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Author Topic: Solar Power  (Read 8555 times)

Offline Kev

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2007, 05:38:50 PM »
the deep freeze!!! of course if you own one, or more. the older, the worse, our two freezers added more than half of our electricity bill, so we got rid of one and bought the A+ one...one of the most electricity consuming machines!

You are right ON! I forgot about that one. Did you get a SunFrost?
kev
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Offline reinbeau

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2007, 09:11:16 AM »
the deep freeze!!! of course if you own one, or more. the older, the worse, our two freezers added more than half of our electricity bill, so we got rid of one and bought the A+ one...one of the most electricity consuming machines!

You are right ON! I forgot about that one. Did you get a SunFrost?
kev
Get a chest freezer, too.  The uprights lose the cold every time you open it - it falls out the bottom!  Seriously!  :shock:

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Offline we BEE crawson

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2008, 10:18:46 AM »
I am building a house in northern VT and we are off grid.  I am over a mile from the power lines and bringing the lines to us was the more costly route.  I have 540 watts of pv pannels and a battery bank, in the summer it powers the house with no troubles in the winter with less light we have to run the genny a couple times a week for a few hours each time.  We use a 4000 watt inverter and have had no troubles.   We run 220 for the well pump.  we have a washer& dryer  (gas)  dish washer etc.  If you have specific questions ask me it will bee better than me running on about our system which is 48 volts...  8  6 volt batteries in a series to give 48 volts.  each one is  250amphrs.  and like i said the system runs all that we need with out any troubles.  we have about 7k into the system which way cheeper than the 100k the power company wanted to bring the power lines to our site!!  please ask any questions  i will answer the best i can  this post seems a bit scattered  just trying to give a general idea of what we have

Offline HAB

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2008, 11:50:57 AM »
Well, until the now in development thin film high out put solar power panels are available to the public, I don't think solar is the best way to go.  Unless you've got assistance with the initial start up costs (I believe California has cost share) the break even period is at least 30 years, longer here because we have some of the lowest rates in the nation. 

However, with that said, I am in the process of acquiring bids for a natural gas/lp whole house generator.  The first contractor is to be by first of next week. 

Solar hot water is a proven winner. The pay back on it can be as little as (for a professional installation) two years and almost over night for a DIY version.  Plans are available on the web at several sites.   :)

Offline Understudy

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2008, 05:42:03 PM »
Well yesterday it happened. My wife and I signed the papers to do a solar system for the house. It will for the first time in years put us back into debt. However between that and the mortgage we should be paid off in 5 years.  The solar panels are abut 5kw more than our average monthly use and we can add 6 more panels without having to change the inverter.  The system also includes a solar water heater which will reduce our monthly KW usage by about 300kw.

This will just about have me completely off the grid. The system does not have a battery storage system. However FP&L and the Florida government recently change the laws and policies on how much they will pay for buying extra wattage. So with the law change it bacame advantageous to put the system in.

The system requires permits and paperwork for the rebate program and the buy backs. The system will take about 60 days for the paperwork and install. I will let you know how it goes.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

The status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it. Dr. Horrible

Offline johnnybigfish

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2008, 11:39:22 PM »
hey Brendhan,
this sounds GREAT!
 When I looked into this a few years ago, it was the cost of batteries that stopped me mostly.
 I hope this works really good for you! I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes!!
your friend,
john

Offline Cindi

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2008, 11:41:37 PM »
Brendhan, that is just downright cool, wow!!  Good for you, have a most wonderful and great day, Cindi
There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service

Offline Kev

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2008, 08:33:59 PM »
I'm jealous. Very cool. Good luck with it.

Kev
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Offline Understudy

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2008, 10:50:28 PM »
This week they are suppose to install the solar water heater.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2008, 12:57:11 AM »
This week they are suppose to install the solar water heater.

Sincerely,
Brendhan



What a rain barrel on the roof?  =)   =)
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Offline WV Hillbilly

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2008, 02:48:25 AM »
    Solar is only a economic benefit for a few people , such as the person who
lived a mile from the grid . Exception being solar water heaters especially if
you build it yourself . It is very expensive to install a solar system that will
generate the amount of electricity an average home uses . By the time it pays
for itself , if it ever does , it's useful lifespan is over & you're right back where
you started . Maybe someday when much more efficent panels are made , it
might be worthwhile . Storage batteries have to be replaced along the way &
they aren't inexpensive either .

