Going Solo And Solar

“Given the current costs of generating and storing power at home, even residents of sunny Arizona would not have much economic incentive to leave the electric-power system completely—full grid-defection, as McKinsey refers to it—until around 2028. But partial defection, where some homeowners generate and store 80% to 90% of their electricity on site and use the grid only as a backup, makes economic sense as early as 2020.”
 
See Batteries and solar panels threaten to turn the electrical grid into a giant backup system, upending the utility industry’s business model
The current price of hardware for home solar generation is OK for those buying or building a home. It would be just a tiny slice added to the mortgage. It’s those who pay out of pocket who recoil from the sticker price. It’s ~$1/watt for solar panels, a few $K for an inverter, and a few $K for installation. Also, it’s a few days of disruption/construction around the home. Also, TLW isn’t ready to have solar anything conspicuously decorating her home…

I, OTOH, relish going solar even in part and plan to set up a small system of just a few KW to run my new Solo EV. It makes sense, particularly if I get to drive as much as I want and TLW will never see it on the utility bill… Chuckle.

My plan is this, making a picnic table out beyond the garden with a solar panel shade pivoting above it. Being a welder, I can make a frame allowing the panels to follow Sun and shade the table all day long. Cool, eh? It’s pretty easy except one has to anchor it really well against the wind. I need a substantial concrete/stone foundation, a sturdy post with a hub pointing to the North Star, a mechanism to adjust elevation according to the season and a mechanism to rotate the panels keeping them always pointed to Sun. It’s a bit of work, but I’m retired and enjoy making stuff.

Each 1x2m panel makes ~300W in full sunlight, so it would take 11 or so to charge Solo at 240V. I can lighten the burden on panels by using a battery to accumulate energy all day long and deliver it through an inverter for charging Solo. 4 panels could refill Solo completely in a day but 6 would be more sure. I could stack them in a 1-2-2-1 pattern to approximate a circular solar shade for the table. The battery is expensive because it’s so heavy and requires freight from China for NiFe types. Cells in the range of 100-400 Ampere-hours store 120-480 W-h and Solo needs 16.1kWh nominally, so 40 cells, one crate, deliver 4.8-19.2 kWh. On average, Solo will likely need only 4kWh to top up or would need to drain the smaller battery multiple times or the larger battery once for a full charge. It’s doable.

In a 25 year lifetime for solar panels, this system would recover many $thousands of solar energy easily paying for the whole investment. If I drove my Solo hard, say 32000 km per annum and charged only at home, that would be 200 full charges, 3200kWh, $320 worth of electricity per annum. Over 25 years that’s $8000 worth of electricity from 4-6 panels costing $500 each, so the system pays for itself sooner or later. The hardware and mounting I would build will last indefinitely, so that cost could be spread over a lifetime. I like the numbers. I will dip into my pension next year to pay for the car and the charging system. TLW won’t mind because she’ll want a Solo too, and a shady spot to sit in the back yard.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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52 Responses to Going Solo And Solar

  1. oiaohm says:

    Rather a short trail, I would think. Would you care to elucidate as to how long you believe that trail to be, Robert?
    DrLoser Please stop being clueless.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation#Alpha_particles
    Alpha particles from breaking down thorium oxide ionise air a few cm around the rod.

    The main reason that thorium oxide is alloyed to the tungsten, is because it increases the current carrying capacity of the electrode and it reduces contamination of the weld.
    This is Grece being a idiot. There are many alloys of tungsten that could be used to increase current carrying capacity that are non radioactive with high current current carrying capacity with only a 1 percent taint instead of 2 percent using thorium. The ionising radiation of of the thorium oxide reduces the current requires to ignite the arc due to reducing the air resistance. So thorium in the rod had changed two things. The highest current is required at the arc ignite. So you have a material with questionable conductivity reducing the required arc ignite current of the rod can be important.

    DrLoser attempting to pick up a Grece arguement on his side is normal a path to proven your self as a idiot.

  2. DrLoser says:

    An alpha particle is the naked nucleus of a helium atom, two protons and two neutrons… As it passes through matter it grabs electrons, leaving a trail of ions.

    Rather a short trail, I would think. Would you care to elucidate as to how long you believe that trail to be, Robert?

