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Was able to Reduce Electric Bill!

Post in 'The Green Room' started by dbchris, Jan 27, 2007.

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  1. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    near Milwaukee, WI
    I borrowed a kill-a-watt meter from someone on the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Precycle (?) anyway the RRRP yahoo group. Our older freezer takes more power than our newer freezer, but not much more. Unfortunately our water heater is wired directly and so we can't tell how much power it is sucking. We think a lot, as in our previous home we had a gas water heater and our electric bills were half as much as they are here, kWh cost being about the same. The most immediately useful thing we learned is that the electric palm tree I got for Christmas from a friend, and which I really like (it is cool!) takes more power than anything in our house while it is on. Unless we ran our microwave all the time, that is the most power/time of anything, but we hardly use it. The palm tree is really nifty, so it is good that I know it's a hog, or I would have it on more often.

    Anyway, if you can get your hands on a kill-a-watt, I would recommend it. Very interesting. The woman who lent it to me has reduced her electric bill considerably. She found that their waterbed heaters were real pigs, so out with the waterbeds! Also unplugged lots of stuff and so on. My hubby watches a lot of TV (while doing other stuff usually) and tapes things on the VCR at night, so we can't turn those off. Our electric bill is about $60.month, but we think that is high because in our old house it was about $30.

    We have always hung up all of our laundry to dry since 1991. Helps with in house humidity, plus the clothes don't wrinkle hardly at all like if they sit in a heap in a dryer. Not sure about the stiff problem, haven't noticed or maybe we are used to it. Half the year clothes go outside, when they blow around they certainly don't get stiff. We do put vinegar in our laundry once in a while, that dissolves built up detergent, which might be contributing to the stiffness. What I like is that my clothes don't shrink in the dryer - if they get tighter, it means I got fatter! Plus they wear out more slowly, that saves money in the long run, too.

    We have CF bulbs everyplace in our house that we can put them, in every room of the house except the bedrooms used for storage. A lot of long fluorescents as well, in the kitchen and basement. In multiple bulb fixtures we leave one regular bulb, so that it comes on right away. Otherwise there is that small delay and visitors tend to turn the switch back and forth thinking something is wrong.

    We thought about solar shingles, but decided the inverter stuff cost too much.

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  2. Kilted

    Kilted Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    California, Siliy-con Valley
    Your math is basicly correct. My math works out a little different. First, I live in California, Second, I do not have wife or kids, third the Rav4EV actually replaced a Ford Ranger pickup truck that got 17 mpg. So my pay back was much quicker.

    Solar system 5.2kw PV panels 40-75 watt panels SP-75 and 12-185 watt panels, Sharp NT-S5E1U panels, inverter Beacon Power M5 5kw grid tied with a 24kwh battery bank, 8 concorde Sun-Xtender PVX-12255, and 1-Toyota Rav4ev. Solar panels were installed in two groups; 1) SP75, inverter and battery bank this is the core system installed to cover the house. 2) Sharp 185w panels were specificly installed to cover the EV. The grid was out in my neighborhood three weekends ago, notice I said the grid was out not my house for 8 hours. My battery bank can hold the house for 24+ hours.

    Remember this is California. California has/had some generous rebate programs. I recieved rebates and state tax incentives on both panel installations, and when I leased/bought the Rav4ev there was another rebate program. Approx. $23k in rebates and tax incentives, yes and I was happy to take it. I am in PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) territory. Our electricity is charge in a tiered system there are 5 tiers for domestic charges. They also have a rate structure called 'Time of Use' (TOU) there are peak and off peak periods. I have what is know as E7 rate. My peak time is from 12 noon to 6pm Monday through Friday, all other time is off peak. During 'on peak' winter rates are around $0.11 per kwh, summer $0.32kwh, 'off peak' rates are about $0.085. So if you buy during 'on peak' in summer you pay $0.32kwh. With net metering I sell back to PG&E. I'm selling ON PEAK power at $0.32kwh, I use power when I'm home during OFF PEAK times. I charge the car between 4am-8am - 'off peak'.

