Author Topic: Home Solar Power ??  (Read 9522 times)

JC5123

  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2572
  • Fortune sides with him who dares.
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2015, 11:58:17 AM »
I have been looking some at Hydrogen fuel cell generators. They are becoming more mainstream, less expensive and far more reliable than solar. Not to mention way more efficient. 
I am a member of my nation's chosen soldiery.
God grant that I may not be found wanting,
that I will not fail this sacred trust.

billt

  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6715
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 411
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2015, 12:28:22 PM »
One thing that may keep the cost of Lithium Ion batteries high is the fact Russia is the largest producer of Lithium. As relations between us and them continue to deteriorate, the cost and availability of Lithium may go even higher. I remember the same thing happened with Titanium in the 60's.

When Kelly Johnson, the President of Lockheed was designing and building the SR-71 Blackbird, they needed huge amounts of Titanium for forgings and large parts they were going to use in it's construction. They had to have the government set up bogus foreign companies in order to be able to purchase the large amounts of Titanium required to build it. We could not get enough of it any other way, because again Russia was, and still is, the largest producer of it.

Michael Bane

  • Global Moderator
  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1473
  • Host & Editor-in-chief
    • michaelBane.tv
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2015, 03:14:06 PM »
I've got about $40K in my off-grid system, which includes 18 panels, a big honkin' battery set-up and a 5Kw propane generator. That compares to $65K to bring the grid to us. Has we brought in the grid, we'd still have heated with propane as the cost for electric heat is brutal up here.

The system is dreadfully overbuilt, but winter in Colorado can be serious business. We went through a lot of debugging last winter and replaced some of the components...when I tried to save a few bucks, it invariably came back and bit me in the ass. The system works and works well.

Of course, the whole house was designed for off-grid. it's passive solar, which is huge, over-insulated and heated through radiant floor heat powered by propane. We paid 2X for the boiler, essentially the top of the line. That has paid off in spades on propane usage. Kitchen, laundry room, and guest bathroom hot water is provided by a traditional gas-fired water heater; master bathroom hot water is from an on-demand European boiler — one again, 3X$ what the builder suggested, but 5 times more efficient than the cheaper units. There are, BTW, 2 separate systems providing the propane from 2 separate 500 gallon tanks. I wanted the tanks connected by manifold, but the builder never understood why. I'm having the manifold installed this summer. The master bath hot water and back-up heating are the only things on one tank. I could literally heat the house for a month or more off the back-up.

We have no AC, but that hasn't been an issue. It's 87 outside now, 73 in the house. Last summer the house only hit 80 degrees for 2 days when it was 100+ outside.

I would like a larger generator, or a back-up generator. I've looked at some reconditioned military diesel generators that could survive the zombie apocalypse. Most of the generator issued were solved by changing out to a more expensive computer to control the gennie. The one we originally had was more designed for RVs or remote cabins. The new computer head allows us more leeway in telling the generator when to fire up (for example, under the old computer the only option we had was setting a threshold voltage on the batteries to have the generator fire; a better way is to set a slightly higher fire voltage but only after a longer period of time, which allows the generator to head off any chance of the batteries hitting "shut down" voltage).

I talked to Buz Mills at GUNSITE, who has a spectacular off-grid system, about the Tesla batteries, but there's just not enough info yet. I sort of had an idea for a back-up battery set-up separate from the main batts.

Sorry to rattle on so long...

Michael B
Michael Bane, Majordomo @ MichaelBane.TV

TAB

  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9867
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 80
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2015, 08:53:09 PM »
Mb, check used tow behind gens in ca at places like rental yards and repair facilities.  As of july 1 the next round of carb goes into effect and there.will be hundreds up for sale cheap, you just can't use it in ca... >:(
I always break all the clay pigeons,  some times its even with lead.

MikeBjerum

  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10637
  • DRTV Ranger
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 570
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2015, 10:12:28 PM »
One thing I didn't ask him about are batteries. Don't you need a $h!t house full of batteries to store the energy you generate? Or can you "sell it back to the power companies", like everyone raves about?

If you go any type of generation and you are on the grid you want a contract where the utility must purchase your excess.  The key to this is that they must pay a price that is based off what they charge for power (government rule to encourage private green.  You don't get the full retail price in most cases, but if they will let you just plug in so your meter runs backwards you've got the best deal)

Another thing to do when you go solar or wind is to use as much as you can.  Toyota built a new factory a few years ago, and they installed a huge water tank under it.  They use excess power to cool the water, and then they use the water to cool the plant.  Put in a heat sink and heat it with your excess power.  Heating is the easiest thing to do with power, because heating elements don't care about watts or voltage.  They just use what is there.

Several hydro plants use excess power in the middle of the night to pump water into a lake higher than the dam, and during peak periods they can draw water from the lake to run more generation than the river will provide on its own.
If I appear taller than other men it is because I am standing on the shoulders of others.

