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28.02.2015 admin
Mike and Joanne’s two-module PV system and wind generator have significantly reduced their reliance on the boat’s diesel generator. When Mike Young imagined his dream home, his fantasy included one mast, two sails, a wind turbine, and a solar-electric system. Fed up with Vermont’s cold, dark winters, Mike fell in love with the idea of escaping to the warm, sunny Caribbean for part of the year.
The couple bought Orion—a 37-foot sloop—and upgraded its navigational, steering, and safety systems for ocean cruising.
The first trip gave newbie cruisers Mike and Joanne the chance to get a feel for their energy needs. Running the engine a few hours each day to recharge the battery bank burns about 1 gallon of diesel fuel—only about 90 cents on the islands—so it wasn’t the expense that bothered Mike and Joanne.
To add insult to injury, the warm Caribbean temperatures doubled the energy requirements of the refrigerator and freezer—two of the largest and most critical demands on the batteries. A group of high-school students used their RE & energy-efficiency education to champion a 385 kW PV system, making their school net-zero-energy.
This off-grid intentional community includes its own microgrid to share a PV system among 10 homes.
There are many DIY projects you can start that you can take your first steps toward living Off the Grid. If you are fortunate enough to live near a source of flowing water micro hydro is another potential source of energy. Sustainable living is a concept that I believe many of us will be using more often in the future.


This entry was posted in Off Grid and tagged Off Grid, Off the Grid, Solar, solar panels, Wind by admin.
Solar panels can be roof-mounted, wall-mounted or mounted trackers to maximize the solar capture.
This Off Grid Solar system consists of 22 x 195 W Suntech monocrystalline solar panels, Plasmatronics 60 Amp solar regulator, Exide 1080 Amp-hour deep cycle batteries, 2 x Latronics 2.5 kW Off Grid solar system inverters and Woods 30 Amp battery charger. This Off Grid Solar system supplies all essential power to a remote household South-west Queensland.
Everything on the new one is highly electronic and you practically need a degree to do much more than change the oil and spark plugs.
An avid sailor who spent many years sailing on Lake Champlain and crewing on friends’ boats, he had the know-how to pull it off. They sold the family’s retail propane business and embraced the idea of early retirement at age 52. They left home with a diesel engine set up to charge a 12-volt, 366 amp-hour battery bank that powered the boat’s electrical loads. Because they wanted to avoid paying for electric hookups at marinas, Mike and Joanne found that they needed to run the engine at least twice a day—about an hour during the day and an hour at night—to charge the batteries and meet their electrical loads. Circulating the heated water into an insulated storage tank for later use can make a significant difference in your energy bills and bring you one step closer to getting Off the Grid. Each one of these is a stride in the right direction and by following one of these at a time can get you to the goal of being independent and Off the Grid a step at a time.
It’s been relatively dependable however, and uses much less propane to do the same job.


As they have found, you can travel and have all the comforts of home by bringing along your own power company. I saw us enjoying sunrises and sunsets day after day, breathing in the salt air while listening to the ocean and watching the sails fill with wind,” says Mike, a native of Springfield, Vermont.
Though the engine worked well for cruising when winds were low and produced more than enough energy for battery-charging, it was less than ideal for generating energy for their day-to-day needs—lighting, refrigeration, and hot water, and for small household appliances, the navigation equipment, and communication radios.
A diesel engine likes to be run hard and hot, preferably over long periods with a heavy load. Growing your own vegetables can be very rewarding and provide you with the peace of mind of knowing when they came from and what went into them. If I were to do it over however, I’d prefer a smaller version of my old J-Series generator.
From Shelburne, Vermont, they took Orion south to the Hudson River, which brought them to New York City.
But when it’s used as a generator only, the engine doesn’t operate at its optimal temperature and burns inefficiently, producing more pollution per energy output.
From there, they followed the coast south to Virginia, where they departed on the 11-day voyage to Virgin Gorda.



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