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Trickle charging battery bank with grid utility

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I wanted to share a project we have realised because it works well for us and during the research phase, we could not find much info.

We are 5 neighboors on a northern slope all hooked up with small individual Solar systems. It works great except from november to late January when we spent the most time indoors. We did not want full utility, neither generator backup nor did we want to kill our batery banks or close all the lights/music/fun for 2 months a year.

We share a workshop that has full grid utility, 300 meters  downhill from the first house, 700 meters from the last one up the hill. What we did is buried a small wire hocked up on the 240volts, that made it to each house. Each house has a 50 watt charger converting 240v to 24v or 12v (depending on system). The converter can be switch up and off. 50watt ain't much, but after 24hours thats 1,2kw, plenty to keep lights/music/movies/fun going. Much cheaper than buying a generator and big charger each or abusing our batery banks.
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Location: North central Ontario
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That is a great idea. I would not be surprised if you dont see more of those in the future as the rural grids age and replacement costs are too overwhelming. Why only 50 watts?
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Location: Nomadic
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Good idea. Interesting topic as the grid is near many off grid solar installations. My landlord ran a small wire from his neighbors power pole for 2 amps at 120 volts. He has solar, wind, and micro hydro but for a couple months he needs the extra power to run heat pump, etc. . I plug in because I have 15 amp service presently and cycling my batteries  doesn’t make sense. I’m thinking of building a portable nano hydro to generate about 50 watts from streams.
Various micro grids are used in lesser developed villages and compounds. I subscribed to the Victron blog which shows some hybrid projects. Ive been considering going to Africa or somewhere else to do solar. It’s been slow here and truthfully not very enjoyable working here. It seems no one shows much interest except online lol. In Africa I’d have a swarm of cheerful people to work with. I hope it’s better for other folks here.
Pete Thomas
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Why only 50 watts?

We debated a bit on that question.

The goal was to help us get through the 2 months (Mid-November to mid-January) when we felt we were in need
of more electricity but not so much electricity to create new needs. (Ah human needs)

Having such long distance 700 meters (allmost 1000 feet) total to cover, bigger loads (more then 50 watts each) would of meant bigger wire.
We did burry slightly oversized wire so futur houses can connect. But buying smaller was really softer on the budget.
If you go a lot bigger, it doesn't make sense to use bateries anymore, might as well do a grid-tie system or just have full utility.

Our situation is specific in that we have much of our electricity needs that are catered at the workshop that has full utility with laundry, freezers, tools, etc
For someone who needs/wants to have those services at home, I'd sugest he'd go for more than 50 watts.
But that depends so much on location and specific needs.

We are happy with our small systems, even more so now.
Most of us have cold storage inside house that works naturally for free from october to early june,
rest the time plenty of pv power for fridge
All of us have less then 1kw PV's,
Battery bank of give or take 500ah in 12v or equivalent in 24v
All led lighting, phone, music in 12 or 24v
Inverters that are only turned on when needed
Systems that would cost today between 1500$ to 5000$CAN
depending on exact size and quality.

One thing certain is a setup with trickle charge from grid, makes that you don't
have to oversize your system for those 2 brutal months, thats a money saver!

Allso, when you built a house, money is often short.
With a setup like ours, you could buy battery bank and inverter then buy solar PV'S and regulator later.

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