Sponsor

  • Guest
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #25 on: Today at 12:42:29 PM »

billt

  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6715
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 411
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2015, 07:37:01 AM »
Mb, check used tow behind gens in ca at places like rental yards and repair facilities.

I knew a mechanic years ago, who did a lot of work for a guy who had a fleet of trucks. He went under owing the guy a lot of money. He couldn't pay him, so he "gave" him one of those big carbon arc searchlights they use at grand openings and such. The reflector was broken, and there were a few other things wrong with it. (The engine wouldn't run, tires were dry rotted, etc.).

He ended up getting rid of the searchlight part of it, rebuilt the engine in his spare time. He converted it into a big ass generator. When he was all done he ended up selling it for over twice what the guy owed him. I forget what the thing put out, but they're basically giant arc welders.

vincewarde

  • Very Active Forum Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 126
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2015, 11:55:09 AM »
I am packing right now to leave CA.  I live in an area without natural gas service - and with high heat in Winter and I'm just below snowline.  Since the rates are exactly the same as if I had natural gas and lived in a cool area, I pay through the nose.  My average electric bill is $400.00/mo.  Before you ask, we have done a lot to save energy.  Neighbors bills are sky high too.

The rates start at 11.5 cents per  kwh but rapidly ramp up to 44.5 cents per kwh.  There is zero question in my mind that a system designed to replace the $ 0.30 + per kwh would make financial sense.  On the other hand, in Idaho (where I am moving to on Monday) the highest rate I will pay is 12.5 per kwh, plus we have access to natural gas.  No way does solar make sense there.

MikeBjerum

  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10637
  • DRTV Ranger
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 570
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2015, 12:48:20 PM »
When I was on the local utility commission we had access to rate charts and actual charges nationwide.  I also have people I work with all over the country.  California is one of the only places, and the only full state, where solar pays for itself without government subsidy (except the requirement that the utility purchase your surplus whether they need it or not).

When we experimented with a small solar system, with battery storage, at our generator plant, our system produced electricity for $0.24 KWH.  At that time the average electric bill in most of California was averaging $0.28 KWH, not including cost of providing service, etc.

Get ready boys and girls, the VP Gore method of forcing "green" energy on the nation is coming to your area in the same way it has hit California.
If I appear taller than other men it is because I am standing on the shoulders of others.

alfsauve

  • Semper Vigilantes
  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6807
  • DRTV Ranger
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 311
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2022, 05:54:29 PM »
Reviving the Solar thread:

I figure there are 5 reasons for using solar.

1.  PR value for a corporation or social standing/pride for an individual
2.  Want or need to be Off Grid
3.  To save money
4.  Emergency backup
5.  Experimentation

SeaTac Airport, yes in Seattle, put in a system.  Not the best climate for solar, but then the Feds paid for it.  So it was for them a 1 and 5.  Plus they did save money on whatever they generated.   Interesting after reports from the director. 

Feds paid for a system for the local national park (Kennesaw Mountain).  Again they did it because of 1. and the Feds paid for it.   I pointed out in the local rag that given the money the Feds put up, the park ranger could have invested it and with the earnings have paid the commercial electrical plus pocketed ~$10K a year.  Looking for a follow up story.

Local winery is doing it purely for 1.

I'm more of a 3 and 4 with a lot of 5 thrown in.

Not willing to get entangled with the "deals" some installers are offering and not wanting to spend a lot of money.  I've been looking around the house for some application that will let me experiment, pay for itself in <5 years and serve as an emergency backup.

The first app that came to mind was the pool pump.   This would be easy to install as it was all readily accessible.  It drew 4.5A, 240Vac 10hours a day.  Kept running the numbers and payback, with me doing the installation and no maintenance was 8+ years.  That exceeds the life expectancy of the batteries and possibly the cells.  PROBLEM WAS, it was too demanding an application.  If you want to run it all day and have enough battery for the next day when there might be no sun, then the batteries and solar panels where far too big to be economical.

New app is the clothes washer & dryer and the freezer in the garage.  Wiring is easily available the demand time is much less and doesn't interfere with the charging time.  Ah.  This might be ideal.  Payback on just the dryer would be <3 years.  Add the freezer and a small drink fridge I think I have a winner. 

Right now I'm working on adding the freezer and fridge in the mix and finding a company to install the solar panels.  Miss Kitty says no more "on the roof" work for me.



Will work for ammo
USAF MAC 437th MAW 1968-1972

TAB

  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9867
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 80
Re: Home Solar Power ??
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2022, 07:22:40 PM »
You forgot the most important one... the tax credit/ write offs.   Onky reason business  are doing it. They are saying its to be green, but thats bull shit.  Its about being able to wrote off the entire system.
I always break all the clay pigeons,  some times its even with lead.

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk