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Guido
08-29-2014, 07:40 PM
Daughter, has now received two electric power bills for her new to her, nice, large home just north of LA. Home came equipped with a professionally installed roof top solar cell system, tied into the grid. A/C use for these two months has probably been at least four or five days/week.

Power bill for this house would have been expected in the 250-300 dollar/month range. Her two bills have been less than 2 bucks each, just enough to cover mailings, office overhead, meter reading, etc.

Anyone else around here with pocketbook experience along this line???

--G

A.K. Boomer
08-29-2014, 08:13 PM
Forget about that nickle and dime stuff, Were waiting to hear from Darryl, something about milking the energies out of a lightening bolt, it's going to be big - really big...

loose nut
08-29-2014, 08:42 PM
How do you figure it was free, was the solar rig free. You have to divide the cost of the solar panels etc. over the expected 20 years life to a monthly payment. It is a long way from free.

darryl
08-29-2014, 08:52 PM
It's so big- you'd be shocked!

TGTool
08-29-2014, 08:54 PM
Wife: How do you like this new dress I bought?

Husband: Nice. What did it cost?

Wife: Nothing. It was free.

Husband: What do you mean it was free?

Wife: Well, it was marked down to half price so I bought it with the money I saved.

justanengineer
08-29-2014, 11:58 PM
My brother's farm and the parents' house are both fed by a municipally owned hydro plant. $0.025/kWh IIRC. Other than one propane stove, both houses are entirely electric. When I still lived there my brother got uppity with me once bc I like a HOT house in winter, the bill was ~$100 for the house to be 75F+, normally its quite a bit lower. We didnt have central a/c and were often out for days at a time, so summers the bill was usually $10-20).

My house now is gas/electric but ultra-efficient with new appliances, windows, and seals throughout, simply bc I bought a cheap dump and it needed EVERYTHING. $100 buys me 72-75F in winter, 65-68F in summer with the gas and electric bills flip-flopping price wise.

garagemark
08-30-2014, 08:50 AM
Does adding "green" enhancements to a house [in that area] do anything for the re-sale value? If it does not, then her new-to-her house may actually be realizing some significant savings. But she paid an extra 20K on the home price for the solar system then yeah, it probably won't pay back for a very long time, if ever.

michigan doug
08-30-2014, 09:37 AM
The "if ever" payback comment may have been true up until about 4 years ago. The cost of good solar panels is now down to about a dollar a watt, with a reasonable expectation that they will last 30-50 years. Grid tie eliminates the batteries and their frequent (5-10 year) replacement.

Good grid tie inverters have come down in price, or stayed the same price and grown in capacity and reliability.

California, Germany (and Denmark, and several countries) now derive a significant amount of their peak electrical usage from solar pv. And it's not like germany has above average solar conditions.

Most of the stuff I read from informed parties without an economic axe to grind put a new pv installation on par with a new coal power plant in terms of cost per kwh over the life cycle of the installation.

http://theweek.com/speedreads/index/263510/speedreads-germany-gets-50-percent-of-its-electricity-from-solar-for-the-first-time


China has more or less abandoned coal as the way of making electricity to drive their growing economy. The leadership and the scientists finally got on the same page and smelled the pollution and the associated indirect costs. China's pv production and installation is growing exponentially.


http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/08/china-leads-global-solar-growth-new-pv-capacity-232-percent/


doug

A.K. Boomer
08-30-2014, 10:00 AM
Geeze - good info in the second link but the "50 shades of green" ruined it for me,,, to hard to decipher the graph and know who's who, that's what you get for hiring a hillbilly graph person I guess... (duh)

J Tiers
08-30-2014, 10:30 AM
.......... You have to divide the cost of the solar panels etc. over the expected 20 years life ....................

1) The life of solar panels is much longer.... some are now WARRANTEED for 25+ years, and last considerably longer. I have some panels that are around 30+ years old and still working fine... and they are old tech, obviously.

2) as for the other bit, about a "long way from free", NO you do NOT have to divide by the life to get a monthly payment..... but you can. of course....

What you need is the installation cost, adding another amount which represents the time value of the money you paid (taken over your payoff time), and then you start subtracting avoided costs, i.e. the expected bill less what was actually paid....

At an expected (but avoided) bill of $200 to $300 per month, as stated by the OP, it wouldn't take too long to pay it off and go to the positive side....something between maybe 6 and 10 years. That depends on the installed cost, with the longer time based on 25 grand or so installed cost.

I'm figuring winter similar to summer, using A/C as a heat pump. If not, the numbers change, of course, and the payoff time is longer.

The time from 10 years to the panel and equipment end-of-life is all basically free electricity, less a set-aside for maintenance and replacement. Since the panels should last 20 more years, about half the avoided cost is "profit".

Rustybolt
08-30-2014, 10:31 AM
China has more or less abandoned coal as the way of making electricity to drive their growing economy.

What are they replacing it with?

Toolguy
08-30-2014, 11:02 AM
From what I've seen, Hydro and Nuclear.

justanengineer
08-30-2014, 11:32 AM
I still want a windmill, not for personal use but for the annual revenue. Utility bills become rather irrelevent when you can get $8-10k annually per turbine.

michigan doug
08-30-2014, 12:04 PM
39 gigawatts of pv were installed last year, worldwide. China had the biggest chunk of that.

Of the total, we think China installed 12 gigawatts. Yes, 12,000 Megawatts. Not a trivial amount. And lots of hydro and lots of nuclear, and lots of coal (mostly to replace the dirtiest old coal plants.)

A.K. Boomer
08-30-2014, 12:54 PM
I think it's great in whatever way you can do it, nobody has mentioned the independence from the electric companies and that's huge just to be able to say screw you, to be able to invest in something you actually own in the end, and then replace some of it along the way after it's already paid for itself or whatever and then next time around really profit from having it,,,

it is getting more reasonable,,, I can't go it yet cause im surrounded by the cities tree's and they won't even trim them anymore as they lost the funding,,,

what I do have is two of the six panels I saved after a lightening strike, the two panels are payment for the other 4 I fixed, I have them rigged direct drive and one cools my entire garage even on the hottest of days, many wonder how's that possible with a panel that's only rated 170 watts, but if you live in a dry climate you get to run a swamper - and you would not believe the amount of air 170 watts can move...

the other panel will greatly help heat my home this winter, once again one might ask how's that possible with just 170 watts, well it ain't unless you have a front porch that gets up to 105 degree's on a 35 degree day outside :)

just ran an insulated duct in the attic with two coolers I found on the side of the road while riding my bike, one cooler has a small motorhome furnace fan in it, the other has a 6" dryer vent inside for anti-back draft at night when the system shuts down and is done milking all the heat off the front porch,,, in my case it's not how much power im really making but more so what im doing with the power,,, its really going to help cut down on the amount of wood I burn...

Both systems are for opposite reasons but take advantage of one thing, they both are wanted/needed when the sun is at maximum value,,, right when I need to cool the garage the most and also right when I need to start transferring all the heat from the porch to the house, no batteries, no inverters to run...

the garage panel is 36 volt and I had a motor that was close to it's rating,

the other panel was the same but I converted it to 12 volt to run the motor home furnace fan,,,

the 36 volt panels that I have are nothing more than three 12 volt panels ran in series,,, there are diodes installed so when one section gets shaded it does not bog down the entire panel --- it also keeps the other good sections from ganging up on the low out-put area and burning it out when the panel is under load,

I severed the links and ran them all in parallel --- also installed new diodes as the same problem can occur with burn out but this time more so when the panel is not being loaded,,,
and as far as the panel not producing as much when partially shaded it does not go through the same "weakest link" that the in series goes through - panel will still take a hit amperage wise but not fall completely on it's face if 1/3rd is shaded... in fact it won't effect volts much at all until the amperage demand is over what the two good sides are producing...

I did take some pics of the mods including how to save the standard 36 volts from a lightening strike, but do not have the time to post them right now...

Joe_B
08-30-2014, 02:44 PM
I installed a 4 KW system about 7 years ago and it has almost paid for itself (about a year to go). Then I will truly be getting free electricity. In the summer I am completely off grid, in the winter, not so much. I also use the extra energy after my batteries are charged to heat water. I say screw the utilities, they come by once in a while and ask if my power is off and I say"yes it is, as far as you know" :-)

JoeLee
08-30-2014, 08:05 PM
How do you figure it was free, was the solar rig free. You have to divide the cost of the solar panels etc. over the expected 20 years life to a monthly payment. It is a long way from free. I have to agree......... it's not really free. You have to take into account maintenance and repairs / failures etc. 20 years is a long time for anything to go with out some kind of repair or up keep. If you are lucky enough to make it to that approx. time period where everything is paid for and there have been no unforeseen problems than you can say it's "finally" free,........... and remember the sun don't shine every day!!!

JL...............

JL................

A.K. Boomer
08-30-2014, 08:28 PM
yeah but big differences in the "type of free"

one is that it's never free, kinda like renting and you end up with less than nothing when your done, the other is at least some kind of independence and when your done in X amount of years you actually still own something that can keep producing and be totally free the rest of all that time...

big difference in both wallet and mindset...


I get about 245 days of sunshine where im at --- way better than waiting for one colossal bolt of lightening to hit...

Mike Nash
08-30-2014, 08:53 PM
A 20-25 year warranty is about worth the paper you can print it on. The 110W 12/24V panels I bought 1999-2000 work fine unless I want to connect them for 48V wanting 3 parallel strings of 2 panels. One of the 6 is shorted internally so the only viable connection for it is 12V. OK, 4 series at 12V and another pair as 24V to get my 48V works, but the shading loss is huge that way when the neighbors trees got to be tall enough.

