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Index » Regional/Local » USA/Canada » Solar / Wind / Geothermal / Efficiency Energy Page: Previous  1, 2, 3, ... 41, 42, 43  Next
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NoEnzLefttoSplit

NoEnzLefttoSplit Avatar

Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 24, 2024 - 1:32am

The German energy charts are fascinating.  

Renewables are really making a massive impact with the share of coal constantly declining. And this was a week at the end of winter/beginning of spring. 
The cloudy days of no wind are still the issue (see March 20) But otherwise,  renewables are performing brilliantly. Now all we need is more pumped storage to cover those gaps.
NoEnzLefttoSplit

NoEnzLefttoSplit Avatar

Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 22, 2024 - 12:08pm

 islander wrote:


Germany has some interesting power things going. They were very creative and went after some novel ideas. Most of them have been pretty successful. The idea of a widely distributed production grid is a really solid idea if you have the back end to manage it (and they do). 

We see some pretty scary DIY too, but I'm generally impressed by most peoples enthusiasm for the ideas. I do wish there were less 'kookery' and conspiratorial thinking in the space, but
it is what it is.  I also wish the DIY crews weren't heavily overlapped with the generally the anti-establishment/anti-elite education set. It makes it really hard to get people to sit down and do the initial math, and understand what is underlying the systems they are putting together (Why am I not getting 100 Watts of power when I put a 100W light bulb over my solar panel?). 

20K is about right for a moderately sized household (depends on how big those 23 panels are and what fun widgets they put on the system). For that to be a 20 year payoff would mean his electric bills would be under a $100 a month.  And within 20 years, he will probably need a battery replacement.  


That's interesting, thanks. And kind of confirms what I was suspecting. 
In terms of ROI it is kind of hard to beat these DIY "balcony power plant" solutions. Maybe four panels instead of two (which would equal 8KW on a good day) . That would probably cover all the low-end appliances and have a bit left over for the high-end devices (oven, washing machine, etc.) provided, of course you wash/bake bread when the sun shines. For 4k upfront investment, it's worth a try. 

I helped him bolt it onto his house and was seriously impressed that you just needed to plug this thing into a normal socket and not worry about anything else. Like, is that it? srsly?

islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 22, 2024 - 7:41am

 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:


The government (here in Germany) has changed the laws for precisely that reason. They have made it dead easy to put up a couple of panels on your balcony and just plug the inverter into one of your local house sockets. My neighbour invested less than €2k for two panels and an inverter. It also has a nifty app with it for you to monitor your power production. I know nothing about how power actually flows within the house, but the theory is you need to draw less from the town supply and any excess gets put into the national grid (they get it for free). On a good day he says he gets 4kWh out of it. I am waiting to see his power bill after a year to see how much he actually has saved. My instinct says adding a battery would be the way to go, but that adds a huge amount to the bill.

Another neighbour freaked at the DIY jobs and signed a contract with a proper solar outfit for 20k (about 23 panels and battery) but they haven't got around to building it yet. I reckon it's going to take him about 20 years to pay that off. 



Germany has some interesting power things going. They were very creative and went after some novel ideas. Most of them have been pretty successful. The idea of a widely distributed production grid is a really solid idea if you have the back end to manage it (and they do). 

We see some pretty scary DIY too, but I'm generally impressed by most peoples enthusiasm for the ideas. I do wish there were less 'kookery' and conspiratorial thinking in the space, but
it is what it is.  I also wish the DIY crews weren't heavily overlapped with the generally the anti-establishment/anti-elite education set. It makes it really hard to get people to sit down and do the initial math, and understand what is underlying the systems they are putting together (Why am I not getting 100 Watts of power when I put a 100W light bulb over my solar panel?). 

