CHEAPEST Off Grid Power Solution – Solar vs Gas Generator

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We are discussing which option is the cheapest off-grid power solution, an off-grid solar power system or a gas generator, in this episode of our Couple Builds Dream Home series. Often when beginners start thinking about living off-grid they first look into off-grid power solutions that they are familiar with like a gas generator. As they continue to explore their options they inevitably run across solar but are often shocked by the price of the initial setup. It may seem that it would be cheaper to power your off-grid home with a cheap generator and gasoline than an expensive solar system but in reality, it is not.

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23 comentários em “CHEAPEST Off Grid Power Solution – Solar vs Gas Generator

  1. Nice and inspiring video! Maybe you also need to consider CO2 emission penalty? I guess with solar power generator you emit much less CO2 than the gas generator?

  2. Common sense needed…the generator would be used a few hours a day
    only to charge the large battery bank…not 24 hours a day

  3. I want you to know you are helping me understand and learn and i appreciate it. I am grateful for sharing your knowledge! keep it up! Thaaanks

  4. If you utilize biogas into your equation the tables turn. Even if it's just suplimentary from say a septic tank and a small biogas digester etc.. also you dismissed the labor and upkeep on solar completely and exclusively used it in th cons for generator. Clearly if using petrol solar is cheaper and more responsible and less noisy however you seem to have allot of videos fiddling with your solar system …does you time not have a cost? Or do you just not value your time? All I'm saying is apply some of that not picking you did say in calculating oil change cost and poly it to the time you spend fiddle ng and cleaning and repairing damaged solar panels over a 10 year pwriod

  5. “So you’ll need 1095 gallons of gas.”

    I’m pretty sure I don’t want to have to move all that gas either. That’s 7,000 pounds of fuel.

  6. Been living off grid for thirty five years, no solar just generators and batteries . Sorry, but you are high ! High on your cost estimate also. I understand where you are coming from, infact I just picked up ten 310 watt panels today. STAY POSITIVE AND TEST NEGATIVE . Gridkicker

  7. With gas you are never truly “off grid”. You have to buy, transport and store gas, that is assuming it is always available as well. As we recently saw it Texas due to massive power outages you may have to drive an hour or more one way to find gas. Entire towns where without power at the pumps and a lot that had power ran out of fuel

  8. You could use a lister Peter diesel generator that can run on used engine oil, cooking oil, heating oil. And have been know to run 11 years none stop. Plus you can use heat from exshaust to heat small house and heat from engine to heat water. I worked in generator industry for 10 years. People called everyday who lived off grid and tried using solar and found it to be unreliable. And had to install generators. Have never sean solar panels, batteries or inverters last ten years like they claim either.

  9. If you are going to run generators day and night you need to look into diesel generators meant to run day and night. Initial expense may be greater, but lifetimes and maintenance are much less. Those little generators are for temporary, short term use. If you are talking "prepping", you also look at large aboveground or underground fuel tanks. I love the idea of solar/battery systems, but the technology is still in flux, in five years, the system you have may be completely out of date.

  10. The biggest takeaway is that there is not just 1 answer in sizing your system. You could drastically cut generator hours just by having a small battery bank and inverter (that charges directly from generator) like most large boats do today. Even a couple battle born sized batteries with your 2k inverter would eliminate 20 hours of generator time a day in your example. Having a bigger battery pack + panels just removes the need to run the generator more (and increase battery cycle life) to eliminate the hassle all together…. Great vid

  11. Texans are getting billed $10,000, each, for their winter storm. Insane!
    How do you like your government in Texas, now? Paying that much owed
    for power during a storm when the power wasn't even on? So, Texans- are
    you still down on California and their regulated grid, thanks to Gray
    Davis, who was recalled by voters for Arnold? In January,
    Dallas resident Shannon Marrs paid $257 for electricity. But after Texas
    suffered the worst winter storm in years, Marrs' February electricity
    bill totaled more than $10,000.

    That's because for a period of 32 hours during the deepest freeze of
    February's winter storm, power companies were paying $9 per
    kilowatt-hour for electricity — about 75 times higher than the state's
    average winter costs. Companies passed those costs on to consumers.

    Texans facing those unexpected bills were hoping that Texas' utility
    regulator would retroactively reduce the electricity market prices. But
    on Friday, the Public Utility Commission of Texas chose to let the
    charges stand.

