Donate Bitcoin

Donate Paypal


PeakOil is You

PeakOil is You

The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 25 Sep 2018, 08:14:45

Exploding? By that, do you mean Powerwall batteries in a flood zone?
KaiserJeep 2.0, Neural Subnode 0010 0000 0001 0110 - 1001 0011 0011, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix 0000 0000 0001

Resistance is Futile, YOU will be Assimilated.

Warning: Messages timestamped before April 1, 2016, 06:00 PST were posted by the unmodified human KaiserJeep 1.0
KaiserJeep
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 6094
Joined: Tue 06 Aug 2013, 16:16:32
Location: Wisconsin's Dreamland

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby GHung » Wed 26 Sep 2018, 08:35:18

baha wrote:.........

In addition, my life as a solar thermal repair technician has lead me to HATE solar thermal :) It breaks a lot, people don't understand it, normal plumbers won't touch it. It will not add to the value of my house so I'm not going to spend any more money on it. After I replace the roof I will put one 4x10 panel on the roof to heat domestic water. I'll sell the rest of the stuff, or keep it for spares. You should see my barn :)

Live and Learn...

Ghung - I may put one of those electric floor heaters in the bathroom.


Yes, the radiant floor in the bathroom is a wonderful thing. It helps us keep the rest of the house a little cooler with no comfort penalty. We rarely use the other zones unless the big solar hot water tank gets near its high temp limit (automatically dumps heat to the floor). As for solar thermal; our passive solar layout has been a huge success. Properly oriented windows, thermal mass/slab, and roof overhangs designed for the seasons, just works for us. Probably 85% of our heating, with the wood heater taking up the slack.

As for active solar heating, the evacuated tube solar hot water has also been a complete success, allowing us to almost never switch to propane backup for hot water. We have reduced our propane use to less than 70 gallons per year, for stove and clothes dryer. We're using the clothes line more which will allow our propane use drop to 50 gallons or less this year. We mainly dry heavy stuff like jeans, towels, blankets, etc to nearly dry then fluff them in the dryer.

All of this works so well (far beyond my early expectations) because I designed and located our house from the ground up to work this way. Retrofitting an existing home would be problematic unless that house was already a good candidate. With this home being over-insulated, south-facing glass, overhangs, thermal mass, windows that open and provide good flow of prevailing winds, and a layout to make good use of these things, along with the 1600 liter hot water heat storage in the back utility room (they said I was crazy), and with being adapted to this climate, our energy costs are ridiculously low. And some of that is discretionary; TV, network, hobbies, things like that.

As I've stated here before, this all came in at a cost of less than the average per square foot cost than the average home in the area, including alternative energy costs and upgrades, although some scrounging was involved. Maintenance has been very low. A bit more active involvement is required, like opening/closing windows and thermal blinds. The horror :?
Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit nothing but their Souls. - Anonymous Ghung Person
User avatar
GHung
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 2919
Joined: Tue 08 Sep 2009, 15:06:11
Location: Moksha, Nearvana

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 14 Oct 2018, 08:20:43

baha, how many thousands of dollars have you spent on solar panels, wiring, and Powerwall batteries?

I'm not saying you made a bad investment, but you are a solar professional and your DIY was way cheaper than typical, because of your own labor.

On the whole, electricity from large central power plants is WAY CHEAPER than distributed solar or wind energy, especially in densely occupied cities. Nor does the typical homeowner have the expertise to install such equipment safely.

Solar has a long history here in California. At one point almost a decade ago, my solar roof incremented the market value of my home as much as 10%. Now solar is much more common. One thing that has recently become evident is that lots of people who had DIY solar did not meet the PG&E standards for remote solar power plant operations, and created hazards for linemen who may be working nearby, since grid-attached solar does NOT have T-bar switches here. Such homes are worth LESS with such non-compliant solar installations, because they must either have the equipment removed, or the unpermitted installs corrected to the safety standards.

I'm guessing that Duke power does not control your solar power, the way that is required here. I sense that you resent them in many of your posts. It is not an unreasonable standard to give the company which maintains the power distribution infrastructure control over power plants which could backfeed the grid and kill their employees.
KaiserJeep 2.0, Neural Subnode 0010 0000 0001 0110 - 1001 0011 0011, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix 0000 0000 0001

Resistance is Futile, YOU will be Assimilated.

