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I was told solar isn't for me. They said it is because we use too many modern energy zappers. Two people live in a ranch home in northwest Illinois. It has a forced air propane furnace, a full size W/D, we hang outside if possible, fridge, two standing freezers, barn, a hot tub in winter, pool in summer, etc...We would also like to fully heat the basement.

What's your take on that? Would Musk's new Wall unit make this a reality? Or was the fella right?
 

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I was told solar isn't for me. They said it is because we use too many modern energy zappers. Two people live in a ranch home in northwest Illinois. It has a forced air propane furnace, a full size W/D, we hang outside if possible, fridge, two standing freezers, barn, a hot tub in winter, pool in summer, etc...We would also like to fully heat the basement.

What's your take on that? Would Musk's new Wall unit make this a reality? Or was the fella right?
Forced air is a big consumer of power, but not horrible. We live in Maine though, so heat is a big deal. We have a full size W/D too. We have a fridge and four chest freezers [as organic farmers we grow most of our own food].

The hot tub in winter/pool in summer kills it though.



... What's your take on that? Would Musk's new Wall unit make this a reality? Or was the fella right?
A new expensive battery does not change the basic equation.
 

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Our solar costs will be paid off in 17.5 years from install at building in 2012, then 2015 and 2017. Since WI only pays rebates on 6Kw, we put in 6Kw each of those years to equal 18 KW.

Our house is insulated concrete forms, passive solar and 5 bedroom, 3 bath, 1/2 basement, 1.75 acre pond electrically aerated 24/7, 30x40 pole barn with many electric tools, and fully electric house. My DH loves big homes and electronic gadgets. Normal inexpensive appliances, tons (TONS!) of overnight guests, high electric usage for cooking, wash and a/c in summer. 2 large standup freezers also running.

Our bills amortized per month would be $275-$300 with heat and a/c as needed. We are on a very expensive cooperative as we live 25 miles from nowhere and they like to pretend to be @ 11cent/w but we pay a $33/mo fee for the pleasure of being in the coop, $19 of taxes and several authorized fees. So at least $55/mo on fees before we start applying dollar one to electricity.

After the federal tax credits and the state rebates, our system (which now allows us to be net zero and may even be a net producer - this is our 1st year at full production) will be paid for around 2030. We will be 73 then so expect to be in the house longer. Hopefully. But our kids will inherit the house/land and the useful life of the solar will still be there, just reduced after the 25 year mark. If our house was not so energy efficient, the solar would be paid off years earlier.
 

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Its not really a question of solar but of battery capacity. If you get a large enough battery bank you could run whatever you want. Solar is just a means of keeping the batteries charged. You could also use wind, hydro (if you have running water) or even wood gas to run a generator. I designed my system so I could run whatever I want although I only use a fraction of it's capacity. Work up how much power you would need to run what you want and size your battery bank accordingly. Solar , hybrid, or generator can keep your batteries charged.
 

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Just howling at the moon
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Off grid solar may not be the right fit for you because of your energy use patterns. Forced air furnace and hot tub are big energy hogs that would kill anything but the largest battery bank.

But unless you have shade problems, a grid-tie system should work. Are you on a co-op or something that doesn't allow grid-tie?

WWW
 

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First rule of Solar... Re-evaluate your power usage, lose the unintentional power hogs, consider how to deal with the needed power hog devices and what would be most economical and practical. Conservation is 10 times cheaper than building capacity (panels & batteries) and the payback is almost immediate.

Rule # 1 ! Any device that uses resistance is a power killer. Hot Water Tanks, Electric Stoves, Heating Elements, electric dryers. Electric Stoves are nasty BUT the inverter / induction types not too bad.

You do not have to "lose" anything, just reconsider how things have been done and where you can improve & save energy, sure it may also mean changing some bad habits too... Your saving energy usage pays you back rather than filling some "entities" pockets and it's well worth doing for yourself as it improves your freedom and independence from the outside sources. Being held hostage to Power Companies who've made people dependent on them just doesn't have to happen anymore.
 

