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Comment Re:Macro economics not micro economics (Score 1) 240

If you look at my previous post above about my solar system that NJ paid for almost 65% of the cost, I was only able to get that rebate by having my system connected to the grid which means anything that is generated that I am not using at that moment goes directly into the grid to all my neighbors. Since I keep detailed stats on everything, I can tell you, depending on the month, I put roughly anywhere from 25%-60% of the electricity I generate back into the grid. June through August are the months i put little back into the grid because of air conditioning and the pool pump. If you want to look at my yearly totals, in 2007 I generated about 9590kW and put 3670kW back into the grid which is about 39% to my neighbors. For 2008 I generated about 9596kW and put 4010kW back into the grid which is about 42%. You will notice that I had a 3% increase back to the grid due to me starting to become more energy conscience. I know I probably use more electricity than I should, but I have been trying to make more of an effort to reduce my carbon footprint and not just with electricity. While its not 50% (or 65% in my case), I am still putting a decent amount back into the grid. So anyone claiming that its rare a house generates more than it consumes is probably false. You have to remember that its only the electricity the house uses during the day that will come from the electricity generated by the panels. Anything used at night comes from the grid. Most people are not home during the day which means less electricity is used during the day because tv's, stereos, appliances, possibly computers and whatever else that someone would use while home that consumes electricity are turned off, which means more electricity back into the grid. Lights which are also another electricity hog (unless you are using compact florescent) are mostly used at night so none of that comes directly from the panels.

Comment Solar on my NJ house (Score 5, Informative) 240

I live in NJ and have a 7.8kW solar system on my roof. I purchased it through Home Dept/BP Solar. The state rebate covered about 65% of the cost. I only had to pay the other 35% of the cost up front. I applied for the system in 2005 and about 6 months later in April 2006 I had a working system on my roof. I have been extremely happy with its performance especially since my roof faces pretty much directly south. Not only do I save in electricity, I also get Solar Renewable Energy Credits that I can sell to help pay for my cost of the system. An SREC is received for every 1000kWH of electricity generated. My system generates about 9 SREC's per solar year. The solar year begins in June and ends in May. After it was installed I immediately purchased RS485 communcation boards for the two inverters and an RS232 to RS485 converter for a PC and runs the SunnyData software that continuously monitors the system. It reads various data every 8 seconds and I use ssh/rsync to push it to a linux server every minute where I wrote some scripts to parse the data and create almost real time graphs of its performance. For anyone interested, I setup my own domain mysolarenergysystem.com where you can view all the details about the system. I also had the electric company replace my meter with a net meter, so each month on my bill I can see my exact in and out usage. The net meter has what looks like a phone jack that can be used for remote monitoring. I asked them about it because I wanted to connect it to my computer, but unfortunately they didn't give me much of an answer except that its not used, but would have been nice to monitor and graph daily statistics for that as well.

Comment Re:Performance (Score 2, Informative) 117

I just bought the linux version and started playing it and have not had any problems with performance so far. I am running kubuntu 9.04 x86_64 with an Intel core2quad 2.83G with 8G DDR1066 and dual Radeon HD 4550 in crossfirex mode using the latest ati catalyst 9.6 fglrx driver. The movement is very smooth without any hiccups with all the video options at their highest settings. I can't give you a comparison to the windows version since I have no intention on getting it, but I can tell you that it works great on my linux system.

Comment Re:This might be a dumb question (Score 1) 132

Geothermal heat transfer is a great way to do cooling (and heating if needed). The initial investment will be high, but the savings will also be high in the long run (and not just in $). Add solar panels and/or wind turbines that can power the heat pump and some of the data center equipment. I had a solar system installed on the roof of my house a few years ago. I received major incentive rebates from the state, I can sell my SREC's and I get "free" electricity; and in a few more years time the cost of the system will have paid for itself. It has been a good investment. I researched geothermal for the house earlier this year and plan to invest in that within in the next few years. I have already reduced my carbon footprint by more than 30% in the last few years and plan to reduce it further. Just think how much more they could be reducing their carbon footprint.

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