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Discussion Starter #1
I've moved discussion here to avoid to much of it as being off topic in another thread.

Hey, I'm not saying RE isn't good -- heck, I've got quite a bit of it (as much as is practical).
Sorry, I did not intend to give that impression.
I was just pointing out some things that occurred to me ... including viable methods I see of doing something (energy storage) that you keep claiming 'until' as if it can't be done now.

I'm grid-tied on my system, because the power company can provide 100% of my power when I need it. If I were off-grid, even if I had batteries, I'd still have to have a generator that could provide 100% of my peak needs.
Bold = 'have to' , No.

A generator is nothing more than a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy ... a rechargeable battery does the same type of thing ... The size of the fuel tank for the generator limits it's total electrical energy output just like the size of a battery bank limits it's.

A generator is a viable option / alternative ... but it is far from being required , or the only way to achieve that kind of energy storage.

Until there is a way to store the power, RE will only be a supplement. I guess you are saying that the EV battery would provide storage, but that is a pretty piddling amount compared to what is consumed. Also, I'm going to need my car in the morning, right after the buffer electricity has been drained from it.
Not quiet what I was getting at.

It doesn't have to be a Vehicle to Grid type of system... that was just an example that fit in well with this particular thread.

There already is and has been for many years a way to store energy from RE sources.
Even cycled through a Utility Grid Scale Sized Battery pack RE is still far more energy efficient than any fossil fuel path. Some utility Grids have already bought battery systems for quick response back up of 2.5MW or more ... That's more power than 100 Houses could use combined even when pulling 120VAC and 200Amps.

Thermal Storage is another option for solar thermal based systems.

The claim you keep repeating , that I am disagreeing with is the 'until there is a way to store' ... that's like saying until there is a way to fly ... or until there is a way to get to the moon ... or until there is a way to use radio waves to communicate... ... the 'until' part is just wrong... there already are ways ... a multitude of different methods each able to do that storage ... and all have been around for many years... and even with the losses of using that storage the RE is still far more energy efficient path than any fossil fuel path.

Now I can understand that energy efficiency is not always the deciding factor ... there is more to it ... but for energy efficiency RE is the clear winner (even with storage losses).
 

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Sorry, not that important to me. Theoretically there are storage methods. Practically, there are not.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry, not that important to me. Theoretically there are storage methods. Practically, there are not.
'Theoretically' ???

I don't get it.???

This isn't just theory ... these are real world devices that have been in use for energy storage for years.

  • Batteries are not theoretical
  • The over 2.5MW of Grid power from battery storage systems are not theoretical
  • The thermal solar storage systems are not theoretical
  • The hydroelectric storage of water dams is not just theoretical
  • There are hundreds of homes functioning off grid are not theoretical.
  • ... these are real world things that have been in practical use for years.
I don't see how you can see these things and just brush them off as 'theoretical' as if they don't exist , or are have not been in practical use for years?

So I'm confused??
 

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'Theoretically' ???

I don't get it.???

Sorry, I didn't mean to be flip about it. Honestly, I had just typed a long response, then managed to delete it. I was upset with myself and didn't want to type it all over again.

This isn't just theory ... these are real world devices that have been in use for energy storage for years.

  • Batteries are not theoretical

    Obviously, on a small scale, very reasonable. For my system, I'd need $8000 in batteries to be able to make it for a day or two with no sun. Unfortunately I sometimes go for a couple of weeks without enough sun to meet our needs. So that's $50,000 or so in batteries. Multiply that by how many households in the US? Better get those lead mines cranking up.

  • The over 2.5MW of Grid power from battery storage systems are not theoretical

    How much does one cost? How many do we need to buffer the 25,000 TWh of power we use each year?

  • The thermal solar storage systems are not theoretical

    Sorry, I live in Texas. We ARE thermal solar storage. Honestly, I don't know anything about this.

  • The hydroelectric storage of water dams is not just theoretical

    Seriously? Water is at such a premium in most places, they'd never let any out of a dam. And don't get me started on the irreparable damage that has been done to the environment by reservoirs. Washington State is realizing the problem, and has no solution that I know of.

  • There are hundreds of homes functioning off grid are not theoretical.

