Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

dudefacedudeface Registered Users Posts: 7
OK

I posted a while ago and was convinced to buy pre fab panels. I am still in the dark as to what i will need to buy though. My daily usage is is about 130 kw a day and
1100kw/mo when not running ac or heat, 1500kw/mo when using ac's and 3800kw/mo using heaters. WE are going to install a wood burning stove in a few weeks so i
i now get rid of those 1500 watt heaters yay. 130kw a day in winter that is. I dont remember what summers daily usage is.

Ideally i want to power my house. I want out of the 9 cent kw that keeps going up and up. The electric company finds new ways to screw is each year it seems. Now
they are charging an extra 55 bucks a month for another deposit because our usage doubled and doubled again. It's bullshit and i am sick of it. In the winter i have a
good 7-9 hours of sun and unknown for summer but im assuming just as much if not more. I will also build a few DIY windmills to help. I know i may not be able to completely get off the grid right away but im gonna try.

I want to run: 220 hot water heater, 220 stove, 220 dryer, washer, 1-4 gaming desktop computers (2 are 670watts each and the other 2 are less than 500watts. any given time there will be 1 to 3 powered on.) lights (i have no issue going with led lights over comp. florescence, 15-20 bulbs in the house), 2 5000 btu window ac units in summer, odds and ends like power tools on occasion and kitchen stuff including 1000watt microwave. We will try to cook outside every day in the summer to save on juice. I dont know what is possible here but i will not be using electric to heat the house in a few weeks cause it triples my bill. I was also thinking about getting an upright freezer and getting the temperature probe that the freezer plugs into. It's so i can save money on refrigeration as the prove will keep the freezer at 40 degrees by controlling the power it gets. It's supposed to help really save big.

More often than not all we have running is 2 700 watt computers and lights in the house (not including heaters and AC units which are seasonal.) I have a 500 watt plasma tv
running no more than 2-4 hours a couple times per weeks.

I was thinking 2kw of prefab panels from sunelec should do it right? Would 2kw be enough without our heaters on? Was thinking about going with golf cart batteries because of the
price from sams club. How many of those 6v batteries will i need? How many watt inverter will i need? What kinda of charge controller? Can i tie it into my electric box so it uses
battery power first and then draws from the power company when depleted? I was reading that others are using the duracell batteries from sams club and having good experiences with them..heres the link to the batteries. http://www.samsclub.com/sams/duracell-golf-car-battery-group-size-egc2/prod3590220.ip?sprodId=prod3590220

I am absolutely trying to do this as cheaply as possible and i know most will cringe about cutting corners but we simply cant afford our electric anymore. The way i understand it, 9cents per kw is pretty high compared to 2.5cents with solar. < read this somewhere on a forum i think. Any input to get me started?

How many kw of panels, inverter size and controller?

thanks

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    130 kwh (don't forget the the H) a day is a huge load. $.09 kwh is pretty cheap.


    A 1000 watt array depending on your location might yield ~3 kwh/day, so with that in mind you are going to need a system in the 40 kw range. At $5 an installed watt that might cost $200,000. With tax credits and incentives that might drop to maybe $120,000. (now does that $.09 still seem expensive?)

    My suggestion is do a whopping load of conservtion to reduce your loads. Every dollar spent on conservtion might save $5-10 in PV costs.

    Just as an FYI, the average Americqn household uses ~30kwh/day.

    Icarus
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    Lets say you want to use 3,000 kWH per month in winter for Columbus Ohio. Using PV watts with defaults except for 0.52 for off grid, and playing with the numbers, I get around an 80 kW array:
    "Station Identification"
    "City:","Columbus"
    "State:","Ohio"
    "Lat (deg N):", 40.00
    "Long (deg W):", 82.88
    "Elev (m): ", 254
    "PV System Specifications"
    "DC Rating:"," 80.0 kW"
    "DC to AC Derate Factor:"," 0.520"
    "AC Rating:"," 41.6 kW"
    "Array Type: Fixed Tilt"
    "Array Tilt:"," 40.0"
    "Array Azimuth:","180.0"

