New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

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EV2Go
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New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

Post by EV2Go » Thu, 02 Oct 2014, 01:38

I was just speaking to mum on the phone about something I have been mulling over for the last week or so.

Last time I spoke to mum she was complaining / mentioning that she uses about $2 worth of gas but has to pay something like a $60 or $70 service fee every bill.

Since dad died she doesn't cook a lot or use a lot of electricity, I said why don't you yank out the gas stove and put it solar?

She only has fairly small electricity bill so she could potentially turn a profit with a 1.5kw system.

Being that she is elderly and on a pension she is limited by what she is allowed to give away / spend, but can invest money in her own house.

She thought solar was still like $13,000 and I said it was more like a tenth of that these days. So she is interested in looking at the idea of solar.

What systems do people recommend for her / suggest she avoids like the plague. She is in Toowoomba QLD.

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New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

Post by T1 Terry » Thu, 02 Oct 2014, 02:50

I think you will find the grid feed in tariff is next to nothing now for new systems so no $$ to be made there. The next issue is the meter, they will insist on a smart meter being installed, then peak period billing comes in, I think it's up around 50 cents per kWh during peak time compared to around the 22 cents she would pay now.
My advice, replace the gas stove with an induction cook top. The cooking is as fast if not faster than gas and the power draw is small, you can even run them off 12v house batteries and an inverter.
Now, if you are a bit industrious, fit up low voltage solar panel bought from evil bay, a 400Ah LiFeP04 12v battery and a 3,000w or 5,000w inverter to cover any big loads she might use at the same time, like the toaster and jug and induction cook top to make breakfast, then tell the buggers to take their power cables away so she can live off the solar she generates.

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coulomb
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New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

Post by coulomb » Thu, 02 Oct 2014, 04:27

T1 Terry wrote:... a 400Ah LiFeP04 12v battery and a 3,000w or 5,000w inverter...

I agree with the other suggestions, but please not 12 V at 5000 W. At least 24 V, preferably 48 V. The extra straps or cable doesn't cost much. And one 24 V panel instead of a 12 V panel that costs 10% less for half the power. Or two for 48 V even better. They should only be $250 each in small quantities.

Learn the good and bad brands of panels and inverters. A good resource is the Whirlpool Green Tech / Solar forum. Example: ET = good, Trina = good but you have to avoid the grey market imports, Daqo = cheaper not too bad, anything from True Value Solar = bad.
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EV2Go
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New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

Post by EV2Go » Thu, 02 Oct 2014, 17:13

Thanks for the advice guys. Unfortunately there is no way I would ever be able to talk mum into any kind of battery solution. We are talking about someone who doesn't own a computer and has no internet because she is scared of it, so even solar is close to a stretch for her.

Half the problem is she doesn't think she is going to live long enough for it to pay for itself (but she has been saying that ever since dad died about 6 years ago).

Just rang her to get some more detailed bills to try work out what she needs. Her gas after a few rebates was $72 with just over $5 of that being for actual gas. She has already rung up to find out the disconnect / reconnection fee and it's $30 each way. She thinks she can actually get away with not using the stove altogether with other appliances she has and use the reverse cycle air conditioner for heating. Power bill was $144 after rebate.

So doing a quick bit of math 4 x $72 + 4 x $144 = $864 per year, a 1.5kw system would pay for itself it 2 years if it was big enough to cover all her electricity usage.

Is there any other items I need to look at besides the panels where she can potentially come undone?
Last edited by EV2Go on Thu, 02 Oct 2014, 07:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Richo
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New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

Post by Richo » Thu, 02 Oct 2014, 20:44

coulomb wrote:I agree with the other suggestions, but please not 12 V at 5000 W. At least 24 V, preferably 48 V.


I was always under the impression the ELV requirement was 32-36V before an electrician was needed which would rule out 36V and 48V systems.

I had another look around and found similar references to the following.
OZ Govt wrote: Electrical work is defined in the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991 and means work on electrical machines or instruments, on an electrical installation or on electrical appliances or equipment to which electricity is supplied or intended to be supplied, at a nominal pressure exceeding 50 volts alternating current or 120 volts direct current
120V DC really?!?


http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/c ... 1/s19.html
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

Post by offgridQLD » Fri, 03 Oct 2014, 00:48

I think a elderly person (particularly some without all the mod cons) will have a frugal electricity consumption so there is less savings to be had. (same as a EV if you don't drive much not much saving. If your a taxi you have a fast payback)

To some degree though a little different with a grid tied system you need to be consuming all the energy your making each day.(no point in a huge system) Just enough to cover your needs.

If her consumption is modest (lets say she only uses 10kwh - day) at 30c - kwh that's about $250 1/4 or $1000 a year (ignoring fixed service costs ).

Lets say with a little time shifting of heavy appliances. As in run washing machine and other larger loads during the day when the sun is out if she can. she might be able to shift 7kwh of her consumption during the daylight hrs and 3kwh to tie her overnight.

Perhaps saving $700 PA.

Lets say 1500w - 2000w system (about as small as most offer now days) was $3000. It would take roughly 4.5 years to break even.

All just made up numbers but might not be to off the mark.

To get a real idea you need a few of her energy bills and some quotes on a system to cost it out and see the break even timeline.

I agree that fixed rental / connection costs on things like gas, telephone and so on are worth looking into.One example I found it better value to own 4 small LPG cylinders and change them more often than pay rental fee on 4 - 40kg bottles. The fixed cost of electricity, water, wast and so on can be a killer no matter how frugal you are with consumption.

Not when your off grid Image

I feel your pain trying to convince parents there is a better deal going when they resist change. It took me a long time (as in I had been saying it for many years) to convince my mum that the hardline phone plan she had been on for the last 20 years was real- real bad value. It's not like Telstra are going to call up and say "Hey there are better deals going than the one your on" Finally she changed and saved a stack of money. I think the internet has made people a lot more savvy or at least aware of better deals.





Kurt

Last edited by offgridQLD on Thu, 02 Oct 2014, 14:56, edited 1 time in total.

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EV2Go
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New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

Post by EV2Go » Fri, 03 Oct 2014, 02:12

Numbers above but as I say $1700 as per many TV ads, it would break even in two years, but looking beyond the break even point. Even though mum is in her late 70's I still see her living beyond the payback period.

So as much as anything it is looking to increase the house value, and give her some mental freedom from the man, than it is a immediate financial benefit. She hates paying money for nothing and she sees that she is doing that through paying crazy connection fees.

So really it is more about what system to buy than justify the buying of it. She has enough money that it isn't a issue.
Last edited by EV2Go on Thu, 02 Oct 2014, 16:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Adverse Effects
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New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

Post by Adverse Effects » Fri, 03 Oct 2014, 03:04

just replaceing the gas stove to electric will ave her ($70 a bill)

1 cook top/oven about $450
install $200

wont take long to pay its self back and you will get a nice new stove in the deal

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New Solar Panel Setup Suggestions

Post by unheardofinstruments » Fri, 03 Oct 2014, 20:28

I have just moved house and am now off grid, the stand alone solar setup is inadequate to charge my almost 25kWh pack so I am looking at using syngas from a biochar retort to run a 1942 petter generator at night and a green steam engine (under construction) with a fresnel lens from a rearlight tv in the daytime. Excess energy not used to charge can heat my solar hot water and store energy as compressed air to be used with an air tool drill as drive if needed too, buggered if I want to charge on a generator using petrol...

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