Energy : Production, Storage, Efficiency, Solutions

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Apr 13, 2020
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For over 12 months we've been running solar production and storage, which during 2022, enabled us to produce 88% of all the electricity that we used.

We have 11 x 540w Solar panels and a BYD 16kWh Lithium Phosphate battery. We are grid tied but in the event of blackouts the Fronius inverter, after about 40 seconds, switches the house to battery back up.

I have been very pleased with the system and during 2022 we used 566kWh and produced 519kWh.

We also have a single solar water heating panel with a 200l storage tank.

Solar thermal was (is?) really popular in Asia for water heating and heating of living areas. They typically are using vacuum sealed units that work over a wide range of outdoor temps.

What is the average cost of electricity where you are? Running off a battery here does not make sense as the levellized cost of storage over the life is quite high. It is better to sell onto the grid.
 

Dave D

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Solar thermal was (is?) really popular in Asia for water heating and heating of living areas. They typically are using vacuum sealed units that work over a wide range of outdoor temps.

What is the average cost of electricity where you are? Running off a battery here does not make sense as the levellized cost of storage over the life is quite high. It is better to sell onto the grid.
The cost varies depending on the time of day, the off-peak rate can be as low as 0.17€/KWH and the peak rate as high as 0.31€/KWH. The electricity company only pays 0.05€/KWH for the power supplied from residents panels. The power sold to the electricity company is taxable as income. I live up a mountain and the electricity supply is somewhat temperamental so the battery gives us power when we loose the grid.
 
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The cost varies depending on the time of day, the off-peak rate can be as low as 0.17€/KWH and the peak rate as high as 0.31€/KWH. The electricity company only pays 0.05€/KWH for the power supplied from residents panels. The power sold to the electricity company is taxable as income. I live up a mountain and the electricity supply is somewhat temperamental so the battery gives us power when we loose the grid.

Nice buy it from you at 0.05, sell it at 0.17-0.31. That is not a great way to encourage solar. At 0.31 with the amount of sun you have, I could see the battery system being viable.
 

Dave D

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Nice buy it from you at 0.05, sell it at 0.17-0.31. That is not a great way to encourage solar. At 0.31 with the amount of sun you have, I could see the battery system being viable.
If everyone was able to do what I have done, producing 88% of my own power, then the electricity companies would go bust. They still have to pay for the infrastructure and supply me with power on the days when my system can't meet my requirements, so it is understandable that the electricity companies aren't exactly encouraging it. LOL
 

turbodog

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If everyone was able to do what I have done, producing 88% of my own power, then the electricity companies would go bust. They still have to pay for the infrastructure and supply me with power on the days when my system can't meet my requirements, so it is understandable that the electricity companies aren't exactly encouraging it. LOL

This is a good, and overlooked, point. I've seen adoption studies by the electrical companies that revealed some absurdly low percent (like 5% if I recall) would be enough to bankrupt them.
 

KITROBASKIN

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There is a lot of talk about what is going on in California regarding new rules for connecting to the grid over at diysolarforums. Real basic is it sounds the state would like people to have storage and contribute during high peak hours.

There are other factors involved as well. One element is power company required to install equipment to handle distributed power generation; seems like people without solar feeling like they have to pay a disproportionate amount on upgrades for the people on solar?
 
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This is a good, and overlooked, point. I've seen adoption studies by the electrical companies that revealed some absurdly low percent (like 5% if I recall) would be enough to bankrupt them.
Electrification of transportation, heating, all cooking, etc. will exceed what most power companies have planned for generation increases. They will be fine.
 

idleprocess

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This is a good, and overlooked, point. I've seen adoption studies by the electrical companies that revealed some absurdly low percent (like 5% if I recall) would be enough to bankrupt them.
Business and operations model of utilities will have to change if whatever the number is met or exceeded.

Real basic is it sounds the state would like people to have storage and contribute during high peak hours.
This is reasonable since shaving peaks is the most expensive part of grid operations and something batteries are good at. The supply dispatch model will need some tweaking however if it's anything like the demand dispatch model already in play.

One element is power company required to install equipment to handle distributed power generation
On a small-ish scale this isn't a big problem - transformers work both ways and the effective 'backfeed distance' is apt to be quite short in populated areas. However it's possible that the supply being pushed in a given area exceeds the distribution/transmission capabilities due to high solar penetration thus some re-engineering - or ability to reject export - may be needed.

seems like people without solar feeling like they have to pay a disproportionate amount on upgrades for the people on solar?
One could argue that in states like CA the incentives have done their job and need to be scaled back; and indeed I gather that CA's generous net metering is coming to a close April 14 2023 with new systems essentially being paid a wholesale rate for surplus generation as opposed to the prior arrangement of the retail rate less ~$0.02/kWH. The rooftop solar industry understandably isn't pleased.
 

turbodog

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Electrification of transportation, heating, all cooking, etc. will exceed what most power companies have planned for generation increases. They will be fine.

You're missing the point. If a household has a solar setup, the utility still has to provide/maintain infrastructure for it, but collects essentially no money... and has to keep power 'on tap' for when that site/customer doesn't generate power (cloudy day).