Brand is Solec. Solec who you ask? Yeah, precisely. They were gone before I discovered the problem.

And the whole battery thing is a pain and very expensive. But grid tie in Alabama is nearly as pointless if only because it is so NOT blue sky most of the time. Cloudy, but drought this summer. All of the wife's pretty plants are pretty dead now.

It was really cool to have lights and stuff when the storms blew in though. Of course there's no real sunshine then either so the batteries had to be hefty.

JoeFin
08-30-2014, 10:26 PM
Where I'm at the estimate for a 3Kw Grid Tie system is 100 - 110 Kw per month of production.

Not looking for "Free" so much as I would like the ability to control "Future Rising Cost" as I head towards retirement

J Tiers
08-30-2014, 11:14 PM
A 20-25 year warranty is about worth the paper you can print it on. The 110W 12/24V panels I bought 1999-2000 work fine unless I want to connect them for 48V wanting 3 parallel strings of 2 panels. One of the 6 is shorted internally so the only viable connection for it is 12V. OK, 4 series at 12V and another pair as 24V to get my 48V works, but the shading loss is huge that way when the neighbors trees got to be tall enough.

Brand is Solec. Solec who you ask? Yeah, precisely. They were gone before I discovered the problem.

And the whole battery thing is a pain and very expensive. But grid tie in Alabama is nearly as pointless if only because it is so NOT blue sky most of the time. Cloudy, but drought this summer. All of the wife's pretty plants are pretty dead now.

...............

If you buy from the "traveling panel guy", yeah, the warranty is no good as soon as his taillights disappear around the bend. But the legitimate companies in the biz, Kyocera, etc, will be around if and when there is a warranty issue.

The point is less claiming on the warranty, which is unlikely, and unlikely to be worth it, depending, and a lot more about the idea that the panels from legitimate companies are good enough that they will credibly OFFER a 25 year warranty. It pretty much gives the lie to the "solar deniers" who claim batteries last 2 years, and panels 8 years.....

As for the poster suggesting a wind turbine.... I know a LOT more folks doing well with panels than folks doing any good with turbines. My suggestion, having seen several clients and prospective clients in the alternative energy biz go broke, is to bag the idea of a wind turbine.

Wind turbines are good if in a good location, and if in the 1MW or above class. Small wind turbines are not useful, they cost far too much relative to their net output.

You have to realize a few facts.....

1) Wind turbines ONLY work at near maximum wind speeds. At a wind speed of 1/2 the rating point, the turbine is limited to 1/8 of rated power, and may not make that, depending on the blade design. This is simply physics, based on the energy available in the wind.

2) the rating point is usually at or around a 30 mph wind, which is a pretty stiff breeze. The number of places that have a reliable 30 mph wind is small.

3) While the wind can blow at night, when solar panels produce nothing, in many places it does not often blow enough at night to be worth anything, and unfortunately often also does not blow in the daytime . Solar panels produce so long as there is light.....

4) Much of the total annual wind power available at a location occurs in a few high wind "events", and the typical simple home-sized wind turbine is incapable of accepting the energy in those "wind events", because it cannot adequately adjust the blades, and may have to shut down entirely

5) as a mechanical system, it has all sorts of wear-out problems, and mechanical limits, beyond which it fails. A solar array cannot really get "too much sun", but a wind turbine can easily get "too much wind". It is reasonably easy to construct a solar array to withstand winds that will tear apart cheap consumer wind turbines.

A.K. Boomer
08-30-2014, 11:40 PM
A solar array cannot really get "too much sun",

That's an interesting point, and as far as I know id have to agree, they can get "more" but not too much, at least in most situations

anotherwords, they can get allot more than just full rating, in places with lots of snow reflection and or up against white buildings and such,,, it just doesn't seem to hurt them or push them over the edge... in general they seem to be built to handle it just fine...

as far as the wind generators, just depends - there are some that are bombproof and some that will self destruct in short order...

Old Hat
08-31-2014, 01:10 AM
Wife: How do you like this new dress I bought?
Husband: Nice. What did it cost?
Wife: Nothing. It was free.
Husband: What do you mean it was free?
Wife: Well, it was marked down to half price so I bought it with the money I saved.

Best Post in the Bunch!:D

justanengineer
08-31-2014, 02:53 AM
As for the poster suggesting a wind turbine.... I know a LOT more folks doing well with panels than folks doing any good with turbines. My suggestion, having seen several clients and prospective clients in the alternative energy biz go broke, is to bag the idea of a wind turbine.
.

Just to clarify, I wasnt talking about operating a small home wind turbine, I was talking about leasing land to a windpark. Unlike when the homeowner owns the infrastructure and has to pay the upfront costs as well as maintenance, when a windpark owns it they pay for everything. One of my mother's cousins has a half dozen of them on their farm and receives ~$60k/year, not bad for retired farmers who have to do absolutely nothing for the check. Granted, its highly location dependent, but so are the home pv setups. Luckily Ive got quite a few relatives and good friends in the wind industry, so if I get a decent chunk of land I might actually stand a chance.

Personally, the part that gets me about any of the homeowner owned systems is how the utilities and grubberment have started sticking it to homeowners in recent years bc of the popularity of these systems. What we saw in the NE has been that youre pretty much stuck with having battery setups which the gov has determined legally opens the door to the epa/dec to require handling, transport, and storage training/inspections/"revenue generation"/etc. Comparably, the battery-less systems have been rendered almost obsolete already with simple pricing and bs infrastructure scam requirements, the utility "pays" you ~$0.01/kWh for electricity you produce while charging you ~$0.125 for electricity consumed. In some areas your equipment also has to comply with some funny standards like wiring it so all power generated goes to them and all power consumed comes entirely from them, so an expensive setup is doing very little to actually lower your bill, and its not possible to eliminate it or have a negative balance as in years past.

J Tiers
08-31-2014, 09:47 AM
...........................
Personally, the part that gets me about any of the homeowner owned systems is how the utilities and grubberment have started sticking it to homeowners in recent years bc of the popularity of these systems. What we saw in the NE has been that youre pretty much stuck with having battery setups which the gov has determined legally opens the door to the epa/dec to require handling, transport, and storage training/inspections/"revenue generation"/etc. Comparably, the battery-less systems have been rendered almost obsolete already with simple pricing and bs infrastructure scam requirements, the utility "pays" you ~$0.01/kWh for electricity you produce while charging you ~$0.125 for electricity consumed. In some areas your equipment also has to comply with some funny standards like wiring it so all power generated goes to them and all power consumed comes entirely from them, so an expensive setup is doing very little to actually lower your bill, and its not possible to eliminate it or have a negative balance as in years past.

Say WHAT?

You must have been listening to Rush Limbaugh again..... or the other "solar deniers".

First, what you are "paid" for generated electricity is almost irrelevant.... because there is nothing in the net metering setup that separates your generated power from incoming power. You might have a point if there were a meter on the array, and a meter on your input, and you were separately paid for the generation.

You have to realize that "net metering" uses ONE meter, NOT TWO.... There is ONE 'service point", and you are charged for the electric power coming to you through the meter on that service point.

When you have an array, and it is generating, any electricity you use will come FIRST from your local array, and only the excess requirement beyond what the array provides is charged for. Therefore, your first and most important savings from the array is in the utility electricity that you DO NOT USE....

Being paid for the excess beyond what you use right then is good, but secondary for most folks with A/C etc, who tend to use the most electricity when the sun is out. if you don't like what is done in your state as far as crediting, then get the legislature to change the rules.

In any case, the calculation on net electricity is currently done on some "billing cycle", or other longer term (such as one year) period. In states with "rollover", which is nearly all, if you generate more than you use NET in July, for instance, the excess may be "paid for" at the rate established.... wholesale, or retail. That "payment" is "banked" to offset usage at some other time, maybe December, when the solar input is likely to be low. It is best if the rollover is in kWh, but it may be in $$.

It happens that the highest electric usage is in the daytime, and co-incidentally, that's when you get power from the array... So you are most likely to benefit directly from using electricity from your own source.

Where you are, you are in a "net metering" state (Indiana), and your state uses "retail rate" net metering. Therefore you are credited at the retail rate, not the wholesale rate.

A few states use the "avoided cost" method, which is wholesale rate, which sounds bad until you realize that many of them have high limits on array power, so you can still do OK, but with a higher investment. it depends entirely on your array size vs your electricity usage. We here have the 'avoided cost" system, but I know of many folks who have systems, and are doing well with them. Remember, your savings are primarily from the electricity you generate locally and do not pay the utility for.

Some areas also charge time-of-day rates. Again, the highest rate is normally in the day, and that is when you are generating your own power.... and NOT using the utility power.

I don't think any states allow a net output in excess of your total usage (which would require the utility to actually pay you as a "net generator" of electricity), but nearly all states allow rollover from month to month, up to a year, in one form or another.

To get the credits, and to allow hookup to the grid, the system DOES need to be put in by "qualified" people, which is really saying no more than wiring is done by an electrician, using properly rated materials and equipment, etc. I would think most folks would WANT that, Who wants "Bubba" wiring up the system with under-rated wire, cut-rate electronics with no UL recognition, some frame made of "bird-poop-welded" sheet metal, etc, etc?

chucketn
08-31-2014, 09:53 AM
Wife: How do you like this new dress I bought?

Husband: Nice. What did it cost?

Wife: Nothing. It was free.

Husband: What do you mean it was free?

