Yearly Archives: 2011

9200 GigaWatts, Baby!

Okay, well… more like 9200 basic watts, but still….

So one of the first things I wanted to do when I finally bought a house was put in a solar PV system.

My system consists of forty SunPower E18 230 watt panels. For the fastest return on investment, you want to size a system based on your yearly consumption to just keep you out of the more expensive rate tiers. However, at 9.2 kW DC, my system is much larger than necessary because I just love the idea of offsetting * all * of my electricity consumption with solar generation. (And even get a little compensation from PG&E for any net excess for the year.)

I already drive an electric car (a Nissan LEAF) for nearby destinations but I fully expect that in a couple more years I’ll be able to trade in for something that will let me do all my driving via electricity. I’m also looking to get a heat pump installed soon to avoid needing to use propane as much. So I expect to be able to use much more of what I’m now generating.

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It’s December now — winter in the northern hemisphere and so the sun is low in the sky and the days are short but the system is already generating around 5500 watts AC at peak in full sunshine and even 2100 watts when cloudy/overcast. Sweet! All told, it’s generating over 30 kWH on a sunny day — and it’s winter! That’s much more than my current average daily consumption. Of course that’s with me not commuting right now (so not charging the car as much) and no electric heat pump yet.

In summer, the peak production should be closer to 8000 watts AC and the days will be longer but the mornings can often be foggy in the summer here. And of course there will be days with little sun. It’ll be fun to see how my little power plant does over the course of the year though!

By the way, Solar Technologies was a great installer and I highly recommend them! And remember, you can even have solar installed with no money down with a lease: you replace your monthly electric bill with a smaller lease payment!

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First Ski Weekend of the Season

Pictures from the first ski weekend of the season (Dec 17-18, 2011) in Tahoe at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows with the Outdoor Adventure Club and Greg, Erin, Elizabeth and Vanessa.  Not a lot of snow, but plenty of fun!

  

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Don’t drag her into this

Siri is very cool but this… *this* is very funny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eLELOBuT-Q

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Lunar Eclipse

This morning’s lunar eclipse…

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I liked how I could just step out on the balcony to see it too.

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What a pretty sight!

Gotta love that negative sign:

(That’s my PG&E electric meter running backwards to the tune of almost 5000 watts!  Yeah, baby!)
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Riding Skeggs

This is a short video montage (2.4 minutes, 44.4 MB) I put together from a big group ride in Skeggs (El Corte de Madera) with the South Bay Mountain Bike Group (via Meetup.com):

 

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A Holiday Classic on Ice

That’s right, I’m talking about…

James Cameron’s “Aliens”

… on Ice!

http://www.movies.com/movie-news/39aliens-on-ice39-review-with-video/5491

Alas, it’s only being performed in Austin.

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Claris Reunion Lunch

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Woot!

Forty SunPower panels sitting in my driveway… woot!  Installation starts today!

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The Internet is Coming! The Internet is Coming!

No, it’s true!  I can see it!

Okay, so in reality they’re working well away from the house down the utility pole line.  But they’re on their third day now.  It’s coming!  It’s coming!

See, it’s like this.  The previous owners built this house on a little hill and both power and phone lines were run up a series of utility poles the long way around, despite there being houses just below in another direction.  With power.  And phone lines.

Anyway… so they didn’t want to pay the significant cost for Comcast to run up the long way along these utility lines and just made do with DSL for internet access.  But at just 1.5 Mbps, that’s not really cutting it for everything that’s possible via the net today.  So I had to pony up a third of Comcast’s cost to get them to run their cable up here…  again, the looong way round.  But here it comes!

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Tesla Factory Tour Event

As a Model S reservation holder, I was invited to Tesla’s factory tour event which included a short ride in a beta version of the upcoming Tesla Model S.  Here are pictures and a short video from the event.

Continue reading »

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Live Raptor Presentation

Pictures and video from a wonderful presentation I attended about raptors and raptor rehabilitation programs:

  

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Halloween at the Wellers

It’s that time of year again… Halloween at the Wellers!  Click through for the full gallery:

  

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Boggs Mountain Biking

Pictures and video from a fantastic weekend of mountain biking at Boggs Mountain with the Bay Area Outdoor Adventure Club:

 

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Pirates of Cache Creek 2011

Finished putting together the pictures plus a little video for the “Pirates of Cache Creek” rafting weekend with the Outdoor Adventure Club.

Check it out!

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EV Car Hater’s Guide

Plugincars.com recently put out a couple of “guides” that make fun of all the anti-EV arguments — they’re up to two chapters now.  Kinda fun:

http://www.plugincars.com/ev-haters-guide-chapter-2-107607.html
http://www.plugincars.com/ev-haters-guide-hating-electric-cars-107560.html

I definitely encounter these folk now and again — one today at a biking group lunch of eight or so who were otherwise enthusiastic.

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