Off the grid: Rural New Mexico family lives with city comforts ...

Full story: The Santa Fe New Mexican

Photo: Dave Stephenson has been living a off the grida TM at his home off N.M. 14 just south of Madrid for nearly 30 years.

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Willg

United States

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#1
Feb 9, 2009
 
I have been getting $300 a month electric bills from Socorro Electric for years. I have fought with them and I end up paying. I heat with wood, cook on a wood cookstove. Heat water in the sun or on the woodstove. I have computers and printers and a TV for watching movies and an washing machine with cold water. No hotwater heater. About 8 single bulbed lamps and a capucino maker. I went to Grad School in NYC and lived in Europe so I can't do without my cappucinos or my computers as I am a writer. And, I enjoy the old washing machine. My house is thick adobe with insulated foundation, R 35 roof insulation and double glazed windows. I have a well with Grundfos pump and I am taking it solar. I need to get the house off the grid totally. I am looking at expensive solar panels from Sunpower, but I need batteries. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. I have been part of the adobe building movement, passive solar since 1969, but I am just now getting around to getting away from the grid totally. It is nice to see that New Mexico has come so far with "so little." The New Mexico Way. Not MBAs with straw houses and high mortgages. Let me hear from you. Will Gossett
Solarman

La Quinta, CA

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#2
Feb 9, 2009
 
Willg wrote:
I have been getting $300 a month electric bills from Socorro Electric for years. I have fought with them and I end up paying. I heat with wood, cook on a wood cookstove. Heat water in the sun or on the woodstove. I have computers and printers and a TV for watching movies and an washing machine with cold water. No hotwater heater. About 8 single bulbed lamps and a capucino maker. I went to Grad School in NYC and lived in Europe so I can't do without my cappucinos or my computers as I am a writer. And, I enjoy the old washing machine. My house is thick adobe with insulated foundation, R 35 roof insulation and double glazed windows. I have a well with Grundfos pump and I am taking it solar. I need to get the house off the grid totally. I am looking at expensive solar panels from Sunpower, but I need batteries. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. I have been part of the adobe building movement, passive solar since 1969, but I am just now getting around to getting away from the grid totally. It is nice to see that New Mexico has come so far with "so little." The New Mexico Way. Not MBAs with straw houses and high mortgages. Let me hear from you. Will Gossett
It's not on the cheap, but if you plan on staying in the house for decades, it will pay for itself over time. There is new buzz about lithium ion backup storage, but it is not readily available and expensive as you would have to get a battery company to design the pack for your needs. Still expensive and not as efficient as lithium is the old school NiFe. The old nickel iron cells are heavy but could last a lifetime. Check out www.beutilityfree.com for NiFe prices. Be sitting down when you do!!!
I have just been involved with a solar contractor who installed an off grid system in the desert for a remote site that the power company wanted 1 million to get power to. It has 4KW peak BP solar panels and tamper switches on each panel ( anti theft purposes ). Two Xantrex XW6048 inverters and two battery charger, controllers. Two Unigy lead acid battery packs of 12KWh each and a back up generator and automatic transfer switch. Labor was higher because of the remote site location and travel times. It cost around 95,000 for the complete system. Even the solar contractor mentioned the lead acid battery packs would last only 5 years in the heat. If they were kept at 77 degrees F they would last for 20 years if kept at 50% of charge and higher. NiFe batteries are not as efficient as the AGM lead acid type, but the NiFe batteries can be rejuvinated by replacing the KOH (potash) used for electrolyth and can be disassembled and rebuilt. They are not as temperature sensitive as lead acid, but you have to keep them watered. With the NiFe option you would probably have to add panels to offset the battery inefficiencies, but would have a very robust system.
Will

Albuquerque, NM

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#3
Oct 30, 2009
 

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Maybe you should not dedicate your life to ruining the reputations of people who do nothing but steward the land. You are a farce an a coward. You WILL get what you deserve someday.

Since: Sep 08

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#4
Oct 30, 2009
 

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http://www.linux-host.org/energy/tearth.htm

Google Stubblefield battery.