    Get the picture!! My system generates approx 5,000kwh's per year, yea thats 5megawatt hours! As of today this system and this inveter coming up to it's third year 14,611.930 kwh.

    If we are going to talk electric car's you first need to watch 'Who Killed the Eclectric Car' (WKtEC), this is your home work assignment. This movie will answer many of your questions and give us a common baseline to start a discussion from.

    About Toyota's comment on the battery pack. See the movie WKtEC that comment is left over from when Toyota was trying to kill the car. Who here has had an engine job? The last engine job I had done on a Porsche 911 cost me $9,500.

    Real life experence: I know of three cars that are having pack problems so far all taken care of under warrenty, this in a fleet of approx 300-500 cars. Mileage has ranaged from 20k to over 100k miles for the fleet. Depending if you are a pack abuser or not determines the pack lifetime, low end 45k to high??? >120k miles are the best guess right now. My range is approx 100miles my daily is ~30miles easy miles on freeway and local streets.

    It's 1130 I just put another log on almost time for bed.

    Now before in installed the solar I replace all the bulbs with CF and replaced the fridge with a new energy efficient one. I drop my daily from usage of 18kwh to 15kwh. When doing solar every watt saved, saves about $4.50 that's how much an installed watt costs.

    A short answer since I have installed both PV solar and an EV I can tell you they are made for each other 'marriage made in heaven' but there is a steep price to pay, no free lunch. Even your 'free' firewood was not, and what about that woodstove? Natural gas or oil is much more convient just push the button.

    Besides the Solar and EV stuff the house has had new low-e glass, and a new epa wood stove.

    Links:

    I wish!: -- $100k
    http://www.teslamotors.com/index.php?js_enabled=1
    Next: -- $50K
    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070220/UPDATE/702200428/1148/rss25

    My next truck I hope: -- $45K
    http://www.phoenixmotorcars.com/index.html

    With more housing getting solar Ahrnold signed the California million solar roofs bill and those new ev car makers the price's should start coming down.

    Good night -- Brandy
  3. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    OH
    %-P I knew there had to be huge subsidies because there's no way it's affordable for virtually any other state....that system you describe I estimate has to cost $50,000 and that buys a ton of electricity anywhere else especially since most of us get virtually nothing for subsidies. Also, there's the problem of solar insolation (you get much more sun than we do here), shading problems when using solar panels, etc and it all combines to not make it anywhere worthwhile in most other states. Also, I checked your state: CA allows you to net meter electricity kw-hr for kw-hr..that is, you send them say, 3KW-hrs and you get to use 3KW-hrs in return with no net charge, hence the name "net metering" however, in many states it means this: you send the power company, say, 1 KW-hr and they credit your bill only with the cost for the power company to generate that same 1 KW-hr (about 5 cents) but when you turn around and try to use that "banked" Kw-hr, you get charged the generation cost (5 cents) AND the distribution cost (5 cents) so your electricty cost for that 1 KW-hr still costs you the distribution cost (5 cents)....half the price someone else is payng but it's not a "1 for 1 net metering" like you get in CA.

    So, for the other 90% of the country, solar falls far, far, far short of being a reality. You, however, could have precluded all this back and forth by simply initially saying you live in CA and get huge subsidies that allows you to do this..... %-P...and you're right....my math was right.....
  4. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Cast, You're wrong, he said Mo's math was right, not yours (although yours was certainly right, as well). ;)

    Brandy, Thanks for taking the time to write up all that info. Enlightening. Hopefully, I'll read my homework assignment and go from there.