It's a VERY real issue for electrical companies.

As soon as they raise rates to account for this, then solar becomes MORE attractive, driving MORE people to adopt it... which makes the problem worse. It turns into a feedback loop very quickly, and in a nasty way. Additionally... the poorer customers, which cannot afford solar, end up taking a bath.
 

idleprocess

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Low income people seem to get no benefit from Federal incentives to purchase electric vehicles?
I recall that the incentives are tax credits, thus if your taxable income is below the incentive you could indeed receive less than the full amount.
 
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You're missing the point. If a household has a solar setup, the utility still has to provide/maintain infrastructure for it, but collects essentially no money... and has to keep power 'on tap' for when that site/customer doesn't generate power (cloudy day).

It's a VERY real issue for electrical companies.

As soon as they raise rates to account for this, then solar becomes MORE attractive, driving MORE people to adopt it... which makes the problem worse. It turns into a feedback loop very quickly, and in a nasty way. Additionally... the poorer customers, which cannot afford solar, end up taking a bath.

NO, I am completely getting the point.

Distributed generation actually reduces grid loading allowing for expansion of distribution capability without the power company making any or little investment. Electrification of transportation and other current fossil fuel replacement is going to need massive increases in generation capability. With rare exception, most people don't have the roof space or other space to cover their own needs let alone those of others especially with the current multi-dwelling building and the proliferation of multi-dwelling buildings over single/attached dwellings.
For our friend in Europe, it is a travesty the buy/sell rate.
 
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Nice analysis @idleprocess . Yes, some of the rooftop solar contracts previously handed out in the US and other countries was crazy and not supportable. Payment should be current wholesale rate - overhead, and agreed, just like with wind generators, with the ability to reject.
 

turbodog

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NO, I am completely getting the point.

Distributed generation actually reduces grid loading allowing for expansion of distribution capability without the power company making any or little investment. Electrification of transportation and other current fossil fuel replacement is going to need massive increases in generation capability. With rare exception, most people don't have the roof space or other space to cover their own needs let alone those of others especially with the current multi-dwelling building and the proliferation of multi-dwelling buildings over single/attached dwellings.
For our friend in Europe, it is a travesty the buy/sell rate.

Think you're still missing the point.

For a grid w/ RE inputs, you still have to build the grid AND the generation capacity, full stop.

Then, on cloudy/stormy days, you must provide full power, full stop.

Even if a 'house' can't offset 100% of power... that doesn't matter. The utility still loses revenue.

The info I read was a whitepaper by a group of electrical companies in a region. Wish a had kept a copy. Their prediction was failure of their business model at very low RE adoption rates.
 
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Think you're still missing the point.

For a grid w/ RE inputs, you still have to build the grid AND the generation capacity, full stop.

Then, on cloudy/stormy days, you must provide full power, full stop.

Even if a 'house' can't offset 100% of power... that doesn't matter. The utility still loses revenue.

The info I read was a whitepaper by a group of electrical companies in a region. Wish a had kept a copy. Their prediction was failure of their business model at very low RE adoption rates.

How old is that white paper? I am going to guess a good 10 years old now.

You are basing all your assumptions on a 1980's / 1990's concept of electricity grid, as well as the generating mix, and even usage ... not to mention with the exception of northern climates where they don't have much sun anyway, a cloudy/stormy day is not the peak usage. In places where sun can make for a large portion of the year round supply, a cloudy/stormy day will be a low usage day. House systems with backup would also be able to on that cloudy/stormy day extend their storage.

In a northern/cold climate, sun cannot provide a significant portion of the year round power so it is moot. More likely a mix or traditional wind and solar. Wind blowing normally when solar is low (cloud/storm).

Also expect grid scale storage to get much larger, something your white paper absolutely would not have taken into account, not to mention it probably have very low generation prices for fossil fuels, something quite out of data too. Gee, almost like I know the white paper ...
 

orbital

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Think you're still missing the point.

For a grid w/ RE inputs, you still have to build the grid AND the generation capacity, full stop.

Then, on cloudy/stormy days, you must provide full power, full stop.

Even if a 'house' can't offset 100% of power... that doesn't matter. The utility still loses revenue.

The info I read was a whitepaper by a group of electrical companies in a region. Wish a had kept a copy. Their prediction was failure of their business model at very low RE adoption rates.
How old is that white paper? I am going to guess a good 10 years old now.

You are basing all your assumptions on a 1980's / 1990's concept of electricity grid, as well as the generating mix, and even usage ... not to mention with the exception of northern climates where they don't have much sun anyway, a cloudy/stormy day is not the peak usage. In places where sun can make for a large portion of the year round supply, a cloudy/stormy day will be a low usage day. House systems with backup would also be able to on that cloudy/stormy day extend their storage.

In a northern/cold climate, sun cannot provide a significant portion of the year round power so it is moot. More likely a mix or traditional wind and solar. Wind blowing normally when solar is low (cloud/storm).

Also expect grid scale storage to get much larger, something your white paper absolutely would not have taken into account, not to mention it probably have very low generation prices for fossil fuels, something quite out of data too. Gee, almost like I know the white paper ...

Applicable to debate:
 

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