    "Energy Specifications"
    "Cost of Electricity:"," 8.5 cents/kWh"

    "Results"
    "Month", "Solar Radiation (kWh/m^2/day)", "AC Energy (kWh)", "Energy Value ($)"
    1, 2.91, 3691, 313.74
    2, 3.24, 3732, 317.22
    3, 4.03, 4976, 422.96
    4, 5.07, 5915, 502.78
    5, 5.07, 5846, 496.91
    6, 5.47, 5989, 509.06
    7, 5.26, 5858, 497.93
    8, 5.56, 6283, 534.06
    9, 4.96, 5513, 468.61
    10 , 4.51, 5389, 458.06
    11, 2.77, 3244, 275.74
    12, 2.20, 2661, 226.19
    "Year", 4.26, 59096, 5023.16

    So depending on your needs--You are looking at around a $500,000 to $1,000,000 system (to support your requirements as stated).
    I am absolutely trying to do this as cheaply as possible and i know most will cringe about cutting corners but we simply cant afford our electric anymore. The way i understand it, 9cents per kw is pretty high compared to 2.5cents with solar. < read this somewhere on a forum i think. Any input to get me started?

    I have no idea where these numbers come from... $0.09 per kWH for 3,000 kWH ain't bad... In my area, we around $0.30 to $0.53 per kWH in Northern California (depending on season, time of day, etc.).

    A real rough estimate is that Off Grid Solar Power will cost around $1.00 to $2.00+ per kWH (or very roughly, 10x the cost of utility power). If you try very hard and get the best equipment costs, find good batteries that will last you a couple decades, etc., you might get down to $0.50 to $0.75 per kWH--but that is something that most people will not come near.

    Off grid solar will not save you money if you already have utility power on your property. If you can get Grid Tied Solar, you may save money--But your current rates are already pretty near rock bottom for much of the country.

    If you want to save money--Look at "extreme conservation" first. It is almost always a better investment vs solar power of any kind.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • dudefacedudeface Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    maybe im not understanding this right. so 2kw of panels wouldnt be enough to run the house if we are using say 1500kw a month? i was planning on installing it myself and buying the 240 watt panels for 165.60 each. im very confused by this.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    OK, 2,000 watts (2kW) of panels for Columbus OH with 0.52 off grid system efficiency:
    "Station Identification"
    "City:","Columbus"
    "State:","Ohio"
    "Lat (deg N):", 40.00
    "Long (deg W):", 82.88
    "Elev (m): ", 254
    "PV System Specifications"
    "DC Rating:"," 2.0 kW"
    "DC to AC Derate Factor:"," 0.520"
    "AC Rating:"," 1.0 kW"
    "Array Type: Fixed Tilt"
    "Array Tilt:"," 40.0"
    "Array Azimuth:","180.0"

    "Energy Specifications"
    "Cost of Electricity:"," 8.5 cents/kWh"

    "Results"
    "Month", "Solar Radiation (kWh/m^2/day)", "AC Energy (kWh)", "Energy Value ($)"
    1, 2.91, 92, 7.82
    2, 3.24, 93, 7.91
    3, 4.03, 124, 10.54
    4, 5.07, 148, 12.58
    5, 5.07, 146, 12.41
    6, 5.47, 150, 12.75
    7, 5.26, 146, 12.41
    8, 5.56, 157, 13.35
    9, 4.96, 138, 11.73
    10, 4.51, 135, 11.47
    11, 2.77, 81, 6.88
    12, 2.20, 67, 5.70
    "Year", 4.26, 1477, 125.55

    The third column is kWH per month or "1, 2.91, 92, 7.82" means "January, 2.91 hours of "noontime sun" per day, 92 kWH per month, $7.82 worth of electricit per monthy" at $0.085 per kWH.

    Do it yourself electricity is very expensive. Utility power is (relatively) very cheap.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.
    dudeface wrote: »
    what is extreme conversion? i am looking for it on google and not finding much.