  3. Grece says:

    No one cares what you think Peter.

  4. oiaohm says:

    A 2 megawatt (MW) wind turbine contains about 800 pounds of neodymium and 130 pounds of dysprosium.

    Where do you think all those rare earth minerals come from? China of course, who are the most environmentally friendly country in the world (SARCASM).

    To quantify this in terms of environmental damages, consider that mining one ton of rare earth minerals produces about one ton of radioactive waste. That means that between 4-6 million pounds of rare earths were used in wind turbines installed in 2012 and it also means that between 4-6 million pounds of radioactive waste were created to make these wind turbines.

    The answer you a idiot Grece, Neodymium and Dysprosium are reworkable. Also the ore with both Neodymium and Dysprosium China uses comes from Australia.

    Also not all rare earth are equal. Neodymium and Dysprosium there are deposits that are non radio active because they are both have stable isotopes. If your ore of Neodymium and Dysprosium is ticking over a gigacounter you are mining a poor grade ore.

    Now if you are using stable isotopes of Neodymium and Dysprosium you can rework them basically forever. Even the lot of the tonnage of waste produced up front with a wind farm as long as the recycling processes is done it comes unimportant over time.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste/

    4-6 million pounds of radioactive waste were created to make these wind turbines.
    Sounds like a lot until you calculate the amount of radioactive waste produced by burning coal or gas to generate the same amount of power. It works out by 3 year of wind turbine operation from new its even. So with recycling and 10+ years of operation you are way ahead. Of course a recycled and rebuilt turbine does not have the radioactive mining cost again. You pay the mining radioactive price once. With oil, gas, coal you are on going paying the mining radioactive price over and over again.

  5. DrLosere wrote, “A statement floating out there in space, Robert, without any specific application to any comment that has come before.”

    …but Grece had written, “Ionizing radiation consists of Gamma rays, X-rays, and the higher ultraviolet spectrum. Thoriated rods ONLY emit alpha particles.”

    Apparently, Grece did not realize alpha particles emitted by thorium are ionizing radiation.

  6. See for youself: http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/alpha-particle-in-cloud-chamber.html

    An alpha particle is the naked nucleus of a helium atom, two protons and two neutrons… As it passes through matter it grabs electrons, leaving a trail of ions. As it slows it has more time to draw in an electron so the trail of ions grows more and more dense until the alpha particle slows to a speed where it can keep both electrons. Alpha emitters are almost harmless outside the body as skin easily stops them but internally they are potent carcinogens. That’s one of the reasons smokers get cancer. Alpha emitters are carried in with smoke.

  7. DrLoser says:

    Alpha particles are highly ionizing.

    A statement floating out there in space, Robert, without any specific application to any comment that has come before. What on earth are you smoking? Is it perchance radioactive?

    I do so love this idea of yours, as stomped on (correctly) by Grece:

    The radioactivity helps start the [welding] arc.

    How amusing. Now, Robert, ‘fess up. This “Physics Degree” you got actually came as part of a Bazooka Joe gum ensemble, didn’t it?

    I’ll bet you were one mortified little twelve year old boy when you unwrapped the gum packet to discover that you only had a certificate for an MSc in “fizzicks” — or some such — rather than the x-ray specs you were hoping for.

  8. Grece wrote, “Thoriated rods ONLY emit alpha particles.”

    Alpha particles are highly ionizing.

  9. Grece says:

    TIG tungsten electrodes contain thorium.

    Heh, its actually thorium oxide, but hey, your the bad-ass here.

    The main reason that thorium oxide is alloyed to the tungsten, is because it increases the current carrying capacity of the electrode and it reduces contamination of the weld.

    The radioactivity helps start the arc.

    That makes no sense Robert, as radioactivity by the very definition, means the emission of ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation consists of Gamma rays, X-rays, and the higher ultraviolet spectrum. Thoriated rods ONLY emit alpha particles.

    So are you trying to tell us, that people that weld can see their bones due to the “radioactivity”? Because that is what you are conveying here.

    Coleman gas mantles also use thorium. It’s OK.

    Sigh, do you EVER stay on topic? I swear, you are just as bad as Peter when it comes to discussions. You always skew from the subject matter and never stay on point.

