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Old 12-13-2018, 11:25 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Yes, even thinking forward (and for easy math!) to $1/watt installed solar, and $100/kWh Lion, that's $44,400 PLUS $18,600 = $63,000. So unless he was super-creative, his cost far more than that.



And he still needs grid power!

-ERD50
Not the most efficient home either, e.g. air-source heat pump instead of ground-source heat pump or mini-splits (the latter might work for NW-bound as well).

Replacing the HVAC would have been cheaper than the add'l solar panels & battery storage.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:46 AM   #182
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A lot of the discussion here is centered on the economics of energy sources, like PV. But if you believe that climate change is one of the biggest problems we face as humans (and I do believe that) then we have to rethink the economics of energy because the energy sources that are the cheapest in the short term are the most impactful in the long term. If we lump in future costs of climate change, those fossil fuel energy sources are actually quite expensive.

I don't know what the solution is, but I am skeptical that we humans have what it takes to solve this problem. The changes people have to make to their lives to really solve this is more than I think everyone is willing to do.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:25 PM   #183
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The changes people have to make to their lives to really solve this is more than I think everyone is willing to do.

If you read the academic studies that were proposed earlier, you can see some of the significant first steps that are part of their 'solution'. Reduce energy consumption by 30%. We can do this by having people walk or bicycle rather than use personal vehicles. Or mass transit, for rare purposes. Eliminate meat and go to a vegetarian diet.


There are several next logical steps. Relocate people away from areas with a climate that requires cooling during the summer, or heating during the winter. Eliminate airplanes, because really, nobody needs to be in that big of a rush. And also, your vacation needs seem inferior to saving the planet and all of humanity. People should be content to stay put and read books about where we used to travel.


We can see what life would be like if we look at places in the world today where the grid is at it's limits for capacity and reliability. Frequent power outages are expected. People travel only rarely. Food choices are very limited.



I believe that there are many thing that can be done, and we will figure out how to adapt as we move forward. I also believe that there will be many people willing to identify and force changes on others, so long as they do not need to modify their lifestyle. That is where we will see conflict.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:58 PM   #184
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I just found this ~ 11 year old thread on the subject. Might be interesting to see if/how views have changed. I only skimmed it.

Could an Aggressive Energy Program Revitalize the US?

We should bookmark this one on a calendar and revisit every 10 years!

-ERD50
Heh, heh, for those of us in our 70's now, maybe we should revisit every 5 years. Ya never know.
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:10 PM   #185
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[QUOTE=Clone;2156310

<SNIP>

I also believe that there will be many people willing to identify and force changes on others, so long as they do not need to modify their lifestyle. That is where we will see conflict.[/QUOTE]

I think we're seeing that conflict in France right now. Funny how folks who fly private jets are the ones telling us to walk or ride a bike. (Now, where's my Andy Rooney voice when I really need it.) YMMV
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:21 PM   #186
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Oh, yeah, I was just reviewing my electric bill and noticed that I am only using on average 6 or 7 KWH of electricity per day. I was feeling pretty good about that until it struck me that I may be one of the larger energy hogs on the forum. Virtually everything I consume or put in my apartment has to be shipped an extra 2500 miles (in many cases). I have no idea how to figure the KWH or THERM equivalent for that, but it must be immense - especially based on the prices we pay for things here in Paradise. YMMV
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:26 PM   #187
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A lot of the discussion here is centered on the economics of energy sources, like PV. But if you believe that climate change is one of the biggest problems we face as humans (and I do believe that) then we have to rethink the economics of energy because the energy sources that are the cheapest in the short term are the most impactful in the long term. If we lump in future costs of climate change, those fossil fuel energy sources are actually quite expensive.

I don't know what the solution is, but I am skeptical that we humans have what it takes to solve this problem. The changes people have to make to their lives to really solve this is more than I think everyone is willing to do.
I agree that the cost of externalities should be added to the price of harmful energy sources. I like that a lot better than subsidizing specific technology - let all the tech and systems compete and work together.

While I absolutely do not want to turn this into a climate change debate, I will say that it doesn't seem clear that our moving to high % of RE over the next 30 years is going to make much difference. This should probably be its own thread if we want to go much further, but when I looked at this a few years back, the IPCC models seemed to show a lot of overlap in the ranges of "change to 100% RE and limit population growth today model", and the "keep doing what we are doing model". And this was a few years ago - so we are already behind!

