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Anyone using alternative energy sources?


New Member
Not sure if this is the right spot for this but... I've been trying to assemble the most ideal set-up I can put together for the space constraints I have and I saw a few things that came to mind...

Does anyone here use alternative energy like wind or solar? I see the kits that include everything but the battery for relatively cheap and would for at least the solar panels I saw, handle ALL of the power requirements I need for now. Besides the basic stuff like having a hard-wired back-up in the event of terrible weather or an equipment malfunction, are there any drawbacks to using alternative power for a smaller grow?

Just testing the waters I suppose.. I suppose just like anyone else, I want to optimize my project with as little cost increase as possible. I had even considered making a sort of "solar tube" which I've seen in homes where it's just a tube with reflective interior that is placed under a clear or translucent cap and it focuses the sunlight almost like a spot light.



Grow Journal of the Month: March 2017
I was initially thinking about a 2kw system (8 panels) to keep me out of the higher priced tiers. The solar contractor had pricing that went down as system size increased. I ended up with a 3.8kw system, 15 255w Solarworld panels. I choose American made whenever possible.

I paid $3.39/watt, which is below average in this area. Total cost was ~$12.3K with tax credit of ~$4.2K. So out of pocket ~$8K. Estimated ROI is ~5 yrs.

Right now I generate a small monthly surplus that will be a helpful offset in less productive winter months. Current production exceeds 20kwh/day. A fun part is the ability to check daily production and to cross check with utility company's usage detail.

I hope this info helps. Let me know if you have other questions. Like I said, I'm very happy with it.


New Member
That's awesome!!!!!! That system seems a bit larger than what I'd be looking for, at least for now, but this is EXACTLY the kind of information I was hoping to hear from people with experience!!! Do you run your entire home/land/grow off of your solar? If so, did it seem more prudent to do it because of the price? What kinds of batteries do you use, car-like batteries with the liquid, deep-cycle cores or are there specific batteries they want you to use? I don't think any of the kits I looked at came with batteries or capacitors, etc... They look like they only came with the DC module and the AC inverter in some cases..

DRM Ranch

New Member
I've been interested in using a variety of alternative power sources for quite some time. Of particular interest to me has been solar.

There are a few things you will need to consider beyond the obvious; 1) Do you have a south facing area free of shade? 2) What is your location? 3) Do you know what your power needs are at worst?

Your location has a lot to do with just how much power the panels will actually produce on a clear day, as the length of day shortens and the sun is located lower over the horizon you will not be able to produce as much power per panel as you would on a long summer day with clear skies and the sun high above the horizon. It might be wise to calculate your solar panel needs based on the shortest day in winter to assure the highest possibility that you will produce enough power to meet your needs. You highest power consumption is likely to be mid summer if you use AC or the dead of summer if electric heat is in use, knowing when you will need the most power and how much power will be demanded is a good way to help size the system.

If you have short days of usable sun exposure, particularly if the sun will not fully power the lights long enough to run the light cycle you desire, you will need to account for this in terms of an electric bill. Or if you so desire you may up-size the system so that it can both power your needs and charge a series of storage batteries to maximize your off the grid effectiveness. A sizable battery bank can easily double the cost of a solar power system.

Unless you are doing this to save the planet it would be wise to determine how long the installation of a solar power system will take to pay for itself in savings. Keep in mind that power from your electric company will continue to rise in price at a rate of something like 3% each year potentially more and not likely less. Play this pay for itself number against the warranted time of the system you are considering. A lesser known consideration will be the actual company you purchase the system from, are they likely going to be around in the 25 or so years a system might be under warranted for? (my lifetime warranted windows come from a now defunct company, thus my warranty is no longer existent, just like the company)

Consider ease of maintenance, the panels need to be kept clean to maintain their power producing capability, an out of sight out of mind mentality will not serve you well.

On a 420 note, it might be a good idea to have the system wired in such a way as to not be 100% divorced from your home usage. Should the grow come to be found illegal in the future and all related support systems confiscated, it would suck to lose the solar power system simply because it was not wired to power your home as well.

+Reps to you for bring up such a thread, I do believe we should support more alternative power sources because indoor grows do have such a high demand on power. The more responsible we can be the more fondly we will be seen as a whole.

DRM Ranch
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