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It's going to take the village to save our future;

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by nwdiver, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    I plan to start my sixth 'peer-built' PV system next week. The concept is simple. Most people want solar but lack the capital to have it installed or the knowledge and manpower to DIY. Those are barriers that can be overcome.

    Step 1: Lead by Example; Someones gotta go first.

    Step 2: Invite friends over to help... and educate.

    Step 3: Convince your friends to install a system, I've provided financing on multiple occasions.

    Step 4: Help your friend install their system; invite other friends to help... and educate.

    Admittedly there is some risk involved. I always do my best to emphasize to my friends that this is their house, their project and I'm just here to help. Seems to be working so far... less than 3 years in and I've helped install ~50kW with another 25kW on order and possibly 14 more in the que. Get Rack'n TMC :wink:

    11057793_10152889826008495_1949608135361599427_o.jpg
     
    • Love x 1
  2. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Good on you!

    I would probably do more, but I really hate poking holes in roofs, so I rely on the professionals.

    I love the chair - is that where the union supervisor sits? :)
     
  3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    I've thought that a honor-based peer system could be used to spread efficiency to overcome risk-aversion and lack of capital. Get an hour of help, give two back. Get a dollar of help, give two back with your savings.

    Really great work.
     
  4. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    #4 nwdiver, Mar 31, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Yep :wink:; The poking holes in the roof concern is probably one of the biggest perks to getting your friends to help... the new flash feet are nearly fool-proof. Seeing that your friends are comfortable with you drilling holes in THEIR roof goes miles in giving you confidence in drilling holes in your own. I've mounted ~100 feet... no leaks.

     
  5. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    I've got FERC permits towards installing 650 MW of wave power in California. May I be forgiven for not having rooftop solar at my condo, please?
     
  6. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    LOL; there are some places that solar can't/shouldn't go... I wonder if Bremerton ever figured out why their GROUND FLOOR, SOLAR powered meter wasn't working...

    IMG_0196.jpg


    that makes it more important that we max out where it CAN go.
     

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  7. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    Right behind you...
    I live in the very worst place in the nation for solar, forgive me if I just focus on efficiency. I feel that the federal and state subsidies are misplaced to be used here.
     
  8. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    Not sure where you're located... any thoughts on this system in the land of snow?
     
  9. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Did Alaska secede and didn't tell us? :). I think they win this one.

    Actually the PV efficiency in Seattle is pretty close to that of Chicago & Detroit, provided you have a tracking system. The long summer days outperform a lot of places in the nation, and somewhat offsets the cloudy winters. Not totally of course, but it gets to within 90%.
     
  10. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Wind might offer the excitement that solar lacks. For them that like to sit back and watch anyway. Have collected a pair of Bergeys (10kw and 1kw) recently, and am looking for another 1kw unit if anyone spots one for sale.
    --
     
  11. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    In addition to my wave project, I'm helping to lead a Sierra Club project here in Portland ME. It looks like we're going to be able to take a retired landfill owned by the city and use it to build a huge community solar project. The state law allows groups to build a common solar array and parse out the metered output against their metered usage—virtual net metering.

    There are a lot of advantages to this approach:
    • The array can be optimally sited / pitched, instead of using whatever angles you happen to have on your roof
    • Scalable: people can buy whatever share size works for their usage
    • No issues with people's roofs (leaks, eventual re-roofing, etc.)
    • Lower construction costs per kW (shared common costs, etc.)
    • Portability: an owner can use his share even if he moves (within the utility's service territory)
    • Salable: the owner can sell his share, so the value isn't linked to the house
    • Participation: any utility customer can go solar, even if they rent, have a condo, or own a home in the historic district (which sharply limits what changes can be made to a property)
    We're pretty excited about this: we've got room at the landfill for about 10 MW of community solar, enough for about 1,500–2,000 participants, roughly 10% of the city's total residential properties.
     
  12. ThosEM

    ThosEM Space Weatherman

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    #12 ThosEM, Apr 1, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Thanks much for this! I've talked with at least three solar installers and none of them ever thought to assuage my concerns about "poking holes in roofs". Clearly I need to DIY...