    Extreme CONSERVATION (reduction in the usage of electrical power/any power that costs you money, etc.)-- Spend lots of time analyzing where your are using your energy. Then figure out what energy you can replace (such as wood burning). Next what you don't need (turn off unused appliances when nobody is home), adding lots of insulation to the ceiling, double pane vinyl windows/insulating drapes, using LED lighting, laptop computers, heat pump hot water heater/central heating, energy star appliances, etc.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • dudefacedudeface Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    so according to wat you said earlier...i can generate about 7 bucks of juice back into the grid a day? if thats so if my electric is costing 12 bucks a day...should be a no brainer right? get panels and grid tie inverter?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    The numbers I gave you were for $7.82 worth of off grid solar generated power for the entire month of January--Not per day.

    If you want to go "grid tied"--It is still pretty close to break even for you with your current cost of power... My power costs 3-5x as much as yours, so GT Solar can actually save me money (note, we have tiered pricing and seasonal/peak/off peak billing plans--Which make everything a lot more complex when comparing to other utility plans).

    To do a similar set of data for Grid Tied power, you would use the default 0.77 system derating instead. With a 2kW solar array:
    "Station Identification"
    "City:","Columbus"
    "State:","Ohio"
    "Lat (deg N):", 40.00
    "Long (deg W):", 82.88
    "Elev (m): ", 254
    "PV System Specifications"
    "DC Rating:"," 2.0 kW"
    "DC to AC Derate Factor:"," 0.770"
    "AC Rating:"," 1.5 kW"
    "Array Type: Fixed Tilt"
    "Array Tilt:"," 40.0"
    "Array Azimuth:","180.0"

    "Energy Specifications"
    "Cost of Electricity:"," 8.5 cents/kWh"

    "Results"
    "Month", "Solar Radiation (kWh/m^2/day)", "AC Energy (kWh)", "Energy Value ($)"
    1, 2.91, 141, 11.98
    2, 3.24, 142, 12.07
    3, 4.03, 189, 16.07
    4, 5.07, 224, 19.04
    5, 5.07, 222, 18.87
    6, 5.47, 227, 19.30
    7, 5.26, 223, 18.96
    8, 5.56, 239, 20.32
    9, 4.96, 210, 17.85
    10, 4.51, 204, 17.34
    11, 2.77, 124, 10.54
    12, 2.20, 103, 8.76
    "Year", 4.26, 2249, 191.16

    January is up to 141 kWH per month and $11.98 worth of power (again, for the month of January).

    If you wanted to offset ~$12 worth of power PER DAY, your array would need to be ~30x larger (for the poor sun month of January).

    Utility billing plans are all over the map--And you will need to understand yours to see how much solar can save you. Some companies are starting to have very high connect fees (just to plug into the grid), others do not pay very much for solar generated power, etc.... It is your billing plan that will tell you how much you can save with solar, or not.

    One interesting think to pay attention too... In summer, "waste" heat from your fridge, computers, lighting, etc. heats the house and costs you money to run the A/C. In winter, the "waste heat" is actually helping to heat your home. If you start "extreme conservation", you may find you need to supply even more heat to your home due to the reduction in heat from conservation efforts.

    Again--Before you spend $1 on solar power (GT or off grid), taking a hard look at your current power usage will tell you a lot. For electric hot water, a heat pump type water heater can save upwards of 50% to 66% on your hot water costs. In summer, you might even get hot water for near free (using the A/C to provide heat for the hot water).

    700 Watt computers--If those are gaming computers, there is probably not much that can be done to save power other than turning them off when not in use. Otherwise, a laptop that takes 20-60 watts would save lots of energy....

    Energy usage is a highly personal choice--The best we can do is give you the tools (such as a kill-a-watt meter for plug in devices, and/or a whole house monitor for big loads), and let you make the decision...

    For example, two computers running at 700 watts for 24 hours per day times 30 days per month cost you:
    • 2 * 0.7 kWatts * 24 hours per day * 30 days per month * $0.09 per kWH = $90.72 per month
    • 2 * 0.7 kWatts * 24 hours per day * 30 days per month = 1,008 kWH per month

    Is that too much cost for the function you receive or not?

