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(Bloomberg)   Power companies: "So I see you've got that nice new solar rooftop. Good luck connecting to our grid"   (bloomberg.com) divider line 312
    More: Asinine, solar heating, power companies, green teas, electrical grid, rooftops, SolarCity Corp, Xcel, smart meters  
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23026 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Dec 2013 at 8:07 PM (16 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-26 07:23:32 PM
I have family in Hawaii who squeaked their solar panels in just in time. Hawaii relying on oil for electricity is asinine. Solar is the way to go.

So, someone who might know, how far are we from having a solar system that is independent to each particular house and does not rely on the grid. Is this possible?
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-12-26 07:35:25 PM
Drill a well, use it as a heat sink, hire an electrician to connect the solar panels to the AC and the heat pump. Oh, you lost all your money gambling on a big company paying your bills? You can't afford to rewire? Maybe I'll get a good deal on a solar equipped dream house after the foreclosure.
 
2013-12-26 07:36:08 PM

namegoeshere: I have family in Hawaii who squeaked their solar panels in just in time. Hawaii relying on oil for electricity is asinine. Solar is the way to go.

So, someone who might know, how far are we from having a solar system that is independent to each particular house and does not rely on the grid. Is this possible?


Depends on how much electricity you use.  For LED lighting it's great.  For heating a 2000 sq. foot house in 10 degree weather?  Not really possible.
 
2013-12-26 07:39:51 PM

namegoeshere: I have family in Hawaii who squeaked their solar panels in just in time. Hawaii relying on oil for electricity is asinine. Solar is the way to go.

So, someone who might know, how far are we from having a solar system that is independent to each particular house and does not rely on the grid. Is this possible?


The end of TFA addresses that somewhat.

Phil Undercuffler hopes HECO will drive lots of people off the grid. Then he will sell them batteries.

Heh, "Undercufler'. Roger. Over.
 
2013-12-26 07:40:36 PM
Don Brandt, chief executive officer of APS and its parent company Pinnacle West Capital Corp., panned the deal, saying that while it nods to the impact that net metering is having on utility operations and revenues, it "falls well short of protecting the interests of the 1 million residential customers who do not have solar panels."

Their interests being YOUR interests.  Your interests being loss of revenue and control.

You had a nice run, but now it's time to fark off and die.
 
2013-12-26 07:42:25 PM

Marcus Aurelius: namegoeshere: I have family in Hawaii who squeaked their solar panels in just in time. Hawaii relying on oil for electricity is asinine. Solar is the way to go.

So, someone who might know, how far are we from having a solar system that is independent to each particular house and does not rely on the grid. Is this possible?

Depends on how much electricity you use.  For LED lighting it's great.  For heating a 2000 sq. foot house in 10 degree weather?  Not really possible.


I should have been clearer. I meant, you could still draw from the grid if your solar did not meet your needs. But the solar was otherwise independent from the grid. So the concern of overload would be gone. You wouldn't get paid for your excess juice, of course.

I live in CNY where we all are chronically vitamin D deficient. Neighbors of mine have solar, and the only month they have to pay instead of getting a check is February. (Disclaimer: I don't know if they heat with electric.)
 
2013-12-26 07:45:08 PM

namegoeshere: Marcus Aurelius: namegoeshere: I have family in Hawaii who squeaked their solar panels in just in time. Hawaii relying on oil for electricity is asinine. Solar is the way to go.

So, someone who might know, how far are we from having a solar system that is independent to each particular house and does not rely on the grid. Is this possible?

Depends on how much electricity you use.  For LED lighting it's great.  For heating a 2000 sq. foot house in 10 degree weather?  Not really possible.

I should have been clearer. I meant, you could still draw from the grid if your solar did not meet your needs. But the solar was otherwise independent from the grid. So the concern of overload would be gone. You wouldn't get paid for your excess juice, of course.

I live in CNY where we all are chronically vitamin D deficient. Neighbors of mine have solar, and the only month they have to pay instead of getting a check is February. (Disclaimer: I don't know if they heat with electric.)


Anything is possible if you're willing to spend the money.  Excess solar capacity, if it's not metered back to the electric company, can charge backup batteries.  Short of that, it just goes into the ground.
 
2013-12-26 07:46:37 PM

namegoeshere: could still draw from the grid if your solar did not meet your needs


Typically, yes.
 
2013-12-26 07:51:06 PM
SO ... calling that solar guy who knows a LOT.
Isnt there some way that you could install batteries and an automatic switch?
Switching from solar to grid as needed?

ALAS, that probably has to cost a bit more money.
Battery cost would be a function of how much power you would want to store for off peak.