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm interested in solar/renewable but would prefer to buy it from my utility, in part owing to advice from my Realtor, who does not see much demand or willingness to pay for solar power, and does encounter aesthetic resistance to solar rooftops. Solar shingles are available, which eliminates all worries about leaks, but there is some loss of efficiency per unit area when going that way. It is also possible to buy renewable from the grid in Maryland through Baltimore Gas and Electric, at about a 10% markup. So far, what they have is mostly wind power. I figure the more people who specify renewable energy and pay the differential, the more incentive it gives utilities to increase the renewable power fraction for all customers. But of course it would help greatly to have price parity or a price advantage.

    The other factor is that I'm trying to minimize my energy waste, in particular by installing a ground source heat pump loop. The cost to retrofit a dual zone system is comparable with a solar installation and makes about a 50% difference in HVAC energy use compared with air source heat pumps. That is comparable to what we would net from a rooftop solar installation. But it seems to me that eliminating this waste is a higher priority than generating my own power locally, especially when I can purchase renewable power from the utility. If and when I go solar local, I should be able to fully supply my needs with existing rooftop area and cell efficiency, possibly with solar shingles. By that time I may need a new roof covering in any case.

    Any thoughts or counterpoints?
     
  13. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Buying renewable power through the utility is a reasonable option. A quick 'behind the scenes' of how that works: When a renewable generator injects a MWh into the grid, it is paid for the power and it receives a Renewable Energy Credit (REC). Utilities buy these RECs to meet their obligations for (a) renewable portfolio mandates plus (b) elective renewables purchases. A utility cannot count purchases for (b) against its obligations for (a), so every customer who signs up for additional renewable energy is increasing the demand for RECs. As demand for RECs increases, the market price of RECs increases, which makes new investment more attractive. Utilities, power retailers, and even large customers may also decide to buy RECs under long-term contracts, which is particularly helpful for project developers because contracts lower financing costs.

    Reducing energy waste is the most environmentally sound approach, so that heat pump looks like a good buy. I'd be wary about solar shingles; some of the pros here on TMC have said they're not a great option (particularly if something goes wrong).
     
  14. Rheazombi

    Rheazombi Member

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  15. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    I just signed up for 100% wind energy because we are not able to get solar panels right now, so I'm helping the grid become more renewable, but my electricity that I produce might not come from 100% wind?
     
  16. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    That's exactly what I'm going after; IMO the early adopters have somewhat of a responsibility to be 'force multipliers'. I spoke to an installer in NM who told me that despite its smaller population he has more installs in Farmington than Albuquerque since Farmington has hit 'critical mass'. When I'm working on a project the fact that my work could be the first residential solar install that many people see is never far from my mind.... first impressions count....

    I've done some research on small-scale wind and the economics when compared to PV aren't very favorable. From what I've seen the sky stream 3.7 is the most common small grid-tie wind turbine. The cost of the turbine isn't too bad at ~$7000 but the tower can cost >$15000. 8m/s wind is ideal and that would only yield ~10,000 kWh/yr. Plus turbines are only warrantied for ~10 years vs 25 for PV.

    The 7.1kW system I just completed cost $10k before incentives and will generate ~12,000kWh/yr. Large scale wind is great, small scale (<100kW) not so much.
     
  17. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Way to go NWDIVER! Excellent and I fully agree we must lead by example. People are following, slowly but I do see the momentum building.
     
  18. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    If wind needs to be about the money then redeploying to a better location, usually with a taller tower, can be done at half price or better.

    The complimentary nature of wind visa vie solar is key. If you have one you should at least consider installing the other. And if you have wind, why suffer it with no payback? "The Three Day Blow": Ernest Hemingway 1925.
    --
     
  19. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Electricity isn't like internet packets; it can't be routed. Even if you live next to a wind farm, the laws of physics imply that you're getting power from every operating generator in the interconnection, to a greater or lesser degree. (An interconnection in North America is really, really big: everything from the center of Kansas eastward, except Texas and Quebec, comprise the Eastern Interconnection; everything westward, the Western Interconnection.) It's a bit like the children in Mary Poppins trying to withdraw their particular shilling from the bank (which the bank couldn't produce, of course, causing a bank run in the movie), but worse: not only doesn't the grid operate match power, there is no way that the laws of physics allow it.

    The strongest statement anyone can make about the source of their grid power is this: if you've paid for 100% renewable power, then for every kWh you use, there is positive proof that a renewable kWh was generated to offset that use.
     
  20. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    Ah, interesting....learned something new. Thanks!
     

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