  10. Grece says:

    First you proclaimed, Mining granite produces tons of radioactive waste too. It’s not a problem.

    Then you followed up with, Radioactivity is a natural phenomenon found in many kinds of rocks. That’s reality. Deal with it. There’s…bad stuff in there.

    So which is it you senile goat. It’s either a not a problem or isn’t.

  11. Grece says:

    In one case, I was fired for no reason in the middle of the year

    Oh there WAS a reason Robert. Why not share it with us?

    I would laugh in your face if you used that line during an interview.

    Interviewer: “So, tell us about your last job, why were you fired?”

    Robert: “I don’t know, but I gave them FLOSS chuckle, it’s all good”

    See Robert, how that makes you look stupid. No one would say “I do not know” during an interview, whilst being asked why they were fired. All it takes is to call your last employer to find out, HR and supervisors are all-telling when it comes to former “fired” employees.

    I changed jobs at will

    You sound like someone who gets restless and bored easily, and that would make an employer cautious in interviewing or even hiring you.

    What was the longest job you ever had Robert, besides maintaining this pitiful blog of yours. The registration date says 2006-07-25. In all seriousness, just how many windows have you closed since it’s inception.

  12. The Wiz wrote, “most of those were the captive audience that you had in the Far North where you taught”.

    Not captive, liberated by IT that worked. Many schools in which I worked had a few PCs for teachers and just a lab for students. I and GNU/Linux enabled those schools to double or triple the number of PCs with much greater reliability. e.g. no malware, no re-re-reboots, and no failures to boot. PCs and servers I set up ran for years after I left. Schools had a choice to hire me or not and to allow the spread of FLOSS or not and they made the right choice. At the height of my career (XP’s height, too…) I would send out 5 resumes, get two interviews and my next job. I changed jobs at will because I could, unlike less valuable teachers who tried to cling to positions 20-40 years and retire. In one case, I was fired for no reason in the middle of the year and secured a new job in 10 days. That was the place allowing pot to be sold on campus with the chief’s blessing… Most everywhere I went people were glad of my arrival and sorry to see me leave but I left a legacy of working IT and enlightened students wherever I went.

  13. wizard emiritus says:

    “About a thousand that I know about. I don’t know how those people spread the good news.”

    Of course most of those were the captive audience that you had in the Far North where you taught. I suspect that the real number was far far smaller, if any.

  14. Grece wrote, “how many people have you convinced to drop Windows and flock to Linux since this blogs inception?”

    About a thousand that I know about. I don’t know how those people spread the good news.

  15. Grece wrote, “When was the last time you read a MSDS sheet on Thorium, hmmmm??”

    Oh, TIG tungsten electrodes contain thorium. The radioactivity helps start the arc. Coleman gas mantles also use thorium. It’s OK.

    USA allowed these uses without much restriction until 2010 when new licensing requirements were proposed. Do you think Trump will figure these are unnecessary restraints on trade? Oh, yes, thorium oxide is also used in optical lenses… I didn’t know that. Thanks for the impulse to search.

  16. Grece, having nothing on which to place an argument, commences ad hominem attack…

    “What does mining granite have to do with mining rare-earths? What is the comparison??”

    Mining? It exposes stuff locked in rock for millions of years to the biosphere. There’s good stuff and bad stuff in there. Not much difference between mining granite and mining rare earths. Radioactivity is a natural phenomenon found in many kinds of rocks. That’s reality. Deal with it. Ordinary granite has feldspar, a mineral containing potassium. Guess what! Naturally occurring potassium contains K40. It’s radioactive and often used to date rock because it’s so common. Potassium is essential to our bodies and no one is going to do isotope separation on their table salt, meat and vegetables to make sure it’s removed. Enjoy your breakfast. The half-life of K40 is only a billion years so it’s much more active than the rare earths for the same number of atoms.

  17. Grece says:

    Nonsense. Mining granite produces tons of radioactive waste too.

    I always love how you veer off the topic, and drive up something else totally irrelevant Robert.

    What does mining granite have to do with mining rare-earths? What is the comparison??

    How is granite used in the production of renewable energy these days? Where is granite used in electric motors and solar panels?

