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Number crunching

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by Leadfoot J. McCoalroller, Apr 22, 2022.

  1. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Well I signed papers with my electrical contractor today, did the permit applications and the "generator-customer" application with the local utility.

    With any luck at all we'll have some amps on the grid in December.
     
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  2. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Woo! getting real in a hurry. The bank surprised us and set up an insta-closing for our financing.

    So now it's permits and parts pending.
     
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    In Dixie, the local Republicans saved money by eliminating the inspectors.

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    In Dixie, the local Republicans saved money by eliminating the inspectors.

    Bob Wilson
     
  5. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    They could save even more money by not having building codes or permits. Like where I grew up (NW region), and still have family.
     
  6. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    All the electricians I've hired to do things you can't see from the street just ignored the local permit system.

    But a 15kW array plopped in the yard will be harder to ignore...
     
  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    We have just ordered one of the new heat pump systems for the house, to be installed on the 25th.

    We plan to install the last one early next year to be eligible for a tax credit on each of them in different years.
     
  8. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Other number crunching:

    I'm still paying over $3,200 per kilowatt-hour for a very small portion of the electricity I buy.

    Fortunately I don't need very much of that, and most of the rest is vastly cheaper.
     
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  9. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    That is the most expensive electricity rate I have ever seen! LOL

    Congrats on your heat pump installation. I am still waiting for our state to implement the new IRA rebate program. Our current rebate is only $2,400 and does not cover the main panel upgrade cost of >$6,000. According to the state website, the IRA program should start soon, but I anticipate it will be in 2024. With the new program, we may be eligible for up to a $8,000 rebate.

    Besides, for this winter, oil is going to be ~20% cheaper than electricity for heating the whole house for us, so I am not in a hurry to install a whole house heat pump now.
     
  10. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Screenshot 2023-10-11 at 12.23.29 PM.png

    Can't get away from it... but like I said, thankfully I don't need that much power delivered this way.

    Thanks!

    I'm not sure what if anything I can get from Pennsyltuckey, but the $2,000 federal tax break plus $200 utility rebate is already sweet enough. Of course I'll save the receipts if it ever comes down that PA offers anything for this date range.
     
  11. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, if your house is coin-battery-operated... that will cost you $$$ :LOL:

    BTW, right now, more than the HP installation, I am seriously thinking of buying a battery storage system for the backup generator. Ideally, I want it to be installed with photo PV on the roof. State and IRA do not have a specific rebate for this, so installing this unit and getting a 30% tax credit this year may be a better use of the fund for me.

    During the last storm, we had a portable gas generator backup running for almost 2 days. At $5/gal ethanol-free gas cost, that came out to be roughly $100/day for ~10kWh of electricity generated. Yeah, that's $10/kWh compared to our current $0.32/kWh from the grid. The battery storage will be very expensive, but running costs should be free if from solar. Even from the grid, it would be much cheaper than running on gas.
     
  12. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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  13. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    The original offgrid system we had at the beach cottage was a string of 100 1.2v edison glass tank lead acid batteries, probably salvaged from a submarine or something.

    My grandfather built the whole thing himself. He'd run a gasoline generator during the afternoons to make 120VAC to operate a big rectifier to charge the batteries. Then at nightfall he would shut down the generator and patch the batteries directly to the load center to deliver 120VDC through the house. Lights were the only load, so they didn't care about the daily AC/DC switchover.

    Worked fine for night lighting for 25 years or so. Only made financial sense because he got the batteries for free + the work to lug them out there.
     
  14. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    If lights and small appliances are the only loads, I am sure we can get away with a smaller more efficient inverter generator. Maybe a 2kW Honda will run on less gas? But with a deep well pump, 4 freezers/refrigerators, plus a boiler system, our 6kW (7.5kW serge) portable generator struggles from time to time. The generator with a full tank (6 gal) of gas lasts ~8 hours with a reduced load in our home during a power outage.

    The boiler itself needs a little load, but the direct vent fan must draw a large current. We have not tried running the oven/range or cloth dryer during our power outage, but I don't think they will run on our current portable generator. And of course no plug-in charging for the car while on the generator. My estimate of ~10kWh/day usage during an outage is 1/3 of our regular daily consumption of electricity ~30kWh/day or ~1000kWh/mo.

