Solar Power and Storage - a nerd's view



  • Its funny you mention that, Hooroo - because while I was in the process of getting the install done, I've been looking at other energy providers, and found someone cheaper by a double-digit percentage, so the ROI I calculated originally is not relevant once I change over. 
     
    But, as you say, I've got the money to do it, and I want to do it. Some people would have spent it on a car, holiday, hookers n blow 😉 I decided to be a bit sensible, a bit nerdish, and a bit future-thinking.
     
    Now that it is spent, I'm not beating myself up about the ROI. But there are a LOT of critics* out there that are waiting to see this fail, so the ROI I've got worked out will be the test case for me sticking it up the fluffybunnies.

    • So far, the articles in which I've appeared - from esteemed publications like The Australian, down to the tech sites, have contained a fairly equal balance of "good on you! Well done!" people looking at this tech for themselves, compared to "too expensive, will wait until early adopters like this bloke drive it down" to the utter shitwits with stuff like:
      "Ha! Interview them in 25 years when they've finally paid it back!"
      "Rich people like this suck up subsidies, and will force providers to drive up prices, and only hurt poor people!"
      "Look at this bloke - huge house, heated^ pool, 2 kids - profligate Western lifestyle and thinks reducing his carbon footprint 0.5 percent makes the world right!"
      ^ Pool isn't heated, btw 🙂 That is madness - I have a blanket to trap heat.
       
      Various things in between. Lot of comment from people who are clearly baby boomers and/or climate change deniers, and have a real problem with any form of progress like this. At one point I had to question whether I was an elitist white Tesla shill, crushing the poor under the heel of my jackboots while worshipping at the altar of the money god. Never mind that the poor are tax neutral to the government, and I pay a fair share.
       
      I am actually planning a follow-up in a few months with some of the outlets I spoke to, just to give them a progress update - and to get those fuck knuckles to eat crow 😉

    THis is probably going to be the dumbest question....
     
    At night if the Tesla battery runs flat, will you notice the switch back to grid/paid for power or do you get a warning and you have to switch back to grid yourself? How does that transition happen?

    That bit I don't know, but it is an interesting concept. I expect, over time, I'll become accustomed to what works, and aim for that at all times. Wife is the problem. Gets out of air conditioned car into hot garage, dressed in work clothes (long dress, pantyhose, middle of summer), staggers into reasonable temp house and starts lowering the thermostat on the ducted. Sheesh!
     
    I have monitoring sites available to me through the inverter that can tell me how much I'm generating - it is connected to the WiFi at home and sends stats updates to the manufacturer every few minutes. So I can see in the hour since I put that post up, I've hit 22.52kW as the sun is out here and blazing away in the peak of the day. 
     
    Funny thing about solar panels is their output is determined in lab tests - so 25C, basically. The hotter it gets, the efficiency rating starts to dip just a little bit. And considering atmospheric temperature is often 20C lower than up on the roof here, you don't need hot days, just sunshine. So what you're after is a bright day, no cloud, in the high teens or low 20s. Which is basically Sydney three seasons of the year!

    I'll be really interested in the actuals re your power bill Nick. If i do end up building this year, given where i live, this kind of tech could be pretty handy.

    Fo shizz. A bloke I know in Brisvegas gets peaks of 32kWh / day so up there you'll be laughing all year round. By the time you get built, the cost might even have crept down a little, or other battery manufacturers will have started the price war.
     
    Adding $16K to a build is nothing.



  • I
     
     
     
    Fo shizz. A bloke I know in Brisvegas gets peaks of 32kWh / day so up there you'll be laughing all year round. By the time you get built, the cost might even have crept down a little, or other battery manufacturers will have started the price war.
     
    Adding $16K to a build is nothing.

    A client said to me I was up to my eyeballs in debt anyway with the build, this just takes me to the eyelids.
     
    Do ask around about the installers though, when something like this comes up they appear out of nowhere and a lot of them hire muppets. The one I just mentioned had five guys turn up and then they tramped mud and gravel all over the roof and left it covered in scratches and dents, its cost $1500 to put right which they agreed to pay and then went into receivership a fortnight later.



  • Yeah definitely. Can make all the difference. I've done about a dozen media outlets now, and all bar one mentioned the installer by name (installer not happy with that one). It has generated business for them so they're unlikely to tank, given their history as well.
    All their "sales" guys are engineers, too.



  • I'll be really interested in the actuals re your power bill Nick. If i do end up building this year, given where i live, this kind of tech could be pretty handy.

    Oh another thing on this: one of the big points I made to Mrs TA on this was the usefulness of the cash.
    At current interest rates (under 5%), that sort of money is worth about $640-820 a year in a mortgage offset, depending on exact rate.
    Compare that to about $1500 in power bills, and that's just minimum estimated savings. Wipe out my $1920 from last year and I'm ahead of the bank by about $1200 with enough sun and smarts.



  • The temp thing is not something i had considered, and could be an issue. Sun? No worries for the vast majority of the year. Even during the wet season we get extended sun. Winter is prime obviously.
     
    But the temp in the depot today is about 38, and it's humid as fuck (storm tonight no doubt) so i wonder if summer conditions will have a negative impact on output (and lifespan)



  • The unit is rated to the appropriate IP weatherproof reading - in fact the fancy casing isn't as waterproof as the innards. So as far as being outside goes, it is covered

    I think humidity will be a factor, but its effectively a sealed lithium battery. So provided you're not buggering up the temperature factor too much - 50C max operating - you should be fine.