Wife: Well, it was marked down to half price so I bought it with the money I saved.

I use that argument all the time with SWMBO... Doesn't work!

Chuck

A.K. Boomer
08-31-2014, 10:01 AM
Well said JT, these systems are not in any way shape or form designed for "payback" and in fact if your getting any substantial amount of moneys back you've designed a very piss-poor system and over shot your mark by a long shot, what this means is that you bought way too many panels and they are NOT going to pay for themselves,,,

again the emphasis is to design your system with all the calculations to come up with the near exact amount of panels one needs to break even,,, that is the perfectly designed system....

underkill it and you still have to pay the power company, overkill it and you paid more for your system were as you could have gotten by cheaper...

Mike Nash
08-31-2014, 11:24 AM
If you buy from the "traveling panel guy", yeah, the warranty is no good as soon as his taillights disappear around the bend. But the legitimate companies in the biz, Kyocera, etc, will be around if and when there is a warranty issue.

It was no such case. These were available nationwide at the time, were well made, still work, but one has a glitch. Solec was a subsidiary of Sanyo. The company supposedly stopped production to upgrade the production line or tecnology or some such, but then dropped from sight. This was sometime after 2000 with the small economic crash that hit around then. The point is that you never know when a company/corporation will disappear. Pontiac? Plymouth? Grant's? Zayre's, Home Quarters, etc, etc. Never mind the lifetime warranties that suddenly are simply invalidated.

Very strange! I just found this page http://www.global-merchants.com/home/solec.htm with the Solec S-110D panels I have along with one S-55. I didn't buy from them, but paid way to close to those prices by today's standards.

Solec is still mentioned on Sanyo's website, but not in a manufacturing position, So who knows? Red headed step child? While I discovered the problem several years after I bought them, the 10 Year part of the warranty is gone now although the 25 year performance part still stands - unsupported.

I am sure I could do surgery and correct the problem, but never wanted to break the sealant to do so. The problem is most likely behind the terminal box.

BTW - is "the traveling panel guy" from your own personal experience? I've never heard of him.:rolleyes:

J Tiers
08-31-2014, 11:41 AM
Main point was that if long warranties are offered, the product is expected to last that long...

The "traveling panel guy" was a reference to the similar type folks who show up and do tool sales selling stuff that looks almost as good as HF, but who disappear right afterwards.... Maybe they don't come around you, they hit smaller towns, usually.

Lots of chinese made stuff has a "name" on it, but when you go to look for a company behind the name, with an address, offices, etc, there isn't one..... nobody to go back to for service or warranty.

Major producers are generally reliable, especially if bought through a legitimate dealer network... just like any other product. if you buy on the secondary market, there normally isn't a warranty, the items may actually be seconds, or returns, etc, regardless of brand name marked on the item, what you are told, what promises are made, etc, etc. The company may or may not honor warranty on such items....

BTW, Pontiac may be gone, but the corporate owner of that brand is still around... I don't know of issues with existing warranties when a brand name is dropped by a legitimate company. There are laws about that.

If the company goes broke, etc, that's different.

A.K. Boomer
08-31-2014, 12:01 PM
I wonder something - im looking at power being power, and if it does not produce any bad side effects like immense drag or weight then when is it worth doing on something that's moving,,, soooooooooo (and you guys are going to think im hanging out with Darryl now -- but that's ok cuz he's a nice guy)

I wonder how much solar energy can be reaped from the roof surface area of an 18 wheeler trailer?

I bet it's enough to warrant a unique type of hybrid... what's not to luv? no extra air drag, nothing to speak of in weight, and do your re-calcs on the panel efficiencies because there going to be running ultra cool and therefore will be much more efficient...

would be a fraction of what the truck needs at full tilt cruise speed, but again - energy is energy and if it takes a little bite out of the fuel bill each time it could be worth it, No other systems - just a direct drive override electric motor that puts out as much as it can with no conversions, suns out it gets used, sun goes away and the truck is back to box stock with no real penalties, imagine 30+ years of running a truck that's a little more efficient - just sayin... lot of surface area just going to waste up there,

If there getting affordable enough to compete or out-due the electric companies then they must be in great favor when talking diesel - just try competing with the power companies running your very own diesel gen-set and you will quickly find that out...

Tony Ennis
08-31-2014, 12:24 PM
The people who are installing solar panels on their property now are pioneers. They are taking it on the chin while the industry is improving the product. I am sure there are installations which will never recoup their installation price. I am sure there are some that are performing beyond expectation.

And yes, Virginia, for solar power to be practical and widely accepted, it has to financially benefit the home owner. In short, nothing matters other than cost/benefit. There are a few individuals who will consider the soft value of 'saving the world' or 'sticking it to the man' to make any loss worth it. There are some individuals - people like us - who could fabricate their own custom system from parts. But most people just want to get through their day and have a little money left over.

What's great is that (in the general case) solar power seems almost viable now. That means that in maybe 20 years it will be wholly viable. And after that, in select areas, it will be odd to have a house built without solar capabilities. As the technology improves, those areas will increase in size. I also expect that there are places where solar will never be financially viable.

JCHannum
08-31-2014, 12:50 PM
My brother & sister inlaw live in New Jersey. About two years ago a concern went through their development and offered solar panel installation with a low buy-in, I believe on the order of $3000. As I recall, they had to sign a release that allowed the installer to claim the government subsidies.

The installation includes two large inverters and appears to handle all of their needs. BIL brags of single digit electric bills and is pleased. But the installer is not doing this out of the kindness of his heart, and, I am sure, is making more than the BIL in the long run.

During a recent winter storm, the utility had some serious damage to its power lines, and with no sun, BIL was without power for several days. This is the problem with these installations, there is no backup, and as long as the sun shines all is good. However, the local utility must keep and maintain a sufficiently large power station to supply the needs when the sun doesn't shine. At some point, the cost of maintaining these facilities will neccesitate a major change in rates or billing methods to keep them on line and available.

This is the same as the loss of revenue from gasoline taxes due to hybrid/electric autos. The cost to maintain the infrastructure remains the same and means will be developed to extract these costs.

Rosco-P
08-31-2014, 01:40 PM
I have seen grid-tie systems with two meters, one for the home the other measuring system output. One company Sun-Run, now bought out I believe, was offering an essentially free system if your roof was large enough, correctly oriented and not shaded by any trees. Essentially a 20 year lease of your roof where they would install, maintain and repair for free or so they said. After 20 years, the out dated equipment was yours. But with any grid-tie system, the grid goes down, your system is instructed via cell signal to disconnect, so no lights during an outage.

aboard_epsilon
08-31-2014, 03:24 PM
Anyone seen this, well worth watching;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9zdz780l-U

all the best.markj

PStechPaul
08-31-2014, 05:09 PM
That was quite interesting. I didn't know they had the power conversion technology for DC power transmission in 1965, but it probably used thyratrons rather than SCRs and IGBTs as are used today:
http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2010/ph240/hamerly1/docs/energyweek00.pdf

That source says the first commercial DC transmission line was constructed in Sweden in 1954.

The video was also interesting for showing the relative lack of safety equipment that was used in 1965. Hard hats, safety goggles, and fall protection seemed to be absent or optional.

I have a particular interest in this segment of the industry because many of my customers are rural cooperatives and power companies and I have been in many generating stations and substations, fueled by hydroelectric, coal, and nuclear. It is amazing to see just how much infrastructure is needed for something we often take for granted, and how much hard and dangerous manual labor is required. Perhaps we are now experiencing a decline in the reliability of utilities because few US citizens are willing and/or able to do such work, and it may be largely subcontracted to foreign labor (as was also the case in the early 1800s with railroads built largely by Chinese and other imported workers).

danlb
08-31-2014, 05:16 PM
The value of a residential solar installation is directly tied to the cost of grid supplied electricity / gas. That price differs greatly from one state to another, and even from one city to another.

In central California, prices are set in such a way that they punish people who use a lot of energy. The top rate is currently about $.35 per KWH. We end up with a $500 a month bill. If I put in solar that (amortized over the life of the system) costs $300 a month, then I'm getting $500 worth of energy for only $300. If I put in a small array that costs me $100 a month, but that knocks off the top 1/3 of my electric use, I still save $200 a month compared to what I was paying before.

The numbers change when you are in an area where you get energy cheap, or if you use very little power in the first place. Even so, it can be a good investment if you expect energy costs to rise in the future.

Dan

J Tiers
08-31-2014, 06:53 PM
But with any grid-tie system, the grid goes down, your system is instructed via cell signal to disconnect, so no lights during an outage.

Almost....

The inverter detects loss of grid, and shuts down with no external signal..... And it waits for the grid to be stable for 5 min (or per the local powerco rules) before it will reconnect to the grid and begin producing.

These are part of the UL 1741 recognition of the inverter, and correspond to IEEE 1547 rules.

danlb
08-31-2014, 07:33 PM
I keep hearing that the inverter shuts down when the grid fails due to IEEE rules, but I don't see anything that says the inverter has to shut down. All the anti-islanding clauses I find say only that it needs to disconnect from the grid for the duration of the power failure.

Dan

(islanding is when an area suffers a blown transformer and loses power, but local solar or backup generators feed the grid in place of the utility power).

Rosco-P
08-31-2014, 10:20 PM
I keep hearing that the inverter shuts down when the grid fails due to IEEE rules, but I don't see anything that says the inverter has to shut down. All the anti-islanding clauses I find say only that it needs to disconnect from the grid for the duration of the power failure.

