The Forestry Forum is sponsored in part by:

iDRY Vacuum Kilns


Forestry Forum
Sponsored by:


TimberKing Sawmills



Toll Free 1-800-582-0470

LogRite Tools



Norwood Industries Inc.


Sawmill & Woodlot Magazine



Your source for Portable Sawmills, Edgers, Resaws, Sharpeners, Setters, Bandsaw Blades and Sawmill Parts

EZ Boardwalk Sawmills. More Saw For Less Money!

STIHLDealers.com sponsored by Northeast STIHL


Woodland Sawmills

Peterson Swingmills

 KASCO SharpTech WoodMaxx Blades

Turbosawmill

Sawmill Exchange

Michigan Firewood, your BRUTE FORCE Authorized Dealer

FARMA


Council Tool

Baker Products

ECHO-Bearcat

iDRY Wood Lumber Vacuum Drying for everyon




Author Topic: Solar and batteries, my .02  (Read 843 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Klunker

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Location: SE Wisconsin
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
    • Share Post
Solar and batteries, my .02
« on: December 05, 2018, 01:06:07 PM »
We have a new home that we added 10KW of solar to along with a battery backup system.
We moved in last Oct.
Its been roughly a year now.
Here is my .02 on the whole state of solar.

Our home is all electric which includes a 900 sq ft work shop that has an electric boiler that heats the slab to approx 45 degrees all winter. I didn't have it running all last fall/early winter.

We heat with wood and use approx 3 cords/winter.
Home is just me and my Wife.

We are still grid tied. We paid $850 for last years power.
Rates are .13/kwh, plus other flat charges / month that run a total of approx $19/month.
We get paid .04/kwh for any power returned over what we use.
So to get a "free" month we'd have to generate approx 475kwh more than we take off the grid.
We took approx 7200kwh from the grid and sent back approx 2400kwh.

Currently we have our battery charging/usage set up so that the battery is theoretically never used except for a power outage. We had 2 outages in the last year. One lasted only about 1-2 hrs but the last one lasted 27 hrs.

In the last outage the power went out in Aug. at about 5pm. We ran off battery till about 8pm the following day. Over night out battery got knocked down to about 50% charge. I disconnected the water softener, the iron filter and I dropped the temp on the electric air sourced heat pump water heater from 125 to 110. Power was running a small freezer and a refrigerator and what ever phantom loads we had.
The following morning once the sun hit the panels it took about 3 hrs to charge the battery up to 100% around 10-11 in the morning. At that point I told the wife that if we didn't use what we generated we would be loosing it so run anything that she might need to now.

This whole years has shown me the following.
If we wanted to be off grid we would have to do the following.
1) increase the size of our battery bank drastically. Now we have one 48v bank of batteries. Assuming that we can last 1 day with the batteries we have now at a very minimal draw I'd say we would have to increase it about 10 times at a minimum. Much beyond that and its get to be a problem with the amount of time it takes to recharge the entire bank. You'd have to increase the amount of panels jsut to charge the batteries when the get beat down. And you'd need that ability for the winter when there are days with zero generation.

I'm sure its been said before but as I see it solar is not going to be really viable until battery storage gets increased dramatically. It should really be looked at how much battery power do I need to run my house/day then you'd have to multiply that by how ever many ays you want to be able to without generation. You better be willing and able to clean panels off in the winter. I have one person I know that went approx a month with zero generation one winter. His setup would of required him getting up on top of a 2 story house to clean panels.

Me I'd think a bout 1 week worth of power without generation would do.


Offline Hilltop366

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 2270
  • Location: Nova Scotia
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2018, 04:48:46 PM »
Times may have changed some but 20 years ago I looked into building off grid and one thing that stood out was that it was more cost effective to reduce your usage with super efficient (super expensive too) appliances and water pumps as well as using other sources for high demand loads like heating, hot water than to try and supply and store enough electricity to run a typical house.

I was looking at wind and solar at the time after costing it all out I payed $7000 to run the grid power to the house.

Doing a quick calculation it looks like I am still ahead $15000 to $20000 for grid power versus off grid after being in the house for 17 years.

Offline Don P

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 5010
  • Location: Southwestern VA
  • Gender: Male
    • Share Post
    • Calculator Index
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2018, 10:22:05 PM »
It can be done but isn't particularly cheap. I consider grid tied systems to be environmentally philanthropic, but a good thing and the way solar should be done. You are helping with peak demand and helping to eventually harden the grid. Batteries are still pretty stone age but provide backup if you can afford it. I don't like my generator but it is probably cheaper backup, as long as the fuel holds out. During the aftermath of the Durecho a few years back I could hear whole house and portable generators fire up and then went to check on a friend, he didn't realize the power was out till he went out the next morning and heard generators running. His solar and backup had switched automatically.

Offline Ianab

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 12825
  • Age: 56
  • Location: Stratford , New Zealand
  • Gender: Male
  • Marmite on toast is a real breakfast
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2018, 12:16:19 AM »
It's still horrible expensive to get a fully electric house "off grid". Like Hilltop says, you need to reduce the loading to the most efficient essentials, and find a different energy source for the high load things like heating, hot water, and most cooking. 

