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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.

# Posted: 24 Oct 2020 17:05

solar panels are a very good idea considering your goals, but for maximum profit, you need all the conditions for their work. Talk to the specialists who do this.

# Posted: 27 Oct 2020 11:00

Will the roof have exposure to the available sunlight all, or most of the day?
The orientation is best at true 'solar south' (for the northern hemi), not magnetic south and the array angle adjustable for the seasons, but, truth is you can be off some fair bit on either one or both and still get lots of good solar power.
Imo you should use series wiring at the panels to help the wire run to the charge control, which should be an mppt unit. Your battery bank will be expensive, and unless you are just using very small scale (think small rv) a min. of 24v, 48v even better.
Btw, I have solar, and with all that said, if I were you I wouldnt be spending/messing about with solar, Id get a nice tractor pto mounted gen with the appropriate transfer switch stuff for those occasional power outages
That said

# Posted: 3 Nov 2020 11:30

For your power needs of running a furnace just get a 2kw inverter generator. It will be cheaper in the long run. Also pannels dont shed much snow if there not on a serious pitch. I see pannels with snow on them for weeks on end here.

Also almost any time you will loose power I bet it would be nice to also use your tractor with out jerking around with a pto generator. Hours put on a +$20k machine cost alot more than hours on a few hundred dollar generstor.

Il be looking at a 20' shipping container next year for the security and rodent proof aspect of things for our property. There are places in NY that you can go view a container prior to buying it.

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