Warning: Messages timestamped before April 1, 2016, 06:00 PST were posted by the unmodified human KaiserJeep 1.0
KaiserJeep
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 6094
Joined: Tue 06 Aug 2013, 16:16:32
Location: Wisconsin's Dreamland

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sun 14 Oct 2018, 13:08:33

Without disputing your main points, look at what is happening in the market itself.

Firstly is flight from the rural areas to the cities and suburbs. In spite of the population increase, rural residency is still declining. Urban and suburban dwellers do not typically have the area needed to support solar or wind generation. My own modest 2.8kVA rooftop system is about all you can have here.

Secondly, the utilities themselves are the fastest growing segment of the green energy revolution. Medium and large solar and wind farms are what allow California to have many days with 80+% renewable grid power.

Lastly, the Doomstead does appear to be less and less likely to be needed.
KaiserJeep 2.0, Neural Subnode 0010 0000 0001 0110 - 1001 0011 0011, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix 0000 0000 0001

Resistance is Futile, YOU will be Assimilated.

Warning: Messages timestamped before April 1, 2016, 06:00 PST were posted by the unmodified human KaiserJeep 1.0
KaiserJeep
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 6094
Joined: Tue 06 Aug 2013, 16:16:32
Location: Wisconsin's Dreamland

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby GHung » Sun 14 Oct 2018, 18:19:10

KJ said; "Lastly, the Doomstead does appear to be less and less likely to be needed.


Another rather binary comment. There's a lot of room between the "doomstead" and being utterly dependent upon hyper-complex top-down systems that you're forced to pay into every month and have virtually no control over. And 'BAU' can get pretty dicey. I get Baha's point that the vast majority of people aren't very resilient, and when the inevitable economic downturn comes around, many (most?) folks will be faced with making some stark choices as to what they can afford.

In my case, I chose to pay a lot of things forward while passing up on things like new cars, expensive vacations, the latest trendy cell phones/plans,,, and a lot more. Now, as long as we can afford our low property taxes and a few necessities, life can throw some pretty good curveballs at us and we can live fairly well. Having no power bill, no water bill, no utilities at all except a cheap land line and internet (actually part of a local WAN with repeaters - many solar powered on mountain tops). It's not fiber, but quite sufficient for everyday NEEDS. And knowing how to design, build, maintain, repair, all of this is just another teachable part of my skillset. Just choices some of us have made.

The type of system Baha is talking about probably costs in the neighborhood a good used car, and the costs of ownership are negative. Again,, choices, priorities, and forethought. Problem is, we are programmed for instant gratification, future be damned.
Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit nothing but their Souls. - Anonymous Ghung Person
User avatar
GHung
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 2919
Joined: Tue 08 Sep 2009, 15:06:11
Location: Moksha, Nearvana

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 15 Oct 2018, 05:35:09

baha wrote:I know the MSM is talking about the power outages. There are trees down everywhere. My grid connection went down last Thursday at 4pm...right as the storm was leaving. The winds on the backside were worse. The grid is still down. Duke power says it may be fixed Monday. I have about 50 pounds of meat still nicely frozen and my satellite Internet is up.

When Peakoil.com went down I was starting to think this might be TEOTWAWKI. But it was just practice :)

My prior experiments have paid off. I disabled half my PV system when it became clear that this is a long term outage. No need for over-production now. The battery is still charged by lunch and I have been going down to 65% State of Charge at night.

It's funny. The MSM can't stop talking about power outages...before the storm it was the potential for outages, then they started counting them. People who have wells are without water. You cannot live without water. What good is your fancy house without water? Clearly everyone knows that electricity is a priority for your wellbeing.

But what do they do about it? Bitch and Moan!! When will you hook me back up? How will you pay for my new infrastructure? You ruined all my food!

There are many 100's of thousands of people out there right now who wish they had their own Personal Power Plant.

Nuff said...
I was under the impression that grid tied Solar PV systems go down during a grid failure for safety reasons: The utility doesn't want your Solar PV array to electrocute a lineman working on the grid to bring it back online. How did you still have power during the blackout?