    Technically, there are millions of homes worldwide off the grid. I don't want to live like 99% of them. Even the ones in this country that are off the grid voluntarily, burn stuff to stay warm and/or have a generator. Certainly there are places where it is possible to live off grid, and people do it because they are willing to make the compromises necessary to do so. Those places will get very crowded if we all move there.

    I seriously doubt there are hundreds of homes with what the average American would consider a reasonable level of creature comforts that subsist 100% on RE, with no gas and no wood burned.


  • ... these are real world things that have been in practical use for years.
I don't see how you can see these things and just brush them off as 'theoretical' as if they don't exist , or are have not been in practical use for years?

So I'm confused??
Thanks for the list of what you think is reasonable. I don't consider any of them reasonable. (except thermal solar storage, which I don't know about -- but I'll be glad to lend you a cup of heat any time you need some).
 

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Interesting conversation. Ive toyed with the idea of moving/transferring to Alaska and been watching those tv shows about life out there. Seems there is no grid, running water or sewer. For power it seems most people use a hodge podge of solar, battery and generator for energy needs. Then another fuel for heat that may serve a double purpose for the generator.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the list of what you think is reasonable. I don't consider any of them reasonable. (except thermal solar storage, which I don't know about -- but I'll be glad to lend you a cup of heat any time you need some).
Please define the criteria you use to determine what is or is not 'reasonable' ???

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I do not think it is accurate to try and interchangeably use such significantly different terms as:
Theoretically , Practical , Reasonable, etc.

#1> I was previously responding to your claim about RE storage only being 'theoretical' ... it isn't 'theoretical'... it only takes one time for it have ever been done to no longer be theoretical... it wouldn't be a theory any more once it has been demonstrated even just once.

For Example:
Someone could argue against manned travel to the moon on a variety of grounds. But it being theoretical is not one of them anymore. If someone tried to claim that travel to the moon was theoretical. They would be incorrect.

#2> Separate from 'theoretical' ... it is a different discussion about weather or not there are any 'practical' methods of RE storage... there are many examples of practical RE storage ... I refereed to a few previously.

#3> Separate from either 1 or 2 above would be the different discussion about weather there are any 'reasonable' RE storage options ... I have not yet gone much into this particular type of discussion yet ... I did not yet list what I think is 'reasonable' ... but the first most important thing that is required to do ... is clearly define what is the criteria for determining if a RE storage option is 'reasonable' or not... that's a bit more subjective than just crunching numbers on net energy efficiency... You'll have to tell me what your standard / criteria is for 'reasonable'.

Sorry, I didn't mean to be flip about it. Honestly, I had just typed a long response, then managed to delete it. I was upset with myself and didn't want to type it all over again.
No problem at all ... I was just confused.

Obviously, on a small scale, very reasonable. For my system, I'd need $8000 in batteries to be able to make it for a day or two with no sun. Unfortunately I sometimes go for a couple of weeks without enough sun to meet our needs. So that's $50,000 or so in batteries. Multiply that by how many households in the US? Better get those lead mines cranking up.
I would recommend against Lead based batteries for utility scale RE storage.
There are far net better options available.

Rome wasn't built in a day. It also took decades to build the US utility grid. It was enormously expensive to build. I see no good reason to expect a free lunch. If you want to improve something, you have to initial make an investment in it. It then takes time for that investment to 'pay for itself' ... Same is true for any investment , I see no reason not to apply the same kind of thing to utility grid upgrades... RE being one type of upgrade ... and storage also being a type of utility grid upgrade.

The correlation you describe for scaling up is not accurate. There are economies of scale that make it cheaper. Grid low usage levels actually line up far better with RE low levels than the peaks you inferred. The fossil fuel grid of today could not do what you describe either. The US grid does not have the total capacity that would be needed to handle if everyone in the US simultaneously cranked up to their peak loads.

IamIan said:
The over 2.5MW of Grid power from battery storage systems are not theoretical
How much does one cost? How many do we need to buffer the 25,000 TWh of power we use each year?
It does not matter how much they cost for the context of that statement... their very existence means it is not theoretical to be able to store RE.

That businesses and utility grids have looked at the numbers and voluntarily bought battery based storage systems like that ... is evidence they can also be both practical and cost effective.

