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  • So many questions, so little time

    Hi All, I am not a newbie to small solar stuff but we are retired and thinking of going all-in solar for the house. We want to be totally removed from the grid so batteries it is.

    This looks to be somewhat independent Forums, so hopefully not too many connected-shills proffering information.



  • #2
    Hello KaneDaly and welcome to Solar Panel Talk

    I am not sure where you live or what your POCO charges you for electricity but based on the recent cost data unless you live in a location that the POCO can charge more than $0.30/kWh a battery system will be more expensive to generate power then the grid.

    The most economical way to use solar would be a grid tied system even if your POCO does not allow any form of Net metering.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by KaneDaly View Post
      .............

      This looks to be somewhat independent Forums, so hopefully not too many connected-shills proffering information.
      Welcome, we do our best to keep this a shill free zone ! However, we only censor the most egregious misstatements that are so patently wrong or dangerous. you are on your own (just like "Build this car from dumpster parts" you tube vids) to decide what's best and safe for your situation and level of experience.

      The big game changer is Lithium batteries which are dangerous and tolerate no abuse at all, and when they fail, it's hot, and lots of poisonous smoke. They can be used safely, but you have to know how, there is no forgiveness with them. There is no small lithium fire with household size equipment.

      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

      Comment


      • #4
        Being free of the grid has a lot of appeal. Until reality bites.

        At this time a lot of informed opinion holds that going off grid completely costs more in toil and treasure than it's worth.

        Follow an off gridder around for a week or so and see how the lifestyle suits you. Maybe it's for you, maybe not. Either way or somewhere in between, most folks are clueless about what such a lifestyle shift requires. Get informed before you commit ay time/resources..

        Also, while there's a lot of hype from those with skin in the game and their greenwash media shills, and a lot of mostly uninformed dreamers bloviateing what is often little more than partially informed wishful "You could just do this and no problem" type thinking, and while residential size battery technology as a way to timeshift loads and/or go "partially" off grid, or as a replacement for a fossil fuel fired emergency energy source is making progress, some of the same informed opinion holds that such stuff ain't quite ready for prime time (yet) and often seems to be, at least at this time, a challenge to make as cost effective as time shifting loads, conservation and other measures.

        If, or to the degree cost effectiveness is important to you, get your loads identified and the electric bills for those loads as low as possible before other measures that generate offset but don't reduce usage.

        PV is still one of the most expensive ways to reduce an electric bill. Batteries on top of PV is probably less cost effective than that.

        Welcome to the neighborhood.
        Last edited by J.P.M.; 02-20-2020, 04:50 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I manage to avoid buying any building heat or electricity, with solar into net metering.

          Getting off the grid usually means taking up a huge new job of managing firewood,
          not for me. Living with the extremely limited capabilities of batteries is another huge
          project. Check it out. Bruce Roe

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post

            Welcome, we do our best to keep this a shill free zone ! However, we only censor the most egregious misstatements that are so patently wrong or dangerous.
            That is one of the things I most appreciate about this forum. I participate in a number of forums on various topics. Most of them tolerate all sorts of misinformation. Not here.

            Thanks to the Mods for keeping this a credible source of knowledge.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the replies, but so many things erroneously assumed. I take offense at the implied "most folks are clueless" when you know nothing about me/us or the research we have done before getting here. I am a retired Mechanical Engineer, my wife is a retired Electronics Engineer, both with 50+ years experience.

              @bcroe: Why would getting off the grid mean that? Have you not heard of Propane?
              @mike90250: Where did I state I was considering Lithium batteries? As it happens I we are firm advocates of AGM and/or FLA.
              @suneagle: Our grid supplier has just notified of an upcoming price increase of $0.10/kWh and when you divide the total bill we are paying by the monthly kWh we have used, we are already at $0.26/kWh. So, $0.30/kWh is looking very friendly. But --- if you are just using the kWh the grid company shows on the bill rather than using the total bill amount then perhaps $0.30 means something.

              Clearly this group is not for us.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KaneDaly View Post
                Thanks for the replies, but so many things erroneously assumed. I take offense at the implied "most folks are clueless" when you know nothing about me/us or the research we have done before getting here. I am a retired Mechanical Engineer, my wife is a retired Electronics Engineer, both with 50+ years experience.
                .........
                Clearly this group is not for us.
                I agree many comments are made without really understanding what the original poster said. The mods could do a better job of clarifying those issues like I see mods do on other forums. There are helpful people on this forum and I think the quality of the dialogue has improved since a particular poster has posted less often. There is still one or two that are trying to win some look alike contest by denigrating others so they will appear to be the authority.

                Your experience would be helpful to the knowledge base on this forum. I share a goal that is similar to yours. However my goal is not to be "off" the grid but to self consume as much solar energy as possible and to consume as little energy from my supplier. Like @bcroe I use the grid as a big inexpensive battery. Pacific Gas and Electric is my supplier and lately they have become unreliable. Therefore I have installed a hybrid inverter to compliment my grid tie inverter. The hybrid inverter allow me to have a source of back up but it also allows me to leverage Time of Use rates to accomplish my goals.
                Last edited by Ampster; 02-23-2020, 01:43 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KaneDaly View Post
                  Thanks for the replies, but so many things erroneously assumed. I take offense at the implied "most folks are clueless" when you know nothing about me/us or the research we have done before getting here. I am a retired Mechanical Engineer, my wife is a retired Electronics Engineer, both with 50+ years experience.

