Backup power.

steve_NY

Active member
May 22, 2020
40
Long Island, NY
A few years back, my sister put in a big natural gas powered back up generator, that can power her whole house. I think that cost around $10k- $12k. System is hooked to electric panel. Every few years we tend to have storms that knock the power out for a few days at a time.
I have a small gas powered generator that I used last summer when we had no power for close to a week. It is small (maybe 400k ) but can power fridge and some lights. It is a pain in the butt, in that you need to refill it with gas every 6 hours or so (and sometimes that can be a challenge when gas stations in the area lose power and many close down). I also had to run out and buy a whole bunch of long and heavy duty extension cords.
We had an electrician start to set up where we can hook that generator to our electric panel, to run a few things, but that was never completed and finalized. (Hey Jessie, its been 2-3 years, did that part come in yet?)

Not sure how this would impact pool, as our pool is still under construction (pool itself mostly complete, but electric and gas not hooked up to it yet, and has been delayed by the weather this month. Masonry waiting until spring/summer.)
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
I would love solar power on my property.. but it aint going to happen. 75% of my half acre lot is covered by a grove of old Oaks. The other 25% is in shade from the other 75%. The only sun that gets to my pool is a beam for about 5 hours a day through the stone henge of redwoods on the south property line. So, nope, no solar on my lot unless its mounted on a 80' pole.
I have a friend that is a mechanical engineer, and does big building plant type projects.. so of course he made sure is house was set up with a NG electric generator that automatically fails over if there is a power outage. When the power outage goes out on his block he's the only one in the neighborhood whose lights are still on. He told me the downside is he now must keep a big freezer in his basement, because the neighbors all want him to store their perishables.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
23,142
He told me the downside is he now must keep a big freezer in his basement, because the neighbors all want him to store their perishables.
That's probably reasonable because they have to listen to the noise.

Why can't they make a quiet generator?

NG generators make a ridiculous amount of noise.

Does anyone know of a quiet generator?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
23,142
Finally, the "real" solution to our power needs has always been fission-nuclear power. We may or may not get fusion working.
There are several promising new technologies that can improve nuclear power.

Quantum computing should help us figure out fusion, but that will probably take 20 to 30 years to develop a practical design.
 

setsailsoon

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James, great question and getting back to your original question here's what we do:

For people who are losing power, how many have backup power?
We lose power almost every year due to storms. We have a stand-by whole house generator.

What backup power do you have?
22 KW NG air-cooled generator with duel auto transfer switches for both 125 amp panels. I GC'd it myself for about $9100.
Do you have solar, natural gas or what?
Solar panels for the pool, NG for house and pool heater.
Who plans to get backup power and what do you plan to get?
Nothing more than maintain my genset. Auto start and test set for every 2 weeks.
Do you have or plan to get a battery wall?
No. Hopefully power prices stay similar to current ~$.12 and this is never justified.
May get a large UPS as 2nd backup for computer since it's so vital for business.

With so many people working from home, people can’t afford to be without power.
[/QUOTE]
 

setsailsoon

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Finally, the "real" solution to our power needs has always been fission-nuclear power. We may or may not get fusion working. But fission works, we know how. And between breeding more fuel and adding Thorium, we can run hundreds of years even with today's growth. Hopefully by the time the fissionable materials run out on earth, we either are on to the next source or we have access to the asteroid belt and fissionable materials from there.

Keep an eye on ITER in France. I've been watching it since 2008. They go first plasma in 2026... it's been a long hard slog and I think this is the closest thing to the dilithium crystals for most people alive today!
 
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skimmerswimmer

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2013
400
Long Island, NY
The quietest generator I know of is the Honda EU7000is. I purchased this generator about a year ago and we had to use it during an outage this past summer for 3 days. It is an expensive unit, but it's fuel injected, extremely quiet and can run up to 18 hours on a tank of gas in eco mode, which reduces the engine speed from 3600 RPM to 2400 RPM when under lower loads. It's an inverter genset, so it outputs a perfect sine wave. I had a 240V 30A input box installed on the side of the house wired directly to my 200A load center using an interlock kit, and it powers the whole house with the exception of the main HVAC unit. We have a separate mini-split AC in the basement that we used when it was really hot. In my opinion, it is the best and quietest portable generator on the market.
 
