Back in battery…

And speaking of batteries…

Going solar isn’t necessarily any protection from California’s new “planned” power outages, and local residents and businesses are enduring a lot more than just a few inconveniences.

Full article, HERE.

Soooo… Now you get to spend another $10,000+ for batteries and connections, and… to make those solar panels actually work for YOU…

It was a good four days! No internet, no TV, no ‘real’ phone calls, just hanging out shooting things, and communing with friends. But Thursday night, Friday morning was a ‘tad’ chilly… Left the house it was 80, got to the location it was 19!!! BRRR frikkin R! Got up Friday morning, it was NINE frikkin degrees! Layer, layer, layer, crap, I ran out of layers… But it warmed up to 51, so we set the range(s) in the afternoon, after painting the steels so we could see them.

Saturday was a decent day, and we shot, ate, did a wedding, and then BS’ed until late. Sunday was pretty laid back, other than the Tannerite in the pumpkins, and one of the local ladies did some EXCELLENT enchiladas for us!

Yesterday morning was the final breakfast, and everybody was on the road by about 10, heading to their respective homes, and looking forward to next year.

Me? I got home and went looking for my bed! 🙂




Back in battery… — 14 Comments

  1. Glad you made it back home safely. Yeah – winter is coming. Afternoon daylight fading quickly right after work – not much time to do ‘outside chores’ before it gets dark.

  2. Going solar has a lot of pitfalls. I had my house surveyed to see what could be done. I got back a .79 on my 2000 sf roof which would support more than enough panels to generate during the day. Then I asked about batteries and overnight storage. Apparently, the electric companies got to the Florida legislature in the last couple of decades. Now, if you want to use solar to get off the grid your house has to be declared a solar production facility. Meaning now you get to pay the taxes, and follow OSHA rules, and put up with unannounced inspections, etc, etc, just like a real power company. So, the solar companies have learned to “balance” your power consumption. During the day, you live off the solar panels. Any extra electricity is sent to the local power company and credited to your account. During the night, you live off the solar credits. Some months you will have extra credits and the power company is required to pay you for the excess. Sometime, you will fall short, and they will charge you for the KWh just like normal. The trick is to balance this consumption so that you do not stray into the area of “power production” consistantly producing more credits than you use. What a racket.

    • It isn’t so much a function of the power companies but of the solar companies. Nobody wanted solar with batteries and the attendant shed and water-checking issues. Those that did want solar wanted to make credit off the power companies, and the power companies fought it tooth and nail to not have the home solar systems run into the grid for lots of reasons.

      For one thing, one active solar unit on a supposedly de-energized line can charge up the lines enough to be dangerous.

      Variable wear on the generating side is also an issue. And variable wear on the lines themselves.

      So all the home generators got the FL legislature to force the power companies to accept home generation as credit. And nothing comes free, so the power companies said, “Oh yeah, you wanna be plugged into the system, fine. Just wait until you don’t wanna be plugged in, so there.”

      Florida Flicker and Flash, otherwise known as FPL, was the main company dealing with this issue, and they have always been fickle and mean.

      Really, when you think about it, all these little solar semi-plants are an issue with a power company. Balancing loads, dealing with incoming credit vs outgoing charges, adds layers upon an already overly regulated system.

      It would be simpler if we had those neighborhood nuke plants like GE was working on in the 60’s, so there was lots of overlap for generation capability, but, well…

  3. Well I live where it generally gets cold for half the year
    so your woes have my sympathy. 😉 We have two seasons winter and the rest of the year is bad sledding.

    As to solar Florida sounds like a racket. Here I have a small system 400W and big batteries to run the ham station and provide emergency lighting. A genset for the heavy loads
    5500W continuous 8750 starting is enough to keep us comfortable any time of year [refrigeration, heating, cooking, cleaning, and AC]. Personally I think grid
    tied solar is stupid. Sure it save money by offsetting consumed power but… All that solar and when the power
    is down your in the dark and it does you nothing. With battery storage you get to use what is stored at night
    and recharge during the day. If the battery is fully
    charge you sell the rest. Nearly doubles the cost but
    you get the benefit when the power company does not provide any power.

    Sounds like a good time was had by all.


  4. jrg- Yep… sigh…

    Ray- Yep, the power companies got their noses under the legislative tent when they saw what the solar could do to their bottom lines… dammit!

    Rev- It’s been a great time, year after year!!!

    Eck- Ouch… I don’t do cold well, never have. And yes, it’s a racket!!!