You can make batteries out of lots of things. Not as efficient or long lasting as manufactured, but cheaper. An ungrounded piece of metal will pick up some induction and produce some electricity when run to ground. It is all about how much current you need and the right connections.

Unfortunately just about everything is manufactured to use 12 DC or 120 AC. Motors are the biggest problem. You can get around that, though. Put a rabbit in a treadmill that turns a shaft. Stick one wire to the cage frame, and another up his little bunny hole, and the other ends to your batteries or ungrounded antenna. When the bunny eventually dies you can skin it and butcher it, then attach ropes to each end of a leg. Put your battery wires on the muscle. You can use this to open and close doors, but will have to change rabbit parts fairly often. Keeping it moist with salt water will prolong product life.

Believe or not, paying the electric company is the cheapest in the long run with the appliances we use.
Solarman

La Quinta, CA

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#5
Oct 31, 2009
 
Dave Nelson wrote:
http://www.linux-host.org/ener gy/tearth.htm
Google Stubblefield battery.
You can make batteries out of lots of things. Not as efficient or long lasting as manufactured, but cheaper. An ungrounded piece of metal will pick up some induction and produce some electricity when run to ground. It is all about how much current you need and the right connections.
Unfortunately just about everything is manufactured to use 12 DC or 120 AC. Motors are the biggest problem. You can get around that, though. Put a rabbit in a treadmill that turns a shaft. Stick one wire to the cage frame, and another up his little bunny hole, and the other ends to your batteries or ungrounded antenna. When the bunny eventually dies you can skin it and butcher it, then attach ropes to each end of a leg. Put your battery wires on the muscle. You can use this to open and close doors, but will have to change rabbit parts fairly often. Keeping it moist with salt water will prolong product life.
Believe or not, paying the electric company is the cheapest in the long run with the appliances we use.
Believe it or not, that's not true. If you already have 'reliable' utility power at your home, a solar PV system that is grid tied will pay for itself any where from 10 to 20 years, it just depends on what energy prices do over the next several years. I'm not seeing a trend of them coming down, do you? With the incentives now in place,it is even more cost effective to install solar PV. Look at: www.dsireusa.org .

Since: Sep 08

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#6
Oct 31, 2009
 

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Solarman wrote:
<quoted text>Believe it or not, that's not true. If you already have 'reliable' utility power at your home, a solar PV system that is grid tied will pay for itself any where from 10 to 20 years, it just depends on what energy prices do over the next several years. I'm not seeing a trend of them coming down, do you? With the incentives now in place,it is even more cost effective to install solar PV. Look at: www.dsireusa.org .
A large part of your electric bill is taxes.

What does a full blown PV system capable of powering a normal house run?$30,000? Then you have to change batteries every so often. Then you need a warm place in the winter to store it. Then you have zoning restrictions. Then you have environmental concerns of so many batteries that have to be disposed of. Then you always have the possibility of equipment malfunctions that can result in fire or explosions, especially with lead acid batteries. Then, unless you are an electrical whiz, you will have to pay someone for maintenance and occasional repairs. Figure all of those costs per kilowatt hour.

That backfeeding to the utility and getting credit for it will come to a halt in the not distant future. It can affect the integrity of the system.

Off the grid can work out if you are out of a city and minimize your requirements, including an energy efficient building. It won't work in more densely populated areas.

