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Alex Kosmicki

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since Mar 19, 2016
Kansas City Area
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Recent posts by Alex Kosmicki

When I was getting a bid for Grid tied solar, I was a little surprised by how few panels would need to be added to the array to provide the power for an electric car.  
Told him we where thinking about a small car and drove 200 miles a week. So a small electric car gets about 3 miles per KWH(100 Miles per gallon equivalent or something) and four panels would make about 12 KWH/Day or provide the power for 36 miles a day. So about 1000 dollars worth of additional panels would power a small car for a couple of decades.

Now powering the new Electric Hummer might be a different story, but drive it just a little and it would work out.
Somebody will eventually make a basic car powered by LIPO4 batteries.  Yes, it still takes energy to make a car though.
5 days ago
A month ago I made a skidable chicken coop with with 2 inch galvanized pipe fashoned in a 10 by 20 foot rectangle and cattle panels fastened to it with hose clamps. The pipe is round enough that I have been able to skid the structure on the short side or long side.  I used 1 and a half inch pipe to instead of a union to couple the pipe together in one spot. The pipe was a little pricy for me and the cattle panels are a little more this year too, but the structure is solid enough, heavy and low slung enough for here. I skid it with a tractor, but wander if a 12 volt battery could power a winch for it using ground anchors, rocks or trees to tug it around.
It would be a hassle to tote the battery around, maybe you have a 4 wheeler,  but a fairly small solar panel on top of the structure might keep the battery topped off for the small amount the winch would get used.
5 months ago
I have been interested in some heat storage using PV also. A month ago I installed a heat pump water heater to use excess net metered PV and to eliminate the use of gas to heat hot water. The heat pump water heater uses one to three KWH a day. This works out to one or two 4oo watt panels to make hot water. The PV panels make power in lower light and cooler days when a solar thermal panel would not. It makes sense with the hybrid water heater, but i suppose there is the cost of the water heater every ten years or so and having to add some heat to the house in the winter. The basement is less funky and I am in the process of ducting the cool air into a small room to use as a cold cellar.
A small heat pump or ductless split would probably make sense, but how to store the heat for cloudy days.

I imagine a storage tank with a removable piece of foam on top and a small heat pump section from a water heater or such mounted outside to run when the sun is shining(which would be the warmer days when the COP/ efficiency is higher). At night or in the morning the foam could be removed from the storage tank for a little space heat. Seasonal storage could be done with a small storage tank, radiant floor tubing and a rug or removable foam panel on the floor. Maybe an uninsulated storage tank could be buried under the floor or boxed up in foam with sand or dirt around it.  A person would need to do some math and figure out the timing on when to start the seasonal storage. Might be more trouble than its worth.
5 months ago
Might search for images for DIY pool heater.

The usual arrangement calls for a rather tight coil of tubing, but without the Polycarbonate. The polycarbonate would have to help on cooler days. I think you want the sun to hit either the tubing or fins attached to the tubing as heating up the air space will cause a loss of heat out though the polycarbonate and back in the form of hot air inside the collector cooling off.

6 months ago
The micro inverters do seem safer. I have noticed some of the panels might have snow on them and some not so much. The individual inverters can help increase efficiency there. The smaller inverters are supposed to be more reliable, but who knows. Replacing one here and there seems nicer than forking up thousands for a new main inverter later on, more likely the system stays functional as the years go on if repairs are reasonable. A big warranty comes with this stuff, but ultimately most big warranty’s end early so the responsibility to maintain it will be on me or whoever comes after.

I am not sharp on it but there are efficiency’s created simply by moving Alternating Current around instead of Direct Current.

I took a picture of the pack slip when the equipment showed up. The pack slip listed the correct micro inverters. The day the installers where “finishing” they had over voltage fault codes from a couple of the inverters, so being curious I went out to count the LED flashes and realized the inverters where too small for the panels, wrong ones. It’s funny because some other parts shipped to the job were wrong causing the installers to correct them as the job happened, but they did not apparently verify that the other parts where OK.
8 months ago
I wander if a simple one gallon container could go inside of the fridge with piping going up to the attic or roof such that the warm(40 degree F)solution thermosiphoning up
and the cold(20 degree  F) attic solution falling down.
Maybe a solenoid valve and thermostat in the loop somewhere too.

I want to build a cold room that uses ducted exhaust from a heat pump water heater. Maybe the room could be like a bucket with the warm air going out the top and the heat pump discharge air falling into the bottom. A little fan
could come on when the room gets too cold. Did a little math and the heat pump water heater would do the cooling of about one hour of a five ton air cond. About 60,000 BTU a day(5000BTU an hour) cooling or less considering some of the heat used to heat the water comes from the the compressor motor and such. Those cool bots don't use much large of a window AC unit than 6000BTU)
8 months ago

I think you guys might be right on using some one that also does regular electrical work.

The grid tie solar stuff can be fairly plug and play, but then with the tax credit, tool rentals, and tool purchases it starts to make sense to hire it out.
I suspect that the residential solar customer can be hard to work with too and wages for solar installers might be lower than what an electrician would get paid.

8 months ago

I'm just grumpy I hired out a grid tied system instead of diy. At this point I think a person with might be able to get a better product doing it them selves.

Had a 6 KW grid tied, ground mount, micro inverter system put in. The company(third largest residential installer in the us they say) was accommodating during the sales and design part of the job,
but did not execute the work very well.  The seemed to want to make me happy but now it seems like they where in over their heads.

Said they would get to the job in three months. and now its 6 months later, said they would follow the code.

They let it snow inside all of the microinverter connectors. I asked them about this and they said it was fine and they would dry out. They failed to properly land grounds inside of a new panel and then mounted the new panel and combiner box directly to an out side concrete wall. I tried to explain that there would be a condensation issue inside of the panels on the wall, but they just griped about it. The microinverters faulted out when they first tested the system so I did a little trouble shooting and discovered they installed the wrong micro inverters(60 cell instead of 72 cell). Their supplier shipped the wrong ones, but it seems to me if they cared about their work they would have noticed as they touched these things multiple times by multiple installers on multiple days. I a"m paid in full as they wanted to hold back on the net metering if i did not.

The installers are likeable, but I do not think they are doing their customers any favors operating like this.
For right now I am waiting to hear back from them. Its been a couple of weeks since I talked to them. Getting tired of always having to reach out to them, but still waiting on them to update me on when they will finish the installation.
Should I start getting noisy now or should I give them some more time to complete the job.
I think I would rather just remount the breaker box and combiner box myself as I don't trust them and when the day comes to install the new inverters I might pull up a lawn chair instead of going to work.
Sorry about the rant.
Still think the solar is neat though, but buyer beware.

8 months ago

The honey locust grow within 5 feet of my pond. They are in a low spot but I cant say the roots are submerged in water.
Osage Orange likes the low spots too.
I have no idea on the black locust as my seedlings all froze and died last winter.
The black walnuts grow along the creek here but tend to be on a little bit higher ground than the osage orange and the honey locusts.
Not really a fan of the honey locust but they fill a spot and tend to get shaded out by other trees.
8 months ago
I know its not a plant, but our chickens work well with elderberries. We get more than we can use out of a 20 foot long patch of them alongside the barn. The chickens seek out this spot and have cleared out all the grass under the elderberries. Seems the elderberries like sunshine and chicken deposits.
9 months ago