Suggestion: Alternatives

Here's a suggestion - a topic discussing what the other topics don't cover. I.e., alternative energy harvesting, such as...

* Solar Water Heating
* Wind Water Pumping (though that could be combined with solar water pumping)
* Geothermal Heat Pumping

* Combining Systems

This last one is what really brought this to mind. Gooserider and B.B. are discussing "Power Purchase Agreements" on another thread, and B.B. mentioned using waste heat from the a/c to heat the pool.

That's "combining systems", and I think it's a good subject to discuss and/or brainstorm on.

Our current technology is so completely geared toward independent systems, which so often butt heads with each other. For instance, a refrigerator tossing out waste heat into the kitchen, which the a/c then has to remove.

Really, isn't that just poor engineering? And with the general trend toward "green", it's almost certainly time to start shifting the engineering paradigm (wow, I finally found a way to use "paradigm shift" without cringing) toward combined systems.


So, two suggestions actually; Alternative Harvesting, or Combining Systems.


EDIT: Maybe I should steal a term from IT and instead of saying "Combining Systems", I could instead say, "Systems Integration" - which really, IS the more accurate term.

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives

    I would like to see a sticky or something that stayed up, so that when a newbie writes " I just bought a Harbour Freight 60 watt panel,, and I want to run a few loads,, the tv, vcr PC DVR,, plus a little fridge,, maybe a few lights for a few hours,,, nothing big how can I do it?"

    I think this is more prevalent with people who for a variety of reasons want to go off grid,,, either they have a vacation cabin,, or they want to stick it to the utility, or they think it will be cheaper. Few people really go off grid IF the grid is available, most are off grid because the grid is too far away and too expensive to bring.

    Perhaps we could write up three reasonable scenarios using Bill's numbers,, but in away that is REAL easy to under stand. For example,, the small weekend cabin with ~100 watts of panel and 100 ah of battery. What to expect in terms of "what can I run/for how long?" How much money?

    The second would be for the complete "cottage type system" say full time seasonal,, 300-500 watts,, ~500 ah. "What can I run,, for how long?" How much money?

    Finally the complete off grid system,, for " real houses,, 1-3kw say,, with the requisite batteries. "What can I run,,, for how long?" How much money?

    As we always say,, do the math. If we do some of the math for people so that they can see for themselves that their expectations may be unreasonable,,, they can take our basic assumptions,, and create a model that might work for them.

    So when the next someone asks the question,, we can refer them to the stickly at the top of the page,,, and if they have further questions feel free to post. It is pretty interesting to see how many of these people ask these questions,, some of whom are satisfied with the answers, carry on a thread for a with,, while some of us discuss some arcane detail,, all while the original poster has realized that what they are attempting to do is not practical and they have moved on.

    I guess that is why I think it needs to be simple. In deference to my discussion with Neil about being " accurate", I have been know to quick quote my "50% rule" that is my down an dirty way of quickly determining how much you can get out of any given system with numbers that are easy to work with,, and don't require an engineers understanding of temperature effect on Vmp or the Perkett effect on batteries,, or how mppt charge controllers increase efficiency. All that stuff can (and should be) learned after someone gets their feet wet.

    I don't think that this is a big an issue with people who are interested in grid tie. Their sets of issues are different,, but by and large they are better educated in PV issues and have better handle on the limitations,,, and those limitations are smoothed out to a great extent by a grid connection.

    Anyway,,, just a thought,

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,923 admin
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives

    Is that a volunteer I see?! ;)

    Tony, do you want to take a first draft? Niel or I can make it a sticky.

    Windsun (Administrator for this site) has experience with lots of stickies/FAQ's before--they tended to depress the amount of postings--which can be an issue for small forums. Lack of fresh content can kill any new postings/questions as people assume the website may be "dead".

    My take would probably be to post the sticky--but directly answer any questions that we may get. For anybody--a simple answer that says "Read the Sticky" or "Do a Search" would be off-putting for may readers.

    At least for now--I think the recent up tick of questions from new users has been productive for everyone here (and those lurking un-registered's too--You know who you are ;) ).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives

    I agree, and I, for one, do try to "keep it simple, stupid".

    I'm NOT saying that's better - the math MUST be done at some point. But I (deliberately) try to answer newbie type questions with a quick and dirty - but easy to grasp - answer.

    As for the sticky, I think a FAQ is proper. I've been sort of compiling my own personal FAQ. Maybe one of these days it'll be something that I can share...though at this point I'm probably the only one who could make heads or tails of it.

    There's a TON of information on the AZ W&S site and forums and as I go along I try to organize bits of it for my own personal reference.


    Although, now that you got me thinking about it, maybe it's time for the AZ W&S site to start "The Wind & Sun Wiki (TM)".
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,923 admin
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives
    dwh wrote: »
    Although, now that you got me thinking about it, maybe it's time for the AZ W&S site to start "The Wind & Sun Wiki (TM)".

    Oh G*d... :D

    By the way, for the new readers here... the NAWS web store (Northern Arizona Wind & Sun--our host) has quite a few FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)--typically in the major product groups (solar chargers, inverters, batteries, etc.).

    On occasion many of us here have pointed to one when somebody really needs to learn a subject from the ground up quickly (like FAQs about Storage Batteries).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives

    Bill,

    I will take a stab at it,,, but you will A: have to check my assumptions with no fear of offending me and more importantly B: Check my math because as YOU well know,, I am prone to crappy calculation ability!

    T.

    PS. It may take a few days
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives
    BB. wrote: »
    For anybody--a simple answer that says "Read the Sticky" or "Do a Search" would be off-putting for may readers.

    That is how a mod responds on another forum, that poster then gets put off by that and leaves.

    We all know that there are too many variables to give a blanket answer when sizing and costing a setup. It may be more work, but we should answer each poster questions separately.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,923 admin
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives

    Thank you Tony.

    I, personally, have no problem putting the FAQ Sticky up for general information--but I will continue to answer posts individually. And keep the total "raw number" of stickies lows.

    Hopefully that will be helpful for everyone.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives

    it really doesn't have to put off posters as even the voltage drop calculator had quite a bit posted after it was placed. this could be written into the initial posting as well to indicate that comments or further questions are welcome. i also concur that it would be nice if you did this tony. give it a whirl.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives

    The point is,,, not in lieu of answering in detail,,, but in addition to answering in detail. It just give us a way of imparting information easily and quickly to what are in essence simple questions. I realize that the questions become more complicated as do the answers.

    I will try to write up something for Neil and Bill review and others to comment on.

    Tony
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives

    I know that I said I would try some ideas down in writing. I have been traveling,, so I will get to it eventually,

    Tony
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: Suggestion: Alternatives

    Something along the lines of some "example" systems, perhaps?
    Small, Medium, Large off-grid.
    Including details of avg. hrs. sun, configuration, output, and the ever-popular "what can I run with it?"

    For grid-tie you'd need different criteria, as in payback time vs. local utility rates. Bugabear here is the incentives very hugely from place to place and time to time. It's easier to determine the vale off an off-grid system!

    Just thinking out loud again. :D
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