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Old 12-11-2017, 07:42 PM
  #16  
unclewill
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You may be running that generator the whole month of Dec and half of Jan - why not switch over to the grid during that time instead?
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:37 PM
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oh I'm not going off grid - personally I think grid-tied solar is _DA BOMB_ - love it - PG&E will store infinite amounts of power for me and let me withdraw it anytime I want ;-)

but _IF_ I were/had to be off grid - that's my plan - and yeah I know the generator would run in the winter - but that is way less than year round ;-)
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:50 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by unclewill View Post
What Elon Musk is doing is amazing:
https://www.tesla.com/gigafactory
That said, I fully expect the Mission E to hand the Model S it's a$$!!
It's VW Group's electric game, that you "expect" things. Delivery is another matter. They can't win with the latest statements kicking around Reuters, about the 14KWh Panemera. If it's true they can't scrounge enough batteries to make 8,000X14 = 112Mwh of those, how do they expect to catch up to little Tesla's 2017 delivery of ~100,000X90 = 9,000Mwh? (rough estimates)
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-porsche-electric/battery-suppliers-struggle-to-keep-up-with-demand-for-porsches-panamera-idUSKBN1E923I

There was news last year, of VW looking for 20bn Euro of battery supply. Late in the year, evidently unable to get commitments from LG Chem, Panasonic or Samsung, they were looking for ingredients, like direct supplies of Cobalt. Those are spoken for, too, according to WSJ in September. The latest is they are picking a bone with labor practices in the Congo (cobalt), which low and behold brings them back to internal combustion. I'd say "you can't make this stuff up", but VW/Porsche/Audi are actually really good at it. Be prepared to wait.
Originally Posted by RealityGT View Post
Exactly why I created this post. I've purchased several large pockets of land in Northern Ontario and would like to plan out how I would go about accommodating my EV's once I swap DD's.
Initial plan is for Solar stands + batteries. But I know there are some very intelligent people on this forum and hoping to gleam some tips/tricks/plans,
I am sure this forum will start getting far busier as we get into Summer of 2018.
Land matters most. You're going to find yourself over-sizing the system to survive the winter, because "seasonally" storing watts in batteries is prohibitive.
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:01 AM
  #19  
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I know several folks in Southern CA who are charging their Tesla's off-the-grid, but not with Tesla's panel/powerall system.

In fact, some of these same folks are bitcoin mining off-the-grid as well, and are making quite a nice profit, even with recent price fluctuations in the bitcoin market.
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:15 PM
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True off grid opens up interesting real estate investment potential. Land that’s on the edges of urban areas and doesn’t have power, water or sewage is orders of magnitude cheaper than slightly closer land that’s been connected. The cost to grid connect it can be prohibitive depending on location, but the likelihood is that if you sit back and wait urban sprawl will eventually come to you and increase your property value. With the sharp reduction in solar prices it’s becoming much more practical to drop a (prefab?) house and some panels and enjoy a wonderful retreat while you’re waiting, while the rise of self driving cars and delivery drones might increase the rate at which urban areas expand.

The difficulty with this and solar in most areas of the US is as identified: seasonality. A true off-grid system will be optimized for the worst time of year, typically around the winter solstice, and will angle the solar panels sharply in order to maximize generation at that time. Every other time of year it will be dumping energy, producing more than is used, often by multiple times depending on location. To minimize dumping a second or third power source a combination of wind, micro hydro (if you have a streem) and a backup generator makes sense.

None of this is very “green” in my eyes. Large utility scale PV is now the cheapest type of electricity by a wide margin, pushing $.02 per kWh in the cheapest, sunniest regions, and is undoubtedly the way to go until the grid is saturated. Home scale PV, on the other hand, is far more expensive and hence wasteful of resources, and that’s before you get to solar shingles (worse than panels), batteries (still very costly) and dumping most of the energy you’ll make most of the year. Thus I would not consider it “green”, and if a grid connection is available I would use it. However both PV and especially battery technology is coming down in price quickly, and ten years from now that might change- if the cost of PV and storage gets cheap enough they get more attractive from an environmental point of view.
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Old 01-17-2018, 12:22 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Petevb View Post
None of this is very “green” in my eyes. Large utility scale PV is now the cheapest type of electricity by a wide margin, pushing $.02 per kWh in the cheapest, sunniest regions, and is undoubtedly the way to go until the grid is saturated. Home scale PV, on the other hand, is far more expensive and hence wasteful of resources, and that’s before you get to solar shingles (worse than panels), batteries (still very costly) and dumping most of the energy you’ll make most of the year.