Does solar work in a power outage?
There are two reasons that ordinary grid-tied solar will not work during a grid failure. The first is a technical reason and the second is a safety and regulatory issue.

First and foremost is the technical reason. The electronics that control a solar electric system constantly adjust voltage and current in order to keep the panels operating at their most efficient and powerful operating point through a range of varying sunlight conditions. To do this, the system needs to be able to produce quantities of power that are not dependent on how much your house is actually using at the time. In a grid-connected system, that excess power is put back onto the grid for others to use, and your utility credits you on your bill for that power.

Solar power output varies directly with sunlight levels. So, even if you disregard the need for efficiency, connecting this variable resource directly to your home’s electrical system would cause your lights to blink, damage your refrigerator, and wreak havoc on your computers and television.

The second reason that solar shuts down during a blackout is safety.

During a power outage, the power utility sends out repair crews to find and fix the points of failure. The linemen and women can be jeopardized if there is a local power generator (like a solar array) leaking power onto the grid lines. Therefore, utility rules mandate that in the event of a power outage, solar arrays must automatically shut down. Solar systems have detectors that sense whether power is coming across the grid, and whenever grid power is down, they automatically shut down too, to protect utility workers.
Does solar work in a blackout?
The oil barrel is half-full.
User avatar
kublikhan
Master Prognosticator
Master Prognosticator
 
Posts: 4505
Joined: Tue 06 Nov 2007, 03:00:00
Location: Illinois

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 15 Oct 2018, 06:47:51

baha wrote:I will still maintain that if you took all the infrastructure away (like in a storm) and then priced out different options to replace it. Solar and batteries is very competitive with miles and miles of copper and aluminum wires, poles, transformers, and lineman.

You keep living on the successes of the past...I have already moved into the future.
I think KJ is right baha. Grid energy really is cheaper. I think your profession has you biased in favor of rooftop Solar PV. However if you took an honest appraisal of the numbers of utility vs rooftop Solar PV you would see that rooftop solar doesn't make a whole lot of sense unless you are dipping into a subsidy trough or you are out in the boonies without a grid connection.

The installed cost of solar power fell to record lows in the first quarter of 2017 because of the continuing decline in photovoltaic (PV) module and inverter prices, higher module efficiency, and lower labor costs, according to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

While utility-scale solar costs have declined nearly 30 percent, residential- and commercial-scale solar system prices have lagged behind at 6 percent and 15 percent reductions, respectively. The report shows that the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) benchmarks without subsidies for the first quarter of 2017 fell to between 12.9 and 16.7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for residential systems, 9.2-12.0 cents a kWh for commercial systems, 5.0-6.6 cents a kWh for utility-scale fixed-tilt systems, and 4.4-6.1 cents a kWh for utility-scale one-axis tracking systems.
Utility-Scale Solar PV System Cost Fell Nearly 30% Last Year

Putting aside the fairness issue there is also a very strong argument against residential roof-top solar panels based upon basic economics.

If you live in the suburbs your street probably has dozens of single family homes of different sizes and shapes with various configurations of roofs covered by a variety of materials. Imagine if you will a veritable army of roofers crawling over these houses, attaching frames and mounting solar panels. If you think about that for a moment you will have to come to the conclusion that it is not an overly efficient operation. Lots of up and down ladders time and safety setup time and not so much install solar panel time. Now imagine that same scenario when it is raining or snowing - more than a little scary for everyone involved. Compare that to utility-scale solar where uniform racks can be laid out and solar panels mounted from the ground in a matter of minutes.

Recognizing that the public and electrical utility customers are footing a large part of this installation bill which configuration would seem to provide the best return on investment? It would be hard to argue against the utility-scale solar panels.

What about efficiency in terms of making the best use of the solar resource?
In the case of residential roof-top solar there are likely to be plenty of other buildings, trees, and hills nearby so that the solar panels are often in the shade. Almost all of these solar panels will also be mounted rigidly, most commonly at the angle that is the roof pitch. This will not be the optimal angle for most sites and latitudes.

Utility-scale solar panels can easily be equipped with single or dual-axis tracking which very significantly increases the power generated under all circumstances. They will also be located in large open areas where they will be in direct sunlight for most of the day.

