Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Off-grid Solar and Radiant In-floor Heating

This is a home that I installed an off-grid power system at near Elkins, WV.  I was "in the neighborhood" on Sunday and took a couple of snaps.
Red Creek Construction built the home in 2018/19.  It's a story-and-a-half on top of a full basement.  The electronics and batteries are in the basement.  Having adequate mechanical space for batteries and electronics is very important with an off-grid system.  This particular system uses most of a 8' X 12' room.

The solar PV array on the roof was sized to power the home with little or no assistance from the Kohler 14K generator.  There are twenty-three 295-watt SolarWorld PV modules.

The house has in-floor radiant heating and a deep deep well.  While the radiant system uses a LP boiler to heat the water it is also dependent on a series of electric pumps to circulate the water to the different heating zones.  The individual pumps are small in terms of their power draw, but the combined use of all the pumps running throughout a winter day can add up to a significant electrical load.  On similar homes with in-floor heat the daily energy consumption in the winter can be double what it is in the summer months.

Here the solar is sized to handle the full load in winter when heating demand is at its peak and solar exposure is at a minimum.  The upshot is that the shoulder and summer months enjoy an excess of energy production and the homeowners report that it is not uncommon for the battery bank to be fully re-charged before noon.

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