    For me, those two computers use about 3-4 times as much electric power as I run my whole house on per month. Of course, I have natural gas for heating/hot water/cooking, etc. which is another ~$20 to $60 or so per month (summer/winter).

    Not to say that you are using too much power or that I am really "green"... There are many folks here that use way power than I. At this point, I am comfortable with my power costs (GT covers all my electrical costs plus $5 per month meter charge, + my natural gas bill).

    Your needs are just way different than mine at this point in my life.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,650 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    Hey Dude, I posted in your previous thread about the cheapest off grid I've seen being 26 cents a Kwh... Did you miss that, most every one will tell you you will be hard pressed to get under 70 cents a Kwh (and for the most part they are right!)

    You seemed to abandoned the previous thread, so maybe you didn't read it...

    gww1 gave the information about his location and I sent him a PM about a $2 a watt grid tied program offered by his electric company...

    You can hunt here; http://www.dsireusa.org/

    Solar's not FREE, it's not Cheap, it can be cost effective over time and in locations like the southwest with abundent sun and/or places with high electric costs, like southern California. And in some locations with good rebate programs or feed in tarrifs.
    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.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,650 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.
    dudeface wrote: »
    More often than not all we have running is 2 700 watt computers and lights in the house (not including heaters and AC units which are seasonal.)

    Most of the people on the forum and all those who are off grid could add, water heater? unless you shut it off and on manually. Fridge? Freezer? if you have one. Satilite or cable box, TV on Stand by? pretty much anything with a clock or remote is drawing electric...

    Most homes after heating or A/C with electric, Hotwater is the next biggest user, turn it down or putting it on a timer (Grey Box is a brand of timer) can save you a good bit of money with minimal costs. Not much you can do about the fridge, if it's more than 10 years old it might be cost effective to replace it. Some have put their Freezers on a timer as well shutting it off for 4 hours at a time... no experience with that.

    TV and cable box can be put on a power strip and turned off when not in use. It's been posted that some satalitie receivers use as much electric off as on...

    A Kill-A-Watt meter can tell you how much energy some of these things are using.
    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.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    Dudeface, not to put too fine a point on it, or to be insulting, but seriously, your energy consumption is obscenely out of wack, unless you're running some sort of factory or grow-op in your basement.
    You don't need a solar system, you need your own personal version of Hoover Dam.
    And at just 9 cents per Kwh, you're one of the luckiest people on this planet!
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    For example, heat and A/C options. Ground source and hot water recovery heat pumps ar very much more efficient than conventional A\C. Direct soar hot water is very much cheaper and more efficient than using PV. 500 watt desk tops and TVs? Modern units burn way less, have you changed out all your bulbs to CFL/LEDs? Modernized your fridge? (a new fride will consume less than half the power of one ten years old). As I said before, it is way cheaper to conserve a WH of power than it is to generate it.

    I would Ike to see a copy of your electric bill (can you scan it and post it). I am wondering if you are reading it correctly. Also nee to spend some more time learning the basics, and abut your consumption habits before you " ready, fire, aim" into solar. Your continued use of "KW" when the think you mean "KWH" makes me wonder if you actually know the difference.

    For example, a toaster oven might draw 1000 watts. Run that oven for 1 hour and you will have consumed 1000 watt/hours (WH) or stated differently, 1 Kilowatt/hour, KWH.

