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October 02, 2022, 04:05:20 pm
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Author Topic: Solar Installers  (Read 4084 times)
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« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2022, 11:06:46 pm »

The hoops PSO makes you jump thru to connect to their grid AND sell back your excess generation (Net Metering) appear to discourage anyone from investing
in a solar backup system.  Homeowners may consider just doing away with Net Metering (and their second meter) if thats the only way they can use their own generated power in an emergency while maintaining the safety of PSO's people and equipment.  The PSO document below is terribly out of date  given the capabilities of state-of-the-art home solar generation:

One of my uncles was involved in the early detection of power system failures and preventing utility workers from being endangered from home generation systems. He never got a dime from his work.  :-(

I am at the end of a feeder line and frequently experience power failures when houses across the street still have power.  I am no fan of PSO. If I ever get a backup system, I would not so much be interested in selling back power as keeping my refrigerator, freezer, AC/heater and water (well water pump) going.
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patric
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« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2022, 10:24:55 am »

One of my uncles was involved in the early detection of power system failures and preventing utility workers from being endangered from home generation systems. He never got a dime from his work.  :-(

I am at the end of a feeder line and frequently experience power failures when houses across the street still have power.  I am no fan of PSO. If I ever get a backup system, I would not so much be interested in selling back power as keeping my refrigerator, freezer, AC/heater and water (well water pump) going.

Sofar all the solar companies I have visited with have based their business model on the belief that the goals of their customers are to stick it to the (PSO) man by generating their own power.  For me, a whole-house UPS that takes over in 4 microseconds when someone knocks down a utility pole has serious geek appeal.

I dont see exporting my excess generation to the utility company as a necessity, but PSO's 2021 "Requirements for the Interconnection of Distributed Generation or Energy Storage Systems"  https://www.psoklahoma.com/lib/docs/business/builders/PSO-CompleteGuidetoInterconnection2021.pdf  assumes I do, and bases that assumption on old data.

For example... before the output of your system can even reach your fusebox it must first pass thru a second, PSO-provided "production meter" which is essentially just another AMI Smart Meter that PSO can turn on and off remotely at will.  The stated purpose is to meter how much power your system is producing without regard to whether or not you choose to sell any of it to them.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2022, 11:05:29 pm by patric » Logged

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patric
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« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2022, 11:40:45 am »

Two major questions to ask a solar installer:

Will my solar system work during a power failure?
Will my solar system work without an internet connection?

For your "standard" installation, the answer to both of these questions is no.
If your installer isnt willing to work with you to change that, you find an installer that will.
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« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2022, 01:43:03 pm »

Our average bill was $70 or so. We have a pretty efficient house and don't use a ton of electricity. But were quoted $4/KW of installed solar panels, so I think we will go with it. I would give radical and shine solar a call. They are two pretty different companies. Radical is much smaller and not as polished, whereas shine solar had fun web apps and all that jazz.


Most likely closer to $4 per Watt installed solar.   The panels themselves if you bought them yourself are near $1 per watt, depending on brand, voltage, and capacity.  


For everyone;
As for saving money with solar - it ain't gonna happen in Oklahoma!   Not for years, anyway!   A much better, more cost effective, and much cheaper approach is to upgrade other things at your house!   Just blowing more insulation into the attic will have the most cost effective improvement you can do.  Do it yourself and there is no excuse to do anything else first!

If anyone just wants to spend money on reducing energy costs, after the insulation, wall insulation.  Then seal up everything!   Get all the old insulation out of the attic, go around and seal all the leaks, then blow in a couple feet of cellulose!  Seal all the sills around the base boards and the electrical outlets.  Bonus - you have a built in insect repellent sitting there!  And fire resistant!  Get a blower door test before and after to see how much things are improved - I would bet that if you seal all those things, you will still have enough leaks not to worry about ERV ventilation, but it you do, that is a very cost effective thing to add!   Exhaust the bathroom(s) and kitchen, supply all the other rooms.  ERV so you also get the humidity part of that.

Then windows - if you don't want to replace, buy storm windows to add on.

After all that, and if you are handy with home projects, and willing to lose 3" floor space to every outside wall - and only the outside walls, install a 2" layer of poli-iso foam to the existing sheet rock.  Then re-sheet rock, tape, and paint.  There will be some minor electrical, and window bucks will be needed, but those are fairly small parts of this.  Instant R-10 addition to the house walls.  Since the existing sheet rock stays, you get air, water, and vapor barrier going on, too.    Plus new paint throughout.  This is a great home DIY that can be done one room at a time to minimize disruption, if you want.

DO NOT waste time and money on the aluminum foil plastic "insulation"!!   They are NOT insulation!   They are a radiant barrier that doesn't mean squat in 99% of the houses in this country!  You won't save the cost of the plastic with that!   Let alone installation costs....




