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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm happy to announce that as of Thursday afternoon, Waltworks custom bicycles is entirely solar powered! We've got 2.5 kW of photovoltaic love set up that is powering 100% of the shop as well as the house. Big thanks to the folks at Standard Renewable Energy (hi Sonya!) for the fast professional work.

I'm curious - are there any other off-the-grid framebuilding operations out there? Or maybe just bicycle industry companies in general, if not framebuilders?

-Walt
 

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Witty McWitterson
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noice! Powers all your equipment too? If you turn everything on all at once? ;)

As for your question about other companies doing the green thing...QBP currently has MN's largest solar array. They have a green parking lot. They use dual flush toilets. They used recycled office cubicles. They use recycled fiber carpets. They're not totally off the grid though. The building is too damned big.
 

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~martini~ said:
noice! Powers all your equipment too? If you turn everything on all at once? ;)

As for your question about other companies doing the green thing...QBP currently has MN's largest solar array. They have a green parking lot. They use dual flush toilets. They used recycled office cubicles. They use recycled fiber carpets. They're not totally off the grid though. The building is too damned big.
Yeah, that was the first place that I ever saw the waterless urnals. I still don't know how the pee magically disappears. Very cool place and the coolest folks. I'd go work there if it wasn't so daum cold.
 

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Great move!
A question though, 2.5 kW seems pretty low to power your whole house/shop.:confused:
A water tank element is 3kW, a typical 1/2" drill is about 1.5kW, maybe 25 kW?
Is your meter base configured to allow you dump excess power back into the grid? I'm looking into building my next house as energy negative. R-60 walls, R-100 ceiling etc, solar array on roof. The idea being to have your annual net consumption lower than your annual net production. We can do that up here, as we have zero load (pretty much) in the summer (no cooling load), and lots of light, so we dump back into the grid pretty much all summer.
Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It does the job...

Paul -

We're still connected to the grid - the goal was to be producing exactly as much energy as we consume. We use about 3000 kWh/year here for house/shop combined, and the system should generate just about exactly that amount. For peak loads, we tap some grid juice, and when we're producing extra, we sell it to the utility.

All our heat is gas, so there are no heating elements to power. Xcel (the utility company) will be installing a net-meter that lets us see how much power we're using/producing in realtime tomorrow, so that will be pretty neat.

So I guess I am misusing the term "off the grid". I should say "independently powered" or something along those lines.

-Walt

klondikebike said:
Great move!
A question though, 2.5 kW seems pretty low to power your whole house/shop.:confused:
A water tank element is 3kW, a typical 1/2" drill is about 1.5kW, maybe 25 kW?
Is your meter base configured to allow you dump excess power back into the grid? I'm looking into building my next house as energy negative. R-60 walls, R-100 ceiling etc, solar array on roof. The idea being to have your annual net consumption lower than your annual net production. We can do that up here, as we have zero load (pretty much) in the summer (no cooling load), and lots of light, so we dump back into the grid pretty much all summer.
Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A few details

For those who are curious:
-Upfront cost was $7,800 (this includes a huge subsidy from the utility and a federal tax rebate). Estimated payback time is 15 years, assuming 5% annual inflation in electricity costs. I personally think this is pretty conservative.
-Peak power capability of the system is 2.5kW. It generates 10-12 kWh in a typical day.
-Peak loads are handled with grid power, and excess power we generate is sold back to the utility.
-Installation was handled entirely by the fine folks at Standard Renewable Energy.
-Subsidies and laws regarding solar arrays vary widely from state to state, so I can't offer any advice on how to pursue a system - contact a local renewable energy company if you want to find out what might work for you.

It works out well, because Xcel's peak loads are on hot, sunny summer days (AC takes lots of power) at the same time as our system is generating excess power. Conversely, in the nighttime, Xcel has excess power and we're not generating any, so the trade benefits both parties.

-Walt

Smokebikes said:
Very cool move! As you get used to it please share the details as to how it was put together and about how much it cost "up front". In the big picture it seems to be the most cost effective way to invest your dinero........:thumbsup:
 

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Cool, energy neutral:thumbsup:
Same idea as what i was talking about. The panels are producing no matter what, so might as well pump it back into the grid.
Schmucker, i believe that the meter is actually configured to "run backwards", so you don't actually get $ back, but you don't "use" much of the grids power when all is said and done.
Walt, $7800 is a GREAT price from my perspective.
Just imagine if the majority of homes had a system like this, pumping back into the grid as well. Wouldn't need to burn near the fossil fuels we do for power generation.
 

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Gee, I wish a full solar array was that much here. Even with hot water and cooking on gas, you'd need $15-20k after subsidies to power a house and a workshop.

The irony isn't lost on me.
 

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Thylacine said:
Gee, I wish a full solar array was that much here. Even with hot water and cooking on gas, you'd need $15-20k after subsidies to power a house and a workshop.
And the rest. Great idea rudd- take away the subsidies from the only people that can afford solar in the first place. Working families bullsit.
 

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Gorilla Evo
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that is fantastic!! congratulations. I have been planning to do the same but here, in my, country the government does not help you out with deductions. I will find a way rather sooner than later.
 

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Walt said:
Or maybe just bicycle industry companies in general, if not framebuilders?
nicely done, walt... :thumbsup:

i recall seeing something somewhere that ellsworth was pretty progressive when it came to being "green"... don't remember the details, but i think part of it was solar power.

P.S.
i figure i'll finally be ready to pick up those tubes in about 1 month.
;)
 
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