Dan

(islanding is when an area suffers a blown transformer and loses power, but local solar or backup generators feed the grid in place of the utility power).

I fail to see it would matter, it is not like the output of the panels supply your home first and the excess leaves via the second meter. There is no provision to disconnect your service and supply the power to you alone. They are designed to be installed as cheaply as possible, it is not like an off-grid system.

J Tiers
08-31-2014, 10:27 PM
I keep hearing that the inverter shuts down when the grid fails due to IEEE rules, but I don't see anything that says the inverter has to shut down. All the anti-islanding clauses I find say only that it needs to disconnect from the grid for the duration of the power failure.

Dan

(islanding is when an area suffers a blown transformer and loses power, but local solar or backup generators feed the grid in place of the utility power).

The rules per IEEE1547 and referenced by UL1741 require that the inverter detect two basic types of fault condition....

1) a variance of GRID frequency outside a certain limit, both plus and minus.

2) A change of GRID voltage outside of certain limits, again, limits are both plus and minus.

Under each fault condition, the inverter is required to "cease to energize" the point of common connection, which is the connection to the grid. This "ceasing to energize" must happen within a few cycles of the nominal grid power frequency.

Another fact is that an inverter for grid connection CANNOT regulate either its voltage, or its frequency. It MUST FOLLOW the grid in both respects, or it will be quickly overloaded as it tries to change the voltage or frequency of the entire electric grid.

Because of that fact, it must have special properties, essentially being a "current source" pushing current into the grid in proportion to the power from the panels, turbine, or whatever it operates from. BUT THIS IS IN DIRECT OPPOSITION TO WHAT A STANDARD STAND-ALONE INVERTER DOES. If this inverter were used to power 60 Hz Loads, it would provide them too high a voltage, and a wrong frequency.

In fact, one UL test is specifically intended to fool the inverter... A load is prepared which resonates at 60 hz, and has a power draw equal to the existing power output of the inverter. The actual grid load is disconnected, and this load substituted as fast as possible. The inverter MUST detect the fact that the grid is gone, and "cease to energize" within the stipulated time. The test is specifically intended to CONCEAL the fact that the grid is disconnected, but the inverter must still detect it.

The purpose of all the requirements and tests, of course, is to prevent "islanding" where the inverter continues to power an accidentally (or deliberately) disconnected portion of the grid. This "ceasing to energize" must occur reliably with the most unfavorable conditions imaginable.

So, while the rules do not specifically prohibit the inverter from somehow changing its character and turning into a stand-alone type when the grid fails, they have the practical effect of virtually prohibiting that type action. One might be able to imagine a way to deal with it, but the means necessary are so complicated as to make it not worth while to do.

It is difficult enough to satisfy the basic requirements at a reasonable cost, without more added on top. This particularly when most folks are unaware of the matter, do not care much, and will buy the cheapest certified unit.

danlb
08-31-2014, 10:48 PM
I would have thought that the inverter would be designed as a pass through, like a static switch, so that the load connects to one input, the grid to another and the solar to a third. I'd pay extra for an inverter that provided power during disasters and outages.

If my 1 kw UPS can do that for properly for under $100, then an inverter should be able to do it also. The difference, of course, is that the solar inverter is back-feeding the grid.

I can't imagine a standard that would not allow an inverter to use it's own time standard when disconnected from the grid. I can think of no value that would have from a technical or safety standpoint. I can think of several reasons that the utilities would want to discourage competition by limiting the capabilities of the solar equipment. I think they would be considered "artificial barriers to entry" for competition.

Dan

P.S. I have an emergency generator with a whole house transfer switch. I'd insist that the inverter connect on the "load" side of the switch. In an outage I could power up the genny and provide a signal that satisfies the inverter. This would allow a smaller generator.

J Tiers
08-31-2014, 11:43 PM
.........................
I can't imagine a standard that would not allow an inverter to use it's own time standard when disconnected from the grid. I can think of no value that would have from a technical or safety standpoint. I can think of several reasons that the utilities would want to discourage competition by limiting the capabilities of the solar equipment. I think they would be considered "artificial barriers to entry" for competition.

Dan
...........

While the standard does not come out and STATE that you can't do that..... It makes actually implementing that rather difficult.

In reality, there is NO REASON AT ALL for the insanely short disconnect time.... No possible lineman is going to grab the line that was "hot" only milleseconds ago..... it is totally unrealistic.

In fact, if you are an authorized "net generator" actually SUPPLYING the grid at a higher power level (between 30kW and 100Kw is the cutoff), you have an exactly OPPOSITE requirement..... Instead of a requirement to shut off instantly, you HAVE A REQUIREMENT TO STAY CONNECTED AND SUPPLY POWER FOR A FAIRLY LONG PERIOD OF LOW LINE OR BAD FREQUENCY.... YOU ARE PROHIBITED FROM SHUTTING DOWN until a longer time of the fault condition, at which time you also are required to disconnect, or "cease energizing".

Essentially, the powerco wants the "nuisance generators" to go away fast, but does NOT want the large ones to drop, because if they DO, then the powerco may experience an overload, and a "zipper" type grid failure, as overloaded generators drop out in reaction to the dropoff of windfarms, etc, dumping yet more load on the remaining ones, and overloading them in turn.

With all the small grid tie systems that exist, the powerco might be surprised at the load transient that might occur if all of them in a larger area dropped off at once. In many areas, that might total up to be hundreds of KW. Not a huge problem, but very possibly a serious nuisance of a size rivaling the smaller authorized sources..

Mike Nash
09-01-2014, 08:58 AM
So all of these posts on islanding raise the question: "After a storm outage, are you going to have enough sunshine on the panels to provide any usable power?"

Tornadoes, straight-line winds, heavy snowfall, flooding, etc., tend to mean cloud cover much of the time. Snow on the panels tends to reduce their production also.

While I have 710 peak watts available (for short periods since the neighbor's trees grew up and actually branch over the panels now) the only real advantage was the power already stored in the batteries prior to the outage. We did have a few ice storms with sunny days afterwards while the power was still out.

So my take is a battery bank with line powered charger and generator backup with high-rate battery charging capability. The solar panels are great, but not ideal as a sole means of recharging the batteries, at least in my area.

Now if I could just find high capacity, long life, no maintenance, inexpensive batteries.

michigan doug
09-01-2014, 09:02 AM
Without a sizeable battery bank, your solar panels and inverter are useless to run your house in a power outage. Most or all grid tie setups have no battery bank. That's the whole point of grid tie, no battery bank. That's where most of the maintenance expense comes from in a solar system.


If you want backup in a blackout, you have to have a sizeable battery bank. It is possible to do that with grid tie, but it's rare. In the long run, it's probably cheaper to get a medium sized generator and a lockout switch rather than a big battery bank.


doug

J Tiers
09-01-2014, 11:04 AM
If you want backup in a blackout, you have to have a sizeable battery bank. It is possible to do that with grid tie, but it's rare. In the long run, it's probably cheaper to get a medium sized generator and a lockout switch rather than a big battery bank.


doug

maintenance on a battery bank is probably less than total maintenance on a generator......

* Gensets have to be "excercised" to assure they will work when needed.
* They need "babysitting" all the time they are on, unless you buy a big one for as much money as a solar install costs, those still need it, but you pay someone to do it
* They drink gasoline..... something you WILL NOT HAVE in a blackout, because the pumps won't work at the gas station. (some use natural gas, those may be more reliable because gas is often the last service to disappear)
*they wear out fast.... cheap ones may last only a couple weeks total of running time before they are worn out and need replaced..... (Very expensive ones last longer)

batteries need water topped up every so often.... usually a matter of weeks between times. Done.

Decent batteries last hundreds of charge/discharge cycles, and are not that expensive if you buy the golf cart type, like Trojan T-105. A charge/discharge cycle is a day or two of use, depending on loads.

A.K. Boomer
09-01-2014, 12:00 PM
cheap ones may last only a couple weeks total of running time before they are worn out and need replaced.....

You must be talking about the ones so cheap that they don't even put oil in them?

that's getting a little extreme with your example is it not?

That's only about the equivalent of 20,000 miles


generators are like anything else - you get what you pay for, but even the "cheap" ones can last a fair amount of time if properly maintained and such, talking good oil and having it changed and block heaters so they don't have to start up in cold temps and go to full run RPM's,,,

actually if generators are properly maintained and equipped they can go huge hours, even most of the cheap ones,,, they have some huge advantages over most everything else,,, very predictable environment so if equipped correctly will prosper,

very predictable run and load range, so once again if sized for the right application will always run under a load within its rating, and if not will actually cancel and not run as soon and the frequency is not met,
Also, never gets over rev'd or lugged, falls into a perfectly designed comfort range when in use...

that being said - generators have both the best and worst case situations, some are locked away and just expected to do what they do till they puke, although they have built in failsafes for many important things like oil pressure and coolant level --- still does not stop someone from running the same lube for the equivalent of 50,000 miles or so...

that being said some are in places that are very convenient to maintain - and the owners see fit to do so... some gen sets have logged on the equivalent of over 500,000 miles... and still going strong... so just depends on a wide variety of things and quality is only one of them, But I really don't know any that would shell out in a couple weeks of run time if maintained properly, unless maybe your taking one of those little hand held two strokes...

justanengineer
09-01-2014, 01:58 PM
Say WHAT?

You must have been listening to Rush Limbaugh again..... or the other "solar deniers".

First, what you are "paid" for generated electricity is almost irrelevant.... because there is nothing in the net metering setup that separates your generated power from incoming power. You might have a point if there were a meter on the array, and a meter on your input, and you were separately paid for the generation.

