Th3 Core

Why We Are Here => Water Cooler => Topic started by: rcjordan on October 12, 2019, 02:34:44 PM

Title: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: rcjordan on October 12, 2019, 02:34:44 PM
....are going to cause a substantial jump in home generation tech.
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: ukgimp on October 12, 2019, 04:14:15 PM
Good sector then.
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: littleman on October 12, 2019, 05:57:46 PM
Maybe a good time to invest in solar rooftop companies?
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: rcjordan on October 12, 2019, 07:19:08 PM
>good sector

It'll be ripe online, yes.


Musk's Powerwall 2 battery pack will be a top contender, I think. --Especially with Musk hyping it 24/7.  I've seen a few stories like this:

California blackouts: Keeping the lights on with solar energy
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: rcjordan on October 12, 2019, 07:52:22 PM
‘This Did Not Go Well’: Inside PG&E’s Blackout Control Room - The New York Times
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: littleman on October 12, 2019, 09:34:07 PM
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: rcjordan on October 12, 2019, 10:02:35 PM
hhh. good one.
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: ergophobe on October 14, 2019, 03:29:23 AM
Basically, we are moving to a society in California where those who can afford it install backup power (generators, batteries), whole house water purifiers and, for the very wealthy, hire their own firefighters and security. And those who can't afford it, are stuck with what they can afford, now that the wealthy bit by bit opt out of the public system.

Personally, I'm not wealthy enough to hire my own firefighters and polices, but we have been giving a lot of thought to the backup power. Of course, it has gotten harder to do - wait times are long for a lot of the equipment. The Powerwall is a joke - one electrician told me his customer paid the deposit two years ago and is still waiting for delivery. Now it's probably even longer.
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: Brad on October 14, 2019, 10:31:58 AM
Ergo, do you foresee the non-wealthy abandoning the remote areas of Cal and either migrating to the cities or elsewhere?  I'm talking about a slow process, not rebuilding after fires or mudslides.
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: ergophobe on October 15, 2019, 04:16:44 AM
There are two variables that jump to mind.

1. Do people have the means. I feel like there is more and more conversation about getting out among people who can afford to get out.

2. Distortions in the market. As long as insurance is underpriced relative to risk in flood and fire zones, people will continue to rebuild. The situation with fire insurance is not completely insane like it is with flood/hurricane insurance. There's no subsidy YET. But as insurance companies start pricing in the current level of risk and policies get canceled, that is going to push lower income people out of the market.

The retired couple up the street got canceled by State Farm with a policy that was under $2000/year and had to replace it with a policy that is $7900/year (and this is for $500K home value). Bob told me they are planning to get the house ready and put it on the market.

So on the one hand, people with means can afford to move. On the other hand, people of means can afford to stay.

I think we'll also see more and more people go uninsured because they don't have $7000 or $8000 per year to insure their home. So when their homes burn down, there will be no more funds to replace them.

Eventually, I think people will get real about what it means to live in these areas. I heard an interview last year with a wildfire expert who pointed out that it was not all that long ago that entire cities would burn to the ground: Chicago, 1871; San Fran in 1851 and again in 1906; London 1666. It's estimated 90% of homes burned in the SF fire of 1906 following the earthquake.

What changed were building codes more than anything. More fire resistant buildings and landscapes explain why cities do not burn to the ground anymore.

So he was saying that if people want to live in the forest, they're going to have to get real about the risks and about how to mitigate those risks and that is going to take some serious code updates. A few years ago, PG&E provided us with FREE money to cut any tree that would impinge on a PG&E easement. We have a neighbor with a second home who lives in a large city. He said "All I ahve around me at home is concrete. I built this house here for the trees. I would rather see the neighborhood burn down than cut those trees" (which were in violation of CA fire code, but there are no teeth to back up that code).

When people find they can't get insurance, we'll either see some code reform or emigration. Being Americans and being poor at forethought, it might take many people without insurance losing their homes before that happens though.

The resistance to hardening one's house against fire is still stunning
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: rcjordan on December 02, 2019, 03:12:33 PM
Californians shelling out $30,000 to ease PG&E blackout pain
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: ergophobe on December 02, 2019, 05:22:51 PM
Ya. The wholesale installation of generators on the measly quarter acre lots we have in our area is about to make my life during power outages unbearable. Those damn things are noisy, especially under load. The homeowners, mostly absentee vacation rental owners, have typically only listened to them during the test cycle.

I used to sort of enjoy the peace and quiet of power outages. Now it's like a three-day visit to the dentist, with a constant throb throb drilling in my head and I'm sure it will get worse as more generators go in.

It also means that when there's an outage, emissions may actually rise because of a small number of highly polluting home generating setups.

Of course, if it pushed people to solar + batteries, that could be a big win for both pollution and grid stability. It will be a big long-term win for carbon footprint, but in the near term you still have to make all those panels and batteries.

Also, depending on how you deploy batteries, they can *increase* your carbon footprint. The California energy market still prices nighttime power lower than daytime, which means that people with batteries often charge them with dirty power and then use them during the day to displace clean power. California is trying to deal with this very problem with new measures...

California solves batteries’ embarrassing climate problem
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: ergophobe on December 02, 2019, 05:27:15 PM
Brian Urey, a resident of Marin’s Mill Valley, decided to add backup batteries to his home in August after hearing about PG&E’s plans for scheduled service interruptions. The two Tesla Powerwalls plus installation and permits cost him more than $18,000, he said. (He expects to get about $6,000 back in tax credits.)

Uh.... not so fast Mr Urey. There were a tiny number of credits available and they disappeared at midnight on July 1. The main credits are only if the batteries provide storage for solar. Perhaps he already has solar, but I thought it was only with a new solar installation. I've spent a lot of time online and on the phone on this question. I couldn't find any tax credits or rebates for batteries alone.
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: rcjordan on December 02, 2019, 07:28:12 PM
>California solves batteries’ embarrassing climate problem

Good article. 
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: Travoli on December 02, 2019, 10:40:35 PM
>new solar installation.

I wonder if one solar panel feeding the batteries would qualify him for the $6k?
Title: Re: PG&E shutdowns....
Post by: ergophobe on December 02, 2019, 11:29:30 PM
I believe I read that the rule is that you are supposed to get 80% of the charge from your panels. So no, one panel would not do it.

When I looked into it, the installer said roughly a 6-foot by 20-foot array. That was a nominal 2kW array, but of course you lop of some percentage for inefficiencies downstream of the panel and for less than perfect sun, et cetera, et cetera. On this my memory is less clear, but I think he said you would expect to get 1.3-1.5kW out of it for the peak sun hours (peak sun hours is an official thing - the periods of the day when you get 1kW/m^2 I think, and you can look it up for your lattitude).

We have a solar/battery installer who was supposed to come last week, but cancelled because of the snowstorm. Rescheduled for Thursday.