Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2U is the Word

I've been looking for a good meme to replace self-consumption... The term is non-intuitive, overly syllabic and venereal sounding. I think I found my meme. 2U is the word... It's got groove it's got meaning. You can flip it to U2 to specify production for export. Neat trick eh?

Yes On My Watch

Why not build wind turbines that sense their surroundings and pitch their blades to avoid birds and bats? I just watched a video of a big bird getting hit by a big wind blade and pirouetting to the ground broken. All happened in slow motion. Poor bird. What if the turbine pitched down when it sensed the bird in its vicinity? How hard is that? Heat seeking missile hard? Face transplant hard?
The argument that cats kill more birds than wind doesn't hold water... cats don't kill big birds that scoot around on thermals. The whole line of reasoning is a defensive statistical head fake. Acknowledge the issue, own it and aggressively manage the problem. Ask not what your country can do for you. The wind and solar industries need to Step up, Stop asking and Start owning.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

How do you get Google to stop telling me about killings?

Mission.. I like google news but I don't like reading about murder in X and train crashes in K. I'm full fed up with bad news from the world. I love that google provides a newsfeed but it's incredibly violent and it disgusts me. So... How do I get a google news feed without headlines that talk about death counts and shit? I want a shit free news feed... Some people don't... I do.

I've asked Google many times... They do not respond... Not fucking once. As my old friend and my wife says... Fucking cocksuckers...

So Google... What's up with your no evil stance? Seems directly evil to broadcast evil... I'm asking you not to feed me evil but you continue to do so. Stop joking around and do right.


Seeing is Believing

This last week I've been driving up and down the west coast with my girl. We've been all over the world together and I've been a solar nerd the whole time. So... Back in the day (2008) we're on a train going from Tokyo to see the monkey bartenders in Utsunomiya. I had a notebook and I counted the roofs I saw with solar - prison scratch style. Sadly, the monkey bartenders had the day off when we arrived in Utsunomiya so we didn't get to see them. Meh... Animal rights are a bitch. 
Funnily enough this last week driving 2500 miles my wife was the scribe... She'd point out all the sites... Solar... Solar... Solar... Very little wind on the drive... One stretch in the Bay with a bank of turbines... and one other 1.5 MW straggler on a farm in Oregon. 
But wow... The I-5 in California, Oregon and Washington is diff-er-ent... Solar didn't just sneak in since the last time I drove the route... It's all in and then some. One thing I didn't see was new construction with PV. That was disappointing but hey... It'll come. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ten Times Too Tall

Sharp to Market Solar Windows

Neat idea but solar windows should cost $200 per square meter - not $2000!!! A square meter delivers 150 Watts - the math is envelope friendly. Funny... my wife just bought a solar iPhone charger that's packaged in an Altoids tin. $50 for 15 cents worth of solar cells. Meh... Her money.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino said that the program will allow 95% of Peru to have access to electricity by the end of 2016. Currently, approximately 66% of the population has access to electricity.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Image Processing Occupancy Sensor (IPOS)

"A recent assessment of IPOS's potential by the Bonneville Power Administration found projected savings of up to $144 million with an investment of $250,000 in IPOS technology. That's a return of $576 for every $1 invested."
"Today, lighting represents the largest electric load in U.S. commercial buildings—38% of total electricity, equating to $38 billion spent annually (on 349 billion kilowatt hours at $0.11 per kilowatt hour)."
NREL Adds Eyes, Brains to Occupancy Detection

Occupancy detection may not sound sexy but it's a fundamental part of energy management. At $100 to $200 the IPOS gadgets are way too expensive for general use but I'd imagine these little dawgs will come down to $25 before too long.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


"We expect that the market will rise again significantly above the current level, as soon as appropriate business models have developed that are based on consumption and direct sales of solar power," says Stefan de Haan. "At the moment we are simply in a transition phase, where the requirement for large rooftop installations and ground-mounted projects is no longer attractive."
Stefan de Haan on German market 

EMS vs. Storage - Heavyweight vs. Weight

Here's a translated note from an article on the SMA site.

"A central energy manager is to purchase relatively cheap, practically free in operation and can also increase the efficiency of the memory - the ability to move electricity consumption over time should always be exhausted first."

The original German: "Ein zentraler Energiemanager ist in der Anschaffung vergleichsweise günstig, im Betrieb praktisch kostenlos und kann darüber hinaus auch die Effizienz des Speichers steigern – die Möglichkeit, Stromverbräuche zeitlich zu verschieben sollte daher immer zuerst ausgeschöpft werden."