    As an aside, I once worked in the Tesla Motors building (small world), of course, it wasn't Tesla Motors back then. It was a microwave transceiver mfr for cell phone network hops. A further aside, the street that Tesla is on is named Varian (actually it's probably on Bing, or maybe even another cross street, but Varian St. is just a few feet away. Varian is, as you may already know but others here may not, the purported starting point, in space and time, of silicon valley. The original garage startup that started it all. Quite some time before Apple and HP, even. I think the Varian brothers started back in the 50's with an important microwave device that revolutionized radar, or something or other. ;) Bill Farinon, who started Farinon company, which I worked for, probably worked with the Varian brothers at some point. Man, I probably got some of that wrong, but I don't feel like looking it all up to verify. So...

    I'm in Missouri now. No net metering AT ALL! But we are working on it. And I had no idea that CA required, or PG&E volunteered, a 1 for 1 kWh swap for net metering there. That makes a big difference to the little guy.

    I'll take your word on the Toyota until I read my assignment, although if you are leasing, the battery replacement problem is at least someone else's, although certainly a cost to the environment for creation and disposal.

    We also have no PV rebates here. In fact, I think folks here are still pretty proud to be burning coal. ;) I have to admit, we have some incredibly cheap electric here compared to CA. Looking at my last bill I used:

    1,308 kWh's, and my bill was
    $71.92, that's an incredible
    0.05498 cents per kilowatt hour (includes transmission, generation, etc.)

    I guess you can blame me, solely, and single handedly, for global warming, but I essentially have two households living under one roof, so it's not quite as bad as it looks. I'm trying to figure out where all the power is going around here. I've already done the CF thing, unplugged gobs of stuff, and a few other things, as well. But I've got some old refrigerators that are being analyzed by my Kill-a-watt meter as I write this. Hopefully, that will shed some light on things.

    I'm waiting for those new fangled shingles they are already making to get more efficient and main stream. It would be great to include them in the cost of a replacement roof to further lessen the impact. There are all sorts of new ideas like the thin film approach that are hoping to reduce costs by a factor or two and increase efficiency several times. I'm thinking that current silicon PV is only about 5% efficient. Seems pretty low to me, but it is what it is, and if you've got it, it's pretty cool. In fact, let me thank you for your commitment, since it is helping to drive the cost down for me and others.

    One thing that never gets talked about much is the environmental impact of semi-conductor manufacturing. I always wonder how much this increases the impact of PV on the environment. Probably not as much as your average coal fired electric plant, but pretty much an ignored cost when people talk about PV. And the thin film approaches may be just as bad with weird heavy metals used in production and all the by products from their creation.
  5. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Mo...I stand corrected..he did say your math was correct but so is mine.....LOL... :coolsmile:

    You're right, they don't make it easy around here to go solar and the PV efficiency rates suck.....solar radiation is about 1,365 watts/sq meter exo-atmosphere and about 1,000 watts/sq meter at the earths surface and we get about a whopping 43 watts (4.3% eff) out of 1 sq meters worth of panels..........AND that panel alone costs about $200....then there's batteries and inverters, etc..........need I say more???........LOL
  6. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Well, I didn't see the "Who Killed the Electric Car" program on my TiVo guide, but I set it up as a wish list. I did find this link and am reading it.

    http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/electric.html

    I always wondered what happened to all-electric cars that I saw in CA for several years. Seems like Honda and GM both had a model that was only sold in CA.

    It looks like the new Tesla econo electric 4-door is going to be built in New Mexico (thanks for that link Brandy). That makes a lot of sense considering the significant push that the governor and Albequerque mayor are making into PV's there. They have a program that I've heard described as very progressive. Maybe matching CA's up until the recent passing of the Ahrnold housing law.