It is nice to have all the power you need on demand when you demand it. You get that cheapest via those wires.
Solarman

La Quinta, CA

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#7
Oct 31, 2009
 
Dave Nelson wrote:
<quoted text>
A large part of your electric bill is taxes.
What does a full blown PV system capable of powering a normal house run?$30,000? Then you have to change batteries every so often. Then you need a warm place in the winter to store it. Then you have zoning restrictions. Then you have environmental concerns of so many batteries that have to be disposed of. Then you always have the possibility of equipment malfunctions that can result in fire or explosions, especially with lead acid batteries. Then, unless you are an electrical whiz, you will have to pay someone for maintenance and occasional repairs. Figure all of those costs per kilowatt hour.
That backfeeding to the utility and getting credit for it will come to a halt in the not distant future. It can affect the integrity of the system.
Off the grid can work out if you are out of a city and minimize your requirements, including an energy efficient building. It won't work in more densely populated areas.
It is nice to have all the power you need on demand when you demand it. You get that cheapest via those wires.
You didn't even bother to look at dsireusa did you? You don't have to be off grid, you can be grid tied and have no batteries to worry about. Just the panels on the roof or a racking system on the ground, the inverter(s)and appropriate electrical disconnects. The inverter technology is much better than you think. It often puts out cleaner AC than the power company. Many States including New Mexico have passed laws that require the power utility to pay the homeowner/generator for extra power passed into the grid, which also helps pay for any maintenance over the life of the system and pays down the up front money outlay for the system installation. In densely populated areas,is where grid tied solar PV does its best work. It is a peak power generation system, it is local so the line losses are much less and the power company doesn't have to install new power corridors to service homes due to development. Depending on which source you use for statistics, there are 129 million homes in the U.S. If you put just 2KW peak solar on each roof with 3 sun hours a day, you would produce 774 Giga watts of power each day. With a 6KW peak system on each roof, you'd have 2.3 Terra watts of power each day. Just a little clue, 3 sun hours a day is most likely on the low side as an average it would most likely be more.

Since: Sep 08

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#8
Oct 31, 2009
 

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@Solarman

Your power comes from the generating station as a very high voltage, produced in different ways in different areas. That high voltage can be stepped down to lower high voltages via transformers, and then is stepped down via localized transformers to 240 v which then goes into houses. You get your 240v from those two wires. There is a center tap on that transformer that is then connected to earth ground, your so called neutral. This gives you your 120v. That is what your back feeding is connected to. When you back feed you are producing a counter voltage in the secondary of that transformer. If it is 120v then it is not a balanced. The more back feeds and the stronger the effect, plus lots of risks of incorrect phasing. You can get transient voltages and harmonics chiefly in that local transformer which serves the houses around you, and can affect some devices in those houses adversely. This is also passed back to the high voltage lines. The use of earth grounds, which vary in different areas, and this back feeding can seriously affect the quality of the transmission from the generating station. Instead of power coming strictly from the generating station, with all the loads and conditioning accounted for, you would then have all of these outside sources of power input playing hell with those lines. You are talking AC voltage, induction, capacitance, resistance of a very random nature introduced into a conditioned circuit. You will need local filters to clean things up to use your digital devices because of the transient voltage and frequencies introduced by local injection of power back into the grid via both the hot leads and the grounded leads. It will take a redesign of the network and additional equipment to filter things properly. Who is going to pay for it? This is one reason that selling power back to the utility will be ended or severely restricted in the future as more of that is done and the problems show up. It is a basic electrical reality. There is enough problems keeping the voltage and frequencies stable just from earth and solar influence. You have heard of brownouts caused just because of air conditioners being switched on, imagine the problems when you have air conditioners and foreign voltages injected at random into the circuit.

Using the solar as a supplement to the power in your house won't present so much of a problem, as the system already takes spiking into account, but adding that juice back to the network will cause problems. The electric companies have every right to protect the integrity of their network and equipment. The cost of protecting it will be passed to those co-generating. Things will be a lot more expensive and complicated than you think if you figure on getting your money back by co-generating. But salesmen won't tell you that.

The national power grid is designed as a one way system with the power from all stations synched, with some allowance for transient voltages and frequency shifts. Changes in the frequency will result in power fluctuations.

