Solar Prius

Discussion in 'Toyota Prius Plug-in' started by TomE, Mar 29, 2012.

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    TomE Junior Member

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    I bought a house about two years ago, and was in the process of restoring/renovating it when the Deepwater Horizon disaster happened. And I decided then to try to find ways to use my house to reduce my petroleum intake.

    I did all the usual stuff--heavy insulation, tankless water heaters, high-efficiency appliances and so on. But I also put solar panels on my roof--enough to generate considerably more than my family uses--and resolved to get a PiP as soon as it became available. Looks like I'll finally be getting the car in the next week, and am excited to start driving on my own home-generated power.

    I'm curious, are others in this forum charging off of solar? If so, any surprises or discoveries of interest?
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    hill High Fiber Member

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    You'll find most of the solar (PV) threads are in the 'Environmental' section. Obviously all the folks writing about it there are PV system owners.

    .
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    bvoyles Junior Member

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    Hi TomE
    I installed a 6.2 KW system on my home about 4 years ago because I knew that some day I would buy a plug in vehicle. I will be picking up my new plug in Prius next week. Curently my system provides more than 100% of my home electric energy needs with enough excess capacity to charge a Prius two or so times per day. Currently my monthly electric bill is $5 (SDGE minimum payment).
    I expect that once I pick up the Prius, it may go up a couple of dollars per month due some charging beyond my excess capacity.
    After tax credits my pay back for the system is about 10 years, maybe less due to the ever increasing electric rates in my area.
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    planeflyer Junior Member

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    I have a 7.7 KW system on my roof. Last year I generated 7343 Kwh and sold the electricity to our utility, PGE for $.585/Kwh. I charge my car using the grid electricity for which I pay $.105/Kwh. I have no onsite storage facility. Everything is converted to 220 and sent into the system.
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    devprius /dev/geek

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    I'm in the process of putting a 2.5 - 3 KW system on my roof.
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    rcf@eventide.com Member

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    I just found out my PiP his arrived in the US and should be at the dealer "any day now." My plan from day one has been to provide at least enough solar panels to charge the Prius whether or not utility power is available. A crucial issue is whether one's solar installation can provide power during utility outages or whether its "anti-islanding" provisions prevent that. If you're concerned about mobility during the apocalypse, you'll need to look into that.

    Richard
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    sjblee Junior Member

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    I have a 6.0 KW system with Netmetering since 2006. I picked up my PiP on 3/13 and have used about 50KWH so far to charge the car. I setup the PiP to start charging at 3AM in the morning when my rate is the lowest. I will check my bill next month and compare it with last year to see what the delta is. I may have to put up a few more panels to offset the added usage.
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    bvoyles Junior Member

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    The anti-islanding will prevent it from supplying power if the utility goes down. It's very rare for my utility power to go down in Southern California. They do however make inverters that will switch to battery backup if you have frequent power outages.
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    bfd Plug-In Perpetuator

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    With today's mail came what I KNEW would happen sooner than later…SDG&E wants to recoup their losses for the fire their lines started in Ramona a few years ago by increasing our rates…

    So I'm getting more interested in a system that would at least offset some of the Tier 3 and 4 charges we see (almost more than double the price/kWh of tier 2).

    What solar installation company did you go with? Were you pleased with their work?
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    ewilke Junior Member

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    I used solarcity they did a great job on the install and give you solar monitoring as part of the service
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    miscrms Plug Envious Member

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    In the process of installing 5.5kW system now. I'm doing it all myself (pretty much) so its a bit of a slow process. Panels are in the garage. Got all my drawings in to the utility and got my approval to go ahead (and incentive reservation), working on my building permit drawings now. Our roof is too shady so we're doing a solar patio cover. Once we get our incentives and credits back hopefully I'll be doing a plugin conversion :)

    Here's the plan in google sketchup:
    [IMG]
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    bvoyles Junior Member

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    Very Nice!!!
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    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

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    Congrats on the effort for a better eco-living.
    What's going to be your projected daily KW production? off grid or tied-in?
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    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Cool, but much of that work won't help reduce the use of petroleum since little of it in the US comes from oil. See How clean is the electricity I use? - Power Profiler | Clean Energy | US EPA. I put in the 90024 zip and got 1.0% from oil.

    Maybe you want to get a Leaf as a second car?
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    TomE Junior Member

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    Forgive me for conflating a few issues, cwerdna. I wanted my new house to be efficient in all ways--energy, water, waste. But after the Gulf oil spill I also wanted to minimize petroleum use. My only real use of oil is driving, and since I work at home I mostly just run errands within 10 miles, so the solution there was an electric car. (With family in San Francisco, alas, I can't use a Leaf. For now I still need gas backup so I can take long trips.)

    Adding solar panels makes it so I'm not just conserving gasoline, and not just transferring to another petrochemical (most of the electricity here in Los Angeles comes from natural gas) but am generating my own mileage. So maybe I'm not only conserving oil, but I'm conserving other things as well; it's efficient, and that makes me happy. Also have a pretty awesome organic garden out back. :)
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    TomE Junior Member

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    Very cool. Kind of a shame you can't use your roof, though. One thing that surprised me was how much the house is cooled simply because the panels keep the actual roof in shade. I can't quantify how much energy that saves, but it's not insubstantial.
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    cwerdna Senior Member

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    I see. I figure if you're a 2+ car household, you've got the PiP as the gas backup (Leafers call them gassers) and could get a Leaf as a primary car.
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    bilofsky Privolting Member

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    I'm on a favorable grandfathered TOU rate split between Marin Clean Energy (power) and PG&E (distribution). I'm concerned because in the worst months for solar - December and January - I can creep up into tier 3 or even 4, even before the PIP. So nighttime costs will be 25 or 35 cents per kWh. At those prices it would probably be cheaper not to charge. Will have to see how it worls out.

    Fortunately with MCE I get paid for over-generation. So it might pay to add a few panels, not so much for the generation per se as to keep in the lower tiers in the winter.
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    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Sorry to go OT but you will fall over when you see the residential rates at Seattle City Light: Electric Rates & Provisions and 2011 Rates compared to ripoff PG&E. (From what I understand about how demand charges work on PG&E commercial schedules, you wouldn't hit it at Douglas PUD unless you put on a load of >50 kw at a time.)
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    bilofsky Privolting Member

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    Is this OT? Electric rates are as important a part of solar as where you put your panels.

    If we got most of our power from hydro we'd pay low rates too.

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