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Thread: Solar Electricity

  1. #81
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    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    yup that's some cheap power. Our kwh in over a 11cents a kwh. Your very lucky as that's probably as low as it gets in the whole country.
    Quote Originally Posted by snowwolfe View Post
    Base Charges
    Customer Charge: $11.71 per month
    * Energy Charge:
    Summer
    First 800 kwh: 8.062 per kWh per month
    Each additional kwh: 8.062 per kWh per month
    Winter
    First 800 kwh: 7.896 per kWh per month
    Each additional kwh: 7.896 per kWh per month


    Hope this helps. Company is called Volunteer Energy Cooperative. Our house was finished Feb 2016. The contractor did an excellent job making sure all the holes were sealed, good windows, etc. It is 2x4 walls with normal fiberglass insulation in the walls and blown in insulation for the attic.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  2. #82
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    we actually use those same batteries for back up power in our electrical sub stations. They do last along time if maintained but like you said sure aren't an inexpensive choice. Probably are much higher quality batterys then are sold with most standard solar packages. Most are sold with batteries that allow them to have a competitive price.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaryB View Post
    These are not a typical battery, they are built for industrial use and careful watering, never discharge below 50% they do last a very long time! http://www.rollsbattery.com/renewable_energy/ they are also one of the most expensive batteries made... and my battery temp runs around 70 degrees year round so lifespan is extended
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryB View Post
    My dad was a state electrical inspector for a couple counties north of me. So when the inspector for my county came out he said I know your dad and I know he beat it into you how to wire right and handed me a sticker. I grew up wiring houses, doing plumbing, construction, drywall, finish work... my parents flipped 2 old houses a year and with 5 kids we were cheap labor(they did pay us minimum wage when a house sold). I have also rebuilt car and truck engines and transmissions... kind of done a lot of everything!
    Its absolutely great that you have some experience wiring,plumbing, construction,and so forth. When I walked into a factory many many years ago I applied for a machine operators position. I was told bluntly to come back and re-apply when I had held that position before or had suitable experience. I was told basically to go thru training actual training and then I would be considered. I went thru training went back and was hired on the spot. The quest to better myself led to me acquiring more training and experience and finally becoming a master machinist. I'm one of those people that can basically make something from nothing or close to it when you put machines in front of me. I hold two electronics degrees now and have held a master mechanics certifiction since it first came out many years ago. Also hold a refrigeration ticket. having said this I still do not consider myself to be all knowing in any of these fields. I currently work in the A/V field and am responsible for maintaining very large A/V systems across the country. I go to a site and repair what the all knowing have managed to flock up and yes like you I troubleshoot down to the component level and replace defective components in order to restore 100% operational ability. I've done this for 25+years and right now with less than 6 months to my retirement and the ability to collect social security and medicare I'm burned out. Like I said I have a mechanics certification have built many fast rides and still do not consider myself to be an authority in any of them. Not trying to pee on your experience just trying to point out that no matter how good you think you are or how many pieces of paper you hold no one is close to being the very best in their field. Just when you think you are good a new kid steps onto the block and maybe he/she is better than you are.

    Lloyd brought out the importance of building codes and wiring codes. These are very important and need to be followed 100%. What I have learned in 25years of doing what I do now and prior fields is your never too good to learn or know too much that you possibly cannot learn something new.


    Back to the payback...believe what you may and I will believe what I read on spread sheets that break down very aspect. Imyself considered solar and wind and found that my particular payback wouldn't come until roughly 20 years. Battery technology.... been thru a bunch of that and I would suggest going thru the actual reports instead of what a salesman might be spewing.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    I simply don't buy the idea of 20 year old batterys. Looks good on paper but in the real world figure about 50% of that depending on their use/abuse. Temp has a lot to do with battery life also. Ideal yearly temps will yeald longer life but zero, sub zero will cut life considerably. Seven year pay back? Please do print itemized info to confirm payback figures.
    Most I have talked to have a buried battery room that evens out temperatures year round.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  5. #85
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    MaryB - Edison cells or SLAs? Edison (Lead Nickel) batteries last about 100+ years, not cheap but if you find them in good used condition they'll maybe outlast you - Or me anyways!