Go ahead and get solar for your low power needs, such as lighting. It will save some money over a period of time. You can rewire your house and dedicate some outlets for that. This can be done even in populated areas. But you just won't generate enough power for your refrigerators, stoves, heaters, washers, dryers, and vacuum cleaners cheaper than what the power company charges you. If you want to lower that bill then get after your governments that use utilities as tax collectors.
Solarman

La Quinta, CA

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#9
Oct 31, 2009
 
Dude, how misinformed are you? I put solar PV on my roof in 2005, this year it was hot for a longer period of time than previous years. So I used up my energy credits and my electric bill for the year has been $37.00. Since 2005 I have had to pay zero for electric bills. All this step down, center tap, 240, 120 volt, what? Do you understand zero detect circuits? Do you understand frequency and phase shift circuits? Do you understand the concept of anti-islanding? The solar PV system works just fine, it powers the refrigerator, washer, dryer and vacuum cleaner just fine and still sends power back into the grid for an energy credit to use at night or on cloudy days. Big loads like air conditioning are the biggest users of power. Usually, during the warm summer months, so the power produced in the fall and winter months gives the homeowner/generator extra energy credits to use during the summer. Do you know what grid tie means? Do you understand net metering? Do you understand that the longer days of summer are rewarded by more power output from a solar PV system, which helps offset power demand in the summer months? What was your power bill last year?

Since: Sep 08

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#10
Nov 1, 2009
 

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Solarman wrote:
Dude, how misinformed are you? I put solar PV on my roof in 2005, this year it was hot for a longer period of time than previous years. So I used up my energy credits and my electric bill for the year has been $37.00. Since 2005 I have had to pay zero for electric bills. All this step down, center tap, 240, 120 volt, what? Do you understand zero detect circuits? Do you understand frequency and phase shift circuits? Do you understand the concept of anti-islanding? The solar PV system works just fine, it powers the refrigerator, washer, dryer and vacuum cleaner just fine and still sends power back into the grid for an energy credit to use at night or on cloudy days. Big loads like air conditioning are the biggest users of power. Usually, during the warm summer months, so the power produced in the fall and winter months gives the homeowner/generator extra energy credits to use during the summer. Do you know what grid tie means? Do you understand net metering? Do you understand that the longer days of summer are rewarded by more power output from a solar PV system, which helps offset power demand in the summer months? What was your power bill last year?
It appears you may have an economic stake in just plugging these things into the grid beyond just your own home.

Anti islanding.
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index...

Your frequency and phase shift circuits, and your zero point circuits are local to your unit. Such would have to be installed further back up the power distribution line to protect the network. The power you are back feeding has to get back through grounded center tapped transformers and be stepped back up to high voltage at the proper phasing. This will be felt all the way back to the generators and has to be regulated.

What I was pointing out was basic electrical circuitry, in which a myriad of things influence. The power grid will require additional equipment to protect against the widespread use of foreign generators being connected to the system. Who will pay for that equipment? The subscribers or those introducing the generators?

How much did you spend to install your system? How many years of $37 electric bills will it take to get your money back? This is assuming you paid full retail price. Power companies often have a minimum bill, usually around $10 a month. I must say that $37 a year is very cheap.

Like I said earlier, the problems won't show up until a certain level of those units are hooked up, then the piper will have to be paid. Also, do not forget the effect the decreased revenue will have on the electrical utilities. Less money to maintain the system, which means people and physical plant, which also means it will take longer to recover from outages.

Supplementing your power source with this additional equipment is good and will likely remain permanent, but counting on selling it back to the power company is not a good idea. There WILL be some very strict and probably expensive regulations in the back feeding.

BTW, I do not have ANY economic interests in any utilities, just an understanding of how electricity works beyond plugging something into the outlet. Do you derive any economic benefit from these units beyond your personal property?
Solarman