Battery backup?
Having small, deep-cycle batteries as backup for the solar panels might be an expensive necessity at Possum Lodge but in suburban North America that type of installation doesn't make a lot of sense - which is probably why almost nobody does it.

Regular maintenance?
The home owner that installs the roof-top solar panels will probably be pretty excited about them and will maintain them to some degree. But as houses change hands that commitment could fade; as leaves, moss, and dirt accumulate through the years who is going up on the roof-top to polish up those solar panels. Nobody is my guess. So the overall efficiency of the panels is bound to decline over time. The same with local battery storage if it has been installed.

Finally, the presence of roof-top solar panels has been identified as a significant danger to fire fighters.

All in all, looking at roof-top solar panels perfectly objectively they just don't make sense. There are better ways to spend those dollars as we transition away from a hydro-carbon economy.
Why roof-top solar panels really don't make sense

Solar power is on pace for the first time this year to contribute more new electricity to the grid than will any other form of energy – a feat driven more by economics than green mandates.

The cost of electricity from large-scale solar installations now is comparable to and sometimes cheaper than natural gas-fired power, even without incentives aimed at promoting environmentally friendly power, according to industry players and outside cost studies.

Buoyed by appeals to self reliance and environmental stewardship, as well as government subsidies, the early solar industry was dominated by rooftop panels that powered individual homes and businesses. But such small-scale installations are expensive, requiring hefty incentives to make them attractive to homeowners. Today, large systems that sell directly to utilities dominate. They are expected to account for more than 70 percent of new solar added to the grid this year.

The success of large-scale solar has raised questions about the wisdom of continuing incentives for rooftop installations, which remain far more expensive than most other forms of electricity. Unsubsidized utility-scale solar power costs $50 to $70 per megawatt-hour (or 5 to 7 cents a kilowatt hour), compared with $52 to $78 for the most efficient type of gas plant, according to a 2015 study by investment bank Lazard. Generating power from residential rooftop panels is far more expensive, ranging from $184 to $300 a MWh before subsidies.

Large-scale solar is taking off even in states without policies promoting green power. Georgia, for example, was the sixth-largest U.S. solar market last year with very little rooftop solar. “We don’t need mandates,” said Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, a member of the Georgia Public Service Commission, who is widely credited with helping jumpstart the state’s solar industry. Utilities in states like North Carolina, Texas and Alabama also are building large-scale solar facilities because it makes financial sense. “We are seeing large swaths of centralized utility scale solar be procured primarily because of how cost competitive it is.”

SUBSIDY SCRUTINY
Rooftop installers like SolarCity enjoyed rapid growth thanks in part to a marketing message that peddles the romance and freedom of generating emissions-free power at home. And, for homeowners in states with favorable policies, rooftop panels can be a good investment, ultimately offering savings. But the math only works in places with so-called “net metering” laws, which require utilities to buy the electricity rooftop panels generate at prices far above what they pay for centralized power. Rooftop solar’s dependence on incentives is a key reason investors have punished solar stocks in the last year.
Big solar is leaving rooftop systems in the dust
The oil barrel is half-full.
User avatar
kublikhan
Master Prognosticator
Master Prognosticator
 
Posts: 4505
Joined: Tue 06 Nov 2007, 03:00:00
Location: Illinois

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 15 Oct 2018, 07:54:19

baha, I noticed that you chose to answer questions I had not asked, while ignoring what I did ask about. Never mind, it is none of my business what your system cost. I was not prying into your affairs in any case, I only wanted to explain realisticly to the other forum members what the true costs of distributed solar and wind energy are.

Here in California we have the CARB (California Air Resources Board) and CSI (California Solar Initiative), which distort the financials greatly but have us on the path - even ahead of schedule - to reach our 100% renewable grid energy goal a couple of decades from now. (We had multiple days in 2017 where we exceeded 80% renewables, and five days where we reached 100%, using a combination of purchased power and what we generated in-state.) The key factor is the state mandates "Net Metering", forcing the power utilities to purchase energy at the same retail rate they sell it to consumers. That is in fact very unfair, because when I use my excess power production to zero out the electricity portion of my power bill, I'm not paying my fair share of grid maintenance. In fact everybody who does not produce their own energy is subsidizing those who do (solar/wind/hydro), based on the CARB and CSI legislation, even if they are in the lower income brackets and I am not. CARB is also requiring that increased numbers of vehicles be "zero emissions" as the years pass. (Of course, a Tesla or other battery electric car is anything but zero emissions when it is charged on a grid powered by FF energy generation.)

