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Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Fri 04 Aug 2017, 20:04:41
by Outcast_Searcher
baha wrote:So I guess I need two electric cars. Actually an overproduction of 20 kW-hrs represents almost 100 miles of charge in an electric VW. In one day.

Since I keep up with these things...I did two jobs today, billed $425, and traveled 115 miles.

I guess this really is going to fall together after all :)

Or you could have one EV with a long range (you like Tesla, right?), and let some reasonable neighbor charge their EV for cheap now and then when you have a big bubble of extra power (like full backup batteries, and lots of sun). So you could help pay for the cost of your system over time, give your neighbor a partial break on his/her power rate for charging their EV (since the A-hole power companies pay consumers so little for their power).

Seems like everybody wins. I still question whether selling such power by discharging a $multi thousand dollar power-wall battery (or three) will make economic sense (we'll have to see how long such things really last with heavy use), but if you have extra power just pouring in from the sun, then using/selling it is better than giving it to the power company or bleeding it off, at least it seems to me.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Fri 04 Aug 2017, 22:30:06
by Outcast_Searcher
baha wrote:Hi OS,
Don't be dissing my non-existant electric VW. I can have as much $range$ as I $want$.
er steering or brakes, and a transistor radio :) The target weight is 2259 pounds fully charged, plus me and my tools.

I love when a plan comes together :)

Oops. Sorry. My old brain forgot about your VW EV. My bad on that.

I think I remember you being somewhat enthusiastic about what Musk and Tesla are doing generally, and extrapolated from THAT -- forgetting your earlier posts about your plans for the VW EV.

No insult intended -- I just have finite time (to look back through threads) and memory, so sometimes I take a shot based on what I do remember, and sometimes I'm just wrong.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Sat 05 Aug 2017, 12:40:16
by Outcast_Searcher
baha wrote:For example...I just turned on the heated dry option on my energy star dishwasher. I have never used that before :)

That concept to me is the most wonderful thing about the concept of running an EV off of a solar roof (or a highly green public electric company). The idea of being able to take an (almost) guilt free (the car still does have an embodied energy footprint, and things like tires still wear out) long ride in the country on a nice day with the sunroof cracked is a real turn-on to me.

I used to love to do that before I learned how much AGW is in our face, and I just don't want to do that in an ICE any more -- which is where most of my annual mileage reduction down to 4000 came from.

By all means, enjoy your free extra energy! And if my votes have anything to do with it, electric companies will have to buy extra consumer electricity for a high percentage of what they charge ASAP.
(If they don't like that, they can do something else for a living).

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Tue 15 Aug 2017, 11:01:32
by KaiserJeep
In all honesty, and not wanting to spoil your euphoria, I have to point out a few things.

1) You are not a typical power consumer. You are designing a system and refurbishing a home that can be run on solar energy without hydrocarbon burning in everyday operation. This is both expensive and complicated, beyond the capabilities of most electrical consumers. The implementation of your system is largely a DIY matter, whereas most people would have to pay somebody to do these same things, and their costs would be much greater than yours.

2) You live in a relatively mild climate in a Southern US state. If I end up in a situation where I am building versus buying a home in Wisconsin, I will have a much harder design hurdle than yours, both because the solar flux is lesser, and because the HVAC energy needs are higher, especially in Winter. Most US consumers would fall between these two extremes, but not all. For example, residents of the Florida peninsula would have greater A/C energy requirements than you, and residents of Alaska would have greater heating requirements. These are the real extremes, and solar or solar plus wind would still need backup energy sources for most existing residences, not to mention new ones built to more stringent standards such as PassivHaus or LEED Platinum.

3) There are greater challenges than design in some situations. For example, the Mother-In-Law's house that the wife and I just inherited on Nantucket. That house is 20+ years old, built to an HVAC standard that is completely obsolete, with leaky windows and doors, and run by a combination of electricity and a single oil burner that supplies hot water baseboard heat and domestic hot water. You or I could easily solve these problems without the interference of the HDC (Historic District Commission) on that island. The HDC is fiercely protective of the look and feel of the 17th century structures that exist there, the external appearance of anything must get their approval before a building permit is issued. How many 17th Century period-correct solar arrays have you designed? The 17th century version of wind power looks like this:
....and turns dried corn kernels into corn meal. The cost of electricity on Nantucket has recently declined from more than $0.35 per kWh to about $0.147/kWh, not because of alternative energies, but because they replaced the island's diesel generators with an undersea power feed from Cape Cod, where the Koch Brothers sell hard coal to various power plants. I don't know of any remaining solar or wind contractors on Nantucket, which happens to be on the NASA list of the 10 best sites for wind power, but the island will probably will get bounced from the list next time because it would be hard to compete with cheap coal.

4) One of my own design goals in Wisconsin, assuming I am designing and building versus buying an existing structure, is to have a system that is operable via a non-technical person, either the wife or the new owner of my home. I will therefore endeavor to keep the local electrical inspectors happy by employing electrical contractors and architects familiar with alternative energy systems. I am anticipating that the cost per square foot will be relatively high, mainly because of the $100,000 per acre costs for beachfront property near Lake Michigan. Not to mention that the Nantucket home is on $1,000,000/acre real estate, in a pine forest 3/4 mile from the beach (beachfront costs $10,000,000/acre there). I mention this because many people have external design requirements such as keeping a spouse happy, or a very picky HDC, that you apparently do not. So let me simply ask: will your wife be able to operate and maintain your energy system after your death, or will the new owner of your property? Or will YOU, without access to Internet tech support?

Again, the last thing I want is to spoil your enthusiasm. But you are ignoring constraints that most people would have to face, and (concerns for TEOTWAWKI aside) will probably never produce electrical power competitive in cost to the $0.117/kWh that is the national average. Still, I love reading your messages, and encourage you to continue - and to get your wife's input regularly. Mine, for example, values a European vacation more than alternative energy systems.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Tue 15 Aug 2017, 18:34:01
by KaiserJeep
Baha, consider that if the grid goes, so does the internet, within hours. The servers and backbones are mostly on battery UPS systems, with a few hours ridethrough. The backbone systems have dual power feeds, as do hospitals, and a grid outage would likely take out both feeds. Parts of the grid have diesel backup, most do not - and such backup lasts as long as you have fuel storage, and then it goes away.

FWIW, I don't think that Tesla Powerwalls, Tesla Vehicles, or Tesla Superchargers will be operable in a widespread grid outage. I'm sure also that in an Internet outage, old fashioned lead acid cells like GHung uses are more dependable, even if obsolete and relatively low tech. Take a hard look at the CPUs and control electronics of the Powerwall, and tell me if you could repair it when broke. Got a Logic Analyzer and PCB fixtures for it? Got schematics? Got Diagnostic software that runs on a test system, not the product itself? (This was my trade, remember. The test equipment and external diagnostic software are much harder to design than the product itself.)