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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Gang,

I'm new here, first post actually. We just bought land and after clearing parts of it the first thing I want to do is get a water pump. However, I figured that since I am starting fresh that I might as well start off the grid as much as possible and go solar. I have no idea where to look to begin this search. Any pointers, any questions I should ask, really anything would be great. I am completely clueless in this area. Thanks!
 

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You need to determine the criteria for pumping water from your source first… draft/lift, gallons per minute, head, etc. That will indicate the type and power requirements of the pump you'll need. Most pumps required to draw water from a well draw considerable amperage… more than a direct solar source can provide. It may well be necessary to acquire a substantial 12 or 24 volt DC pump and power it from a battery or battery array, charged by a solar source.

Solar water pumping
12V DC solar pump information | buy 12 volt solar pumps

Good luck with it.
 

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If you don't have your well in yet put it in as high above your building spot as you can. You can then use gravity to get your water to the house.
If the well is already dug then build your house as far down hill as you can. If both are in place then you will have to live with what you have.
The solar water pumps are OK for one or two people but you really should consider using a sistern to hold 100 - 150 gallons of water up hill from your home. Even if you have to pump the water up to it you can use gravity to get it back to your home. Use big pipe buried deep enough (at least 36") so it won't freeze. It will allow you to have a larger volume than your pump can supply when you need it. Try filling a bath when your pump only pumps 2 gallons per hour at 230 feet.
 
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Hi Gang,

I'm new here, first post actually. We just bought land and after clearing parts of it the first thing I want to do is get a water pump. However, I figured that since I am starting fresh that I might as well start off the grid as much as possible and go solar. I have no idea where to look to begin this search. Any pointers, any questions I should ask, really anything would be great. I am completely clueless in this area. Thanks!
Need more information

Pumping from where to what?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses. My new property is in Florida and is 5 acres and all flat. We are right now clearing and do not have anything out there. Our first goal is to finish the clearing so we can put our pop up camper out there and fence off a small area to start a farm and some chickens and a goat or two. Our current home is just a couple of miles away so we will be staying there and spending a couple of days a week at the new property as we prepare it and get it going. We have decided to get a Honda EU3000i generator to power the camper instead of installing temporary power through the power company for the camper and thought if we are off the grid right now, why not try and stay that way as much as possible. So that came to the next part of water. We haven't built a well or anything yet and I know nothing of the process. The only thing that I do know is that I have seen several people talk about solar powered wells and thought sounded like a good plan. We do get freezing temperatures here but usually only about 5 to 10 days out of the year so it does happen but usually around the 28 to 32 degrees and just a few days out of the year. Not sure what that would mean. But we don't live on a mountain just a 5 acre wooded lot that is pretty secluded considering the area. Not sure if any of this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Right now we will be pumping to our pop up camper and for our garden and livestock (ducks/chickens/goat) In the future we would like to build a home on it but we have been toying with doing a shipping container home or connecting 4 or 5 20ft domes to form a home that we would need to then send water to when it is done. We have a larger family totaling 7 so that might be a concern for water pressure to.
 

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To start with, I would suggest putting a pole building (basically a free standing lean to) that you can put the popup under. That shade over the popup will make a huge difference. Plus you can do a rain catch system off the roof. Not hard to set up a 12VDC pump to move the water or set up a water filter system. That will take care of some of your immediate water needs.

If you are going to have any amount of livestock you will need a 4" well. Garden will do best on captured rain water that is unfiltered.Talk to some of the closest neighbors asking them how deep their wells are & recommendation on who to drill it. Meeting the neighbors with something in hand like homemade pie is wise.

Pumps are jet pumps or submersible pumps. 4" well you will want a sub pump. A DC pump is very versatile. If not real deep you can run it on 24VDC. Deeper maybe 48VDC. And have heard of them being operated on 72VDC.
If 24VDC will work then simple enough to get 24VDC panels & a 24VDC system. I would not do 36VDC due to complications of setting up the system but instead would step up to a 48VDC system. Alternate power to run the pump from the generator you can purchase a 48VDC electric golf cart charger & run it off your generator.

Everything I built would have a metal roof & rain catch system. The more rain you can catch & store the less you have to pump out of the ground.

