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Old 10-30-12, 12:09 AM   #21
ecomodded
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I have not looked into solar collectors enough to know if they will work, in the same bad weather i am trying to get the Solar panels to work in.
I have my preconceptions of Solar Collectors performance in winter overcast wet or freezing weather.
If you could give me the Low down on the performance of the heat collectors on the overcast rainy sub par months and freezing weather i could Know if it was worth doing.
I am just now finding out the weaknesses of Solar panels, I "thought i heard" they were rated for a typical day not full sun.

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Old 10-30-12, 12:25 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by ecomodded View Post
I am just now finding out the weaknesses of Solar panels, I "thought i heard" they were rated for a typical day not full sun.
Nope many are rated for perfect days that are only possible on a test bed in a lab.

I can't be that far away from you and I'm seriously considering going 100% solar. It will be grid tied because in the summer you'll make way more power then needed and in the winter not close to enough unless you massively oversize your array.

I have a 2200 sqft home with a heat pump sized for it. Here's a few numbers. When just the fan is on circulating the air it draws 600 watts. When the heat pump and fan is on it draws 3200 watts. When the heatpump hits a deice cycle it spikes to 15000 watts for about 30 seconds. When the electric furnace backup and fan kicks on it draws about 18000 watts.

It's going to take an insane battery and inverter setup to handle something like that.

If you do go 100% off grid take a look at some of your pricing. For awhile now I've been seeing that the panels are the cheap part of a system. The rest of the system has to be approaching 70% of the total price.

As well where are you finding remote acreage on the island for $75,000 I've been watching for a few years with similar plans and empty land over 10 acres in size is usually 150,000k and up. Most of the places that seem decent in my books is closing in on $300,000. Of course if you're going to the mainland then yeah there's some nice stuff for $75,000.

Hell I looked at 100 acres with a cabin entirely off grid powered by microhydro with so much extra power you'd retire rich if they ever got the grid out there and you could sell the excess. It was priced at $95,000 and was way up north.
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Old 10-30-12, 12:59 AM   #23
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I am in port alberni(not my home town haha) as you know we get a few more 'feet' of rain then most places on the middle island, Bamfield, Tofino. ucluelet, Tashis excluded as i feel those destinations are just as wet, the wet coast instead of the West Coast.

Being Grid tied really does make sense with a large PV array, It would save all the battery storage and allow a pay back of the PV investment- that is really great- and give power during the unproductive weather.

I need to rethink my ideas, now's the time to do it before i spend a dime or waste to many hours planning a sinking ship.

I am planning to build on the Mainland, lower Southern B.C before the Okanagan but not in the mountains, lower somewhere off the highway 1 hrs drive or so to the next town is what i am looking for.
I still have do i few things to my current house before i can sell it.
Next year summer its going on the market. I have to install a shower downstairs and some oak kitchen cabinets i was just giving, for the downstairs soon to be Rental suit.
For the next owners as its zoned Duplex.
It needs a new roof on it, if i want to get top $ for it.

The cost for me to do the roof (put a 2nd layer over top) is about $500.
I was a roofer for a couple years doing all types of roofs, University buildings, 30,000 sq.ft churches to two story houses.

Last edited by ecomodded; 10-30-12 at 03:43 AM..
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Old 10-30-12, 08:18 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by AC_Hacker View Post
Have you looked into the efficiency of solar heat collectors?

Not as sexy as PV, but you might get more heat energy per buck.

-AC
Definitely something to consider. Solar hot air panels are DIRT CHEAP to make. I dunno why more people don't use them. After I get my water panels in I am hoping to add some to my house.
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Old 10-30-12, 12:40 PM   #25
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The solar heat panels are a good investment, I should be planning on installing them so i will. So i will design them into the homes South facing exposure.
More often then not with the winter rain comes the winter wind.
3,000W of wind turbines would take the heat off of the PV panels on the cloudy wet and mostly windy days.

I think with 4 sources of heat i will be able to live comfortable off grid.

Small 750w heat pump powered by PV panels
Solar heat collectors attached to south facing side.
3,000w of wind power
Last but not least is a efficient wood furnace to heat threw the harshest darkest part of the winter.

The wood furnace takes up all the slack. Everything else is a luxury, which i want and can afford, although be it barely.

Strider:
most of that electric usage your current house uses could be eliminated, through alternative measures such as Solar heat panels , heavy insulation, de-tune the heat pump to lessen its electrical requirements or since 15,000 watts is a ridiculous amount of surge, it could be replaced with a small new 1000w heat pump.

