View Poll Results: I do or don't use alternative energy. Answer twice, once for home, once for car.
I do use alternative fuel, either solar or wind, at my land home. 7 25.00%
I do not have solar panels or a windmill at my home. 17 60.71%
I do have either a hybrid auto or an all electric auto. 9 32.14%
I do not own a vehicle that is hybrid or electric. 18 64.29%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-04-2016, 06:51 PM   #1
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Solar Energy, Hybrid and Electric Cars

This is off topic but only slightly. We often discuss solar panels for boats here. Yet the majority of us with land homes don't use them there. So just a little survey. Two parts. First asking about land homes and second about automobiles.
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Old 11-04-2016, 08:06 PM   #2
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Solar Energy, Hybrid and Electric Cars

We have a 7kw solar system on our roof. It uses net metering that means when we produce more energy than we use, the meter runs backward. We don't have an electric bill for about half the year. The state and federal incentives are generous. If you haven't looked at it lately, you should. We are looking at electric car options.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:06 PM   #3
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We have a 7kw solar system on our roof. It uses net metering that means when we produce more energy than we use, the meter runs backward. We don't have an electric bill for about half the year. The state and federal incentives are generous. If you haven't looked at it lately, you should. We are looking at electric car options.
Florida doesn't allow you to sell solar and doesn't allow a third party to install it and sell it to you. Combine that with the fact our electric rates are 30% below the national average and the payback for solar is over 20 years for most. Plus you add in the physical requirements on your roof. Many roofs are like ours and have a lot of sections plus are tiled, so no flat surface to install on. There are no state incentives. In fact, there's a constitutional amendment on the ballot (confusing to almost everyone) which is trickery in protecting your right to install solar while at the same time trying to put the restrictions on selling power in the constitution, not just as a law.

Typical states, a third party will install your solar and sell the power to you at a lower rate. Not possible in FL. Typical states, you can put solar in and sell your excess. Not allowed in FL.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:54 PM   #4
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FL sounds corrupt. We also have a meter that measures gross solar production. The meter is read annually and we are paid the market rate for the gross production. We produce it, use it, bank the excess, and also get paid for it. Add in the 30% tax credit and the project has a fairly short payback. Ours is less than 10 years.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:16 PM   #5
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No vote on home section because options don't fit.

I have solar panels at home leaning against a fence, uninstalled. The were removed from the boat when I installed the new system on the boat.

Previous house we had panels on the roof. We were net metered and were paid over double the usual kWh charge rate for the power we fed back into the grid. Those incentives were deemed too generous and closed to new installations. I could not remove panels from the old house and bring them with me as the generous net metering and payment contract was specific to the old address. It wasn't transferable either, but the new owner of that house was a magistrate and he was going to try and get the benefits transferred. Not sure how it turned out for him.

So I have not yet put panels on the roof in the new house. I might do it - i just need someone to install the panels I have and get a controller/inverter and have it wired. But, rather than grid connect I might setup a Powerwall-type battery instead.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:39 PM   #6
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we have solar onboard but we living on it full time, so what I need to answer for home???
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:23 PM   #7
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I have two cars - one hybrid and one battery electric. No solar.
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Old 11-05-2016, 12:27 AM   #8
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we have solar onboard but we living on it full time, so what I need to answer for home???
Don't answer for land home, since you don't have one, just boat.
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Old 11-05-2016, 12:39 AM   #9
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Don't answer for land home, since you don't have one, just boat.
Boat? Where does the poll ask about boats?
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Old 11-05-2016, 12:58 AM   #10
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Boat? Where does the poll ask about boats?
It doesn't...just car. Land homes and cars. Things other than boats. It's almost 2 am and my brain has said it should be allowed to go to sleep, so now it shall be.

Needless to say my wife is giggling excessively over this.
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Old 11-05-2016, 06:13 AM   #11
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Used the south facing roof on my Florida house for solar panels (not electric) to heat the swimming pool in the late fall winter and early spring. Like the pool above 80 degrees. Very quick pay back.

Between government emission standards and automotive hybrid technology for primarily highway use not being a fuel savings, I plan to keep my older pickup alive. At 23 mpg, government restrictions keep current production from equaling that fuel efficiency in my 3/4 ton pickup.

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Old 11-05-2016, 07:52 AM   #12
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I've rented a few hybrid cars and I can definitely see one in my future. Especially if a diesel-electric model comes out. Diesel-electric, just because it sounds so cool.

Pure electric cars? No, probably not in my lifetime. As far as I'm concerned, unless you're charging them from your personal solar field or nuke reactor, they are actually coal powered.

I have a direct south facing exposure on my home and the available sunlight is intense. However, I live in a 4 story townhouse, so the square footage available for roof solar panels is very small compared to the total square footage of my living area and the ratio just doesn't seem to work all that well.

I've considered the Solar City deals but my research on them makes me a good bit cautious of the pay-back specifically and the company in general. I may have them over to give me their pitch. Do any of you guys have experience with them?