    Good luck, and keep in touch,

    Tony
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    I have an all electric house with gas cook top, solar thermal water heat with gas backup, heat pumps for heating/cooling, electric washer/dryer and a swimming pool. We drive and charge 2 Chevy Volts off our system. Our utility is pretty solar friendly and allows us to net meter and bank kWh to use in the summer months for AC which we use quite a bit. Our system is 12.5 kWh grid tied. We have a TOU plan that is $0.175 a kWh on peak from 9AM to 9PM Mon-Fri and about $0.055 kWh off peak. We did the extreme conservation routine first, new heat pumps with a higher seer rating, more insulation, new energy star appliances (fridge and freezer), CFLs and LED lighting, VFD pool pump with a programmable controller and all the computers were converted to MAC mini's(4) which draw very little at idle/sleep about the same as a laptop. We did chase some phantom loads but not so much as an extreme off gridder might. We then added a TED 5000 to measure our overall loads and start to plan on load shifting to off peak where possible. That being said, on the peak month of July our house used 2436 kWh, the office/workshop use 625 kWh and the car charging used 372 kWh for a whopping consumption of 3433 kWH, our solar generated 1882 kWh that month. The rest of our consumption came from our bank of kWh we built up in the spring months, ~600 kWh and $27 purchased for off peak generation + $47 for deliver charges (1208 kwh). Normally even in a non heating and cooling month our bill is still at least $25 for all the fees and such. For instance in March we banked about 750 kWh on peak and still bought 356 kWh of off peak (about $7.26 @ $0.021 kWh) but because we pushed more in at that point in the year than we bought no delivery charge. Net metering plans can be very complex, our utility helped a lot in our decision to go solar by explaining the calculations in extreme detail to us, the delivery charge was the hardest to grasp as it has no bearing to the on peak, off peak totals and is based on year to date not monthly.

    We still buy most of our off peak power from the utility, but mostly our on peak is covered by the solar system. Our bills went from $5500 annually to about $350. You will find that with the right net metering plan and a good TOU rate you can reduce your bill considerably. With TOU plan you can reduce the bill even without solar by load shifting and get a better idea of the benefit of solar for your situation. It is all about the numbers, look at PVwatts for your location and do the math and it may or may not make financial sense especially @ $0.09 kWh. Your pay back could be very many years with that rate. BTW if I lived in California with those weird tiered rates I would have solar, no question.

    BTW we are not done in the conservation routine, still looking at cost effective ways to conserve like shooting the house with retro-foam, using window film on the south and west facing windows, insulating the garage and maybe even add some more solar to the mix since prices have come down so much and our consumption has popped back up from the car chargers.

    You will find if you do the numbers that off grid power is extremely expensive and the utility grid is the cheapest battery in the world with the right net metering plan.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    I forgot to add some links... Kill-a-Watt type meter (120 VAC 15 amp plug in appliances) and a Whole Home Monitor such as the TED.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Ski66Ski66 Registered Users Posts: 11 ✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    Hello , I am an amateur with Solar, even though I have been running a small off grid to offset our electric for about 3 years.

    With a moderator’s permission, I would like to try to shed some light on the importance of energy reduction.

    First fully understand your electric bill the .09 may be the generations charge only , but to see the actual amount you are paying per KWh.

    You would take the Total amount of the bill and divide the amount by the meter reading that will show the actual kwh you have used in a month. Our electric bill states we pay .09 per kWh. For instance, let’s say my bill is 132.66 , and I used 796 Khw that month (according to the meter reading) then take the 132.66 divide it by 796 = .166 , so now I know with the meter charge, generation charge, transmission / distribution charge, and taxes,,,,

    I actually pay .166 per Kwh. which is still pretty good.

    Solar has turn into a fascinating passion for me , but it started with energy reduction. Our house is 3600 sq ft, we have tv's , bar, game room ,pinball machines etc. We also have three refrigerator’s ( one that was over 30 yrs old ) When our Electric bill started to stretch out our financial capabilities I started with energy Reduction using a Kill-a-watt meter , and an ENVI monitor ( I believe if you cannot see the electric you cannot control it ) this device allowed me to see what every device uses, from a single light bulb to the central air. I believe their site is http://www.currentcost.com/products.html Please consider professional installation and check with your local , state and government laws for the application of these devises. If allowed, it was a a great tool for me.

    Here are some simple upgrades I have done. Changed all lights to LED , including the ones in the refridgerators, You maybe surprised how many lights you really have, as I was.