20K is about right for a moderately sized household (depends on how big those 23 panels are and what fun widgets they put on the system). For that to be a 20 year payoff would mean his electric bills would be under a $100 a month.  And within 20 years, he will probably need a battery replacement.  
westslope

westslope Avatar

Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 11:51am

Solar panel prices to remain low for up to two years, says industry exec

China produces 80% of the globe's solar panels.  Economies of scale matter.   This is important for addressing Anthropogenic climate disruption, assuming that actually matters.

Or should the USA continue to demonize China in a pathetic attempt to divert attention from its own atrocious human rights record in Greater Israel and the Mid-East in general?   

Perhaps the USA should push a wimpy ally like Canada to arrest another executive of an important Chinese multinational company?   Recall that Huawei had business dealings with Iran, a country that opposes the Israeli nation building project built on ethnic cleansing and terrorism.
islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 11:44am

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:


A friend of mine here in town is a tinkerer and started installing solar 10 or 12 years ago. He's down to about 5% from the City now, net, sells his overage to the grid. Pays the connection fee for the same reason as you. The city is part of a consortium of city-owned power grids that's managed by a board appointed by the various city councils but operates independently—and now that board is proposing to go to a sell all/buy all policy, where all power generated must be sold to the grid at wholesale and bought at retail. So that would push the solar savings down from 95% to maybe 35%. So of course my friend told the city he'd just buy a generator to cover the few times when demand spikes, and get off the grid. Of course there's a law on the books that says all houses in town must be on the grid so he's pretty sure that if it comes to that, he'll fight.



I knew someone in a similar situation. They basically disconnected from the grid, but maintained a small ~5 watt power load. It was small enough to not add much cost to the monthly minimum. But it also forced the utility to maintain the connection to their demark, and made them send a bill and other internal support stuff. Basically just made themself a nuisance. 
NoEnzLefttoSplit

NoEnzLefttoSplit Avatar

Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 11:32am

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:


A friend of mine here in town is a tinkerer and started installing solar 10 or 12 years ago. He's down to about 5% from the City now, net, sells his overage to the grid. Pays the connection fee for the same reason as you. The city is part of a consortium of city-owned power grids that's managed by a board appointed by the various city councils but operates independently—and now that board is proposing to go to a sell all/buy all policy, where all power generated must be sold to the grid at wholesale and bought at retail. So that would push the solar savings down from 95% to maybe 35%. So of course my friend told the city he'd just buy a generator to cover the few times when demand spikes, and get off the grid. Of course there's a law on the books that says all houses in town must be on the grid so he's pretty sure that if it comes to that, he'll fight.



The government (here in Germany) has changed the laws for precisely that reason. They have made it dead easy to put up a couple of panels on your balcony and just plug the inverter into one of your local house sockets. My neighbour invested less than €2k for two panels and an inverter. It also has a nifty app with it for you to monitor your power production. I know nothing about how power actually flows within the house, but the theory is you need to draw less from the town supply and any excess gets put into the national grid (they get it for free). On a good day he says he gets 4kWh out of it. I am waiting to see his power bill after a year to see how much he actually has saved. My instinct says adding a battery would be the way to go, but that adds a huge amount to the bill.

Another neighbour freaked at the DIY jobs and signed a contract with a proper solar outfit for 20k (about 23 panels and battery) but they haven't got around to building it yet. I reckon it's going to take him about 20 years to pay that off. 

rgio

rgio Avatar

Location: West Jersey
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 11:12am

 islander wrote:
Minor tech problem is a goof that I made on install, so that would normally be a warranty thing.  Tuning is also typically part of set up and commissioning, but this system is in Mexico ...
I've got some really valuable skills and I'll have cold beer.

Thanks for the info.  I would put myself on the "willing to give it a try" side of the installation spectrum, but electricity here is pretty cheap and I spend more on natural gas 6 months of the year.  It's more for if I need to plan my escape when I'm done working, and what locations might "fit the bill" with solar power and satellite internet.