I'll do nearly anything for energy efficiency ... that makes economic sense. I've already replaced every exterior door & window with high efficiency models, new very high efficiency HVAC system and water heater, new insulation, fans in many rooms, CFLs and LEDs nearly everywhere and a high efficiency pellet stove. Solar and a Tesla PowerWall look like about all that's left that I can do, and the jury is definitely still out on that move.
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Old 11-05-2016, 08:08 AM   #13
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Pure electric cars? No, probably not in my lifetime. As far as I'm concerned, unless you're charging them from your personal solar field or nuke reactor, they are actually coal powered.
Agreed. For whatever reason (I can't remember now), my wife got a Tesla and I have become a huge fan. The acceleration is breathtaking. My main car is fast (0-60 in under 5 secs), but I have been spoiled by the instantaneous response of the tesla. By contrast, the slight delay (probably hundredths of a second), at highway speeds, between steeping on the gas (which causes the transmission to downshift and the engine to spool up) and feeling acceleration is long enough to become not just noticable, but slightly annoying. With the Tesla, there is no transmission to shift. Response is literally light speed. My advice to anyone with a conventional sports car: 1) don't race a tesla (at least not P-type) -- it will smoke you unless your car does 0-60 in under 3 secs, and 2) don't drive a Tesla or you will become a little dissatisfied with your car.
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Old 11-05-2016, 08:16 AM   #14
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My advice to anyone with a conventional sports car: 1) don't race a tesla (at least not P-type) -- it will smoke you unless your car does 0-60 in under 3 secs, and 2) don't drive a Tesla or you will become a little dissatisfied with your car.
And, the Teslas are very nice looking cars to boot.

Have you seen what the "kids" are doing with electric racers? Damn!
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Old 11-05-2016, 10:51 AM   #15
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Agreed. For whatever reason (I can't remember now), my wife got a Tesla and I have become a huge fan. The acceleration is breathtaking. My main car is fast (0-60 in under 5 secs), but I have been spoiled by the instantaneous response of the tesla. By contrast, the slight delay (probably hundredths of a second), at highway speeds, between steeping on the gas (which causes the transmission to downshift and the engine to spool up) and feeling acceleration is long enough to become not just noticable, but slightly annoying. With the Tesla, there is no transmission to shift. Response is literally light speed. My advice to anyone with a conventional sports car: 1) don't race a tesla (at least not P-type) -- it will smoke you unless your car does 0-60 in under 3 secs, and 2) don't drive a Tesla or you will become a little dissatisfied with your car.

I rode in a Tesla once, owned by a colleague who is now spending half his time sailing. It was very impressive.
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Old 11-05-2016, 11:01 AM   #16
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Some hybrid cars don't work well for cruisers. My friends Civic cannot be left unused for four months without damage to the battery pack. He checked into charging the pack with a charger and was told it should not be done. (Hard to believe). He ended up selling the car.
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Old 11-05-2016, 12:04 PM   #17
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Wifey B: I wanted their convertible before they dropped it. If they had a convertible now, I'd want one. It would be perfect for how little we drive. I might even give up my Porsche. That would be easier since learning they were cheaters. Maybe next time we buy cars, one of us will get one but right now I've had my car 4 years and only have 16,000 miles on it, so might be a while.

Darn you people. Now we're talking about going and looking at them some time just to see what the new ones are like....bad people giving us those thoughts.
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:35 PM   #18
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If I had the money, I would be all over a Tesla. However, for the type of driving that my wife and I do (we each have a 2.5 mile commute to work most of the time), a full electric vehicle would be great. Given that we need two cars, one could easily be a short range electric with a top speed of 60 mph. For long range travel we can stick to our fossil fuel relics. Not to mention that I'm not yet ready to give up my poor man's sports car.
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:53 PM   #19
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If I had the money, I would be all over a Tesla. However, for the type of driving that my wife and I do (we each have a 2.5 mile commute to work most of the time), a full electric vehicle would be great. Given that we need two cars, one could easily be a short range electric with a top speed of 60 mph. For long range travel we can stick to our fossil fuel relics. Not to mention that I'm not yet ready to give up my poor man's sports car.
Wifey B: Half of our driving is local. We may drive 5 miles, maybe 20, maybe 50 miles in a day, never beyond the range of a Tesla. The other half is three to four trips a year to NC and SC, typically 1500-1600 total miles. It typically includes a first day and a last day of around 700 miles. There are, however, superchargers on those routes. Even so, that's two or three stops of about 45 minutes along the way. Plus plugging in at a hotel.

So, we could have one electric and one gas. We also have one SUV but it's our car of need, not of choice. We can't fit many people or things in our cars of choice.

All electric won't really work well for trips until at least 10-20% of the cars on the road are all electric. It's like diesel cars. All that gave them a chance was trucks and truck stops. But then people buying diesel Cadillacs weren't exactly truck stop fans.
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Old 11-05-2016, 05:38 PM   #20
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I drive a 2012 Volt. Love it. It's had three oil changes in 90,000 miles and one set of tires. Other than that, never been to the shop. When it wears out, I'll buy another. (It's fueled by domestic natural gas, some domestic coal, some domestic nuclear, and a fair bit of domestic wind. Occasionally with gasoline, some of which is imported from people who hate me, which I don't like.)

No solar on the house. No net metering in Texas and I pay about $0.07/kwh so solar doesn't make sense.
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