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I think it terms of going net-zero, your ranch operation is too big. In terms of taking a chunk off your power bill, for sure. Also, it can keep critical systems going in a power outage. I hope to get a system up and running one day...I doubt it will allow me to 'cut the line', but if it can handle a 24hr power outage, win-win. Plus, we have two tier power rates (be nice to keep below 2nd tier).
I have a neighbor who is off grid, all solar, and she makes it work. Our area is not conducive to solar because we turn into Venus in winter (short days and cloud cover).
I agree, storage is the problem. Powerwall says 13.5kwh of usable energy, with 5kw of peak power. In winter, I go through about 40-50kwh per day...and I'm a light user relative to neighbors. I could probably keep below the 5kw peak power, but 13.5kwh would get me through a third of the day, on average (without any recharge). In summer, a different story.
You can stack powerwalls.
 

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Solar is fine for you as long you stay grid tied...
It will help to lower your bills significantly...as long location fits...
You might not end up being paid back, but def closer to zero...and in summer...it might do the full pool/house setup while sun is shining for "free"...
 

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Ahem, I am off-grid and actually Net Positive ! Generate more than we need / use. Actually been pondering getting an EV of some sort because we could do it & that would save a heap on gas! and good for the planet too. Prior to going offgrid and last place, we averaged 2 Kwh per day summer & 7kwh winter and maxed to 10kwh in winter on extreme days when sup heating was used. Real Time, Real Use and doing it.
 
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@Steve_S My statement was assuming he uses dramatically high amounts of electricity...so battery might not be financially smart on that scale...
Unfortunately they are still, even used, extreme...
 

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Our city has a new sports arena largely powered by solar. So you can do it, it just depends on the number of panels you'll need and if the cost to meet your power needs makes sense to you. But for someone to say solar isn't for you might be misleading you. If you're serious about getting solar, interview a few other companies. After a while you'll be able to figure out the differences and if it really can be done for you at the price your willing to pay.
 

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I was told solar isn't for me. They said it is because we use too many modern energy zappers. Two people live in a ranch home in northwest Illinois. It has a forced air propane furnace, a full size W/D, we hang outside if possible, fridge, two standing freezers, barn, a hot tub in winter, pool in summer, etc...We would also like to fully heat the basement.

What's your take on that? Would Musk's new Wall unit make this a reality? Or was the fella right?
You can run any size facility on solar if you're willing to invest enough money in the system.
The question is whether or not it's really worth it to you.
 

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I put my own 8kw system in.. ended up paying about $1.15 per watt installed (including tax breaks). Our electric bill used to be $120 a month and now its zero. (I think there's a $2.50 meter charge)
In fact, its doing so well, if the trend continues and my calculations are correct, (and they usually are!), I might be plugging in electric space heaters next winter just to burn up some of the extra energy we banked up with the utility company.

The Tesla powerwall is 14.5kw of which you can use about 80% to 90% of that. It costs around $7000 installed and will probably last for about 4000 to 5000 charge cycles before you notice serious degradation in energy storage.
 

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I was told solar isn't for me. They said it is because we use too many modern energy zappers. Two people live in a ranch home in northwest Illinois. It has a forced air propane furnace, a full size W/D, we hang outside if possible, fridge, two standing freezers, barn, a hot tub in winter, pool in summer, etc...We would also like to fully heat the basement.

What's your take on that? Would Musk's new Wall unit make this a reality? Or was the fella right?

Well solar may not be for everyone and going solar may require change. The change is not only is YOU and how you use devices but also what you use. Before you can even start looking at solar you need to know how much power your using and from what devices. You said forced air, that should stop you from using solar but you need to know the power needs. If its older fans it might be cheaper to replaced the air handler with more effecient units instead of add more solar panels. Your washer sholdnt be an issue but the Dryer might if its electric. Again would it be cheaper to run that on propane? then move to electic. each item cost money to run be it electric or gas. Which way is cheaper. Maybe its cheaper to move all but some devices to solar, ,maybe re-evaluate why you need two standing freezers, Maybe build an insulated box around the freezers to keep them cooler.

The tesla power wall doesnt change any of this, Its just a battery bank, smaller and more effecient than most current system but still needs to be fed from something .
 

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Can you switch your hot tub to wood heat and add lots of insulation when you aren't using it?

Or better yet directly heat the water with solar heat. That should be more efficient than converting solar energy to electricity and then to heat.
 

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The best solar rings for pool can bring a huge difference to your swimming experience. Solar pool covers are particularly manufactured to heat the pool in a more natural approach. They do so without making your electric and water bills steep. In addition to this, pool covers are practical in keeping your waterline from sinking.
You can also now save more on electricity bills and pool maintenance expenses, and at the same time, help save the environment. Since these products rely on solar power to operate, you can help promote a healthier and sustainable lifestyle as well.
 
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