Now if you switch those things to direct solar / wood burning / propane etc then the electrical load from your house becomes so much less. 

Then have an emergency backup plan like a small generator, so you can keep the lights on if you do get a week of cloudy weather. 

If you are able to run a small wind turbine and/or micro hydro as well? Even better. If the suns not shining, chances are it's raining or windy, and if your power draw is only in the hundreds of watts, small generators can help. 

People like to slag off wind generators, mostly because "the wind isn't always blowing". But they work here as the largest power source is hydro power. So when the wind blows, you can "bank" water in the hydro lakes. When the wind stops, you have the hydro reserves on hand. 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline mike_belben

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 3766
  • Location: Middle TN
  • Pulp Friction
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2018, 01:20:48 AM »
In my opinion its much cheaper to run a small generator in conjunction with an affordable panel and battery setup than to try for all solar.   Especially in conventional stick frame structures with low mass and poor layout for solar gain in winter and shade in summer.  

If you really want to be a watt miser and dont have deep pockets or a buddy in the grant department, you almost need to build an entire property from scratch, which can easily be a lifes work.  
Revelation 3:20

Offline maple flats

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Age: 72
  • Location: Oneida, NY
  • Gender: Male
  • Life is what you make it!
    • Share Post
    • Dave and Joan's sugarhouse web site
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2018, 07:46:27 AM »
I have 2 solar systems. My original, at my sugarhouse just needed a new battery bank. The old one (10 yrs old on a 7 yr rated bank) died. I now have a set of Prius batteries coming today. Then I will need to reprogram the charge controller. That is actually a dual system, 1480 watts on battery back up (as well as grid tied) and 4840 watts just grid tied. My meter is net metered. Before the battery bank died 2 months ago, I typically got credits sent to my home bill totaling $350-450 per year. The only months I ever pay a bill for my sugarhouse electric is Jan and Feb, by March the sun is high enough and the days long enough that running the sugarhouse and the vacuum pump ball day and often all night, does not result in a bill, I still get a credit.
My second system is totally off grid at my home, even though the house is grid tied. There I just have 1720 WATTS solar, charging 4 large Rolls batteries. The solar just runs 2 sump pumps and our entertainment center plus some key lights. Those batteries are only 1 yr old and should last about 12-15 with proper care.
For sure, batteries are the costly part of solar. You just need to decide if you want or need electric during a grid outage. If no batteries, your solar shut down when it detects the grid is out. With those expensive batteries you can have the power during an outage.
My hope is that the Prius batteries are worth it. I am just building a single 48V bank.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline Klunker

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Location: SE Wisconsin
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2018, 09:54:23 AM »
Times may have changed some but 20 years ago I looked into building off grid and one thing that stood out was that it was more cost effective to reduce your usage with super efficient (super expensive too) appliances and water pumps as well as using other sources for high demand loads like heating, hot water than to try and supply and store enough electricity to run a typical house.

I was looking at wind and solar at the time after costing it all out I payed $7000 to run the grid power to the house.

Doing a quick calculation it looks like I am still ahead $15000 to $20000 for grid power versus off grid after being in the house for 17 years.
I'm all for reducing use, and in fact I think it should be #1 on the list. However my wife is not willing to reduce her "lifestyle".
 
I'm sure we could reduce our usage considerably.
When we built we bought a air source heat pump water heater, heating uses no power, all of our lights in the house are LED.
Wife saw a show on "This Ole House" about a house being net neutral. She asked if we were net neutral. I thought maybe if we ditched the 3 TV's.

Offline Klunker

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Location: SE Wisconsin
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2018, 10:00:11 AM »
It can be done but isn't particularly cheap. I consider grid tied systems to be environmentally philanthropic, but a good thing and the way solar should be done. You are helping with peak demand and helping to eventually harden the grid. Batteries are still pretty stone age but provide backup if you can afford it. I don't like my generator but it is probably cheaper backup, as long as the fuel holds out. During the aftermath of the Durecho a few years back I could hear whole house and portable generators fire up and then went to check on a friend, he didn't realize the power was out till he went out the next morning and heard generators running. His solar and backup had switched automatically.
We were going to go "behind the grid" originally but our Solar installer got threatened by the power co and told no more.
So we either had to go off grid or grid tied. My wife was afraid to cut the cord and was not willing to adjust if she had to.
Didn't like the generator idea. Had to add another fuel.
We have the same issue, when the power goes out battery kicks in immediately. Only way we knew on the 27 hr outage wife was watching TV and it flickered. She made a comment about it and I checked power supply.
I'm thinking about adding something to the system so a light/buzzer goes off to tell one when the grid is down.

Offline Klunker

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Location: SE Wisconsin
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2018, 10:05:47 AM »
It's still horrible expensive to get a fully electric house "off grid". Like Hilltop says, you need to reduce the loading to the most efficient essentials, and find a different energy source for the high load things like heating, hot water, and most cooking.

Now if you switch those things to direct solar / wood burning / propane etc then the electrical load from your house becomes so much less.

