Adding Solar Panels Thoughts?

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

jswordy

Wonderful WINO
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
5,440
Reaction score
7,376
I have two wood burning stoves for heat. But that is just me.

Reality is, more and more municipalities are pushing new construction to electric only appliances and heating. So I understand why someone wants an on site backup.

And wood burning is frowned upon in many areas (for air quality reasons as one excuse reason... even while other sources of poor air quality are not only allowed but are increasing).
We heated with wood for 20 years before we had central installed in our 1937 farmhouse. We had electric wall heaters already but they are pricey, especially compared to wood, so we never used them. Now wood is our standby, used when it gets super-cold or when we want a fire.

You know the old saying: Wood heats you three times: When you cut it, when you stack it and when you burn it.

Here's the beautiful thing about wood: You are burning in the current carbon cycle, as opposed to burning natural gas, fuel oil or coal, which has been tapped from carbon cycles that are millions of years old. So with wood, you are not uncorking CO2 that was sequestered for a long time in the Earth into the atmosphere. Yes, there is some fossil fuel used to get firewood, but other than that small contribution, you are really clean as far as CO2 emissions go.

The catalytic stoves make a big difference in air quality for congested city areas. Personally, I would miss the smell of wood smoke in my rural neighborhood that signals fall and the coming winter. I hope it never goes away as long as I live. And wood is a super-cheap heat source.

Down South here, we have new concrete slab houses going up with heat pumps, and where I am on the TN-AL line it is just tad too far north for that. Then people wonder why they are so danged cold in their houses and their electric bills are so high. Heck, you sit in those slab houses, with the concrete floor uninsulated form the earth below it, and everything from your knees down is frozen, as the full-electric heat strip glows and the meter runs fast. :D
 

jswordy

Wonderful WINO
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
5,440
Reaction score
7,376
Off grid house and winery here.
1/3 mile from the end of the power line so it was a no brainer given the cost of extending the line.
Earth buffered/passive solar house.
We run on ~4 Kw of photovoltaics with some major loads running on propane- radiant slab in the winery, DHW via Rennai instantaneous hot water heaters, burn 2 cords firewood/yr. It is possible to reduce your carbon footprint quite dramatically, but It's not for everyone. In our case it was "necessity is the mother of invention". I'll skip posting all the stats and specs doing this since 1972. The takeaway is just do what you can to reduce your carbon footprint. It will be different for everyone.View attachment 73819
Man, I applaud you and I agree: People who want to leave something for future generations need to reduce their carbon footprint, or there won't be much. Kids who are toddlers now, man, I just cannot imagine the kind of hell they will live in when they get to be my age. Even if we make huge changes right away. Which we won't. Good for you! It takes every one of us.
 

jswordy

Wonderful WINO
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
5,440
Reaction score
7,376
As Spencerthebuilder notes, solar panels are not a panacea and are not recyclable. They are better than coal. They are better than nukes. But the bottom line is, using less energy is the best solution of all.

Claiming that solar and wind provide "limitless" energy gives people and industry a clear conscience in feeling they can use it with abandon. There is a resource cost to be paid with any of them. Again, better than more coal mines but lithium mines are environmentally damaging too and the glass to make panels relies on sand, etc. No natural resource is infinite.

"Limitless" is a set up for failure which will, in the interim, earn a few an awful lot of money. But "use less" as a campaign slogan won't get you many votes. Or campaign donations.
It's not true that they are not recyclable, we just are national adolescents who are behind as usual.


I might add that, while we quibble and fret over using electric vehicles, Norway has electric DUMP TRUCKS... We're #1? Hardly. I'll leave it there.

Screen Shot 2021-04-26 at 5.35.01 PM.png
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
80
Reaction score
74
Location
Newport RI
We heated with wood for 20 years before we had central installed in our 1937 farmhouse. We had electric wall heaters already but they are pricey, especially compared to wood, so we never used them. Now wood is our standby, used when it gets super-cold or when we want a fire.

You know the old saying: Wood heats you three times: When you cut it, when you stack it and when you burn it.

Here's the beautiful thing about wood: You are burning in the current carbon cycle, as opposed to burning natural gas, fuel oil or coal, which has been tapped from carbon cycles that are millions of years old. So with wood, you are not uncorking CO2 that was sequestered for a long time in the Earth into the atmosphere. Yes, there is some fossil fuel used to get firewood, but other than that small contribution, you are really clean as far as CO2 emissions go.

The catalytic stoves make a big difference in air quality for congested city areas. Personally, I would miss the smell of wood smoke in my rural neighborhood that signals fall and the coming winter. I hope it never goes away as long as I live. And wood is a super-cheap heat source.

Down South here, we have new concrete slab houses going up with heat pumps, and where I am on the TN-AL line it is just tad too far north for that. Then people wonder why they are so danged cold in their houses and their electric bills are so high. Heck, you sit in those slab houses, with the concrete floor uninsulated form the earth below it, and everything from your knees down is frozen, as the full-electric heat strip glows and the meter runs fast. :D
Yup! People need to stop buying houses with uninsulated concrete slabs. They are perfectly designed to make you cold and wick heat out of your house 24/7 forever. 2" of insulation under the whole slab. Add $100 worth of tubing and you have the most comfortable maintenance free system going.

