Your Questions About Solar Powered Generator

James asks…

Power Generator for travel trailer – alternative energy kinds like biodiesel or hydrogen or solar?

We have a 27′ older travel trailer we've parked in the woods. There is no water, no power, no electricity. We'd like to turn this old dinosaur into an experiment in off-the grid cottage (start off with trailer and build around it). One thing is a power generator. Does anyone know if biodiesel (i.e. vegetable oil) portable generators exist or if perhaps hydrogen generators? This would be a back up to a solar panel hooked up to the trailer battery. Also looking into how to build a well and septic system. Links to books or examples of websites or other resources would be nice. Piece of land we have is in Quebec. P.S. not sure which category to put this in, there's nothing on alternative energy.

ssadmin answers:


I find your question very cool as alternative fuels are one of the hot topics of our times.

Ok, I'll list the most popular alternative fuels and some chunks of information and useful links alongwith them:

1- CNG i.e Compressed Natural Gas.
In India's capital city Delhi, the public transport vehicles have switched to CNG. It not only helps reduce pollution but, also is good for the economy. Your country, Canada is one of the largest producers of natural gas in the world.

I think you folks might try switching to CNG. I recommend CNG if you have a nearby retail CNG gas-station. CNG cylinders might also be available there.

Here are a few useful links:

1] Info on Natural Gas in Canada

2] Technocarb Equipment Ltd.- Alternative Fuel Power

3] FIBA Canning Inc.- Another company pioneering the Natural gas buisness

4] Very useful info on CNG and its market

5] Canada's initiatives with the “Green Gas”

6] You want fuel cylinders? Check this link out:

7] A forum for starters

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2- Biodiesel
An excellent choice for alternative fuel this one. I didn't need to research much about it as there is a website called on the internet. Here is the link:

You can find almost everything you might wanna know there.

Here is another site with awesome info on biodiesel and ethanol-

A useful link from –

Unfortunately, I don't think biodiesel generators exist as it is produced from organic activities e.g. Decaying of leaves etc. You'll have to buy the cylinders from biodiesel stations.

Here is some more info about this :

If you are intersted in trivia, here are some biodiesel facts :

Now, if you'd like to “brew” biodiesel in your own backyard, here is a web-page you'll love :

If you like researching, Wikipedia is the place to start :
(Just click on the external links under the article)

And if you'd like to see some papers and books about biodiesel, here is the link:

An advice: Please, be sure that the use of biodiesel has been approved by the manufacturer of your vehicle.

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3. SVO – Straight Vegetable Oil has some useful info on unmodified Veg oil which is used mixed with other fuels. Here is the link:

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4- Hydrogen
I am afraid, Hydrogen (as an alternative fuel) too might not be available through generators. You'll have to go to fuelling stations like this one to run your vehicle with Hydrogen gas :

Here is the ultimate website for some who wants discussion papers, CDs, accesibility, info, etc on Hydrogen as an alternative fuel, check it out :

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Here is a great online journal about alternative fuels:

You might also be interested in alternative fuels other than those listed above. Here is a list of some other interesting alternative sources of energy :

* Electricity,
* Ethanol,
* The p-series,
* Propane,
* E85 (E85 is an alcohol fuel mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, by volume) and
* LNG (Liquified Natural Gas).

Donna asks…

Where can I buy solar equip in Los Angeles? Smaller scale stuff for portable applications, not a home install.

I'm looking for PV panels, charge controllers, batteries, inverters, that kind of thing. My goal is to build a portable solar generator, something like:

You can get all this stuff online, I know, but I'm new to this stuff and would love to inspect the gear, and maybe ask some questions, before I buy.

I'm also looking for highly efficient (LED) lighting components…

ssadmin answers:

For that kind of thing, try an RV dealer.

The parts might also be available from a supplier like Radio Shack, (if they're still around…)

You can also follow this link and find out where Real Goods Solar's Los Angeles office is:
Their store is in Hopland, CA, wherever that is…

In a pinch, you can also check the Yellow Pages in your phone book for ‘solar power,' etc.


Steven asks…

grants or refunds for solar/wind powered home?

I have an off-grid solar and wind powered home in upstate New York. I was told that President Obama has restructured going green incentives and large refunds and grants might be available. I recently have added new wind generator equipment and would also like to add more solar panels, does any one know how I can find out what I might be eligible for ?

ssadmin answers:

Check out for a listing of all government assistance programs you are entitled to based on your description

For grants go to

Sandy asks…

How to hook up power supply or generator to house?

If I wanted to hook up some solar power cells to my house, like miniature ones not the type that go on the roof, would I just plug them into an outlet to cut down on power to the house? Or where would you hook up a generator like device for powering your house? Thanks

ssadmin answers:

Single solar cells or small panels are not compatible with your household current and attempting to plug ANYTHING not designed for electrical outlet use is DANGEROUS and could be Deadly.The3 low amount of current generated by single cell or small panels would be negligible in any case.It takes dozens and dozens of cells or a large panel plus the connecting interface to have any real effect, Sorry.
As to a generator,you need to meet certain requirements,particularly an approved transfer switch to hook into your home wiring.I suspect the cost of the generator and fuel to run it would cost more than the energy saved.Generators also requires routine service and maintenance which also costs money.

Thomas asks…

Xantrex Power Hub 1800 solar generator needs a generator? The manual claims it needs a generator beetween it a?

The owners manual claims a generator belongs between the PH1800+ and the wall current outlet if you want the unit to stand alone “off grid” without PG&E. But no mentions of any specifications or brand are ever mentioned about it and no information about whether this mystery generator can be bypassed so i can just plug it in is mentioned either.Ive written Xantrex but get my e-mails repeatedly bounce back (as if theyv vanished).Please provide details .
Veery helpful info! Specifically can i plug it into the wall to keep my four 115AMPHR batteries charged between now and the time i get my solar panels assembled (a year or more!).And what is the true maximum number of battery sets (and amphrs ) i can add to this system …and what would i damage if too many batterys were added to the bank?thanx

ssadmin answers:

The power hub 1800 accepts inputs from wind generators, solar panels, and engine driven generators. It charges a battery bank to store power to output wall Voltage/ current to your house. If you rely on solar or wind, you may not have those 100% of the time. That is why they say a engine driven generator is needed to run when it is night or no wind to run a windmil to be off grid with out losing power. You need to supply something to input power to the power hub. It will not give power all by itself. Those 3 things I mentioned actually charg a battery bank that the power hub runs off of.

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