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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Solar panels on pole barn
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# Posted: 8 Jan 2019 12:04

So both my wife's parents passed away this year an that sadden me. They had a large apple farm and one of my perks is I'll be inheriting a very nice tractor with all the goodies that go with it.

I've had an ongoing storage problem at the cabin. I had Amish build me a garage size building that I filled fairly quickly. My winter project is clearing out some fairly dense woods next to my cabin to make room for all of my goodies including tractor and implements. I have a guy coming in spring to do site work.

I was thinking while I'm designing and getting pole barn built, does it make sense to put solar panel on a southern exposure? I do have electric onsite but power outages aren't uncommon. It would be great to have back up power to keep furnace running. I think I would want pole barn roof fairly steep to shed Upstate NY snows. Is there a website better than other as to how to design a system as well as what to do and what not to do? I really don't want solar panels visible on ground but on a roof I can tolerate them. I find them butt ugly.

Full disclosure. I started with a small cabin and a lot of property. The property surrounded a remote log home. We loved our property so much that we will retire there so we bought log home and kept small cabin which we still use. The two are easy walking distance. I stay on this website as I enjoy the banter and topics which I find helpful for both cabins.

# Posted: 8 Jan 2019 12:34


Sorry to hear of your in-law's passing. My condolences to your wife and you.

I can't help with your question but if I may, will offer some unsolicited advice.

The advice is basically to get the tractor into a vermin proof building/structure as soon as possible. Of course this is assuming there are a lot of mice, rats (probably pack rats or Norwegian rats) or squirrels on your ground. If there are vermin, it is only a matter of time before they get into the tractor and do considerable damage. After fighting them for two + years, I gave up and put my tractor in a shipping container.

To share my experience, when I got my tractor (a used John Deere 990 with only 108 hours on it) I parked it outside because I didn't have any structure to put it in. It took several months but once the vermin found it, the fight was on. I tried dryer sheets and other repellants. I left the engine cover open. I baited heavily. I repaired damage frequently only to have them destroy the fix.
Eventually they won and the tractor wouldn't start. The estimate to repair all the damage was $3,500 but the dealer could get it running for $100.

I had them get it running and before they delivered it back to me, I laid a pad of gravel and had a once used 20' shipping container delivered. All of that cost me a little over $3,000. Because the container has no significant dents (apparently they can get pretty beat up in shipping.) the vermin haven't been able to get into it. No more dryer sheets, open hoods, baiting, making repairs to get it to start. Eventually, I will replaced all the damaged wiring, hoses and plastic bits but it runs reliably now. Hope this helps.

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