« Last Edit: June 27, 2022, 01:57:37 pm by heironymouspasparagus » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: June 27, 2022, 07:19:25 pm »

https://arstechnica.com/science/2022/06/tesla-cleverly-bundling-its-battery-users-to-reduce-grid-demand/

I'm sure we are quite a ways from something like this, but this type of system would make the battery prices a lot more reasonable than they currently are. Though I imagine the more the batteries make sense, the more expensive they get, blah.
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« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2022, 01:12:49 am »

What is the life expectancy of these systems?  Is it considered in the overall cost of ownership/electricity?

I am thinking of the sticker shock many Electric Vehicle owners will experience when they have to replace the battery in their EV.  Of course many EV owners will trade for a newer EV and just absorb the depreciation.  The new owner may or may not get a price that reflects the need for a new battery.  EVs may move to the value methods of airplanes where the value is somewhat separated to airframe, engine(s) and avionics.  An EV (or really any car) value would be basic mechanical, battery and motor (or IC engine and tranny) and "technology" which is just electronics that will break and not be supported by the manufacturer.  Changing avionics in a airplane is expensive but relatively easy since there are standard "rack" and instrument sizes.  Not so much in automobiles.
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« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2022, 07:52:28 am »

You would definitely use up your battery faster through this method, which would need to be calculated as part of the worth. I'm not sure how it would change that equation though.

As far as the EV, I think the hardest part is that you are kinda moving back to the K-Car era of a car becoming a liability after 10-15 years. 10 years after not spending money on maintenance you all of a sudden realize that you need to drop $10k so the car can drive more than 50 miles at once? It will be a shocker.
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tulsabug
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« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2022, 10:04:11 am »

I don't think the battery replacement issue in EVs is an actual issue - most will easily go 200k while 300k-500k is more typical, especially with newer batteries. Also Federal law requires the warranty on the batteries to run 8 years or 100k. With the cost usually being around 10k-15k, it's really no different than an engine plus you're spending less during that time on brakes, transmissions in most cases, and of course nothing on oil changes and the other regular expenses of an ICE (but more of tires). There was talk ,similar to what you mention about planes, about doing cars where you buy the chassis basically (with all the mechanical and electrical parts) and then manufacturers can offer new bodies so you can send your car back to the factory where they R&R as needed on those bits and then put the latest body and interior in it. I really don't see that happening as it's much faster to build from scratch that to rebuild something but we'll see.

Solid state battery tech is what will be the gamechanger. Give it 5 years and I think the EV landscape will look completely different.
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« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2022, 12:23:25 pm »

I can break this down into two general types of on-the-grid solar installations:

1.  You collect and store power, and use some of it to offset your normal daily consumption.
What you dont use you can sell back to PSO for pennies on the dollar (net metering).
This export *may* also help to stabilize the power supply in your neighborhood.
In a power failure, you can NOT use your stored power because PSO (or software) disables the entire solar system.


2.  You collect and store power, and use some of it to offset your normal daily consumption.
What you dont use remains stored in your battery as a backup in case of a power failure.
You do NOT have the option of selling back any of that stored power.
In a power failure, your battery takes over and continues to supply power to your home.


As fate would have it, solar installers assume everyone wants the first option, and their customers are shocked to discover they are still in the dark when PSO goes down.

Newer solar controllers monitor the grid, and will not ever send back power to the grid during a power failure.  That is a major safety point that older systems may not have adequately addresses, and I believe that is a significant reason PSO is still falling back on outdated regulation.
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« Reply #39 on: July 07, 2022, 03:27:13 pm »

INewer solar controllers monitor the grid, and will not ever send back power to the grid during a power failure.  That is a major safety point that older systems may not have adequately addresses, and I believe that is a significant reason PSO is still falling back on outdated regulation.

It's about time.  In the 1970s one of my uncles developed (and patented) a system to use the waste heat of a diesel fuel powered electric generator set to make hot water and sell the electricity back to the utilities.  The really important thing was to monitor the grid to sense a failure which he did. His house used an oil burner to make hot water to heat the potable water and to heat the house which was common in suburban Phila PA.  He never got to do much with it because the utilities weren't interested in buying electricity.


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« Reply #40 on: July 08, 2022, 04:16:29 pm »

I can break this down into two general types of on-the-grid solar installations:

1.  You collect and store power, and use some of it to offset your normal daily consumption.
What you dont use you can sell back to PSO for pennies on the dollar (net metering).
This export *may* also help to stabilize the power supply in your neighborhood.
In a power failure, you can NOT use your stored power because PSO (or software) disables the entire solar system.


2.  You collect and store power, and use some of it to offset your normal daily consumption.
What you dont use remains stored in your battery as a backup in case of a power failure.
You do NOT have the option of selling back any of that stored power.
In a power failure, your battery takes over and continues to supply power to your home.