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PoolGate

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That's probably reasonable because they have to listen to the noise.

Why can't they make a quiet generator?

NG generators make a ridiculous amount of noise.

Does anyone know of a quiet generator?

For larger generators that remain stationary for the most part can be made MUCH quieter by the addition of a muffler. Check out YouTube for videos of these style generators using typical turbo style mufflers to reduce their sound by like 90%. Problem with generators is they mostly use "spark arrestors" and not a muffler. Couple that with them running at 3600 RPMs all the time and that makes for a loud experience.
 
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santacruzpool

Gold Supporter
Feb 24, 2015
767
Santa Cruz, CA
We just added a Tesla Powerwall to our house this month. We already had 4.4kw of PV solar on the roof.

We only went with one Powerwall and it is wired to power essential loads in the house.

PG&E is not changing anything on our grandfathered NEM 1.0 - and our E-6 rate plan - (E-6 will go away soon...NEM 1.0 will last a little longer).

The idea is that when the power is shut down due to PG&E PSPS (Public Safety Power Shut Offs - for fire danger), we can use the battery as a storage device for night time power needs - in addition during the day our excess solar will charge the battery, and then the battery will power much of the house during the evening peak power times when PG&E rips us off. Our peak pricing in the summer is $.48 a kw...

Our Solar PV setup had an expected payoff of around 7-8years - we are in year 6 now. It has almost paid for itself.

The Powerwall cost (directly installed by Tesla) is $11.5K - minus a 26% Fed Tax Rebate...so net out of pocket will be $8,500 for battery backup.

Payback on the Powerwall is questionable at best - but it will save us at least a few hundred dollars per year, and depending on how we use it this summer it may save a bit more - but that means 10+ year payback which is not the reason to get one.

We got the Powerwall to hedge against more PSPS power shut offs and other power problems - with our solar it sucked to watch the panels do nothing when the power was out - knowing that we could use that to power the house when sunny. Now we can do that, and even power the house at night - keeping the fridge and freezer running, a few lights and even our TV and internet overnight with ease.
 

PoolGate

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We just added a Tesla Powerwall to our house this month. We already had 4.4kw of PV solar on the roof.

We only went with one Powerwall and it is wired to power essential loads in the house.

PG&E is not changing anything on our grandfathered NEM 1.0 - and our E-6 rate plan - (E-6 will go away soon...NEM 1.0 will last a little longer).

The idea is that when the power is shut down due to PG&E PSPS (Public Safety Power Shut Offs - for fire danger), we can use the battery as a storage device for night time power needs - in addition during the day our excess solar will charge the battery, and then the battery will power much of the house during the evening peak power times when PG&E rips us off. Our peak pricing in the summer is $.48 a kw...

Our Solar PV setup had an expected payoff of around 7-8years - we are in year 6 now. It has almost paid for itself.

The Powerwall cost (directly installed by Tesla) is $11.5K - minus a 26% Fed Tax Rebate...so net out of pocket will be $8,500 for battery backup.

Payback on the Powerwall is questionable at best - but it will save us at least a few hundred dollars per year, and depending on how we use it this summer it may save a bit more - but that means 10+ year payback which is not the reason to get one.

We got the Powerwall to hedge against more PSPS power shut offs and other power problems - with our solar it sucked to watch the panels do nothing when the power was out - knowing that we could use that to power the house when sunny. Now we can do that, and even power the house at night - keeping the fridge and freezer running, a few lights and even our TV and internet overnight with ease.

If you have PV panels and a PowerWall, could you disconnect yourself from the grid and be self-sufficient? I mean like "most of the time"?
 