But Jim, Norway has mostly hydro electricity. We don't. And the dirty secret of why Norway works... Much of their National revenue comes from.......the sale of North Sea Oil
 
Last edited:

jswordy

Wonderful WINO
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
5,440
Reaction score
7,376
Yup! People need to stop buying houses with uninsulated concrete slabs. They are perfectly designed to make you cold and wick heat out of your house 24/7 forever. 2" of insulation under the whole slab. Add $100 worth of tubing and you have the most comfortable maintenance free system going.

But Jim, Norway has mostly hydro electricity. We don't. And the dirty secret of why Norway works... Much of their National revenue comes from.......the sale of North Sea Oil
The Norway oil is not a secret to those of us who follow leading nations in "alternative" energy. In fact, offsetting the oil is the very reason Norway decided to go so renewable as a society. They could just as easily have had nearly free oil-fired generation. My point is, they have technologies already that the "#1 U-S-A" is still in feasibility arguments about. We fret, can it be done? Will it ruin the economy? Etc. Meanwhile, see my picture above!

As far as hydro, that is Norway's predominant resource. They use hydro, wind and thermal, in that order, but hydro is 98%. Our major developable "alternative" resources are wind, solar, wave-action, and geothermal. Yet we're not developing any of those to the extent or at the speed Norway has developed its hydro resources. Why? Because here, it is all gummed up in politics and is being used as a wedge issue.

When the U.S. recently rejoined the Paris accord, it was heralded by this country's media as "the return of U.S. leadership." I laughed and laughed. The EU is FAR ahead of this country... far, far ahead. And so far, it and China have benefitted from the job creation.

About those slab houses, it is the builders who are cheaping out (as usual) when they are built on spec, and then dumping them on an unsuspecting public. There are literally thousands of them being built in my rapidly growing area right this minute, and I would never own one. The buyer doesn't know what it's about until cool weather rolls around. Then my FB feed explodes again in the annual electricity bill gripe. It's the UTILITY COMPANIES gouging them, don't ya know. lol.
 
Last edited:

Bkat

Junior
Joined
Mar 31, 2019
Messages
27
Reaction score
19
Location
North Central, Illinois
When the U.S. recently rejoined the Paris accord, it was heralded by this country's media as "the return of U.S. leadership." I laughed and laughed. The EU is FAR ahead of this country... far, far ahead. And so far, it and China have benefitted from the job creation.
It's the old, "we're so far behind we think we're ahead" bit.

The problem is, many don't see the merits of saving the planet unless it turns a tidy profit in the process.
 

jswordy

Wonderful WINO
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
5,440
Reaction score
7,376
You don't really want to get into what the EU and the rest of the world is doing ,do you?
Just saw your comment. Really, there's no need. Plain to see that some workers had to build that dump truck. I don't care what you think about global warming, those are called "green jobs," and I can tell you that per capita, they are concentrated in Europe and China right now. Just hate to see the country keep falling farther behind, but if that's what is desired, oh well...

You know, it was sad when my friend built his two solar farms. The panels came from China and the general contractor was a German solar firm. Flew over the managers to supervise U.S. laborers in building it. Really sad.

This huge windmill farm near Champaign, Ill., that I have seen myself is owned and operated by a Spanish firm: Twin Groves Wind Farm | EDPR North America

The same firm owns and operates this large one, too: Harvest Ridge Wind Farm | EDPR North America

The parent company of EDPR is Portugal's largest utility company. Shrug...
 

Bkat

Junior
Joined
Mar 31, 2019
Messages
27
Reaction score
19
Location
North Central, Illinois

Gilmango

Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Messages
65
Reaction score
84
Here is my input from experience with solar in California.

Buy, don't lease, a solar system. If you cannot afford to buy then just skip solar.
Anticipate 8 years as the break even ownership period, hopefully sooner but don't assume.
Get your roof in shape to make sure you don't have to take the panels off before their 20 year life.
Solar panels lose 0.5% efficiency per year as the age. Build that into your energy needs.
Solar panels need to be cleaned to obtain their peak efficiency. If you cannot spray water on the areas where the panels are installed you will have to get someone up there with window washing equipment.
If you plan to sell the house soon, a solar lease is a huge turn-off to buyers.
Install a system that has enough panels to provide the same energy usage over one year plus half of the anticipated efficiency degradation plus maybe the load of adding an electric car charger plus one extra panel to account for breakage (it happened to me and the warranty is worthless, but it was easy to bypass.)
Don't install more panels than needed, less is better than extra.
Great advice, I installed solar in San Francisco about 7.5 years ago, just about paid for itself with all the Federal and local tax breaks. Hired a local company to do the installation (Luminalt) and they did the full local incentive application and then reduced their price accordingly, I got the full federal tax credit. We installed just what we needed as I figured that even with degradation or a possible electric car in our future, we could realize some energy savings by installing more efficient appliances and bulbs over time.