La Quinta, CA

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#11
Nov 1, 2009
 
Dave Nelson wrote:
<quoted text>
It appears you may have an economic stake in just plugging these things into the grid beyond just your own home.
Anti islanding.
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index...
Your frequency and phase shift circuits, and your zero point circuits are local to your unit. Such would have to be installed further back up the power distribution line to protect the network. The power you are back feeding has to get back through grounded center tapped transformers and be stepped back up to high voltage at the proper phasing. This will be felt all the way back to the generators and has to be regulated.
What I was pointing out was basic electrical circuitry, in which a myriad of things influence. The power grid will require additional equipment to protect against the widespread use of foreign generators being connected to the system. Who will pay for that equipment? The subscribers or those introducing the generators?
How much did you spend to install your system? How many years of $37 electric bills will it take to get your money back? This is assuming you paid full retail price. Power companies often have a minimum bill, usually around $10 a month. I must say that $37 a year is very cheap.
Like I said earlier, the problems won't show up until a certain level of those units are hooked up, then the piper will have to be paid. Also, do not forget the effect the decreased revenue will have on the electrical utilities. Less money to maintain the system, which means people and physical plant, which also means it will take longer to recover from outages.
Supplementing your power source with this additional equipment is good and will likely remain permanent, but counting on selling it back to the power company is not a good idea. There WILL be some very strict and probably expensive regulations in the back feeding.
BTW, I do not have ANY economic interests in any utilities, just an understanding of how electricity works beyond plugging something into the outlet. Do you derive any economic benefit from these units beyond your personal property?
Just because I'm solarman doesn't mean I'm in the business, the solar installation I have on my roof was put in by a certified electrician and his company has done many solar installations over the years. As for payoff, that's institutionalised stupid speak. What will a KWh of power cost next year? How about in 10 years? What will increasing demand for oil and natural gas from countries like Russia, India, China do to the cost of energy in the near future? What will cap and trade do to the price of electricity, since almost 51% of generated power in this country is derived from coal fired plants. Right now at current electricity prices from my utility it will be about 16 years for a payoff. When the new assembly bill is put into effect, any power over my homes yearly requirement will be paid at the wholesale generation rate. This would decrease payoff time to about 12 years. As for many distributed generation sources on the grid. This is how the grid now works, what is the difference if it is a 100MW plant or a 6KW plant? The inverters are designed to sync to the power grid and maintain the frequency and phase or they will fault and shutdown. Mine have not so the circuitry works quite well. If the power grid can stand litterally hundreds of thousands of motors coming online with surge currents on the order of 10 times the rated horsepower, a little solar PV system syncing with the grid is nothing.

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#12
Nov 1, 2009
 

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Solarman wrote:
<quoted text>Just because I'm solarman doesn't mean I'm in the business, the solar installation I have on my roof was put in by a certified electrician and his company has done many solar installations over the years. As for payoff, that's institutionalised stupid speak. What will a KWh of power cost next year? How about in 10 years? What will increasing demand for oil and natural gas from countries like Russia, India, China do to the cost of energy in the near future? What will cap and trade do to the price of electricity, since almost 51% of generated power in this country is derived from coal fired plants. Right now at current electricity prices from my utility it will be about 16 years for a payoff. When the new assembly bill is put into effect, any power over my homes yearly requirement will be paid at the wholesale generation rate. This would decrease payoff time to about 12 years. As for many distributed generation sources on the grid. This is how the grid now works, what is the difference if it is a 100MW plant or a 6KW plant? The inverters are designed to sync to the power grid and maintain the frequency and phase or they will fault and shutdown. Mine have not so the circuitry works quite well. If the power grid can stand litterally hundreds of thousands of motors coming online with surge currents on the order of 10 times the rated horsepower, a little solar PV system syncing with the grid is nothing.
Don't get me wrong, I am all for a little self sufficiency, but as you have shown, it is a long term payoff, and the equipment you purchase must be kept in good shape to last that long term. Nice to have power when ice storms shut things down for a while. But people need to see what they are getting into. Before making such an investment they have to take into consideration how long they will be living in that place and the viability and expense of dismounting, moving, and reinstalling the equipment in a new place. Also how much it would add to the sale of your house. It isn't for everyone, and you need to keep your public utilities financially healthy.

