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Old 05-01-2011, 05:46 AM
 
39,211 posts, read 40,596,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lollykoko View Post
Electricity, no matter what source it comes from, is a very expensive way to create heat.
With conventional element heat it is however the way oil is going it's approaching the same rates, on the other hand ground or air sourced heat pump is different story. If I was going to look into any form of alternative heating I'd be going right for the ground sourced heat pump. The issue there is you need the land and like other forms of alternative energy the initial investment is $$$. If there is one thing they should be subsidizing geothermal is it, it's the only one that makes economic sense.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Minnysoda
8,580 posts, read 8,499,106 times
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My off grid plans and installations are based on extended operations Only after or during a grid collapse. My role as a distributed generation project and plant manager has shown me where the money is, so I trust what the grid can give me at the cost I pay....What I do not trust is the influence the environazi movement has on the rest of the sheeple in this country and the result that influence will have on the grid .........................
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Old 05-01-2011, 03:27 PM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
16,333 posts, read 16,449,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
You might actually be able to sell that a premium price, if you're in my state you don't even have to sell them the electric because you get renewable energy credits.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the numbers from the solar installer but a member of my forum got a quote, from that estimate minus the government credits he calcualted 6 years for payback and he would begin to make money on it.

The estimate was for $65K up front for installation, I believe this includes battery backup. There is no net metering in my state that I'm aware of so he can't sell it back to the power company.

The feds and the state were going to give give him almost half the installation costs in tax credits.

The big money comes from the "renewable energy credits" also called "green credits" which are sold like a commodity. Power distibutors under mandates in most states to provide X amount of energy through renewable resources. If these mandates cannot be met they have to purchase these credits, the cost for these credits are of course passed onto the consumers in their electric bill. The solar installer gave him an estimate of $4K per year for these credits.
Well, I would say you are a very unusual case if you can get a payback after only 6 years, I usually hear people saying that it is estmated to take 20-30 years for their system.

You probably either have a cheaper, small system installed or you have huge electric bill???
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Old 05-01-2011, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
16,333 posts, read 16,449,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kinkytoes View Post
LOL um my shed is "off the grid." I have solar lights on the shed. My main issue is with the "battery." My major push for solar is not to save money (things aren't bad enough yet) but to be kinder to poor mother earth, as well.

Trading electric plants for batteries full of strong acids just seems horrible to me. I guess they could recycle them, but I'm not aware of a recycling program for large batteries.

But I SOOO agree with the 'early adopter' quote. Solar cells aren't complicated it seems to manufacture, and I see the price for a pretty decent setup on amazon (can maybe power a heater or radio in winter) for under $600 with the panel and outlet. That's not bad.

In my state, I think having a solar panel or grid to run my AC during the day in the summer would be a good idea. I wouldn't need a battery backup, because I can live without AC at night. I'm just not sure yet now to do the installation...
Energy production no matter which way you slice it is going to have its problems....no matter if it is oil, solar, wind.....whatever. Living in a modern society requires a lot of energy.

Getting a solar setup that will crank out a lot of power is still very costly, that set you saw on Amazon for 600 buck was pretty low power output, I can almost gaurantee it.

Last edited by MissingAll4Seasons; 05-27-2011 at 12:17 PM..
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Old 05-01-2011, 03:35 PM
 
39,211 posts, read 40,596,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tickyul View Post
Well, I would say you are a very unusual case if you can get a payback after only 6 years,
I'm going by a quote one of my forum members got I mentioned in my first post.


Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
You might actually be able to sell that a premium price, if you're in my state you don't even have to sell them the electric because you get renewable energy credits.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the numbers from the solar installer but a member of my forum got a quote, from that estimate minus the government credits he calcualted 6 years for payback and he would begin to make money on it.

The estimate was for $65K up front for installation, I believe this includes battery backup. There is no net metering in my state that I'm aware of so he can't sell it back to the power company.

The feds and the state were going to give give him almost half the installation costs in tax credits.

The big money comes from the "renewable energy credits" also called "green credits" which are sold like a commodity. Power distibutors under mandates in most states to provide X amount of energy through renewable resources. If these mandates cannot be met they have to purchase these credits, the cost for these credits are of course passed onto the consumers in their electric bill. The solar installer gave him an estimate of $4K per year for these credits.
The $4K for the green credit is not guaranteed. It's just estimate.

Quote:
Pennsylvania AEPS Alternative Energy Credit Program | Welcome

The Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) requires that an annually increasing percentage of electricity sold to retail customers in Pennsylvania is from alternative energy sources. The program requires that retail energy suppliers utilize Alternative Energy Credits (AECs) for demonstrating compliance with the standard. An AEC is created each time a qualified alternative energy facility produces 1000 kWh of electricity. The AEC is then be sold or traded separately from the power. This makes it easy for individuals and businesses to finance and invest in clean, emission free solar power.
Great deal for someone with solar but it's at the expense of others buying conventional electric.
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Old 05-01-2011, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
16,333 posts, read 16,449,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Here's one for $499, it's 80 watts. Doesn't include battery charging controller , inverter or batteries. You would need all three of these things to utilize it for most applications.

