Most Solar and or micro grid power is being wasted!

  • Most Solar and or micro grid power is being wasted!

    Posted by BiggKidd on February 13, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    Have you ever thought about how much power your solar panels waste, maybe I should say how much power your micro grid power system wastes? Anyway the point is almost all of us who live using micro grid power have far more panels or power making ability than power storage. So how much of the time is your system burning off excess power. For us I know on sunny days by 11am our battery bank is fairly well full and from then on till dark the panels just carry the loads of what’s running at the moment. So literally thousands of watts of potential power are being flushed everyday the sun shines or the wind / water moves. Take my system for example we have 3600 watts of panels in use at the house and another 1200 watts at the shop. Lets just talk about the panels at the house for now. Our daily power usage is mostly under 5kwh a day, except in mid summer when AC runs. On sunny days our 3600 watts an hour times 4 hours is 14,400 watts so lets say we average 12,000 watts a day on average of sunny days. So more power is being squandered than what’s being used. At my lowered numbers for real life not lab conditions of 12,000 watts a sunny day and we generally use less than 5,000 watts so 7,000 watts is being wasted. That’s something like 35 or 40% being used and the rest is wasted.

    We as in all of us living the off grid / micro grid lifestyle really need to do better at finding ways to capture and use all this excess power we waste. I personally do not believe adding more chemical batteries is the answer but I do believe there is an answer out there we just need to find it.

    The answer may be so simple as to seem stupid. But here’s a possible option solid mass or liquid mass storage! In this instance what I’m talking about is a LARGE heat storage vessel. Electric to heat is about as close to being 100% efficient as we have been able to get in energy conversion. Now whether you store and use that as heat or convert it to another form is up to your needs. I do know converting heat in to electricity is not even in the same ball park as it’s reverse being less than 50% and often as little as 3% efficient.

    So what are your thoughts? Anyone have any viable ideas?

    MartHale7 replied 1 year ago 7 Members · 22 Replies
  • 22 Replies
  • Hanidu-Farms

    Member
    February 13, 2023 at 4:52 pm

    Good question. Surplus= enough. 1 is none and 2 is one. But at some point it can get to a “too much of a good thing” point.

  • MartHale7

    Member
    February 13, 2023 at 5:01 pm

    The best time to use energy is at the time you produce it., storing it at present has loss using standard batteries and inverters. Also another factor with solar is the input is about always changing, this is why an mppt for coils is worth the investment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmMsTN8b9Hg here is one such option.

    • BiggKidd

      Member
      February 13, 2023 at 5:25 pm

      That’s crazy in my opinion. First you don’t NEED a controller or inverter between solar panels and a heating element. Second why tie your panels to a single job when a simple dump load controller will let them handle their regular chores and dump excess to heating water? Or you can simply straight wire the panels to a heating element, Yes you need to do a little simple math to work out how many panels at what resistance element etc. but it’s not very hard to figure out. I would suggest a simple thermostat so you don’t over heat / boil the water.

      • MartHale7

        Member
        February 13, 2023 at 5:38 pm

        You can run direct, but you will not be getting as much heat out of the coils in the morning and evening and partly cloudy days. The MPPT tunes the energy for optimal use with the coil just like the MPPT does for a battery. If the voltage coming in does not match the ohms of the load it just does not work very well… I found this out by testing various solar panel configurations with my heating coils, also if you watch David Poz on youtube he shows why you have to match the panels to the ohms of the heating coil for optimal results.

      • BiggKidd

        Member
        February 13, 2023 at 7:04 pm

        I’ve had mine running for several years as a dump load. I too found wired straight not to be the best but it is the cheapest if you don’t mind tying a set of panels up only for heating water. I am adding solar / hot water heater element to my thermoelectric project. I have 3) 300W panels that aren’t being used I’m planning to straight wire. I may also run a dump load from my house panels, don’t know yet.

        • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  BiggKidd.
      • MartHale7

        Member
        February 13, 2023 at 7:47 pm

        Yeah I have 9 extra 220 watt panels and I am experimenting with all kinds of different setups. I am trying to get ahead of what it and EMP would hit and I need to run direct from my panels….

  • BiggKidd

    Member
    February 13, 2023 at 5:35 pm

    Guys you might want to stretch your thinking out to a year at a time to really take advantage of this method. Just for example say you heat a 5000 gallon tank of water all year long with excess power then use that for space heating all winter………. Or heat 20 tons of sand to do the same thing.

  • coyotech

    Member
    February 13, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    I go with lots of RV batteries. Then I can run more for longer. I have 4 solar panels charging 12 batteries now, and the panels keep up with the battery charging. Of course batteries can be expensive. I need to set aside a money saving jar just for replacing batteries over time! But so far, so good. I don’t know if I’m maxing out the charging capability of those panels yet. I don’t think so.

