Should i go with or without batterys

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gtxkid
gtxkid Solar Expert Posts: 34 ✭✭
I have been approved for my solar.
Now they give me a Year to get it done.

They will pay me $4.50 rebate on equipment.
So the Question is should i go with or without batteries.

My elect. bill only averages 50.00 a month.

Power only goes out a few times a year and not for very long.

Comments

  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,477 admin
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    Grid Tied systems (no batteries) are the cheapest, most efficient, and have the fewest parts that need repair/replacement. They work great until your power goes down.

    Off-Grid and Hybrid Systems (GT+Off-Grid) are more expensive and you have battery maintenance + replacement every 10 or so years. The Hybrid system is nice if you want/need emergency backup power (think of it as a giant UPS--and you can connect a fuel driven generator for longer outages in bad weather).

    For me, I would love to have a Hybrid system (my system was installed before the current Xantex XW system was available)--but in real life--we have perhaps a 1 hour power failure once every year or so--and I can live without power for that period of time. Plus, I got a small 1,600watt Honda eu2000i genset plus a few 5 gallons cans of fuel in the shed if longer outages occur (have not had to fire up a genset in 25+ years for any reason). 20 gallons of fuel will last me ~10 days - 2 weeks (mostly to run a fridge/freezer and a few lights/radio). Just drain the gas into my car once a year and get fresh fuel+stabilizer (at this point, it is also a savings account the way fuel prices are going up every year again).

    Look at the Xantrex XW system (it is amazingly nice) if you really want a whole house UPS...

    Otherwise, spend the money on conservation and a small backup genset (if needed/wanted--get a quiet inverter/generator type--the normal 5kW $300 generators are way too noisy and burn way too much fuel). Pure GT is more practical for most people.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    Bill has it right. Unless you are plagued with lots of longer power outages, I would buy a good genny instead. Remember, batteries have a higher upfront cost, and a much higher lifecycle cost. ( I know Niel feels a bit differently)

    Another reason to forgo the batteries is that in order to get a reasonable useful battery capacity to run your house in much the same way you do now, you will need a quite large battery bank.

    Tony
  • gtxkid
    gtxkid Solar Expert Posts: 34 ✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    I didn't think about a generator

    Thanks
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    in this case tony i agree with you that a batteryless gt system is in order unless the op can't live without the power for a few hours a few times a year, but even then as stated a generator can be used.
  • RandomJoe
    RandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    In general, I agree with the above sentiment - however, there are some corner cases where I'm quite happy I didn't just go with a generator. Most notably, the two outages I had this summer (only 2-3 hours, so still not that big of a deal on the whole) were in the wee hours of the morning. My neighbors would have been most unhappy with me for firing up a generator at 4-5AM! :p

    Both times I had just gotten up and needed to do some things, I had lights, computer and net access without going out to fire up a generator. The last time I also had my clothes in the (gas) dryer and needed to finish them. Just plug the dryer into the inverter, and that was taken care of as well.

    But I also have an interest in this stuff that goes beyond just "saving money" or "being green" (I'm an EE and play with electronics and controls for a living) so maintaining a battery bank isn't a big deal to me. In fact, it's turned into a fun hobby! :cool:

    My system is an off-grid one, for the items I don't leave on it 24x7 I manually move over to the inverter during an outage. If I were to go grid-tie (and I'm sorely tempted to install a Xantrex system) there's no way I'd do so without at least a small battery bank to maintain "critical loads" - seems silly to me to have a nice power production system that does me no good whatsoever at the most opportune time, when the grid goes down!
  • gtxkid
    gtxkid Solar Expert Posts: 34 ✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    Hmmmmmmmm

    I have $1,000.00 dollar credit at Yamaha shop, but do not know what generator they have that i should look at.

    And then what about the Rebate power CO is giving me.
    They pay me $4.50 back on equipment.

    What would be better to use Rebate for Battery's or 1K at Yamaha.
    Greg
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    Yamaha,,,, every day of the week! Remember, batteries have a fairly limited life span, Yamaha run once a month to exercise will out live you. (Unless you really have an unreliable grid).

    Tony
  • RandomJoe
    RandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    If you have a credit at the Yamaha store, I'd definitely go for the generator. They make a line that is comparable to the Hondas. The EF2000is has similar specs to the Honda EU2000i a few of us keep going on about.

    I should be clear about my previous post, that is just what *I* would do - and I know I'm not too close to normal anymore... :blush: However, I also bought the generator (EU2000i) - both are important to my plans. My primary driver for doing any of this alternative energy stuff in the first place was a power outage - sat in the dark and cold for a couple days two years ago. Determined not to do so again! That makes my motivations different, and frankly I don't care if my system ever achieves financial payback as that's not why I put it in!

    My grid isn't all that unreliable, but looked at over my lifetime... I wonder where things are going! The first 25-30 years of my life, outages more than 15 minutes were rare and memorable events. I never had one that lasted most of a day. But in the last 10 years or so I have had numerous multi-hour outages and two ice storm induced multi-day outages. (And I was lucky, last ice storm I was out two days, others I know were out over two WEEKS!) Still not enough instances to say "unreliable grid" but it sure is inconvenient, considering my lifestyle - I'm a nut for computers and other electronic gadgets!
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    I live off grid and if the rates were reasonable I'd much rather be grid connected, I use $5-7 of electric each month(maybe , but have a $25 user fee before I would buy any electric.

    Also please define your rebate $4.50 isn't going to get you any where, $4.50 per connected watt, well thats one heck of a rebate, with the 30% tax credit (if your in the US) that would be GREAT!
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • gtxkid
    gtxkid Solar Expert Posts: 34 ✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys

    $4.50 is on the new equipment only.

    The way i think it works is if a solar panel cost $1,000.00 they rebate $450.00 of this.

    Also i am going to switch from Outback inverter to Enphase.
    This new product will allow me to hook up some misl. panel i have.
    I am in Colorado and power co is called Black Hills
    I put my application in when it was good price's, i know now that it has been coming down.
    I also do not care about financial payback.

    Greg
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Should i go with or without batterys
    gtxkid wrote: »
    I also do not care about financial payback.

    If your doing this for the Green aspects Grid connect has a significant energy payback while off grid is a wash at best. Grid connected the energy used to create the system will equal 1/6-1/10X the energy that is created over the life of the panels, off grid energy used to create the system (including batteries) may equal the amount of energy created by the system over the life of the panels.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.