Monday, April 12, 2010

Car or renewable energy. Which is the better value?

I just finished up the Habitat for Humanity Home and Garden Show here in Traverse City. I had a pretty steady flow the whole weekend. But the common theme seem to be "Boy that is expensive!"

So I got to thinking about this statement. It has been something that I've wanted blog about for awhile.

Lets take my truck, the one that I would use to bring material to your project. I am going to use rough numbers for this example when I compare the $16,500.00 solar package that I had listed for the show, which is still available for this price until the end of the month.

I purchased a new 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD it cost around $30000.00. I managed to pay it off in 3 1/2 years. But since then it still continues to cost me money, a lot of MONEY!!! I will be using 4 years for the example not 5 years because I have not owned it for 5 yet.

Fuel: $ 20,800.00 ($100 to fill up average over 4 years)
Oil Changes: $990.00 ( I have 110000 miles and I change the oil every 5k miles)
Repairs $ 4000.00 (Brake job twice and a transmission replaced)
Tires: $1800.00 (3 set of tires every 30k miles)
Misc: $500.00
Insurance: $6000.00
Total $34,090.00 ( That does not include the truck and the interest that I paid for the loan.)

Now this is not typical of someone that may have a car and this is just to illustrate how the solar package that I am currently offering is a great deal compared to a vehicle.

But if I didn't have to have this vehicle I could have bought about 4 solar systems. Lasting me 20 plus years with little or no extra costs. Which would eliminate my electrical cost to the power company for years to come.

If you do the math for a vehicle and how much it costs. Which people have no problem spending that kind of money. When in about 7 years they will turn around and buy another and start all over again with the cycle.

So what sounds like a better value to you in the end?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wind or Solar what do you think is better?

I blogged a while back about the pro and cons of wind and solar. I said I would write another blog about what is right for Michigan. Well I am not quite ready for that. But I am willing to show you some data that I have so far.

I have two project that I installed in the area one is a 2.4kw wind turbine and one 2.1kw solar system. Each project has their issues. The wind turbine gets no Northeast or East wind. The solar panels have some shadowing from the trees that are near them.
As you can see the sources are about the same size, kilowatt rating and the both have some issues not making them perfect.

Since the solar project has only been operational since January 16 of this year. It is not fair to make a quick judgement one way or another which is better just yet. I would like to see at least a years worth of data before I make the call which is better.

But what I do have is some data from Jan 16 for both units and you are going to be surprised.

The solar project since it has been installed has generated 421kWh since it was put into service.

The wind project from the same date to present has generated 328kWh.

The solar has out produced the wind by 93kWh or 22%. But keep in mind this has been a weird year so far especially for the month of March where we had a lot of sun which is very unusual for us. This is why I can not say one is better then the other yet. Once we have a years worth of data this will make it more true to life I believe.

The one thing that I am seeing in the numbers is that the sun is more consistant where the wind is not. But there are days that the wind has out produced the solar by a lot. Something that the solar will not be able to do because the wind can blow for 24 hours straight where the sun can not shine for 24 hours.

But stay tune I will keep you up to date as I get data throughout the next few months. You can follow the solar output here.