You have to realize that "net metering" uses ONE meter, NOT TWO....

Simple fact - when there's only one utility you are subject to their whims, especially when backfeeding their lines. Yes, TWO meters have been required. Don't like it? Well, there's one utility in town, so either make and store your own or live without power.

Bicycle Man
09-01-2014, 02:58 PM
Arizona is loaded with solar SCAMS most of these people can not be trusted. They lie to you. Several different company sales men came and the sale pitch was all about how much it will save, how it works and last how much it costs me. Most places want $40,000. to pay for the system. The more honest companies install the solar system free the electricity it produces pay for the system. Then they make claims how much power it generators most of that is a lie claims are often 25% to 50% less that what the system really produces. The best companies will install for free but you have to read the fine print some companies use your house as a place to keep THEIR solar panels, the company gets the rebates and money the power company paid for excess electricity the solar system uses. The home owner is last on the list of people that get paid or save money. I did finally find 1 company that is 100% honest but the math shows it will take 20 years to pay for the system and break even. I wont be living here in 20 years so why pay for something I will never get to use. Some companies claim all maintenance is included free but do a Google search for the company name to see how many people have complained. Read what unhappy customers have to say. Many people said their system worked fine for a while then it stopped working but the company would never come fix it after 3 years the company is out of business so now what do we do. It all sounds good until you start asking questions. Be sure to do Google search for every company before you sign anything.

PStechPaul
09-01-2014, 06:35 PM
There are also lease agreements where you just agree to pay the solar company for electricity rather than the utility:
http://www.dailytech.com/Google+Unveils+Solar+Panel+Lease+Plan+for+Homeowne rs/article34782.htm
http://www.residentialsolar101.org/financing/solar-lease/

Also look into solar cooperatives:
http://ecowatch.com/2014/04/24/why-solar-cooperatives-are-on-the-rise/

Something else to consider, for emergencies or for going grid-free, is steam-powered electric generator systems. A 5 kVA system is less than $7000:
http://www.tinytechindia.com/steampowerplan.htm


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxW3a3eZFis

They also have other innovative products.

J Tiers
09-01-2014, 07:01 PM
Simple fact - when there's only one utility you are subject to their whims, especially when backfeeding their lines. Yes, TWO meters have been required. Don't like it? Well, there's one utility in town, so either make and store your own or live without power.

That is specifically not required for net metering in virtually every place it exists... that's how it works. What you describe is a different system altogether.

The rules are established by the Public Utility Commission. And they apply to all providers in the state.

Don't like that?

Move where they don't have it. Pay more.

wierdscience
09-01-2014, 09:39 PM
Okay,I have to ask,where are these $1/watt solar panels at?Who sells them,links please?

I've been looking and haven't found any,unless used or from one of the now defunct panel manufacturers.

J Tiers
09-01-2014, 10:00 PM
AK:
It isn't "miles", it's HOURS..... you of all people should know that, as an engine expert......

Think about it, if you run 24/7 for a week, or the equivalent, that's 168 hours. 4 weeks is well over 600 hours, and by actual test, performed by "Home Power Magazine" some years ago, many of the generators had failures in that time, and some were flat worn out.

There are a scad of those 800watt, and 1kW generators like Airsmith was modifying.... cheap as heck, some under $100 per, and those are lucky to go 300 hours operation in decent shape.... if they make it at all.

Those little engines are just not INTENDED to run that long.... even some of the more decent Honda gensets, although some of those, IIRC were the best performers in the HPM test..

Basically, they are consumer mower motors..... Consumer mowers run 10 years of a hour every week for the summer..... it's like 40 hours per year... 400 hours life is 10 years or more. many are used even less, and many are replaced before that time..

Wierd:

They are available on the secondary market from companies that buy many skid-loads of panels at a time. All chinese, no warranty in general. It's basically a factor of the oversupply of panels that was present for a while. it may be getting over-with for now.

Some may have warranties, but the comments of the prior poster who questioned the value of the warranty may apply, you are buying "distressed merchandise".

You will pay more for dealer-supplied brand name, but of course, you ALWAYS do, no matter what the commodity you are talking about.

PStechPaul
09-01-2014, 11:05 PM
Okay,I have to ask,where are these $1/watt solar panels at?Who sells them,links please?

I've been looking and haven't found any,unless used or from one of the now defunct panel manufacturers.

Here's 1000 watts of solar panels for $840:
http://shop.mlsolar.com/SHARP-ND-250HAT-250W-Solar-Panel-4-Pack-1000-Watts-171038412135.htm

I bought some broken solar cells from them a couple years ago. Only a few of them were usable, but I only checked a few.

Home Depot has 280 watt panels for $399:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Grape-Solar-280-Watt-Polcrystalline-Solar-Panel-GS-P-280-Fab1/202959966

and 100 watts for $150:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Grape-Solar-100-Watt-Monocrystalline-PV-Solar-Panel-for-RV-s-Cabins-and-12-Volt-Systems-GS-S-100-Fab36/203336897

Not quite $1/watt, but close.

A.K. Boomer
09-01-2014, 11:14 PM
AK:
It isn't "miles", it's HOURS..... you of all people should know that, as an engine expert......

JT ---- RELAX --- it's a comparative value that is commonly used for generator technicians like MYSELF to describe to typical people WHO DRIVE CARS what the ROUGH equivalent in hours amounts to in something they can relate to --- MILES... --- people don't have HOUR meters on their dash, they have miles... an hourly rating means nothing to most people - they simply don't understand the value --- GET IT?




Think about it, if you run 24/7 for a week, or the equivalent, that's 168 hours.

No --- you think about it, X 168 by 2 - then take the 336 and times it by 60 as in 60 miles per hour,,, good rough draft comparison as most gensets only run at a mild throttle steady cruise as if you were on the highway,
so when you end up with approximately 20,160 miles it gives people an idea they can relate too, is it perfect --- gawd no - some gensets run @ 1800 rpms and some @ 3600, some run under more load and some under less, yet kinda reminds you of all the variations in the cars and trucks on the road,,, so yeah - good way to let people know "approximately" what their engines life span is --- and I can also tell you as a TECH. that the oil mimics close to the same results and needs changing along the same kind of guidelines


4 weeks is well over 600 hours, and by actual test, performed by "Home Power Magazine" some years ago, many of the generators had failures in that time, and some were flat worn out.

oh -- so were up to 4 weeks instead of two --- were now talking the approximate run time of 40,000 miles instead of 20,000 ? and most all of what your talking are air cooled - yeah sounds about right... but not two weeks JT --- you can try to sell that to the general public but you won't sell it too me... that's why I stated I thought you were getting a little extreme with your example and no offense but you seem to have a habit of doing that... so much so that it's more fiction than fact as your already having to double up on your run time because you know IM listening :)

im not picking on you - just correcting you, sorry but won't let certain stuff just slip bye esp. when someone has no idea of very common method's of conversions and actually questions it like I don't know what im doing... You should know me better than that by now :-)

J Tiers
09-02-2014, 12:06 AM
No --- you think about it, X 168 by 2 - then take the 336 and times it by 60 as in 60 miles per hour,,, good rough draft comparison as most gensets only run at a mild throttle steady cruise as if you were on the highway,
so when you end up with approximately 20,160 miles it gives people an idea they can relate too, is it perfect --- gawd no - some gensets run @ 1800 rpms and some @ 3600, some run under more load and some under less, yet kinda reminds you of all the variations in the cars and trucks on the road,,, so yeah - good way to let people know "approximately" what their engines life span is --- and I can also tell you as a TECH. that the oil mimics close to the same results and needs changing along the same kind of guidelines oh -- so were up to 4 weeks instead of two --- were now talking the approximate run time of 40,000 miles instead of 20,000 ? and most all of what your talking are air cooled - yeah sounds about right... but not two weeks JT --- you can try to sell that to the general public but you won't sell it too me... that's why I stated I thought you were getting a little extreme with your example and no offense but you seem to have a habit of doing that... so much so that it's more fiction than fact as your already having to double up on your run time because you know IM listening :)

im not picking on you - just correcting you, sorry but won't let certain stuff just slip bye esp. when someone has no idea of very common method's of conversions and actually questions it like I don't know what im doing... You should know me better than that by now :-)

I'm taking nothing back, sorry.....

Nothing to "slip by you"...... if you actually READ the posts instead of over-reacting to a couple lines in them..... (can't let YOU slip by with THAT), you'd find for the two weeks I referred to the "some gensets" as the $100 800W wonders that are sold by bazillions through all the cheap outlets, such as HF, and online discounters. If those will work even that long, I'd be surprised.... 2 cycle screamers....... Weedeaters with a generator welded on. If you recall there was a long discussion with Airsmith" concerning those gensets 2 cycle engines and mufflers.... he was modding mufflers for some reason that I do not recall.

If a good genset works 600 hours, apparently YOU think that an overgrown weedeater with a generator will work for 1200 hours? Or even that same 600 hours? And you say THAT is "calling me out on it"?

Nope, AK, sorry, it don't work that way.....YOU saying stuff about 'slipping by" and "correcting" etc (or making claims of "not being credible") does not equal you having any actual point, or anything to actually "call me" on, or "correct"...... It basically means you typed those words about correcting me, probably didn't read the post, and that's about it..... A common problem for you when you "call me out"... as you put it.

When it comes to engine wear on a genset, it's time and RPM, load, etc.....actually it's pretty much that way for a car, too.... "miles" are highly variable.... Do you mean "miles towing a heavy trailer"? Miles in Kansas, or miles in the mountains?

