Solar Power vs. Utility Companies 'Power Trip'

Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
The other part of going off-grid is choosing appliances that don't use a lot of power & budgeting the power vs loads. I recently looked at some refrigerators for my van and found some that are small enough to fit between the seats for long road trips and use about 150W, which is low enough for my inverter to handle. If I need to, I'll just get a bigger inverter. In a home, some full-size fridges only draw 500W, but that's not a SubZero or anything of that size. Gas heat & water heat, LED lighting and a large enough inverter can be used with the new LiIon or AGM batteries without really breaking the bank. Larger boats have PV panels, battery banks, solar chargers and power management for the same purpose- staying powered while away from shore without needing to use the generator. Some use 6V batteries in series to make the needed voltage, some use 12V and connect them parallel. Lots of options, but I have been watching a lot of videos from Pacific Yacht Systems for info & ideas- the principals are basically the same, whether for a home or boat.
I sent one of them an email asking for specifics, but I haven't seen a response.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
I sent one of them an email asking for specifics, but I haven't seen a response.
My next house will have LED lights, with the switch wiring home run to the panel, independent of any outlets. At this point, I see no reason to use 120VAC for lighting or smaller loads- it just doesn't make sense and even if someone were to install panels for most of the small-medium loads, a smaller generator could be used in case of emergency. What I would really like is to find land on a running creek or river, so I can use a water wheel and generator. With a few hundred Ah of reserve, even running the heat overnight wouldn't deplete them. If the skies are cloud-covered for a long time, I could recharge with a generator.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
The problem is panels aren't that good. It takes a lot of watts to move a 2 ton car at 45mph. There's not really a benefit to doing this yet. Well, maybe cool factor!
I was strictly referring to the roof panels for my house. Nothing to do with the cars.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
My next house will have LED lights, with the switch wiring home run to the panel, independent of any outlets. At this point, I see no reason to use 120VAC for lighting or smaller loads- it just doesn't make sense and even if someone were to install panels for most of the small-medium loads, a smaller generator could be used in case of emergency. What I would really like is to find land on a running creek or river, so I can use a water wheel and generator. With a few hundred Ah of reserve, even running the heat overnight wouldn't deplete them. If the skies are cloud-covered for a long time, I could recharge with a generator.
Don't most of the residential bulbs still require 120v AC even though they pull very small current? I know mine do and my house is close to 90% LED at this point.

I do totally agree about having the light fixtures and bulbs wired separately from outlets. I get that's how "it's done" but for me it's a pain when I try to do anything and have to remove power from a room instead of just the lights or plugs.

Just like the morons that wired my house wired my entry lights (inside and out) with my office. My office closet is supposed to have its own 20a outlet. It has an outlet...that's wired to the rest of the office. So when I want to take my "normal" light switches and convert them to z-wave (wireless control) I have to turn off the power in my office...where the internet/network/server is.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
I have had solar since Mar 2012. Been generating 110% of needs at end of year and converting to LEDs increased this. ;)
Power company pays for excess generation at end of year panel installed at wholesale price but make a fortune when excess dumped into grid when generated.
Now, I have backup batteries too. No need to have a generator when grid is down, nice and silent.
 
H

Hobbit

Full Audioholic
Moving two tons isn't difficult when torque multiplying is done in the transmission. Electric motors provide a lot of torque, but the current needs to be managed well.
Electric motors do have a lot of torque, but it comes at a cost. It's going to take so many W/kg to keep the car moving at steady state. Of course there's drag and frontal area, drive train losses, rolling resistance, gradient, wind etc. But in simple terms, Power(Watts) = torque x rpm = E x I. Voltage is constant; ~350v. Assuming flat road with no wind, it takes ~10kW to move a Tesla S 45mph. The power consumption is going to be higher getting up to speed too.

A solar panel on the roof, which is actually quite small on an S (adds complexity and weight too), may give you a few extra miles a day. It's still a cool factor. Panels are getting more efficient to. I think they may show up more due to customer demand than real improvement at first, however.

BTW, going back to the double edge sword in the previous post, are people going to start expecting free charge stations for electric cars? Plug in your car and the municipality gets the $15 increase on their electric bill? Seems like a loosing proposition and one I don't understand based on the current e-car clientele.
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
BTW, going back to the double edge sword in the previous post, are people going to start expecting free charge stations for electric cars? Plug in your car and the municipality gets the $15 increase on their electric bill? Seems like a loosing proposition and one I don't understand based on the current e-car clientele.
It is and it will come to pass. No such thing as a free lunch. I'm surprised you don't have people putting an extra battery pack in, charging for free and going home and hanging it on the wall.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Don't most of the residential bulbs still require 120v AC even though they pull very small current? I know mine do and my house is close to 90% LED at this point.

