A Louisville KY resident, Ken Mack, has taken his mobile home completely off the grid. Using knowledge he acquired by doing something similar with a home he owns in Canada. Mack’s Canada home also uses wind power which is something he plans to add to his Louisville home in the not to distant future. “In Canada, I have the luck of windmills also,” he said. “I have eight windmills up there and 32 solar panels. We were up there for six months last year.”
“I have always wanted to do something off-grid,” Mack said so in February he decided to do the same with his home in the United States. Mack has installed 23 solar panels to date and eight batteries to store the solar power. His total cost was about $10,000.
Mack maximizes the solar energy he collects from his solar panels by mounting them on the side of his home and not the roof. So why mount the panels on the side of your home? Well according to Mack he states that on the roof is not good when it snows and being in a hail prone area you would end up taking direct hits. Mounted on the side solves this problem.
Mack says he did most of the work himself but had some help digging the holes for the posts and frames. He also says it is important to use the power at the right times. “You just have to get people to understand that you dry clothes when the sun shines,” he said. “If you dry them at night, it drains the batteries. If you want more power, you put in more panels. If you want more storage, you put in more batteries.”
He plans to add a satellite system with a tracking system to follow the sun, which will further increase the efficiency of his system. He estimates it will yield 30% more by tracking the sun. As with any off grid project, it is wise to have a back up and in Mack’s case he has installed a propane tank to run his stove, heat the water and home.
Mack owns several mobile homes in the area and plans to take them off the grid as well.
Some text and all images credit: The Daily Times, Maryville, TN and Melanie Tucker