Case Study - Alaska
A real-life account of how one Alaskan family has utilised modern, off-grid technology to live independent lives, incorporating DSEPower and DSEGenset products to maximise efficiencies and increase performance & reliability.
Living off the grid isn't all that hard with a reliable generator, but it becomes more complex if you want to minimise the use of fossil fuel, AND have a wife who insists on a modern house! At PhotonPharms near Fairbanks, Alaska, we are off the electric grid, but have a house with all the amenities that would rival any of those “in town.” Efficient design means the house runs quite comfortably on an average of about 10 kWh / day, and from mid February- mid November 8 kW of solar panels coupled with a 40 kWh 48 volt battery bank have no problem keeping the house system going [We also have a 1kW wind turbine, but the Fairbanks wind is often not steady enough to make a significant difference). December and January are another story: At 65 degrees north there is less than 4 hours of the sun above the horizon (maximum elevation 4 degrees) for much of December. Solar panels produce about 30 kWh for the entire month.
The difference is made up by a 6kW diesel generator (controlled with a DSE402 Mk II Auto Start Module). For two years we relied on the Magnum inverter/charger which could charge the batteries at about 3kW, or about half of what the generator could produce. The DSE9450 was added to the system, in part because it is programmable up to a full 2.5 kW, and its flexible charging curves could easily be matched to the lithium battery system. Afterwards I discovered that its programmable fault detection could be used to detect situations BEFORE the generator became overloaded (for example water pumps starting). Now the generator runs at close to 90% capacity, instead of loafing along at 50-60%. This has resulted is a significant decrease in generator run time (early indications are that this winter the generator will run less than 200 hours as opposed to 350 or so in the past) and while fuel consumption/hour is up slightly, overall fuel use has been significantly reduced.
I definitely appreciate the help that Richard Ridley (DSE Technical Support Engineer) gave me in getting things set up, especially figuring out that we could use the charger on US 240 VAC with a neutral in the middle.
For more information on the DSE9450 please click here
For more information on the DSE402 MKII please click here