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Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Tue 13 Jun 2017, 04:57:57

There are professionals out there who install solar and make it just as idiot proof as the grid, me :) A normal person may not see the savings I have in my own system but they can have an off-grid system that is hands-off.

Sure, there are people who will build their own and burn down, but that no different than the idiot who installed his own hot water heater and burned down. The world is full of idiots.

But I said Plug and Play. Today's developments are changing the game. The Tesla Powerwall is basically a cabinet with batteries, charger, and inverter built in. If you can back up your whole house (like me) there is no need for a critical load panel. You just unhook the main feed from the grid and connect the powerwall in it's place. As of now you then connect the grid to the powerwall and your done. But that step is optional. There is a port for connecting a grid-tied solar inverter. The powerwall becomes the grid. The Lithium batteries require no maintenance. The homeowner can go inside and forget it.

I decided to go with a 15 kW-hr AC coupled Tesla Powerwall 2. The LG Chem battery is not as capable or long-lasting. It will be expensive ($6000) and I will get one of the first ones delivered to the east coast. But I am going to evaluate it's performance myself so I can make good recommendations to my customers.

Consider 5 years from now when the price is $3000 and it has 30 kW-hrs.
Consider also that Duke Power is trying to get an 18% rate hike thru their bought and paid for committee. And you will see where this is going.

In 5 years these things will be flying off the shelves, and in 10 years it will be threatening the utilities. About the same time EV's are threatening the auto industry...Could be TEOTWAWKI 8O And the beginning of a better one.
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Tue 13 Jun 2017, 05:09:19

BTW - We sent out a mass email to all our existing customers about the Tesla Powerwall availablilty and the next day 10 people signed up...
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 13 Jun 2017, 06:05:41

I'm not sure at all why it has to be on-grid or off-grid. There are advantages to both.

First, by THINKING off-grid and designing your home for that you will drastically reduce your energy needs. That's a huge win, even if it's as far as it ever goes.

If you do go off grid you can use the system to power just certain components, those things that are amenable to an intermittent system. May light your house with LEDS that run off a modest battery system. Pump up a cistern. Our house had a small diesel generator that could power the oil heater and some small additional loads, protection against freezing pipes. Maybe have a well insulated cistern where you store heat.

Having a grid connection makes a lot of sense for large intermittent loads like running a welder or if you are doing construction. The grid and off grid do not need to be connected nor load share. You could have a manual source switch if needed.

I need to be purist of either stripe. Lots and lots of options here.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Tue 13 Jun 2017, 07:12:15

Let me give you a glimpse into my future...call it 5 years.

I just finished up my last service call for the day. After spending 20 minutes showing off my electric classic VW to the homeowner, I drive home in complete quiet. Since I only did 50 miles today I still have 75% battery left. I get home and plug into my 50 amp DC charger port. Suddenly my house and car become one. I have 45 kW stored at home and 50 kW in the car. The PV charges at a 10 kW rate for the rest of the day. If I stay home tomorrow everything gets charged. If I leave, the house goes to minimal and I take most of the stored power with me.

OK, here comes a hurricane...I can't work on high-voltage equipment in the rain, or climb on a roof. So I just stay home in AC comfort using the car battery for home power instead. After three days I am down to 50% state of charge but the sun is out :)
I need to stay home for another day to let everything re-charge while I am cleaning up the tree limbs and waving at the linemen working their butts off. I may even offer to charge their phones.

Oh, there were long lines at the pumps before the storm...who knew? And now there is no power to pump anything. Cool...I get to drive around checking out the damage while having the roads to myself. I can help out where needed and then move on. I have a sign in the front yard "free phone charging and internet"...my neighbors love me.

Not only do I have independence, but I am now the rich guy in the neighborhood. My house is small but my heart is big.

