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Pops

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Back to airplanes. The SSSC has no electrical system but a small battery to power the handheld radio, elevator trim servo, oil temp gauge and autopilot for a couple years. Finished the airplane in 2007 and the battery has always been charged by solar panels.
 

pictsidhe

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Fossil fuels also get direct as well as indirect government subsidies. New plants get financial help. The indirect subsidies are varied. If a fuel rich country isn't pumping enough oil, it will first be bribed with 'aid'. Then, if that doesn't work, it will be invaded. That's straying close to politics, though, so I'm not going to comment on the oil reserves of all recently invaded countries...

Energy is currently cheap, so we aren't careful with it and use far more than we could scrape by on. As the price creeps ever upwards, new forms of energy become viable and energy saving makes increasing sense. I gave up appealling to peoples hearts to give a **** about the planet years ago. I go straight for the wallet now: How would you like significantly lower fuel bills? In othere threads, people want electric planes, but they usually want to use the draggy airframes that are optimum for IC engines. Electric power is very finite, and electric planes need to look a lot more like motorgliders than Cessnas to be of much use. You have to adapt to live within your resources.

I should be living off grid in a few years. There are ways to do that using a helluva lot less energy than a conventional house if it is suitably built. Windows are free daytime light. Make them well insulated for less heat loss. Position them to catch winter sun, but block summer sun and you have some free winter heating without getting cooked in the summer. Solar water heating works! Insulate the house. Insulate the ground around it instead of the floor so the soil it sits on acts as a massive thermal reservoir, keeping you cooler in summer, warmer in winter. A lot of this is fairly easy to build in, trickier to retrofit. But while energy is cheap and house builders can just add another few tons to the AC, it won't be widespread.
 
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Pops

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Fossil fuels also get direct as well as indirect government subsidies. New plants get financial help. The indirect subsidies are varied. If a fuel rich country isn't pumping enough oil, it will first be bribed with 'aid'. Then, if that doesn't work, it will be invaded. That's straying close to politics, though, so I'm not going to comment on the oil reserves of all recently invaded countries...

Energy is currently cheap, so we aren't careful with it and use far more than we could scrape by on. As the price creeps ever upwards, new forms of energy become viable and energy saving makes increasing sense. I gave up appealling to peoples hearts to give a **** about the planet years ago. I go straight for the wallet now: How would you like significantly lower fuel bills? In othere threads, people want electric planes, but they usually want to use the draggy airframes that are optimum for IC engines. Electric power is very finite, and electric planes need to look a lot more like motorgliders than Cessnas to be of much use. You have to adapt to live within your resources.

I should be living off grid in a few years. There are ways to do that using a helluva lot less energy than a conventional house if it is suitably built. Windows are free daytime light. Make them well insulated for less heat loss. Position them to catch winter sun, but block summer sun and you have some free winter heating without getting cooked in the summer. Solar water heating works! Insulate the house. Insulate the ground around it instead of the floor so the soil it sits on acts as a massive thermal reservoir, keeping you cooler in summer, warmer in winter. A lot of this is fairly easy to build in, trickier to retrofit. But while energy is cheap and house builders can just add another few tons to the AC, it won't be widespread.
I live in a house that was about 3/4 under ground for several years that I built. Stayed 68 degs in the summer with no AC, ( ground temps are 53 degs in this area). Took very little to heat in the winter. We really liked it.

My daughter has been off the grid for about 6 years. He has an apartment in the end of her hanger. Had 12" insulated walls. The concrete floor keeps the house very nice in the summer and just required a little heat in the winter.

I insulated around the footer of my hanger with sheets of foam down as deep as the ditcher would dig. Its well insulated and the coolest it will get if its -10 degs outside is +50 degs with no heat. But I have a NG force air furnace and also have hot water floor heat if I want to use it. Its also air conditioned, but I rarely use it because the ground under the hanger keeps the floor cool and also the hanger. Hot summer day, keep the hanger door closed and its like having the AC on.
 

mcrae0104

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BBerson

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Washington pays some panel owners 53 cents per kWh.
Only the wealthy invest in such things. The poor do not. It is a subsidy transfer from poor taxpayers to the wealthy panel owners.
 

lr27

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Since the expense has been going down, the age of the law is relevant. Pretty sure the idea of the laws is usually to drive down the cost. Sometime soon, if not now, the subsidy won't be necessary, particularly if we care to invest in a better electrical grid. It's not likely that the whole country will have calm, cloudy weather at the same time. Of course, the "true cost" of wind energy depends on who's doing the accounting. If the current political situation holds, we may find out how well un-subsidized wind power holds up against subsidized fossil fuels. How much fossil fuels cost depends on who's doing the accounting too. Rising sea levels, disruption of agriculture, and of course wars are expensive. Much of that price, of course, will be paid by people who don't get any of the benefits.
 