The current fossil fuel based utility grid does not keep on hand fossil fuel energy in storage ready for an entire year ... I don't see any good reason to require on hand energy storage for an entire year... we don't have entire year long periods of not having RE production.

FYI ... Total Electrical energy consumption in the US in 2012 was only about ~4,100 TWh .. although still very large ... not 25,000 TWh.... Link

IamIan said:
The thermal solar storage systems are not theoretical
Sorry, I live in Texas. We ARE thermal solar storage. Honestly, I don't know anything about this.
There are a variety of means of thermal solar storage... Link

Basically you store in some type of insulated way the heat energy you collected from the sun during the day. Then you use that storage as needed later ... even if that latter point is at night when the sky is dark.

#A> Passive Solar Style design of the house itself ... one piece of those kinds of designs is the use of storing solar energy in a thermal based system.

that thermal based system can be a insulated hot water tank for hot water or house heat ... or thermal mass of floors , walls , etc.

The short version is that the sun light heats some object during the day ... then you get that thermal storage back later when it is cooler.

#B> The solar thermal storage systems used by solar heat based power plants.
These proven in the 1980's allow solar heat based power plants to provide electrical power production day or night as needed by the utility grid. 3 to 5 hours of night time operation from solar thermal energy storage is old news.

#C> It isn't just about short term storage either ... There are even proven and functional seasonal solar thermal energy storage systems ... storing solar thermal energy for long periods of time.

IamIan said:
The hydroelectric storage of water dams is not just theoretical
Seriously? Water is at such a premium in most places, they'd never let any out of a dam. And don't get me started on the irreparable damage that has been done to the environment by reservoirs. Washington State is realizing the problem, and has no solution that I know of.
The existence of even 1 hydroelectric dam is proof enough to show that it is not 'theoretical' which was the context of that statement.

I did not claim hydro-electric was viable everywhere. Different places have different RE profiles. Some places are best to use solar, some are best to use wind, some are best to use hydro, some are best to geo... RE includes many different options.

Ecological damage is a viable reason not to want to do hydro-electric ... but it is also a viable reason to not do coal power plants ... or to have exon valdiez oil spills... that ecological damage type of discussion is a very different discussion from if hydro-electric RE storage exists today and have for years or not ... the various types of RE do have ecological cons ... but so do the fossil fuel alternatives... it becomes a debate of the lesser of evils... and on the whole ... I think RE is the overall net cleaner path.

IamIan said:
There are hundreds of homes functioning off grid are not theoretical.
Technically, there are millions of homes worldwide off the grid. I don't want to live like 99% of them. Even the ones in this country that are off the grid voluntarily, burn stuff to stay warm and/or have a generator. Certainly there are places where it is possible to live off grid, and people do it because they are willing to make the compromises necessary to do so. Those places will get very crowded if we all move there.

I seriously doubt there are hundreds of homes with what the average American would consider a reasonable level of creature comforts that subsist 100% on RE, with no gas and no wood burned.
Wood is a type of RE .. it's a bio-fuel.
I see no good reason to exclude viable types of RE from a discussion about RE options.

Although given the very low energy efficiency of the trees and such ... the same surface area harnessing solar energy could outproduce the wood over the same time period easily using other means... bio-fuels are a low efficiency RE path ... although still far more energy efficient than any fossil fuel path.

I have no doubt at all that there are hundreds of homes 100% on RE ... even with what the average American would consider a reasonable level of creature comforts ... I'll even take it up a notch above average American and go average person in the U.S.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Interesting conversation. Ive toyed with the idea of moving/transferring to Alaska and been watching those tv shows about life out there. Seems there is no grid, running water or sewer. For power it seems most people use a hodge podge of solar, battery and generator for energy needs. Then another fuel for heat that may serve a double purpose for the generator.
I myself am not personally attracted to 'wilderness' style living.

I like modern conveniences ... restaurants , grocery stores , hospitals, etc.

Although I also don't want to live in a major city either.
 

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All the more reason I would diversify my sources of power, storage, heat, energy, etc. This way if one fails, I get several days of darkness, fuel delivery is late, etc I can still function.
 

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Please define the criteria you use to determine what is or is not 'reasonable' ???

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Perhaps I was misread to start with.

The discussion was whether RE is, by itself, a viable global solution to provide energy.

