My weekend cottage is powerless at moment, but running the lines to attach it to ‘the grid’ is estimated to cost $16,000 ! I am approx. 300 yards away from nearest power box. So instead of doing grid tie solar, I am now contemplating off grid solar and looking at generators for backup.
Sounds like diesel is the way to go for reliability and low maintenance, which is my biggest goal. I am willing to pay a little more for this.
My question is, what do you think of running Biodiesel in most modern diesel generators? Is this feasible? Is this for summer time only? (I live in northern Wisconsin, and wonder if Biodiesel mixes would freeze!).
I’m trying to be as ‘earth friendly’ as possible.
Being totally off-grid is not as easy as you think unless you have lots of solar modules and batteries, and really limit the use or quantity of larger appliances. Having said that, depending on your solar exposure and location, the more solar you have the less generator run time so fuel type may not be a big issue.
Some diesel engine manufacturers will void their warranty if you use bio-diesel, although this is changing as manufacturers get more experience with bio and the quality of the fuel processing improves. However, not only bio-diesel, but regular diesel fuels can be a real problem during the winter unless you use crank case heaters, fuel pre-heaters, and other heating devices to prevent the fuel from turning into gel. If you think solar is expensive just to run a few appliances and lights in an off-grid home, wait and see what it will cost you in batteries and solar modules just to power a crank case heater on a diesel generator all winter !
This is why many backup generators are propane. The fuel does not go stale, it does not freeze, and you don’t have to worry about it turning into a semi-solid in the fuel lines. A fill up once a year to a 500 gallon underground tank should not only give you many months of backup power, but can also be used in a gas stove since you will not be able to have an electric stove in an off-grid home.
Hope this helps,