    Obviously, the answer lies therein that granite shares no correlation to rare-earths, but in your weak mind, somehow it does.

    Your attempts in rhetorical logic is a failure. In all honesty, how many people have you convinced to drop Windows and flock to Linux since this blogs inception?

    ZERO.

  18. Grece says:

    These rare earths have very little natural radioactivity with half-lives of the order of 1015-18

    Robert, you are as dense as depleted uranium. I stated nothing about rare-earth being radioactive, what IS radioactive is the tailings from mining said rare-earths.

    Continuing further, the town of Baotou, in Inner Mongolia, the largest Chinese source of these strategic elements, where the minerals are mined. The concentration of rare earths in the ore is very low, so they must be separated and purified, using hydro-metallurgical techniques and acid baths. The foul waters of the tailings pond contain all sorts of toxic chemicals, but also radioactive elements such as thorium.

    Do tell me Robert, what is Thorium? When was the last time you read a MSDS sheet on Thorium, hmmmm??

  19. Grece says:

    Nonsense…fake news you say Robert?

    Unlike you, I can provide relevant links, what about you?

    https://www.ntn.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Lynas-EIA-Assessment-Report-NTN-April-13-final.pdf

    http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/rareearth.pdf

    On the topic of granite, it IS a problem when your stone counter-top is hot enough to make a Geiger counter tick and emit radon gas Robert. But to you, I guess you see no problem in breathing in radon gas.

    Its all good.

  20. Grece wrote, “mining one ton of rare earth minerals produces about one ton of radioactive waste”.

    Nonsense. Mining granite produces tons of radioactive waste too. It’s not a problem. These rare earths have very little natural radioactivity with half-lives of the order of 1015-18 years. They have very low toxicity too. Fake News from Grece!

  21. Grece says:

    Wind turbines produce very little waste.

    LOL….. dumbass Peter rears his ugly head, once again.

    A 2 megawatt (MW) wind turbine contains about 800 pounds of neodymium and 130 pounds of dysprosium.

    Where do you think all those rare earth minerals come from? China of course, who are the most environmentally friendly country in the world (SARCASM).

    To quantify this in terms of environmental damages, consider that mining one ton of rare earth minerals produces about one ton of radioactive waste. That means that between 4-6 million pounds of rare earths were used in wind turbines installed in 2012 and it also means that between 4-6 million pounds of radioactive waste were created to make these wind turbines.

    America’s nuclear industry produces between 4-5 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel each year. That means the U.S. wind industry creates more radioactive waste every year than our entire U.S. nuclear industry produced in spent fuel.

    So to summarize:

    Wind provides the U.S. 3-5% of electricity, creates more radioactive waste
    Nuclear provides 20%+ of electricity, creates less radioactive waste

    Which is more logical?

  22. oiaohm says:

    Deaf Spy “So are windmills.” This is kind of wrong. Most of wind turbines go into recycling and rebuild program.

    http://www.localenergyscotland.org/funding-resources/resources-advice/cares-toolkit/technology/refurbished-and-remanufactured-wind-turbines/

    Turns out when wind turbine gets to end op operational life pulled down and rebuilt it just as power effective as a new turbine but 98+ of the material used was from the prior turbine and most of the junk parts can go into normal car/truck recycling system.

    Yes refurbishing turbines save wind saves wind farms major money.

    Most anti wind write up complete miss the closed loop of wind turbines. Wind turbines produce very little waste. The reality is between 10-25 years a wind turbine need a full structure inspection and any found cracks dealt with and that is only effective if you disassemble the thing. As long as that cycle is done in theory the 90+ of the material of the wind turbine could be in use in 300 years time as a wind turbine.

    Windmills like the old water wind mills have confirmed operation after hundred years of operation as long as they got all the required servicing. Electrical generation wind turbines turn out to be the same.

  23. oiaohm says:

    E6011 is for thick metal Robert, not the thin meter used on your shitty weak engine lift. Besides stick-welding is for amateurs, lot’s of extra work needed to clean it up.
    Grece don’t have a clue. One of the usages of E6011
    http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/6011-welding-rods.html
    Auto body work. So thin metal. So 6011 being for thick metal is bull. Most stick welding rods are rated up to X thickness. Scary reality is most of them will weld from 1mm thick up rating perfectly fine and that is inside specification. Things come questionable when you have metal under 1mm thick.