Sounds like you're making more of an economics argument. Residential and utility-scale solar both tend to offset something less "green". It is also more often the case that utilities don't charge $.02/KWh (or even pay that for their utility-scale solar).

The OP is considering "off-grid", where he won't be paying transmission charges. US residential electricity prices are all over the map. I look regularly. Just saw Douglas County, WA, PUD, with final rates of $.03 cents/KWh (thank you, hydro). Then, there's MA's DPU cooking up demand charges for residential users last week. Our rates are about to break above $.20/KWh (we beat CA's average rate, per EIA). So, we aren't driving Panameras down the street, seeing gas stations separated by a dime. We'll be charging Mission E's, whose daily consumption can top a house, and whose KWh prices can run $.03-$.40 depending on where/when you plug-in and/or how much you've used. The final price is what OP should work from. At rates as high as the coasts ($.15-.20/KWh averages), you can start "dumping" watts and still find economies in over-building for winter.

Another consideration is vehicle-to-home. Tesla, and most others don't offer it beyond ~1KW (probably battery warranty issues). Honda offered it, with their fuel cell cars, but the one that might arrive is Workhorse's 60KWh truck. It should come with a 7KW outlet, that could be a daily delivery point for up to ~40KWh back into a home. The company has agreements with Duke Energy and Southern Cal Pub Pwr Auth (SCPPA), but has yet to produce a single truck. Solutions like this, plus maybe generators and making wiser HVAC decisions, will put grid-defection within reach for those with land.

Knowing how utility policy has gotten out of control, I'd be happy to subsidize my own defection, even if I though that was needed. I don't have enough land, yet. My local ISO market averaged $.031 in quoted day-ahead hourly costs, yet the utility charged ~$.10 before adding another ~$.08 for its wires. And getting away from all this, with a residential solar solution, would be green. What isn't green is considering tariffs on Chinese panels, or defining "fuel resiliency" with a bunch of hand-outs to coal.
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:41 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by petevb
None of this is very “green” in my eyes. Large utility scale PV is now the cheapest type of electricity by a wide margin, pushing $.02 per kWh in the cheapest, sunniest regions, and is undoubtedly the way to go until the grid is saturated. Home scale PV, on the other hand, is far more expensive and hence wasteful of resources, and that’s before you get to solar shingles (worse than panels), batteries (still very costly) and dumping most of the energy you’ll make most of the year.
Originally Posted by wogamax View Post
Sounds like you're making more of an economics argument.
It seems to me you're making the economic argument. I'm using the economics as a proxy for environmental impact.

If we simply look at the PV portion of this hypothetical off-grid project it will be ~4x+ over-sized to avoid falling short in the winter. That's 4x the embodied energy of a grid-connected PV project that doesn't dump. Transportation and installation man hours per watt will also be radically higher for a smaller off-grid system, interconnection, etc. In all you'll likely end up roughly 10x more resource intensive to deliver an equal amount of energy as utility scale grid connected PV in a similar solar resource. That's before you take batteries, etc into account.

Being "green" is largely about being efficient and minimizing resources used. You're kidding yourself if you believe the above is an efficient use of resources. There are many other ways to deploy the same money that would have a far greater impact. I'm not saying don't do it- depending on where you live you might make the economics pencil (I offered an alternative approach for that). I'm saying don't do it because you think you're saving the planet with your "green goodness". What was outlined was actually an inefficient way to produce energy vs many of the alternatives.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:30 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Petevb View Post
Being "green" is largely about being efficient and minimizing resources used.....That's 4x the embodied energy of a grid-connected PV project that doesn't dump.
Being green is less about efficiency, than the environment. Let's agree that's the end goal? You are going back to the perspective of a utility, not someone (like OP) who has to pay them. I'd love to pay wholesale prices for utility-scale energy, but can't. I also can't tell the utility how to generate the rest of their watts. That's a bigger reason utility-scale solar isn't green. Most investor owned utilities get up to RPS compliance (<30% renewable), and then go back to using a fuel they can charge for. If you're a corporate, that's what you do.