My statement was that, until storage solutions for the produced power are available, RE is a supplement, not a solution in and of itself.

You felt that storage solutions ARE available. I felt that those solutions are theoretical as a global storage solution for energy, but are not practical. Obviously I don't think batteries or dams are theoretical -- they are theoretical solutions to the problem being discussed.

I do consider hydroelectric power as a viable option. I do consider it a practical option. I do not consider it a reasonable option because the environmental impact of scaling it up to provide power for every household would be unacceptable.

Burning wood is RE, technically, and practical and viable on a small scale. 300 million people burning wood to cook their food and heat their homes? Devastatingly not reasonable for so many reasons.

Batteries are great for a few people, but any current rechargeable battery technology has questionable environmental impact at the current scale, much less at a global scale required to service the entire electrical needs of 8 billion people.

There is probably a technology using CO2 and dirt to store power, but that would be --um-- not ready for prime time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Perhaps I was misread to start with.

The discussion was whether RE is, by itself, a viable global solution to provide energy.

My statement was that, until storage solutions for the produced power are available, RE is a supplement, not a solution in and of itself.

You felt that storage solutions ARE available. I felt that those solutions are theoretical as a global storage solution for energy, but are not practical.
Thanks for clarification.

Yes I had a different interpretation... I had mis-read or misunderstood.

Sense this discussion had started as a off shoot / response to using RE to charge a Tesla ... I was under the impression the scope was about electrical ( not all types of energy ).

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That correction having been accounted for.

I'll agree global scale energy storage is still theoretical sense we have not built 'viable' energy storage on that scale even for the current fossil fuel system... Theoretical because 'in theory' we could ... but we haven't... so it's true for both RE or fossil fuels ... not just RE.

The closest thing I know of to that kind of large scale energy storage is the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve ... which contains enough for the US to go for about 1 month... which given the rate of US oil based energy consumption is an enormous energy storage system... but even that is no where near what would be needed for a global system.

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The discussion was whether RE is, by itself, a viable global solution to provide energy.
On a truly global scale ... the only viable energy source is RE ... specifically solar.

RE kicks ***.
:D

Imagine for a minute if the sun turned off ... no RE (solar) to heat the planet ... no RE (solar) to provide light for plants ... no RE (solar) to light the homes, cities, etc... fossil fuels are not able to fill the gap that would be created if we took the % of RE we depend on and use out of the equation.

The Sun inputs to the planet 3,850,000 exajoules of energy per year ... Let's take a look at the massive scale of that for just a moment.

Say we start off take out the reflection off the atmosphere and absorbed by the atmosphere ... just the amount that reaches the surface of the planet ... that amount is still in 1 year the sun giving about twice the total sum of all fossil fuels on the entire planet dig up all the coal, all the oil, all the natural gas, and all the mined uranium ... combine all of it and you won't get 1/2 of what the sun gives us on a global basis each and every year in solar RE... and will for over 5 billion more years.. before entering the 'Red Giant' Phase.

The entire global planet is already more than 99.99% Solar powered (and dependent on it) even with all the fossil fuels currently in use.

There is no energy source available to us anywhere in this entire solar system that comes any where even remotely close to being able to compete with the sun.... RE Juggernaut doesn't even notice the tiny smaller than bacteria like spec that Fossil fuels are. :rotflmao:

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Now we could also take a step back and look at trying to increase that ~99.99% solar RE even higher than it already is ... We could ask about what we have available to reduce comparatively insignificant tiny % of global fossil fuel energy we current supplement our ~99.99% Solar RE with.

And it turns out we have lots of options.

1st I would like to point out there is absolutely no need for all of it to be any one type of RE ... it would be far better to use the best combination of what RE is available ... this means we aren't looking for 100% home heat from wood ... and we are not looking for 0% home heat from wood ... use the right tool for the job ... sometimes in some places that will be a RE bio-fuel like wood ... in other places it might be geothermal ... or hydroelectric ( doesn't have to be a dam ) ... or solar ... or wind ... etc.

Energy storage is already a issue being implemented today to improve the energy efficiency of our energy systems ... it is an on going project ... it took us over 100 years to build up the energy distribution systems we enjoy today ... upgrades are already happening ... we won't rebuild over 100 years of work in a day ... but it won't take another 100 years either.
 