    My favourite is E6011 but I’ve used E6010 and E7018 for that. In the Ford plant, we actually used 5/32″ E7024 vertically down on some thin stuff. That’s not to spec but it gave a very nice weld with perfect penetration and smoothness.
    Robert this might sound not to specification but that weld would have been perfectly inside the 5/32 E7024 rated specification.

    One of the advantages with stick is being able to change between thick to thin and not having to mess with rod or machine settings in a lot of cases.

    http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/mig-vs-stick-welding.html

    There are weakness in mig and tig that stick does not have. Like a stick doing a downhill welding will be just as good as doing a vertical weld with a stick.

    The high flux of stick makes it more suitable on recycled metal. The rod burn because of flux also makes stick welding more useful in areas with unstable power supply.

    So the idea that stick is only for amateurs is wrong. A pro should know how to use stick correctly because mig and tig is not suitable for everything. Stick is safer in a amateurs hands due to its natural safe guards of more dependable penetration. Of course a pro should know when a weld by mig or tig should not be done and the stick welder grabbed to-do the weld correctly. This is why you will normally see a stick welder still in a lot of machine shops. Mig and tig both have welds you should never do with them that stick can do without any issue. Of course Mig and tig where they suit can do more stable results than stick like doing a large storage vat you want mig to keep weld joins to min.

  24. Deaf Spy wrote, “Same stuff.”

    Same irrelevant and fake stuff.

  25. Deaf Spy wrote, “Solo sips from the environment

    And how that might exactly be?”

    My SUV gets about 25MPG. Solo gets about 200 MPGe.

  26. Deaf Spy says:

    Solo sips from the environment

    And how that might exactly be?

    Solar energy? See my link. Windmills? Same stuff.

  27. Deaf Spy wrote, “There is no solid proof that EV are more green than a general car with a diesel engine.”

    Several times less consumption of energy, less CO2, less material taken from the environment proves otherwise. Solo, for instance is 1380 pounds. What’s under your hood? An ICE is ~200-600 pounds alone, and then there is all that fuel… My SUV gets a full tank about every two weeks, 60L… 26 times/annum * 20 years * 60 L * 0.8 kg/L * 2.2 pounds/kg comes to 54912 pounds taken from the environment over its lifetime. It’s no contest. Solo sips from the environment while an ICEd vehicles shovels stuff up like a bulldozer.

  28. Deaf Spy says:

    Actually, Robert, I wrote to raise the concern that green energy might not be so green after all. Solar panels are sources of significant waste. So are batteries. So are windmills.

    There is no solid proof that EV are more green than a general car with a diesel engine.

  29. Deaf Spy wrote of e-waste.

    Of course, so do PCs create e-waste. So do ICEd cars. So what? An EV that lasts twice as long as an ICEd car will likely produce a lot less e-waste in the time. It’s all recyclable here.

  30. Grece wrote, “stick-welding is for amateurs, lot’s of extra work needed to clean it up.”

    For factory-production work, that’s probably true because jigs can position most work for flat/horizontal welding. However, in the real world some stuff is just out of position and SMAW comes to the rescue. I’ve even seen it used under water. I know how to weld in all positions with several kinds of electrodes. My favourite is E6011 but I’ve used E6010 and E7018 for that. In the Ford plant, we actually used 5/32″ E7024 vertically down on some thin stuff. That’s not to spec but it gave a very nice weld with perfect penetration and smoothness. I’ve often done that kind of weld using E6013, a similar electrode, very nice on thin stuff but poor in corners. Needs better hand-eye control than I have these days but in my prime…

  31. Grece wrote, “E6011 is for thick metal Robert, not the thin meter used on your shitty weak engine lift.”

    Obviously, E6011 1/8″ 3.2mm electrodes work just fine on my 1/8″ steel. Needs good fit-up. Removes the paint as I weld, too.

  32. Grece says:

    E6011 electrodes use CO2 and thin slag for shielding.

    Rolls-eyes….