Note how the author points out that we should always exhaust the energy management options before we consider storage. German policy support is misguidedly focusing on batteries because it doesn't recognize this important fact. Big expensive mistake they're making. Most renewable energy enthusiasts make the same mistake with batteries.

From what I can tell SMA is doing its damnedest to come up with an integrated energy management system but they can't do it alone. What you need is a coordinated policy. The guys building the EMS systems need to sit down at the same table with the appliance builders and come up communication and control standards (comtrol standards). The government then needs to require those standards on all new appliances that meet a given criteria.

Example: A hypothetical heat pump water heater (HPWH) with an oversized tank and EMS comtrols would have the flexibility to run during any part of the day. You could have this system powered purely off photoelectricity during part of the year and top it up with the cheapest electricity of the day (preferably wind) during the remaining part of the year. As far as topping off goes there are special reduced rate electrcity rates (20 cents/kWh) you can get specifically for heat pumps that operate in this manner. Quick facts: A heat pump water heater uses around 1800 kWh per year and there are 35 million households in Germany. If 10% of German homes (3.5 million) replaced their exisiting water heaters with these heat pump water heaters you'd get 6.3 TWh (3.5 million x 1800 kWh/year) of manageable load per year. This is load you can run wherever you want in a day. This shifting ability is comparable to how much electricity Germany currently gets from pumped hydro annually (8 TWh in an average year). If Germany could deploy these manageable heat pump water heating systems in half the homes they'd have over 30 TWh of shiftable load. Assuming the larger tank, heat pump and comtrol chip cost $300 extra per water heater your deployment costs would be around 5.25 billion in total. That's a lot of money but given the right rate designs this money would be recovered and more with savings on energy over the life of the equipment. Non-solar owners would only need to save a smidge over a penny per kWh to break even. If the off-peak tariff was set to 20 cent/kWh and the Annual Performance Factor of the heat pump was 4 a non-solar operator would just be able to satisfy the breakeven requirement. You'd really want to do better than break even but that's a separate rate design discussion. As things stand the current design allows for breaking even at a minimum.

Batteries with the same total shifting capabilities (15 years at 30 TWh per year = 450 TWh) would cost upwards of 150 billion ($500/kWh for Li-ion, 1500 cycle lifetime, 450 billion cycles required at $.33/cycle). That's a frightening number.

*If Germany deployed all these new HPWHs they'd add a sizable extra amount of load to the grid - probably around 25ish TWh per year assuming some of the HPWHs replaced pre-existing electric water heaters. Ideally Germany would want to cover most of this extra electrical load with renewables (solar, wind, biomass, hydro) but using electricty from perferred fossil generators would be an additional option.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Word Search

There's this term I frequently use - self consumption. It's not a good term - certainly not meme worthy. It sounds like a Stage 3 form of tuberculosis. brain storm self-sufficiency efficiency savings homemade protection* I-power My power Here power Near power production consumption procon ratio acronyms resilience prosilience presilience prasilience safety stock jarring canning* ability probility eat consume balance flexibility movement stretch manage decide choice ready ness nessness catch grab search power ownership* captain steward guide tetris game play skill level fill fill factor

Ya either drop tha hits like de la O or get the fuck off the commode

I wonder how many speeding tickets this song has caused? What a sound... The angry shtick quickly gets too spicy for my taste but when dosed right it's quite nice.

Smart & Buff

The IndiGo kit consists of a 3-watt solar panel, a battery, two LED lamps, a phone charging unit, and connection cables.

Sounds great but at $120 a pop these things seem ten times too expensive.

-Three watts is less than the output of one solar cell. One cell costs $1.70
-The two lamps are 55 lumen lamps. That's 75 cents worth of LED chips.
-The battery powers the lights for 7 hours so I'd estimate you'd need at around 10 watt-hours. That's $6.50 worth of battery.
-This thing really does seem ten times too expensive.

Here's another IndiGo Lantern with a great tag line - 60 seconds of wind gives you one hour of shine... Oh, and it costs $12.94.

Freeplay Indigo Lantern

Imagine these Kenyan kids staying up into the night cranking these lights up every hour. Would you be able to spot the smartest kids by their forearm muscle tone?

Now... If you could build a muscle-powered X-box the gamers would definitely be ripped.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Leprechaun Chums

Scratch: Ahhh... Tha Ticklish Shirley there she look like she been fishin' on a culdesac.
Dublin: Flipping Sherlocks man... Wain't you tell me boot won swabbly dobbly
Scratch: She funned me in me mind's eye.
Dublin: Fluff the dufflings?
Scratch: No fluff-dufflin... way we scruffed a spension
Dublin: Nice...