I read not long ago of a new photovoltaic cell that will be much more efficient being developed, which will always be the case. Money is tight nowadays. Sometimes it is better to spend $100 a month than $30,000 one time in anticipation of freedom.
Desert Bloom

Albuquerque, NM

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#13
Nov 1, 2009
 
dave.... jsut do what the county and citydo, dump illegal waste at the landfill or better yet they bury it ithe back fo the citys maint yards on florida and hide it under all that silt.
Dave Nelson wrote:
<quoted text>
A large part of your electric bill is taxes.
What does a full blown PV system capable of powering a normal house run?$30,000? Then you have to change batteries every so often. Then you need a warm place in the winter to store it. Then you have zoning restrictions. Then you have environmental concerns of so many batteries that have to be disposed of. Then you always have the possibility of equipment malfunctions that can result in fire or explosions, especially with lead acid batteries. Then, unless you are an electrical whiz, you will have to pay someone for maintenance and occasional repairs. Figure all of those costs per kilowatt hour.
That backfeeding to the utility and getting credit for it will come to a halt in the not distant future. It can affect the integrity of the system.
Off the grid can work out if you are out of a city and minimize your requirements, including an energy efficient building. It won't work in more densely populated areas.
It is nice to have all the power you need on demand when you demand it. You get that cheapest via those wires.
Desert Bloom

Albuquerque, NM

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#14
Nov 1, 2009
 
the fed gov had scientists look into technology for power. did you know the devolped for the past 10 years batteries that never need to be replaced or recharged. yet thye act like we are living in the stne age. god sad country we live in. gov controlled lies. thought we were suppose to be listening to gods will not mans
Willg wrote:
I have been getting $300 a month electric bills from Socorro Electric for years. I have fought with them and I end up paying. I heat with wood, cook on a wood cookstove. Heat water in the sun or on the woodstove. I have computers and printers and a TV for watching movies and an washing machine with cold water. No hotwater heater. About 8 single bulbed lamps and a capucino maker. I went to Grad School in NYC and lived in Europe so I can't do without my cappucinos or my computers as I am a writer. And, I enjoy the old washing machine. My house is thick adobe with insulated foundation, R 35 roof insulation and double glazed windows. I have a well with Grundfos pump and I am taking it solar. I need to get the house off the grid totally. I am looking at expensive solar panels from Sunpower, but I need batteries. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. I have been part of the adobe building movement, passive solar since 1969, but I am just now getting around to getting away from the grid totally. It is nice to see that New Mexico has come so far with "so little." The New Mexico Way. Not MBAs with straw houses and high mortgages. Let me hear from you. Will Gossett
Solarman

La Quinta, CA

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#15
Nov 1, 2009
 
Dave Nelson wrote:
<quoted text>
Don't get me wrong, I am all for a little self sufficiency, but as you have shown, it is a long term payoff, and the equipment you purchase must be kept in good shape to last that long term. Nice to have power when ice storms shut things down for a while. But people need to see what they are getting into. Before making such an investment they have to take into consideration how long they will be living in that place and the viability and expense of dismounting, moving, and reinstalling the equipment in a new place. Also how much it would add to the sale of your house. It isn't for everyone, and you need to keep your public utilities financially healthy.
I read not long ago of a new photovoltaic cell that will be much more efficient being developed, which will always be the case. Money is tight nowadays. Sometimes it is better to spend $100 a month than $30,000 one time in anticipation of freedom.
I understand your logic Dave. But you've fallen into a paradigm and cannot see a larger picture. If you put say 40K into your home in bathroom and kitchen upgrades or perhaps a nice in ground pool,spa. Do you dismantle them when you sell your house? No, you take what ever the market will bear and move on. What's the difference with solar PV or solar hot water? Right now if you look at what your money can do for you, in one post you mentioned 30K. So what will 30K in the bank do for you, make 1% to 2% interest. That won't pay for one month's electricity. As for keeping the electric utility healthy, don't worry about them, they'll do just fine. As for the homeowner consumer, not so well. Prices for electricity have averaged about 1% a year for the last 30 years. If it stays the same there will still be substantial increases in the future, with cap and trade, who knows? It seems right now that cap and trade will 'give' carbon credits to generation facilities for ten years this is supposed to facilitate an amnesty period for them to put in carbon reduction technology. What is likely to happen is a wait till the 10 year period is over then a feverish drive to get price increases from the PUC in order to install the carbon capture technology. As for money being tight, if you still want to stay on the grid, not have batteries for backup and want solar PV for energy production, try one of the new panel micro-inverter technologies. You could install just one panel and one micro-inverter and see how the technology suits you. If you like it add a panel and micro-inverter at a time until you reach your power production goal. www.enphaseenergy.com