    E6011 is for thick metal Robert, not the thin meter used on your shitty weak engine lift. Besides stick-welding is for amateurs, lot’s of extra work needed to clean it up.

    http://mrpogson.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Lifting_Frame.jpeg

  33. Grece showed his ignorance writing, “BTW, that’s just ARC welding Robert. You are not using any sort of shielding gas, so I suspect your welding stories are pure fabrication”.

    E6011 electrodes use CO2 and thin slag for shielding. E7018,7024, 6013 use slag for shielding. Yes, it’s arc welding just as MIG, TIG and most other processes except thermite and oxy-acetylene.

  34. Grece says:

    I did the final welds on tractor-frames and lift-arms. I was at the top of my class at welding college.

    Yet, that being the alleged case, you chose teaching instead. Which is a good thing, as imagine the repercussions if you had, due to sloppy welding.

    I mean seriously, who would hire you to weld their projects?

    BTW, that’s just ARC welding Robert. You are not using any sort of shielding gas, so I suspect your welding stories are pure fabrication. I for one taught myself how to MIG weld, and got myself certified. One of the very first side jobs I had, was building large frames supporting 480V 30HP electric motors using 1/2″ angle iron. I had a small ESAB machine, a flat concrete floor, a 12″ chop saw and about 7-days to complete twenty frames.

  35. Grece wrote, “Spot-welding vehicular chassis’s, does not qualify you to weld Robert.”

    I did the final welds on tractor-frames and lift-arms. I was at the top of my class at welding college.

  36. Grece says:

    SMAW/FCAW, the offer still stands Robert.

    Are you going to disregard my offer? At my own expense, I will ship you a certification test kit and once you ship it back, I will drop it off at the local testing center and we will find out in 5-7 days.

    I did FCAW for Ford decades ago.

    Spot-welding vehicular chassis’s, does not qualify you to weld Robert.

  37. Grece e wrote, “3G FCAW Welding “.

    I use SMAW, not FCAW. I did FCAW for Ford decades ago.

  38. Grece says:

    You do know I work in steel, eh?

    LOL… your welding is a joke Robert!

    Tell you what I will do. I will send you some steel plates, with directions on what to do, then you send those back and we can have those analyzed per 3G FCAW Welding Certification requirements.

    If you pass you get a certificate to hang on the wall, beauty eh?

    So are you interested…or are you blowing smoke again?

  39. Grece says:

    I care about the $free electricity. I don’t particularly care about how much of it there is.

    That’s not environmentally friendly is it Robert? All you care about is FREE-FREE, and show little regard on how much there is for others.

    Furthermore, there is nothing free in this world Robert. Someone your age, should know this by now.

  40. Grece wrote, “Nothing last “indefinitely”, material things are not eternal. Everything appears to change eventually, and chaos increases. Nothing stays as fresh as the day one buys it; clothing becomes faded, threadbare, and ultimately returns to dust.”

    You do know I work in steel, eh? The swing set I built for my own kids was finally decommissioned after 20 years of use, not because it didn’t work any longer but because the new owners of the property wanted to build where it was. Stuff I built in the 1980s is still as good as new in my workshop, like the circle-cutter for oxy-propane cutting. I made that in 1989. That’s 28 years… So, stuff I make definitely can last as long as a PV panel and probably longer. We just don’t know. I paint stuff. I lubricate stuff. That prevents rust. I build against metal-fatigue. What failure mode do you see in a PV panel mounting rig that rotates once per day and has only two or three moving parts well equipped with greased bearings? In India there is a column of iron that has lasted hundreds of years with no paint/grease/galvanic protection from the elements.

  41. Grece wrote, “You are not taking into account of the 1% degradation that solar panels are known for.”

    I care about the $free electricity. I don’t particularly care about how much of it there is.

    Grece wrote, “you are retired! No way will you be driving 32000km a year.”