HH
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Hunting Hawk! These are great answers to help me get going. We have been looking at steel structures as an option for a temporary house then future barn or whatever else we want to do. Right now we are planning on putting the camper under a space we cleared out with great shade trees. However, I'm very nervous about trees falling as they are 40 to 60ft trees that would crush the camper like a tooth pic if they fell. (Which is why we are looking at the shipping container homes) as I really don't want to cut these trees down, but also don't want them smashing the house in a storm. I'll start asking around and find out more about the well system. But this all sounds great.
 

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Did you check with the powers-that-be to see what you are allowed to build? Or even if you can live temporarily in the popup.
No point in starting something and having some bureaucrat come along and tell you it has to be removed. And paying a fine.
Since SHTF hasn't happened yet, you still have to play by their "rules".
 

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Everything you build consider tin roofs. Then rain collection systems.

Will easily take care of the water needs for garden & livestock. You will have sheds for the livestock & no matter what size tin roof, make a water collection system. Its free water forever. Any garden will grow best from soft rain water.

Look at 12VDC shuflo pumps. Small solar system will operate them. Just make sure to use a DC switch to turn them on & off. Size of solar system will be determined by the size of the pump & how many hours per day you will figure to need it runnning.
 

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Basic rule of thumb is from 1" of rain on one square foot of roof you will collect 0.6 gallon of water. An 8ft length of roofing tin is 16sqft. So off just that one sheet would give you 9.6 gallons from just one inch of rain. I've already looked it up & where I live it averages 50" of rain per year. So roughly 480 gallons from one 8ft sheet of roofing tin per year.

The roof of that pole building feeding the barrels is 17x22 which is 374sqft so from 1" of rain would be 224 gallons into the barrels. And if I could collect all the rain would come out to 11,220 gallons per year.
 

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For around $70 you can get a 3.0 GPM, 55 PSI shurflo pump that draws 7.5amps. That is roughly 180 gallons per hour it can pump. Power source could be just a 100watt solar panel, 7 amp controller, & 125AH deep cycle battery. Though with that setup I wouldn't run the pump more then 45 minutes per day.
 

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12VDC is going to be your friend if you want to stay off grid. Takes really heavy gauge electrical wire to move 12VDC any distance. So multiple small solar systems are going to be your friend. Especially look at 12VDC lighting & 12VDC shurflo pumps to move water around your property. Small 12VDC fans are nice also.

Starting with an electric generator, also get a car battery charger & a deep cycle battery. When you run the generator you want to be charging that battery. Then at night you can run lights & fan off that battery.

Trees are bad stuff. Taller they are the more of a lightning rod they are. No matter how tall they grow, eventually they will come down. The more you build the better chance you have of a tree taking something out. Drop the trees & plant fruit & nut trees.

Make a master plan of how you want the property to end up. Then set your priorities.
 

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You can do some neat stuff with shipping containers. This is my storm shelter as I was finishing the inside.


You can take multiple shipping containers, use come-alongs to pull them together, & then weld them together. Then cut doorways between them & frame the doorway out. Two 40ft containers together would give you 16x40 or 640sqft. That I think would be alittle small for 7 people. But you could also make it 3 wide. Or you can make it a two story but that involves a crane to stack them. Two 40 ft containers with two 20ft containers ontop would give you space for four small bedrooms on the upper floor. Using shipping containers the possibilities are endless.
 

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Keep in mind there is a huge loss when converting DC to AC. Something that uses 1amp AC draws atleast 10amps DC from the batteries. That doesn't take into account looses of the inverter itself which is another 1-2%.
Anything with a motor or compressor there is the surge current to contend with. I run a small chest freezer off my solar system. When it kicks on it draws 6amps AC so is 60amp DC from the batteries. It doesn't draw that for long as its run current is like 1.34amps AC but that is still drawing 13.4amps DC from the batteries. The reason I can easily run the chest freezer off the 520watt system is the chest freezer doesn't run continually. With the small chest freezer I can make ice for drinks or freezer water jugs for an ice cooler so more efficient then a frig.

Now to run an air conditioner is a whole different thing. I estimate I would need a 2KW solar system to run that 10,000BTU air conditioner that is in my storm shelter.
 

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