paul wheaton wrote:Is there anyone in this thread that has read my community book "permaculture thorns"?
Cristo Balete wrote:The saltwater batteries are pretty new, and apparently the company is going bankrupt. From their website....
"Thanks for reaching out to Aquion Energy. As a former customer of the company we are sure that you read in the press release dated July 21, 2017 that Aquion has “emerged” from Chapter 11 restructuring and bankruptcy. We have prepared this short FAQ in hopes of providing a clearer picture to our former customers.
"When can I buy Aquion batteries again?
"Rebuilding after a chapter 11 filing can be difficult and time consuming. There will be a period of time needed in order to regroup, rehire, and requalify the manufacturing process, supply chain, and sales pipeline. There are also improvements to chemistry and form factor of the battery which will take time and effort. All of these efforts will result in a better product for a future market."
Cristo Balete wrote:C. West, "normal" depends on where you are. Solar is about location, location, location. There are a lot of threads here to look at, we've discussed this a lot. If you mean completely off grid, there's a lot to know beyond whether it's sunny or not.
Solar equipment is expensive, and it needs to be maintained. Deep cycle batteries are very expensive, and if you know what you are doing you might....might make the best ones, the most expensive ones last 8-10 years, then they have to be bought again, all at once, because one battery that isn't new will drag the others down to its level, that's a tragic waste of money. 10 years ago we spent $2500 on 8 batteries for a small system. We just replaced the same batteries for $3500. So that's $1,000 more than we paid the first time. It's an expense that won't be the same, and it's quite high for a repetitive household expense.
At some point everyone using battery power, including electric vehicles, will find out that nobody actually recycles batteries. Batteries have a few of the internal parts that can be recycled, but there are only a few places that do that, and it takes freight to get them there, which is expensive. The last time I looked there was only one company in Germany that dealt with the other, more toxic components of a dead battery, and shipping it there by dirty, diesel-spewing fuel doesn't seem very green, and I don't think other countries do that. Maybe this will change when the world has a lot more batteries to recycle, but as of now, when we hand off 8, 10, 12 old batteries, or large electric vehicle batteries for recycling, odds are the worst parts of them are just dumped somewhere very unfortunate.
It's very important to understand DC and AC electricity, the difference, and what to do when things go wrong. Birds cling to wires with their feet and damage the wire coating, or rodents eat wires coming from the panels if the wires aren't in something protective. If the panels are on your roof, you have to go up there and clean them, wash off pollen, leaves, pine needles, tip them at different seasonal times into the sun as it lowers and raises off the horizon. I prefer to have them on the ground, but they have to be in the sun for a minimum of 6-8 hours a day, no trees, no building shade during those hours at any time of year.
Knowing the difference between a 12 volt, 24 volt, 48 volt system is important. If it's just installed and they walk away, you will need to know how many circuits you have, how many appliances can be on at one time, and what to do if the alarm goes off on the inverter. We have yet to find an electric company that wants to work on a solar system that has a problem. We just had a really good inverter break down, and there's no one to fix it. I really, really don't want it to go into a landfill somewhere, so I'll probably end up shipping it, expensively, somewhere, if I can find a place.
It's very important to know the wattages of all appliances and how much they will use on a daily basis, including all of the high-wattage appliances like a vacuum, coffeemaker, dishwashers use heaters to dry, printers running for any length of time, hot water pots. An electrical hot water heater did not work for us in our situation, it just took the batteries down too much when it had been overcast. We had to have a backup system for hot water, and what's the point of two hot water systems? An electric dryer runs on 220 volts, instead of the regular 125 volts, and that's huge for a solar system with a special 220V circuit. I wouldn't even attempt it.
Most appliances these days look like they are off, or turn themselves off, but there is something called phantom power, they are taking trickles out of the system to be up and running sooner when you push a button. This is not good for a solar setup. Trickling power out of batteries when there's been overcast is just using up very expensive batteries. All of our appliances are on power strips and everything is off overnight, except the refrigerator. They also act as breakers and protection.
Companies that sell the panels want to tell you about your yearly solar number of hours, and that that somehow fits on a chart for what works. We live day by day in the real world. In the winter there are fewer hours that can have sun on panels, yet it's the time of year when we need more power, lights are on sooner, we cook more inside and for holidays. So the kinds of solar totals they try to sell you on may be questionable, unless you live in San Diego where it rains something like 3 days a year and is sunny the rest.
Two shed expenses... there has to be a shed for the batteries separate from a shed that has the controlling equipment in it because the batteries off-gas hydrogen and sulfur dioxide, which can eat the wires inside very expensive electrical components. The batteries need distilled water once every 1 month to 6 weeks, and should be added in a dry location, not with rain blowing into them, or snow or dust, blowing sand....a real shed you can stand up in to work on them, and several gallons of distilled water on hand. You'll need of storage space for corrosion spray, broom, paint brush for dusting them off, a funnel for the water, paper/pen to keep track on, manuals, tooth brush to clean off corrosion....
D Nikolls wrote:
Sue Reeves wrote:Art Ludwig, who wrote the books on grey water use in Gardens, is also the one who developed the Oasis biocompatible laundry and dish detergents. Because Salts build up in soils and kill plants. In California, at least, as there is no rainfall at all for at least half the year, so 6 months or more straight, normal condition, and then water restrictions where people are often left with nothing but the greywater to go to the plants. In conditions like this, where the only water is full of salts, you get build up that will kill the soil. The soil microorganisms do decompose wonderfully, but even they will be killed by too much salt build up.
Am I understanding correctly when I interpret this as meaning the Oasis products would not lead to salt buildup?
Rainfall is a big consideration with buildup; in the PNW, I can could on a very thorough flush for 8 months of the year...