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Home Forums General Discussion Does using OTG Solar cost 10 times more than using grid power?

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    John Phoenix

    Does using OTG Solar cost 10 times more than using grid power? I want to hear from the folks who have had solar at least a few years to tell me what your experience is with this.

    I ask because I joined a forum called SolarPanelTalk and a frequent poster there called SunKing, ( who is an electrical engineer which means he makes his living because of electricity coming from the grid) kept claiming that off the grid solar power would cost you 10 times more money than using on the grid power.

    I asked him why he believes this and he replied with cost of grid power vs cost of buying the solar system, having it installed, replasing batteries. I didn’t buy his argument so I asked him for more details and to consider my proposed solar system would not run everything, because I have alternate ways to do many things like cooking, heating the house, heating water etc.

    I told him solar can be found now for 50 cents a watt. I can buy the materials for under 5000 and install the solar myself in my small 1500 sq foot house. I would only use the soalr for a few things, like running a small ac window unit just to cool one room or swamp cooler and perhaps lights at night. I told him i could buy a 10 pack of marine batteries for 1000 dollars. I’d only have to spend 1000 dollars to replace them every so many years. ( or cheaper by using lead acid and rebuilding and recharging them)

    Ironically, I was never able to get a reply from this SunKing fellow because the site banned me simply it seems for disagreeing with their resident expert. Not only was i banned but that thread and two other threads made by me were deleted.

    I find this all very suspicious. Still i need answers. I look forward to your thoughts in these matters.

    Thank You


    We have been on self installed independent solar power for over 14 years. That was back when panels were twice as much. Our system continues to work well, running everything and paid for itself in 6 years. I determined that it would have taken 11 years to pay for itself if we did not self install. Longer with a grid tie system. That site is run by a bunch of installers/salesmen.

    The main things I would do different now is #1) put thick aluminum foil,under the sheetrock between the inverter room and the rest of the house(EMI/RFI), and #2) Use nickel iron batteries(Iron Edison) instead of lead acid(the cost has come down and they are now available in the A/H sizes I would want).


    The smaller you can design a system to maintain a level of comfort, the faster it will pay itself off..

    I live comfortable on 512 watts of panel and 4-golf cart batteries. A total 12 v.d.c. system. I paid $344 for my last set of batteries 6 yrs. ago. That’s the second set in the last 12 yrs..

    I have an AC unit but I only use it when I need to via generator. Sometimes you need to give up some comfort to be self sufficient..


    If your property is far away from the grid then solar can be much cheaper because the cost to install the grid can be way too much. However, its not just about cost it is about being able to survive on your own if the grid goes down. I have battery backup so the storm doesn’t bother me and i use very little electric anyway.


    john- there will always be cost’s that can’t get figured in on both sides of the argument. i have 480 watts (panels and tracker from 1984) with a 8 battery/24v bank $2800 outback reconditioned fm80/3524 ($1700). self installed concrete tower/tower/wire/misc fittings ($800) 5400 lets say 6000.

    lets throw in a second set of batteries 1500 and call it 7500. this extra set makes it a 16 year capability. thats 192 months. 7500 /192 = 40 bucks a month.

    i’m only 600 ft from the power box. i never even asked how much it would cost to run it to my house.

    so in the news. hurricane sandy. how many people are with out power? how many generators failed because they take for granted where there power comes from and don’t test there back up gear.

    how much will it cost to rebuild there infustructure (sp) ?. i live on the west side of the teton range on a high field. my system sustains regular winds of 25- 60. in the winter i have 90-100 plus winds. all i do is cleat the 9.99 rope to ground anchor before or during storms. my only weather repair has been the 1′ harden steel bolt on the arbor of the tracker (5.00)

    adding two southwest wind generators in the spring. hope they don’t burn up in the winter :)

    let me know if i crunched any numbers wrong. i never have before because i live this way for independence. also when or if your batteries become less productive they will still be able to power your house directly from the panels during sunny times.

    hopefully this winter i can get some work done on a perpetual motion generator, and finish my 1/25 amp fridge :)

    then we will have rainy season backup

    cheers gordo

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