I know that I’ve spent a lot of time focused on the reality of personal micro-grids. It isn’t, however, a first world problem. It is a global issue. There are many countries that have moved incredibly far in the space of Transactional Energy, but also in the space of personal micro-grids. That is a system that allows any home to be independent of the power grid. It means first off that those depending on the power grid have fewer reliability issues. Fewer people consuming the resources means the resources are more easily consumed by those that don’t have other modes. It also means that when for some reason (say getting your roof replaced) you can’t produce the power you can effectively use the grid.
This is not complete, get off the grid system. It is important going forward that we consider the impact of completely going off the grid. We don’t, at that point have a backup system.
I won’t go into the overall impact of the legal reality on Transactive Energy today. Rather today I would like to focus instead on the setup options for Solar power at your home. There are some options that have to be considered. I thought I would list out the various options you have available today and from there talk about what each of them represents overall.
- Do it yourself – This is a do it yourself project. You buy a panel and a battery, and then use that battery to run things in your home. You can expand your system by adding panels. You can use car batteries (although boat batteries are better for this more expensive but they will last a lot longer). This is the second most expensive option to start up. It is the cheapest option once you have the solar panels. You can use your panel to reduce your power consumption, and when you’ve saved enough, add panels at net 0 cost.
- Lease my system, for this Tesla or Vivant, will come to your house, install solar panels and then they will charge you a significantly reduced per kW charge (normally 5-10 since less per kW less than the power company does). Tesla will also sell you a battery system further reducing your overall power cost. This is the cheapest system to setup but has an ongoing monthly charge once the system is in place.
- Own your own installed solar array. With this one you have a company come and install the array for you, but you own it. Free power once it is turned on. This is the most expensive system to start with. It also puts the burden of the full system maintained on the homeowner. If you intend to be in your home for more than 20 years, overall this method is a cheapest.
You have to evaluate the impact of all three on your budget, and you also need to do an honest power assessment. Our house has six people, and we average 13 kW to 18 kW for a 24 hour period. We on average have spike days of 25 kW (days that are above 100-degree Fahrenheit). Knowing those numbers is critical as you consider the system you need. The peak production of our solar system is 26 kW, on sunny days that are around 95=100 degrees Fahrenheit. Funny how that worked out (a lot of planning and bill evaluation by me). Your consumption may be different unless you have four dedicated gamers in your house that I believe never turn their computers off.
Choose wisely – but please choose renewable options for your home!