IOW, we could throw a lot of $ at this, take big hits to our lifestyle, and maybe have little/nothing to show for it. It might be a little like using a bucket to bail out the Titanic.

That doesn't mean we should give up or do nothing, but we ought to understand it. Personally, I think we should continue research, better understand the models, and plan for the future, rather than try to force today's solutions for everything. We may know a lot more and have far better options in 10 years. But we still should pick away at the low hanging fruit, and work RE and storage in where it fits, so we gain more and more experience.

I've been meaning to read the latest IPCC reports to see if this has changed, but have not got to it yet.

-ERD50
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Energy to ship goods
Old 12-13-2018, 03:39 PM   #188
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Energy to ship goods

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Oh, yeah, I was just reviewing my electric bill and noticed that I am only using on average 6 or 7 KWH of electricity per day. I was feeling pretty good about that until it struck me that I may be one of the larger energy hogs on the forum. Virtually everything I consume or put in my apartment has to be shipped an extra 2500 miles (in many cases). I have no idea how to figure the KWH or THERM equivalent for that, but it must be immense - especially based on the prices we pay for things here in Paradise. YMMV
Surface freight by ship or barge is extremely efficient.

My sister lived on Maui and then on the big island in the 1980's. We often shipped non perishable items, auto parts ,etc. And after shipping charges, usually still under half of local prices on the island. It's a captive market that is responsible, not shipping. IM0.
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:22 PM   #189
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Yes. For reference, in Dec/Jan, history shows I use ~ 200 Therms of NG ( ~ 20 Therms of that go to heating water). 200 Therms is 5,860 kWh a month, so yes, that's a lot. OK, a bit less, with a 90+ eff furnace compared to ~100% eff electrical resistance. If we could average a COP of 3 (is that possible with monthly average temp of 20~30F?), electrical usage would be 1/3rd of that, so ~ 1,900 kWh/month for heating. Plus other electrical use, which averages ~ 700 kWh/month. Largish 4 bedroom home, average insulation, not much shade from trees.

And right when our solar is at minimum, yes, that makes it tough. But I recall a Popular Mechanics, or maybe Popular Science article from the 1970's - use a heat pump all summer to pump heat from our homes into a salt solution in an underground insulated tank. Then reverse that stored heat to use in winter, and by season's end it is cold enough to use to cool the house in summer again. But 40 years later, this is still not applicable to our homes (I think the concept is used for overnight A/C in some buildings). So in some ways, 30 years of advancement seems like it will produce a lot, but often it does not.

I lost track of your summer A/C kWh, can you repeat it for comparison?

-ERD50
The thread is getting long. My electricity consumption was described earlier, and I quote it below.

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And speaking of electricity usage, I used to feel bad about being an "energy hog" living in the Southwest, where the AC runs nearly all day in the summer, even through the night. And for 2 years in a row, my highest 24-hour consumption hit 100 kWh. That happened when the high hit 120+F.

But that 100 kWh/day consumption happens only for a few days in a year. Other times of the year, it can be as low as 20 kWh/day. My consumption over the last 12 months is 16,159 kWh, for a home of 2,800 sq.ft. with a large swimming pool, using electricity for everything including cooking and heating.

How does the above compare to people living in other states? Just looked it up, and found that the average Midwest household uses 766.4 gal of heating oil each year. That's equivalent to 31,200 kWh. That's double my electricity usage. And that is just for heating oil, as they also use electricity, and perhaps gas too. Yikes! And the average Midwest home is probably smaller than 2,800 sq.ft.

Now, living in the desert does not sound so bad anymore.
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:35 PM   #190
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This guy powers his home with Tesla batteries.
Looks great. So how do these panels work when they are covered by snow?
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:44 PM   #191
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This guy powers his home with Tesla batteries.
https://057tech.com/solar

I spent a bit of time on his Web site, looking at his past data. Very interesting real-life data that is not commonly available.

In the early summer months of May/June when the PV output was at its peak, he routinely maxed out his batteries to 100% charge in the afternoon, and all the potential output was wasted (because that power has no place to go). His system is not tied to the grid, as that could cause some complications with regulations and would require some agreement with the local utility, I presume.