  • gods-child

    Member
    February 13, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    here is a way with break-down of costs over twenty [20] years to save a fortune on batteries and reduce the solar set-up costs

    food for thought

    12v lead-acid and gel batteries can also be purchased for a fraction of the price of lithium and most folk do not know they can go to vehicle breaker yards also known as scrap yards and get vehicle batteries for a fraction of the cost of a new battery

    and you may also save costs on other things such as cables and connectors switches lights fuses and more plus there could be other things and bargains to help save money for your homestead or mobile-home and-such

    for example

    where i live i can get second-hand 12v vehicle batteries anywhere from £10 ~ £40 each whereas one [1] new lead-acid battery starts at around £90 for a 60ah ~ 70ah wheres the higher the [ah] the higher the price

    thereby if you purchase second-hand 12v vehicle batteries you would be saving them going in the landfill and saving lots of money

    and

    looking at the high and low price scale for 12v second-hand vehicle batteries

    lets calculate costs for a single battery

    if second-hand only last five [5] years you can weigh them in get a few bob back or could likely do a swap for a good second-hand battery from the breakers yards or scrap yards or even second-hand vehicle dealers

    £40 4x over twenty [20] years is equal to £160 v £4,000 a massive saving of £3,840

    £10 4x over twenty [20] years is equal to £40 v £4,000 a massive saving of £3,960

    the batteries may last longer as i have seen some folk that claim they are still using their 12v vehicle lead-acid batteries nine [9] years on

    £40 2x over twenty [20] years is equal to £80 v £2,000 a massive saving of £1,920

    £10 2x over twenty [20] years is equal to £20 v £2,000 a massive saving of £1,980

    lets calculate costs for a battery-bank of ten [10] batteries

    £40 10x is equal to £400 v £10,000 a massive saving of £9,600

    £10 10x is equal to £100 v £10,000 a massive saving of £9,900

    £400 4x over twenty [20] years is equal to £1,600 v £40,000 a massive saving of £38,400

    £100 4x over twenty [20] years is equal to £400 v £40,000 a massive saving of £39,600

    £400 2x over twenty [20] years is equal to £800 v £20,000 a massive saving of £19,200

    £100 2x over twenty [20] years is equal to £200 v £20,000 a massive saving of £19,800

    lest calculate a new lower end lead-acid 60ah ~ 70ah battery at an average £90 each

    £90 is equal to £1,000 a massive saving of £910

    £90 4x over twenty [20] years is equal to £360 v £4,000 a massive saving of £3,640

    £90 2x over twenty [20] years is equal to £180 v £2,000 a massive saving of £1,820

    lest calculate a new lower end [ah] lead-acid 60ah ~ 70ah battery at an average £90 each for a battery bank of ten [10]

    £90 10x is equal to £900 v £10,000 a massive saving of £9,100

    £900 4x over twenty [20] years is equal to £3,600 v £40,000 a massive saving of £36,400

    £900 2x over twenty [20] years is equal to £1,800 v £20,000 a massive saving of £18,200

    lets calculate a 240ah new leisure battery at average price of £390

    £390 is equal to £390 v £1,000 a massive saving of £610

    £390 4x over twenty [20] years is equal to £1,560 v £4,000 a massive saving of £2,440

    £390 2x over twenty [20] years is equal to £780 v £2,000 a massive saving of £1,220

    lets calculate a 240ah new leisure battery at average price of £390 for a battery bank of ten [10]

    £3,900 is equal to £3,900 v £10,000 a massive saving of £6,100

    £3,900 4x over twenty [20] years is equal to £15,600 v £40,000 a massive saving of £24,400

    £3,900 2x over twenty [20] years is equal to £7,800 v £20,000 a massive saving of £12,200

    the costs will vary for area to area country to country thus this is only a guide based on my sources and first hand knowledge

    also cheaper quicker more environmentally friendly to replace for most and makes connections with those in breakers yards or scrap yards or even second-hand vehicle dealers

    for those in remote areas you may be able to purchase online on places like ebay and have them shipped to you

    open for discussion

    does this make sense to you or do you have a different point of view…??

    p.s

    if my calculations are off please correct me as i am not good with math

    bona-fide

    • BiggKidd

      Member
      February 13, 2023 at 7:10 pm

      I’ve been using used UPS batteries since going off grid 15 years ago. The set I have now were back up power for an operating room. Insurance makes them change them out every three years no matter if they’ve been used or not.

    • MartHale7

      Member
      February 13, 2023 at 10:26 pm

      I am in Florida, golf cart central 😉 I spent about 5 years making my own battery chargers to desulfate lead acid batteries. When I came to Florida, I started my solar system by getting trojan 8v batteries for $16 each. This was the scrap value then these were batteries that were old and were on their last leg. It was from this system, I learned solar. I topped up lots of electrolyte in these batteries. From there I moved to Electric Vehicle lithium batteries. I buy slightly used lithium batteries for $100 a KWH, I have over 25 KWH of storage now in a 24v, and 36v systems. I have done lots of research on lithium batteries and I treat them very well, and they have treated me awesome for running my AC, my well pump, and my table saw.

      For me lithiums well managed is the way to go as I have large capacity, and can take the batteries much lower than you can with lead acid batteries. Lead acid batteries do work, but I am glad to get away from filling electrolyte in those batteries.