Offline Understudy

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2008, 10:30:35 AM »
Update on my solar system.

About a week ago they installed the solar water panel that replaces my water heater.
Being the nosy person I am. I helped.  :)

I pretty much knew what they had to do but the devil for me was in the details as to which end gets the input line and which end gets the output line. How we are going to secure this to the roof.

One of the more interesting aspects of this was the small 24 volt solar power panel that was also installed that operates the circulating pump. This pump makes it an active solar water heater as it mixes the water in the heater that I actually use. A passive system would use separate water that would heat the water in the heater and the two would never mix.

The heater is an 80 gallon unit. Quite large and heavy due to a ceramic insulation layer. The unit empty weighs 200 lbs./91kg. Full it's double that. The circulation pump runs the water into the solar panel which of course heats up the water as it flows through. That part was pretty obvious even to me. Leave your garden hose on the roof for a few hours you get the same thing.

Now the idea behind the pump working off the solar panel is that the water is only circulating when it's hot. Because if it ran 24/7 the water at night is not heated and would cause the tank to be filled with cold water. not something you want to wake up to in the shower in the morning.

Now there is a heating element in the tank but it is set at 120F/49C. However that is suppose to only have to work as a backup since the ceramic layer insulates the tank very well. After the first day of the install I was pleased we weren't using the electric for the water heater or so I thought. Well 80 gallons is a lot of water. And it took about two days to cycle through and I was at the end of day one kinda disappointed with the water it wasn't very hot, more in the warm area. I had always heard people say how hot solar water can get. At the end of day two I was considering weather or not to report to the hospital after filling the sink with hot water to wash the dishes and I stuck my hand in it.

Surprise Surprise Surprise.

Scalding is the best way to describe the warmth factor of the water. Note to self also after running the hot water run cold for a few moments so that the water left in the faucet doesn't surprise you.

I turned off the breaker to the element on the water heater on day three just to be sure.

If you have a solar panel be prepared for some really hot water.

In regards to the previous post as to who benefits from solar power. I understand the statement however the reason my wife and I who live in the burbs got them is that in January, the state passed a law that says the utility must buy back power from us now at 12 cents per watt. The system we bought is over sized compared to the amount of power we consume. We also spent some time working on dropping our monthly usage to a much lower level. When we first moved in our house we had a $200 a month electric bill. It now hovers around $80 a month. Our KW usage was cut almost 60% compared to when we first moved in.
Both the state and the feds now offer rebates for solar systems which our wife and I will put back into the money we spent on the system. Between that and the rebates we will have the system paid off in 5 years.  The system will on a conservative size generate about $200 cash back each year. And the our electric bill will be non existent, which at $80 a month is another $960 that we are not spending. I can also add a few extra panels to the system since I went for a slightly larger inverter.  Now if you want to split the hairs it would take the system about 20 years to pay for itself after state and federal rebates. So I can understand you point about the length of time. However the state will be increasing the buy back rate over the next ten years so that amount of time will actually be shorter.

One other item, we did not do a battery backup with this system. The batteries would have been prohibitively expensive. So in that aspect the previous post is correct. Now one of the fortunate aspects of my being an electrician is that I have access to a very nice 7.5kw battery system. Which I will put in at a later date. But the solar system will work very nicely at killing our electric bill without it. The amount of electricity our wife and I use at night is higher than during the day because well no one is watching tv or cooking during the day. However the amount of power the panel generate will cover that and some. Now  it would be nice to be completely off the grid. The idea of FP&L having to send me a check just has a wonderful sound to it. Because lord knows they have been sticking it to me for enough years.
 
No doubt a solar system is a big decision. My wife and I discussed this one for a long time. Not that we both didn't like the idea. But the cost was certainly a factor. However we both believe in the long run the benefit out weighs the cost.

The solar pv panels are coming in about a month. Once that install is done. I will let you know some more. Currently permits and applications and paperwork have to be done first.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

The status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it. Dr. Horrible

Offline ooptec

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2008, 07:57:46 PM »
Hey,

Neighbor down the road is on exclusive solar as was $13K to get a regular service in. They have now spent $20K on solar and can't even run a fridge. They say now if were to do again would use solar to run meter of regular power backwards.

