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Will solid-electrolyte battery make northern p.v. cost effective?  RSS feed

 
Joel Bercardin
Posts: 275
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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I am not at all current with what the likely near-future of p.v. may be.  I haven’t educated myself much, and the reasons are that: a) our power bills (for Fortis’s western-Canadian hydro-electricity) aren’t unaffordable for us; and b) my local friends and acquaintances who have tried p.v. have found their p.v. investments aren’t repaying acceptably, given cold/cloudy winter, high mountain horizons & short winter sunlight hours, and system upkeep costs.  Discouraging factors.

But a while ago I read about this: The man widely credited for discovery and development of the lithium-ion battery, John Goodenough, has led a research team to develop a far better battery with far-reaching implications. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAg_8iCLIIw
Lithium-ion cells became important and very common in our everyday lives (cell phones, portable power tools, computers, etc). Goodenough feels the new battery will be far more efficient, quicker to charge, safer, and generally better.  In any case, on the physics-principal and theoretical practical side of this, the leader of the inventing team answers critics here: http://www.computerworld.com/article...kepticism.html .

This triggered my imagination and got me questioning whether the battery might have encouraging implications for off-grid and decentralized power production/storage, electric vehicles, etc.  Might sites in the north with limitations like what I described be able to store enough electricity so it could be sufficiently available through a four-month winter?

So I’ll ask you folks with the practical experience, is there much hope for storing enough electricity to depend on it for several months when ‘new’ p.v. electricity would be scant?
 
Galen Young
Posts: 57
Location: out in the woods of Maine
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... So I’ll ask you folks with the practical experience, is there much hope for storing enough electricity to depend on it for several months when ‘new’ p.v. electricity would be scant?


I am in Maine, so I am not as Northern as you, but I am Northern as compared to much of the US.

I am able to depreciate all of my solar power expenses on my Income Tax filings over a 7-year period. That means that every penny is a write-off on my taxes. For me the break-even point can never exceed beyond 7-years.

 
Joel Bercardin
Posts: 275
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Galen Young wrote:
... So I’ll ask you folks with the practical experience, is there much hope for storing enough electricity to depend on it for several months when ‘new’ p.v. electricity would be scant?


I am in Maine, so I am not as Northern as you, but I am Northern as compared to much of the US.

I am able to depreciate all of my Solar Power expenses on my Income Tax filings over a 7-year period. That means that every penny is a write-off on my taxes. For me the break-even point can never exceed beyond 7-years.

Good arrangement in the state of Maine.  Glad it's working out for you, Galen.

Are you off-grid, or grid-tied?  Also, to what extent, if any, are high horizons and frequent cloud an issue in your location?  And to what degree is short sun hours in winter any sort of factor for you?
 
frank li
Posts: 207
Location: Michigan
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I think fuel resource depletion is making it economical independent of future tech. In many places simply having lights, water and comms is instant "payback", especially way out from power lines. For us, it is instant payback for not powering our home with industrial power and supporting monopoly that is a detriment where we can provide it cleanly on site. That and we have never had a power outage on our pv system that wasnt for scheduled maintenance and switched onto an auxilliary system.

As far as system performance, some places need an alternative or augment to pv. And any installed system should have had production estimates based on a proper site evaluation before being commisioned... one penny, if money is your game, or accept performance on budget and improve efficiency and capacity down the road.

Usually the battery is the orphan from the project budget and i think is the source of much dis satisfaction with performance, then wire and proper enclosures and slave labor. Profit... you are trying to profit, the installer trying to profit... orphans result.

The 100kwh battery for $1000 and under 1000 lbs! Would be great and span a month for our power requirement with the pv breaker off. But then the wire and mounting is "too expensive to accept"... many people are never happy spending money.

I like Dark Green Mountain's C5 on this, sometimes you must lower your expectations in order to be comfortable.

 
Fred King
Posts: 42
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I am off grid and have been for years.  My panels produce power unless they are snow covered and I am not home to remove it. Admittedly on cloudy days the output drops by 50% or more but sence I have more panel output than my batteries would normally require the batteries still get charged if don't use the power faster than the panels make it. I think given the low cost of panels now (unless Trump screws it up with import restrictions) it would be more cost effective to ad more panels than batteries to store months of power.  On sunny days the extra power can be diverted for heat for water or air.
 
thomas rubino
pollinator
Posts: 885
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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I have been 100% off grid since 1983.  Current Battery's are and have always been the weakest link in off grid living.  I use solar and hydro so my battery storage needs are substantially smaller than a PV system alone.  I have been using the L-16 size battery's since the mid 80's.  I would love a better battery !  Although I haven't bought them yet, my interest has been on the silicon/sodium battery's coming out of china.... never freeze...not affected by cold... hold their charge a long time...  not well tested out yet but very promising ! http://www.backwoodssolar.com/products/batteries-accessories?cat=159 ; But ! This new battery technology is very exciting ! Much better than the grid tied Tesla battery ...Almost so good sounding that you would expect a sudden disappearance of the inventors !  The link to youtube worked well but the other link would not go thru. I hope to hear more in the mainstream about this !!!   
 
jim hughes
Posts: 84
Location: 6A
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Thomas, I think Outback is currently pimpin these batteries right? If outback is running them, well it must say something as they are a huge player in offgrid.
 
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