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Publication Title | Not When the Surf Up Renewable farm school

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Renewable Farm–School

Richard Dutton

©1997 Richard Dutton

Above: Richard Dutton’s round adobe brick studio with mud roof, and the QuadLams that power it.

reetings from sunny Southern California. But many of us in San Diego County say we actually live

south of Southern California. Not When the Surf’s Up Renewable Farm-School (NOWSURFS) is located at the southern foot of Mt. Palomar, home of the famous astronomical observatory and about an hour from the beach.

“Not When...” is a market garden, selling at five farmer’s markets a week which we service via a propane powered ‘66 Ford pick-up. Almost all our seed, that we don’t save ourselves, comes from non-profit Native Seeds SEARCH in Tucson, Arizona. Our energy for irrigation (from 1 to 3 acres depending on the season) and household/office needs comes from five Arco quad- lams feeding eight Trojan 105s and a Trace 612 inverter, and an AIR 303 wind machine. We have a Honda 6500 back-up generator, a Todd 75a charger and a Lincoln welder back-up generator. Our main

loads are an Amiga A2000, 060/50 with a 1 gig hard disk computer which we are converting to DC power and a Maytag ringer washer using a Bosch 12 Volt Volkswagen generator as a motor (see HP #40 pg 40).

As part of the National Tour of Solar Homes this year, we have attracted interest in Latin America among farmers who would like us to help them with closed loop energy/agriculture. If you are inputting exotic energy, then your “organic” farm is not sustainable.

We have accumulated a lot of experience in solar water pumping for a small agriculture, very dry environment (14 inches yearly average rainfall). We use two “slow” type pumps, one 24 V and the other a 120 VDC pump (using 12 Volts converted to 95 Volts via a Vicor custom DC/DC converter, see HP #40 pg 70) and a PV powered (24 Volt) “stock” Jensen Jack pump. We pump all our irrigation water direct to field (the most efficient way) with a Doughboy 7500 gal. pool as a back-up, gravity-feed tank for emergency watering, household use, and fire safety. The tank is filled periodically by our generator-driven back-up pump, a Grundflos 12 GPM ac centrifugal.

6 Home Power #61 • October / November 1997

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