    But, a 10kWh battery storage system will cost over $10K and will run out of juice in a single day. Not a viable solution as is.
     
  15. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    What about a smaller battery? The generator will run more, but it will be running like a hybrid to reduce overall gas use.
     
  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    A couple times, my water utility tried to advertise the 'value' of their water by comparing its volumetric cost to that of the highest price sticker on a small bottled water at a nearby convenience store. I didn't appreciate the comparison, not just because I won't flush my toilet with fancy bottled water (especially when we have rainwater collection barrels), but also because the nearby major grocery store sold larger family-size bottles of premium waters, e.g. Evian, for a much lower per-gallon cost than that convenience store small-bottle water. And the water company didn't even include their connection charge, which for this district, greatly exceeds my usage charge.

    I wanted to give them a piece of my mind at a board meeting. And point out how much of a bargain they were getting by me visiting them for free, when certain celebrities where charging appearance fees in the mid 6 six figures.

    But alas, they are previously changed their board meeting schedule to conflict with my work schedule, probably due to a real ongoing issue I had with them (resolved a few years later).
     
  17. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Are you suggesting smaller battery storage with a gas-powered generator? I really haven't researched in depth yet. The technology has been improving so much in the last few years. I am not even sure what system is available currently. What I really want is an off-grid solar panel with battery storage and a gas generator backup system that can run indefinitely. But retrofitting a system like that into an old home built in the 70s is neither easy nor cheap, I think.
     
  18. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    I personally haven't looked into it, but Generac and others are marketing such systems now. The basic principle is that a controller fires up the generator when the battery hits the low SOC buffer. Then generator runs at an efficient load until the battery is charged. Not much unlike a hybrid car, you just have more flexibility in sizing the battery for your budget, and adding more capacity would be possible at a later date.

    Just took another look at your post, and see you are using a portable generator. What I've seen advertised are systems with a hardwired generator. If you have a gen in hook up for the generator for the house grid, maybe there are options for this.

    As for retrofitting an older home, there isn't actually much done to the house itself. These all feed into the main electric panel. That is near where the meter and main come in. Usually, the generator and PV panels would be run in near there. So most of the work will be outside. The batteries could be tricky, as in a place with winter, they would need to be sheltered from the cold.
     
  19. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Currently, our portable whole-house generator hookup is completely manual. Manual transfer switch in the main panel, manual outside generator inlet plug. In case of a power outage, I just roll out the portable generator from the shed and run it on our driveway. That entire setup including electrical panel and plug work and generator cost less than $2k total. I could have paid ~$10k more to have an automatic backup generator for the whole house. But why? We use it only once or twice at most for a few days in an emergency power outage. And, since we have no natural gas line, I still have to provide a propane tank and regular fill-up for this to work.

    I understand that the backup generator can be retrofitted to an older house without a major renovation. What I am inferring is that the house was built without any energy-saving features. It was built when the oil was super cheap, electricity was cheap, and there was no concern about climate change. The whole house wastes a lot of energy just to operate normally. If I just want to install a whole house generator and expect to continue living as we have been, it has to provide ~30kWh of electricity each day. And this is without heating (for both rooms and domestic hot water). So, on top of ~30kWh/day of electricity, we also use on average ~1 gal of oil/day during non-heating seasons and 2-3 gal/day during heating seasons. I want a smaller, more energy-efficient house that uses no fossil fuel for heating and can operate comfortably with ~10kWh/day of electricity (preferably generated by solar). I just don't see I can accomplish this goal in our current home without a major renovation. And even if it is possible, it is most likely to be cheaper to just build a new house from scratch.
     
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  20. John321

    John321 Senior Member

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  21. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Not sure of the brand, but a friend picked up one of those with portable solar panel. He's been using it to run his computers, but also for camping.
     
  22. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    The solar setup we are putting in won't give any blackout backup out of the box, but we are looking at ways to add that in the future.

    One of the options on the table is little more than a battery, a battery charger and an inverter.

    I'm told that this additional inverter is capable of providing a stable enough reference output that the PV micro-inverters can join in to deliver full power when the sun is up.

    Then at night, we'd fall down to the output of the single inverter driven by the batteries.