  5. Then California did something right for a change. :shocked:
    I have a grid-tied solar system with a 10kw-hr backup battery that protects 4 circuits in the house. I had it sized to about 110% of my normal load (one extra panel) and it has been running for a full year now. I ended up a net generator to the tune of 500 KW-hr and earned a whopping $25 credit. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I went from $1,000/year total bill to around $50! Sunrun took care of all the paperwork and co-gen agreement with Edison with no OSHA issues, etc. in the mix.

    During normal operations I charge the battery then feed excess power to the grid then around 3 PM on weekdays Edison pulls 5KW back upstream for an hour to offset the early afternoon peak loads. My battery is fully charged by about 1 PM the day after a discharge.

    The refrigerator, freezer, house furnace, and my bedroom with medical gear are the 4 protected loads and I also have a small UPS for my breathing machine so I’m pretty well protected. I thought about getting an emergency generator and a propane tank but I live in the city and don’t have room for a big tank in my back yard.

  6. Glad you had a good time. Sounds like fun, well, except for sub-teen weather. Did that once, in Florida, that was enough. Teens temps is bad enough, done that enough, in Florida.

    As to solar everywhere, as mentioned above, it’s not just the power companies who are dumb. The burden lies heavily on the solar companies and all the people who wanted the benefits of solar without all the extra equipment like batteries, a special set of switching equipment, a separate shed or space for all the new panels and stuff, and having to deal with checking the batteries once or twice a month. Everyone wanted “Insta-Solar, now with No Fuss or Mess!!!” Nothing comes free, so, well, you don’t have batteries, well, sucks to be you.

    It’s kinda like spending all your money on buying a British or Italian car, without putting twice the value in the bank for repairs… Nothing comes free. Everything has a price. Convenience is never convenient when tough times come.

    What people should have had installed was a system that first charged the house batteries, handled the day drain by the house, then and only then ‘sold’ the excess to the power companies. At night or in bad conditions, first the batteries then the grid would be tapped, or grid first then batteries for forward thinking people (just in case of outages and such.) But that requires a lot of equipment, a lot of space, a lot of money, more chances for things to break down, more requirements for homeowners who can barely remember to change an air-filter on the AC once a month or so to screw up and not service the equipment properly…

    Like, well, pools. A pool is relatively easy to keep clean, just requires time and some extra money. Same with the system I described above. Time and extra money. So, well, lots of pools go bad because homeowners don’t want to take the time and money to service them. Now apply that laziness and cheapness to a solar system that now accesses the grid. That could be a recipe for disaster.

    Bad enough that linemen get injured every year because sumdood with a home generator plugs it directly into his electric panel without cutting his house off the grid. Seriously, it happens every friggin year. Usually not enough to cause real death damage, but enough to fry a tad.

    The home solar game is just a classic example of nothing is free. The solar companies promised the homeowners that they’d be ‘makin money’ without telling them that they aren’t storing any juice for rough times and, especially, solar panels age and stop working. (Yes, there are people who think ‘Solar is forever.’ Um, the Sun isn’t forever, so why would your cheap chinesium panels be?)

    Ah, enough rant. California Dumb. California infect rest of Country. Country become dumb. Country end. Dumb California.

    Either rise up and revolt, or put-up and shut-up.

    It’s like the whole ‘You can’t clear brush for firebreaks because random stupid rodent or frog will die.’ And ‘you can’t clear brush away from your homes for same reason.’ Want to protect the animals? Don’t live where endangered ground wormsquirrels live. Or live there and suffer the consequences. And shut up about it.

    I am kinda tired of Cali ‘Want everything, pay nothing’ style of life. Can you tell?

    • Beans, my system uses a lithium battery similar to the Tesla Powerwall and that seems to be the future path now that the technology is becoming mainstream. Plus, my system operates exactly as you stated during the day, we just don’t touch the battery at night unless there is an outage.

      We have one inverter (which manages the battery), a small transfer device and the battery pack in about 8 feet of space on an outside wall, plus the 8 panels on the roof. No floor space was required and the inverter isn’t that much bigger than our main panel. My only gripe is I only have 4 circuits protected when my house load is less than 500W most of the time.

      Lead-acid is a low cost technology but doesn’t have long life, anyone putting in a full off-grid system has to be knowledgeable and capable of doing the periodic maintenance required.

  7. Nice to hear a splendid time was had by all.

    Agree with WSF. Sometimes you only have to wait a few hours, like last week…..

    I have enough solar panels and batteries to keep my Ham gear on the air indefinitely. And I have a small generator (2kW Honda) for those times when I need it. Our power consumption is small enough that we don’t “qualify” (meaning they’d have to pay us too much for the power we don’t use) for what the solar companies offer.

    A house one street over had a panel go BLOOIE! and start their roof on fire this past summer. No thanks…..