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Kind of the reason I mentioned in your other solar thread about a solar boiler/ steam generator.

It takes a hell of a lot of solar and a change in habits to go off the grid. Now to lower your power bill, thats different. Having worked the refi dept at a bank I see many utilities have tier rates. You are charged a flat rate per kw up to so much, then it goes up 5-10 cents a kw to the next tier and so on.

In our 4 bedroom house we were use to seeing a bill for 3 megawatts a month or 400 bucks. Now in our 3 bedroom house we see half to 3/4 a mega watt and 150 a month.

People in areas with a tier utility and some spare room can get a few panels and a grid tie inverter, plug it in and forget it. No change in life style and it supplements your power needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Kind of the reason I mentioned in your other solar thread about a solar boiler/ steam generator.
Solar thermal has many positives.
The Energy efficiency of collection / conversion from light input to heat is very high... at least double (sometimes triple) that of photo-voltaics... To the point where some utility scale solar power plants use light to heat as a means of ultimately getting electricity and not photo-voltaics.

It takes a hell of a lot of solar and a change in habits to go off the grid. Now to lower your power bill, thats different.
Yup.
And for most people there is far more 'bang for the buck' to use an Net Metering Style Grid Intertie system than to go 'off-grid'.

Although eventually I see the grid itself continuing to grow the % of RE ... and grow it's energy storage capacity... going off grid may not be needed.

Having worked the refi dept at a bank I see many utilities have tier rates. You are charged a flat rate per kw up to so much, then it goes up 5-10 cents a kw to the next tier and so on.
There are also demand charges.
For example where I work pays $1600 every single month ... just to have access to 500kw of AC grid input... even if they don't use it.

There are also in some places 'off-peak' rates.
Because they would rather bill you less per kwh than run that 3MW power plant outside of it's energy efficient operating window... to the point of they will sometimes just burn off or throw away the extra instead of running the power plant significantly outside it's better efficiency window.

That's another benefit for some RE like Solar ... it often times (not always) lines up well with the grids peak usage / peak demand times.
 

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We have he option of an off peak plan vs a straight usage flat rate plan. I was seriously considering an electric Fit and a stage 2 charger. Turns out the peak usage was like 15 cents a kw, 5 cents a kw for off peak, but that was from like 10 pm to 4 am. As you can see unless you own severalevs and drive each several hundred miles a day its cheaper to stay on the straight rate plan.

Man, I entertained using batteries, an ac unit that stores coldness as ice off peak, doing all the chors off peak like laundry and such. Still it would never breakeven.

When they setup billing for power, water and other utilities they knew what they were doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Turns out the peak usage was like 15 cents a kw, 5 cents a kw for off peak, but that was from like 10 pm to 4 am.
I've sometimes toyed with the idea of a battery based system ... even without RE input ... to exploit those kind of extreme rate changes from peak to off-peak.

Going through a ~90% efficient Charger ... through ~90% cycle efficient batteries ... through a ~90% efficient Inverter ... would mean I could get back roughly ~73% of the original input ... meaning from a financial point of view ... pay $0.05 / kwh ... and get it back out any time you like (like during the $0.15/kwh peak day rates) ... the Electricity cycled through the batteries would be effectively like paying ~$0.07 / kwh ... which would still be a significant savings (~54%) less than the peak $0.15 / kwh rates.

From 10 to 4 is 6 hours ... at even a single 110V 20A outlet ~2kw rate ... that is up to about ~12kwh of potential lower cost electrical storage... more if using higher like 220V 50A electric Drier outlets (~60kwh)

That's no small battery ... and the efficiency losses rub me personally the wrong way ... but it would work.
 

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Wow, you gave this some thought? The gti I use are rated at 87% efficient.

There was a possibility my job had a way for me to plug in my phev kit. Since my commute at that time was like 30 minutes it occurred me that I could instead charge for free at work and in turn use a gti at home to put the power into our home and save a few bucks on the power bil. :evil:

Of the 2 years I used it I plugged in at our old home, my condo and new home and we cant tell by the power bill alone it did any effect. When my mother moved in with me at my condo the power bill doubled. :confused:

My phev kit could trip brakers, the extension cord to it got warm and I melted a power strip. Still it wasnt detectable on the power bill alone unlike my little solar array with a few gtis.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Of the 2 years I used it I plugged in at our old home, my condo and new home and we cant tell by the power bill alone it did any effect.
The irony is how comparatively cheap electrical energy is from the utility... at least compared to the amount one can get for it.

