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Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Tue 15 Aug 2017, 19:32:56
by KaiserJeep
In actual fact, there is only one thing that can help us retain our lifestyles, and that is to change them. I believe that we can run modified American lifestyles on about 1/6th the energy we now consume. This requires for the most part a total infrastructure renewal: new residences, new vehicles, new workplaces, all designed for energy efficiency, plus the mandated withdrawal of all devices and buildings that don't meet the stringent new standards.

Once 5/6ths of the energy requirements are gone, the renewables we already have, plus the energy storage tech we have, are sufficient already.

So many people focus upon retaining intact the energy hog lifestyles we have. Thus we are doomed, because such lifestyles are obsolete.

In the 1980's I visited California while working at the job I had accepted, before my family could move here. I lived in a tiny insulated A-Frame house in a meadow. It had a 12v battery and a 350 watt wind turbine with hand-carved blades, which kept a single flourescent lantern and a B&W 9" TV going. It had a solar cooker I never used on weekdays, and a Svea 123 camp stove that burned unleaded gasoline for cooking at night.

I was comfortable, showering at work and eating breakfast and lunch at the workplace cafeteria. My host and I split the per diem allowance they paid me, and I quite enjoyed the experience for three months, using zero grid energy and a half gallon of gasoline, most of which went for heating hot water for dishes and coffee. Far more civilized than camping, as well.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Wed 16 Aug 2017, 11:44:42
by Outcast_Searcher
baha wrote:Ok, here's a funny story...
I have lived here 6 years. The meter reader has never stopped by...until yesterday. It seems the old digital meter that doesn't support power producers can talk remotely to the office. The new fancy meter that monitors my production can't. Do What?

That's pretty bizarre. The big change for utilities generally over the past decade has been a meter replacement campaign, where they switched to meters with radios to reduce or eliminate meter reader labor.

Wells Fargo isn't the only crooked outfit that should be sued out of existence. Not that the PTB will let that happen.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Wed 16 Aug 2017, 14:43:30
by KaiserJeep
baha, I would plan on wired internet to those two Powerwalls for at least a couple of years. Elon Musk is infamous here in Silicon Valley for never ever releasing mature software. He will revise yours at least a couple of times IMHO, and you should want that too.

FYI the SmartMeters here in the Valley use cellular modem technology, and report both natural gas and electrical consumption to PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric), as well as power production via a seperate meter with a seperate modem. But we are blessed with "Net Metering", and I selected the variable rate schedule and the rooftop panels produce power during the peak rate period, so I get compensated at the peak price. It's a good deal for me, offsets some of the gas consumption. I still owe about $11 per month in fees and surcharges imposed by the same agency that mandated the Net Metering (this has grown from $4 to $11 over the years). I too can go online and see graphs and tables for the last 5 years.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Tue 05 Sep 2017, 10:54:33
by KaiserJeep
I would not have a problem owning or managing a Powerwall either. But you have pointed out the main weakness with these units: only the uber geeks like you, me, and Elon are lusting to own one. My wife or daughter, for example, think that electrons are like tiny little peas flowing through the wires as if they were intestines.

My plans have recently changed, and I am now reconsidering my next residence on Nantucket. Solar is not at all practical (they call it "New England" for a reason) but wind turbines are an interesting idea, if I can find one that is hurricane-proof, self feathering in a storm, and with a long reliable life.

Perhaps what I do on Nantucket is leave the oil burner in place, and add a ground-sourced heat pump and another coil to the hot water tank that feeds the baseboard heat. Or a mini-split unit that gives me A/C and heat both. Plus of course, a Powerwall and wind turbine.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Tue 05 Sep 2017, 11:10:54
by GHung
KaiserJeep wrote:I would not have a problem owning or managing a Powerwall either. But you have pointed out the main weakness with these units: only the uber geeks like you, me, and Elon are lusting to own one. My wife or daughter, for example, think that electrons are like tiny little peas flowing through the wires as if they were intestines.