Now, will you support me or fight me? Doesn't really matter, you will get out of my way or get run over.
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Tue 13 Jun 2017, 10:18:05

I hope it works out like that Baha.
Often the American dream is interrupted by the wife finding someone with a big bank account or other appendage, the house being sold for half its value, and the initiator of the dream living in a cheap apartment.
Not saying that will happen, just that you should always have a Plan B in the background. :twisted:
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Tue 13 Jun 2017, 12:42:16

Ha,Ha..I don't just have a big heart :)

This not plan A, This is AAA version A. A is all I ever had. When it goes to shit I will cry for a while and develop plan AAAA.
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 13 Jun 2017, 18:55:13

baha wrote:Consider 5 years from now when the price is $3000 and it has 30 kW-hrs.
Consider also that Duke Power is trying to get an 18% rate hike thru their bought and paid for committee. And you will see where this is going.

In 5 years these things will be flying off the shelves, and in 10 years it will be threatening the utilities.
I can see batteries getting bigger and cheaper and taking away more and more business from the utilities. Already the average solar shopper offsets 86% of their electricity needs with solar. I can see this increasing in the years to come. But what about periods of time when there is extended periods of lower solar input? The average US power consumer is not as willing as you to go through long periods without electricity. And buying a big enough battery to get your house through those long periods is uneconomical. So IMHO, I still think grid connected solar is the better option. Even if you elect to go with some batteries like the tesla power wall.

Some claim that huge swaths of people can install panels on their roofs and unplug from the grid. They’re wrong. Customers aren’t going to take their solar (plus batteries) off-grid any time soon because doing so is very expensive, and current subsidies cannot scale up. If customers stay connected to the grid, anything they can do with solar and storage can be done at lower cost and more effectively by the utility.

It turns out that Americans like to have reliable electricity, even at night. Which gives customers a choice: Stay connected to the utility or buy enough batteries to disconnect. The Energy Information Administration says that the average U.S. home consumes about 11,000 kWh per year (30 kWh per day). If you want to get this electricity from solar, you’ll need a capital investment of about $25,000. If you spread this over 15 years at zero percent interest, it works out to $140/month. That’s pretty good, but batteries are an additional expense. If you want relatively reliable electricity, through cloudy periods and winter months, you’ll need several days of battery storage. At $350 per kWh (the approximate cost of the Tesla Powerwall), five days of storage will cost $52,000, or $430/month if spread over the 10-year life of the battery (still at zero percent interest). If you had pretty reliable sunshine, you could get away with half of that: $215/month just for storage. While the rooftop solar costs you just $70/month, adding enough batteries to go off-grid will quadruple the monthly cost to $285/month for the smaller system. (And note that this calculation unrealistically assumed zero interest and neglected battery losses.).For reference, the average U.S. electricity bill is only $115/month. Thus, even if the utility charges me $50/month for net metering of my solar generation, this is still a bargain compared to the battery alternative.

But solar and batteries will get cheaper over time—won’t that change the situation? Not really. While we should expect the cost of both solar and batteries to decrease, to be competitive with average utility prices, both unsubsidized solar installation costs and battery costs need to drop more than 50 percent. That’s possible, but tough. And while I wouldn’t be surprised to see the price of solar panels fall 50 percent in the next decade, bringing down the installed cost is much harder because it involves lots things besides the panels themselves. More than half of the price tag of installed solar is due to these “balance of system” costs, which include lots of things that are harder to price compress: mounting hardware, wires, inverters, and paying some person to climb on your roof to install everything.

Let’s assume that this happens, though. Solar and batteries become cheap enough to compete directly with utility prices. Even this is unlikely to cause a mass customer exodus because those low-cost solar and battery technologies will also be available to utilities, which have superior technical know-how, can balance supply/demand across customers, and can borrow money at lower interest rates. (Banks love utilities because they are guaranteed a return on investment.) In other words, anything that you can buy/operate on your own can be done more effectively and at lower cost by the utility. If distributed storage makes financial sense for customers, the utility should be able to sell it to you as a service at lower cost. In fact, this is already being done by some more progressive utilities.