The last part of the puzzle is the cost of the system, and mine cost me $0. That was made possible by other California legislation permitting what are called PPA's (Power Purchase Agreements). That is a financial arrangement where somebody else buys solar panels and puts them on my roof, and I buy the power at the fixed electrical rate from 2010 when my system went online. I saved $320 the first year and $570 in 2017 from my electrical bills, and as rates increase, I will save more, my costs are fixed for the 18 year PPA. Meanwhile the system (originally sized to provide 90% of my electrical power) now produces more energy than I consume, since I retired my 1hp swimming pool pump and laid out some of my own cash reducing my power consumption, primarily through LED lighting. But really, what this is all about for me is guilt-free A/C, on sunny days I am producing 2X what my modest 14,000BTU portable A/C consumes.

Such (fundamentally unfair) legislation is why California leads the nation in renewable energy, even though it is the most populous state. But now I would discuss national averages, even though regulations and grid power costs are different state to state. The national average cost of power produced by rooftop distributed solar is about 2.1X that of grid energy. Add enough battery storage for 4 sunless days, and the costs escalate to somewhere in the range of 3.5X to 4X the cost of grid energy. Which is why even years later, those with solar roofs today are pretty much enthusiasts like you or me.

My last point being that medium and large renewable energy projects are more practical than distributed renewables. These medium to large projects, every thing from solar roofs on mall parking lots and high school parking lots, to the wind farms, to the large molten salt mirror array in the Mohave desert, are being financed and maintained and operated by the California power utilities. The power produced in these larger scale projects is much cheaper than from rooftop solar, and require no knowledge or effort from the consumer, it's a win/win propostion that also pays for the power grid distribution and maintenance, as every grid-attached electrical consumer should.

The downside to medium-to-large renewable sources is that they still cost more than FF power generation. Which is why we are using that regulatory club in California to get consumers off of FF energy. But note, nobody at all, in California or Texas or the Carolinas, is promoting "Doomstead Style" off-grid power generation. Nor is that practical - consumers are already killing themselves wiring their own homes, and operating an independant rooftop power plant, even with professional installlation and an intrnet connection to the vender, is simply not a good idea.

Harebrained schemes abound in renewable energy. A few years back a startup bellied up down the street a mile or so away here in Silly Valley. They were promoting fuel cells and hydrogen distribution, without properly managing the risks. Their demonstration home exploded.
Last edited by KaiserJeep on Mon 15 Oct 2018, 08:36:10, edited 1 time in total.
KaiserJeep 2.0, Neural Subnode 0010 0000 0001 0110 - 1001 0011 0011, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix 0000 0000 0001

Resistance is Futile, YOU will be Assimilated.

Warning: Messages timestamped before April 1, 2016, 06:00 PST were posted by the unmodified human KaiserJeep 1.0
KaiserJeep
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 6094
Joined: Tue 06 Aug 2013, 16:16:32
Location: Wisconsin's Dreamland

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby GHung » Mon 15 Oct 2018, 08:26:50

Kub said; "I was under the impression that grid tied Solar PV systems go down during a grid failure for safety reasons: The utility doesn't want your Solar PV array to electrocute a lineman working on the grid to bring it back online. How did you still have power during the blackout?


Baha's system is a hybrid; grid-tied with battery backup. It can be programmed to charge the battery then sell power to the grid, or to sell excess production to the grid during peak demand. It can act as a stand-alone system if needed or desired. And modern hybrid systems have automatic transfer switches just as automatic backup generators have had for decades. Won't/can't backfeed to the grid when the grid isn't energized, or when the grid is out of spec.. Again, people seem determined to hold solar to a higher standard. As for being a hazard to firemen, in that very rare event, these systems, by code, have a disconnect, just as grid power does. Hint: Grid power doesn't magically turn itself off if there's a fire.

