California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

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California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by Stercutus » Mon May 07, 2018 9:09 am

I found this interesting. With no on-site storage the power will still be subject to blackouts but this is a big step towards energy independence for a state with an abundance of solar energy.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/04/ ... new-homes/

I also found it interesting that 15-20% of new homes in Cali are already built with solar.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by majorhavoc » Mon May 07, 2018 6:51 pm

I think people are afraid to touch this one because the title contains two words: "mandate" and "California". We all know how easily a topic like that can go off the rails.

I think the best way to approach this is to focus on residential solar power as a general concept, and maybe the notion that regional - or at least local - power grids may be more resilient in times of disaster (or attack) if there's widely distributed electricity generation.

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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by Stercutus » Tue May 08, 2018 3:15 am

majorhavoc wrote:I think people are afraid to touch this one because the title contains two words: "mandate" and "California". We all know how easily a topic like that can go off the rails.

I think the best way to approach this is to focus on residential solar power as a general concept, and maybe the notion that regional - or at least local - power grids may be more resilient in times of disaster (or attack) if there's widely distributed electricity generation.
That is what I was thinking. Short of humans darkening the sky in a failed attempt to keep the machines from taking over the planet the sun should keep shining in California most days. I don't know how the system is planned but a widely distributed power generation scheme in theory could be less vulnerable.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by raptor » Tue May 08, 2018 10:07 pm

This can be discussed without politics. Reading this it appears as though the required solar panels are not enough to supply 100% of power needs 24/7. They will still be tied onto power grids.

The homes likely will use a grid tied systems whose effected is to reduce or even eliminate power draw from from the grid during the few hours of the day when the panels are producing power. The rest of the time the grid supplies power.

Obviously this adds cost to the construction and the end user. Is it cost effective for the end user? The simple reason there is a mandate requiring it answers that question.

BTW in NOLA there was until recently state and federal tax credits (credits not rebates) that paid 70% of the
total cost up to $25,000 for such a system. I did a cost analysis over several years and saw a 7 year break even on these systems even with 70% of the cost covered by tax credits. That is not exactly a compelling ROI at only 30%. The breakeven without the tax credit extended past the useful life of the panels.

That was mainly due to the very low cost of power in my area typically $.09 per Kwh after all taxes. In other areas like CA with their much higher rates the outcome may be different, but then so would the state tax credits which covered much of the incentive in my area.

If this is something you are considering spend some time checking out the tax incentives. In addition if you decide to build an array to sell power back be sure to check that the local utility will actually pay for the power (some do not) also check the rate . In my area the rate paid for excess power is the wholesale base rate, which is about half of the rate that consumers pay.

The other key decision is whether to go with a grid tied system which does not have battery storage or include batteries. Obviously batteries add complexity and cost for the ability to have system power when the sun is not shining.

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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed May 09, 2018 1:22 pm

Is it politics that my cynicism would bet that some of the people in the California Energy Commission have stock in solar panel companies?

But, I do find solar a very cool way to go as a back up since the price on panels is dropping due to technology imports (patent theft) from other countries.

But like I said, cynicism meets "mandate" and "California" hahahahaha
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by raptor » Wed May 09, 2018 4:23 pm

JeeperCreeper wrote:Is it politics that my cynicism would bet that some of the people in the California Energy Commission have stock in solar panel companies?
It is not politics, so feel free to ponder that possibility
JeeperCreeper wrote: But, I do find solar a very cool way to go as a back up since the price on panels is dropping due to technology imports (patent theft) from other countries.
The funny thing is I think solar panels are neat also. I was using them on sail boats in the early 1990s despite the huge cost in terms of money, deck space and other related limitations. I like the idea of free power from the sun.

That said they have serious limitations and the seeming denial of of these limitations with exhortations that technology will fix them all is IMO silly. Solar panels are one of several possibilities to the question of how to get off grid power but they are neither a panacea nor THE answer. They seem to be like cold fusion, 20 years away from perfection and have been for the last 30 years.

The other question is really tied to how much power do you need? If all you are want to power is 100 watts of LED lights for 8 hours a day then solar can make a lot of sense. On the other hand if without a grid connection you want to run 6 tons of HVAC, household lighting, an electric stove/oven, a 50 gallon water heater and an electric car simultaneously (as people do now) you will need a very large and extensive solar array and battery system to accomplish this. In addition you will need more than perfunctory knowledge of power consumption that most people seem to have.

A logical use of the current technology is a simple grid tied system that produces power during the day to offset use from the utility, where it can be cost justified. However, as I have seen in places with cheap electricity, the payback for this setup is non-existent... and no the answer to this issue should not involve artificially raising the cost of electricity.

The sailing world uses a variety of wind generators and solar panels to provide house power. However most boats under 60 feet also get pay with only 50 amps of 240 power at dockside. So they are already energy conscious.

