bennelson
Posts: 128
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:01 pm
Contact: Website

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:47 pm

I probably will try to trim the very top of the pine tree, to stunt its growth. And again, this time of year is WORST CASE SCENARIO for solar. The rest of the year, the shadows are nothing like this.

Now just imagine if I tried a GROUND mount for solar!

Don
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Location: Biloxi MS

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:15 pm

For sure you'll want to trim that pine tree - It will only get worse as the tree grows. Cutting the top out of a pine will cause it to bush out and not grow as tall as it would like. It's a good idea to top any pine which is tall enough that it could possibly come down on your house in a storm. It will make the tree stronger and in your case it will also increase your solar output

There's also a deciduous tree that will almost completely shade the roof in the afternoon before the house shadow shows up - In the spring and summer when it's full of leaves it may be a problem too, even though the sun will be higher in the sky. Even if it's not a problem now, it will be if the tree crows much taller

Solar electricity is wonderful, but using it to heat water is not an efficient use of the power. Instead, look into mounting a solar collector on your house to heat the water directly - Much more efficient and allows your solar juice to be used for better things, like selling it back if you have extra. We have had a 4 x 8 collector on our roof now for 10 years and even though we have no solar electricity, the solar water heater saves us enough juice that we're essentially charging the cars for free. So far, it's providing 100% of our domestic hot water about 10 months of the year and probably 75% of what we use the other two months

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1994 Miata 60K miles - Soon to be sold
1979 Honda CBX six into six

bennelson
Posts: 128
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:01 pm
Contact: Website

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:02 pm

Here's the thing with solar hot water vs solar electric: I'm already going to have a WHOLE bunch of solar electric set up. All the solar panels match each other, use the same racking, need the same permitting, and I pretty much need to do the same work and meet the same requirements and regulations no matter how many or how few I put up.

Also, I can use solar photovoltaic YEAR ROUND to produce electricity. I can than use that electricity to do whatever I want - lighting, run a computer, charge an electric car, heat my house, cool my house, heat my water, run my washing machine, etc. etc. I can also get credited with my power company for any EXTRA electricity I produce during the summer and then get that energy BACK in the winter. I am NOT specifically creating electricity just to heat water. If I have "left-over" electricity, THEN pumping it into heat makes sense.

To add a solar hot water panel to the garage, it's a completely new set of building codes, regulations, and skill sets. Also, the water panel wouldn't match the PV panels, and due to size differences, I wouldn't be able to maximize my rooftop space. All that, and a solar hot water panel ONLY makes hot water. That's it! It does ONE thing. And when I would want that heat the MOST (in the winter, for heating) that's when the resource is the least available. Also, there's no simple/easy/cheap way to bank hot water over a range of 6 months.

Lastly, solar thermal is really all about surface area times how bright your sun is time number of hours it's shining. So, a 4x8' solar thermal collector could gain 32xHEATOFSUNxHoursofWinterDaylight. On the other hand, my garage also has two garage doors, each 7x9'. If I simply glaze in one of those, that gives me 63 square feet of solar collection for the same number of hours of daylight! And it does that without pumps or any other points of failure. (The vertical orientation of the garage doors is also a better angle for collecting the winter angle light than the slope of the roof.)

Don't get me wrong - Solar thermal and water based solar collectors are GREAT, they just aren't the right thing to add for space heating to a garage that's all set up for photovoltaic.

I'm also considering some sort of a wood-burning or pellet-burning stove that could be rigged up as a boiler. That makes a nice bio-mass heat source and pumping the heat into the slab is still a great way to temper the rate of heat. (It's easy for wood stoves running full tilt to make TOO much heat, but for too little time.) I need to check with the insurance company first to see how a wood stove in the garage would affect my insurance rates. Having a metal roof instead of a shingled asphalt one should help bring the cost down a little. Perhaps it would be a wash on insurance cost with a wood stove?

Lastly, I'm also thinking about the possibility of digging a deep trench to connect my house and the garage. I could then bury a pipe with insulated water pipes in it and run water to and from the garage. Theoretically, I could add a water jacket to the wood-stove in the house, and pump heated water from the house to the garage. I could then also tie in a solar hot water panel on the south end of the house (seriously, like the only other small patch of sun in my yard...) to the wood stove and the garage slab. All of that is possible, but would get complicated real fast too.