It is quite funny that the power companies big complaint is that solar is cutting into their peak profits.
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww
 
2013-12-26 07:51:42 PM
Okay, help a clueless farker out here.

If you are producing your own electricity, why would you need to connect to their grid? Am I missing something here?

Unless, of course, you aren't producing enough power to satisfy your needs. But even then, I don't get it. Because I has a stupid.
 
2013-12-26 07:58:45 PM

HawgWild: Okay, help a clueless farker out here.

If you are producing your own electricity, why would you need to connect to their grid? Am I missing something here?

Unless, of course, you aren't producing enough power to satisfy your needs. But even then, I don't get it. Because I has a stupid.


Read TFA. They want to be able to sell excess power back to the grid but the energy company says they'll overload the system and make your toaster explode, or something.
 
2013-12-26 08:03:46 PM

fusillade762: Read TFA.


1.media.todaysbigthing.cvcdn.com
 
2013-12-26 08:03:53 PM

namatad: SO ... calling that solar guy who knows a LOT.
Isnt there some way that you could install batteries and an automatic switch?
Switching from solar to grid as needed?

ALAS, that probably has to cost a bit more money.
Battery cost would be a function of how much power you would want to store for off peak.


It is quite funny that the power companies big complaint is that solar is cutting into their peak profits.
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww


You can't mark up power at an exorbitant rate if you're forced to pay your own damn customers a fair price for sending power back onto the grid.

My local power company could care less.  They got out of the generation business, and are simply transferring power from where it's made to where it's needed.  They rake down more than the generators on a kilowatt hour basis.  A lot more.
 
2013-12-26 08:06:35 PM

HawgWild: Okay, help a clueless farker out here.

If you are producing your own electricity, why would you need to connect to their grid? Am I missing something here?

Unless, of course, you aren't producing enough power to satisfy your needs. But even then, I don't get it. Because I has a stupid.


Solar panels only generate electricity when the sun is shining.  Most consumers put the panels on the roof, an inverter between their meter and the breaker box, and when the sun is shining bright, they're selling power back to the power company.  During the night, the electricity all comes off the grid.
 
2013-12-26 08:11:12 PM
I often wonder just how much closer we would be to being independent of the Middle East's oil if we had spent the trillions of dollars we have squandered in Irag on outfitting American homes with solar panels.

But no. Let's go kick some ass for no good reason. And let's fail at winning the peace while we're at it. Yay US.
 
2013-12-26 08:14:42 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Solar panels only generate electricity when the sun is shining.


Not true.

Marcus Aurelius: During the night,


Ahh. I see your point, but solar does work up here in Seattle, where the sun often isn't "shining", so much, but it is still light.
 
KIA
2013-12-26 08:14:44 PM

Calmamity: I often wonder just how much closer we would be to being independent of the Middle East's oil if we had spent the trillions of dollars we have squandered in Irag on outfitting American homes with solar panels.

But no. Let's go kick some ass for no good reason. And let's fail at winning the peace while we're at it. Yay US.


Are you trying to make Jimmy Carter and Ron Paul look good? Sheesh, the next thing you're going to say is "metric makes sense and keeps us competitive."
 
2013-12-26 08:14:44 PM
They're just pushing people to leave the grid and move entirely to storage and on-site generation.
 
2013-12-26 08:15:14 PM
I'm glad my local power company is publicly owned and not a for-profit corporation. AFAIK, they are actively encouraging solar panels, since they don't have shareholders to answer to.

They're cheaper than PG&E, also.
 
2013-12-26 08:16:21 PM
Buy a fork lift battery to store the energy and tell the power company to bugger off. Relegate them to emergency back up only, simple switch.

Rural folks do just fine off grid.
 
2013-12-26 08:16:54 PM
The problem is the cyclic availability of the solar power. Keeping a constant voltage on the grid with varying loads is bad enough without unpredictable draw/contribute cycles from solar.

Wind power is even worse.
 
2013-12-26 08:17:46 PM

Marcus Aurelius: namegoeshere: I have family in Hawaii who squeaked their solar panels in just in time. Hawaii relying on oil for electricity is asinine. Solar is the way to go.

So, someone who might know, how far are we from having a solar system that is independent to each particular house and does not rely on the grid. Is this possible?

Depends on how much electricity you use.  For LED lighting it's great.  For heating a 2000 sq. foot house in 10 degree weather?  Not really possible.


Also depends on how much sunlight you get. All and all, though, I don't think it's a reasonable expectation that people be "off grid".
 
2013-12-26 08:18:02 PM
This is why we can't have nice things.
 
2013-12-26 08:18:13 PM
Marcus Aurelius:
Solar panels only generate electricity when the sun is shining. Most consumers put the panels on the roof, an inverter between their meter and the breaker box, and when the sun is shining bright, they're selling power back to the power company.

