What other alternative energy items do you own?

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by Mystery Squid, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. tripp

    tripp Which it's a 'ybrid, ain't it?

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    4,717
    79
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    our next house will definitely have a solar PV array and probably solar thermal as well. With over 300 days of sunshine in CO combined with the new rebates that the state introduced it'd be silly not to install them. Just gotta move to a bigger house first! I'm also looking into getting a solar battery charger and rechargable AAA and AA batteries. We seem to use a fair amount of them.
     
  2. joelparks

    joelparks New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    82
    0
    0
    Location:
    Bedford, MA
    2.4kW PV array (Evergreen 100s, SunnyBoy 2500U grid-tie inverter);
    Ryobi "Mulchinator" 24V battery push mower;
    GE Elec-trak E15 36V lawn tractor with mower deck, snowblower, dozer blade, welder, hedge trimmer;
    countless solar battery chargers, wind-up/solar radio/flashlights, etc.

    The PV array was installed 10/2003 and is pretty much turn-key, set-it-and-forget-it. I actually change the angle of the pole mounts twice a year (for winter and summer orientation). You can see part of the array in the avatar photo. The Ryobi mower was purchased from Real-Goods about 10 years ago, and at the time they offered a "solar recharge" option which I got, which was a 24V-output (nominal) panel about 3 square feet. I set it up so I could mount it on top of the mower and it would extend my run-time by about 30% in the middle of the day. Without it, the run time was about 3 hours with a new battery. I had to replace the battery once, which ran me about $60 and a little hardware. I also had to debug a blown fuse internal to the on-board charger, which blew enough times during charging that I bypassed it with a panel mount fuse.

    The Elec-trak is a beast, I got mine on EBay a couple years ago. Paid too much but I like it. They haven't been made since the late '70s but there's an internet community keeping them going, and it will mow a wider path and at higher speed for longer, plus the snowblower let's me get rid of the gas snowblower. It uses 6 T105 golf-cart batteries, and I've upgraded mine to modern solid-state controller electronics in favor of the original discrete contactor system which is problematic for those of us with limited electronics maintenance skills.
     
  3. Catskillguy

    Catskillguy New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    536
    0
    0
    Location:
    Mid Hudson Valley NY
    I lost 3 cords over the years (well, actually ran over it 3 times, repaired one cord twice). When it went, I just went with a gas powered model. That plus I had too much to cust (I almost use it as a brush hog) and there were too many things in the way (small pocket gardens, swing set, etc.) However, when I had a small yard in NJ, it was great, no gas or fumes to worry about before or after.
     
  4. tracysbeans

    tracysbeans Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    978
    0
    0
    Location:
    Wisconsin
  5. tracysbeans

    tracysbeans Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    978
    0
    0
    Location:
    Wisconsin

    Whats a Junghans solar/atomic jobbie????
     
  6. IMHYBRID

    IMHYBRID New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    87
    2
    0
    We have two prius, geothermal hvac, greywell heat exchanger, targa demand dhw, thermal mass log cabin, and compact floresent lighting. We hope to go solar in the future.
     
  7. tracysbeans

    tracysbeans Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    978
    0
    0
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I found a battery-operated weed edger today at a local hardware store for $50. (I think it has a 12volt battery in it)

    Not a bad price but the guy at the Battery place said he had one as well as a gas one and he likes his gas one better. He said the gas one has alot more power to it.

    I'm just looking to take care of some small weeds that I get on the sides of my house. The battery one should have enough power for that right?

    I want to have as many battery-operated things as I can! I like cool stuff that runs on batteries. Actually I just love gadgets. I just bought a scanning microwave on clearance for $50 at Target. I just scan what the package of what I'm making and it pulls up the time for me.

    I want to go TO the future!!

    PS I saw that Toyota has a home of the future. I would LOVE to tour that! (It's even got a plugin setup for the Prius). I'm not sure where it's located though. I will have to see if I can find out. (Edited to add: Oh darn it's in Japan :angry: )
     
  8. SluggoLovesNancy

    SluggoLovesNancy New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    85
    0
    0

    So, I checked into this a little. Found these links, am thinking that this is general direction for me to go in (don't need the ac inverter though, seems energy wasteful, and already have one in case I need one in the future)

    http://store.sundancesolar.com/20wadosoenst.html
    http://www.rain.org/~philfear/how2solar.html

    So is approx $250 for what I need seem to be a reasonable entry cost? Anything missing or not needed in these setups?
     
  9. darelldd

    darelldd Prius is our Gas Guzzler

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    6,057
    382
    0
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Ha! I knew there would be a "kit" out there! I like the second home-brew link the best since it is pretty much what I threw together over the years. Yes, I'd say $250 is reasonable. It is nice to have an inverter on hand just in case (I've charged some cordless drill batteries that way when the power was out and I needed to screw (!) something.)
     
  10. darelldd

    darelldd Prius is our Gas Guzzler

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    6,057
    382
    0
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    The better gas ones are definitely more powerful than the electric ones on the market. There's no technological reason for that - it is just how it is today. The electric is all I have, and it is barely adequate for what I do, but will likely be more than you need. They are NOT all created equal, of course. Just like the gas ones. Do a bit of research and at least get a good one that you don't have to worry about.
     
  11. SluggoLovesNancy

    SluggoLovesNancy New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    85
    0
    0
    I ordered the kit. I was able to talk to the dealer and throw out the inverter since I already have one, and upgrade the panel in return. Kind of funny to order this on a cloudy / rainy day, but know that there are sunny days ahead! Thanks for the advice.
     
  12. kirbinster

    kirbinster Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    602
    0
    0
    Location:
    Morris County - New Jersey
    I've got a 10KW PV array on my roof which generates about 12,000 KWH per year. Payback on the system in the great state of NJ is just under 4 years - then it turns into a cash machine.
     
  13. keydiver

    keydiver New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    509
    2
    0
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, Florida
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I have:
    almost 1 kw of panels (only half of them mounted at the moment)
    an Outback GTFX2524 Grid-Tie inverter
    a bank of Rolls batteries=400 Amp Hours at 24 volts (this is primarily a power backup system, but I resell the extra output back to the grid)
    a 24 volt well pump paralleling my 220 volt one
    Solar heat panels for the pool
    an electric Toro weedwacker
    a 20 watt panel, charge controller, battery, and inverter that powers my shed (much like the package in the link above, but cheaper)
    I'm about to order a solar hot water heating system that should provide 50-80% of my hot water needs, with or without grid electric power! :D Gotta love the 30% tax credit!
    I paid to have thicker insulation in the attic, and I put Huper Optik film on all the southern and western-exposure windows (and in my Prius!).
     
  14. SluggoLovesNancy

    SluggoLovesNancy New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    85
    0
    0
    Let me throw out for comment a little scheme I'm brewing up in my head once my kit panel arrives on Friday....

    [edit] removed scheme. calculation error. maybe I should work for consumer reports [/edit]
     
Loading...