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Posted by Tommy on March 9, 2008, 7:02 am
I have around $000 to invest in a grid tied system. What solar
equipment should I buy to get me started?  I want this system to be
easily expandable, or upgradable. Maybe a wind generator. $000 is not
much I know, but maybe it will get my foot in the door. I will be doing
all this work my self. I am a  industrial maintenance mechanic, which
should make this project a little easier. Any tips, and info will be
gratefully appreciated.

TIA Tommy

Posted by Eeyore on March 9, 2008, 7:53 am

Tommy wrote:

If your objective is to be more 'green' (you're on-grid so you don't *need*
to generate your own electricity), by far the best thing to do is reduce
your CONSUMPTION of energy.

Look at ultra insualation for example.

Generating your own power is a horribly INefficient use of resources when
you have grid power available. Reducing your power USAGE is the bestt hing
you can do. Insulation is invariably the best way to do this.


Posted by boustephane on March 9, 2008, 4:55 pm

I absolutely agree with Graham.  Here (Quebec, Canada) I called a
specialist to evaluate the way to save energy. He explains me how to
use less energy by raising insulation (basement, attic, windows,
doors) and some typicals recommendations (enerstart equipment, ligth
bulb, isolation of a tank water, programmable thermostats, ...).
Approxymatly, with in investment of 1000$, I can save 2000KWh / year.
What is the cost of a solar system that produce 2000KWh / year ?

Before invest in some expensises installlation ask to yourself what is
you main idea when you plan to use solar electricity:
-Save money ?
-Reduce pollution because your energy if from coal central ?
-Be independant ?
-Have a backup power?
-Produce energy and sell it to the electricity company?

If you still want to use solar energy maybe you should also think
about solar for water heating.  It is more efficient for each $
invested than solar photovoltaic.

Good luck.

Posted by Morris Dovey on March 9, 2008, 1:30 pm
 Tommy wrote:

Start out by defining your objectives - what you hope to
accomplish. So far the only goal you've mentioned is spending
$000, and I doubt you need any help from anyone here to bring
that off...

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by spaco on March 9, 2008, 4:03 pm
 My credentials:   maybe one page ahead of you on this, maybe not.
See > http://www.spaco.org/PV/PVSolar.htm
and then decide if you even want to read the rest of this post.

As others have said, define your objectives first.
   Many people pay $00 per pound of fish because they have a big boat
etc.  If that is what they want to do for a hobby, then who cares how
much a fish costs.  But they need to SAY it's their hobby, not the way
to put food on the table.
   Same for you.  If you want to monkey around with solar pv just to see
what happens, have at it.  But it's not the way to put  "money" into the
bank account (if you are already on the grid).
    Many on this newsgroup even say that it's not even "green" once you
take into account the energy it takes to make the panels, possible
polution generated by the wastes, etc.
     I have a neighbor who works for our local electric co-op (we live
in   the country and are on the grid).  He's their guy for setting up
grid tie systems.   He has talks about the 5 grid tie systems in our
co-op's area.  Basically, none of the 5 are close to "net zero" and are
looking at really long paybacks if they were.  There's 3 wind, 1 diesel
and one wind/solar pv.  the solar pv guy reports the worst financials of
    I'm not anti- pv.  I am an electronics guy and I enjoy playing
around with it.   I like wondering what some variable would look like on
a graph, going out to the shop and soldering up some stuff, then trying
it  out.
    Just about Christmas time, 2 different guys on this list reported
the amount of pv that each of their grid tie systems produced on "winter
solstice day". They both made me jealous, but at least one of them said
something like  "I know it's not really cost effective, but it's the
right thing to do".

You probably already know this, but just in case:
   They (whoever "they" are) say that the amount of sun energy that
falls on one square meter of surface, in full sun, is about 1KW.   So,
the name of the game is:  Who has the most of it around them and then,
who can trap the most of it?

Here's the most intuitive concept that I have gleaned so far (I am sorry
that I can't remember which of the members of this group told me this):
----I paraphrase:

1.   ---"In the upper midwest HEATING costs a LOT more than electricity
does on an annual basis.
2.  The best solar panels are, maybe, 10% efficient.  whereas the best
solar thermal systems can get up into the 30% to 40% range.
3.  Therefore, it would make a lot more sense to install collectors that
would produce hot water and supplemental house heat rather than some
part of your electricity.
This makes perfect sense to me, but it isn't as gee-whiz as pv solar, is it?

For us, since we have a lot of woods, we are thinking of a wood gas
producer runnning a 150 HP gasoine engine with a 70 kw alternator.   We
would run it all day, one day a week, and come as close to the max grid
feed as we can for our co-op's net metering plan  (which has 3 levels, I
think).   The engine's heat could go into a thermal storage unit for use
until it was exhausted each week.

Besides, global warming abandoned us this year and we have a really high
propane bill to deal with.  Guess I voted for the wrong guy again.  I
voted for the anti-global cooling guy in about 1978 and that didn't work

Pete Stanaitis

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