I was on the board of a non-profit that leased a field to a company that put up solar 20 years ago, and since negotiating some of the terms (with no prior knowledge), I've always wondered about the ROI and improvements to the technology.
ScottFromWyoming

ScottFromWyoming Avatar

Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 10:56am

 islander wrote:

I've been meaning to post an update on my system. We are still tuning and have a minor technical problem that will require another trip to fix. But with everything going as normal and renters in the house (with no concept of power saving or conservation), everything is working normally and we are right at 11% of our previous usage from the grid. April 16 (+/-) will be the end of the first full bill cycle. That will let me see how close my metering is to their metering.  I also expect a visit from them to see why the usage is down 90%!. I still need to add some battery and am trying to figure out the best path for that project. There is also some operational tuning still to do, that I think I can easily get another 5% or so wrung out of the system. If I get more battery there would basically be no need for the grid connection except for a backup if something failed. There is a monthly connection fee, so that will eventually factor in.  

A week ago, they took most of the town offline for a transformer upgrade to fix some summer time load issues they have been having.  Our place didn't even notice.  Ice, cold beer and streaming music - all critical services were 100%.



A friend of mine here in town is a tinkerer and started installing solar 10 or 12 years ago. He's down to about 5% from the City now, net, sells his overage to the grid. Pays the connection fee for the same reason as you. The city is part of a consortium of city-owned power grids that's managed by a board appointed by the various city councils but operates independently—and now that board is proposing to go to a sell all/buy all policy, where all power generated must be sold to the grid at wholesale and bought at retail. So that would push the solar savings down from 95% to maybe 35%. So of course my friend told the city he'd just buy a generator to cover the few times when demand spikes, and get off the grid. Of course there's a law on the books that says all houses in town must be on the grid so he's pretty sure that if it comes to that, he'll fight.

islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 10:22am

 rgio wrote:

That's very cool (pun intended on behalf of the beer).

My question... for the average gringo, given a 5 or 6 year ROI, the potential of problems (I assume - especially if you're renting), and the need for tweaking that you're able to do... is it worth the complexity for the "unwashed"?

Operational tuning, addition battery capacity... you're doing those things is easy (for you).  Would others know to do it, and would my ROI be longer given my lack of knowledge?

"Minor technical problem" for you feels like code for a $250 service call for me.  Thx


Minor tech problem is a goof that I made on install, so that would normally be a warranty thing.  Tuning is also typically part of set up and commissioning, but this system is in Mexico and I was putting it together on our winter excursion, so lucky to get it online with a week for testing while we were there.  This is a kit I'm very familiar with (we're a dealer), so this is sort of second nature and I set it up with all the toys so I can do remote management. 

ROI really depends on your cost of energy and what you are factoring in. Electricity is expensive where this is installed, and we were on the top tier of the tariff system (pool pump that runs all day really makes an impact, plus AC in the summer months). So ROI was pretty easy to get - especially considering I get the gear cheap and did most of the install myself. It still cost me ~ $14K, but our power bills were $4K a year. Anyone else doing this install would be closer to 25-30K$, so that looks more like a 10 year ROI. It's still worth it, but you have to consider things like ongoing power when there is a power outage, what future power rates might be and all those kinds of subjective things. Also consider that more people going to solar lessens the demand on the grid, which should make future power increases less.  

TLDR: if you like tinkering and are willing to learn and put some of your time into it, 5 year ROI is really doable unless your electricity is super cheap. If you want to write a check to the installer an not worry about it, you are probably closer to 10+ years for an ROI. 

If you just want a warm fuzzy feeling, it's easier to just write the check to Greenpeace or something like that.  But in the coming days of Mad Max, I've got some really valuable skills and I'll have cold beer.
rgio

rgio Avatar

Location: West Jersey
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 9:11am

 islander wrote:

I've been meaning to post an update on my system. We are still tuning and have a minor technical problem that will require another trip to fix. But with everything going as normal and renters in the house (with no concept of power saving or conservation), everything is working normally and we are right at 11% of our previous usage from the grid. April 16 (+/-) will be the end of the first full bill cycle. That will let me see how close my metering is to their metering.  I also expect a visit from them to see why the usage is down 90%!. I still need to add some battery and am trying to figure out the best path for that project. There is also some operational tuning still to do, that I think I can easily get another 5% or so wrung out of the system. If I get more battery there would basically be no need for the grid connection except for a backup if something failed. There is a monthly connection fee, so that will eventually factor in.  