  6. #86
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    Never claimed to be expert! But I CAN do it right and to code. Machining is something I haven't done, and I am teaching myself how to weld(another thing I used to farm out). Jill of all trades and expert at none other than electronics(I have kept up with technology there).

    And my electronics experience ranges from consumer to industrial with the last 6 years installing/repairing/modifying slot machines for a local casino. Our shop was considered the best in the country and I got to teach some Russians when they started getting the freedom to run casinos etc. Spent 2 weeks in Russia with the other board level tech and they spent 4 weeks here in the states learning what we do, how to track parts inventory, what to have for spares etc. We kept a 99.9% uptime rate on our slots! If one was down more than a day we got hollered at even if it was a bottleneck in getting parts from the manufacturer.

    We had one brand of slot that was a nightmare. Only had 10 of them. They had a hard drive that failed every 2 months, 36" picture tubes mounted vertically for a tall skinny screen that failed every 45 days or so because of the 50kv high voltage they were running the tube at(20% over the tube ratings!!!). I finally got sick of replacing large heavy tubes in a monitor that all together weighed 150 pounds and put a dropping resistor in the anode line. Manufacturer called and asked why we quit buying tubes so I told them. They claimed the tube can handle it 20% over spec... uh huh that was why we were buying them a pallet at a time...

    I am not going by battery salesman garbage, I am going by real world experience of people I know who are using Surrette batteries. One guy is 100% off grid and he hasn't changed a battery in 16 years. Yes you pay more, but you get twice the lifespan and when I swap batteries it is going to be for either better lead acid or lithium ion if the prices have come down. I have also been playing with super capacitors so the inverters can handle surge loads better. Mount them right at the inverter to stop voltage droop on surge.

    Super capacitors are the up and coming battery technology. Much better lifespan, way smaller in size for equivalent amp hour ratings... but prices are still very high as most new technologies are.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    Its absolutely great that you have some experience wiring,plumbing, construction,and so forth. When I walked into a factory many many years ago I applied for a machine operators position. I was told bluntly to come back and re-apply when I had held that position before or had suitable experience. I was told basically to go thru training actual training and then I would be considered. I went thru training went back and was hired on the spot. The quest to better myself led to me acquiring more training and experience and finally becoming a master machinist. I'm one of those people that can basically make something from nothing or close to it when you put machines in front of me. I hold two electronics degrees now and have held a master mechanics certifiction since it first came out many years ago. Also hold a refrigeration ticket. having said this I still do not consider myself to be all knowing in any of these fields. I currently work in the A/V field and am responsible for maintaining very large A/V systems across the country. I go to a site and repair what the all knowing have managed to flock up and yes like you I troubleshoot down to the component level and replace defective components in order to restore 100% operational ability. I've done this for 25+years and right now with less than 6 months to my retirement and the ability to collect social security and medicare I'm burned out. Like I said I have a mechanics certification have built many fast rides and still do not consider myself to be an authority in any of them. Not trying to pee on your experience just trying to point out that no matter how good you think you are or how many pieces of paper you hold no one is close to being the very best in their field. Just when you think you are good a new kid steps onto the block and maybe he/she is better than you are.

    Lloyd brought out the importance of building codes and wiring codes. These are very important and need to be followed 100%. What I have learned in 25years of doing what I do now and prior fields is your never too good to learn or know too much that you possibly cannot learn something new.


    Back to the payback...believe what you may and I will believe what I read on spread sheets that break down very aspect. Imyself considered solar and wind and found that my particular payback wouldn't come until roughly 20 years. Battery technology.... been thru a bunch of that and I would suggest going thru the actual reports instead of what a salesman might be spewing.
    Last edited by MaryB; 10-31-2017 at 10:54 PM.