    Here's a link for the GM EV-1:

    http://ev1-club.power.net/ev1faq/ev1faq.htm

    It sounds like GM may have screwed the pooch by at least not keeping an iron in the fire. I believe GM single handedly killed mass transit in the 50's when GM's former CEO? became Eisenhower's Secretary of Transportation. MMM, Hmmm. He put busses into cities so as to remove the street cars, knowing people would hate the busses and buy GM cars as they were being produced cheaper and the economy was getting better. He sold the interstate highway system as a national defense program to Eisenhower, who bought it for whatever reason(s). And the rest is GM history. Their not doing so well now though, are they, or Ford, or Chrysler? Toyota, on the other hand, is kicking major butt. And GM almost laughed at the Prius. Oops.
  7. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Mo...as I said for solar panels also goes for this GM car...."not ready for prime time".....see the range.......40-90 miles.............
  8. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Cast, That GM-EV1 is not made anymore. Check out the new Tesla Motors econo car being built (soon) in NM. Here's an except:

    The company plans to produce at least 10,000 cars a year at the Albuquerque plant, with the first cars scheduled to be ready in the fall of 2009. They would be able to travel 250 miles before being recharged, officials said.

    That's as good a mileage as my motorcycle, and twice the mileage of many motorcycles. And an old pickup getting 17 mpg with a 17 gallon tank only has a range of 289 miles.

    So things are apparently looking up in the electric car biz. Of course, the last I heard, the Tesla roadster required 60,000 Lithium batteries. That's right, 60K batteries. The same ones that go into a notebook computer. Strangely, this standardized battery format is what allowed them to produce the car at a price that at least celebrities could afford. Still, who wants to change 60k batteries. Hopefully, "batteries are included" with the Tesla... ;)

    BTW: my radon fan just arrived...
  9. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    I looked on Google video and YouTube for the movie, but only found some trailers.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6923835633598627078&q=who killed the electric car&hl=en
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Mpe7XfODk

    I found them interesting and hope to see the movie. Luckily I'm okay. When the google video started, I was really getting into the soundtrack background music when Martin Sheen's voice suddenly overdubbed things. I found myself instinctively pulling my shirt sleeve up and reaching for a razor blade, but I quickly regained my composure. ;)
  10. Kilted

    Kilted Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
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    That number is 6,831. When I bought my Porsche I was told that the cost of the engine was 2/3 the cost of the car. Here the battery pack is 2/3 the cost of a car. Porsche is not driven much these days, it has a one year layer of dust on it.

    Go here: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog1/?p=39

    The web site is a gold mine of information. Moving polllution - long tail pipe, PV panels and pay back, other forms of alt-energy and there costs and benifits, lot's anlot's more for those interested you have many weeks worth of reading. For EV's the Tesla web site is one of the Gold Standards.

    Gotta run I'll be back later. WKtEC is on DVD and should be in the rental chains now.

    -- Brandy
  11. Kilted

    Kilted Member

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    FYI - Like I said this web site is a gold mine of info. -- Brandy

    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog1/index.php?js_enabled=1

    Energy
    by Jon Mittelhauser
    published Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

    ... snip ...

    Summary

    Wow. I didn’t really start out with the intention of writing such an epic. If you made it this far, I hope that you found it worthwhile. I am passionate about Tesla Motors both for what they have already done and for what they represent.

    Again, it is all about energy:

    The engineer in me is offended by the complexities of how we get the energy which powers our vehicles as well as the internal combustion engine that consumes that energy.

    The pragmatist in me recognizes that the more complex the system, the more that can go wrong and, therefore, the more energy (and money!) necessary to keep it running smoothly.

    The alarmist in me worries about the energy this country expends to develop and protect the existing system from its own inherent complexities and how vulnerable that leaves us to people who wish us ill.

    The entrepreneur in me believes that the energy I witnessed at and around Tesla Motors can drive them to success with the Tesla Roadster and their future cars.

    The eternal optimist in me hopes that Tesla Roadster’s success will be the first step toward wholesale adoption of electric vehicles.

    The visionary in me sees a future without complex energy distribution systems, a future where everyone simply produces the energy they need locally.

    Only time will tell. But I’m glad that I will be along for the ride…
  12. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for that correction. I guess my memory got a little carried away and somehow moved the decimal point for shock value, all unbeknownst to my conscious mind, of course. ;)

    I've looked on that site a few times, and just did again, but I can't seem to find all that much about the new 4-door car. At least not technical specs like I see there for the roadster. I see all the green flag waving and promises from the NM politicians, but where's the technical data on the 4-door product? Maybe the design is still being sorted out, or will be up in Michigan when that facility is fully populated.