My plans have recently changed, and I am now reconsidering my next residence on Nantucket. Solar is not at all practical (they call it "New England" for a reason) but wind turbines are an interesting idea, if I can find one that is hurricane-proof, self feathering in a storm, and with a long reliable life.

Perhaps what I do on Nantucket is leave the oil burner in place, and add a ground-sourced heat pump and another coil to the hot water tank that feeds the baseboard heat. Or a mini-split unit that gives me A/C and heat both. Plus of course, a Powerwall and wind turbine.


Does the power wall allow for a wind option? My understanding is you have to buy the solar package or recharge from the grid. Also, are their restrictions in Nantucket on erecting wind turbines? Inquiring minds want to know but are too lazy/busy to find out.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Tue 05 Sep 2017, 11:27:41
by asg70
baha wrote:not bad for a brain-damaged pot smoker :razz:


Yep. Hear that PStarr? Maybe there's hope for your neurons too.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Tue 05 Sep 2017, 13:03:28
by Outcast_Searcher
KaiserJeep wrote:I would not have a problem owning or managing a Powerwall either. But you have pointed out the main weakness with these units: only the uber geeks like you, me, and Elon are lusting to own one.

Yup. For the us normal folks, who want someone else to install it and be responsible to fix it if something goes wrong, it's about economics and convenience, IMO. (Convenient to install and get running without too much mess or risk, and the convenience of having power, even if on a limited scale, for a day or two if the power goes out. And for me, the reliability factor for the roof is key. I HATE the idea of putting holes in my roof, and violating the roof warranty, especially on a new roof -- but from what I read, that is the conventional recommendation with standard solar panels. But if I get a basically indestructible roof (via Tesla) absent tornados, etc. (for a few decades or more) as part of the deal, that's a convenience once the work is done).

If Tony Seba et al is right, and the cost of the batteries and the solar continue to go down rapidly, then I think you'll start to see a LOT of these systems in many climates. If the price doesn't go down markedly, then you're looking more at markets like Southern CA where you have lots of sun and expensive electricity, and wait and see for most of us.

Again, this assumes that for the non-geeks that economics is the key factor.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Tue 05 Sep 2017, 13:30:09
by KaiserJeep
Nantucket is on NASA's list of the ten best wind power locations. However the site is a challenging one. The turbine would have to be above the pine trees. Also the natives are hostile. But there are other wind turbines, outside the town, and my new old home is really off the beaten path on a dirt road.

OS, having owned a set of rooftop panels for a few years, I would prefer that my next set of panels be ground installed, and on motorized tracking mounts. The tracking feature can add up to 40% output, depending on how far North you are.

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Thu 07 Sep 2017, 11:38:31
by KaiserJeep
baha, do you know if the Powerwall is compatible with wind turbines? Also, does it interface or manage active 2-axis solar panel trackers?

Re: The Rise of the Personal Power Plant

Unread postPosted: Thu 07 Sep 2017, 14:19:27
by Outcast_Searcher
baha wrote:BTW - I got the Tesla app working, but it only has a phone app. No PC app that I have found...so no screen shots :(

I'd let Tesla know you want a PC app, and what you'd like it to tell you (graphics, etc).

Seriously. If you're constructive in your request, Musk and Tesla have been pretty responsive from what I've read, to reasonable customer requests. As though, they actually get it, that happy customers will help them sell more of their product.

(Kind of outmoded today, I know. And yes, that was sarcasm, and yes, I think MANY businesses deserve it in spades).

Feel free to tell them you know someone (me) who would want a PC app that can give me data over time easily used by a PC app (not a smart phone app), if I'm going to spend big bucks on Powerwalls, a Tesla roof, etc. -- so it's not like you're the only customer/potential customer who wants this.

(I'd actually prefer to be able to do daily drops of data in CSV (or similar, Excel spreadsheet compatible) format so I can load it into a spreadsheet, and conveniently do my own analysis via whatever spreadsheet graphs I care to come up with, over whatever timeframe I choose, in addition to whatever stuff Tesla would care to provide).

In fact, I'll bet there are thousands now, and millions down the road.