  7. #87
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    Problem with them is the need to swap electrolyte yearly and it is some nasty stuff to play with. All water has to be oxygen free etc... there used to be a place in MT making new ones but WOW LiIon is cheaper! SLA is great for a standby battery, not for a working battery that is cycled daily... I have mine setup to disconnect at 50% state of charge and not reconnect until it hits 70% recharge so they are not cycled hard. I have a programmable relay controller that has 4 outputs. I run 3 inverters and set them so the first drops off battery at 40% and the second at 45% and third at 50%. Leaves me headroom to run the TV and computer and ham gear until a recharge. Since the inverters are all 24 volt input I use a solid state relay for switching them in and out of circuit.

    My setup is not typical, I did it to run my specific needs. Most run one large inverter on a sub panel with a transfer switch to drop it on/off grid. I have a small transfer switch on each inverter instead. Gives me some redundancy, if I lose an inverter I can quickly move the TV load to grid(or just turn it off and read! I have over 1,000 books on my tablet) so the freezer/fridge still have power. Pellet stove is 12 volts DC so it sits on the dc/dc converter that runs my ham station. Been building some 24 volt light fixtures in rooms where I need the light during an outage. Kitchen, bathroom, and over my desk in the living room.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Sheesh View Post
    MaryB - Edison cells or SLAs? Edison (Lead Nickel) batteries last about 100+ years, not cheap but if you find them in good used condition they'll maybe outlast you - Or me anyways!

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryB View Post
    I always get told what I do is overkill... I prefer it to last versus having to redo it in 20 years! Code requires an outlet every x feet on a wall(forget the number, been 20 years since I wired my house). I hate not having one available when furniture gets placed so I go 1 every 5 feet. Box and and outlet are all of $1 when a wall is opened for new insulation and drywall! Sure it is more labor and I require more circuits per room but it is better than moving something heavy with my bad back.

    And I basically apprenticed under my dad when he was just an electrician. I worked summers or 5 years doing rough ins and finish wiring. Trust me, my dad made sure I knew what I was doing!

    Plumbing is common sense! Stuff flows downhill! ANYONE can cut and glue PVC or these days crimp on a fitting for pex.

    Same for carpentry, studs 16" on center(even when code these days says you can do 2' in some situations, again my build it to overkill!). Doors and windows get a header and jack studs. Sizing a rafter or floor joist can be looked up online these days making it really easy to make sure you have it right. All my construction has been signed off by the inspector and he has complemented my work for being built stronger than needed. Finish carpentry is just putzy work with staining and fitting it all.
    I'm sure that you try hard and I'm not trying to pick on you but try to remember that you have no certifications in plumbing, or electrical, and I'm sure I can keep adding to the list. Actually being qualified means you have that piece of paper proving that you have met the qualifications and certifications necessary to obtain that license or degree. An almost or I can do it as good just doesn't cut it. I found that out for myself.

    Getting back the the thread.... can we compute costs of an average install figuring a licensed contractor and electrician to put a system together and arrive at total cost so we can actually figure a pay back in years? Lets figure that cost of the battery storage facility that will maintain an average battery temp year around. In other word the WHOLE system costs associated with the construction and maintenance of a charging system.

  9. #89
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    Whole lot of condescending going on here, it probably should be moved to the pit.

    You guys can tell me if it is different where youyou live, but everywhere that I've ever been, if you are a homeowner working on your own home, no license is required. For anything. Inspections are still necessary.

    Wiring up solar panels is not that difficult, but I've known plenty of sparkies that would lead you to believe that simply replacing an outlet is magic, voodoo, and against the law, unless you have a liscensed electrician do the work.
    "When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat." - Ronald Reagan

  10. #90
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    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    I was talking to one of the engineers from the power co. I used to work at. For a while our company pushed and sold fuel cells for off grid living and claimed that some day wed all be using them instead of a grid. What they basically are from my understanding is a small very efficient gas turbine that has very few moving and wear parts that is hooked to a generator and charges a battery pack and started and stopped itself and ran on about anything petroleum. Again the downside was battery technology. Your post kind of brought back something he told me recently. He said that capacitors would be the wave of the future, not batterys. He said a small turbine and high efficiency generator hooked to a capacitor would solve the problem but capacitor technology to do it is still a few years out. He said theres a lot of experimenting going on right now and if the big utilitys weren't fighting it at ever corner wed probably be seeing them in use widespread already.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaryB View Post
    Never claimed to be expert! But I CAN do it right and to code. Machining is something I haven't done, and I am teaching myself how to weld(another thing I used to farm out). Jill of all trades and expert at none other than electronics(I have kept up with technology there).

