Monday, October 1, 2018

Kelleys host solar showcase

Don Kelley is a cool guy: as a fellow former Kucinich supporter on a western South Dakota burro, windmills often become mutually quixotic destinations.

With nurse and partner, Kim, the Vietnam-era former pathologist has built a small farm along one Black Hills elk migration route within prime mushroom habitat just off the Merritt Estes Road between US385 and the Nemo Road on the border of Pennington and Lawrence Counties. They have been part of Dakota Rural Action, Solarize South Dakota and off-grid builders for at least two decades.

The rest of you still trapped in South Dakota are simply idiots.



The cost of subsidizing, manufacturing, transporting, erecting and maintaining just one wind farm turbine bat and bird killer would take a thousand subscribers off the grid. Craigslist, barter and four golf car batteries powered our new investment property for about $1200. Anyone who can afford to get off the grid should do it now.


Upper left is the charge controller, upper right is the 12V breaker box, on the counter is the inverter and underneath the counter are four 6V golf car batteries wired as two 12V. Note gray conduit holding cables coming from the rooftop array going into the breaker box. The gray cable coming out of the inverter goes through the adobe to the 120V breaker box in the building.

The workhorse inverter is a Trace 2000W 12V but a dinosaur by today's technology. We traded neighbors Lynn and Steve some dirt work for it.

After searching Craigslist Our Lady of the Arroyo found Tim, upsizing to a 24V system who had three Solarland 100W panels, a mount and the 2015 model year charge controller for $625. Delivered! That cost is about a third of their new value.

The four batteries came from Sam's Club at $85 each but we had two old cores worth $18 apiece lowering the final bill. We have since added two 100W panels, a new Outback charge controller and two additional batteries.


The water system features the pressure pump in top of image, 20 gallon pressure tank lower left and the filter on the right. Water source is a 1600 gallon tank filled by a 100 year old Aermotor windmill. Neighbor Kosta gave us the 12V pump motor for letting him use an air stapler but the brass pump itself has been remanufactured.

I did all the plumbing and interior wiring but our guru electrician, Bob wired the array, the 120 and 12V panels, batteries, charge controller and pressure switch on the tank.

A cheap one inch spade bit 10 inches long went through the adobe for pipes and wire.



This is a Bosch LP gas tankless water heater without its cover. The exhaust is taped for now but it runs great after getting the regulators figured out. Propane is a waste byproduct of natural gas wells and is usually flared off. Why not tap it instead of burning coal for electric baseboard or cove heat? The water heater and drop-in stove top are fed by a 100# Skelgas bottle salvaged from the farm in Elkton: it's stamped 1963 but passed certification with ease.


Here's a photo of the the array before the pump house was built.






Prior images threaded here and here.

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