Phximiev
Posts: 1097
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:25 pm
Location: Phoenix

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:31 pm

Ben:

How did the insulation work out?

http://300mpg.org/2016/11/01/insulating ... ctric-car/
2012 iMIEV ES
2014 Chevy Volt

bennelson
Posts: 128
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:01 pm
Contact: Website

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:47 pm

Generally just feels less cold.
Hard to make an exact comparison, because I'm trying to compare how I remember last winter compared to this winter (now with insulation.)

Overall, I think it's an improvement.

Don
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 3:55 pm
Location: Biloxi MS

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:26 am

The insulation will make a HUGE difference when you begin to warm the slab - It might cut your energy use by as much as 1/3rd or maybe even in half. You'll be warming the slab and not the ground

I wasn't proposing a solar collector to heat your garage - I was suggesting one mounted on the house to heat domestic water. That would free up a portion of your solar for other uses and if you're lucky enough to have a surplus, you can sell it back. Domestic water heating is often the second largest energy drain in an average house

My next suggestion may not work well for you either, considering all of the regulations, permits and insurance issues you are evidently facing (which I have no experience with at all) but I do have some experience heating a large garage on the cheap. My favorite is to use an old pot belly stove with used motor oil as the fuel. We mounted it at the far back of the garage and ran the stovepipe the length of the garage about 7' off the floor, so as to get the maximum heat from the pipe before it exits through the roof. A stainless 'dogdish' hubcap in the bottom, a piece of steel brake line run into the stove so it drips oil into the hubcap. Oil stored in a 55 gallon drum on a rack outside for gravity flow with a valve in the line to control the flow rate. You only need a *tiny* drop of oil every minute or so to keep a good fire going - Drop in the oil too fast and the whole stove turns cherry red!

It would be a fairly simple matter to install a coil of stainless tubing in the top of the stove so you could heat water and a little circulation pump like those used on solar water heating systems to circulate that water through the tubing in your floor would really warm up a large garage - The combination of an air and water heater would work really well - We only used it as an air heater. Collect and store drums of used motor oil all summer from your friends (offer to change their oil for free) who are still driving ICE's and you would have near free heat during the winter months . . . . *if* you could get it permitted, regulated and insured

Here in the boondocks, we can do things like this without the bother of permits or regulations . . . . or even insurance issues if it's in a detached garage, but it sounds like it may not be so simple to do where you live

If you can source the used oil, I can guarantee you it would heat your garage and very cheaply too

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1994 Miata 60K miles - Soon to be sold
1979 Honda CBX six into six

bennelson
Posts: 128
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:01 pm
Contact: Website

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:33 am

In my house, my water heater is natural gas, so going solar with water wouldn't save me electricity (but it would save me gas, and I AM planning on doing that in the long run!)

For the garage, I'm looking at trying to find a way to do some wood heat out there, or possibly a pellet stove. (Firewood is easily available in my area, and pellets are cheap. I even know a guy who makes his own.) Likely, a big part of that will depend on fire insurance.

I've also watched a few Youtube videos on DIY outdoor wood boilers, which are very interesting. The upside of an outdoor boiler is that it is safer, in terms of not having a building catch fire, but it seems like a shame to put a heat source outside, when if it was inside, any "lost" heat would simply heat your building!

I think that ideally for the garage would be a wood or pellet stove IN the garage, with a heating coil that would connect to the hydronic in-slab heat. The radiant heat directly from the stove would heat up me and the interior of the garage quickly, and the slab would get to slowly suck up heat and moderate it for later.

Don
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 3:55 pm
Location: Biloxi MS

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:42 am

Sounds like a plan!

We have wood pellet manufacturing down here and I think they ship the pellets up the Mississippi on northbound barges which are used to ship other products south

http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/104 ... llet-plant

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1994 Miata 60K miles - Soon to be sold
1979 Honda CBX six into six

Phximiev
Posts: 1097
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:25 pm
Location: Phoenix

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:38 pm

The day after Christmas . . . :

https://youtu.be/RnYiw9b_8v4
2012 iMIEV ES
2014 Chevy Volt

Phximiev
Posts: 1097
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:25 pm
Location: Phoenix

Re: New Owner - Ben got an iMiEV - Again!

Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:50 pm

2012 iMIEV ES
2014 Chevy Volt

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