    And my electronics experience ranges from consumer to industrial with the last 6 years installing/repairing/modifying slot machines for a local casino. Our shop was considered the best in the country and I got to teach some Russians when they started getting the freedom to run casinos etc. Spent 2 weeks in Russia with the other board level tech and they spent 4 weeks here in the states learning what we do, how to track parts inventory, what to have for spares etc. We kept a 99.9% uptime rate on our slots! If one was down more than a day we got hollered at even if it was a bottleneck in getting parts from the manufacturer.

    We had one brand of slot that was a nightmare. Only had 10 of them. They had a hard drive that failed every 2 months, 36" picture tubes mounted vertically for a tall skinny screen that failed every 45 days or so because of the 50kv high voltage they were running the tube at(20% over the tube ratings!!!). I finally got sick of replacing large heavy tubes in a monitor that all together weighed 150 pounds and put a dropping resistor in the anode line. Manufacturer called and asked why we quit buying tubes so I told them. They claimed the tube can handle it 20% over spec... uh huh that was why we were buying them a pallet at a time...

    I am not going by battery salesman garbage, I am going by real world experience of people I know who are using Surrette batteries. One guy is 100% off grid and he hasn't changed a battery in 16 years. Yes you pay more, but you get twice the lifespan and when I swap batteries it is going to be for either better lead acid or lithium ion if the prices have come down. I have also been playing with super capacitors so the inverters can handle surge loads better. Mount them right at the inverter to stop voltage droop on surge.

    Super capacitors are the up and coming battery technology. Much better lifespan, way smaller in size for equivalent amp hour ratings... but prices are still very high as most new technologies are.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  11. #91
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    We don't have many outages here. Maybe a couple times a year and there usually only 4-8 hours at most. Last weeks storm was an outage of almost 3 days and that's hands down the longest ive seen. I do agree though (although I'm admitting being pretty lazy here) it was a pain to go out and start the generator. I wish I would have at least bought one with remote start and an automatic breaker. But then just those options would be more then what my whole system cost me. Mine will run on propane but its tough getting it started on propane. So I have to turn the gas on pull it a few times get it warmed up and switch to propane. I did cure on deficiency with it this week. I was set up to run either gas or a 10-100 lb propane tank. I did a bit of plumbing and bought a low pressure regulator and now can run it off my 500lb hog that I use to heat my house or a small tank or gas. So I could go longer then a week if I had too without running for gas. Still have to go out and open my two mains and close in the gen breaker and the breaker for the kids apartment and its sure not going to be easy on fuel but it will get me by on the off chance something like this happens again.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaryB View Post
    I didn't do my install with an eye on saving money... I was tired of power outages LOL and tired of trying to start a really cold generator!
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryB View Post
    Winter about $50, summer about $75 with 2 window AC units running. I produce almost exactly half what I use, it bounces up and down with weather of course.

    Reading all the posts about typical monthly gas/electric bills I am even more thankful to the Serviceman (lifelong HVAC installer) who owned my house before me. Made in 1956, it's 4 bedrooms and finished basement with a large add-on garage and den with fireplace.
    BAD winter months my combined bill is under $200, and I still have single pane windows with storm windows in the back bedrooms and a single pane bay window (I keep a plastic storm window over it year-round since it doesn't open anyway).

    My typical monthly bill in summer for electric rarely crests $100.