Then have an emergency backup plan like a small generator, so you can keep the lights on if you do get a week of cloudy weather.

If you are able to run a small wind turbine and/or micro hydro as well? Even better. If the suns not shining, chances are it's raining or windy, and if your power draw is only in the hundreds of watts, small generators can help.

People like to slag off wind generators, mostly because "the wind isn't always blowing". But they work here as the largest power source is hydro power. So when the wind blows, you can "bank" water in the hydro lakes. When the wind stops, you have the hydro reserves on hand.
We do heat with wood, and in fact our wood heat has an oven in it. Tho it would require adjustments to lifestyle to do it. Right now its possible. I thought about using our wood heat for heating water also. Maybe should of done it. Time was against us when we built, decisions had to be made and the window closed.
We have thought about a small wind turbine, he have a good location for it. But at the cost of the whole setup we could most likely add several banks of batteries and be in the same place.

Offline Klunker

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Location: SE Wisconsin
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2018, 10:12:30 AM »
In my opinion its much cheaper to run a small generator in conjunction with an affordable panel and battery setup than to try for all solar.   Especially in conventional stick frame structures with low mass and poor layout for solar gain in winter and shade in summer.  

If you really want to be a watt miser and dont have deep pockets or a buddy in the grant department, you almost need to build an entire property from scratch, which can easily be a lifes work.  
Our house is very energy efficient. 8" Neopor SIP panels with 1" of foam on the outside of that, triple pane windows, 6" of foam on basement walls, 4" under basement slab. 1 ACH. We built taking advantage of southern exposure, lots more windows on that side.
We heat using thermal mass, masonry heater.
We looked at solar gain, but again on days when its cloudy, nothing.
Our house should of been smaller, but when married you make concessions.

Offline Klunker

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Location: SE Wisconsin
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm new!
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2018, 10:18:48 AM »
Yes, lots of electric loads.
Water pump, septic lift pump, water softener, iron filter and water heater.
Those are just the beginning.
Then we have a fridge and a separate freezer.
Lots of power required just to keep our heads above water.

My wife was the big driver on going solar, she is likes the Independence she feels we have if the grid goes out.

When we ran the power in it cost us 12K. I mentioned that we could add at least 2 more banks of batteries at that cost.



Offline beav

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • Age: 63
  • Location: Newbury
  • Gender: Male
  • got any logs?
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2018, 07:45:14 PM »
I have been off grid for twenty years now. I built the house, a saltbox, with Windows facing south, roof to the north etc. The hemlocks and pines here became my house.
Panels were expensive back then, and batteries less so. Anyway I have done fine with .7 kw of panels. Solar hot water, wood heat etc. I even recently got rid of the propane fridge, with wikkid efficient new electric one. One less bill!
However I will never have or spend more on batteries than to assure about 3 or 4 days of autonomy. By then the generator gets fired up and charges my batteries in a couple of hours.
I would never hook up to the grid. I like it too much the way it is. Booting the meter reader? Priceless!!
In twenty years I have saved 6000$ in hookup fees alone (roughly) , spent probably 4000 on batteries so im not too far in the weeds
Ymmv

Offline maple flats

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Age: 72
  • Location: Oneida, NY
  • Gender: Male
  • Life is what you make it!
    • Share Post
    • Dave and Joan's sugarhouse web site
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2018, 08:01:09 PM »
To me, a total electric house on Solar is crazy. Eliminate as many electric draws as you can. The batteries are the weak link.
I know, I just had to replace a 48V Trojan bank. I only have 1 circuit on my battery back-up and that is pretty much just insurance (I use it to run a back up heater in a well insulated small room where my Reverse osmosis is for my maple operation. In the 6 years since I ran grid power I have never had a power outage. That room is normally heated using a direct vented propane wall furnace. The back up only buys peace of mind.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline beav

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • Age: 63
  • Location: Newbury
  • Gender: Male
  • got any logs?
    • Share Post
Re: Solar and batteries, my .02
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2018, 07:29:36 PM »
Maple flats the prius battery conversion sounds very interesting. Are you engineering this? I would be very  grateful if you posted this procedure here.
If I only had a tesla i bet I could go a month on all that juice sitting in the driveway. Forget driving it. Well maybe if i got a neck brace i could take it..


Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via pinterest Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via tumblr Share via twitter

xx
Aluminum can solar heater or thermal mass storage? Solar klin

Started by Doug_D on Drying and Processing

6 Replies
3342 Views
Last post May 12, 2010, 10:06:57 AM
by Den Socling
xx
Mental Exercise! Hybrid kiln design (solar drying concept w/o solar heat)

Started by scsmith42 on Drying and Processing

11 Replies
1548 Views
Last post March 31, 2016, 10:51:46 PM
by GeneWengert-WoodDoc
xx
batteries

Started by woodmills1 on General Board

9 Replies
640 Views
Last post February 04, 2013, 10:49:55 PM
by Brucer
xx
new batteries

Started by treechopper40 on Forestry and Logging

2 Replies
625 Views
Last post February 03, 2014, 07:49:24 PM
by Maine logger88
 


Powered by EzPortal