  12. Appreciate ur effort…. and the detailed analysis of initial capital requirment…..for the hassel part i agree….but if you look at it a bit from financial aspect instead of an accounting aspect;…..say u have 20k for solar….and instead u install a generator which costs u 4k/annum….u "invest" the rest of 16k and say you get a decent return of 10 to 15 %/annum….that will reduce the cost for almost half of the generator…..yes there are tradeoffs in terms of hassel….and technology is always upgrading…hence u there will be better performing generators and batteries along with solar pannel with the passage of time….and depending upon govt policies in the region which sector gets subsidies….plus also there are generators that run on LNG…..they might have a less operational cost……and then there are unforseen events…like snow….and damage….so its better to diversify ur energy needs instead of relying on a single source…contingency plans….backups of backups……(u can also sell enrgy to grid….if u have enough output through netmetring….maybe a symbiotic relationship..but that would not be truly…..offgrid…) also whether its solar or a generator or a combination of both….u have to constantly upgrade it to better version before it depreciates and losses substantial market value…..

  13. Don't solar panels decrease in efficiency with age? Also, those panels aren't outputting anything at night and less than optimal on cloudy days. Of course you can try to compensate for cloudy days with more panels. I can't think of anyone who would be off grid with a generator without a battery bank too. Bottom line is no single system is 100% dependable.

  14. One mistake most people make about living offgrid is they think it's cheaper and more environmentally friendly than living on grid. My solar setup provides about the same kws as my all electric house did. My initial cost was about $16000 for the diy system including agm batteries. About $3000 for concrete for the mount post and base. And another $1500 to have the an electrician go from inverter to house panel box. Other things to think about, you'll need a well, ours is about 300ft that was $10000,to drill. I was using a solar deep well pump, running on a dedicated 1500 watt system. Then lighting killed the pump. That was about $4000 to install and all the parts. And $1300 to replace the pump. You'll also need a septic system and possibly a septic pump. Mine is gravity feed so that was another $1800.
    That is just part you still have a house and possibly a shop to build. All that said, would I go back to living on grid? Heck no, I'm retired living on 40 acres playing all day long. Just saying be prepared for unexpected costs, if your still working, buy you land and make sure everything you do is paid for as you do it. No payments on anything except propane, internet and cell phone. Good luck it's an adventure.
    Now as environmentally friendly, the manufacturing of all the components, and the disposal of, pollutes almost as much anyway.

  15. That's a very interesting calculation but I think it's not very realistic.

    there is nobody in the world not even on the North Pole that runs the generator 24-hours a day.

    it's just something that does not happen.

    I think it would be a lot more realistic if you would say in the winter time we run it 12/16 hours and in the summertime you run it maybe 6/10 hours that would change your calculation dramatically.

    but the end result will still be exactly the same.

    it is absolutely not possible to compete with solar panels or maybe even with a heat exchange turbine.

    but the numbers of maintenance and the amount of fuel would go down 30% and the amount of hours of maintenance even more that would make it a lot more interesting because that would create the circumstances that you would be doing maintenance probably something like once a month.

    but I would absolutely …….not choose a Honda 4-stroke petrol generator……………………. I would absolutely always choose a diesel generator with a little bit more power those things run already something like 20% more economically that's going to be a big advantage and they don't have plugs and those don't have to be adjusted every 200 hours the Adjustment time is closer to 10,000 hours.

    I think you have a very interesting video and I would love to see you do the numbers again. and try it with a diesel generator and with the the expected real time that you would be running a generator because when you are sleeping you're not running a diesel generator not running a petrol generator it's quiet everything is turned off.

  16. What about just for power outages ? Some years we don't even have power outages. It may be half a day to a week.

  17. 2 kW? That cannot include heat or cooking.
    Hard to believe that is sufficient. Wait till you get Starlink!

  18. You seem to be arguing apples and oranges here. You are showing numbers for a genny running 24 hours a day, against solar panels that can only collect useful energy for 6 hours a day. The panels are storing there energy in the batteries for use at a later time. A better argument with the math you are presenting, would be to run the genny to charge the batteries until there 100% charged, shut off the genny and have the battery packs supply the electrical needs until the pack needs recharged. Track the hours of run time of the genny, and then plug those numbers into your formula. Just my opinion. I wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

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