You can KEEP your "miles"... I'll go along with miles on a genset when you can rate a genset in MPH top speed.... and give it a miles per gallon rating..... with some sense to it, and being able to keep a straight face doing it.

Meanwhile, the REST of us will stick with hours of full load. (or any other load you want to substitute). It has the benefit of retaining some substantial shred of engineering meaning.

PStechPaul
09-02-2014, 12:16 AM
That argument reminds me of the MPG-E equivalency for electric vehicles which was concocted because consumers probably would not understand the more usual Wh/mile energy usage figure. Here is more than I knew, and probably more than anyone would want to know, about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_per_gallon_gasoline_equivalent

I think anyone of reasonable intelligence can understand the use of running time hours for something like a generator or lawn mower or tractor, which often have running time meters on them. Emergency use generators obviously are not made for continuous use, but larger stationary types may be expected to run for much longer periods of time. It is interesting to make the comparison in terms of miles driven in a car, but I think it just adds to possible confusion by making an equivalency like that. How many riding mowers or tractors have odometers, or even speedometers?

The Artful Bodger
09-02-2014, 12:52 AM
Yeah OK, there are gensets and there are gensets. The little air cooled high revving gensets maybe give satisfactory service if they are only called upon to cover the occasional mains outage but if you want to run a big house, a business or even a small town on engine power you need a machine designed for the job.

In this part of the world the old Lister "lighting plants" gave service for decades although in many installations they really only ran in the evenings.

danlb
09-02-2014, 12:53 AM
I believe that the generator industry came up mile equivalents to counter the buyer's reaction when they find that the service intervals are so frequent. They are used to 6 months or 3,000 miles. :)

Dan

michigan doug
09-02-2014, 08:23 AM
http://www.wholesalesolar.com/solar-panels.html


Several suppliers just above and just below a dollar a watt.

doug

A.K. Boomer
09-02-2014, 09:29 AM
I'm taking nothing back, sorry.....

Nothing to "slip by you"...... if you actually READ the posts instead of over-reacting to a couple lines in them..... (can't let YOU slip by with THAT), you'd find for the two weeks I referred to the "some gensets" as the $100 800W wonders that are sold by bazillions through all the cheap outlets, such as HF, and online discounters. If those will work even that long, I'd be surprised.... 2 cycle screamers....... Weedeaters with a generator welded on. If you recall there was a long discussion with Airsmith" concerning those gensets 2 cycle engines and mufflers.... he was modding mufflers for some reason that I do not recall.

If a good genset works 600 hours, apparently YOU think that an overgrown weedeater with a generator will work for 1200 hours? Or even that same 600 hours? And you say THAT is "calling me out on it"?

Nope, AK, sorry, it don't work that way.....YOU saying stuff about 'slipping by" and "correcting" etc (or making claims of "not being credible") does not equal you having any actual point, or anything to actually "call me" on, or "correct"...... It basically means you typed those words about correcting me, probably didn't read the post, and that's about it..... A common problem for you when you "call me out"... as you put it.

It's not that I don't read your post --- I guess it's more like you don't read mine --- I already brought up that comparison as being useless as anyone taking those little POS seriously as some kind of a genset is in for a big surprise --- anotherwords if that's your argument against generators then you need to know what a real generator is, and im not talking the highest quality ones - im talking ones of substantial KW size for the condition, could be 4 could be 6 - whatever. NOT the ones that are the size of a boom-box.... here's what I wrote before you had to back-pedal and double up on the time and also confirm that the units your talking about are so small they are puking their guts out trying to run a 100 watt light bulb, incidentally - this is what I wrote back on post # 46 ;

"unless maybe your taking one of those little hand held two strokes..."

anotherwords - if you are then your discussion is irrelevant, were talking at least a little bit of seriousness here, were also not interested in anyone who's running panels that are mostly made of copper and lemon juice, get real...




When it comes to engine wear on a genset, it's time and RPM, load, etc.....actually it's pretty much that way for a car, too....

You said it not me:)


"miles" are highly variable.... Do you mean "miles towing a heavy trailer"? Miles in Kansas, or miles in the mountains?



what you fail to realize is the fact that hours are highly variable also --- some gensets that I maintain NEVER get used for real service - they are simply there for back-up on critical applications,,, what this means is that the hours they accumulate are ZERO load and are free running exercise hours --- there are also ones that are totally the opposite and don't have built in exercise programs - throw in a full load and you get much more blow bye and the engine oil shows it... oops - so much for your perfect way of doing things... hours - just like mileage - is a rough draft, deal with it...



You can KEEP your "miles"... I'll go along with miles on a genset when you can rate a genset in MPH top speed.... and give it a miles per gallon rating..... with some sense to it, and being able to keep a straight face doing it.

Meanwhile, the REST of us will stick with hours of full load. (or any other load you want to substitute). It has the benefit of retaining some substantial shred of engineering meaning.

The "rest" of you can do whatever the hell you want, after all - your not a technician, but I take things many steps further, I'll keep both my miles and my hours, and use one to tell people the approximate equivalent so they have something to relate too, people appreciate that, like I said - all's that's needed is to tell one person the amount of hours they have on their genset and get that blank stare back --- does not take any abacus to figure out you better come up with a close conversion,,,
Don't fault people for wanting something to relate too, and don't fault a great tech. for giving it to them... :)

that being said, on many of new genset I can read the panel in about a half minute and know it's entire history, how much time was exercise and how much was load related ---- it's useful information but what trumps all of it is the actual condition of the oil and air filter and such,,, both these things are very load related and will show it as air filters pass more CFS when the engine is loaded and oil will get dirty far quicker due to more blow bye, that's on the gassers, they are easy to tell ---- diesels not so much as they will soot up their oil in short order and their air filter will get just about as dirty free running as under load, unless the engine is turbo charged, then they will pump more CFS through the engine under loads...

all these things are considered --- so bottom line is this - both hours and mileage on things is just a rough draft, BOTH methods are extremely flawed just by themselves --- but just like highway miles on a vehicle is easy street so too is light load or exercise programs on a genset, I also use these comparisons to help people understand that maybe even though their gensets logged on 3,000 + hours that it's mostly like highway run time on a car, so 180,000 miles does not look all that bad and is not a death sentence --- people generally appreciate that too...

wierdscience
09-02-2014, 01:51 PM
Here's 1000 watts of solar panels for $840:
http://shop.mlsolar.com/SHARP-ND-250HAT-250W-Solar-Panel-4-Pack-1000-Watts-171038412135.htm



Those Sharp panels are a killer deal,but they have been out of stock for awhile.

I've been wanting to do a system to carry all the light loads in the house for awhile,lights,wall outlets etc and leave all the heavy loads on the power company,stove,dryer etc.Just waiting for a deal to come along on panels,everything else is fairly cheap.

Paul Alciatore
09-02-2014, 03:32 PM
I have to agree. The power companies do not want this because it cuts into their profits. So they want the requirements to be as strict and EXPENSIVE as possible.

OK, but I do not see any reason why a system could not disconnect, wait a few seconds, and then switch back on WITHOUT CONNECTING TO THE GRID with a different mode of operation while it is disconnected. Then, after the grid is back on for five minutes or whatever interval they want, reconnect to the grid and revert to grid mode operation. An under $5 PIC chip could be programmed to perform that function.

I just don't see any reason why this requirement prevents use of the system during grid outages.




While the standard does not come out and STATE that you can't do that..... It makes actually implementing that rather difficult.

In reality, there is NO REASON AT ALL for the insanely short disconnect time.... No possible lineman is going to grab the line that was "hot" only milleseconds ago..... it is totally unrealistic.

In fact, if you are an authorized "net generator" actually SUPPLYING the grid at a higher power level (between 30kW and 100Kw is the cutoff), you have an exactly OPPOSITE requirement..... Instead of a requirement to shut off instantly, you HAVE A REQUIREMENT TO STAY CONNECTED AND SUPPLY POWER FOR A FAIRLY LONG PERIOD OF LOW LINE OR BAD FREQUENCY.... YOU ARE PROHIBITED FROM SHUTTING DOWN until a longer time of the fault condition, at which time you also are required to disconnect, or "cease energizing".

Essentially, the powerco wants the "nuisance generators" to go away fast, but does NOT want the large ones to drop, because if they DO, then the powerco may experience an overload, and a "zipper" type grid failure, as overloaded generators drop out in reaction to the dropoff of windfarms, etc, dumping yet more load on the remaining ones, and overloading them in turn.

With all the small grid tie systems that exist, the powerco might be surprised at the load transient that might occur if all of them in a larger area dropped off at once. In many areas, that might total up to be hundreds of KW. Not a huge problem, but very possibly a serious nuisance of a size rivaling the smaller authorized sources..

PStechPaul
09-02-2014, 05:34 PM
You can probably just temporarily connect an off-grid converter to the raw output of the solar panels, and use the output only for specific items you need during the emergency. Just run extension cords and power strips and plug in the critical items. Also, many electronic items use switching power supplies that are at least as happy running on DC as AC, and they will work from 85-264 VAC or the equivalent DC (multiply by 1.4). It's also a good idea to have at least some battery backup that you can use with an automotive inverter for 120 or 220 VAC, and even better may be to have some 12V appliances made for camping and RVs.

Black_Moons
09-02-2014, 07:35 PM
and even better may be to have some 12V appliances made for camping and RVs.

Sadly, most of those appliances cost a small fortune compared to their much more common 120v cousins. Also I have heard even simple units like 12v CFL's often are very poor quality and don't output much light.

