Off grid in Grand Saline, Texas- Hello!

Koldsimer

Solar Addict
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
288
Hello everyone! Been using the forum for quite some time now and thought i'd finally join and introduce myself. I'll try to keep it as short as possible...

My wife and i decided to sell our house in Allen, Tx. and find something more rural and quiet. I ended up finding 17 acres of beautiful land for half the price per acre of what comparable parcels were selling for. The catch? No power or water. I pretty much dismissed the land but had to see it firsthand anyway. I fell in love. It had everything we wanted and more! The land has never been thinned and it's very dense forest with a spring fed creek running parallel through the property. Also has a nice little spring fed pond full of bass, bluegill and crappie! WIldlife is abundant and the diversity of species is incredible!

No utilities was a challenge. Solar had never been an option and I knew nothing about it besides what the average person knows. I'm a competent mechanic and i understand the basics of electricity so I did some research and decided it was something we could do. With the cost of the land so cheap, it allowed us to invest in high quality off grid products and a deep water well.

So in late december 2019, I bought a 26ft travel trailer to move to the build site for our temporary housing. I got a basic small solar setup and a yamaha 2kw generator to support living 100% off grid while we built the house.

Yeah, I haven't mentioned that we planned to build the house by ourselves! I knew the basics of construction and remodeling, but my framing skills were dog house level at best. I wouldn't count on the dog being dry or happy either. My dad, however, was a 70 year old retired hippie master carpenter who had just had a pacemaker put in. I asked how he felt about helping me build the house. He said he'd do it as long as i helped him build a cabin for him and his wife when we finished mine! He drew up some plans and work began on January 4th 2020. The plan was to build unique, mountain style cabins with an emphasis on energy efficiency.

Turns out, building a 1200sq ft, two story house is tough work! It took us working every day but my wife and I were out of the trailer and in the house by June! We moved the basic 12 volt setup over from the trailer and lived in the house while i completed the rest of construction.

The final solar installation was quite the ordeal mainly due to the horrible luck of getting three shipments of damaged lead acid batteries. I had my ground array built and wired, inverter installed and wired etc. by July and just needed my 48 volt battery setup to complete the cabin. I planned on having it fully functional by late july but xpo forklift operators had other plans. It took three months and four shipments until they were able to get a set of batteries delivered that were not damaged. The little 12 volt system obviously couldn't handle the load of a ac unit so it was frustrating summer of hearing a generator run all day just to keep the house cool. Finally got the 8 crown cr 430's hooked up and in september 2020, we had a fully functioning off grid cabin!

I still can't believe how normal life is for us off grid. The only real hassle is the FLA batteries but that's soon to be fixed by 4 eg4 batteries! In over 16 months, we have never had to hook a generator to our battery bank. The system is sized so well for our needs and we couldn't be happier!

I've attached some pictures of the land, the house, my dad, dog, etc..

Feel free to ask any questions and i'm happy to be a member here!
 

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skillet

New Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
1
Outstanding!! May I ask what county you are located ?
Van Zandt county, nice area.
 
Last edited:

Koldsimer

Solar Addict
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
288
A few more pictures...
 

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