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Local Renewable vs Grid Renewable

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Slackjaw, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Slackjaw

    Slackjaw Member

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    We currently buy 100% renewable energy (in New Jersey, from Sterling Planet). We could add solar panels to the house and get off the grid, but if you really want to help the environment, is it better to buy grid renewable energy and give providers like Sterling Planet better economy of scale? Just fishing for opinions here. Thanks in advance...
     
  2. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    This is only my opinion so take it for what it's worth, but when you put solar on your house you know exactly what you are getting. When you pay, and depend on a company to do it for you, who knows if true renewable is what you will support.

    I only say this because there have been many instances of paying extra for things like organic produce, helping overseas starving children etc., only to find out that you have been lied to(or not told the whole truth) and that organic is not really organic, and the children only get 15% of the money you donate.

    In the end, it's your money, so only you can make the decision.
     
  3. SByer

    SByer '08 #383

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    There are so many factors involved in that decision...

    ...like, a distributed power grid is more resilient against outages and attacks. But centralized power can be made cleaner over time through upgrades and efficiency improvements. But local power doesn't suffer from as many transmission losses, and centralized power is currently stressing parts of the grid on high demand days.

    Do what feels right.
     
  4. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    Buy solar panels and keep connected to the grid. The solar panels produce the energy during peak hours when the power is the most valuable and the dirtiest, so you are helping the most that way.
     
  5. Slackjaw

    Slackjaw Member

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    That makes a lot of sense.

    That would be correct if our electricity were from CO2 generation, but it isn't; we get "clean" energy. In a sense the more energy we buy, the better the economics get for the clean energy provider and the more able they are to sell at a lower price to more people. Although if we're being tricked somewhere and it's really dirty energy, we just make things worse.

    I'll think about this a little more. Thanks for the responses!
     
  6. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    Actually, you are getting "dirty" energy. Paying for clean energy means that you are paying a premium to produce the total amount of energy you consume from a clean source, like a wind farm. However, the the wind doesn't produce power to follow your demand. Though you pay a premium, your house is fed the grid mix at all times, which may be 0% renewables at a given time of the day and 100% renewables at other times (though both extremes are very unlikely). As it stands, when you are using the most power, or peak load, occurs roughly coincident with the rest of the grid peak. At such times, the output of the major "clean" source (for some reason hydro doesn't count), wind, is statistically lower than average. Therefore, if you install solar panels and keep grid connected, if you can over produce during peak times you are actually helping the grid become cleaner. It is more beneficial to the system for you to produce solar power during peak and consume some of the nighttime wind, than it is for you to be disconnected all together. Also, it is far cheaper since you don't need your own storage facilities which will require batteries and over-sized panels.
     
  7. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    I suppose you might be able to make similar arguments about buying solar panels. Increasing the economies of scale so that solar panels are cheaper in the future. Also your panels might encourage others who see them to install their own.
     
  8. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    File0315.jpg Here is a copy of my last generations statement from PG&E. for my house. I have 10kw solar.
     
  9. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    That's impressive. Btw, don't know if you care, but the crossed out bits are completely legible.
     
  10. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    Another benefit of feeding power into the grid is that it raises the voltage and decreases losses to the rest of the customers on the feeder.
     
  11. Slackjaw

    Slackjaw Member

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    That is very cool. How much did the 10kW array cost to install? You can plead the fifth on that if you like.
     
  12. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    My smaller 4kW system has the positive and negative bars (day vs night) of much closer magnitude. But given TOU, my summer "bill" $ is still negative, but under only in double digits each month.
     
  13. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    I tried. Can't really see it visually in my hand..... only on the scanned copy. I'm not concerned.
     
  14. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    #14 Lloyd, Aug 5, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
    I spent about $25 K for parts and pieces and did the labor, install and connections myself. I ordered a pre-engineered system from DC solar. I permitted myself. I passed on the California rebate for this one, too small and too much hastle. Fed tax credit is still 1/3 I believe.

    I figured that I am generating enough for about 4000 miles per month driving between this system and a smaller agruculture system and still not pay PG&E for power! Can't wait for my cars!!
     
  15. NeoDoc

    NeoDoc Member

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    Solar power option

    When I got my Roadster in Feb 2011 - changed my metering with So Cal Edison to time metering (lowest rate after midnight) to charge the car; little did I know that kicked me into the highest rate during the day and my electric bill went up by $200/month. Just signed up for SunRun Powershare solar panels (they buy, install and maintain them) for my home (Sierra Club sponsored; you need a credit score > 700). This will lower my overall bill by >$100/month at NO COST to me! Will still need to use the SCE meter for the car; but I can do reverse metering and build up credits as time goes on. These types of programs are flourishing right now in California due to the renewable energy mandates. Thought you should know.
     
  16. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    What you say is true below, but they are making money on your property. If you do this yourself and own youR solar equipment you will be better off in the long run.

     

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