As for the rest, god forbid people invest in a little resilience and independence. Resale? How many people have freakin swimming pools that are energy/money sinks that may not help resales and need constant maintenance. And speaking from experience, PV panels need cleaning far less often than gutters.

Methinks the anti-solar movement has been quite successful at making perfect the enemy of the good. Me? I'll continue to let gridweenies be gridweenies. No power bill? Use that income to max out the 401K while not paying a 30%+ tax premium on income that would have gone to utilities, so it can be taxed again, assuming there are still taxes and fees on your power bill. I haven't looked at one in over 20 years. I haven't lost power in over 20 years for that matter......
Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit nothing but their Souls. - Anonymous Ghung Person
User avatar
GHung
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 2919
Joined: Tue 08 Sep 2009, 15:06:11
Location: Moksha, Nearvana

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 15 Oct 2018, 08:46:30

Again, you are a renewables enthusiast and not a typical electrical consumer. I have discussed electricity with my wife who is an intelligent woman with a college degree. She basicly believes that electrons are tiny things like peas racing through hollow wires. Nor does she understand why the less than 1 watt LED nightlights I have sprinkled around the house are better than leaving room lighting at minimum setting on the dimmer. Nor does she want to understand, because that is what males are for.

I know you are settled in in your custom home, but that is an atypical situation. Most people are resisting solar, even here in California, because of the way it looks. Add to that some impact to residential resale values, and the solar industry would belly up. Here in sunny California, I have to have one more form at the home closing, to transfer the PPA to the new home owner.
KaiserJeep 2.0, Neural Subnode 0010 0000 0001 0110 - 1001 0011 0011, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix 0000 0000 0001

Resistance is Futile, YOU will be Assimilated.

Warning: Messages timestamped before April 1, 2016, 06:00 PST were posted by the unmodified human KaiserJeep 1.0
KaiserJeep
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 6094
Joined: Tue 06 Aug 2013, 16:16:32
Location: Wisconsin's Dreamland

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 15 Oct 2018, 09:11:08

I am not anti-solar Ghung. I just recognize the fact that from an economical point of view, it makes more sense to go utility solar vs rooftop solar. It's much cheaper. Of course there are exceptions such as:
1. Those who don't have a grid connection in the first place.
2. Those who are happy to suck the government tit of subsides.

Independence? That's a nice fairytale. Unfortunately grid connection or no, offgridweenies are still dependent on civilization just like the gridweenies are.

And as I said earlier, the financial argument for cutting the cord and going completely off grid doesn't make sense.

"As far as being completely off grid, it's kind of a foreign thought to me because you've always had to rely on the utilities," Fleischmann said. "We could do that, but at what cost?"

Even the leader in the residential electricity storage industry — and supplier of Fleischmann's $26,000 battery system — doesn't see consumers defecting from their utilities.

"True off-grid is ridiculous," said Blake Richetta, senior vice president of Sonnen Inc., who oversees the German battery maker's U.S. arm that is based in North Hollywood. Not only is it costly to turn your home into a virtual power plant, Richetta said, but it makes the consumer's home an island that would be unable to tap the central power system if the off-grid operation fails.
Severing ties with utilities isn't as easy as cutting the cable cord

why would any one be crazy enough to plump for an off grid system?

Here are 4 reasons you might choose to go off grid:

1) There is no electricity grid where you live. Perhaps you live in the middle of the Simpson Desert like my Uncle Dave (seriously, he does!) or somewhere else equally remote. Hey, there’s no shortage of places like that in this big ol’ country of ours!

2) The nearest grid connection is a long way from your home and your local gougers electricity network wants to charge you an arm and a leg to connect you. In this case it may actually be cheaper to go off grid. Although be aware that a decent sized off grid system is going to start at approx. $25,000.

3) You are connected to the grid but you suffer frequent blackouts that really cause you grief. You want a system that can run when the grid is down and you understand that a standard grid connect solar system cannot operate when there is a power cut – unless it has a big and expensive battery backup system.