I saw one day when he started out with the batteries all depleted in the morning, and ended up with 186 kWh charged to them (100% full), and while using some too. Very impressive. So, I looked up NREL data, and indeed his array of 44.4kW should be producing more than 220kWh each day on the average in May.

Yet, comes winter and there are several days in a row where the solar production was down in a few kWhs each day, and as low as 0. Of course, that makes sense too. And his batteries were ran down to empty of course, and he drew heavily from the grid.

Now, this man has two Teslas that he charges from his system. You can see clearly where he plugs one of them in, because the power drawn jumps up to 25kW, and stays there for a couple of hours.

So, one has to wonder if he did not have the EVs, the situation would be different. From that data, I will have to say that without the EVs, he would have even more surplus power in the summer, yet would still run down his batteries in the winter.

It's very tough to have enough batteries to store solar power in the winter. This man would need a lot more batteries than his already big 186kWh bank. Maybe 5x to 10x more? And then, he would also need more panels to get enough electricity in the winter to charge them. A $1-million dollar system? So that in the summer, he would have so much surplus that's enough to run a small town?

It's tough!
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:51 AM   #192
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.... It's very tough to have enough batteries to store solar power in the winter. This man would need a lot more batteries than his already big 186kWh bank. Maybe 5x to 10x more? And then, he would also need more panels to get enough electricity in the winter to charge them. A $1-million dollar system? So that in the summer, he would have so much surplus that's enough to run a small town?

It's tough!
I think I see where this is leading.

We are told we need to have more RE to fight Global Warming. But you are showing that it is difficult to move to RE in cold climates. So if we use less RE, we will have more Global Warming, making it easier to move to RE.

Wait, am I going in a circle here?

-ERD50
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:03 AM   #193
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This guy powers his home with Tesla batteries.
https://057tech.com/solar
I just noticed the angle of that shade, wow! The panels that we see on the roof must have very low production, they are facing down and away from the sun! I assume there are panels on the other side? And if the sun gets any lower, there will be more shading of the ground mounted panels - you can see a bit now.

This is about the the equivalent of building a ship in a bottle, a labor of love, very little practicality here.

I wonder how much taxpayer money he got for putting panels in the shade?

I don't like subsidies at all, but I did read a proposal that makes a bit more sense - the subsidy would be based on output, not cost. That would at least be aligned with results, rather than an 'action'.

I suppose this guy thinks he is acting as an inspiration to others, I see it as just the opposite. By installing an impractical, expensive system, he's showing people how poorly solar 'works' - and it isn't as bad as all that.

-ERD50
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:50 AM   #194
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What the photo is showing, IMHO, is that solar may be great if one has plenty of money to install it and can afford a large lot for one's house. What happens to all the apartment dwellers living in 1000 sq ft two bedroom units? Or even the rich folks living in 3500 sq ft high rise homes in NYC? Where do they put their solar panels? Or just the average Joe and Jane who have an 1800 sq ft house on a 1/5 acre lot? I guess all the others get the privledge of paying for this guy's subsidy. Aren't they lucky

Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of environmental care. That's why I drive a hybrid Camry rather than a gas hog SUV. I insulate my home as best as is possible, combine driving errands to minimize gas consumption, used only LED bulbs, buy energy efficient appliances, etc. etc. etc. We need a variety of solutions that people can pick and choose from based upon what works for them.
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:54 AM   #195
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I just noticed the angle of that shade, wow! The panels that we see on the roof must have very low production, they are facing down and away from the sun! I assume there are panels on the other side? And if the sun gets any lower, there will be more shading of the ground mounted panels - you can see a bit now.

This is about the the equivalent of building a ship in a bottle, a labor of love, very little practicality here.

I wonder how much taxpayer money he got for putting panels in the shade?

I don't like subsidies at all, but I did read a proposal that makes a bit more sense - the subsidy would be based on output, not cost. That would at least be aligned with results, rather than an 'action'.

I suppose this guy thinks he is acting as an inspiration to others, I see it as just the opposite. By installing an impractical, expensive system, he's showing people how poorly solar 'works' - and it isn't as bad as all that.

-ERD50
The picture could be taken at an unfavorable time of day. If there are not panels on the other side, it could be aesthetic.

I assume he is in NC, per his contact info. Based on that, the rebate is output based.