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#16
Nov 1, 2009
 
Solarman wrote:
<quoted text>I understand your logic Dave. But you've fallen into a paradigm and cannot see a larger picture. If you put say 40K into your home in bathroom and kitchen upgrades or perhaps a nice in ground pool,spa. Do you dismantle them when you sell your house? No, you take what ever the market will bear and move on. What's the difference with solar PV or solar hot water? Right now if you look at what your money can do for you, in one post you mentioned 30K. So what will 30K in the bank do for you, make 1% to 2% interest. That won't pay for one month's electricity. As for keeping the electric utility healthy, don't worry about them, they'll do just fine. As for the homeowner consumer, not so well. Prices for electricity have averaged about 1% a year for the last 30 years. If it stays the same there will still be substantial increases in the future, with cap and trade, who knows? It seems right now that cap and trade will 'give' carbon credits to generation facilities for ten years this is supposed to facilitate an amnesty period for them to put in carbon reduction technology. What is likely to happen is a wait till the 10 year period is over then a feverish drive to get price increases from the PUC in order to install the carbon capture technology. As for money being tight, if you still want to stay on the grid, not have batteries for backup and want solar PV for energy production, try one of the new panel micro-inverter technologies. You could install just one panel and one micro-inverter and see how the technology suits you. If you like it add a panel and micro-inverter at a time until you reach your power production goal. www.enphaseenergy.com
30-40K is not chump change.:-)

This is something I have been waiting for to be distributed in the USA.

http://sunjoy.co.kr/eng/product/product05.htm...

A different type of heating panel. I like the low amperage. 220v, though. Should cut heating bills.
Brilliant

Espanola, NM

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#17
Jun 7, 2012
 
Kudos to you for wanting to try to get off the grid!!!

Plan to draw High volts & Low amps from the batteries to get your watts. That way, you can buy lots of the cheaper batteries with the lower amp storage capacity. You can ask around for "good used" batteries. Never draw the charge down below 50% and they will last a long time. They last even longer if you don't draw down past 20%.

You can make the panels yourself at 10% of the cost of those you buy. Learn from YouTube. Get a good charge controller.

I put my DIY panels on a 6-ton electric bus, converted to an RV. Now I drive about the town without gasoline using 120VDC (yeah you read that right) motors. I live off the grid. The oil worshipers are having a cow, and that's kinda fun to watch.

Avoid converting to A/C because you lose 25% of your power from the panels when you convert. So DC should power everything possible. Buy things that keep the amps low, so get hi-voltage DC appliances if the appliance requires a lot of volts.

facebook.com/SolarBuzz1 or Search YouTube for Solar Bus in New Mexico.

I hope the Solar Buzz can come to Route 66 for the next solar car race.
Bedrock Bob

United States

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#18
Jun 8, 2012
 
The secret is not to try and figure out ow solar can power your entire home with spas and swimming pools and all sorts of fashion. The trick is to live simply and be happy with that. A simple solar array or wind generator can power a small home easily if you get rid of the electric motors, heaters and all the ****.

A propane refigerator uses only a pilot light in the summer and there is a brand new solar clothes dryer on the market that consists of a piece of flexible wire connected between two trees. Heating is also 100% solar by using the trapped solar energy found inside the stringy bark juniper tree.

Kill your television, because this is the box of light that makes us believe we need all that energy sucking **** in our lives anyway.

Just 50 years ago we all lived in homes that were a small fraction of the size of the palaces we must have today. There was virtually no air conditioning and none of the other electrical appliances that save us so much hard labor like opening a can or shaving our faces.

