Anyone generate their own electricity? (Solar panels, wind etc.) Page 3

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  • fontgeeksogood 30 May 2019 18:11:18 8,347 posts
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    I think that's more the people who rent their roof out to have the solar panels put on, not if you do them for your own usage and ownership
  • Psiloc 30 May 2019 19:25:23 5,327 posts
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    Yeah if the panels are owned outright then it's not a problem
  • Ryze 11 Jun 2019 22:10:29 3,693 posts
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    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-48530488/the-solar-power-charged-electric-cars-making-money
  • Psiloc 12 Jun 2019 09:51:40 5,327 posts
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    I get the feeling that only works on the island because even with barely any charge left in your car you can still reach absolutely anywhere?
  • Ryze 12 Jun 2019 11:36:16 3,693 posts
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    You'd need to charge using renewables wherever you park during the day, and have a SYSTEM that watches your usual commute mileage.

    If your usual commute is a 10 mile round trip, then your battery should keep 30 miles minimum while your house uses battery power from sunset to bedtime.

    If you know that you have a long journey planned - it should be in your calendar ideally, and linked to the app, but a manual override should allow the car to keep 80% battery ready for your trip.

    Bear in mind that once you have a few hundred cars doing this - and add supercapacitors to the mix, you can grab power from another idle car in minutes, rather than use the grid over several hours charging at 13A-40A.

    I would expect a crowd of dinosaurs to do anything they can to shoot this system down - but you know. Humans.

    Edited by Ryze at 11:39:46 12-06-2019
  • DaM 12 Jun 2019 12:29:03 17,416 posts
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    Psiloc wrote:
    I get the feeling that only works on the island because even with barely any charge left in your car you can still reach absolutely anywhere?
    Porto Santo is awesome, I recommend it to anyone. It's got sun, sand, walks, landscapes...like Tenerife, without 1 million lobster-coloured Brits. Probably like package holiday destinations were like before package holidays...

    I know for these schemes being tested in the UK you will set a minimum you need, eg if you need 40% for the next day, it won't suck out more than that.
  • Fake_Blood 12 Jun 2019 13:48:23 9,930 posts
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    Does static electricity count? Because I generate a lot of that.
  • Psiloc 13 Jan 2020 14:17:13 5,327 posts
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    Hahaha. Just done some end-of-year maths on my solar hot water power diverter thing. Over the past 12 months it has dumped 1000 units of 'free' electricity into my hot water tank. This would have cost me over 140, which is good. The problem is I'd be using gas otherwise, and 1000 units of gas costs just 27.50.

    Even guesstimating at 80% boiler efficiency, what's that 33 or something?
  • Dirt3 13 Jan 2020 15:13:47 526 posts
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    That could look better over time.

    Thing is, gas is falling out of favour. In fact i read somewhere that the only way the government is going to meet emissions targets is to remove gas CH. I read the other day that in Scotland they are making new houses non gas.

    Anyway, I have a 15 year old gas boiler. Was thinking of replacing but decided that laying out 3K for a new one was bad news, because i) domestic gas I reckon is soon going to become a lot more expensive to force people off it and ii) because i reckon they will start doing grants to replace gas boilers with some sort of leccy alternative.
  • Dougs 13 Jan 2020 15:23:40 91,690 posts
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    I think long term you are probably right, but I don't see that happening any time soon. (He says just about to spend 1500 on a new boiler to replace a 20 year old one...).
  • Dirt3 13 Jan 2020 15:30:59 526 posts
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    I agree it could be a few years, maybe 5 minimum. Also weaning the nation off 3p gas to 13p leccy is going to be an issue. It's not like they can ramp the price overnight.

    But the direction of travel towards more leccy and less gas seems inevitable. It's a question of whether you can hang on long enough to hit the optimum change point. Bit like electric cars I guess.
  • grey_matters 13 Jan 2020 16:20:16 4,933 posts
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    Heat pumps are the only sensible solution for using electricity. I'd have thought that it wouldn't be a straight swap though as they are a lower temperature system si presumably you'd also need to replace your rads with ones of a far higher surface area. Which leads to higher costs.

    Gas and gas boilers should stay cheapish for all retrofit houses. You could force new builds to ban them though.

    Edited by grey_matters at 16:20:56 13-01-2020
  • Dougs 13 Jan 2020 17:20:22 91,690 posts
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    Heat pumps are used in a lot of new build estates I think. But I think they are also unregulated to a degree too.
  • Psiloc 13 Jan 2020 22:21:59 5,327 posts
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    Heat pumps blow my mind, to the point that I think I must fundamentally misunderstand how they work
  • Technoishmatt 13 Jan 2020 22:42:32 3,760 posts
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    Heat pumps are great for new builds. But heat pumps will struggle in the old UK houses, with bad insulation.

    The cost / barriers to insulation could be too high for country as a whole. I read though that they have started testing adding hydrogen to gas as it greatly reduces the carbon output. The hydrogen could be produced using excess wind power at night. Boilers could be required to allow for conversions.
  • monkehhh 13 Jan 2020 23:55:33 5,200 posts
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    Testing is underway with adding 20% hydrogen to natural gas without modification to appliances. Testing is also underway with proving that natural gas can be completely replaced with hydrogen and have an equivalent level of safety - I've seen a few fun videos at work of us trying to make a fake street with a hydrogen pipe network in the middle of nowhere ignite / explode, seems like it's harder than expected (which is good news).
  • Fake_Blood 14 Jan 2020 00:11:50 9,930 posts
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    But we currently make hydrogen out of natural gas.
  • monkehhh 14 Jan 2020 07:10:48 5,200 posts
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    Yeah, i believe the idea is to put all the bad stuff from the process back in to the places under the sea where we've previously extracted other stuff. No idea on the relative efficiencies, but electrolysis using renewable electricity sounds like a much nicer way to do it.
  • Dirt3 14 Jan 2020 10:37:32 526 posts
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    I quite like the hydrogen idea -saw this on the BBC the other day.

    There are several neat things about it, first that it provides a way of consuming spare electricity and storing energy. As we increase the wind power (and it is increasing massively) sometimes we will have a lot more electricity than we need. This can be diverted to generating hydrogen instead of being wasted.

    Next there is the fact that it does not require modification to existing infrastructure, so you can add the 20% hydrogen to the normal gas supply without having to pay loads of money upgrading the pipework and boilers. As far as I can tell instead of drawing more gas from Norway we could just add hydrogen into the mix instead.

    However I do see a couple of problems. One is that while we still have gas generation capacity I think it makes more sense to throttle down the gas burning for electricity than use spare excess electricity to generate hydrogen at a pretty low efficiency level (I think around 60%). The other is the investment in the hydrogen generating infrastructure which would cost a lot but would spend (at least at the moment) a lot of time standing around idle.

    I think most of the problems due to "excess" capacity are more down to minimum generation contracts rather than the fact that the excess capacity cannot be managed.
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