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Residential customers will be eligible for a rebate of 60 cents per watt for systems of 10 kilowatts or smaller. For example, an 8 kW system would get a $4,800 rebate. Duke estimates residential systems can cost $20,000 to $30,000.
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:55 AM   #196
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I just noticed the angle of that shade, wow! The panels that we see on the roof must have very low production, they are facing down and away from the sun! I assume there are panels on the other side? And if the sun gets any lower, there will be more shading of the ground mounted panels - you can see a bit now.

I think south is down in the picture. So what you are seeing is the sun shifting east to west. The panels above the pool seem to be oriented to maximize the angle to the sun. Also look at that small panel array to the top of his house garage, there is a section of roof that is not covered. That small section of roof is where it is shaded most of the time.


I do agree though that he is still not totally free of the grid and would need a lot more battery storage to meet that goal. With the info provided about his power, it proves that solar is not the answer.


I 100% agree that subsidies are bad, unless you are the one receiving them.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:12 AM   #197
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The picture could be taken at an unfavorable time of day. If there are not panels on the other side, it could be aesthetic.

I assume he is in NC, per his contact info. Based on that, the rebate is output based.
I meant based on actual production, looks like the NC rebate is based on panel rated output. IOW, you could bury them underground and generate zero watts (silly example), and still get the NC rebate based on the panel rated output.

And I am still paying for the Fed subsidy, which is based on cost, not even panel rated output.

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I think south is down in the picture. So what you are seeing is the sun shifting east to west. The panels above the pool seem to be oriented to maximize the angle to the sun. Also look at that small panel array to the top of his house garage, there is a section of roof that is not covered. That small section of roof is where it is shaded most of the time.


I do agree though that he is still not totally free of the grid and would need a lot more battery storage to meet that goal. With the info provided about his power, it proves that solar is not the answer.


I 100% agree that subsidies are bad, unless you are the one receiving them.
I think you are right. I was picturing the Sun moving top/bottom on the right. Either way, those panels are not optimized for maximum production. It's a shame in a way. If he didn't muck around like this, maybe those panels would have been purchased by someone who would put them to better use, and offset more pollution than he is doing with his silly set up.

-ERD50
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:02 AM   #198
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I meant based on actual production, looks like the NC rebate is based on panel rated output. IOW, you could bury them underground and generate zero watts (silly example), and still get the NC rebate based on the panel rated output.
I'm working on the hole right now.

Seriously, my co-workers who got into this are a bit miffed that they can't run the meter backwards here in NC.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:36 AM   #199
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I think I see where this is leading.

We are told we need to have more RE to fight Global Warming. But you are showing that it is difficult to move to RE in cold climates. So if we use less RE, we will have more Global Warming, making it easier to move to RE.

Wait, am I going in a circle here?

-ERD50
I know you are joking, but ...

For you poor folks in the frozen North, for the climate to change enough that you need no heating in the winter how much a temperature rise do you need?

Remember that you are already miserable in the summer with high humidity. Can you stand another 20 or 30 degrees on top of that?

Even Fairbanks with its record low of -61F (-52C) still has a record high of 99F (37C).
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:48 AM   #200
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Regarding solar panel orientation, because the sun angle changes through the year with the seasons, you can aim them for different objectives (assuming no sun tracking system).

1) Best production overall for the entire year
2) Or best production for the summer
3) Or best production for the winter

As one can easily see, for the winter one wants to have the panels at a steeper angle, while it is better to have panels more horizontal for the summer. For best overall year round, the angle is obviously somewhere in between. There are calculators that can tell you this, given your latitude.

For me, I use 3x to 4x more power in the summer than in the winter, and electricity is 4x more expensive during summer peak hours relative to the winter rate. So, obviously I want to maximize summer production.

And then, if you tilt your panel to the west, you will maximize your afternoon production. If your panels face south, then your maximum production will occur at noon, and that is not when the AC usage is at the max. It is past 5 or 6 PM when the heat soak causes all the ACs to run flat out. Hence, SRP (my public utility) recommends having the panels facing west if one has the choice.

My just installed 5.5kW panels are south facing. I am thinking about adding a few more kWs on my west facing roof for afternoon production. In this manner, my set up will be similar to what this guy has: 1/2 set up for mid-day production, and 1/2 for late afternoon.

Of course, if you have plenty of battery storage, then you should aim for max all-day production and use the battery for late afternoon consumption. In my case, I am out of space for all-day panels, so the additional panels will have to be west-facing, which should work out OK too.
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