Amazon.com: Sunforce 39810 80-Watt High-Efficiency Polycrystalline Solar Panel with Sharp Module: Automotive


Small electric heaters are usually 1000 to 1500 watts so that is out of the question*. The 80 watts is max rating, this would require ideal conditions like direct sunlight. Let's say for 24/7 it could do 50% or 40 watts, 40 watts is being very generous.

Using conventional electric a 40 watt light bulb burning 24/7/365:

40watts * 8,760(hours in the year) = 350,400 watt hours

Divide by 1000 to get kilowatt hours:

350,400 / 1000 = 350.4kWh

Multiply the kilowatt hours by your electric rate, if it's 10 cents/kWh which is national average:

350.4 * .10 = $35.40 to run a 40 watt light bulb 24/7/365 at 10 cents a kWh.


It would take 15 years before you saw any payback on this system and that is without considering the additional costs of the charge controller, inverter and batteries. In addition to that PV cells slowly degrade over time and become less effective, the lifespan is usually about 25 years. Finally as I said I think the 40 watts is very generous.

As a practical matter such a system is suitable for remote areas where you can't get electric and have a need for just a little electric.


-----------
*About 2 years ago I did some calculations for solar sytem that would be capable of heating a 2000 sq. ft. home in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The cost was somewhere around $250K just for the panels.

Thanks a lot for this post, you really spell out how little power you get from cheap solar setups.

I mean, if you want to run a house off line with a solar system......well, gee you are talking about massive dollars. A 2000sqft house with a modern HVAC system running on solar.....wow, the solar would most likely cost more than the house.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,505 posts, read 51,247,292 times
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If I am ever in a situation where I was living off the grid I would do this:

Heat would be supplied by making the house a passive solar collector with mass heat storage and both active (curtains) and passive (roof or awning shading) control of the sunlight. I do not see converting sunlight into electricity as practical at this time. This would be supplemented with a wood or coal stove (I really like cooking on a coal/gas kitchen stove) and heat recovered from the co generation diesel engine

Electricity would be generated by a “Listeroid” type diesel engine/generator (probably about 10 Kw size) operating as a co generation set up where the waste heat from the cooling jacket and exhaust were collected in a water storage tank and used to supply hydronic heating in the floors of the house and hot water for bathing and cooking. The electricity would supply household uses such as refrigeration, light and entertainment. Excess electrical energy would be stored as heat and used later.

This set up would start on petroleum based #2 oil and run on reclaimed straight cooking oil. I would expect the hours of operation would vary throughout the year. I might include some battery storage to allow the diesel to be shut off at night and during very low load periods.
The diesel, generator and heat recovery set up is commercially available. I am considering starting a business providing these setups along with servicing them for the technologically uninformed.

Actually I would like to live “off-grid” but my wife sensibly wants a place in town accessible to medical services as we are not all that young anymore.
.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:28 PM
 
3,764 posts, read 7,450,063 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by younglisa7 View Post
two Outback 80 amp charge controllers t.
We in the process of adding on to our solar system as we are moving full-time into our off-grid straw bale. So far we only have panels for our well pump. We need to now go beyond oil lamps LOL. We have no choice but solar/wind. We're beyond the scope of electric lines.

I've enjoyed following your journey on the Tenn. forum Lisa. We're going to use the exact same flooring as you on our upstairs floor. Luckily they are still making that design (downstairs floor is adobe) Now I appreciate your breakdown regarding your solar components. I'm reading the idiots guide to solar LOL.

So why do you have 2 charge controllers? I would think one would be enough with your size system.

Your views down your valley must be magnificent right now with everything leaved out. How were the winds there down that valley!?

Last edited by bongo; 05-07-2011 at 09:14 PM..
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Where the sun likes to shine!!
20,517 posts, read 26,310,550 times
Reputation: 88526
Quote:
Originally Posted by bongo View Post
We in the process of adding on to our solar system as we are moving full-time into our off-grid straw bale. So far we only have panels for our well pump. We need to now go beyond oil lamps LOL. We have no choice but solar/wind. We're beyond the scope of electric lines.

I've enjoyed following your journey on the Tenn. forum Lisa. We're going to use the exact same flooring as you on our upstairs floor. Luckily they are still making that design (downstairs floor is adobe) Now I appreciate your breakdown regarding your solar components. I'm reading the idiots guide to solar LOL.

So why do you have 2 charge controllers? I would think one would be enough with your size system.

Your views down your valley must be magnificent right now with everything leaved out. How were the winds there down that valley!?
Congratulations. How exciting for you. We are now in the process of making our system the best it can be.

When Mike designed our system he wanted to have 2 redundant systems so that if something happened to one we would still have power from the other. We also went with the larger charge controllers for future upgrading which we are now in the process of doing.

Hope that helps. The view is still great but there has been a lot of logging lately It has been windy but nothing damaging.
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
16,333 posts, read 16,449,128 times
Reputation: 12367
Quote:
Originally Posted by younglisa7 View Post
Congratulations. How exciting for you. We are now in the process of making our system the best it can be.

When Mike designed our system he wanted to have 2 redundant systems so that if something happened to one we would still have power from the other. We also went with the larger charge controllers for future upgrading which we are now in the process of doing.

Hope that helps. The view is still great but there has been a lot of logging lately It has been windy but nothing damaging.
If you are in a area that gets a lot of wind, I hope that you are considering putting up windmills, a great way to get extra juice.

Do you plan on making it a stand alone system, battery banks and all??
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