A man's home, they say, is his castle. It also can give you insight into his mind. We drove out to Lee Bristol's home (almost not making it because of an unexpected road block) expecting a routine interview about solar power. He is, after all, a co-founder of Standard Solar, a seven-year-old company that engineers, designs, and builds solar electric solutions for homes and commercial concerns.
It turned out to be anything but. We pulled into Bristol's driveway on a sunny warm fall day and immediately noticed two men standing on the roof. One was waving at us the other was filming us. "Come on up in the back!" came the cry from on high.
We walked around the house, with high-pitched A-frame design, and we noticed a set of homemade stairs jutting up from the back deck all the way up the steeply slanting roof. The stairs ended in one of the most interesting rooftop deck designs I've ever seen: He actually has fashioned a deck, perhaps 10 by 20 feet just behind the peak of the roof, overlooking lush farmland and his solar panels.
We came to find out that that design was evidence of Bristol's unique career path and approach to technology -- fascinating and unconventional.
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Littlejohn, sadly your numbers too are wrong. I do this kind of stuff, design and build RE equipment.
Converting PV to grid is about 98% eff. Almost nopne of the other numbers you have are correct. For instance for solar power one only gets about 4-6.5hrs/day of rated power because morning and evening output is lower.
So you are suggesting we keep subsidizing oil, coal which today runs 25% of the fed budget to pay for the 30k US deaths/yr just from coal and another 10k from oil and 200k hospital stays/yr. Then bridge, buildimng, crop, forest, stream, riverlake air ocean pollution ,etc damage. How about the mercury poisoning of fish so bad one should eat it more than 1/wk now.
Then there are the oil wars, supporting oil dictators and terrorists, costs only because of oil. Then the $500B for overseas oil sucks jobs that could be made here.
There is NO such thing as clean coal. It's filty, poisonous from mining to use. To say that you would have to be delusional or work for big energy. Which are you?
Nukes are way too expensive as I can do 5x's as much RE for the same cost. Once smaller, far safer like the Hyperion nukes can be ok. Ask Progress customers how they like nukes? They are paying $.05/kwhr on their bills for 10 yrs without getting a watt of power.
Put these costs in FF's and RE is far cheaper. Smart people will get ahead of the curve instead of parroting big energy propaganda to keep people in debt.
Obviously you know nothing about coal or world affairs so please stop parroting the nonsense media hype. Your numbers are also wrong as your other statements. If you wish to have a serious discussion of the topic, we must be realistic about this which means addressing the three biggest issues: 1- Start-up cost; 2- Storage; 3- Maintenance. Those three things alone make going total solar cost prohibitive for the majority because it's impossible to even obtain an ROI. One of my clients had three different companies submit bids to take his little 1400 sqft home off the grid, after subtracting all the rebates, incentives and tax breaks, all three bids still exceeded the combined value of both the home and property. Even if there were zero maintenance or repair costs, it would have taken him over 50 years to just to obtain a ROI. Fact of the matter is, unless technologies radically change, for the majority of homes, solar is not viable for anything more than a limited supplemental electrical source but is very viable for other applications.
If you want to complain about something, try complaining about the massive waste being caused by the insanity of ethanol mandates and subsidies. Complain about the massive energy sources and materials going into landfills that's costing us a fortune instead of being properly utilized.
Its a great idea of plugging in a PV module into your typical household socket...but...
Pretty dangerous without proper safeguards. Illegal in some places, and underwriting an insurance policy for this type of product would be problematic.
An AC module (typical DC module with a microinverter) would work best. But lets say a person without much electrcial knowledge tries to do-it-yourself the project and plugs in and backfeeds too much current into a socket, feeding a wire before it is protected by a breaker. Maybe you have some clever idea.
If Im not wrong many people have thought about this idea cause then you could Home Dept or Lowes this product for everyone.
The idea is great, just needs some clever engineers, lawyers, and a shit load of money to bring to the general public.
Home Cooling: I like the idea that in a residential installation, on a hot day the solar cells would be powering the air conditioning among other things. The power does not to travel very far to get to its destination. The panels also prevent much of the heat from entering the home... This seems like one of the best uses for solar technology.
Geof, You already answered your own question, mircosine inverters, have been doing just what I said for over a decade, No?
What gridtie inverter can work if the grid goes down? Even if it didn't automatically shut down as designed, the load of the grid will either pop the breeaker or burn up. No?
An 120vac US outlet by easily.can handle 1500wt input or output. So a 1kw PV plug and play unit can safely plug into any outlet and can handle a standard portable heater. Or one can of have it wired directly.
And finally drop by your local Lowes and You'll find them asking at the order counter, just way over priced. So just what part of your post other than the first line is correct?
Your right, the grid-tied inverters have the anti-island feature to them so they won't product output current without seeing voltage from the grid. So that part is okay.
The idea has many upsides, that is not the problem. I just try to play out in my mind all possible senarios where it could go wrong. That way there is no problem for the end user when they get their hands on it. As you know Americans love to lawsuits...haha
On a serious note, what happens regarding the metering? Is there none? If thats the case then you would need to use the power as its generated or it could potentially be given back to the grid for free. Good for the planet, bad for the owner.
I have a question...since I don't live in the USA currently. Lowes sells this type of PV system that plugs into the electrical socket? My brother and I have been talking about this idea for years now, wondering when it would happen. Has it?
I currently work for a solar manufacturing company in China. I did the business development with Enphase energy here and getting the two technologies together is challenging but not impossible.