                  @bcroe: Why would getting off the grid mean that? Have you not heard of Propane?
                  @mike90250: Where did I state I was considering Lithium batteries? As it happens I we are firm advocates of AGM and/or FLA.
                  @suneagle: Our grid supplier has just notified of an upcoming price increase of $0.10/kWh and when you divide the total bill we are paying by the monthly kWh we have used, we are already at $0.26/kWh. So, $0.30/kWh is looking very friendly. But --- if you are just using the kWh the grid company shows on the bill rather than using the total bill amount then perhaps $0.30 means something.

                  Clearly this group is not for us.
                  Sorry you feel that we were too hard on you. Most times people come into the forum thinking a solar/battery system is cheaper then grid tied and will end up spending thousands to build a system that can no where near provide the power they are use to. I try to give people the understanding that before you make a decision to go off grid you first need to learn about solar and what it really costs.

                  I understand while pricing has come down it is still very expensive to not be connected to a POCO unless you live in some areas of the US like Hawaii or CA or the North East where the charges are exceptionally high per kWh.

                  You can choose to go somewhere else and be sold on stuff that will make you happy temporarily or stay here and learn more about the technology before you spend your money. The choice is yours to make.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KaneDaly View Post
                    Thanks for the replies, but so many things erroneously assumed. I take offense at the implied "most folks are clueless" when you know nothing about me/us or the research we have done before getting here. Clearly this group is not for us.
                    I've found that the quantity of assumptions made is usually and very roughly inversely proportional to the amount of information provided.

                    Given the dearth of information you provided, I'm not sure how anyone here is to offer much substantive comment besides that based on some assumptions.Three sentences isn't a lot to go on.

                    Take offense or not as you please, but I'd suggest that another erroneous assumption might be that folks who responded to your first post are mind readers.

                    Everyone is clueless about some things. FWIW, I'm clueless about most everything, including what you may (or, perhaps more importantly may not) know about alternate energy, how it relates to residential energy use, or to an off grid lifestyle.

                    Perhaps if you stuck around and told us something about your goals in being here, and a few particulars about how believe you might want to achieve being totally removed from the grid with batteries, we could begin a dialog we could all benefit and learn from.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KaneDaly View Post
                      . I am a retired Mechanical Engineer, my wife is a retired
                      Electronics Engineer, both with 50+ years experience.

                      @bcroe: Why would getting off the grid mean that? Have you not heard of Propane?
                      Right, those things are not directly connected. Here have experienced heat from wood, coal,
                      oil, natural gas, recently propane, and now PV solar electric with propane as a backup. My
                      uncles would roll a 12 inch log into a huge blade on the front of a JOHN DEERE, and it would
                      go thru it in about 3 putt-putts.

                      It would be wrong for me to assume that no one off grid heats with propane. Though, it is
                      a lot simpler to run a modern high efficiency propane furnace with grid power. All of my
                      friends and relatives who recently have heated with wood, are on the grid. I think their
                      motivation was to save money. My motivations include to buy zero energy for electricity
                      or heating, to eliminate one energy account with their ever escalating monthly plus energy costs,
                      and to have bragging rights of a zero carbon footprint home, all with very little inconvenience
                      and maintenance for myself. The energy for heating is about 5 times the electrical energy here
                      at 42 degrees Lat.

                      The only way to carry over summer solar energy equivalent to about 1100 gallons of propane
                      here, is net metering. Fortunately net metering here is in effect a free, infinite capacity, 100%
                      efficient, no maintenance battery. Home batteries tend to be on the scale of one gallon of
                      propane, with none the use other attributes. I must answer NO to people who ask if I am off
                      grid, use PV to back up the grid, or if I am a prepper. Just how the energy heats, cools, and
                      supplies 2 buildings is another high tech story.

                      Lots of engineers here, we would be happy to see the approach you two engineers
                      develop to the the problems. Bruce Roe K9MQG since 1958

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                        I've found that the quantity of assumptions made is usually and very roughly inversely proportional to the amount of information provided.

                        Given the dearth of information you provided, I'm not sure how anyone here is to offer much substantive comment besides that based on some assumptions.Three sentences isn't a lot to go on.
                        Of course there is always the option of asking a clarifying question rather that assuming someone is ignorant, stupid or clueless.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ampster View Post
                          Of course there is always the option of asking a clarifying question rather that assuming someone is ignorant, stupid or clueless.
                          Maybe asking a clarifying question could be considered stupid or clueless.

                          All I ask is that people should at least do some research on something before they spend any money on any thing. Or do they purchase the first car or house that someone tells them is great without first looking around an understand what they are getting into?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

                            Maybe asking a clarifying question could be considered stupid or clueless.

                            All I ask is that people should at least do some research on something before they spend any money on any thing. Or do they purchase the first car or house that someone tells them is great without first looking around an understand what they are getting into?
                            I guess we may never know how much research the OP did to reach his conclusion. No one asked. That was the kind of clarifying question that might have shed light on the subject. He did clarify that he was concerned with increased rates so it sounded like he was trying to find ways to find a way to hedge his costs.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              > @mike90250: Where did I state I was considering Lithium batteries? As it happens I we are firm advocates of AGM and/or FLA.

                              I never stated you were using them. You never stated what you were considering. I was simply pointing out facts relating to Li batteries, as sort of general advice to a newcomer in the field.
                              I'll point out that generally, AGM cost more and have shorter life than equivalent quality FLA. Study the fine print in the warranty as to weekly or monthly data recording required for warranty coverage.

                              and . . . . . If you don't like it, you can't have any.
                              Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                              || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                              || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                              solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                              gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                              Comment

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