Even after all this explanation, maybe there is still a part of you that just wants to watch utilities burn. I wouldn’t blame you—utilities are not known for their high customer satisfaction. But it would be an expensive and inefficient outcome for society. Distributed resources, like solar and batteries, are a lot more effective when tied together over local areas. If your rooftop solar is connected to the grid, your excess energy can power your neighbors (and vice versa), essentially balancing generation and load over a local area and reducing the total need for both solar panels and storage. The Electric Power Research Institute calculated the relative costs and estimates that off-grid solar costs four to eight times as much as grid-tied solar. While I think that estimate is a bit high (note that EPRI is a nonprofit funded primarily by electric utilities), the point stands that going off-grid is an inefficient use of resources.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Tue 13 Jun 2017, 19:47:54

I admit my scenario needs assistance. Chances are not good at this point to get there fast. But there are things that would help.
Battery prices come down fast. PV already has and is now slowing. Lithium batteries could go down by half in 5 years...or not.
A price could be put on CO2 - Lots of bullshit being said, nothing being done...But a repeated hit by multiple major hurricanes or floods could change that attitude. Or maybe 120 degrees in NY...
A war that pulls away FF resources and crashes the ME- Probably the most likely outcome.
Yes, I hate Duke Power...if it's not CO2 or coal ash, it's cracks in the reactor. They are actually justifying the 18% rate increase by saying they will clean up the coal ash ponds that they have been under contract to maintain since they were built. Yes I will take them down and laugh :)
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 08:04:54

kublikahn said; "The average US power consumer is not as willing as you to go through long periods without electricity. And buying a big enough battery to get your house through those long periods is uneconomical."

Hogwash. Unlike our grid-connected friends and family, we haven't gone without electricity for one minute in 20 years except during a couple of planned maintenance sessions and one battery change-out. Again; all planned. There are periods when we either have to reduce consumption or run the generator (rare), but that has become second nature. Of course, our home was designed for this; heats/cools itself most of the time, and with solar water heating and wood heat backup, lots of insulation, etc., off-grid is very doable. The problem is that people need to change their thinking a bit.

Our 52kWh battery set cost $5800 in 2007 and is still going strong. Those prices haven't changed much. $580 per year isn't going to break the bank and people are perfectly willing to spend more on other things.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 09:29:07

Gung,
But you made a huge investment up front to make yours a low energy house.

The VAST amount of existing houseing does not meet that description.

You are describing a survivors solution. Which is smart and great. Good for you.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 10:25:10

Newf - I was responding to kublikahn's "long periods without electricity" statement which is a common misconception.

You say; "But you made a huge investment up front to make yours a low energy house."
My home cost the same or less per square foot as conventional homes in the area. Better, more energy-efficient design doesn't mean more expensive. It simply means that form follows function. I see many homes that are designed with aesthetics as the first priority rather than energy efficiency, solar orientation, etc.. That said, I've helped several people convert suitable homes to either off-grid or near off-grid capability, especially during remodeling. Some work their way over time to gradually move towards cutting off the grid power, in the same way we have gradually reduced our reliance upon things like propane and running the generator. On the other hand, we haven't taken annual expensive vacations, bought a boat, driven new cars every few years, etc..
It's more about priorities than being a "survivor". It's also about extracting one's self from society's traps, or avoiding them in the first place. I find things like debt and having to pay utility bills every month to be a bit enslaving, which is exactly what TPTB want.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby pstarr » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 10:45:04

Newfie wrote:Gung,
But you made a huge investment up front to make yours a low energy house.

The VAST amount of existing houseing does not meet that description.

You are describing a survivors solution. Which is smart and great. Good for you.

