I call what I'm doing "the LAN of things". Anyone who puts all that sort of thing "out there on the internet" is frankly crazy or doesn't know squat about security.
People called me crazy for spending that money (incrementally) while much of this gear cost more than it does now. I'm not so sure...haven't paid a power bill since '79 - have a phone/internet bill, and that's it. Yeah, car insurance (A Volt gets me to the beer store), property taxes and so on - but net-net - I'm making out like a bandit. Yes, I have to run the backup gennies sometimes, but not very often. The thing about solar in the mountains of SW VA - February...we don't always have enough sun, and no way can you have enough batteries - self discharge alone kills that plan - to handle that. But it's a pretty decent system, I rarely notice any limitations, and our uptime is far better than the local power company to boot - I am essentially running on a huge UPS all the time. In fact, one of the pis is in charge of monitoring and controlling that, along with controlling the backup gennies - all I can say is, it works. Doesn't hurt I used to make my living as a hardware/software/systems/product designer so I knew how to build all this.
Most people who put in solar, expect the power co to essentially provide them with free batteries. They in fact aren't free. So they have a point. No, transformers work both ways just fine, and it's quite rare someone has enough to push more net into the grid even at peak times than they would draw at peak times. No one puts up that many panels (room can be an issue even if money isn't). Even though the power co doesn't currently use batteries, the effect is the same - they still have maintenance costs, have to keep wires up, trees off them, and now with this new source, have to be a lot more agile. Older coal and I'd suppose nuclear plants don't ramp up and down quickly as the sun goes behind a cloud, leading to further waste, or having to use faster responding nat gas turbine plants to handle wildly variable loads. I hate to defend these guys - they are evil, no doubt, always have been while I've had this particular company in my neighborhood - their feed-in tariff has varied from 2c/kwh for electricity you produce while charging you 14c/kwh for electricity they sell you - and they demanded two separate meters, so you'd have had to make 7x the electricity you created (after your own use) to just break even. Jerks. For a little while, law made them kinda fair, but they got that overturned first opportunity (they get the best law money can buy, right?). Entitled to a profit...gheesh. Nice to watch from a distance...a great distance. Popcorn helps.
One advantage to living in the boonies off-grid. The power company is aptly named - they have power to enforce building permits - your stupid local gov delegated that one almost everywhere. No permit required, your PP taxes are nil....heh. So I was able to afford 4 homes, taxed as barns...yeah, the solar cost a lot, as did the batteries, and you have to adapt a bit during the "dark month". But...all in all - I win, they can go and die in a fire. This has little or nothing to do with being green. It's more like I'm Scottish. I don't hate nature, but that's not the motivation. Libre was. Freedom to not have to have a job for monthly bills, and other advantages ruled the decisions. Building my own homes was fun too. And you feel like you've done something net-positive in the world. In the boonies you can get this done before the
It's why I didn't get a Tesla, much as I admire them - and even Bob Lutz gives Elon credit for making it possible for him to shepherd the Volt through GM's BS management.
I get ~ 40 mpg on gasoline. There is no range anxiety. Further, the gasoline backup is a more efficient charger for my house (backup) than the Honda Inverter-Charger I also have (always wise to have more than one hot spare). When dumping around 600w into my home via an inverter I put on the 12v system of the Volt, hooked to a forklift charger, the engine runs ~ 90 seconds every ~15 minutes (this is about twice what my house uses "at idle" on average so I get net charge to the house system). There are serious advances in IC engines with all the ECM stuff (variable valve timing and so on, effectively, variable compression ratio - better gas gets you better efficiency).
There is no fscking way this pollutes more than my Honda Ridgeline, which gets at most 17 mpg...give me a break. I'm sorry about your illiquid investments in oil (and the useful idiots their shills have created). It's not my problem. I just go where I want, when I want. It's a great car and fun to drive.
I didn't do it to be green, it just worked out that way - just like I bought a farm and let it grow up to a nature preserve, because I'm too lazy to be a good farmer.
Yeah, the furries are cute, but that's not the reason, I like being away from the nut-cases that inhabit most cities.
The key word is "freedom" as in libre - not having to have a job to pay an electric bill. It's amazing how much money you save driving for the cost of tire wear and insurance alone. Things like oil changes - only when it gets old, not ever X thousand miles. Brakes rarely needed, that's what regen buys you. Nothing wears out. Add those costs...or as I did, subtract them, and suddenly the wallet is too fat to sit on.
Disingenuous comparisons with just the CO2 output of fossil fuels are...stupid. Mining, EROEI, deaths, mercury, radiation (check those last two downwind of a coal plant) and so on should be added - you'll pay those costs someday, even if not in the power bill. Cost of right of ways, wire maintenance, plant maintenance - all gone with distributed solar. Yeah, it won't work in the north. Sorry guys. It works fine in Virginia.
Elon...I hope he does well. He's my only living hero. Most people would have retired to a beach after making that much money on PayPal, not "gone all in" for what they believe. Succeed or fail - the man is the man. Even Bob Lutz (always certain, sometimes wrong, as he says) admits that without the push by Elon, the Volt (which I like better, actually) would not have been done. Search on Charlie Rose's website for a very good interview with both of those people...he discourages hardlinks, but it's there.
I take the Volt whenever it isn't a truck-only job (like moving horse poop from my neighbors' hobby horse farms to my garden, or firewood). It's fun to dust off ricky rice-racer on the mountain twisties where I live - they seem to think Fast and Furious2 is how you win a race - it's fun, but nope. There's a vid on my youtube channel, with yes, a visiting GM engineer holding the cam as we hit a 15 mph hairpin at over 60mph and didn't slide to the yellow line. He needed toilet paper immediately thereafter. Lighten up and have some fun!
If you look at energy in a capacitor - Joules = 1/2 ce^2, most of the energy is at the top of charge, and you'd have to be a real swithing supply guru (which I happen to be) to get most of it out, even, at some usable range of output voltage - those parts would be costly, and you might need more than one set to cover the range of inputs.
Li batteries are eminently recyclable, probably easier than lead-acids which are already recycled in large %. I know this as I use them in my off-grid solar system, and frankly, would kill to get the Volt system for my home (or several of them, as that's what it would take to replace the truckloads of submarine batteries I now use).
Sorry I didn't quote numbers above - someone else (Xiph) thankfully did that for me - they are so far off, no matter who's been spinning them - we can assume that's the case like with most numbers (noticed what you actually pay for groceries vs the official inflation rate for example?) - that's my point - even worst case and post-spin we're not in the same order of magnitude, much less "near" or "better" and won't be soon, if ever. With only a bit of physics knowledge, you'll understand why. It's true that we are also not that far from limits on battery energy density, this is one thing that definitely does not follow "Moore's law" as the periodic table is already full. But that doesn't mean that even with single atomic layer high D dielectrics and very expensive single layer epitaxy, we're going to beat that with caps. In fact, the chances are, we have a higher failure rate in practice than with batteries unless no cosmic ray ever hits your single layer insulator...and so on.
And oh, if you hit the webpage in my sig and pass the turing test by finding it - my number IS on there.
No other gas even comes close...the guy who provides my welding gasses, for example, even acetylyene which has to be dissolved in acetone to be "safe" at any pressure over 15-20 psi - it self-explodes otherwise (those unsatisfied carbon bonds) - can't even get the license to sell hydrogen, it's far too much a hazmat.
Now you want to let joe sixpack work with the stuff in quanity, all over the world? Yeah, it'll solve the population problem anyway. Along with the other stuff mentioned, like embrittlement, no way to liquify it at normal temperatures, a continuous explosive range with any air mixture...inefficient production, energy-wise...long list.
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.