    I was not eligible for grid-tied solar when I moved into my large house, but have followed it with interest as a DIY kind of guy. Northern Virginia is just warming up to allowing reverse-spinning meters, and some Solar companies are now sending people around to offer free quotes. I quizzed the guy for an hour, which he enjoyed because I am electrically-savvy and have been following the numbers and technical aspects of this for years. At the end though, he saw how little power I use monthly and admitted I might never pay back the install. I wanted a quote, but am waiting to see if they sign a contract with an energy storage company, which I could have wired for off-grid use during outages.

    That said, I doubt that a contractor-installed setup would work for me, because of my low power consumption. If I bought newer freezers and fridges (I have two of each), it would get even lower.

    BUT, if I reduce my consumption even farther, I would seem well-positioned to go off-grid or to some kind of on and off status as desired if I make my own setup like MaryB's (you don't mind driving out to help me install it do ya Mary?).

    My plan was/is to buy dead electric forklifts at auction when they come up and salvage the batteries and scrap the rest, which could keep battery costs down. I don't know if that would work ell, since the batteries would be in varied states of remaining longevity. Could buy new if I got a windfall, of course. The LiIon setups from Tesla or Mercedes Power would be nice, but expensive, whereas you can buy/find wet cell batteries one at a time as your budget allows.

    Then there's local wind, using converted high frequency permanent magnet washing machine motors on vertical vane drum-shaped blades... Don't get me started. I have dreams. Sunny, windy dreams!

    Bulldogger

  13. #93
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    Code is the absolute minimum allowed, most people think code is the gosiple, basically if your doing it to code that's just safe enough to get by. And before anybody starts preaching to me, I hold ten trade licenses that encompass everything from master plumber to refrigerant

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by rancher1913 View Post
    Code is the absolute minimum allowed, most people think code is the gosiple, basically if your doing it to code that's just safe enough to get by. And before anybody starts preaching to me, I hold ten trade licenses that encompass everything from master plumber to refrigerant
    I absolutely agree with you. Generally code is very easy to meet and most of us concerned about doing a good job that won't come back and bite us in the behind know this and always go above and beyond. I take my hat off to you sir for bringing this to light.

  15. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
    Whole lot of condescending going on here, it probably should be moved to the pit.

    You guys can tell me if it is different where youyou live, but everywhere that I've ever been, if you are a homeowner working on your own home, no license is required. For anything. Inspections are still necessary.

    Wiring up solar panels is not that difficult, but I've known plenty of sparkies that would lead you to believe that simply replacing an outlet is magic, voodoo, and against the law, unless you have a liscensed electrician do the work.
    You could be right in the fact that living in remote areas allows one a bit more freedom to do things. I surely don't enjoy that freedom where I live.

  16. #96
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    Wiring,plumbing, and basic construction is NOT rocket science. Besides working for my dad in summer we also did 2 houses a year that we fixed and sold. Everything passed inspection. The only thing I refuse to touch are gas lines and concrete(although I did tend block for both houses my parents built). I also helped my parents build 2 houses from a hole in the ground! First one went from bare foundation to closed in in 4 weeks. Building codes are readily available online, making sure you use proper sized lumber is dirt simple, lumber yard will make a recommendation but now ALL the info you need can be found online.

    If it passes inspection it is done right, if it fails you fix it and get it inspected again!
    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    I'm sure that you try hard and I'm not trying to pick on you but try to remember that you have no certifications in plumbing, or electrical, and I'm sure I can keep adding to the list. Actually being qualified means you have that piece of paper proving that you have met the qualifications and certifications necessary to obtain that license or degree. An almost or I can do it as good just doesn't cut it. I found that out for myself.

    Getting back the the thread.... can we compute costs of an average install figuring a licensed contractor and electrician to put a system together and arrive at total cost so we can actually figure a pay back in years? Lets figure that cost of the battery storage facility that will maintain an average battery temp year around. In other word the WHOLE system costs associated with the construction and maintenance of a charging system.

  17. #97
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    F&P washing machine motors, Backshed forum in Australia has a ton of info on them. They will reliably produce about 500 watts.