lr27

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Washington pays some panel owners 53 cents per kWh.
Only the wealthy invest in such things. The poor do not. It is a subsidy transfer from poor taxpayers to the wealthy panel owners.
Only house owners, maybe. There are companies which will put collectors on your roof and lower your electricity prices, without money up front. Of course, putting the money in up front is a better deal. As far as the poor not being able to invest in solar panels, they can't invest in anything else either. So it's really not an argument to be applied to one technology in particular. In my neighborhood, a number of modest houses have solar panels on them. So unless all of those people are secretly rich...
 

lr27

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Well, maybe not, but it's been working that way. Wind power is cheaper lately than it's ever been before.
 

pictsidhe

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The UK solar subsidy was intended to encourage a healthy amount of solar installers and develop the systems. It has achieved that in spades. The subsidy was large and required at first, the systems are now viable without it.
 

FritzW

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Kind of off topic but this video is a great primer for small, emergency (or off grid) solar systems. I've got a grid tied system that goes down in a power failure but a few batteries and a cable to bypass the grid tie inverters and my grid tied investment wouldn't be wasted when the power goes out.

 
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BBerson

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I have two batteries and an inverter for when the grid is down. The optimal number of emergency solar panels for this location is zero. That's because the grid only goes down in November when the first autumn wind storms come through with almost continuous wind and rain the whole month. The wind drops tree branches on the grid wires.
The grid has never been down more than 10 hours in past 18 years. It is always cloudy when the wind storms hit, so panels would be useless.
Depends on your location.
 

Vigilant1

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Kind of off topic but this video is a great primer for small, emergency (or off grid) solar systems. I've got a grid tied system that goes down in a power failure but a few batteries and a cable to bypass the grid tie inverters and my grid tied investment wouldn't be wasted when the power goes out.

[video=youtube;w4qcoEXYqK0]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4qcoEXYqK0[/video]
Thanks. I've been thinking about getting a small system just for emergencies. Just 200w of panels, a charge controller, and the 12V deep cycle battery in our trailer would be enough to make a difference: recharge phones and cordless tools, keep some LED lights on, run a fan, power a sump pump, etc.
 
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Pops

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I have 2K solar panels for a smaller emergency system. Works great with the grid is down. When the grid goes down its usually off for at least 3 days and sometimes a week or two. I use a 24 volt system with my freezers on the 24 volt DC, and also a NG ref. We normally use about 9 to 10 kw hours a day from the grid so its not a very big change when the grid is down. All lighting and tv's are LEDs. NG heating, hot water, clothes dryer, cooking. NG is well head gas about 300 feet from the house that is 1/2 way between NG and Propane in BTW's. Some of the best money I have spent.

My total NG and electric bill for a 2200 ft house and 3000 ft hanger is $100 a month, + $28 a month for water.
 

Doggzilla

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I just turned my truck into a generator.

Have 4 batteries that are charged by the alternator and the truck is programmed to start itself any time the voltage gets too low on the batteries.

So every 5-8 hours of normal use it starts for 15-20 minutes to charge the batteries.

They wanted 10 grand for a similar wattage generator, so it was a no brainer.

But that's comparing diesel to diesel for temporary power. For continuous power the renewables are much better per kw and for reliability and maintenance.
 
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FritzW

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Good point DZ. In a power failure it's easy to forget the massive power generator(s) sitting in the driveway.

My brother has a Prius (no, he's not a *"Prius kind of guy". He's an engineer who appreciates the technology). He can run all of his "grid down" power requirements off his car without any additional hardware.

*Prius folks have their own subculture :gig:
 

Pops

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I just turned my truck into a generator.

Have 4 batteries that are charged by the alternator and the truck is programmed to start itself any time the voltage gets too low on the batteries.

So every 5-8 hours of normal use it starts for 15-20 minutes to charge the batteries.

They wanted 10 grand for a similar wattage generator, so it was a no brainer.

But that's comparing diesel to diesel for temporary power. For continuous power the renewables are much better per kw and for reliability and maintenance.
When I was running a 12 volt system I had a B&S engine converted to NG/Propane running a GM auto alternator and used to keep the batteries from going down below 70% during the evening after dark until we went to bed. Been a couple of years on the 24 volt system and I need to replace it with a 24 volt alternator, but now with the larger system, just haven't needed it.
 
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