother-in-law suite.  The main room, which is the full width of the house, is designed like we live; kitchen, living and dining all in one that opens out via three six foot French doors onto a 10 x 28 foot covered deck overlooking Neal Creek, which runs by noisily at about 800 gallons per minute.  We have a full basement which will remain unfinished for storage and shop, room to work on the tractor, etc.  Upstairs in the gable we have about 800 square feet of cheap space under the 12/12 pitched roof.  Our live-with-us-and-we-love-it granddaughter has laid claim to the largest bedroom in the county, and she has earned and deserves it.  Keep making straight A's!

About the solar, 3,000 watts of 24 volt 60 cell Hanwha solar panels are mounted on the 3/12 pitch porch roof on DPW PowerFab angle adjustable roof/ground mounts.  The panels feed a Midnite Solar Classic 150 MPPT charge controller, charging a 520 amp 48 volt battery bank of Sun Xtender AGM lead acid batteries.

The AC loads will be supplied by an Outback VFX3648 115 VAC sine inverter mounted to a Midnite Solar ePanel.  The battery bank may seem a little small, but everything in the house that can be powered with low voltage will be, including lights, ceiling and ventilating fans, SunDanzer refrigerators and freezers and a Dankoff 48 volt Flowlite booster pump.  There are no 230 VAC loads planned at this time.  The largest 115 VAC load will be the washing machine, and an occasional hair dryer and vacuum cleaner.

We have room on the roof for at least another dozen panels.  We plan to have a second battery bank down the road that will power one or two 48 volt solar mini-split air conditioners and electric hot water using a SunBandit solar hybrid hot water heater with propane backup.  We will be fine until then.  There will be a total of ten Vari-Cyclone VC-3 solar ceiling fans and at least two Snap-Fan solar ventilation fans in use.

I am putting this online without being finished.  More editing to follow shortly.  Including a couple of basic floor plans.  Email me if you want to know when this page is updated.

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