Saving energy is not about figuring out how to make solar offset our wasteful lifestyles. It is about adjusting our lifestyles a little and doing without the spas, swimming pools, yard lighting, big screen televisions and such. It is about learnign to deal with the seasons and the environment and not feeling like we are going to die if the room temps vary five degrees one way or the other.

Both soalr and wind power are cheap, perform well, and are very viable sources of power for a home if we re-examine our paragdim of how we should be living as a society. I am not suggesting going back to the stone age, but we do need to humble ourselves just a little and see that it is not our lack of technology that makes alternatives difficult. It is our expectations of an opulent lifestyle that is beyond our means as a sustainable society.
Bedrock Bob

United States

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#19
Jun 8, 2012
 
The answer is to generate electricity locally using natural gas within communities and neighborhoods instead of at larger central generating stations. Individuals will produce their own low voltage for lighting and small appiances and grid power will be at higher voltages to run the things that the low voltage ayatem can't.

Power generation should be handled locally as a co-operative to skip the money sucking corporations. Generators are relatively cheap and easily upgraded or replaced. Natural gas is more than plentiful and cheap. Almost worthless unless it is to be delivered to a customer. And retrofitting just the residential lighting to locally produced low voltage LED's would take enough pressure off the grid to make our infrastructure problems almost dissappear.

All commercial use should be prioritized. Businesses with flashing green energy drink signs and fountains lit with pretty blue lights should be SHUT OFF in a demand crisis. Homes with 5000 s.f. of air conditioned space, a swiming pool, a sauna, and yard lighting that is home to two people should be limited to a certain number of electrons before the price goes WAY up! And all commercial HVAC equipment should be required to have proper maintenance and not use three times the energy it needs to do the job.

We have all the technology right now to fix our problems. Cutting waste and applying some logic to how we generate are all we really need to do to solve our problems.
Solarman

La Quinta, CA

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#20
Jun 9, 2012
 
Bedrock Bob wrote:
The answer is to generate electricity locally using natural gas within communities and neighborhoods instead of at larger central generating stations. Individuals will produce their own low voltage for lighting and small appiances and grid power will be at higher voltages to run the things that the low voltage ayatem can't.
Power generation should be handled locally as a co-operative to skip the money sucking corporations. Generators are relatively cheap and easily upgraded or replaced. Natural gas is more than plentiful and cheap. Almost worthless unless it is to be delivered to a customer. And retrofitting just the residential lighting to locally produced low voltage LED's would take enough pressure off the grid to make our infrastructure problems almost dissappear.
All commercial use should be prioritized. Businesses with flashing green energy drink signs and fountains lit with pretty blue lights should be SHUT OFF in a demand crisis. Homes with 5000 s.f. of air conditioned space, a swiming pool, a sauna, and yard lighting that is home to two people should be limited to a certain number of electrons before the price goes WAY up! And all commercial HVAC equipment should be required to have proper maintenance and not use three times the energy it needs to do the job.
We have all the technology right now to fix our problems. Cutting waste and applying some logic to how we generate are all we really need to do to solve our problems.
All good points Bob. Unfortunately most of your new construction doesn't include dual power wiring, both standard AC and DC wiring for things like refridgerators, lighting and even some pumps for water recirculation, perhaps on a solar hot water system. Right now it would be most cost effective having a non battery backed grid tied system with a net metering agreement with the electric utility. Adding DC wiring to an existing home, with copper at about $3.40 a pound, it would be just as well to add more solar panels to one's roof. Local power generation is a very good idea, the thing that is missing is grid storage. Utilities want to build more plants and install more power corridors, still there will be outages. Surges and sags in the grid can cause protection circuit trips that compound into regional power outages. No matter what type of generation is used, the grid needs some type of storage capacity to address surges and sags in the grid. Since the original posts in 2009, Solar PV panels have decreased by about 50%, so for less money one can put more solar PV on one's home.

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