4) You’re crazy. Your house is already connected to the grid. Blackouts aren’t a problem, but you just like the sound of going off grid. You think it makes you more “independent” and protects you from the forthcoming apocalypse. In fact you’ve already got a big shed to put the batteries in. It’s the same one where you stored all the canned food in readiness for the Y2K bug / end of the world last time round – and you don’t mind spending $25k on an off grid system that would only cost $8k if it was grid connected. Or maintaining it 10 times more frequently than a grid-connect system. Or buying new batteries every few years.

I guess what I am trying to say is that unless 1) or 2) or 3) above applies, then it is kind of economically and environmentally insane to insist on an off grid solution. Economically insane due to the cost being 3x higher. Environmentally insane due to all those batteries you need to buy (and replace periodically) which contain a lot of really nasty chemicals.
Does An Off Grid Solar System Make Sense For You?

So it's an environmental disaster, financial disaster, and just a straight up pain in the ass for most of us. But hey, you can always feel superior to the gridweenies about some illusional "independence" so there's that right?
The oil barrel is half-full.
User avatar
kublikhan
Master Prognosticator
Master Prognosticator
 
Posts: 4505
Joined: Tue 06 Nov 2007, 03:00:00
Location: Illinois

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby GHung » Mon 15 Oct 2018, 10:35:39

kublikhan wrote:I am not anti-solar Ghung. I just recognize the fact that from an economical point of view, it makes more sense to go utility solar vs rooftop solar. It's much cheaper. Of course there are exceptions such as:
1. Those who don't have a grid connection in the first place.
2. Those who are happy to suck the government tit of subsides.

Independence? That's a nice fairytale. Unfortunately grid connection or no, offgridweenies are still dependent on civilization just like the gridweenies are.

And as I said earlier, the financial argument for cutting the cord and going completely off grid doesn't make sense.

"As far as being completely off grid, it's kind of a foreign thought to me because you've always had to rely on the utilities," Fleischmann said. "We could do that, but at what cost?"

Even the leader in the residential electricity storage industry — and supplier of Fleischmann's $26,000 battery system — doesn't see consumers defecting from their utilities.

"True off-grid is ridiculous," said Blake Richetta, senior vice president of Sonnen Inc., who oversees the German battery maker's U.S. arm that is based in North Hollywood. Not only is it costly to turn your home into a virtual power plant, Richetta said, but it makes the consumer's home an island that would be unable to tap the central power system if the off-grid operation fails.
Severing ties with utilities isn't as easy as cutting the cable cord

why would any one be crazy enough to plump for an off grid system?

Here are 4 reasons you might choose to go off grid:

1) There is no electricity grid where you live. Perhaps you live in the middle of the Simpson Desert like my Uncle Dave (seriously, he does!) or somewhere else equally remote. Hey, there’s no shortage of places like that in this big ol’ country of ours!

2) The nearest grid connection is a long way from your home and your local gougers electricity network wants to charge you an arm and a leg to connect you. In this case it may actually be cheaper to go off grid. Although be aware that a decent sized off grid system is going to start at approx. $25,000.

3) You are connected to the grid but you suffer frequent blackouts that really cause you grief. You want a system that can run when the grid is down and you understand that a standard grid connect solar system cannot operate when there is a power cut – unless it has a big and expensive battery backup system.

4) You’re crazy. Your house is already connected to the grid. Blackouts aren’t a problem, but you just like the sound of going off grid. You think it makes you more “independent” and protects you from the forthcoming apocalypse. In fact you’ve already got a big shed to put the batteries in. It’s the same one where you stored all the canned food in readiness for the Y2K bug / end of the world last time round – and you don’t mind spending $25k on an off grid system that would only cost $8k if it was grid connected. Or maintaining it 10 times more frequently than a grid-connect system. Or buying new batteries every few years.

I guess what I am trying to say is that unless 1) or 2) or 3) above applies, then it is kind of economically and environmentally insane to insist on an off grid solution. Economically insane due to the cost being 3x higher. Environmentally insane due to all those batteries you need to buy (and replace periodically) which contain a lot of really nasty chemicals.
Does An Off Grid Solar System Make Sense For You?

So it's an environmental disaster, financial disaster, and just a straight up pain in the ass for most of us. But hey, you can always feel superior to the gridweenies about some illusional "independence" so there's that right?


