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Old 02-17-15, 03:20 PM   #11
Xringer
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There is a threat to solar power..

http://vencoreweather.com/2015/02/17/29475/

It's clouds caused by the lack of solar activity..

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Old 03-26-15, 08:06 AM   #12
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Xringer, your small solar backup project is an inspiration for me. I've copied / pasted the entire thread (w/pictures) to a Word document so I may use the concept to make a small backup power at my house some day.

I have two ground mount, adjustable angle solar arrays. The little one on an easily tilted 6 x 175w rack and the big one can be tilted in groups of 3 x 240w panels. Just adjusted the tilt angle this past week because of the Equinox. The little array has about 2'6" ground clearance in the winter and more than 3' in the summer position. {Works out great for accidental ballistic missiles coming out from under the lawnmower...} The big one has more than 4' clearance in the winter and more than 5' in the summer position.

Even so, I use a 16' fiberglass extension {made for painting} pole with a soft bristle car wash brush on the end of it to sweep snow off the arrays the couple of times a year we have much snow. We had 11" accumulation one evening recently, so I swept the snow off the following morning. I still needed to brush some snow aside to reduce the mound height because the pile I swept off was nearing 3' deep. Here in Arab, it melts off soon enough that I didn't have to worry about multiple snowfalls adding to one another.
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Old 03-26-15, 09:06 AM   #13
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LOL! Lawnmower Missiles.. That never entered my mind..
Sounds like you have a pretty good setup going.. 1.77 kW?

I'm still toying with the idea of putting my 48v battery backup system to use..
It's a shame it's just sitting there, waiting for a grid fail..

I saw a neat little inverter that I might want to hook up to my 48v bank
and plug into the A7 hotwater ASHP..
Waterproof Grid Tie Inverter IP65 300W Pure Sine Wave Inverter 22V 50VDC 110VAC | eBay

Looks like a clone of an Ephase product, but at 120vac..

At 300w it's not much, but it will be a good assist to the A7 and not kill the 48v bank too badly..

At night or on overcast days, the A7 turns on and runs like a 6,000 BTUh AC, sucking up a few KWh..
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Old 03-26-15, 09:56 AM   #14
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The little array is 1050 rated watts with Enphase inverters, the big array is 8 columns of three, so 5760 rated watts with a Sunny Boy 5000 string inverter. The Sunny Boy will not put out more than 5110 watts. Averages about 1 to 5 output ratio.

Referencing my imagined version of your backup power setup, I've been considering maybe another ~ 1000w solar feeding a 48v bank of batteries (4 x 125 amp 12v batteries), running through a transfer switch off my home breaker box to power the fridge & microwave as long as we had the power to operate them. The fridge is Energy Star rated that I searched out the lowest consumption version before I bought it. I could put the battery/charge controller/inverter setup in my under-the-house storm shelter. I could also run a fan, radio & small LED light when I needed to bug out during a storm. I just don't want the backup power for the fridge & microwave to be wasted when not needed.

As far as an emergency lighting plan, we have solar pathway lights. Just bring them in as it gets dark outside, take them out for recharging the next morning.

I don't spend as much time as I used to on this site, but I love it for the ideas you all put in my head. As a group, all you guys are great!
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Old 06-05-15, 02:06 PM   #15
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Absolutely unreal that they could say that with a straight face. Solar is democraticizing energy production, period - and that's a good thing across the board.
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Old 06-06-15, 12:05 PM   #16
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I think the grid and generation should become a non-profit utility, and then we won't have to listen to them whining. We would get a more robust grid, because that is the whole point of what we end up paying for - not the profit margin of a private company.
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Old 06-06-15, 01:18 PM   #17
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There is no question that the electricity generation/delivery industry is in flux. Several things have contributes to this.

First, the annual 6-7% increases in power consumption (as was true in the '60s -'70's) have stopped. In fact, national electricity use is flat or even dropping. This is in spite of a 30% increase in the GDP. Efficiency has had a tremendous effect.

The anti-nuclear industry has completely stopped licensing of nukes. This decrease in productive baseload has been made up for by a lot of natural gas turbines whose efficiency as way above coal.

Coal use by utilities is simply crashing. This is because of the huge abundance of natural gas and the resulting low cost.

There are other factors as well, but consequences are apparent.

First, many utilities now recognize they are not in the electricity generation/distribution business, but less and less of generation and more and more of distribution and allocation. See Duke Energy as one moderately "progressive" perspective.

Time of use metering, the development of "micro grids", the rational use of DE (distributed energy) will all contribute in the next few years to reward progressive players and to scold those laggards. In most states there are elected officials whose job it is to regulate and allow rate structures to be instituted (gas, electricity, even water). It will be the people that sit on those commissions/boards that will have tremendous influences.

These latter people are elected. In the past, they have been cozy with utilities, but with time, more and more are recognizing that "operating in the public interest" means maintenance of the larger grid is paramount and that electricity will flow back and forth from many directions.

Right now, wind is becoming a big player and small scale solar (on residential rooftops) is still a tiny part - Hawaii being the exception. That said the % increase in homeowner owners PV is increasing at hundreds of % a year.

That increase in small scale DE PV cannot be ignored and is rapidly becoming the "elephant in the room". I realistically do not see home battery storage for a long time (save for the occasional outage), but the cost to do that remains very high. Musk is great at PR - but the reality is you need a LOT of backup storage and 10 kW is just not a lot for the "Joe" average consumer with an electric water tank, electric stove, etc.

I would encourage all to talk to the people on the utility boards - they are all elected and they do respond to people calling them. In most elections, they are among the least to get highlighted - but will be an absolute pinch point in terms of where we are going.

Great thoughts all. Keep up the discussion!

Steve
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Old 06-06-15, 02:27 PM   #18
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Like public transit and postal services?
Why not shoot for Co-Op power generation that are owned by the customers?

Massachusetts | Clean Energy Collective


Woburn has a lot of unused town owned land that could be used to create
a solar collective. Where the townsfolk could their own array of PV..

If it ever got real sunny, the array could pay for itself.. And not be on your roof..
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Old 06-06-15, 08:20 PM   #19
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Yes, public land is great - Maynard had a 1MW system installed on our old capped landfill for no cost to the town, and the town buildings gets 2.5/kWh for the first 10 years and 7.5/kWh for years 11 to 20. Plus we get a payment in lieu of taxes of (IIRC) of ~$38K/year.
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Old 06-06-15, 09:44 PM   #20
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If you could actually Own your own panels sitting on some city land,
and the power(put on the grid) from your panels would be subtracted from your regular power bill.
I think that would be something a lot of people would go for.
Especially those folks that don't have a panel-friendly roof.
Or live where the tall trees rule..

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