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Thread: Self-Sustained Living

  1. #111
    LHBA Member edkemper's Avatar
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    I can only speak to CA on producing power that you sell back to the power company.

    Here's how it works.

    Rule #1 - You are not a power company. You cannot sell power for a profit. (Can you say monopoly)

    You can produce up to what you need per year for a zero balance with the power company. (Although you'd probably still have to pay the monthly fee for belonging to it). If you produce 101% of what you use, or 300% of what you use, the power company will say thank you. They would not have to pay for it. The good part is they pay you retail for the power you produce up to what you use.

    So unless the laws change, we can't make a profit from excess power we produce. However, before you take this wrong, I agree something is very wrong with the present system. Why can't we produce as much as we want at a profit to help. It would seem to me that getting a little bit from a few hundred million private households would help stabilize the system as a whole.
    Last edited by edkemper; 08-08-2012 at 06:56 PM.
    edkemper

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  2. #112
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    In some, if not all, areas, power companies have split the price into energy and distribution (power lines, etc.). So if you buy electricity, the total is normal. But if you sell electricity to the power company, you only charge them for energy but you don't get to charge for the distribution, naturally. It is obviously in their best interest to charge less for energy, and more for distribution.

    My brother in Purcellville, Virginia produces close to the amount he uses, and he sells back to the power company. I have not yet heard anything about a cap of any kind, though. He had to install a special meter that measures energy flow in each direction, separately. All in all, I don't think he has a cap of any kind. I will ask, though, and if I'm mistaken, I will post a follow up note.

    By the way, you can see lots of good info on his own system here:

    https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/...stems/LkCY5698

    Each of his many panels drive an MPPT inverter, which reports data to a centralized system. So when his chimney casts a shadow on a panel, it does not limit output of other panels (they're not connected in series). In the drawing on the page above, the big rectangle is the main house, the small rectangle to the right of that is the attached home office, and the diagonal strip is the barn. Those on the barn are particularly interesting because the "panels" come as a roll, maybe 2 feet in diameter, and unrolled, they fit between the standing seams of the metal roof of the barn.


    Peter

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  3. #113
    Regular+ User Christofori's Avatar
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    Thanks edkemper for the California clarification and the reminder why I don't much want to live there!

    http://www.pge.com/includes/docs/pdf...umer_guide.pdf some additional reading for the Californians around us.

    Page 5 shows that the pay down credit does not include not production charges, but if you are connected to the grid at all, those charges are going to apply anyway.

    I've not looked at a battery bank recently, but for my families wasteful lifestyle, I was looking at them a few years ago, and then I was told that I'd need between $6,000 and $7,000 of batteries, and to replace them on a regular cycle would be over $100 / month over 5 years, so grid attached costs are a whole lot less a month and if the rebates and allowances on installation can come close to 20% it should give 10 to 15 years productive life over recoup costs before it needs replacing, I'd hate to have to estimate electricity costs over the next couple of years, let alone 10 or 15 years down the line!

  4. #114
    LHBA Member edkemper's Avatar
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    Christo,

    I hear ya. I plan on getting out as soon as I can.

    By the way, I'm waiting for the technology to catch up to usability. I love the idea of one company I read about a while back. Each solar panel had it's own converter attached. (I think that was what was attached) It meant that one could buy say 10 panels and could add on more anytime you wanted to or needed to increase your power. A system that allowed one to grow as you choose.

    It seems much more difficult for the consumer to decide from the start what you want and need without the ability to grow, without reinvesting in all new electronics.

    But getting out of CA is my first step.
    edkemper

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  5. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by edkemper View Post
    Christo,

    By the way, I'm waiting for the technology to catch up to usability. I love the idea of one company I read about a while back. Each solar panel had it's own converter attached. (I think that was what was attached) It meant that one could buy say 10 panels and could add on more anytime you wanted to or needed to increase your power. A system that allowed one to grow as you choose.
    Yup, that describes Enphase in my post above. There are likely others, too. The ones I've seen do seem kind of pricey to me, though.


    Peter

  6. #116
    LHBA Member edkemper's Avatar
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    Peter,

    By the time I get to that point, they might be better and cheaper. Seems a little more consumer friendly. Hopefully, the rules will change in the future "letting" us help out if we can afford to.
    edkemper

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  7. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by donjuedo View Post
    My brother in Purcellville, Virginia produces close to the amount he uses, and he sells back to the power company. I have not yet heard anything about a cap of any kind, though. He had to install a special meter that measures energy flow in each direction, separately. All in all, I don't think he has a cap of any kind. I will ask, though, and if I'm mistaken, I will post a follow up note.
    OK, I asked. The answer is a tad more complicated than I said, but not much. Here's his reply:

    "No cap that I know of. From month to month, any surplus carries over and we get full credit as we use it up. At the end of the year, they will pay us if we still have a surplus. That will never happen because our system is not that big. If it did happen, the payment would be no bargain. We all get billed a little for electricity and more for the distribution of electricity."


    Peter

  8. #118
    It depends on what you want powered. you can run 4 dc led lightbulb for 5 years with the solar panel and controler from harbor freight. just add a deep cycle marine battery to your attic.

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