    You are neglecting that I care a lot about cost/price and if I can drive to Saskatoon to buy peanuts in 50 pound bags I will if I don’t have to worry so much about the cost of freight. I have to live somewhere and eat somewhere but it can be on the road just as well as at home. I love to shop. A trip to Saskatoon would take about four days round-trip but TLW loves peanuts, so… Along the way I could visit some very pretty and interesting places like Virden, Carberry, and Saskatoon itself. Solo would force me to stop and take a break every 2h which is fine with me. I could also visit my aged uncle who was like a second father to me and introduced me to welding and reloading ammunition. Then there’s target-shooting, fishing, hunting, and berry/nut/mushroom picking… all high-mileage adventures. My most probable adventure would be 3-5 visits to my rifle-range every week next summer, say 7 months X 16 trips X 57km = 6384km alone. Gathering the fruits of Nature could easily be a similar number as some of the trips would be much longer, say 160km. The Solo has several wonderful mushrooming, nut and berry-picking zones in range and when things are in season, I could travel daily from home. Then there are ~monthly visits to MD, pharmacy, Post Office which could account for 50 miles per month, say 1000km per annum. Shopping locally would be a similar amount, another 1000km. Visits to family in Manitoba on a monthly basis would be 4000km. Visits to family in Saskatchewan twice a year would be 3000km. Longer tours and shopping trips to other cities could get me another 3000km, so I can see a total of

    • 2400 km for harvesting fruit/mushrooms/nuts
    • 2000 km for hunting and fishing
    • 6000 km for target-shooting
    • 1000 km for other local errands
    • 4000 km for visits in Manitoba
    • 3000 km for visits in Saskatchewan
    • 3000 km for longer trips for fun/shopping
    • 21400 Total

    We’ll see. I could add some mileage for visiting/shopping/touring Alberta just because I can and more impulsive trips locally. I will keep a log of Solo EV activity.

  42. Grece says:

    I like numbers too Robert, lets breakdown what you wrote.

    In a 25 year lifetime for solar panels, this system would recover many $thousands of solar energy easily paying for the whole investment.

    You are not taking into account of the 1% degradation that solar panels are known for. See Photovoltaic Degradation Rates — An Analytical Review put out by the NREL.

    If I drove my Solo hard, say 32000 km per annum and charged only at home, that would be 200 full charges, 3200kWh, $320 worth of electricity per annum.

    Robert, come now, you are retired! No way will you be driving 32000km a year. When I worked at my fathers place long ago, my commute was 45-mins one way and that totaled about 24000km a year. Now you are just blowing smoke as usual. We get it, you can do simple arithmetic.

    Over 25 years that’s $8000 worth of electricity from 4-6 panels costing $500 each, so the system pays for itself sooner or later.

    All it will take is for the utilities regulators to change the equation, for instance your utility can make solar customers pay mandatory monthly fees called demand charges, which have been common among large commercial and industrial customers but unusual for residential consumers till recently.

    The hardware and mounting I would build will last indefinitely, so that cost could be spread over a lifetime.

    Robert, you are forgetting the second law of thermodynamics again! To say that you are a physics guy is a joke!! Nothing last “indefinitely”, material things are not eternal. Everything appears to change eventually, and chaos increases. Nothing stays as fresh as the day one buys it; clothing becomes faded, threadbare, and ultimately returns to dust. Everything ages and wears out. Even death is a manifestation of this law. The effects of the 2nd Law are all around, touching everything in the universe.

  43. Grece says:

    So, me being a former project person of sorts. What is your time-table for this solar array?

    Do you have a budget set aside to fund this venture?

    What about a risk analysis Robert, if you under-engineer the wind loading the entire array could fall over, short-out causing a fire, battery explosions and destroying your BOLO and possibly your home.

    Have you consulted with TLW, being that she is the stakeholder here?

  44. Grece says:

    About 10 minutes ago.

    What language did you use Robert? Do you have a secret GIT repository?? DO share with us.

  45. Grece wrote a bunch of silly negative stuff, just like Trump, and Me: “The alignment of solar arrays does not need to be very precise.” Grece: “If that is the case, then why are you even bothering to move the solar arrays in the first place?”

    The output of the solar panels varies as cosine(angle of incidence). A degree or a few makes little difference. Cos(1 degree)=0.999 cos(5 degrees) = 0.996 cos(15 degrees) = 0.966. cos(30 degrees) = 0.866 So, moving panels matters but it doesn’t have to be precise.

    When I think of a precise shaft encoder, I think of 64K bits to a circle, not 64 or so.