That's where it gets difficult.

You see, most of the grid is designed to flow one way: from the generators to the consumers. There are load balancers and things, but mostly the design is something like:

Big Generators => thick wires => large area distribution => medium-sized wires => local distribution => thinner wires

This works fine. It saves money and is easy enough to operate.

The problem is when you have a lot of people wanting to run power back the other way. You get into load balancing and phasing issues, and local overloads can be a problem.

Even getting power from the house through the transformer to the local higher-voltage wires is an issue: almost all of the transformers you see are designed to convert voltage down, not up - the wires aren't wrapped symmetrically, so they're not as efficient running in reverse. That can cause overheating.

These are just a couple of the problems - power generation and distribution systems are not simple at all, and there's a helluva lot of legacy systems out there that would have to be replaced.
 
2013-12-26 08:20:49 PM

Bondith: This is why we can't have nice things.


And by "we" I mean "you", since Ontario (and possibly other provinces) allow this,
 
2013-12-26 08:21:44 PM

Calmamity: Marcus Aurelius: Solar panels only generate electricity when the sun is shining.

Not true.

Marcus Aurelius: During the night,

Ahh. I see your point, but solar does work up here in Seattle, where the sun often isn't "shining", so much, but it is still light.


And I see yours.

New panels are efficient, but I'm pretty sure they prefer direct sunlight, as opposed to what passes for sunlight in Seattle.
 
2013-12-26 08:22:36 PM
HawgWild:

If you are producing your own electricity, why would you need to connect to their grid? Am I missing something here?

Fark linked to an article within the last couple months about a family whose mortgage either was revoked or could not be created because all lending rules require homes to be hooked up to utility companies.

And if  your solar system has no storage capacity, if you use power after dark it's not coming from your solar cells.
 
2013-12-26 08:23:55 PM
Subby you suck and should feel bad.

img.fark.net

/Also locks up old IE-8.
 
2013-12-26 08:24:23 PM
Spare Me:
Buy a fork lift battery to store the energy and tell the power company to bugger off.

You mean "buy a LOT of forklift batteries, and replace them about once a year under heavy use."
 
2013-12-26 08:24:36 PM

cirby: there's a helluva lot of legacy systems out there that would have to be replaced


The electric company's transformer that is powering my current house was manufactured in 1951.  I can't imagine what would happen if I tried to send power to it.
 
2013-12-26 08:24:37 PM

namatad: SO ... calling that solar guy who knows a LOT.
Isnt there some way that you could install batteries and an automatic switch?
Switching from solar to grid as needed?

ALAS, that probably has to cost a bit more money.
Battery cost would be a function of how much power you would want to store for off peak.


It is quite funny that the power companies big complaint is that solar is cutting into their peak profits.
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww


You can instal a battery bank to provide power, but with current technology it is VERY expensive to build a system that has enough panels to provide all of the juice that an average household as is, because your average panels setup simply doesn't produce enough juice to provide all the power.
 The way it currently is, your panels supplement your power in the late afternoon when you are home and have all the appliances running, and only provides excess power in the morning and early afternoon when nobody's home.  A battery bank that could hold enough power to run everything through the night would be HUGE. It can be done, but it would probably require a massive battery bank in a dedicated building, and panels not only on your roof, but also on trackers in your backyard.
   It's more realistic to have a smaller battery bank that can provide some emergency power to a few select branch circuits in a blackout; but honestly, unless you live in a place that is prone to frequent blackouts, you are better off just getting a generator.
 
2013-12-26 08:25:12 PM

Kyosuke: The problem is the cyclic availability of the solar power. Keeping a constant voltage on the grid with varying loads is bad enough without unpredictable draw/contribute cycles from solar.

Wind power is even worse.


Which is why you "store" the power or potential power in another form.  Excess power is used to power pumps that pump water to a massive storage basin, and when power is needed, you let the water flow, that in-turn, spins hydroelectric generators.  Yes, there is some loss of power, but it is the best we've got for now.
 
2013-12-26 08:25:19 PM

Calmamity: I often wonder just how much closer we would be to being independent of the Middle East's oil if we had spent the trillions of dollars we have squandered in Irag on outfitting American homes with solar panels.

But no. Let's go kick some ass for no good reason. And let's fail at winning the peace while we're at it. Yay US.


How much mid east oil would it take to make all those solar panels.

Would you get as much energy out of them than what goes into manufacturing them?
 
2013-12-26 08:26:05 PM
Even though solar panels will save utility corporations millions in maintenance and upkeep for their physical plants, as well as millions for fuel to produce electricity, the one factor that scares them about solar power is this - their shareholders. They want their money, on time and if full, every quarter. The corporations themselves could deal with reduced profits, since they will have to operate fewer plants, spend less on oil and natural gas, and pay fewer people... but the shareholders will not stand for it.

