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California Renewable Energy Legislation / Progress

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
7,723
9,928
United States
Will a HP still be cost-effective if it only runs heating?

Yes; The same is (was :() true in WA state, heat pumps were still the best option. I'm sure it's similar in areas of CA. Places that never needed AC before will likely have a few days a year that it will be welcome.
 
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iPlug

Member
Sep 14, 2019
503
718
Rocklin, CA
99% of Californians are well served by air sourced heat pumps. Geothermal needs are edge cases for most Californians - the few living in Sierra regions. Our climate has colder winters than San Diego and we switched from a central ducted NG furnace to heat pump 1.5 years ago and it has performed exceptionally well and very efficiently in the winter.
The state has many, many folks on the coast with no need for a/c. Will a HP still be cost-effective if it only runs heating?
With new construction, yes.

For upgrades to existing construction, often yes, but ultimately depends on what "fuel" is currently being used for heat, how much is used, the cost per unit fuel, and the cost of electricity if one is upgrading away from a fossil fuel source.

This question seems about home air heating, but one should also consider a heat pump water heater as well.
 

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
9,988
18,046
North Bay, CA
I've been trying to convert from my NG fired furnace to a multi-split system in our house. It's cost prohibitive to say the least. I'm likely going to keep the ducting and just replace the furnace with an air source heat pump. I may add a single mini-split in our living room, which is the room that is the coldest in the winter (and, unfortunately, the place where we spend the most time). I think that'll make more sense than dropping $40k on a multi-split system that fits our needs.
 
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iPlug

Member
Sep 14, 2019
503
718
Rocklin, CA
I've been trying to convert from my NG fired furnace to a multi-split system in our house. It's cost prohibitive to say the least. I'm likely going to keep the ducting and just replace the furnace with an air source heat pump. I may add a single mini-split in our living room, which is the room that is the coldest in the winter (and, unfortunately, the place where we spend the most time). I think that'll make more sense than dropping $40k on a multi-split system that fits our needs.
Sounds like a good plan. Another or additional option if not already in your plans - consider zoning your future ducted heat pump system.

Our house is ~2,550 ft^2, single level. We paid $19k in 2018 to replace our central ducted AC/NG furnace with a heat pump and maintained our 2 zone system. Our existing ductwork was kept and sealed at the vents with nice HERS testing numbers. They replaced our zone hardware as well.

Multi-splits to nearly each room would be really nice and provide the highest SEER/HSPF and room level precision cooling/heating, but as you mentioned...$$$.
 
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nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
7,723
9,928
United States
I've been trying to convert from my NG fired furnace to a multi-split system in our house. It's cost prohibitive to say the least. I'm likely going to keep the ducting and just replace the furnace with an air source heat pump. I may add a single mini-split in our living room, which is the room that is the coldest in the winter (and, unfortunately, the place where we spend the most time). I think that'll make more sense than dropping $40k on a multi-split system that fits our needs.

What size mini-split are you looking into? Are you getting quotes from HVAC companies or trying DIY? I know when I was looking into getting a split system for my house near Seattle they wanted ~$12k for a 3 split unit. I ended up installing a couple myself for <$3k. HVAC guys are generally more crooked than plumbers and electricians....
 
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ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
9,988
18,046
North Bay, CA
My multi-split system included 5 head units, and all of them were flush-mounts because four of the rooms have no wall space. That jacked up the price. Our late-70s ranch house is pretty segmented with the bedrooms all separated down a narrow hallway. To get reasonable HVAC penetration, each of the three bedrooms need a head unit. Then we have a large living room that is separated by a doorway from a good sized (for a 70s property) kitchen. Each of those need a unit. The outside units were two Mitsubishi 30k BTU, the indoor units were 2x9k (kids rooms), 2x12k (master bed/bath and kitchen), and 1x18k (living room).

Yes, the quotes were from HVAC contractors. A project of that size isn't one I care to tackle, even though I'm handy. A single unit for the living room, maybe. But when you add the flush mount, maybe not.
 

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
7,723
9,928
United States
My multi-split system included 5 head units, and all of them were flush-mounts because four of the rooms have no wall space. That jacked up the price. Our late-70s ranch house is pretty segmented with the bedrooms all separated down a narrow hallway. To get reasonable HVAC penetration, each of the three bedrooms need a head unit. Then we have a large living room that is separated by a doorway from a good sized (for a 70s property) kitchen. Each of those need a unit. The outside units were two Mitsubishi 30k BTU, the indoor units were 2x9k (kids rooms), 2x12k (master bed/bath and kitchen), and 1x18k (living room).

Yes, the quotes were from HVAC contractors. A project of that size isn't one I care to tackle, even though I'm handy. A single unit for the living room, maybe. But when you add the flush mount, maybe not.

Have you looked into subcontracting? I'm not sure how strict the codes are in your area but that sounds more like a ~$15k job to me...
 

Dave EV

Active Member
Jun 23, 2009
1,693
1,125
San Diego
What size mini-split are you looking into? Are you getting quotes from HVAC companies or trying DIY? I know when I was looking into getting a split system for my house near Seattle they wanted ~$12k for a 3 split unit. I ended up installing a couple myself for <$3k. HVAC guys are generally more crooked than plumbers and electricians....
This is a major problem currently with mini-split systems. Not enough HVAC techs know about them and they charge extraordinary amounts to install.
 

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,221
15,131
New Mexico
I've been trying to convert from my NG fired furnace to a multi-split system in our house. It's cost prohibitive to say the least. I'm likely going to keep the ducting and just replace the furnace with an air source heat pump. I may add a single mini-split in our living room, which is the room that is the coldest in the winter (and, unfortunately, the place where we spend the most time). I think that'll make more sense than dropping $40k on a multi-split system that fits our needs.
I hear ya.