The folks I used to know and visit (in the mountain around here) who were off-grid lived a very very very different lifestyle. Non of the conveniences one associates with modern life. Mostly vegetarians who lived on nuts, seeds, stored grains and vegetables cooked on propane stoves. Real life hippies. Crap into a poo composter. (properly engineered they are very safe very nice :) )

My buddy held a reservoir party every winter. When the winter rains filled his little pond. He'd run his lights night and day. And blast music. The rest of the time he lived like a monk.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 11:14:37

Kudos to your friends but, except for the solar panels and solar water heater on the roof, our lifestyle appears quite conventional. Washer/dryer, microwave, dishwasher, big screen TV; all of the normal 'necessities'. My wife wouldn't be so happy with the lifestyle you describe.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 12:51:39

GHung, I was not talking about designing and building a new energy efficient house from the ground up. I was talking powering a typical US house. I'm willing to bet your average energy consumption is a small fraction of the average US house. Of course if we rebuilt the entire US housing stock to be more energy efficient we could vastly reduce our energy consumption, on grid or off. But that is a huge undertaking.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 15:39:10

Hey Kub,
You missed my earlier thread about renovating my house.

how-to-build-a-cheap-passive-house-t73190.html
I took a typical US house and turned it into an almost passive house. This should be code required for all renovations.

This was all part of the plan. I didn't even think about going off-grid until I was radically efficient. But like Ghung said, I don't suffer for comforts.

My house continues to amaze me. It's June 14, it's 94 outside, and I have the new mini-split set on de-humidify instead of cool. The house is 76 and comfy. The heat pump is pulling 369 watts.
A Solar fuel spill is otherwise known as a sunny day!
The energy density of a tank of FF's doesn't matter if it's empty.

https://monitoringpublic.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/kiosk?guid=19844186-d749-40d6-b848-191e899b37db
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 15:50:56

kublikhan wrote:GHung, I was not talking about designing and building a new energy efficient house from the ground up. I was talking powering a typical US house. I'm willing to bet your average energy consumption is a small fraction of the average US house. Of course if we rebuilt the entire US housing stock to be more energy efficient we could vastly reduce our energy consumption, on grid or off. But that is a huge undertaking.


I've never posited that all American homes could be converted to being entirely off-grid, but many could, and without the occupants having to endure long periods without electricity. A big part of off-grid living is simply behavioral; learning when to use power, especially when there is a surplus, and knowing when to turn things off. Our most frequent visitors are our kids and grandkids who have learned that leaving an unoccupied room with the lights on is breaking hose rules.
Other things like opening windows, being careful with water use, not heating more water for coffee/tea than you need, etc, all become habits. Of course, all of these things are good ideas for everyone. The difference is that when one lives off grid, one may indeed find themselves sitting in the dark at some point if they squander energy.
God forbid we need to turn things off when not in use. BTW: Most of our appliances and electronics have wall switches to make sure they are really OFF. We use about half the kWh off the a similar gridweenie home. Much of that is due to simple habits and behavior.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 28 Jul 2017, 09:12:56

Invest 3 minutes, it is worth your time.

https://youtu.be/8XYb7SEy4nY
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 28 Jul 2017, 10:49:16

Tanada wrote:Invest 3 minutes, it is worth your time.

https://youtu.be/8XYb7SEy4nY


Yes, and we already discussed that paper in depth in this thread:

http://peakoil.com/forums/running-the-us-power-grid-on-100-renewables-t73499.html

....the conclusion being that a 100% renewable scheme is totally insufficient, unless we first reduce total energy demand by 5/6ths of the present level. This requires an extreme renewal of our infrastructure for transportation, industry, and residences.

It can be done, but we don't have the necessary desire to do so. So you personally need to be making such changes.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 28 Jul 2017, 14:38:41

KaiserJeep wrote:... a 100% renewable scheme is totally insufficient, unless we first reduce total energy demand by 5/6ths of the present level. This requires an extreme renewal of our infrastructure for transportation, industry, and residences.

It can be done, but we don't have the necessary desire to do so.


The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Its true that we will have a hard time reaching 100% renewables.

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying very hard to increase and then increase again the role that carbon-free energy sources like nuclear and renewables play in our energy system, while simultaneously reducing the role that coal and other FF play.

Cheers!

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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby asg70 » Fri 28 Jul 2017, 14:40:06

Plantagenet wrote:But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying very hard to increase and then increase again the role that carbon-free energy sources


We'll never get there with Trump in office, which is why your support of him is cognitive dissonance in the extreme.
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