Living in the foggy outer Richmond District, I first looked for neighbors with solar, not too many visible, even using google earth. So I did speak to a leasing company first, Sungevity, just to ground truth how the fog and clouds would impact our ability to generate enough power. They did a great job there as they were willing to guarantee a system which would meet our needs, which helped convince me it would work here and make economic sense. I was already inclined to buy and not rent, but even more so as their sales pitch did not jibe with what their contract documents said. The worst was they said I'd own the system outright after 10 years verbally, but their docs said we could sign a new lease or they would take away the panels (over the phone they said, 'no, it will cost us more to take your 10 year old system down so we'll just let you keep it when you don't renew; but no, we cannot put that in writing'). So we bought and haven't looked back. Good reminder that i need to get up on the roof and clean the panels again.
 

Kraffty

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
2,115
Reaction score
4,305
Location
Northern Arizona
2765F36D-D775-43C0-8933-5A9D00D638E3.jpeg
im sitting on the patio of a cabin at lost Dutchman state park about ready to open an ice cold beer. The air conditioned 12x24 cabin is running on 4 panels and 74 vs 94 degrees outside. We also got a call late this morning that our home installation is scheduled for this Monday morning. So far everything has gone incredibly smooth and quickly. Happy hour begins!
 

jswordy

Wonderful WINO
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
5,440
Reaction score
7,376
From the link you shared for Twin Groves Wind Farm...

"The vast majority of wind farm equipment is manufactured in the United States."

Is this accurate?
Oh sure, we make some equipment, they get the long term profits! Another one...just announced...

"Vineyard Wind is a 50-50 joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables. The latter is a subsidiary of Avangrid, which is part of the Iberdrola Group, a major utility headquartered in Spain."

SO ... FAR ... BEHIND!

 
Last edited:

jswordy

Wonderful WINO
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
5,440
Reaction score
7,376
View attachment 74411
im sitting on the patio of a cabin at lost Dutchman state park about ready to open an ice cold beer. The air conditioned 12x24 cabin is running on 4 panels and 74 vs 94 degrees outside. We also got a call late this morning that our home installation is scheduled for this Monday morning. So far everything has gone incredibly smooth and quickly. Happy hour begins!
Cool! Cannot wait to hear about your user experiences.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
80
Reaction score
74
Location
Newport RI
Oh sure, we make some equipment, they get the long term profits! Another one...just announced...

"Vineyard Wind is a 50-50 joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables. The latter is a subsidiary of Avangrid, which is part of the Iberdrola Group, a major utility headquartered in Spain."

SO ... FAR ... BEHIND!

Hmmm. Missed that announcement. The water can be pretty rough out there. I want to see the details. This is screaming of Government subsidies. How much? The Block Island project raised our rates 40%
 

jswordy

Wonderful WINO
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
5,440
Reaction score
7,376
Hmmm. Missed that announcement. The water can be pretty rough out there. I want to see the details. This is screaming of Government subsidies. How much? The Block Island project raised our rates 40%
Gotta do something to get us up to speed! What Congress did was extend the existing ITC... and it runs out in 2025, which should bring these projects online quickly. WE ARE SOOOO FAR BEHIND! I might add thet renewables have reduced utility costs in Europe, where they have been scaled up enough to do so.

.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
80
Reaction score
74
Location
Newport RI
This has implications for me locally. As the water is 200', the bases will be 300'. These will be basically offshore deep water drilling rig structures. They will be fabricated right next to the Electric Boat facility at the old Quonset Navy base., who has been screaming for employees to complete existing sub contracts for 3 years. Federal contracts. Can't get enough good workers who can pass a drug test.. Apartment vacancies are very tight. This will have interesting Macro ramifications . I want to see what the economics are. As long as it's not my money, great! Build them. When it is my money, I care very much. Following the Dutch down a subsidized rat hole in the name of catching up may be a bad idea.
 
Last edited:

joeswine

joeswine
Joined
Nov 15, 2007
Messages
7,652
Reaction score
1,639
I have made it several times and it's always a big hit especially for those who like their reds off dry. It also has a more pronounced berry flavor.
Jim, A good deal on a Generac vs. expensive high maintenance batteries for occasional power outages? Hands down the Generac! And if you have an extended power outage, your batteries are dead anyway. Net Meter and use the grid as your nightime battery.... Talk to your BIL about a ModCon hot water heater. That tanked standard HW heater is usually only about 50% efficient. Is that 70 gallon in the same room as your heated shop? Lots of standby loss there.. A small wall hung unit will pay for itself.

Want to go cutting edge? Residential CoGen units. Heat and power neoTower® LIVING 2.0 - 4.0 | cogeneration unit for your home
This has implications for me locally. As the water is 200', the bases will be 300'. These will be basically offshore deep water drilling rig structures. They will be fabricated right next to the Electric Boat facility at the old Quonset Navy base., who has been screaming for employees to complete existing sub contracts for 3 years. Federal contracts. Can't get enough good workers who can pass a drug test.. Apartment vacancies are very tight. This will have interesting Macro ramifications . I want to see what the economics are. As long as it's not my money, I great! Build them. When it is my money, I care very much. Following the Dutch down a subsidized rat hole in the name of catching up may be a bad idea.
 

Latest posts

Top