Last edited by ecomodded; 10-30-12 at 12:42 PM..
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Old 10-30-12, 01:25 PM   #26
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I would agree that to have the four sources of energy harvesting would work well.
Wind,Solar PV,Solar Hot water, Wood.

Having experienced the solar hot water it is very good bang for the buck. A lot of heat energy with no conversion ie PV 16% efficient to battery 85% to geothermal ?? One of the nice things about it, you can build your own. I would suggest better than 20% of flat plate area to floor sqft.
I would say if you build a heated slab floor 6-8" thick with 3 or more inches of insulation you would be able to be comfortable for 2-3 days without sun. We can 2 days but we have lots of glass.

Solar PV. will provide nicely when the sun is avalible. But after a week of cloudiness Oh,Oh. This can power everything conservativly. You will need batteries no doubt. I would check the new tech. lithium pricey but you get what you pay for.

Wind produces a lot of power and if your good in the shop you can build your own. No toys you want 3-5 Kw.

Nothing wrong with a fireplace. This can be positioned in the middle of the living space. You may be able to augment the chimney with a hot water heat exchanger. The trouble with a fire place your warm infront of it but the rooms of the house cool off. Just imagine with the fireplace burning and hot water flowing in the floor warming the rest of the house silently.

Randen
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Old 10-30-12, 03:20 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecomodded View Post
Strider:
most of that electric usage your current house uses could be eliminated, through alternative measures such as Solar heat panels , heavy insulation, de-tune the heat pump to lessen its electrical requirements or since 15,000 watts is a ridiculous amount of surge, it could be replaced with a small new 1000w heat pump.
My house already has excellent solar exposure. It gains heat quite well when it's sunny in the winters. I'm not far from you it's not often sunny in the winter though. Adding solar air heating would be a fun project but it's not high on my list as I don't expect it to make a huge difference in my power bill.

My main source of heating is from the woodstove. between it's fan and the furnace fan on circulate I use between 2 and 4 kwh/day. 4 kwh if I leave the fan on circulate the entire day. 2 if I turn it off entirely during the day. On circulate mode it runs for 20 minutes every hour.

I would like to add solar water heating. It's costing me between 4 and 8 kwh/day right now. The major issue is solar hotwater and solar air heating technically requires CSA approved components and collectors in BC. To do it legally you need a permit, to get the permit you need expensive overpriced commercial components. I figure I can build a system that will provide almost 100% of my water heating and have some left over for space heating in the shoulder months for less then $2k if I do it without permit. It'll be closer to $10k to do it with commercial everything.

I believe the 15kw is from an electric heater heating the fluid before it gets pumped outside to deice the collectors. I have my doubts that a 1000watt heat pump would be enough to heat my house. It's a typical 2 story bc box.

The attic is at R60. The walls however suck insulation wise. Short of wrapping the entire house with 3" of rigid there is little that can easily be done to improve that. The windows are already pretty good and now that I've corrected the install issues it's not bad.

My yearly electric consumption for a 100% all electric house was 9671 kwh costing me $833.37 last year. I'm already far better then most households but my goal is to get that close to 8500kwh in the next 12 months.

If I go with solar hotwater I expect that I can get down close to 6000 kwh. ROI is starting to become a question on improvements though. Even saving 25% on my entire bill is now only saving me a little over $200 a year. It's nice but probably not worth a $10,000 investment.
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Old 10-30-12, 09:07 PM   #28
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PV panels are a slow payback, they would eventually 'pay for them selves' ,it would take 10 years or longer if they are grid tied.
Having the panels for assist is a great idea, not needing batteries is a plus, making the initial investment less. It can be sent with the right system and a dc/ac converter to the hydro meter, as i understand it..

I priced cinder blocks and rigid foam.
I still need to find the right roof, i am thinking a low angle Hip roof or a flat roof with steel trusses.


22x50 house - 1,100sq.ft 9ft. walls
1400 blocks @ $2.50- block = $3,500
for split faced block = $4,200

Rigid insulation- Durafoam 4'x8' x 1.5" R value R6.25 per 1", 40 pieces needed x 5 layers = 200 sheets x $20 each =$4,000 for R 46.875 insulation.

The insulation was not as expensive as i had thought it is affordable, even with 200 sheets of it.


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