This boat has 3 solar panels and a wind generator. The wind generator even though it is lower in capacity than the panels will produce much more power than the panels because unlike the solar panels the wind generator will produce power all night long (assuming the wind is blowing).

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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by ZombieGranny » Wed May 09, 2018 5:16 pm

Removed post and link.

So sorry I did not post in the direction you wanted.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by raptor » Wed May 09, 2018 6:26 pm

Interesting find. Any comment I can think of to address the resons though deal with politics.

Let's try to limit the discussion of the applications for solar power.

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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by RickOShea » Wed May 09, 2018 7:15 pm

raptor wrote:Interesting find.
Very, since it seems like just two years ago they were importing 33% of their electricity (cause it was cheaper) from surrounding states.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemen ... 30372b4469
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by Stercutus » Thu May 10, 2018 6:39 am

Very, since it seems like just two years ago they were importing 33% of their electricity (cause it was cheaper) from surrounding states.
It has been a huge swing.

From economic standpoint of the power company having people put solar panels on their roof at no cost to the power company is pure genius. It eliminates the need to build more infrastructure and the cost of maintaining it. The power company will still get paid to condition and direct the energy but the costs are a magnitude lower.

Due to the prior mandates California has gone from having practically no solar five years ago to providing 10% of the state needs today. Taken another way enough electricity for four million people, enough for the seven least populated states in the US. This just in four years.

The potential is there in California but other states could make a go of it as well.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by woodsghost » Thu May 10, 2018 7:08 am

raptor wrote:
The sailing world uses a variety of wind generators and solar panels to provide house power. However most boats under 60 feet also get pay with only 50 amps of 240 power at dockside. So they are already energy conscious.
I've been looking for an off-grid power solution and I"ve been wondering if wind might be the way to go. In Nebraska, wind is not usually in short supply. Further, my shooting buddy's neighbor had a wind system up and they produced so much electricity that the power company made them take the fan blades down (is that logical or legal? I have no idea. I"m not a lawyer). The folks eventually put up smaller fan blades and that seems to have fixed the problem.

Of course, my issue is I"m in a second story apartment, so that poses challenges.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by CG » Thu May 10, 2018 11:27 am

My immediate reaction is that this will definitely help the working homeless in their major cities be able to afford to live there. Not.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by Stercutus » Thu May 10, 2018 11:41 am

CG wrote:My immediate reaction is that this will definitely help the working homeless in their major cities be able to afford to live there. Not.
California's housing problem is legendary. Increasing property values of single family homes and lowering energy costs won't change much.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by CG » Thu May 10, 2018 1:03 pm

Stercutus wrote:
CG wrote:My immediate reaction is that this will definitely help the working homeless in their major cities be able to afford to live there. Not.
California's housing problem is legendary. Increasing property values of single family homes and lowering energy costs won't change much.
Increasing how much a single family home costs won't make the problem worse?
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by raptor » Thu May 10, 2018 2:39 pm

woodsghost wrote: I've been looking for an off-grid power solution and I"ve been wondering if wind might be the way to go. In Nebraska, wind is not usually in short supply. Further, my shooting buddy's neighbor had a wind system up and they produced so much electricity that the power company made them take the fan blades down (is that logical or legal? I have no idea. I"m not a lawyer). The folks eventually put up smaller fan blades and that seems to have fixed the problem.

Of course, my issue is I"m in a second story apartment, so that poses challenges.
The one I had on my now sold boat was a 5 bladed turbine (muck like the two below but these put out a lot more power) that put out about 300 watts (~20 amps @12volts). It was a real power maker as long as the wind was blowing @12 kts+. The power dropped off quickly below that wind speed. But in a 24 hour period that was like running the main engine (it had 2 -120 amp alternators) 2 hours or the generator (which ran a 50 amp batter charger) about 9 hours. So it was a very welcome addition to the boat. I chose the 5 bladed to reduce the rotor diameter the longer bladed 3 blade modes are more efficient but have a much larger rotor diameter.

Image

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I had expected it to need more maintenance and I also expected it to self destruct in winds over 40 knots but it survived for several years.

The real disadvantage to a wind system (other than the obvious need for wind) is that the blades are a real hazard. They spin fast and have a lot of energy. They also make noise, in a squall once it was buzzing so loud I thought the blades were going supersonic. They are also best mounted as high as possible. On land a ladder is easy. On a boat not so much. So when it needed repairs a bosun chair or a shore side "A" frame ladder was required since it was mounted high and out of the way on the mizzen mast.

The one real advantage that a marine system has that makes wind generators so useful is that they can easily tie into the existing DC battery system. My boat had 4 8-D batteries and everything except the HVAC system and microwave oven was 12 volt DC or propane. So there was very little loss incurred in converting the DC to AC power.