Yeah, I'm very used to this typical all-or-nothing binary argument. I've never said or implied that solar, in any form, is right for everyone. Meanwhile, folks like you make blanket statements like; "doesn't make financial sense", and all that. Firstly, breaking everything down to purely financial terms is short-sighted and shallow. Further, it CAN make sense for some folks, financially, and for other reasons as you've pointed out.

As for subsidies, I'm all for them but have only taken a small credit for our solar hot water system. Everything else has been out of pocket and I consider that to be one of the best investments I've ever made. And I don't feel "superior to the grid weenies", but understand that the vast majority of folks are utterly dependent on top-down systems that ARE HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED BY YOUR GOVERNMENT, and, IMO, are doomed to fail or become less affordable for many (there's my financial slavery argument). But what do they care? Most are already debt slaves who don't really own most of what they have.

In my case, it's all about taking ownership of my life, and sacrificing some things to make it happen.

And I have NEVER said or implied that I am totally independent of your hyper-complex-top-down-systems doomed to fail in many ways. That doesn't mean I have to like it. And it's worth it to me to not support systems that I feel are corrupted, lobby for policies I know are detrimental to our overall future, and enslave people in ways they really don't understand. Didn't like coal as an energy source so I developed a low-energy lifestyle that uses much less coal. That's just one example. But at least I'm trying to take a little responsibility for my consumption and waste streams. Most folks don't really give a shit. That's not me. Perfect solutions? No, but I get riled when folks like you spend a lot of time and energy discouraging this sort of thing.

After 2008, I was surprised by the number of folks who came by and asked me about solar. Seems they were struggling to just keep the lights on, and they KNOW it's going to happen again, and they SENSE that it's going to be worse next time.

In Georgia, grid rate payers will be forced to pay for the debacle of Plant Vogtle's two new reactors, for decades. Here in North Carolina, folks bitch about how their State government is bought-and-paid-for by Duke Energy. Me? I bitch a little when we get 3 cloudy days in a row and I have to watch our electricity consumption a bit. But being a PRODUCER rather than a CONSUMER is priceless, all things considered.

I have to wonder about folks who feel a need to challenge the idea of being more independent and less contributive to systems they don't particularly like. Maybe they, on some level, realize how helplessly dependent they are on systems they can't control. Maybe if they can just FIX those damned off-grid weirdos who have such strange priorities.....
Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit nothing but their Souls. - Anonymous Ghung Person
User avatar
GHung
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 2919
Joined: Tue 08 Sep 2009, 15:06:11
Location: Moksha, Nearvana

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 15 Oct 2018, 12:11:57

I noticed you shied away from the financial side into an argument based on owner satisfaction with a personal power plant. But Kub and myself (remember I DO own solar PV and believe in FF exhaustion) are also correct, you pay a considerable amount of cash to be off the grid, and depend on skills that few electrical consumers actually have.

Although the Nanny State we have here in California troubles me, and I'm moving away from it, I have to admit that California has made more progress on renewable energy than anywhere else, even with all these people here.

TANSTAAFL.

Lastly, I wonder what you will do after TSHF, when starving children appear at your doomstead:
Image
...what derailed my own intent to make my next home - also my retirement home - into a Doomstead was the fact that I have never behaved selfishly in my entire life. I have always given money and services to those less fortunate than myself, and I don't see that changing when times get tough. I wouldn't have a Winter's worth of food that first year, after feeding everybody I knew and even strangers in need of food.

NOR, come to think of it, does making your own electricity make you self-sufficient. Most people buy food, use health services, have vehicles that use fuel, and consume internet for entertainment. All of those things depend on the power grid being functional.
Last edited by KaiserJeep on Mon 15 Oct 2018, 12:47:53, edited 1 time in total.
KaiserJeep 2.0, Neural Subnode 0010 0000 0001 0110 - 1001 0011 0011, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix 0000 0000 0001

Resistance is Futile, YOU will be Assimilated.

Warning: Messages timestamped before April 1, 2016, 06:00 PST were posted by the unmodified human KaiserJeep 1.0
KaiserJeep
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 6094
Joined: Tue 06 Aug 2013, 16:16:32
Location: Wisconsin's Dreamland

PreviousNext

Return to Energy Technology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests