[amsat-bb] Re: Solar Power (I was wrong)

Jim Jerzycke kq6ea at pacbell.net
Thu Oct 1 19:33:22 PDT 2009

Bob, I *never* consider your posts as "Off Topic"!
As others have replied, it varies greatly state-by-state. I have a very good friend who installed a grid-tie system at his house. He was $30,000 out-of-pocket, and got some fraction of that back in tax credits. Where he lives in California (Orange County), the utility DOES NOT buy power back from him; he only reduces his bill, a significant amount in summer, and less in the winter. IIRC, he told me his lowest power bill was a few dollars, and his highest was $45~$50. His bill *was* running $200 and higher before he bought his system.
Jim  KQ6EA

--- On Thu, 10/1/09, Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:

> From: Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu>
> Subject: [amsat-bb]  Solar Power (I was wrong)
> To: amsat-bb at amsat.org
> Date: Thursday, October 1, 2009, 5:37 PM
> Since Satellite design is heavy into
> Solar power, and I talk
> about that a lot, you may have heard me compare my Solar
> car to
> Solar panels on the roof of your house as not economical, I
> WRONG.  I was overlooking many recent changes in the
> environment:
> 1) Solar panels (PV) are 1% of what they cost in 1970
> 2) PV dropped 40% this year due to 2007 Energy Boom and
> 2009
> economic bust
> 4) $5,000 to $20,000 tax and cash back incentives for YOU
> 5) Grid-tie systems operate at 95% efficiency compared to
> 70% of
> battery systems
> 6) Local electric rates DOUBLED in the last 2 years
> 7) Laws require utilities to pay you the same peak rates
> they
> charge you.
> 8) Solar Energy credits can gain an additional $275 per
> 1Kw
> system per year
> 9) Payback is at least 10% per year or better
> 10) The same money in the bank gets 1% interest
> So I was wrong in not keeping current with all the
> changing
> environment, and now I am full speed to get my system
> approved
> and built and correct any miss-guidance I may have helped
> propagate.
> Sorry. I am claiming this particular email is on-topic
> because
> of public statements to the contrary I have made at
> satellite
> forums.  But this hot topic should probably spin off
> elsewhere.
> We need a HAM Solar Power group somewhere...?
> Summary:  Do NOT make the mistake (as most of us do)
> of thinking
> in terms of stand-alone Battery back-up solar power systems
> .
> They cost more and you don't need it in most places where
> you
> have access to the grid.  They cost $5 to $10,000
> more, are only
> 70% efficient (compared to 95% for grid-tie) and are a
> never
> ending maintenance headache.  Instead, most any
> enterprising ham
> should be able to provide his own backup power using a
> cheap 1
> kW inverter for about $150 from any auto store or radio
> shack
> running off his car's 12V system for any power outages.
> That, a few deep cycle batteries, (and using CFL lightbulbs
> in
> your house) will give you enough emergency power to operate
> your
> full Ham station, all the lights in the house you want plus
> your
> refrigerator for as long as you can buy gas.  But the
> other
> 99.99% of the time, sell your solar power to the power
> company
> (at peak rates during the day) and buy it back cheap at
> night
> (you win and you don't even have to worrry about
> batteries)...
> And even if your grid-tie solar array produces nothing (in
> the
> way of AC power) when the grid goes out, you still have
> many
> Killowatts of DC power on your roof, that you can surely
> find
> lots of things to do with until the grid comes back. 
> For
> example, have the electrician wire a 250 volt string of the
> 200
> Watt solar panels in the array to a DPDT switch so they can
> be
> disconnected from the Grid Tie system and the 250 VDC can
> be
> available to you.  THen you can plug in as many modern
> pwer supplies into that 250 VDC to give you LOTS of amps at
> 12
> volts, or ... almost any modern gizmo has a universal
> power
> supply input that will run on anything from 110V to 330V DC
> as
> is.
> Anyway, for similar hints www.aprs.org/FD-Prius-Power.html
> Sorry for the off-topic.  But  I was wrong. PV
> works! (even in
> Maryland).  If you live in the SW, you are lucky, and
> it works
> TWICE as much or at HALF the price!
> A Born-again Home PV junkie
> Bob, WB4APR
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