    I like the idea of an electric pickup, but Phoenix Motorcars is only going to make 500 of their's this year and the bed is smaller than I'd want in order to make room for a back seat. Maybe they'll make a regular pickup next year if they survive.

    I get all excited about some product like one of the ones we've discussed, once or twice every year or two, and then I realize that I probably won't be able to talk myself into buying one. I don't need a devoted commuter vehicle, and they always seem to cost about twice as much as main stream stuff.

    I wish the big auto companies would get off the dime and do something. All they ever do is talk, talk, talk. Hydrogen, fuel cells, electric, hybrid electric, high milage, whatever... nothing ever happens after the concept cars are oogled over at the unveiling or on 60 Minutes. Tesla is going to have an uphill climb to be anything more than an exotic, low volume, auto company.

    I guess oil is going to have to run out or the supply cut off to really get things moving in a different direction. Economics always seems to be in the driver's seat, no matter how cool or green something is. It seems like even early adopters cannot generate enough critical mass to turn the collossus of mainstream manufacturing. Maybe this time I'm wrong.
  13. sgcsalsero

    sgcsalsero Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the tip, I'm going to look for one of these, this is great thread, gonna take me a couple days to digest all this info. My wife does not the like the side-by-side fridge in this house (bought back in '05), so I may be setting myself up . . . .a little. I just checked a recent bill, for 22 days in December racked up 460 KWHs, so loooookkkss like I have some homework to do.

    At least I didn't get this guy's bill http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7543102
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think Phoenix and Tesla, along with Altair, et al are upcoming disruptive tecnologies. They will refine and grow at a small scale. But the market is ready for something better and when these vehicles have reached 2nd or 3d generation, I think their numbers will start showing real growth (assuming the company itself is well managed). Those who have owned the electric RAV4's and even the ill-fated GM Impact, have realized that in spite of the automotive marketing gurus demanding 300 mile range for electrics, that really isn't necessary for 90% of many people's driving habits. Ask current owners of the RAV4 electric's if they will give up their vehicles. They'll reply - not even from my cold dead hands.
  15. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    What GM marketing guru decided to give a motor vehicle an ambiguous name like "Impact"!? :smirk:
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Same one that came up with the Chevy Nova or 'No va', which means 'No go' in Spanish. Needless to say, the name didn't help sales in Mexico.
  17. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    My latest electric bill says I used 495KWh for a 30 day period from late Jan to late Feb. I reduced useage by about 50KWH from last year during the same period by 50KWH. Interestingly the bill lists the average daily temp in 2006 as 34 degrees and the 2007 period as 22 degrees.... so much for our non-winter this year!

    I'm always on the search to reduce electric consumption and my latest contribution is to only plug the charger for our electric toothbrush in 2 nights a week. I realized that when we go on short trips. the brush stays well charged for three nights. I haven't invested in a Kill O Watt meter, and suspect I'm not saving much, but every little bit counts!
  18. jamorris

    jamorris New Member

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    Ike never needed convincing. He used the excellent German Autobahn to invade Germany. Ike knew what these roads could do, both offensively and defensively. Troop movement and material transport is a military asset.

    Jerry
  19. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Hell...I'de buy it anyway!!!
    So what if it only goes forty to 90 miles??? I'de just put in an order with Mr Sharky for a Bio diesel powered "pusher" for longer trips...lol ;)


    Cast... As you have made mention of before, and out of curiousity as to "how chipper your outlook is sometimes"...You weren't by any chance a tail gunner on a B-52 at some point along the way...were you???
  20. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    yeah...I might have to reconsider.....saw a spread in Pop mech (???) or some magazine about these cars 2 months ago.....The EV car plugs into a conventional 120 volt outlet for recharge and as long as you don't use the engine to power the batteries, you get about 150 miles per gallon based on using electricity and gas being $3/gallon.....
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