    TV upgrades : I went from a 47 inch LCD that used 210 watts to a 60 inch LED that only uses 54 watts ( saving 156 watts per hr ) on one upgrade.
    Also I use the mechanical timers on every Tv ,and cable box , that shuts off at midnight ,and on around 2 in the afternoon. as when totaling them up they would use about 75 watts consistently when the tv's are off ( Ghost watts) , the timer stops the standby or ghost watts. Our Tv cable person said " it only take a very little electric” Well, I said that’s like saying my car tire only has a very small leak,,, but I am re-filling it up every week. Now when I go to a store to purchase an appliance I even bring my kill-a-watt meter with me and with the permission of the sales person ( they usually let you use it ) we look at the actual electric it uses. Remember the sales person wants to sell their product, and sometimes this even gives them some education for future sales. These simple upgrades on appliances have let us cut our energy by 2/3 less without even using any solar at that time. Hope you will find some of this information helpful. Again I am an amateur on solar , however this forum has been extremely helpful. I wish I could give something to everyone's favorite charity, as the knowledge and savings I have incurred has allowed us to afford a better life style, being able to allocate the savings to our medical needs, and general living cost.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    In our preparation for transition from on-grid to off-grid, we have cut our power consumption by more than 50%, and we're not completely done yet.

    We haven't sacrificed our lifestyle. Most of the changes that we did actually improved our lifestyle.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    Very nicely put Ski... For people that have not really done any conservation before, it is very possible to see a 50% reduction in energy usage--Your 2/3rds reduction is very impressive.

    Also, the point about the entire energy bill is important too... It relates to how utilities bill. In our region (northern California), they attempt to keep smaller bills lower by transfering costs to those with larger bills... So, we start at ~$5 a month metering charge and $0.12 or so per kWH electric bill. However, the more power used, the higher the rates (around 900 kWH a month, my bills go upwards of $0.40 to $0.53 per kWH for summer afternoons). Of course, I don't ever use that much power.

    Other utilities are seeing that people with solar and through conservation are reducing their bill significantly... And to get around that, some utilities are starting to institute higher metering/bases charges... One person here had something like a $25+ base charge, and otherwise used very little power (small, energy efficient cabin--if I recall correctly).

    The base charges were becoming large enough that it, in this case, made sense to go full off grid and and cut the utility power completely.

    Power companies, very roughly, pay 50% of the bill to the actual companies sourcing the power (generation and long distance transmission), and the other 50% is the local distribution network and ties to the customer (plus billing, profit, etc.).

    If the "average user" bill is ~$120 per month--That would mean about $60 goes to the utility to run the local lines, and 50% to the generation (fuel, transmission, generators, etc.).

    So--the utilities and the regulators are between a rock and a hard place... Either start charging more for large energy consumers, or start charging more for the fixed interconnect costs.

    California is charging the large users more money (which makes it more worth while to go GT solar, conserve, etc. and reduce the utility revenue) to subsidize small consumers (note, running out of other people's money).

    Or the powers that be charge for local infrastructure based on peak loads, and a second charge for generation costs (fuel, etc.) which is how commercial customers are billed (and why solar GT is so difficult to figure out if it makes sense or not for commercial customers).

    This is a complex issue (billing and GT solar vs going "off grid"). Do the research first. Then conservation--Which pretty much always saves more money that trying to generate your own power. After the first two are done--Then look at alternative power plans (Grid Tied, Off grid, co-generation, etc.).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SkippySkippy Solar Expert Posts: 308 ✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.
    dudeface wrote: »
    maybe im not understanding this right. so 2kw of panels wouldnt be enough to run the house if we are using say 1500kw a month? i was planning on installing it myself and buying the 240 watt panels for 165.60 each. im very confused by this.

    Being a fellow newbie too this whole solar thing myself as well, I would like to look at the other side of the equation as well.... the way I look at it, is if you get a 2 kw solar array, that would give you 2 kw a day, times that by 30 days a month, and you get 60 kw a month. . . I know, before you guys say anything, it KWH ! Don't forget the HOURS ! !

    I know, it is probably wrong, and way out of wack, and the guys on here are probably shaking their heads at me, but if saves alot of disapointment, when you connect a panel, and think you can run the world off of it. . . anything over and above that figure , is a bonus.