A week ago, they took most of the town offline for a transformer upgrade to fix some summer time load issues they have been having.  Our place didn't even notice.  Ice, cold beer and streaming music - all critical services were 100%.


That's very cool (pun intended on behalf of the beer).

My question... for the average gringo, given a 5 or 6 year ROI, the potential of problems (I assume - especially if you're renting), and the need for tweaking that you're able to do... is it worth the complexity for the "unwashed"?

Operational tuning, addition battery capacity... you're doing those things is easy (for you).  Would others know to do it, and would my ROI be longer given my lack of knowledge?

"Minor technical problem" for you feels like code for a $250 service call for me.  Thx
islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 8:41am

I've been meaning to post an update on my system. We are still tuning and have a minor technical problem that will require another trip to fix. But with everything going as normal and renters in the house (with no concept of power saving or conservation), everything is working normally and we are right at 11% of our previous usage from the grid. April 16 (+/-) will be the end of the first full bill cycle. That will let me see how close my metering is to their metering.  I also expect a visit from them to see why the usage is down 90%!. I still need to add some battery and am trying to figure out the best path for that project. There is also some operational tuning still to do, that I think I can easily get another 5% or so wrung out of the system. If I get more battery there would basically be no need for the grid connection except for a backup if something failed. There is a monthly connection fee, so that will eventually factor in.  

A week ago, they took most of the town offline for a transformer upgrade to fix some summer time load issues they have been having.  Our place didn't even notice.  Ice, cold beer and streaming music - all critical services were 100%.
ColdMiser

ColdMiser Avatar

Location: On the Trail
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 7:20am

 Lazy8 wrote:

I like it! Minimal impact and cheaper. The wind farm project off the coast of New Jersey recently got cancelled. Interest rates and supply chain issues are the main culprit. 
Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 21, 2024 - 7:01am

Floating Pyramids Could Make for Cheaper Wind Power


Standard piles driven into the seabed require specialized ships. A new design rides the waves to make offshore wind farms easier to build.

islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 26, 2024 - 5:54pm

 haresfur wrote:

How's your water supply, Islander? I like our evaporative cooler for the house except on rare humid days. Well, except that it died and needs to be replaced. It's one of the main reasons we get by with a 1.5 kW solar system and haven't paid an electric bill in about 10 years.



It depends. We are working on getting municipal water, but it's not here yet. We have an ejido (this is community well water) hookup, but it is pretty seasonal (and needs to be pre-filtered). Otherwise we use water trucks. The trucks are easy to get, and the system works well enough (we have a 10,000 liter cistern), but the cost has gone up and is pretty variable.  I've looked into condensors - the environmentals are pretty good here and we have spare power now, but the yield isn't really enough for a whole house supply, and they are spendy.  

haresfur

haresfur Avatar

Location: The Golden Triangle
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 26, 2024 - 5:37pm

How's your water supply, Islander? I like our evaporative cooler for the house except on rare humid days. Well, except that it died and needs to be replaced. It's one of the main reasons we get by with a 1.5 kW solar system and haven't paid an electric bill in about 10 years.
islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 26, 2024 - 5:14pm

 ColdMiser wrote:

This must be very exciting for you getting off the grid. Keep us updated on how it's going. Enjoy that cup of coffee 



well it was pretty late when we energized it. But we did get some input:

first day yield
Red is consumption, yellow is solar yield. The pool pump shut down just before 5, so that let the yield be enough to put a few amps back into the batteries. Plenty still to make the overnight, so we'll just let it ride until tomorrow morning and see what it does.