Greedy bastards.
 
2013-12-26 08:26:51 PM

KIA: Calmamity: I often wonder just how much closer we would be to being independent of the Middle East's oil if we had spent the trillions of dollars we have squandered in Irag on outfitting American homes with solar panels.

But no. Let's go kick some ass for no good reason. And let's fail at winning the peace while we're at it. Yay US.

Are you trying to make Jimmy Carter and Ron Paul look good? Sheesh, the next thing you're going to say is "metric makes sense and keeps us competitive."


On this matter, I ALWAYS thought Carter was right.
 
2013-12-26 08:26:51 PM

Spare Me: Buy a fork lift battery to store the energy and tell the power company to bugger off. Relegate them to emergency back up only, simple switch


Do you realize what the free rider problem is? You just perfectly stated it. There will be no grid if everyone followed your advice.  Of course, since I can afford to buy solar panels for my home, backup power generator, and a battery system, then I can also tell everyone else to pull up their boot straps.

So basically, the outcome if this strategy is the continued road to turning the US into a 3rd world country.

This won't bother me in my gated community where my neighbors and I band together, and create our own neighborhood grid since through our HOA.
 
2013-12-26 08:27:17 PM

cirby: Spare Me:
Buy a fork lift battery to store the energy and tell the power company to bugger off.

You mean "buy a LOT of forklift batteries, and replace them about once a year under heavy use."


This. I'm hoping research in large super capacitors can make storing enough power to run a house through the night feasible.
 
2013-12-26 08:27:34 PM
Totally encouraged here
 
2013-12-26 08:29:19 PM
Nice power company you got there.  Would be a shame if you made us take regulatory action...
 
2013-12-26 08:30:55 PM
HECO rate are unbelievably high,they keep raising the rates to offset the people going solar. but if you are an apartment dweller you have no choice but to pay them
 
2013-12-26 08:31:19 PM
Between solar and geothermal power, petroleum shouldn't even be an option in Hawaii.
 
2013-12-26 08:33:09 PM

Nonrepeating Rotating Binary: Nice power company you got there.  Would be a shame if you made us take regulatory action...



You can be forced to buy a product now.

You can keep your power company.
 
2013-12-26 08:33:59 PM

LeGnome: Between solar and geothermal power, petroleum shouldn't even be an option in Hawaii.


Neither should interstate highways, but they've got that too.
 
2013-12-26 08:34:11 PM
Are there challenges associated with bringing solar on to the grid? Yes, and we are going to have to do some upgrades.  Are we anywhere near those levels yet? No, not even in Hawaii. You need about 30 percent penetration rates before things start getting harder.  This is just greed.  The power companies are noticing that their monopoly as power generators is coming to an end, and they are panicking.
 
2013-12-26 08:35:36 PM
Nice power company you've got there.....
Would be a shame if EVERYONE went totally solar / alternative.

Twilight Zone "The Obsolete Man."
OBSOLETE
 
2013-12-26 08:36:12 PM

Hollie Maea: The power companies are noticing that their monopoly as power generators is coming to an end, and they are panicking.


In most cases power generation, power distribution, and end-user service are all separate companies.
 
2013-12-26 08:36:56 PM
With the rates that people pay for electricity in Hawaii, it makes financial sense to simply decouple from the grid and tell the utility to go fark themselves.

/once my production incentive in 2020 sunsets, that's what I'm going to do.
 
2013-12-26 08:37:12 PM

Kyosuke: LeGnome: Between solar and geothermal power, petroleum shouldn't even be an option in Hawaii.

Neither should interstate highways, but they've got that too.


What doe interstate highways have to do with two power sources Hawaii has in abundance - geothermal (volcanoes) and solar (blazing ball of gas in sky)? The article is about petroleum for electric power generation, not for automobiles or manufacturing.
 
2013-12-26 08:38:58 PM

rewind2846: Kyosuke: LeGnome: Between solar and geothermal power, petroleum shouldn't even be an option in Hawaii.

Neither should interstate highways, but they've got that too.

What doe interstate highways have to do with two power sources Hawaii has in abundance - geothermal (volcanoes) and solar (blazing ball of gas in sky)? The article is about petroleum for electric power generation, not for automobiles or manufacturing.


You'll figure it out.
 
2013-12-26 08:39:07 PM

Marcus Aurelius: cirby: there's a helluva lot of legacy systems out there that would have to be replaced

The electric company's transformer that is powering my current house was manufactured in 1951.  I can't imagine what would happen if I tried to send power to it.


It would be less burdened by the other customers drawing power through it.
 
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