    So, using this formula, I would guess that you would need 1500 kw / 30 days = 50 kw of solar panels.

    Turn everything off except the fridge. - i.e. reduce - reduce - reduce . If it makes heat, turn it off - if it makes cold and you can live without it - turn it off . . .

    Not trying to be mean here, just honest. I bought a 1,000 dollars worth of panels, and found out their garbage, your not alone.

    You don't make as much as you think, and you use alot more than you know - it sucks, but its true.
    2 - 255W + 4 - 285W PV - Tristar 45 MPPT CC / 3 - 110W PV -wired for 36V- 24V Sunsaver MPPT CC / midnite bat. monitor.
    1 KW PSW inverter 24V / 2.5 KW MSW inverter-24V ~ 105 AHR battery.
    3 ton GSHP.- 100 gallon warm water storage / house heat - radiant floor / rad
    9 -220W PV - net meter - Enphase inverters and internet reporting system.
    420 Gallon rain water system for laundry.***  6" Rocket Mass Heater with 10' bed for workshop heat.
    Current project is drawing up plans for a below grade Hobbit / underground home.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.
    Skippy wrote: »
    Not trying to be mean here, just honest. I bought a 1,000 dollars worth of panels, and found out their garbage, your not alone.

    You're in Ontario, right? If your panels qualify for microFIT program, you can sell the energy they produce. If I'm not mistaken, they pay 80 cents/kWh. You'll make your money back very quickly.
  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 439 ✭✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    Hi Dude,
    Newbie here myself. Just 2 days ago we turned on a 2kw PV system (to meet our est 4Kwh/day needs).

    I totally agree, conservation is the way to go. Prior to going off grid my small family underwent a power 'fast'. We switched from a (typical for us) ~18 kwh/day routine to a 2.6amp hour power drill battery - which we lived on for 6 months. No fridge - ate freshly grown produce, used a cooler occasionally, stored a few items in the fridge at work. Ran the genny only when we ran big power tools, or did laundry. Used AA powered motion detector lights, propane for cooking/showers.

    4kwh will now seem luxurious.
    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • SkippySkippy Solar Expert Posts: 308 ✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    You're in Ontario, right? If your panels qualify for microFIT program, you can sell the energy they produce. If I'm not mistaken, they pay 80 cents/kWh. You'll make your money back very quickly.

    Nope.

    The panels I have here are not CSA certified. So I cannot legally hook them to the grid... period. Unless I spend the extra money to get the inverter and batteries (1,200 $ ) and go "off grid", their useless . . i.e. garbage. Even if I get a CSA certified inverter, I still can't use these panels on the system. . . Funny thing is, when I price out "Canadian Made" "Canadian Approved" or "Canadian Certified" . . the panels come to about 4 $ a watt . . when I can get panels elsewhere for 1$ watt. . .

    I don't have to worry about the hydro company making B.S excusses, the government has set it up for them.

    My little set up here would not be worth the 10,000 $ it would take in red tape to get hooked up with microfit. . .

    Oh, and they have changed the start up price for the micro fit last I heard. . . they realized that it was unsustainable at that price and had too many people signing up for it, so they dropped it down, to what I do not know. . . I am not rich enough to get richer, so I don't pay attention to it.

    Sorry, my post got a bit bitter there. . :p
    2 - 255W + 4 - 285W PV - Tristar 45 MPPT CC / 3 - 110W PV -wired for 36V- 24V Sunsaver MPPT CC / midnite bat. monitor.
    1 KW PSW inverter 24V / 2.5 KW MSW inverter-24V ~ 105 AHR battery.
    3 ton GSHP.- 100 gallon warm water storage / house heat - radiant floor / rad
    9 -220W PV - net meter - Enphase inverters and internet reporting system.
    420 Gallon rain water system for laundry.***  6" Rocket Mass Heater with 10' bed for workshop heat.
    Current project is drawing up plans for a below grade Hobbit / underground home.
  • NilaNila Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭
    Re: Think im gonna do it. more info needed.

    I would suggest http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/ , around same cost as TED basic model.. requires bit more skills to install but has tons of features .
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