J Tiers
09-02-2014, 08:16 PM
The main problem with trying to use the grid-tie for off-grid, is that it WILL NOT WORK unless it finds an EXTERNAL source of precisely correct voltage and frequency.

To get a grid-tie inverter, as they are ALL made now, to work off-grid, you have to somehow supply a "fake grid" signal to it.

Then also, the grid-tie inverter is designed to transfer ALL the power it receives to the grid.... It ASSUMES that the grid can accept absolutely all the power it can supply, without changing voltage. What it does is just jam current into the grid, up to the full amount of power that it is provided by the panels....it is a "current source".

The GRID is capable of accepting all that, but your local loads will vary, and they need a constant voltage source from which they can draw the current they need. Otherwise the voltage will vary all over the map, and the grid-tie inverter will shut off constantly.

To use the grid-tie inverter for local power, the load has to vary precisely in the amount required to just exactly use up the power being supplied at any moment.

The grid-tie inverter behaves exactly OPPOSITE to how it NEEDS to behave to be a local power source. Instead of constant voltage, it supplies constant CURRENT... Instead of allowing current to vary, the grid-tie inverter allows VOLTAGE to vary, but if it gets outside of the limits, then the inverter shuts down.

It would have to re-configure itself on teh fly in order to act as a local source.

The problem with a device that can re-configure that way, is that to pass the grid tie testing, you have to GUARANTEE that it CAN NEVER accidentally re-configure while it is connected to the grid, or even to an "island" on the grid, with no actual grid power connected.

Making that absolute perfect guarantee is very difficult, almost impossible. Nobody really wants to do that, they solve the problem by simply having no programming in the inverter that "knows how" to be a stand-alone inverter. That way, there is zero chance of it switching over, there IS NO "over"....

AK:

You have just been making up stuff about what people say, deciding that words mean whatever you say they do, then going off on tangents based on whatever weird meaning you put into the words..... and claiming that using your definitions people are "back peddling" and whatever... Bull crap. You are also seriously off-topic.....

I DO NOT TAKE BACK anything I wrote....

But my suggestion to you is that you may be much happier if you go hang out over at "4chan"..... I suggest even taking it to "B"..... I am told that they are really "good at" trolls over there.....

Rosco-P
09-02-2014, 09:11 PM
You can probably just temporarily connect an off-grid converter to the raw output of the solar panels, and use the output only for specific items you need during the emergency. Just run extension cords and power strips and plug in the critical items. Also, many electronic items use switching power supplies that are at least as happy running on DC as AC, and they will work from 85-264 VAC or the equivalent DC (multiply by 1.4). It's also a good idea to have at least some battery backup that you can use with an automotive inverter for 120 or 220 VAC, and even better may be to have some 12V appliances made for camping and RVs.

You can't do any of the above. How will you disconnect the grid-tie inverter? How will connect any loads to it?

You should go into HomDee and talk to the solar rep, see if your home qualifies for a free system. If so, when the tech people come you'll be able to ask all sorts of questions. One thing you'll find is the system isn't yours, they are leasing the roof for 20 years and when that period is up, they walk away. Until then, the equipment is theirs, monitored by them and I'm sure they'll take a dim view of any tampering.

wierdscience
09-02-2014, 09:21 PM
What would happen if a double throw disconnect were installed between the panel array and the grid tie system?

Let say a backup system was built that included a pallet jack battery pack,charge controller and solar float charger.And when the ice storm of the century struck one could throw the disconnect,switching power from the panel array away from the grid tie and on to the backup.Would it work then assuming of course everything being ran off the backup was connected via extension cords?

A.K. Boomer
09-02-2014, 10:03 PM
AK:

You have just been making up stuff about what people say, deciding that words mean whatever you say they do, then going off on tangents based on whatever weird meaning you put into the words..... and claiming that using your definitions people are "back peddling" and whatever... Bull crap. You are also seriously off-topic.....

I DO NOT TAKE BACK anything I wrote....

But my suggestion to you is that you may be much happier if you go hang out over at "4chan"..... I suggest even taking it to "B"..... I am told that they are really "good at" trolls over there.....


Wow - really wasn't expecting that, just loaded with "engineering meaning" JT,,,:rolleyes:

Now ---- you were talking trolls?

Guido
07-13-2015, 11:58 PM
Post No. 1, beat to pieces by the pros.

The cards are dealt. Daughter's juice bill for the twelve months following move in: $488. No problems, typical summer in 2 story home with 2 AC units. Parents, two HS kids, dog died, no swimming pool circulation pump.

Previous owner invested right at 24k on the install but had priced the home alongside similar homes w/wo rooftop cell panels. SIL considering buying a Prius for his 16 mile commute.

--G

danlb
07-14-2015, 12:23 AM
That's pretty good. She appears to have saved (avoided paying) around 3000 last year. Quite encouraging.

Dan

J Tiers
07-14-2015, 12:29 AM
Post No. 1, beat to pieces by the pros.

The cards are dealt. Daughter's juice bill for the twelve months following move in: $488. No problems, typical summer in 2 story home with 2 AC units. Parents, two HS kids, dog died, no swimming pool circulation pump.

Previous owner invested right at 24k on the install but had priced the home alongside similar homes w/wo rooftop cell panels. SIL considering buying a Prius for his 16 mile commute.

--G

I'm surprised it's that high.... We do not pay a lot more than that for the year, with NO grid tie.....

of course California may still have really high rates, some of which may be a legacy of the Enron deal and some subsequent bad price gouging. So the $488 may be pretty low "for California".

Talked to a guy locally who has 15 kW or so of panels, and he is getting a net check.... his production is larger than his usage.

danlb
07-14-2015, 01:36 AM
Central Calif has a tiered rate, with the prices going as high as 38 cents a KWH. It's meant to punish people who use a lot of electricity.

We spend $400 a month or more. I'm retiring my in home web/mail/dns servers since they account for $100 a month.

Dan

Paul Alciatore
07-14-2015, 02:34 AM
If you buy from the "traveling panel guy", yeah, the warranty is no good as soon as his taillights disappear around the bend. But the legitimate companies in the biz, Kyocera, etc, will be around if and when there is a warranty issue.

...<snip>...

Oh really? Big companies never go bust? Or never abandon a product line? And just what do you mean by "legitimate" companies? Get real. The list of big, legitimate companies that are no longer around is almost endless.

Mcgyver
07-14-2015, 07:59 AM
China has more or less abandoned coal as the way of making electricity to drive their growing economy. .



I have a tough time believing that one. Far from abandoning coal to fuel growth, production is increasing

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/07/china-coal-idUSL3N0K90H720140107

Rich Carlstedt
07-14-2015, 01:50 PM
I have a tough time believing that one. Far from abandoning coal to fuel growth, production is increasing

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/07/china-coal-idUSL3N0K90H720140107

I agree with Mcgyver on that...When you look at the charts !

http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/chinas-growing-coal-use-is-worlds-growing-problem-16999

Of course, there is a lot of mis-information out there .
I don't knock solar panels use. If you want it, go get it.
What I do contend is that nothing is free .


Rich

michigan doug
07-14-2015, 02:39 PM
For china, you have to look at the growth rates of the various energy sectors to decide what is growing the fastest.

Are they still building coal fire power plants? Yes Are they becoming much less gung ho about coal? Yes:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/06/us-china-coal-cut-idUSKBN0M20V820150306


Are they becoming much more gung ho about wind, solar and nuke? Yes they are.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-25623400

http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/china--pv-installed-capacity-grows-to-almost-30-gw-in-2014_100018231/#axzz3ftOWZVcY

http://thediplomat.com/2015/04/chinas-coming-nuclear-power-boom/

J Tiers
07-14-2015, 05:25 PM
Oh really? Big companies never go bust? Or never abandon a product line? And just what do you mean by "legitimate" companies? Get real. The list of big, legitimate companies that are no longer around is almost endless.

OK, you can buy yours from "joe's traveling PV show". I won't, at least not without accepting the risks, and getting a steep discount to compensate.

The law says the company has to honor the warranty, so unless they go under, you should be OK. Kyocera is looking pretty good, so I'm not too worried.

JRouche
07-14-2015, 06:37 PM
Post No. 1, beat to pieces by the pros.

The cards are dealt. Daughter's juice bill for the twelve months following move in: $488. No problems, typical summer in 2 story home with 2 AC units. Parents, two HS kids, dog died, no swimming pool circulation pump.

Previous owner invested right at 24k on the install but had priced the home alongside similar homes w/wo rooftop cell panels. SIL considering buying a Prius for his 16 mile commute.

--G

Good to hear.. We just had some solar put on the roof, looking forward to no electric bill, admin fees are small here.

I was doing the numbers and ours will be generating FREE electricity for US in about six years. Not bad since I wont be sweating using electricity for my Homeshop...

Thanks for sharing, glad your Daughter is happy... JR

garyhlucas
07-14-2015, 08:02 PM
I just gave a coworker 4 - 327w Sun Power panels for the travel trailer he lives in. He was tickled pink, he can run the roof mounted AC during the day. Got them from my brother-in-law who has a big pile of broken ones, frames, not the panel itself. He does installations, did a 15 Mw and some 7 Mw jobs. The installers occasionally break one of the thousands they handle, hence the big pile.

Axkiker
07-15-2015, 09:29 AM
Out of curiosuty could solar panels be wrapped into a purchase loan for a home. I ask as I am in the process of searching and would consider possibly adding solar if it could be tied into the purchase ??? Not totally sure it makes sense but just thinking out loud.