I installed the integrated junction box microinverter from Enphase at our testing lab and it works seemlessly. And It could plug directly in to a socket, easily, like you said. Just wonder the legality of it all. Really this part always seems to be the biggest trouble. Just a thought.
Let me know if your really going to do it. I have many contacts here that could help you. Just another thought.
Sorry your customer and apparently you don't know how to shop or if getting ripped off, can't just contract your own work. Sunelec.com and apparently a poster here has panels for under $1.50/wt, many much less. No?
And that is why I back plug and play PV units as it cuts the large install costs.
PV maintaince? Washing the panels every couple months is about it. No? Just what are you talking about? Or just putting up red herrings?
Storage costs little. A well shopped $1k lead battery pack of Golf cart batteries would do fine offgrid, last 8-10 yrs and cost about the same as a gridtie inverter at $.60/kw of rating. Rather than have a huge pack on should just have back up power. Things like making electricity first before using it's waste heat, etc.
Did your customer first reduce their useage/waste? The most cost effective power is that one doesn't use.
As for knowing about coal my numbers come from multiple studies by quality researchers, including the EPA. I believe nothing the MSM or anyone else says until verified.
Now talk about being conned by media, big oil hype, Ethanol isn't the bad thing you say that is propaganda by big oil.
For instance the other products from making ethanol have as much value as the ethanol , cutting it's cost by 50%, No? Facts are the corn oil, dried mash, both of which are far better foods than the corn it was made from. Plus value of the stalks, cobs. Now take that into account as one must to be honest, Ethanol has created quite a few jobs and cut oil imports by 20% creating more jobs. It's also kept oil prices lower along with making us more energy independent.
Now let's rate gasoline the same way you rate ethanol. You need 2.5gal of oil to make 1 of gas so your version of ROI would be 40%. But that's before processing energy is put in like the 3kw/gal of electricity required and much other costs of production, traportation and refining. All taken into account gasoline has an ROI of 25% about.
And no I don't work for ethanol people as I drive my EV's at a fraction of a similar ICE's running costs. And on the 3kw of electricity to refine a gal of gasoline my EV can go 30 and 60 miles ;^D.
Just because you can't handle things or know how to shop well don't tell us that do we can't. And don't assume as you know what that means. And apparently I know more than you based on your post.
Have to agree aboiut garbage as it has higher value than most mine ores plus energy.
Maybe next time instead of attacking, you could ask why your prices were so high. Can't really blame you about your ethanol statement as big oil has really did well at anti ethanol propaganda that most everyone believes it. But facts, numbers clearly say ethanol is better than oil in so many ways from cost, energy indepemdence, jobs, lower balance of payments, real ROI.
Yes Lowes has them when I asked locally but was about $6/wt and really no reason they should be over $3/wt retail. .
Personally I'm too busy to do this as I'm getting 2 composite unibody/chassis EV's and a 2kw windgen ready for production. But someone could make a good business buying panels, inverters, etc and making a prewired kit you just fold out or bolt together with included mountings. The parts are under $2/wt in decent quatities so selling about $3/wt FOB could be nicely profitable for a few yrs until the big boys wake up.
If I was a PV maker I'd do this to move product or build PV plants and sell the power in this over supplied market.
Personally I don'y buy Chinese products for many reasons of dumping, quality, US jobs, much of the money support the Chinese gov, etc. US products are only slightly more expensive but better quality, jobs, standards easoly make up for the small difference.
Same reason I went EV as I was tired of supporting both sides of the oil companies, oil wars, oil dictators and terrorists.
I don't know how you're calculating but it's not for a southern home. Minimum battery bank is 16 units, bare minimum Ah's that's $3800 just in batt's. For good high-load batteries you're looking at $7400. At the very best, they may last 3 years, and 3 years is pushing it unless you climate control the battery bank containment which increases the load demand and adds $4500+ to the costs.
Maintenance ... again, southern application, you're maintaining the battery electrolyte levels at least once a week and cleaning connections at least once a month, With all the organic growth in these parts, you're cleaning the panels & mounts and checking for bug/rodent damage every 2-4 weeks.
Tack on the inverters, additional wiring, protection devices, engineering plans, building permits, inspections, installation labor and so forth...
Ethanol in this country is a complete boondoggle designed for nothing more than political profit! It takes more energy to produce ethanol than it provides, increases food costs and destroys machinery. How much are we saving the environment when adding ethanol to gasoline has resulted in a 65% increase in the repair/replacement of engine-driven equipment? Here's the piston from my Stihl 044 chainsaw that was destroyed in less than a year because of ethanol in the gasoline - how much energy are we saving having to produce and ship a new piston and head assembly? How is this helping me when I now have a totally unnecessary $300 replacement parts cost?
Bought any food lately? Notice the massive price increases across the board thanks to the exceptionally inefficient ethanol production driving up grain costs for both human and animal feed?
Obviously you don't know much about refining oil either because there is zero waste, every single bit of oil is made into a usable product. If you want to argue about gasoline, why not argue the point of going to rotary or opposed piston engines that are >35% more efficient than the junk we've been running for the last century? Why not argue about the cost increases and efficiency reductions caused by the useless blend regulations ... the same type of useless regulations that now has nearly all the fresh water in the USA contaminated with MTBE.
Before you go off halfcocked, you should take the time to learn the facts and it wouldn't hurt for you to get a couple decades of experience in the coal and oil industries.