  46. Grece wrote a bunch of silly negative stuff, just like Trump, and “How long has it been since you wrote a single line of code for anything?”

    About 10 minutes ago.

  47. Grece says:

    I can also make my own inverter. I already have the parts.

    How did you go about building the bipolar junction transistors Robert?

    It’s a bit stressful to have electronics and batteries out in the cold but I know how to heat/ventilate them.

    But yet, this does not concern you regarding the BOLO and it’s 18650 battery array?

    I already have thermostats.

    It seems to me Robert, that this new venture is just an amalgamation of leftover parts from other failed ventures.

    An Odroid-C2 system will give me a web-interface to the system wirelessly. Odroid has an ADC and thermometer built in.

    When are you going to code all that? How long has it been since you wrote a single line of code for anything?

    The alignment of solar arrays does not need to be very precise.

    If that is the case, then why are you even bothering to move the solar arrays in the first place?

    A shaft-encoder can easily give one degree accuracy and a digital comparator can decide to advance or reverse a stepping motor according to the date and time of day. 6 bits of precision give 99.5% of full output.

    But yet, you just stated that it does not need to be very “precise”, which is it?

    An analogue comparator could do the same but requires two or more photocells to be free of dust, mold, leaves, pollen, insects, dew, frost, snow, spiders, birds and their droppings.

    I already have a 40V Slo-Syn motor in stock.

    In stock? You mean it’s been collecting dust in your packed garage for the past 10+ years.

    In all sincerity Robert, please don’t go all out Rube Goldberg on us, as it is not healthy to be setting on your ass all day, pushing buttons and/or pulling strings.

  48. Grece wrote, “You are not going to go out side in subzero temperatures to crank your solar array each and every day.”

    The alignment of solar arrays does not need to be very precise. A shaft-encoder can easily give one degree accuracy and a digital comparator can decide to advance or reverse a stepping motor according to the date and time of day. 6 bits of precision give 99.5% of full output. An analogue comparator could do the same but requires two or more photocells to be free of dust, mold, leaves, pollen, insects, dew, frost, snow, spiders, birds and their droppings. I already have a 40V Slo-Syn motor in stock.

    I was thinking to adjust elevation manually monthly along with inspection/cleaning.

  49. Grece wrote, “Nickel-Iron batteries from China suck Robert.”

    Well, that’s too bad. [SARCASM] Most of the world’s NiFe batteries are made in China and they get rave reviews. Labour in China and sea-freight combine yo make them affordable. I don’t need CSA approval as these will not be sold to consumers nor used in my house. I can also make my own inverter. I already have the parts. It’s a bit stressful to have electronics and batteries out in the cold but I know how to heat/ventilate them. I already have thermostats. An Odroid-C2 system will give me a web-interface to the system wirelessly. Odroid has an ADC and thermometer built in.

  50. Grece says:

    The battery is expensive because it’s so heavy and requires freight from China for NiFe types.

    Nickel-Iron batteries from China suck Robert. There is no warranty, quality assurance at all.

    Cells in the range of 100-400 Ampere-hours store 120-480 W-h and Solo needs 16.1kWh nominally, so 40 cells, one crate, deliver 4.8-19.2 kWh. On average, Solo will likely need only 4kWh to top up or would need to drain the smaller battery multiple times or the larger battery once for a full charge.

    You better off going with lithium-iron Robert, more dense and one that is made in America.

    For instance, supporting a daily 50% depth of discharge, you will need a 700Ah 48V battery to accommodate your Bolo. NET cost is ~$25K.

    So long as you keep your DOD at 50%, the battery should last 15 years or more (5,000 cycles), and comes with a 10 year warranty.

    For the inverter, I HIGHLY recommend a Schneider product.

    In addition to all that, be sure to getting CSA and permitting involved, less you’d burn your house down. Your insurance company will want to see that sort of thing.

    It’s doable.

    Only in your feeble mind Robert.

  51. Grece says:

    Robert, you crack me up. Your design is already flawed!

    You are not going to go out side in subzero temperatures to crank your solar array each and every day.

    Perhaps if you were really smart, you could use a Raspberry Pi to control the array remotely, but that won’t happen. So you next choice is a passive system that follows the sun without your intervention.

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