I do totally agree about having the light fixtures and bulbs wired separately from outlets. I get that's how "it's done" but for me it's a pain when I try to do anything and have to remove power from a room instead of just the lights or plugs.

Just like the morons that wired my house wired my entry lights (inside and out) with my office. My office closet is supposed to have its own 20a outlet. It has an outlet...that's wired to the rest of the office. So when I want to take my "normal" light switches and convert them to z-wave (wireless control) I have to turn off the power in my office...where the internet/network/server is.
Bulbs with the typical base require 120VAC, but the marine industry uses 12VDC and many styles are very similar to in-ceiling canlights.

I would use Lutron Caseta switches and lamp modules- they operate on IP control and not Z-Wave, which has more limited range. They can also be controlled by many universal remote hubs, like URC, Harmony, etc. The range of Z-Wave is extended by adding a device that may or may not need to be used. I'm converting my switches to Caseta and adding some smart outlets, so it looks like I'm at home, when I'm not. The smart switches I just added (to test) can't be controlled from off-site, but they were $12 for a pair, so I'm not expecting miracles but I set up the timer to turn on my lava lamp and it worked fine.

The morons who wired your house did it wrong- was that 20A circuit part of a contract? Make them come back and do it.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
Bulbs with the typical base require 120VAC, but the marine industry uses 12VDC and many styles are very similar to in-ceiling canlights.

I would use Lutron Caseta switches and lamp modules- they operate on IP control and not Z-Wave, which has more limited range. They can also be controlled by many universal remote hubs, like URC, Harmony, etc. The range of Z-Wave is extended by adding a device that may or may not need to be used. I'm converting my switches to Caseta and adding some smart outlets, so it looks like I'm at home, when I'm not. The smart switches I just added (to test) can't be controlled from off-site, but they were $12 for a pair, so I'm not expecting miracles but I set up the timer to turn on my lava lamp and it worked fine.

The morons who wired your house did it wrong- was that 20A circuit part of a contract? Make them come back and do it.
My only issue with IP based switches/bulbs/outlets is that they all use the 2.4ghz or 5ghz bands that are already clogged. That, and that's just more IP addresses I have to keep track of. Z-wave is better for me because it's on the ~900mhz band and is a "mesh" network so the more I add, the more reliable the network gets. So far, I've been very happy. I've got a few zigbee bulbs, but those are a small minority.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
Electric motors do have a lot of torque, but it comes at a cost. It's going to take so many W/kg to keep the car moving at steady state. Of course there's drag and frontal area, drive train losses, rolling resistance, gradient, wind etc. But in simple terms, Power(Watts) = torque x rpm = E x I. Voltage is constant; ~350v. Assuming flat road with no wind, it takes ~10kW to move a Tesla S 45mph. The power consumption is going to be higher getting up to speed too.

A solar panel on the roof, which is actually quite small on an S (adds complexity and weight too), may give you a few extra miles a day. It's still a cool factor. Panels are getting more efficient to. I think they may show up more due to customer demand than real improvement at first, however.

BTW, going back to the double edge sword in the previous post, are people going to start expecting free charge stations for electric cars? Plug in your car and the municipality gets the $15 increase on their electric bill? Seems like a loosing proposition and one I don't understand based on the current e-car clientele.
Yep, and going solar is not about how good the investment is. Cars are not investments either and they sell like crazy. (Exception to collector types)

That 10kW turns to 10kWh after an hour, that takes you about 35 miles. What does that cost?
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
Z-wave is better for me because it's on the ~900mhz band and is a "mesh" network so the more I add, the more reliable the network gets. So far, I've been very happy. I've got a few zigbee bulbs, but those are a small minority.
Yep, you also get greater range with that 900mH.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
My only issue with IP based switches/bulbs/outlets is that they all use the 2.4ghz or 5ghz bands that are already clogged. That, and that's just more IP addresses I have to keep track of. Z-wave is better for me because it's on the ~900mhz band and is a "mesh" network so the more I add, the more reliable the network gets. So far, I've been very happy. I've got a few zigbee bulbs, but those are a small minority.
The added benefit of better distance with 900MHz helps, but it still has some limitations although Z-Wave are usually easy enough to integrate.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Yep, and going solar is not about how good the investment is. Cars are not investments either and they sell like crazy. (Exception to collector types)

That 10kW turns to 10kWh after an hour, that takes you about 35 miles. What does that cost?
Cars ARE an investment, and a terrible one. The price of cars and light trucks is insane.

