Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Home Power Magazine Features West Virginia Off-grid Home

"Off-Grid Microhydro and A Little PV 
In the Woods of West Virginia"
Home Power Magazine's July/August 2015 issue features an article about Mickey and Jenny Janowski's off-grid home in Webster County, WV.  The article, written by Mickey and Home Power editor Ian Woofenden, offers a great perspective on an off-grid system that has evolved over several decades to include both solar PV and hydo power.

Author (and PIMBY customer) Mickey Janowski alongside his weir and hydro intake

Mickey has spoken at the West Virginia Small Farms Conference about his microhydro system.  The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition has published a web article that is also a nice read.

Mickey's "Hydroelectric In WV" is a great blog that is a real help for anyone interested in building a microhydro system.  The blog has photos of the construction process and final system. You can also see a video of the Janowski's hydro system at Mickey's blog.

Mickey and Jenny have had solar for decades at their off-grid home, but the winter months always necessitated some use of a gasoline generator to make up for the shorter daylight hours.  The hydro electric system that went online in Fall of 2012 now provides more power than they  use during these winter months.
Mickey and Dave on a beautiful February day in 2012 pondering the potential that this little stream might have for producing electric power.  Click on the photo to see some photos from the survey.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"West Virginia Couple Models Renewable Energy" - Appalachian Chronicle

Michael Barrick of the Appalachian Chronicle covered a wonderful Solar Open House hosted by Autumn Long and Dan Harrington last Sunday.  You can read the Chronicle feature here.

Autumn and Dan own and operate Goldenseal Garden Care which serves the Clarksburg/Fairmont/Morgantown area.  They landscape for a living and have a beautiful garden around their home which is situated outside of Wallace, WV.

Here's a photo from Michael Barrick's article that shows the layout of their garden and potting shed upon which their 2.7-kW PV system is mounted.  The photo was snapped from the house porch. 

Autumn and Dan's home is tucked up against the flank of a hill which necessitated placement of the solar somewhere other than directly on the house - there would have been too much shade.  The solution was to construct a potting shed where they could work and store equipment for their gardens.  The shed became the landing point too for Harrison Rural Electric Association's lines which were extended to serve the home.  Autumn and Dan became the first Net Metering customers in the HREA service area.  Their 2.7-kW power plant not only offsets their homes electricity demands, but excess power is now being credited to another home on the property via a "Virtual Net Metering" arrangement with the utility.

The potting shed that Autumn and Dan constructed is really a great solution to a common problem.  The shed provides unshaded roof space for ten SolarWorld 270W PV modules.  The SMA Sunny Boy inverter is tucked inside and the shed provides great sheltered space for working and storing equipment.

Potting shed interior - how about that garlic!

 SMA Sunny Boy TL killing fascists, one kW at a time