As fate would have it, solar installers assume everyone wants the first option, and their customers are shocked to discover they are still in the dark when PSO goes down.

Newer solar controllers monitor the grid, and will not ever send back power to the grid during a power failure.  That is a major safety point that older systems may not have adequately addresses, and I believe that is a significant reason PSO is still falling back on outdated regulation.


Either way, still a sucker bet until have done all the other energy savings things (above).  For power down backup - a small generator, if you have natural gas coming to the house, will be way better than any of the solar options.  Cheaper from the start, clear through to the end!   

Now if there was a small, reasonably priced solar backup system - still with a small generator (Honda 1,000 W maybe) - available that just keeps humming along in the background until power out, that might make sense.  Still need electrician to install electrical switchover to backup when power is out.  And just power the critical things like fridge, or heater, small window unit and/or some fans, till electric is back on.  That might make sense.



 


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« Reply #41 on: July 08, 2022, 04:36:52 pm »


Either way, still a sucker bet until have done all the other energy savings things (above).  For power down backup - a small generator, if you have natural gas coming to the house, will be way better than any of the solar options.  Cheaper from the start, clear through to the end! 

When I started researching backup power it seemed like Generac was the way to go, but the more you research the more disillusioned you get.

Generac installers have a clause in their contracts that allow them to do whatever they "feel necessary" to finish the job, and you agree to pay with an essentially blank check.  How about an extra thousand for a dedicated gas line?
Generac is open-frame alternator technology that is a mangled, noisy AC waveform where voltage and frequency wander all over the place. How much of your sensitive electronics do you feel like replacing?
If you dont maintain a 24/7 internet connection, it doesnt get commands from the server (in China?) and wont operate automatically in a blackout.
They rumble your house, and your neighbors. Like someone parked a reefer truck in your driveway.
And lastly, natural gas supply seems rock solid until you look at how much of that infrastructure literally froze a year and a half ago last February (when people in Texas were burning furniture for heat).
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« Reply #42 on: July 08, 2022, 05:53:41 pm »

And when they ban natural gas and propane by 2040, what will you power your generator with? CA/NY/WA all have banned or are planning to ban natural gas in new construction, you are only allowed electric for stoves/water heaters/furnaces.

Quote
(CNN)In 2019, the city council in Berkeley, California, held a stunning vote: it would ban natural gas hookups in all new building construction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the city's impact on the climate crisis.

No gas furnaces in new homes, the council said. No gas stoves or ovens.
Other progressive cities followed suit with similar bans. San Francisco passed its own ban in 2020. New York City became the largest US city to pass a version in 2021, with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul vowing to pass a statewide law that would ban natural gas by 2027.
But other municipalities looking to take similar action are running into a brick wall. Twenty states with GOP-controlled legislatures have passed so-called "preemption laws" that prohibit cities from banning natural gas.
It's bad news for municipal climate action: Taking natural gas out of the equation and switching to electric appliances is one of the most effective ways cities can tackle the climate crisis and lower their emissions, multiple experts told CNN.

"Natural gas bans are kind of low-hanging fruit," said Georgetown Law professor Sheila Foster, an environmental law expert. Foster said cities can make a significant impact by moving away from natural gas and toward electricity, especially considering what little federal action there's been on climate, and the mixed record of states.

The climate stakes are high. Residential and commercial emissions made up 13% of total US emissions in 2019, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. About 80% of those emissions came from the combustion of natural gas, the fuel that heats homes or powers a restaurant's cooking stoves, and emits planet-warming gases like methane and carbon dioxide in the process.

But clean alternatives exist: Electric heat pumps can heat homes more sustainably than gas furnaces; induction ranges can replace gas stoves. And experts stress that to fully transition to renewable energy sources like solar and wind, homes and businesses need to operate on electricity -- not gas.


https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/17/politics/natural-gas-ban-preemptive-laws-gop-climate/index.html

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« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2022, 12:23:30 am »

And when they ban natural gas and propane by 2040, what will you power your generator with? CA/NY/WA all have banned or are planning to ban natural gas in new construction, you are only allowed electric for stoves/water heaters/furnaces.
https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/17/politics/natural-gas-ban-preemptive-laws-gop-climate/index.html

From the  link:
Quote
The climate stakes are high. Residential and commercial emissions made up 13% of total US emissions in 2019, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. About 80% of those emissions came from the combustion of natural gas, the fuel that heats homes or powers a restaurantís cooking stoves, and emits planet-warming gases like methane and carbon dioxide in the process.

Natural gas is methane.  Please explain how burning methane emits methane.  CO2 yes, methane no.
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« Reply #44 on: July 09, 2022, 12:30:52 am »

In areas where electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels, banning natural gas for heating and cooking is probably not environmentally friendly.

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