I am speaking about Solar and Renewable Energy today at the Simple Living Festival at Dan Nicholas Park in Rowan County, NC:
To register for the April 26th, Solar Electric Generation Class visit: http://www.rccc.edu/enrichment/events/event/basics-of-solar-electric-generation-2/
I am presenting at the Rowan Amateur Radio Society club meeting tonight at the Rufty-Holmes Center here in Salisbury, NC.
I traded away my 2012 NISSAN LEAF this week after 1 year and 7,500 miles. At this time the Chevrolet Volt is a better option for me. I was referred to a Volt sales specialist Chris Mauldin of Ben Mynatt Chevrolet in Concord, NC. I worked with Chris to find a beautiful Topaz Blue 2013 Volt with my specific options:
I love the car! So far the instruments show over 250MPG. I have used just 0.2 gallons of petroleum in a week. I expect this usage to drop to near zero most weeks as the preponderance of my driving is around town, less than the 38 EV Mile capability of the 2013 Volt. All the electrical power for my Volt has been from the sun in the beautiful afternoons we had this week.
Aside from the obvious flexibility of a 300 mile range, other things that were very important to me were:
1) The EV Battery Warranty, 8 years, 100,000 miles.
2) Thermal Management of the EV Battery.
3) A Volt Advisor dedicated to my car.
4) An on-board charger that does have trouble with the GE Wattstation and other chargers when the electrical power goes off.
5) Many more options on the car.
Slightly over 2 years ago our solar energy systems went live. So how has our family done?
Total Power Produced to date: 24,510,000 watts of power (24 million Watts)
Solar Electric Production to date: 19,100,000 watts of power
Solar Thermal Production to date: 5,400,000 watt equivalents ( 18,489,212 BTUs)
So, we run our home, two all electric cars and heat our water using the sun. Folks always ask, so what does this mean in terms of CO2 not released?
The answer is:
Solar Thermal CO2 offset: 3,339 pounds of CO2 not released
Solar PV (Electric) C02 offset: 25,669 pounds of CO2 not released
Total Co2 Offset for our family: 29,008 pounds or 14 TONS of CO2
Note: this does not include C02 recycled as a result of our biomass heating system, which would be a very big number to heat 2,600 square feet of living space.
According to our Enphase Energy ™ reporting just our solar PV would run the Charlotte stadium for over 1 day and offset over one acre of trees:
Considering federal and state income taxes alone (effective rate of 37.5 percent withheld), we would have had to earn close to $6,000 to have the $3,700 to pay for this electricity using an electric rate of 12.7 cents per kWh. As you can see there are lots of ways consider payback on our systems. Another way of looking at it, we gave ourselves a $3,000 dollars per year raise… By the way, the payback goes up with each rate increase too. So far three rate increases.
Note, just to be fair the above calculations do not include money that was not spent on gasoline. My wife’s LEAF saves us over $200 per month on gasoline. By the way our total maintenance cost for TWO all-electric cars for the entire year of 2012 was $27.20 which is really just the NC State Inspection at $13.60 per car.
Welcome to Ken Clifton’s blog. This site is powered with the open-source WordPress blogging software connected to a MySQL v.5 database.
If you are a student, you will be most interested in the “teaching” category content. Please feel free to explore the “About” and “Resume” links at the left. We have Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) available to satisfy the NC Solar Set-Aside requirements in North Carolina. If you are interested in RECs please see the renewable energy certificates link. You may also be interested in the Salisbury Post newspaper article on our solar facilities that ran on February 8, 2011.
We are excited about renewable energy! This site is run on solar generated electricity. We have solar PV and solar thermal renewable energy facilities approved by the State of North Carolina at our home. See the renewable energy link for more information. If you are interested in biomass, CO2 neutral home heating or global warming, please read the Salisbury Post newspaper article published on February 11, 2007 for more information. My presentation made to several groups on biomass is also available.
Thanks, and I look forward to working with you during the Spring 2013 semester!
In July 2012 about 20 students from AL Brown High School in Kannapolis, NC and RCCC’s STEM Summer Camp visited our farm to see some alternative energy in action. The sharp students asked plenty of questions about our 7.2 kW solar arrays, the evacuated tube solar thermal and our electric car charging stations. Here are a few photos:
Parking a bus takes some planning, even in 37 acres…
A group photo of the Science Engineering, Technology and Math students
Checking out the micro-inverters (Enphase)
They also looked over one of Duke Energy’s very first electric vehicle charging stations (part of the Duke Energy Charge Carolinas Pilot Project)
Checking out charging one of our two Nissan LEAFs
We had a really good turn out for the Solar Class at Dan Nicholas Park on May 5, 2012!
About 50 people came to the solar class and many stayed after to talk about our solar charged Nissan LEAF(s). Several folks visited our home later to see solar PV and solar thermal in action. Here are a few of the photos:
The room was standing room only!
Here is the promo for the festival that ran in the Salisbury Post back in April
PluginCars.com and The New York Times both ran stories about issues with the Nissan LEAF and the General Electric Wattstation Electric Vehicle Charging station. Before I post the links, let me say that I have had ZERO issues charging my Nissan LEAF with the GE Wattstation for over six months. My installation of the GE Wattstation had a Square-D surge arrestor/ suppressor from the start, so if surges are causing this, I should not see one.
Here are the two stories:
Nissan Dealer Warns Customers: Using GE’s WattStation Charger Can Damage Your LEAF
By Zach McDonald
PlugInCars.com Web site, July 13, 2012
Problems With G.E.’s WattStation Charger for Some Nissan Leafs
By JIM MOTAVALLI
The New York Times Wheels Blog, July 13, 2012
So, while GE investigates the issue, what is a driver to do? If there is any question, I couldn’t bring myself to continue using the charging station and chance damaging a new car. The new AeroVironment Nissan Charger is up and running as of this afternoon. I guess the Wattstation goes on eBay…
Also this week another issue is smouldering in the Arizona heat. I know large corporations move slowly but there are over 35 unhappy Nissan LEAF owners in the Phoenix Arizona area. One Phoenix television station even ran a story about this. If something is not done quickly, this could be the start of something really sad for the Nissan LEAF. Judge for yourself looking at the following two links:
Phoenix Arizona CBS Channel 5 TV Story on Nissan Leaf battery capacity loss.
Plug Your TED-5000
Today marks the release of a new plug-in for WordPress that allows anyone to easily publicize REAL-TIME energy production or consumption on a Web site powered by WordPress. Just make a few settings and drag the WordPress widget to any spot on the WordPress sidebar. It is running on this site right now with the title “Solar Generation” on the right sidebar.
To purchase or try out this plug-in visit the TED PLUG-INs PAGE.
FEATURES OF THIS PLUG-IN
- Easily publish any power generation or consumption measuring device (MTU).
- Inverter or stand-by loads can be specified so those draws are removed from the readings and graph.
- Caching features to greatly speed up busy Web servers.
- Title the readings and real-time graph with any text.
- Direct memory dumps from the TED-5000 for sub-second response and very low impact on the Web server and the TED-5000.
This new flexible plug-in has great potential for solar, wind and micro-hydro. Our previous WordPress plug-in for Enphase micro-inverters is installed in over 117 solar installations in 17 countries.