To quote the middle daughter on the TV show 'Last Man Standing' when her parents wanted to take away her laptop because the kids were telling the mom that her job as a geologist was killing the planet, "It's OK, my laptop doesn't use energy, it has a battery".

According to the link, an estimate for EV is 3-4 miles per KWh, so driving 1000 miles per month at $.10 per KWh comes to $25-$33/month. A Tesla 3 gets over 300 miles on a charge, which is definitely cheaper than using petroleum-based fuel.

 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
Cars ARE an investment, and a terrible one. The price of cars and light trucks is insane.

...
Well, I think of an investment as something to make money on over time, the faster as possible.
I don't make money on a car but it sure is very convenient to have. Now, some cars costs less to buy or operate over time.
Yes, a Tesla or other electric cars energy cost to use is less than petrol and perhaps overall maintenance is also less. But, will I break even on this investment over time or make money?
Solar can be a good investment. I think I will have saved the cost of it by March of next year and make some over the years ahead. But, I will not sell it in 10 or 20 years to get my rewards back. ;)It is like using LEDs instead of the incandescent bulbs. Need light and it costs less but will get replaced if needed, not cashed out to reinvest.
Maybe it is a relative term what is considered an investment or a needed convenience that costs less to have.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Well, I think of an investment as something to make money on over time, the faster as possible.
I don't make money on a car but it sure is very convenient to have. Now, some cars costs less to buy or operate over time.
Yes, a Tesla or other electric cars energy cost to use is less than petrol and perhaps overall maintenance is also less. But, will I break even on this investment over time or make money?
Solar can be a good investment. I think I will have saved the cost of it by March of next year and make some over the years ahead. But, I will not sell it in 10 or 20 years to get my rewards back. ;)It is like using LEDs instead of the incandescent bulbs. Need light and it costs less but will get replaced if needed, not cashed out to reinvest.
Maybe it is a relative term what is considered an investment or a needed convenience that costs less to have.
True, but we all know that some things aren't good investments. I think cars are considered a 'bad investment' because the value drops so much as soon as they're driven off of the lot.

Alternate energy sources seem to be a good investment as long as the details are handled well at the outset. I waited to buy most of my LED lights because I hated the color of the light- the cost has come down so much that the ones I'm finding make it a complete no-brainer, now.

I have a friend who is in the supply side of commercial/industrial lighting and he was telling me about an order that was recently placed for some 320W LED lights. That's the actual Wattage, not the equivalent. They're to be mounted high over a factory, so the brightness needs to be extreme.

I should have asked if it's necessary to wear Sun block.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
True, but we all know that some things aren't good investments. I think cars are considered a 'bad investment' because the value drops so much as soon as they're driven off of the lot.

Alternate energy sources seem to be a good investment as long as the details are handled well at the outset. I waited to buy most of my LED lights because I hated the color of the light- the cost has come down so much that the ones I'm finding make it a complete no-brainer, now.

I have a friend who is in the supply side of commercial/industrial lighting and he was telling me about an order that was recently placed for some 320W LED lights. That's the actual Wattage, not the equivalent. They're to be mounted high over a factory, so the brightness needs to be extreme.

I should have asked if it's necessary to wear Sun block.
I started going LED as soon as the bulbs hit ~$10 each! Yes it was pricey, but it was still a better value proposition than any of the alternatives. I think that makes a good point (that I know you are aware of), too many people confuse "price" and "value"!

I have never been too bothered by the actual color, either the bulbs I chose back then were fine for me, or I just lucked into a good color for me.

The only time I really worry much about a bulb's color temp is at my work bench. In that setting, I do really want a fairly bright light that is fairly similar to natural sunlight. I find this helps me to see small electronic components for PCB work, and I find that it helps me better judge things like DIY paint jobs and finishes.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
In that factory case, YES! :D

But am wondering what size did it replace, actual wattage to see the savings.
I don't know, but I think he said something about not carrying credit cards when inside when the lights are switched on because of the EMP. :)

I asked if they're for 277V and he told me these operate on 120VAC, too- a lot of large indoor spaces use Sodium or Mercury vapor lights on higher voltage, unless color purity is needed.
 

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