ColdMiser

ColdMiser Avatar

Location: On the Trail
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 26, 2024 - 1:22pm

 islander wrote:

So I've been working on/planning this for a while. Power at our southern outpost is sketchy at best and expensive. We have a pool pump that runs most of the day and sucks a lot of power. When there are storms the power goes out, when too many gringos turn on the AC in August, the power goes out, when the water truck hits the power line down the street.... the power goes out. Basically the power isn't really reliable.  Generators are expensive and noisy, and I sell Victron (batteries,inverters,power equipment) gear for a living, so this just sort of make sense. Our ROI on this setup is going to be about 2 years, but I got some deals and my labor is cheap when I'm the customer. Normally it would be closer to 5 years.  But it also qualifies as emergency / standby power.  I may eventually put a small generator on it for additional backup, but it doesn't really need it - the quattros have a second power input and internal transfer switch, so it's simple to do. 

This is a pair of 5KVA Victron Quattros. They are set up to run split phase, so all of our 240V appliances will work. The middle bit there is an autotransformer - it balances the loads and let's the quattros work together in perfect balance.  Lithium batteries are below, a pair of big solar controllers are on the right wall. 

20240109_181827

This is the solar array out back: 
This is the solar array, it is just over 6.5KW. This is overamped a little bit for our setup, but that just lets it start making more power earlier in the day (and later too, and will be a little better when we get clouds and such).  This is enough to run the pool pump and all the normal household stuff and charge up the batteries for overnight as well. You can even run the air conditioning on it to cool the place down. Right now we don't have enough battery to run air conditioning overnight, but that's a near future upgrade that just involves plugging in more batteries. 

We can monitor and control most everything from afar, and it lets you do some really cool analysis and reporting.  

Right now we are waiting for the final hookups. I should have sun power for coffee tomorrow morning.


This must be very exciting for you getting off the grid. Keep us updated on how it's going. Enjoy that cup of coffee 
islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 26, 2024 - 12:50pm

So I've been working on/planning this for a while. Power at our southern outpost is sketchy at best and expensive. We have a pool pump that runs most of the day and sucks a lot of power. When there are storms the power goes out, when too many gringos turn on the AC in August, the power goes out, when the water truck hits the power line down the street.... the power goes out. Basically the power isn't really reliable.  Generators are expensive and noisy, and I sell Victron (batteries,inverters,power equipment) gear for a living, so this just sort of make sense. Our ROI on this setup is going to be about 2 years, but I got some deals and my labor is cheap when I'm the customer. Normally it would be closer to 5 years.  But it also qualifies as emergency / standby power.  I may eventually put a small generator on it for additional backup, but it doesn't really need it - the quattros have a second power input and internal transfer switch, so it's simple to do. 

This is a pair of 5KVA Victron Quattros. They are set up to run split phase, so all of our 240V appliances will work. The middle bit there is an autotransformer - it balances the loads and let's the quattros work together in perfect balance.  Lithium batteries are below, a pair of big solar controllers are on the right wall. 
20240109_181827

This is the solar array out back: 
This is the solar array, it is just over 6.5KW. This is overamped a little bit for our setup, but that just lets it start making more power earlier in the day (and later too, and will be a little better when we get clouds and such).  This is enough to run the pool pump and all the normal household stuff and charge up the batteries for overnight as well. You can even run the air conditioning on it to cool the place down. Right now we don't have enough battery to run air conditioning overnight, but that's a near future upgrade that just involves plugging in more batteries. 

We can monitor and control most everything from afar, and it lets you do some really cool analysis and reporting.  

Right now we are waiting for the final hookups. I should have sun power for coffee tomorrow morning.

R_P

R_P Avatar

Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 12, 2024 - 2:27pm

 oldviolin wrote:
Still-shot-apple-off-head


NoEnzLefttoSplit

NoEnzLefttoSplit Avatar

Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 12, 2024 - 2:18pm

 oldviolin wrote:

Still-shot-apple-off-head

Can't remember the last time I had a bow movement.

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