  • Apparently this can be retrofitted to an existing system which should make my parents happy. Their solar system and associated tariffs provides free electricity, which isn't bad considering multiple widescreen tvs, aircon and pool. Father wanted to store the energy rather than feeding it back into the grid.



  • Cost will also depend on how their inverter stacks up - may need to replace it.



  • And in other news: fuck.
     
     
    http://www.techradar.com/news/world-of-tech/tesla-powerwall-mark-ii-confirmed-for-2016-launch-by-elon-musk-1314184
     
    ast year saw the introduction of the Tesla Powerwall â€“ a wall-mounted rechargeable lithium ion battery with the ability to power your entire home, powered entirely by solar energy.
    And while the first version of the Powerwall has only recently gone to market, just like Tony Stark and his various armors, Musk is already working on a next-generation model of his zero-emission power solution.
    Speaking at an event for Tesla car owners in Paris, Musk told attendees that plans for a second version of the Powerwall are already on track for a 2016 launch.

    Elon story short
    

    “We are coming up with the version two of the Powerwall probably around July or August of this year, which will see further step changes in capabilities,” said Musk.
    Though Musk did not elaborate on what these changes are, he did reveal thatTesla’s Gigafactory will now be producing its own battery cells, instead of using the ones manufactured by Panasonic the first time around.
    “Moderate improvements” to the technology were teased, and it is expected that the second generation Powerwall will boast a longer lifecycle.
    You can watch the full video of the Musk’s talk in Paris below.



  • Great podcast here with Lyndon Rive talking about the economics and business of SolarCity in the US.
     
    http://ecorner.stanford.edu/podcasts/3557/The-Science-and-Incentives-Behind-Solar
     
    I was thinking of a similar business plan a few years back - should have got off my arse and done something about it



  • You'd assume most of Australia & a lot of NZ the eventual home setup will be really good solar units, a powerwall & effectively zero input from the grid. Even more so once you tie it all into well designed houses with great insulation, underfloor heating etc.
     
    Whats the insulation like on your house Nick? Double glazed etc?
     
    Thats weirdly the bit that always makes me go "maybe next year" when I look at building a self suffecient home. The powerwall tech is more or less there, Solar has come way down, but I'd want to incorporate REALLY good insulation & yet I have a thing for full length glass. And fuck me, double or triple glazed glass will do very bad things to your budget.



  • Unfortunately no double glazing - don't get it a lot in Australia except for noise related reasons, or architect designed bespoke jobbies.
    However, I have ensured the insulation in the ceiling (batts) are of suitable size and coverage. The original owner didn't put batts over the garage, so that was a massive suck hole for the thermal status of the house, which I corrected. I also insulated the inside of the garage door, which faces west, to limit heat transferred into the house from the metal surface late in the day.
    The house was built with wide eaves - very important in Australian heat - and the roof (corrugated steel) had a pretty big pitch on it. I installed a solar powered extractor fan that keeps it pretty nice up there and on the hottest days, the fan works hardest, so it balances things nicely and stops more reflective heat against the ceiling.
    The air con is a ducted system in the whole house, which isn't the most efficient, but is zoned to do either the east or west (roughly), so that minimised wasted energy to as large a degree as can be expected as the sun moves.
    I can take it a step further and get exterior blind or shutters, but I think I've spent enough money for now 🙂



  • Have just seen consumer group CHOICE Australia say the payoff time for the PowerWall, with 4kw solar panels, of 23 years.
    LOT of assumptions made. Look forward to proving them wrong.
    Today was a new record for my solar panels: 32.68kWh generated. Wish my fucking meter was changed over so I could at least get some cash for that



  • Have just seen consumer group CHOICE Australia say the payoff time for the PowerWall, with 4kw solar panels, of 23 years.
    LOT of assumptions made. Look forward to proving them wrong.
    Today was a new record for my solar panels: 32.68kWh generated. Wish my fucking meter was changed over so I could at least get some cash for that

    Setup a website detailing stuff you are doing. Have links to retailers. You can get that down to 15 years with click thrus. This stuff is going to get more & more mainstream & folks will always want to have a read about what people are doing with their houses, I've book marked half your stuff & I'm probably not building for 5 years



  • Yeah the inverter comes with an API feed off the manufacturer's website. I'm assuming the Reposit stuff does too, so I can wire that all up and spit out some metrics n shit. Add comments and such



  • Need a bit if time to get my head around it and get the peak (summer) dusted to see where I go next



  • Setup a website detailing stuff you are doing. Have links to retailers. You can get that down to 15 years with click thrus. This stuff is going to get more & more mainstream & folks will always want to have a read about what people are doing with their houses, I've book marked half your stuff & I'm probably not building for 5 years

    Great idea - you should be all over this Nick. Add a few sneaky links to the fern for shits and giggles too!



  • Great idea - you should be all over this Nick. Add a few sneaky links to the fern for shits and giggles too!

    If I reference "interested fluffybunnies in FNQ" you'll know I'm speaking about Mariner 😉



  • If I reference "interesting fluffybunnys in FNQ" you'll know I'm speaking about Mariner 😉

    fixed



  • Whatever. You're still a fluffybunny.


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