On economics, take my case. The inefficiency of over-sizing and dumping watts, would be out-run by the inefficiency of how the $.02/KWh you mentioned became $.18 on my bill. That's more inefficiency than the 4X you mention.
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Old 01-17-2018, 10:27 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by wogamax View Post
On economics, take my case. The inefficiency of over-sizing and dumping watts, would be out-run by the inefficiency of how the $.02/KWh you mentioned became $.18 on my bill. That's more inefficiency than the 4X you mention.
Let’s run your numbers correctly. $.02 is for the Middle East, etc. $.03 is more correct per kWh for utility scale PV in California, or less than $1 per watt. Rough numbers you’d pay $4 per watt for the same number of panels installed on your house- economies of scale, installation costs, permits, etc, call it $.12 per kWh when financing costs, etc are included. But that’s for the same number of panels and you need to oversize. Multiply that number by 4 to get enough juice to run through the worst month- now you’re at $.48 per kWh, and suddenly your $.18 doesn’t sound bad at all.

That $.18 you pay, however, is for power 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you want that from your own solar you need to add ~25%+ for batteries that are going to have a finite lifespan. Even that won’t cover you for your worst cloudy week, so add another 5% for a backup generator. Rough numbers you’re at $.65 per kWh, 3.5x what you’re paying for an equivalent product from the utility, and we’re still not paying for the land costs, O&M, etc that the utility includes. That would be apples to apples, and suddenly the $.18 you’re paying sounds decently efficient.

Originally Posted by wogamax View Post
Being green is less about efficiency, than the environment. Let's agree that's the end goal?
Sure, but they are directly connected. Making every one of those panels has a big environmental impact, for example: mining, smelting, processing, factories, etc. Using 4x as many is going to have a bigger environmental impact even before you install them inefficiently.

Think in terms of cradle to grave embodied energy and life cycle costs when you’re evaluating if something is “green”. And don’t kid yourself...

Last edited by Petevb; 01-18-2018 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:18 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Petevb View Post
Let’s run your numbers correctly. $.02 is for the Middle East, etc. $.03 is more correct per kWh for utility scale PV in California, or less than $1 per watt. Rough numbers you’d pay $4 per watt for the same number of panels installed on your house- economies of scale, installation costs, permits, etc, call it $.12 per kWh when financing costs, etc are included. But that’s for the same number of panels and you need to oversize. Multiply that number by 4 to get enough juice to run through the worst month- now you’re at $.48 per kWh, and suddenly your $.18 doesn’t sound bad at all.

That $.18 you pay, however, is for power 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you want that from your own solar you need to add ~25%+ for batteries that are going to have a finite lifespan. Even that won’t cover you for your worst cloudy week, so add another 5% for a backup generator. Rough numbers you’re at $.65 per kWh, 3.5x what you’re paying for an equivalent product from the utility, and we’re still not paying for the land costs, O&M, etc that the utility includes. That would be apples to apples, and suddenly the $.18 you’re paying sounds decently efficient.


See, we got you to $.18/KWh. Congrats, you're no longer a utility and are now looking at it from closer to the retail-OP's perspective (you could be more tame, though, than pointing to an "incorrect" $.01/KWh difference. Jeez) . Now, about that $4/watt. Inverters and panels can be bought for <$2. Installs aren't rocket science. If you want, we could go back and forth on finance costs. I'm going to guess Porsche people pay with cash. If they have the land, too, this stuff is not out of reach. I remember one study landing near $.23. You're $.48 (that is, in break-even analysis before you may as well just pay the utility). The important thing is how the variables work for someone in control of them.

Originally Posted by Petevb View Post
Sure, but they are directly connected. Making every one of those panels has a big environmental impact, for example: mining, smelting, processing, factories, etc. Using 4x as many is going to have a bigger environmental impact even before you install them inefficiently.
Think in terms of cradle to grave embodied energy and life cycle costs when you’re evaluating if something is “green”. And don’t kid yourself...

