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DeepBass9

What is the best use for excess solar power? Or how to turn the excess into cash

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Now summer is upon us, I'm sure lots of people will find themselves in the situation of excess power generation during the day. For grid tie installations you can feed back to the grid and maybe even get paid for it, but what if you are off grid? Assuming all of your power and water heating requirements are met, what can you do with the excess?

I have read that .bitcoin mining is an option, as the power cost is a big component of that. I would pump, water with the excess, but my borehole is quite dry. What else can be done with the power? Charging an electric car/bike is a good use as well.

So as a thought exercise, what if you had 10kWh per day excess, how could you best use that without just buying energy sucking appliances just because you can.

Bitcoin mining : I cam across this site where you can calculate the expected profit : http://www.coinwarz.com/calculators/bitcoin-mining-calculator . So if you put in 1kW power consumption, and zero energy cost you can make 25USc/hour, - $2.50 per day, $912 per year, = R12775 per year (which is about what the panels will cost you to make 10kWh per day)

Water pumping (for people with space to farm) : Free water = crop/pasture growth = more profitable farming, not sure how to quantify that.

Electric vehicle charging : I'm not sure how far 10kWh per day will get you in terms of km in an electric car, but I'm sure an electric motorbike or scooter will take you some distance which saves money that would have been spent on petrol.

Manufacturing something : Is there some process where you take raw materials, switch on the machine and a product comes out the other end without too much human interaction?

Can you sell electricity to your neighbour? (probably illegal)

The idea here is to turn excess power into passive income. Thoughts?

 

 

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I concur, aircon and water heating ;)

 

Bitcoing mining, I have some miners running, it gets less profitable every day. Use a raspberry Pi and some USB miners, or dedicated miners, but those things produce a LOT of heat - which in my case helped in the greenhouse during winter ;)

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The question was, once you have done all of your domestic stuff, including water heating and cooling, what then? If you system can handle all of your loads in winter, then in summer there is excess. What to do with it?

Also if you think about it, once you have a system set up, the marginal cost of adding panels is minimal, given that they have a 20 year life span. So 1kW of panels for R10000 will produce about 30MWh of power over its lifetime at a cost of 30c per kWh at current prices. If everyone else is paying R1.50 for electricity, surely you can make some money out of that difference somehow?  

Silver, you can buy S9 Antminers for R50k which are 11.85Th and draw 1600W. How many coins could you expect to mine with that? I understand the complexity gets more as time goes by, but so does the price. It has at least doubled in the last 2 years.

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DeepBass, I have been wracking my brain on your question. 

Because Government / Eskom made it illegal for us to sell power to our neighbors, nor are they prepared to buy from us, there is not much more one can do if geyser, aircons and all that is taken care of.

If they where prepared to buy, me knowing nothing of farming, I would have bought a piece of land in the Karoo and put up a solar farm as part of my retirement.

 

Flip side I sometimes wonder to get a "play play" farm in the mountains with a waterfall on the property that runs 365 days of the year. Using rivers is also a legal issue, so I was playing with the idea to pump water back up so that I can replace the evening loads with hydro power, farm totally off-grid. 

But that was a whole new set of complications to deal with and I needed a LOT of water and a good fall. Was fun playing with the idea though.

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15 minutes ago, DeepBass9 said:

The question was, once you have done all of your domestic stuff, including water heating and cooling, what then? If you system can handle all of your loads in winter, then in summer there is excess. What to do with it?

Also if you think about it, once you have a system set up, the marginal cost of adding panels is minimal, given that they have a 20 year life span. So 1kW of panels for R10000 will produce about 30MWh of power over its lifetime at a cost of 30c per kWh at current prices. If everyone else is paying R1.50 for electricity, surely you can make some money out of that difference somehow?  

Silver, you can buy S9 Antminers for R50k which are 11.85Th and draw 1600W. How many coins could you expect to mine with that? I understand the complexity gets more as time goes by, but so does the price. It has at least doubled in the last 2 years.

I don't mow the lawn in winter so it helps a bit to have excess power in summer, though not much. 

And I stopped mining bitcoin about a year ago, so I'm not upto date with the figures but will give it some thought later on. 

Run a greenhouse with the excess power, and eat some nice fresh food ;)

Build a koi pond and enjoy the ambiance. 

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4 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

DeepBass, I have been wracking my brain on your question. 