A battery the size of the ~24kwh one used in the leaf ... if taken from 100%SoC to 0%SoC ... only has the ability to at most take about ~$3.20 (@Peak$0.15/lwh rate) off the electric bill ... or you can drive about ~70 or so miles ... if charged off peak for only about ~$1.30 per ~70 Miles of 'fuel'.
 

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My phev kit was 4 kilowatts and drained frequently. Its estimated it takes 5 kilowatts total for a full charge. So an ev would be 6 times that?

Well, in my case it would be a bit more since I was going to get a 220 service, meter and such. Still cheaper than gas. :evil:
 

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I've sometimes toyed with the idea of a battery based system ... even without RE input ... to exploit those kind of extreme rate changes from peak to off-peak.

Going through a ~90% efficient Charger ... through ~90% cycle efficient batteries ... through a ~90% efficient Inverter ... would mean I could get back roughly ~73% of the original input ... meaning from a financial point of view ... pay $0.05 / kwh ... and get it back out any time you like (like during the $0.15/kwh peak day rates) ... the Electricity cycled through the batteries would be effectively like paying ~$0.07 / kwh ... which would still be a significant savings (~54%) less than the peak $0.15 / kwh rates.

From 10 to 4 is 6 hours ... at even a single 110V 20A outlet ~2kw rate ... that is up to about ~12kwh of potential lower cost electrical storage... more if using higher like 220V 50A electric Drier outlets (~60kwh)

That's no small battery ... and the efficiency losses rub me personally the wrong way ... but it would work.
Interesting idea, hadn't even thought of that. Our electric co-op doesn't do peak/off-peak charging. They only charge 8.8¢ per KWh but they have a monthly "availability charge" of $25/mo no matter how much you use (including negative use).

When I first installed my system, they paid nothing for net generation, so I tried to size my system to break even annually, with room on the inverter to add more panels.

Now they have changed their policy, and I can switch to getting paid for monthly excess generation, at wholesale prices (currently 5.4¢/KWh). I think I would come out ahead to change over -- there would be months where I would owe them, but for the most part they would owe me, offsetting that monthly mandatory charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Now they have changed their policy, and I can switch to getting paid for monthly excess generation, at wholesale prices (currently 5.4¢/KWh). I think I would come out ahead to change over -- there would be months where I would owe them, but for the most part they would owe me, offsetting that monthly mandatory charge.
Just be sure you check the fine print before switching.
As they say the devil is in the details.

For Example:
On a basic net metering setup , the surplus +kwh output , and the short -kwh input from the grid just balance each other out ... 1 for 1 ... -monthly fees (of course).

The down side of the net metering is if you regularly run a +kwh output surplus you don't get anything for that surplus ... eventually (usually yearly, but sometimes monthly) it expires... even if it was like 1,000 kwh of surplus you had not used in that period (year or month).

The benefit of the pay you style setup is that you would get a check for that 1,000 kwh ... at the $0.054/kwh rate that's $54 ... $ that you would not have had otherwise.

But ... the down side of some pay you style setups is some of them you loose the 1 for 1 of the net metering ... which at $0.088 input and $0.054 output ... you would have to be net (over the year/month) produce about ~39% more surplus output than you input in order to be any better off than just the even 1 for 1 a basic net metering type of setup.

Another benefit (to factor in) of switching to a pay style system ... is that you can also set yourself up to sell your Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) , in addition to the utility paying you the $0.054/kwh rate... Although REC income is usually very low , some people don't even bother to do it will small systems ... It is one more path that should be factored in to the consideration.
 

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Im gonna reconsider the use of a battery bank to charge during off peak hours, then use a gti to back feed the home during peak hours.

I hope those figures were using 12 volt storage batteries. The gti I have seem to start at 13 volts and my solar panels are like 18 volts open circuit. This way during the day when the bats are full the xcess can roll over into the home. Then I can get a better gti for using the batteries.
 
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