Transportation or electric generation, it's the use and not the manufacture that has the most impact. "4X" as many panels doesn't cause near the harm as whether, or not, you replaced what you started with. Hydro? I don't know what the mix is.
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Old 01-24-2018, 03:35 AM
  #26  
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You seem fairly intent on convincing yourself that going off-grid as described above is in fact green. Pay with cash, install yourself, don’t count land, etc- compare apples and oranges and I’m sure you can come up with whatever numbers you want to believe. Surely, however, you can see that if you did everything the same and then connected to the grid so that someone else was able to use the 75% of power you’d otherwise be dumping that would be more green?
Originally Posted by wogamax View Post
Transportation or electric generation, it's the use and not the manufacture that has the most impact. "4X" as many panels doesn't cause near the harm as whether, or not, you replaced what you started with.
But what do you think you’re displacing? The economics are now compelling enough that good solar regions like California are already nearing grid saturation for PV. In many ways we already cannot accept more solar power without incurring significant dumping and grid destabization.

Thus in areas with good solar resource (and as prices continue to fall soon even areas without) the answer to what you’re replacing is pretty clear: you’re building PV to replace other PV. That other PV may or may not have been even been built yet, but on the 25+ year life of a system the economics are such that it will be (soon) if there’s demand. So you’re comparing the “green-ness” of suppling one house (yours) with a PV system that’s going to take 4x the area and cost 8x as much as if it was supplied by the utility doing the same thing. And that’s where you’ll find, taking embodied energy into account, that building all those panels and wasting all that energy wasn’t such a hot idea.

I get that you’re not able to directly cause the utility to act to build that PV, but that doesn’t change the equation. It’s a bit like comparing a fuel efficient car to a bus. Run the numbers on passenger miles per gallon- the fact that you can’t buy a bus doesn’t change the fact that taking it is by far the “greenest” solution.
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Old 01-24-2018, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Petevb View Post
You seem fairly intent on convincing yourself that going off-grid as described above is in fact green. Pay with cash, install yourself, don’t count land, etc- compare apples and oranges and I’m sure you can come up with whatever numbers you want to believe. Surely, however, you can see that if you did everything the same and then connected to the grid so that someone else was able to use the 75% of power you’d otherwise be dumping that would be more green?.....pretty clear: you’re building PV to replace other PV.

Peter, There are an infinite number of scenarios we can mull over. I was trying to help the OP’s desires to consider “off-grid”, not “convince myself” of anything. There are plenty of people who do this a variety of ways, including those of us who work on our own Porsche’s and probably wouldn’t struggle with a rack-mount. Now, it feels I’m going back and forth with someone who has to win an argument.

To quote the OP: “… an area that would require off the grid technology.”

Your position evolved to he’s not being “green”. Mine is “that depends on what he’s replacing”. Neither matters, if we’re staying on-topic. So, sorry OP, but I can’t let go of this: “..you’re building PV to replace other PV”. To be fair, California is de-regulated and consumers may be able to choose PV. It’s usually just a couple cents extra, but, like all other large grids, they have a long way to go if one just picks up the phone.
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:43 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by wogamax View Post
Your position evolved to he’s not being “green”.
That's not where my position "evolved to", that's where it started. I'm not sure you ever understood that? The first line you quoted from me was "none of this is very “green” in my eyes".

Perhaps it will help if I restate: If you're planning an off-grid solution because you'd like a nice house in a nice area that wouldn't otherwise be practical then great, more power to you. However don't choose to go PV/ off grid based on the assumption that you're somehow saving the planet. The long term environmental impact and footprint of that off-grid system will almost certainly be multiples larger than if you'd chosen a grid connected alternative in a location where that is practical.

That is not to say that PV is in itself not very environmentally friendly: in moderate amounts in sunny locations it's easily the most environmentally friendly, lowest impact form of electricity currently available. That same technology deployed a different way will have a much larger environmental impact, however, and the off-grid proposals being discussed here do exactly that. None of which means you shouldn't build them, you should just be aware of that fact. A little hedonism is fine, just don't kid yourself that it's otherwise. I see many who fail to see the big picture making that mistake.
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