    Many forklifts are 36 volts while many inverters are 24 or 48 volt...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post
    Reading all the posts about typical monthly gas/electric bills I am even more thankful to the Serviceman (lifelong HVAC installer) who owned my house before me. Made in 1956, it's 4 bedrooms and finished basement with a large add-on garage and den with fireplace.
    BAD winter months my combined bill is under $200, and I still have single pane windows with storm windows in the back bedrooms and a single pane bay window (I keep a plastic storm window over it year-round since it doesn't open anyway).

    My typical monthly bill in summer for electric rarely crests $100.

    I was not eligible for grid-tied solar when I moved into my large house, but have followed it with interest as a DIY kind of guy. Northern Virginia is just warming up to allowing reverse-spinning meters, and some Solar companies are now sending people around to offer free quotes. I quizzed the guy for an hour, which he enjoyed because I am electrically-savvy and have been following the numbers and technical aspects of this for years. At the end though, he saw how little power I use monthly and admitted I might never pay back the install. I wanted a quote, but am waiting to see if they sign a contract with an energy storage company, which I could have wired for off-grid use during outages.

    That said, I doubt that a contractor-installed setup would work for me, because of my low power consumption. If I bought newer freezers and fridges (I have two of each), it would get even lower.

    BUT, if I reduce my consumption even farther, I would seem well-positioned to go off-grid or to some kind of on and off status as desired if I make my own setup like MaryB's (you don't mind driving out to help me install it do ya Mary?).

    My plan was/is to buy dead electric forklifts at auction when they come up and salvage the batteries and scrap the rest, which could keep battery costs down. I don't know if that would work ell, since the batteries would be in varied states of remaining longevity. Could buy new if I got a windfall, of course. The LiIon setups from Tesla or Mercedes Power would be nice, but expensive, whereas you can buy/find wet cell batteries one at a time as your budget allows.

    Then there's local wind, using converted high frequency permanent magnet washing machine motors on vertical vane drum-shaped blades... Don't get me started. I have dreams. Sunny, windy dreams!

    Bulldogger

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    I was talking to one of the engineers from the power co. I used to work at. For a while our company pushed and sold fuel cells for off grid living and claimed that some day wed all be using them instead of a grid. What they basically are from my understanding is a small very efficient gas turbine that has very few moving and wear parts that is hooked to a generator and charges a battery pack and started and stopped itself and ran on about anything petroleum. Again the downside was battery technology. Your post kind of brought back something he told me recently. He said that capacitors would be the wave of the future, not batterys. He said a small turbine and high efficiency generator hooked to a capacitor would solve the problem but capacitor technology to do it is still a few years out. He said theres a lot of experimenting going on right now and if the big utilitys weren't fighting it at ever corner wed probably be seeing them in use widespread already.
    Actually there is some info out there on using caps in place of batterys for storage. I've read several accounts of people replacing their car batterys with a bank of caps. The info indicates it seems to work at least in cars.

  19. #99
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    I tend to agree with Lloyd. I too worked in the electric utility business, but I was in the generation side. Most people that use alternative power, but count on a power supplier to provide additional watts when needed fail to realize that the generation and distribution has to be built for worst case scenarios. So the utility has to invest the infrastructure to supply their customers as if the alternative supply doesn't really exist. In my state, they are also forced to buy any residual power the customer generates at a rate fixed by the public service commission. 10 years ago, that wasn't too big a deal, but now private companies are building large solar and wind farms that may or may not be dependable. The utility has to have the generation and distribution capability as if the alternative source didn't exist.
    You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

  20. #100
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    We might have the highest electricity rates in the country.
    Combination on monopoly, poor government, and everything having to be shipped in.
    I wish I could afford to get solar.
    I would buy and not lease it.
    I'd get it with batteries and a generator back-up.
    Off the grid completely.
    If i were to win a lottery, I would completely do the roof. New panels and all. Then install the solar.
    We have sun, and no snow, all year round. Would save lots of money.

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HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check