      Lithims have to be kept warm to charge them, and you have to think about possiblity of fire, but so far, they have done me right, others may choose a different route…. I am interested in the new lead – carbon foam batteries. They can be taken to zero volts and they keep right on going with no degradation. So much battery tech coming out hard to know what is real, and what is scams.

      • BiggKidd

        Member
        February 13, 2023 at 11:04 pm

        I went LifePO4 on my golf cart as a test bed before trying to get new batteries for the house. Didn’t work out to well in the long run BUT that was MY screw up not the cells! I let dust get between them and it rubbed them raw and they shorted out between the cases.

      • gods-child

        Member
        February 13, 2023 at 11:07 pm

          quote “Lithims have to be kept warm to charge them, and you have to think about possiblity of fireend-quote

          therein lays the problems for me apart from the expense, as you said $100 per KWH with these risks are a no-no a big juicy no-no for me

          for me less risk of fire suits me my family and neighbours and fire-department

          less risk of fire does-not suit hospital or funeral-parlor or morgue

          still factoring in the cost of battery-acid and routine maintenance and desulfator is far less risk of fire and far economical and more financially viable for most folk in my humble opinion

          desulfator UK made selling on ebay £20 and change

          hydrometer £4

          25L Battery-acid £85 and change

          free-will and good-luck for those who know the risks of fire associated with lithium-batteries and want to put themselves and others at harms way, not to mention property damage and loss, which would add to more costs either medical funeral or replacement costs thereof

          bona-fide

        • MartHale7

          Member
          February 14, 2023 at 12:46 am

          Yep. I have played with alum batteries as well, but if I was going back to lead acid I would consider carbon foam… They look amazing.

          I do respect your choice. Lead acids do have a proven history.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrhapRFkt7o

    • Hippocrates_Garden

      Member
      February 13, 2023 at 11:23 pm

      I’m pretty much all in on Lithium. I’m in Arkansas and it doesn’t take a lot to keep them above freezing if inside a structure, for mobile (say golfcart/side by side) I’d likely add the extra for self heating, as it would only be one or two batteries not a full property system. To the degree I already have over $8k of EG4 batteries yet to be installed. Once those are in and running, if I need to expand, haven’t decided if just get another rack, or build from cells mainly for the experience and flexability.

      If I’m going to depend on them, and hope to get 20+ years without having to change (which would put me in my 70s or later) I just don’t see the weight, work, frequent expense and (low but still there) explosive risk of lead acid and space. They just take up twice the space and weight.

      But that’s just me

      • BiggKidd

        Member
        February 13, 2023 at 11:40 pm

        I loved my Li batteries until the dust got them and again it was MY fault. I’m the idiot that put a fan through the case instead of making it airtight!

      • gods-child

        Member
        February 13, 2023 at 11:40 pm

        quote “(low but still there) explosive risk of lead acid and space. They just take up twice the space and weight.” end-quote

        at least when a lead-acid battery explodes they do not catch on fire like the lithium batteries do and all you need is water to neutralise the already weakened by deionised-water and battery-acid solution

        as for 12v car/van/leisure batteries they are significantly smaller and lighter than the lithium batteries

        • Hippocrates_Garden

          Member
          February 13, 2023 at 11:43 pm

          For the energy potential per volume, these “leisure” batteries are lighter? Are they lead based? I’m not sure what you are calling “leisure” batteries. Can you point me toward one?

        • gods-child

          Member
          February 13, 2023 at 11:48 pm

          leisure batteries come in

          lead-acid

          agm

          gel

          and new technologies according to https://advancedbatterysupplies.co.uk/blog/2016/02/leisure-battery-information/

        • Hippocrates_Garden

          Member
          February 14, 2023 at 12:00 am

          so they are all lead-based. I don’t see how they can be “lighter” than lithium. Remember a 100ah lead-based battery doesn’t need to be discharged much below 50% at most, and recharged as quickly as possible to prevent early degradation. Even a well-maintained lead-based battery may begin experiencing degradation after 500-700 “cycles”,

          Lithium can be discharged to 20% without degradation, can be left discharged say 50% without degradation for an extended time, can be expected to go 3000-7000 cycles before significant degradation

          meaning, a single 100ah lithium = two 100ah lead-based batteries in useful energy per cycle.

          That single 100ah Lithium battery is half the weight of one lead-based battery of the same rating (or 1/4 the weight of equivalent energy availability (meaning two 100ah lead-based batteries) which now take up twice the space.

          And the lead-based battery bank (two 100ah lead based to equal one 100ah lithium) will need to be replaced at least once, maybe 2-3 times before the lithium requires replacement as far as we can tell so far.

          It’s always up to the person, the situation and such, but as I grow older, and having no idea what will happen re: materials and components. I personally would rather bite the bullet now, fill whatever space I have available with storage that gives me the longest life, least maintenance and most available energy per cycle possible. The less I tinker with batteries, the more time doing other stuff.

          Thank goodness, there are so many options, and people that understand and are willing to use and share information on all of them. Options, Diversity, freedom.. kinda the point right?

    • BiggKidd

      Member
      February 13, 2023 at 5:07 pm

      Good thought!

    Log in to reply.