The only system that looked to me as remotely feasible as them darn batteries are the seeming weak point, was using solar to make hydrogen gas which the guy stored in old propane 'pigs' and then used hydrogen fuel cell to power house and also their hydrogen car.

Another interesting not much heard of supplement to the internal combustion engine google 'brown's gas'

good luck    lol

cheers

peter
« Last Edit: May 14, 2008, 09:25:21 PM by ooptec »

Offline Understudy

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #33 on: May 14, 2008, 09:20:49 PM »
Quote
Neighbor down the road is on exclusive solar as was $13K to get a regular service in. They have now spent $20K on solar and can't even run a fridge. They say now if were to do again would use solar to run meter of regular power backwards.

Basically that is what is happening here.  They have to replace the meter to have a backward calculation meter.

Sincerely,
Brendhan


The status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it. Dr. Horrible

Offline Frantz

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2008, 01:24:24 PM »
Brendan,
Hey do you mind if I copy your explanation of the solar stuff you have done into my green building section of my new construction forum?? www.homecoachforum.com (hint, hint, wink, wink) Lots of good info in this thread.
Let me know
F
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Offline Vetch

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2008, 03:12:57 PM »
many people who rely on solar power have to have gas or diesel generators to charge their batteries on cloudy days. with the price of fuel being what it is i think power from the grid is way cheaper.

In general, I agree.  Alternatives require a large investment up-front, with amortization and depreciation it may be possible to break even after a period of years. But it depends on the site.

When I was a stamp collector, I had one US stamp that celebrated the rural electrification administration. I have heard that 20-30 years ago, it was cost effective to string 5 or 10 miles of electrical line to a new farm, but that has steadily shrunk. Today, if it is more than 2 or 3 miles of line needed to connect, it may be cheaper to go with alternatives. In the future ...

I guess the real question is why go with something other than the grid. If you absolutely need a backup source of power (for medical or other reasons), then something is needed. If you want to become independent, you can't do that by depending on the local utility. If you are concerned about global warming, then you want to use wind or solar. If you think society is going to fall apart, then you wouldn't want to count on the utility company long-term. Here, hurricanes are the big recognized threat, but for my budget, alternatives mean rechargeable batteries, extra propane cylinders and firewood, and a tank of gasoline so I don't forget what air-conditioning is.   

Offline Frantz

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2008, 08:11:13 PM »
Based off of Brendan's post I did some checking here in the state of UT. They sell us power at .09 and only buy it back at .03 Our reverse metering is called "Monthly Net Metering" If you have a surplus at the end of the month it does not carry over??? What in the world is that. And they buy it back at a 1/3rd of the cost that they sell it to you. Wow that was a bit of an eye opener. Little bummed about that.
Just talked with one of my guys here in my design center about a few things and he says here (utah) or close by anyway, count on about $12 per watt, with an average house using about 2-3kilowatts. so that means an average house will need about $24K-$36 for a good system. With that cost being evenly split into labor and materials. That includes batteries etc. That is for power. He also mentions that a good solar water heat system for heat and water will run about $12-$14k. Take off about $4k in government grants and tax breaks per system and that is where you end up.
Is that what you all are hearing? Let me know
F
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Offline Understudy

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2008, 07:57:15 AM »
Brendan,
Hey do you mind if I copy your explanation of the solar stuff you have done into my green building section of my new construction forum?? www.homecoachforum.com (hint, hint, wink, wink) Lots of good info in this thread.
Let me know
F

Go for it have a ball.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

The status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it. Dr. Horrible

Offline Frantz

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2008, 12:30:06 PM »
Thanks Brendan,
Talk to you more about the solar stuff later!!
Can you believe that they buy it back from us here at .03??
F
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Offline JoelinGA

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Re: Solar Power
« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2008, 03:03:45 PM »
We're looking into solar power or even wind is a possibility where I'm at. Just about every time I go outside I see my daughters pin wheels spinning in her garden. Makes me wish I had a little generator on them lol. Our goal is to try and be off the grid by the end of the year.

 

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