Dirk

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@santacruzpool, I was told by my PV solar installer that PG&E won't allow a battery connected to PV that is connected to their grid. Was I told wrong, or did you work around that somehow? Apparently they make an exception for medical reasons, but that's it.

With the rolling blackouts we're sure to continue to experience, I know I should have a generator. One that can at least run my fridge, maybe my furnace blower and alternate with running my pool pump a few hours a day. I just added insulation in the attic, so I can easily get by without air conditioning. I can make do otherwise with a few lights and watching movies on my laptop.

Ha, I just realized the only power outage prep I've done is a decent pantry and 300 recorded movies. Shows you where my priorities are! 🤪
 

santacruzpool

Gold Supporter
Feb 24, 2015
767
Santa Cruz, CA
If you have PV panels and a PowerWall, could you disconnect yourself from the grid and be self-sufficient? I mean like "most of the time"?

If I had a larger PV system and say 2 power walls I would be pretty self sufficient - extra powerwalls are $6500

@santacruzpool, I was told by my PV solar installer that PG&E won't allow a battery connected to PV that is connected to their grid. Was I told wrong, or did you work around that somehow? Apparently they make an exception for medical reasons, but that's it.

With the rolling blackouts we're sure to continue to experience, I know I should have a generator. One that can at least run my fridge, maybe my furnace blower and alternate with running my pool pump a few hours a day. I just added insulation in the attic, so I can easily get by without air conditioning. I can make do otherwise with a few lights and watching movies on my laptop.

Ha, I just realized the only power outage prep I've done is a decent pantry and 300 recorded movies. Shows you where my priorities are! 🤪
You should be able to do a PV battery - I don't have any special medical needs or rate (yet anyway).

There are tons of Powerwall installs in PG&E land - and if you are in a really bad fire zone there are other rebates (SGIP fire zone Tier 2 or 3 has some rebates for self generating).
 

Dirk

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Check with PG&E. The rule seems ridiculous.
I will, and it is. And maybe it's changed in the last few years. I just assumed they made that deal with our PUC so that they could eventually phase out or cut back generation and stay viable via storage and grid. My source was my PV salesman, so maybe not the best...
 
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santacruzpool

Gold Supporter
Feb 24, 2015
767
Santa Cruz, CA
Dirk - prepare to wait a while for the Powerwalls - we put our order in last May as I finally could justify things - and they just installed it a couple of weeks ago.

There are a few local PV installers that promised faster delivery - but they also wanted a ridiculous price of $20K for one unit...I didn't want one that bad.

Tesla direct is the cheapest - just be prepared to wait.

There are also systems from other providers - including an intriguing model from Enphase.
 
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Dirk

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Is Tesla working on a time machine by any chance? I wanna go back (the promise of a better life through tech is not materializing): cheap electricity from a shiny new grid; clean water and plenty of it; no dropped calls; 35¢ for gas; and a pet dinosaur... good times...
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
23,142
People like to look back on the past with nostalgia about the “good old days”, but the days weren’t so great.

35 cent gas seems like a good deal until you realize that people got paid $5 per hour.

Most good feelings come from being younger and more idealistic but also more naïve.

If people had a time machine to go back to the past, I suspect that more than 90% of all people would choose not to go and that 90% of people who did choose to go would soon regret it.

There are places on earth where people can choose to live that are much more primitive and off the grid, but most people choose not to live there.

In any case, the next 30 years will have more technological change than the last 150 years.

If people think that change has been extreme recently, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

The entire earth will be modeled in a functional Matrix level digital twin and all of it will be watched by A.I agents that will understand everything and operate everything.

It will be a parallel universe that will mirror the real world in every detail in real time.

Everything will be seen and analyzed by A.I, which will continue to get smarter and smarter.

Once quantum computing gets fully established and integrated with A.I and big data, the compute power and results will be far more transformational than virtually anyone knows.

Progress moves inexorably forward. We could not stop it even if we wanted to.

Note that the Flintstones are going backwards and the Jetsons are going forward.


 
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