theglide
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Solar Options for Renter (leaf owner)

Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Aloha,

I live on Maui and currently rent a house. Since electricity costs $.40+/kw hr I am very keen on using solar to charge my leaf. I drive about 40-50m/day, and currently charge mostly at home on a trickle charge.

Does anyone know of a portable kit that can produce/store enough power for this type of situation?

The searches I did came up with spinray, but they seem to be defunct?

Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Mahalo!

2k1Toaster
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Re: Solar Options for Renter (leaf owner)

Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:56 pm

theglide wrote:Aloha,

I live on Maui and currently rent a house. Since electricity costs $.40+/kw hr I am very keen on using solar to charge my leaf. I drive about 40-50m/day, and currently charge mostly at home on a trickle charge.

Does anyone know of a portable kit that can produce/store enough power for this type of situation?

The searches I did came up with spinray, but they seem to be defunct?

Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Mahalo!


You would need 4-5 standard big panels to produce enough power to trickle charge the Leaf during a sunny day pointing at the sun of which there are very few hours to capture enough energy.

I would just stick a bunch of panels on the roof of your rental house, grid-tie with a net meter, and then when the lease is up offer to sell them to the owner or take them with you.
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johnrhansen
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Re: Solar Options for Renter (leaf owner)

Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:39 pm

I would think the best thing for you to do is find a communal solar project and invest your money there. You will the the same or greater return on your investment, both in green and in money.
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QueenBee
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Re: Solar Options for Renter (leaf owner)

Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:13 pm

I'm thinking a ballasted ground mount system would be a neat idea. It'd probably be best if it was grid tie though the cost and hassle of a temp connection like this might be extreme. One issue with a non grid tie setup is you'd want it to switch over to the grid once the batteries are depleted so the LEAF will complete it's charging.

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keydiver
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Re: Solar Options for Renter (leaf owner)

Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:31 am

I would install a temporary system on your roof, like I did on my house. My roof is concrete tile, so instead of drilling a ton of holes through the tile, and having to worry about leaks, I just used some flat steel bars to hang the panels over the roof peak. I bent the steel in a 90*, and twisted it 90* sideways in a vise, so after I bolt the steel to each panel it forms a nice bracket that drapes over the peak. I even chained a couple panels together below that, using eye hooks. I would use a grid-tie inverter, or micro-inverters, instead of a battery-based setup, and just sell back all day long to offset your usage. The only downside to my system is that I have to remove it whenever a hurricane comes close.
(PS-I do also have a separate 7.6kW, properly lagged-down system on my garage roof, which has regular shingles.)
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RegGuheert
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Re: Solar Options for Renter (leaf owner)

Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:44 am

keydiver wrote:IThe only downside to my system is that I have to remove it whenever a hurricane comes close.
I was going to ask about that! Many people ask me about the *weight* of our PV array, but that is not my main concern. Wind loading is a much bigger issue, IMO.

Regarding the OP's question: You need to think about the time it will take to recover your expense. At $0.40/kWh you should pay for this fairly quickly if it is DIY, but how long will you live in this location? Grid-tie gives the quickest payback and you may want to ensure that you can take the array with you when you leave, as others have said. Doing this job without damaging the landlord's roof would be an important consideration, IMO.
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Slow1
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Re: Solar Options for Renter (leaf owner)

Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:07 am

Another option is to discuss with your landlord the possibility of buying the power from him - i.e. if you front part of the cost of the array install perhaps you can get a discount on the power. Or buy a house and put up your own (ha!).

I don't know what incentives are available in HI for solar - the property owner likely could benefit from these if they exist. Perhaps if you do the research and bring the proposal to the owner you could work out a mutually beneficial arrangement. Or the owner may just do it anyway if it really is a financially viable project. Seems at $.40/Kwh in a place that gets as much sun as HI it should not be that hard to make the financial argument.
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theglide
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Re: Solar Options for Renter (leaf owner)

Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:31 am

Thanks for all the input everyone. I will continue to investigate options for a grid tied system.

I'll also try to brainstorm a way to make a full system work for the owner and myself. Solar performs amazingly well here in HI (obviously), but the bottom line is her renters pay for electric, so there's not much incentive for her to invest in it, and we will probably only be there 2 years, so anything permanent wouldn't make financial sense for me if I had to pay upfront.

Mahalo!

QueenBee
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Re: Solar Options for Renter (leaf owner)

Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:54 am

theglide wrote:Thanks for all the input everyone. I will continue to investigate options for a grid tied system.

I'll also try to brainstorm a way to make a full system work for the owner and myself. Solar performs amazingly well here in HI (obviously), but the bottom line is her renters pay for electric, so there's not much incentive for her to invest in it, and we will probably only be there 2 years, so anything permanent wouldn't make financial sense for me if I had to pay upfront.


With the price of electricity so high I wonder how long before rentals with PV and thus reduced electricity bills will go for a premium?

My house's consumption is covered by 100% PV and I've thought if I ever rent it what I would do is keep the electricity bill in my own name and then I would bill them directly for the electricity they use. That way I would continue to benefit from the PV system. I have no idea if a landlord would want to sign up for that and also pay to have the system installed unless they were really into it.

Good luck!

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