Retired US Navy Mechanic Deploys Off-Grid Solar Power

Larry is a retired US Navy aircraft mechanic. He and his wife currently own a boat transport company and have been mulling retirement in recent years. Settling down in a quiet place is the dream of many retirees. They had the same dream which prompted them to buy property in Northern California. Like many vacant properties, there are obstacles to overcome. Grid power can expensive if there isn’t a transformer nearby – in this case, it was 2000 feet from Larry’s property.

After doing some research, the power company wanted an enormous amount of money to bring power into Larry’s property which wasn’t in his budget. They had to resort to running a couple of gas generators to power their loads. Being in the woods, where the goal was to live in peace and quiet, they grew tired of hearing the generators running. During the summers it would get hot, and the AC needed to run often in their trailer. Keeping all their electrical loads satisfied, it was requiring 6 gallons of gas per day. After a few years of running on generator power, Larry decided it was time to experiment with solar power to keep their batteries charged.

To start, Larry decided to use a few solar panels to keep some basics powered in their trailer. While the system helped, the few panels and the small system he put together was nowhere near the type of system he needed to run the AC. Their main goal was to get out of the trailer and build a house on their property. Knowing that, he knew they needed a large system that would supply sufficient power for all their loads.

Larry started looking into what was required to have a system large enough to sustain an off-grid home and contacted several solar companies which he felt, didn’t have a lot of working knowledge of off-grid systems. He felt their ability or eagerness to help and teach him about what’s needed for an off-grid system was lackluster. At the last moment he came across Northern Arizona Wind & Sun and spoke with Logan, one of our solar engineers.

What makes our company unique is that anyone can call in and speak with a solar engineer. Our free consultations give those interested in solar power a chance to ask questions and an opportunity for our team to answer and educate. This scenario played out in the same manner. Larry spoke in-depth with Logan about what he needed in his specific solar power system. He spoke about how his system is completely off-grid and their intentions of building a house.

Being that Larry didn’t have much electrical experience, Logan suggested for him to go with the OutBack Radian which combines all the components in a pre-wired fashion into one unit to make the integration simpler. Another obstacle was figuring out a mounting system for Larry’s solar panels. He opted to build a pole barn that’s south facing to get the most exposure to the sun as possible and large enough to house all his solar panels. He was able to reduce cost by mounting them on a structure he was going to use for storage anyway. Logan suggested going with a solar panel rail system that adheres to the roof.

Now that Larry had all the components he needed, it was time to get everything installed and wired. He built a small 8x8 building with 2x6 studs on one side (16” on center) to support the weight of the OutBack Radian which weighs around 250 lbs. Once it was mounted, he connected it to his Discover Lithium Battery bank. He made a lengthy run from the shed to the pole barn where the panels are mounted. Now that everything was installed Larry called Logan again to help him program the system and monitor it over the internet.

After everything was said and done, Larry was impressed with how well the system performed during the summer. They had plenty of power to run the AC and watch some TV in the evening. Once winter hit, Larry quickly realized that he needed to buy another Discover Lithium Battery for his system because of the reduced amount of solar exposure during that time of the year. Logan stepped in and helped him re-program the system to accommodate the new battery addition, which increased his ability to store more energy.

Listening to a gas generator run for hours was a thing of the past. Larry and his wife could now enjoy the quiet and fully realize their dream of being off grid.

OutBack Radian and Discovery Lithium Battery

8x8 shed that houses the inverter and batteries

Power run back to the barn

Customer Feedback

It's always great to hear directly from the customer about their experience with our company. Feedback is highly valued, which allows us to deliver an even better product to the next customer.

How was the response time when you submitted an inquiry for a consultation?

I almost always got through to someone when I needed help. Logan was a busy guy and still made time for me from helping with the design to installation of the system.

Were our prices competitive compared to other competitors?

NAWS had the best prices out there. I did a lot of shopping around since this complete system was done a little bit at a time, in steps when I had extra money. I needed to make sure I was spending only what I could afford.

Do you think the free consultation provided value to you?

The tech support from Logan was outstanding and had he not been helping me, I'm sure I would never have got this done.

How would you rate the solar system installation process?

Overall, it has been great. Logan has treated me like I was his number one customer, and like this was his company, and he was going to make sure I was taken care of from start to finish.

Overall, did Northern AZ Wind & Sun meet your expectations?

Absolutely!

Solar Power System Components

Below is a list of components that were purchased for this system.

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