I thought about installing a heat pump in my current ducting but I don't want to pay the energy cost related to my leaky ducting or the cost of pushing the air through the ducts. If I'm not mistaken the air pushing is a full kW. This is probably why some people decide to install a few heat pumps in select places rather than shoot for 'whole house' air conditioning. Since I much favor the idea of only conditioning the immediate environment of the people involved I'm also going to (eventually!) choose the distributed solution.
 

Dave EV

Active Member
Jun 23, 2009
1,693
1,125
San Diego
If I'm not mistaken the air pushing is a full kW.
No, not nearly that much unless you have a huge house with multiple air handlers.

It's more on the order of a few hundred watts at the most (200-400W) and the newer variable speed air handlers are better than old single speed air handlers in general. At lower speeds, the power should be even lower.

A properly designed central, zoned HVAC system should be pretty efficient, but the problem is that most of these systems are not properly designed and have insufficient duct size, sealing and insulation. Add in zoning and the likely hood of the system being designed properly is even lower. As Elon has said, there's a lot of low hanging fruit here, especially if you can combine your HVAC with hot water heating and other demands in the house.

Yeah, a multi-zone mini-split system would be more efficient than a central air system all else being equal. Just have to plumb in a condensate line to each air handler.
 

RubberToe

Supporting the greater good
Jun 28, 2012
2,975
7,084
El Lay
Thought I would post the year end solar/wind/renewable charts now that all the data is in from CAISO. Some comments following each of the charts:

Solar_2020_1.jpg


New peak SPV production of 3,581,294 MWh for the month of July. Not that surprising, the prior years peak was a bit lower than expected. August through October of 2020 were all lower than 2019 likely due to the fires. December 2019 must have been a dismal month. I went back and double checked the raw data, and indeed the Ivanpah site was off more than on, and statewide SPV was very spotty (lots of rain/snow).

Solar_2020_2.jpg


The overall values for 2020 driving the above chart are as follows:
Total Power: 218,605,012
SPV: 29,140,554
Wind: 15,679,735
All Renewables: 60,022,372 so 27.46% for the year, 2019 was 27.57%.

Looks like 2020 was lower due to much less hydro power as it was a much drier year than 2019, and the fires reducing the solar power output. Wind output was also slightly down.

Solar_2020_3.jpg


The above shows that in the 2015 time frame when less SPV was installed, the monthly MWh routinely increased year over year. Once the installed base got large enough, seasonal variations play a much larger role, so you start seeing some values below the zero line. That will continue to be the case going forward, barring some monster installation relative to the currently installed base.

Solar_2020_4.jpg


The overall downward trend in total power showed a slight rise later in the year. I think this could be related to more people working from home and increased A/C usage during the summer months.

Probably the best indicator of installed solar and wind capacity that can be derived from the data set is the single day showing max peak power. CAISO shows max peak power every day.

SPV Max Peak: 2019 = 10,924 MW, 2020 = 11,502 MW
Wind Max Peak: 2019 = 5,271 MW, 2020 = 5,466 MW

SPV power is often curtailed, so it could very well be that the installed base is greater than what the above shows, but that curtailment is reflected in the max peak. Not sure about that though.

RT
 

gene

Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2013
2,226
11,813
Santa Barbara, CA
The from California's Solar Alliance. Really nothing that we don't already know but letters to the governer is appreciated:

"
Happy Saturday! A new study reported last week by the LA Times found that helping millions more people choose rooftop solar and battery storage would save Americans $473 billion in electricity costs over the thirty years.

The study also found that if the government simply builds large-scale wind and solar farms instead of encouraging rooftop solar, Americans will pay $385 billion more in electricity over the same time period.

Here's why: long-distance power lines are really expensive to build and maintain. Especially now with the increased risks of wildfires. Local solar requires none of that spendy infrastructure.

You may be thinking, "no duh".

But not state leaders. That's because the utilities want to keep us hooked on their monopoly. So, they've been relentlessly lobbying California's leaders to kill the rooftop solar market and instead double down on building far-away solar and wind farms that are dependent on their expensive and unreliable power lines.

If the utilities succeed, it will be the robbery of the century. We're fighting like heck to make sure that doesn't happen. Check out more details on the study and what we need to do on the Solar Rights Alliance blog.

Thanks for all you do, and have a great weekend!"

-- Dave Rosenfeld, Executive Director
 
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bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,144
16,843
San Diego, CA
The from California's Solar Alliance. Really nothing that we don't already know but letters to the governer is appreciated:

"
Happy Saturday! A new study reported last week by the LA Times found that helping millions more people choose rooftop solar and battery storage would save Americans $473 billion in electricity costs over the thirty years.

The study also found that if the government simply builds large-scale wind and solar farms instead of encouraging rooftop solar, Americans will pay $385 billion more in electricity over the same time period.

Here's why: long-distance power lines are really expensive to build and maintain. Especially now with the increased risks of wildfires. Local solar requires none of that spendy infrastructure.

You may be thinking, "no duh".

But not state leaders. That's because the utilities want to keep us hooked on their monopoly. So, they've been relentlessly lobbying California's leaders to kill the rooftop solar market and instead double down on building far-away solar and wind farms that are dependent on their expensive and unreliable power lines.

If the utilities succeed, it will be the robbery of the century. We're fighting like heck to make sure that doesn't happen. Check out more details on the study and what we need to do on the Solar Rights Alliance blog.

Thanks for all you do, and have a great weekend!"

-- Dave Rosenfeld, Executive Director

Exact reason we just expanded our solar system from 12 to 16kw. We intend to be 99.9% self-sufficient and give the big middle finger to SDG&E (San Diego Gas & Extortion for those unfamiliar).
 
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