Mcgyver
07-15-2015, 09:47 AM
For china, you have to look at the growth rates of the various energy sectors to decide what is growing the fastest.

Are they still building coal fire power plants? Yes Are they becoming much less gung ho about coal? Yes:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/06/us-china-coal-cut-idUSKBN0M20V820150306


Are they becoming much more gung ho about wind, solar and nuke? Yes they are.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-25623400

http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/china--pv-installed-capacity-grows-to-almost-30-gw-in-2014_100018231/#axzz3ftOWZVcY

http://thediplomat.com/2015/04/chinas-coming-nuclear-power-boom/

I'd agree with the above mostly...but that's a far cry from "China has more or less abandoned coal as the way of making electricity to drive their growing economy"

as in so many places, there's the fašade and the reality and they can be very different. Personal experience, its shocking the difference between what they want you to believe and what goes on in a industrial/environmental context. They make and burn 1/2 the worlds and have to keep fueling things....they've got a big problem and the only answer, or at least the only practical one and what they're settled on is to increase coal production and burning

vincemulhollon
07-15-2015, 09:53 AM
I'm retiring my in home web/mail/dns servers since they account for $100 a month.

Cool. Using an engineering estimate of one watt-year costs a buck, that like 1200 watts continuous. VAX minicomputer cluster running VMS? I always wanted a VAX of my own or some other minicomputer.

I had an experimental parallel processing system set up that drew a measured eight hundred or so watts (when it was running, which wasn't most of the time) made out of eight desktops and an ethernet switch. It was fun but got boring after awhile. And at one point I had two old departmental file servers each drawing 500 watts continuous to run something like 12 SCSI drives each, I got rid of that due to power draw, but it was the fastest IO system I ever used, at least until SSD drives...

When you start talking about a kilowatt of computers, thats getting physically loud in a residential setting too. Imagine twenty four 15K SCSI hard drives whirring away 24x7 in my basement, my wife tolerates a lot but that was getting close to the limit...

I now have a 5 watt "Soekris" box thats maybe five years old for my home PBX and web/mail/dns as above, and home router and a few other things. I have a small herd of raspberry pi doing various menial tasks laying around too but they probably all only add up to 5 watts.

Strangest problem I had with shutting down the file servers was they were heating the basement like the kilowatt sized space heaters they were, so shutting them down dropped the humidity by dropping the air temp so much that "most" of the savings went into running the dehumidifier harder to keep the same percentage humidity and opening the HVAC vents to keep the basement warm and toasty like the old days... I saved some money, but not as much as I'd hoped. Main thing I noticed was it was quieter. I replaced the fileservers with a single boring modern tower of similar performance but only like 60 watts power draw (and its near silent)

justanengineer
07-15-2015, 10:24 AM
Out of curiosuty could solar panels be wrapped into a purchase loan for a home. I ask as I am in the process of searching and would consider possibly adding solar if it could be tied into the purchase ??? Not totally sure it makes sense but just thinking out loud.

Many things can be worked into a home loan depending on the terms you're looking for. The more important consideration IMHO is whether or not your local utility does net metering. If they dont as most dont, then these systems dont usually make sense unless you can make use of a major tax/other subsidy bc youre generating excess electricity during the day when there is little use, being "paid" ~$0.02-0.03/kwh, and buying back at ~$0.10+/kwh (whatever your local rate is) every night when your use is highest.

JMO, but if youre moving anyway it makes more sense to find a local electric co-op with decent rates, <$0.05/kwh still exists in some areas. Its a long shot, but if you REALLY want to save/make money on alternative energy, buy next to a wind park and hope they expand.

Rustybolt
07-15-2015, 10:45 AM
I installed a 4 KW system about 7 years ago and it has almost paid for itself (about a year to go). Then I will truly be getting free electricity. In the summer I am completely off grid, in the winter, not so much. I also use the extra energy after my batteries are charged to heat water. I say screw the utilities, they come by once in a while and ask if my power is off and I say"yes it is, as far as you know" :-)


How many lathes, mills and welders can you run on that?

J Tiers
07-15-2015, 04:59 PM
Many things can be worked into a home loan depending on the terms you're looking for. The more important consideration IMHO is whether or not your local utility does net metering. If they dont as most dont, then these systems dont usually make sense unless you can make use of a major tax/other subsidy bc youre generating excess electricity during the day when there is little use, being "paid" ~$0.02-0.03/kwh, and buying back at ~$0.10+/kwh (whatever your local rate is) every night when your use is highest.


See if the STATE is "net metering". If so, the utility has no choice. If not, they do have a choice, and they usually choose "no".

danlb
07-17-2015, 12:12 PM
I'd like to thank Guido for starting this thread. It caused me to look a little closer at my electric usage and billing. As a result, I've improved some infrastructure and cut my usage without impacting my lifestyle. My base use (not counting air conditioning) is down 25%.

Oh, and I'm now getting FREE ELECTRICITY! Well, not really. What I did do was notice that the local utility (PG&E) has a program for low income folks. Since I'm retired, we have no real income, just SS and savings. I applied for the CARE rate plan and my electric bill for June dropped from $479 last year to $222 this year.

Dan

Alistair Hosie
07-17-2015, 04:55 PM
How many people here,like me, feel that all this green nonsense is just the, or should I say OUR hierarchies way of taxing us all over again. We gullible, ignorant, bar Stewards Err I mean masses, are being parted from our hard earned poppy;all again in the usual undemocratic way,i.e. no heavy questioning encouraged lest we are made to look foolish, and which one of us want's that ?.RIGHT?
Just like the good old emergence ,however slowly of repetitive political correctness .
Remember at the beginning it was a number of years of GLOBAL WARMING, Wow where did that go? Well seems like the scientists,those, not afraid of the emperors new clothes fear factor,read it and then debunked it and simply said (actually the planet is not getting warmer at all).Solution rather than paying us back what we paid out,the government changed it's name.We now are told it is now to be called CLIMATE CHANGE.Well it is clever when you think of it when you want Joe and The Masses to take their eyes off all the real crap the government is getting up to,they keep throwing in the fear factor.It seems as long as we are all scared perpetually witless it keeps our well developed minds off the real problems.The mismanagement of the world by all those greedy politicians and their well heeled Pals/Family members as they travel on the gravy train,while we get less and less.Did anyone tell you how much money our governments borrow to pay for unwanted wars,oh wait that was uncalled for after all that money keeps us safe in our beds every night.Or does It?LOL I think I smell **** from Uncle BULL .Alistair

wmgeorge
07-17-2015, 05:19 PM
Guys in spite of some bickering and the normal back and forth I Learned a LOT!

Thank you all for posting, now I am motivated to get some solar panels. Here in Iowa however the land of corn and wind powered generators our cost per Kwh is about 9 cents. Some areas pay more.

My sons standby generator has ran for as long as 3 days as he is out a ways from town. It has a low oil warning and shut off plus he has it piped into the natural gas line.

justanengineer
07-17-2015, 11:48 PM
See if the STATE is "net metering". If so, the utility has no choice. If not, they do have a choice, and they usually choose "no".

Thats a great theory, but not how the system works. In reality the utilities have these folks called lobbyists who've (at least on the east coast) successfully poked more holes in those laws than Swiss cheese so I'd err on the side of caution and ask the utility rather than the solar salesman, the politicians, or the internet.

JRouche
07-18-2015, 12:48 AM
I think diversity with power generation methods will always be a factor. JR

J Tiers
07-18-2015, 12:56 AM
Thats a great theory, but not how the system works. In reality the utilities have these folks called lobbyists who've (at least on the east coast) successfully poked more holes in those laws than Swiss cheese so I'd err on the side of caution and ask the utility rather than the solar salesman, the politicians, or the internet.

Well, whether you like it or not, that IS how the system works.

When the law is on the books, it must be enforced. The lobbyists (who I have actually heard of in an indirect and fanciful way) have their input to the lawmakers, to water down laws (or make them more favorable to some moneyed minority) before they are enacted.

However, if the law which is passed says the state is net metering, then the public service commission is obligated to follow the law and require net metering.

What you think about it is not a matter of much concern to anyone in particular. Your input comes when you do (or don't), vote for the lawmakers who take the bribes and vote the law up (or down).

If folks are putting up grid tie, and getting the subsidy, it's a fair bet they DO have net metering. By all means check it out, there are corrupt salespeople as well as politicians. And corrupt engineers, for that matter, along with cops, business people, etc.

camdigger
07-18-2015, 04:38 AM
To the OP..... What portion of the electric bill is non usage charges, ie.a admin, line fees, delivery, maintenance, etc? In Alberta, the non usage fees are on the order of 50/75 $/month. Believe it or don't, the rates change based on some pretty obscure rules like hookup type and area. Even transformer max capacity will affect both usage rates and the line fees. To get to a 4$/month bill, there would have to be a significant surplus being sold back into the grid on a consistent basis.

JRouche
07-18-2015, 03:58 PM
To the OP..... What portion of the electric bill is non usage charges, ie.a admin, line fees, delivery, maintenance, etc? In Alberta, the non usage fees are on the order of 50/75 $/month. Believe it or don't, the rates change based on some pretty obscure rules like hookup type and area. Even transformer max capacity will affect both usage rates and the line fees. To get to a 4$/month bill, there would have to be a significant surplus being sold back into the grid on a consistent basis.

Bummer for you. And I thought I lived in a heavily taxed State :) Gotta pay for all that free stuff somehow huh?

Here in So. Cal the taxes and bonds amount to $2.35 for my May bill. JR