That said there is no reason that multiple small wind generators could not be tied in to a large batter bank.

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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by Stercutus » Thu May 10, 2018 2:49 pm

I often wondered about the wind generators on boats. Pardon my ignorance a bit as I know very little about sail boats...

When the boat is under sail does the windmill still generate full power? I'd think if the boat were moving at just under the speed of the wind the generator would produce much less power.

Sadly I currently live in a zone with practically no wind potential. We either get storms and tornadoes or nothing.

I have been thinking about upgrading my solar and adding some hydro. I have a pretty decent size impoundment that could produce hydro reliably about eight month out of the year. The wife wants to add a bunch of storage instead but I'd rather produce than store.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by raptor » Thu May 10, 2018 3:23 pm

Stercutus wrote:I often wondered about the wind generators on boats. Pardon my ignorance a bit as I know very little about sail boats...

When the boat is under sail does the windmill still generate full power? I'd think if the boat were moving at just under the speed of the wind the generator would produce much less power.

Sadly I currently live in a zone with practically no wind potential. We either get storms and tornadoes or nothing.

I have been thinking about upgrading my solar and adding some hydro. I have a pretty decent size impoundment that could produce hydro reliably about eight month out of the year. The wife wants to add a bunch of storage instead but I'd rather produce than store.
The apparent wind speed felt on deck is a function of the wind direction. Sailboats cannot sail in to the wind, at best high performance boats can approach within 25 to 20 degrees of the direction of the wind. Most cruising boats (which have heavy displacement hulls) manage 30 to 35 degrees. The closer to the apparent wind you sail the more the boat heels (leans over) and the rougher the ride for the crew.

So most cruisers hate going to windward (close to the direction of the wind). They also hate going with the wind because the sails cannot stabilize the boats motion and it is generally slower unless you are in extreme wind/sea conditions.

Why is this relevant? Because as you go upwind the sails create a ventura effect which can magnify the wind speed. Think of the wind gust blowing between buildings. That is one reason why you will see wind generators not in the center of the stern of the boat but rather to one side.

Now if a boat is going down wind, the apparent wind on the deck is greatly reduced. It will be the actual wind speed less the boat speed. So a 12 knot wind will seem like a 6 knot wind to the crew and wind generator if the boat is going downwind at 6 knots. Whereas if that same boat comes closer to the wind, the wind speed may seem like 16 knots since the boat speed into the wind applies the apparent wind. The boat BTW would likely also pick up speed in that case since the sails will react to the higher apparent wind speed.


Hydro can be like wind in that it produces power 24/7 as long as the water is flowing.

However, IMO There is no point in having storage without production. But with a hydroelectric source storage would be very useful. Locate a battery bank close to the source and then use an inverter to make AC power and transmit that power the long distance needed to use it.

There are marine water generators but they tend to be alternators tied to propeller shafts and are not popular due to drag issues. Also these systems are based upon a linear flow vs a horizontal drop.
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https://www.sailmagazine.com/diy/water-power

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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Fri May 11, 2018 9:40 am

this is a smart idea. I lived through the SoCal brownouts of the late 1990s and if there had been PV panels on most roofs, they would have provided extra energy during peak consumption times, thus greatly reducing the likelihood of brownouts.

I love the SolarCity model where you provide the roof and they do the installation.

Another thing is figuring out how to erect a PV canopy over strip mall and big box store parking lots. SoCal drivers will hunt down the tiniest scrap of shade to park under. This canopy would create shade and generate power.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by Confucius » Fri May 11, 2018 7:30 pm

Evan the Diplomat wrote:Another thing is figuring out how to erect a PV canopy over strip mall and big box store parking lots. SoCal drivers will hunt down the tiniest scrap of shade to park under. This canopy would create shade and generate power.
Always thought it would be good to cover the water project aqueducts with a solar canopy.

Generate power, reduce evaporation, reduce biological growth...

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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by Stercutus » Fri May 11, 2018 11:53 pm

Confucius wrote:
Evan the Diplomat wrote:Another thing is figuring out how to erect a PV canopy over strip mall and big box store parking lots. SoCal drivers will hunt down the tiniest scrap of shade to park under. This canopy would create shade and generate power.
Always thought it would be good to cover the water project aqueducts with a solar canopy.

Generate power, reduce evaporation, reduce biological growth...
It is a good idea but they have to be carefully constructed. One of the favorite pastimes in America is running in to fixed objects in parking lots.
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Re: California to Mandate All New Homes Solar Powered

Post by raptor » Sat May 12, 2018 1:07 pm

All of these are great ideas. That said generation of power without a distribution system (wiring) is as useful as a distribution system without generation.

That's one of the key flaws of many of the solar power generation plans. The grid-tied systems that go to a house or whole lot easier to deal with because they're right there at the source of consumption. Tying the power generation into a home wiring systems a lot less complicated.

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