Because Government / Eskom made it illegal for us to sell power to our neighbors, nor are they prepared to buy from us, there is not much more one can do if geyser, aircons and all that is taken care of.

If they where prepared to buy, me knowing nothing of farming, I would have bought a piece of land in the Karoo and put up a solar farm as part of my retirement.

 

Flip side I sometimes wonder to get a "play play" farm in the mountains with a waterfall on the property that runs 365 days of the year. Using rivers is also a legal issue, so I was playing with the idea to pump water back up so that I can replace the evening loads with hydro power, farm totally off-grid. 

But that was a whole new set of complications to deal with and I needed a LOT of water and a good fall. Was fun playing with the idea though.

Is it illegal to have lights all around your property and "cast" light into the neighbor's yard, by accident ? ;) 

Your idea of hydro power refilling the batteries at night is a very good one, but as you have shown, not very effective in the city. 

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10 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Flip side I sometimes wonder to get a "play play" farm in the mountains with a waterfall on the property that runs 365 days of the year. Using rivers is also a legal issue, so I was playing with the idea to pump water back up so that I can replace the evening loads with hydro power, farm totally off-grid.

You could do that with a borehole. If you pump the water up to a tank during the day, then you can have a turbine at the bottom of the hole and let it run back at night.....

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Just now, DeepBass9 said:

Yes, its a conundrum. There must be something. If you live at the coast you could electroplate gold out of the seawater, maybe? http://www.wisegeek.org/can-gold-be-extracted-from-seawater.htm

http://www.creativitypool.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2853

I have actually been toying with the idea of running a server farm at home, but that would mean bigger + more expensive batteries for night-usage. 

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49 minutes ago, SilverNodashi said:

Run a greenhouse with the excess power, and eat some nice fresh food ;)

Build a koi pond and enjoy the ambiance. 

Done and done. I have Tilapia in a pond in my greenhouse. Hang on, I'll take a pic.... 

I use the tunnel to make seedlings which are then planted out, either under shade net or in the field depending on the plant. I have lots of lettuces currently. The fish dam is there for thermal mass to stop the plants frosting in winter and to keep the fish warm. We harvest the fish from time to time, usually at the end of summer when they are nice and big. That little one in the pic is the dumbest fish in the damn as he was the only one caught. Still small, about 250-300g. We kept some big ones from last season so I hope to have some 1kg+ fish by autumn.

tun.jpg

vis.jpg

 

let.jpg

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5 minutes ago, DeepBass9 said:

Done and done. I have Tilapia in a pond in my greenhouse. Hang on, I'll take a pic.... 

showoff ;) I still need to setup auquaponics!

 

Ok, so next step, do some bitcoin mining and see how it works. 

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14 minutes ago, SilverNodashi said:

I have actually been toying with the idea of running a server farm at home, but that would mean bigger + more expensive batteries for night-usage. 

That could work, you mean for web hosting, or backups or something else?

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Here is a wild idea. What makes solar panels not last? Being in the sun every single day.

So if you have an array that is perfect for winter, oversized for summer, design the array so that sections of panels can be removed and stored in summer.

Each winter all are installed, come summer a section is removed and stored. Next year alternate the sections.

This way the array could last longer than the anticipated design life.

Obviously where the array is mounted is a huge factor and it must be very easy, plug and play.

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39 minutes ago, SilverNodashi said:

showoff ;) I still need to setup auquaponics!

 

Ok, so next step, do some bitcoin mining and see how it works. 

I tried aquaponics and came the the conclusion that it is a convoluted way to motivate to your wife for getting a fish tank. The plants grow just as well in the soil, with exactly the same amount of effort, but much cheaper. Unless you are in a flat, or have a concrete garden, I wouldn't bother. But if you like fiddling and tinkering with pipes and pumps, go for it.

I'll look into the bitcoin mining, maybe that's the way to go. 

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1 hour ago, DeepBass9 said:

That could work, you mean for web hosting, or backups or something else?

Either. Doesn't matter. a mate of mine runs a security firm and has lots of servers. My wife does web development and marketing and use a lot of servers as well. 

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Silver, what is the cost to setup such a data center, with the required protections and connection to the WWW?

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24 minutes ago, DeepBass9 said:

I tried aquaponics and came the the conclusion that it is a convoluted way to motivate to your wife for getting a fish tank. The plants grow just as well in the soil, with exactly the same amount of effort, but much cheaper. Unless you are in a flat, or have a concrete garden, I wouldn't bother. But if you like fiddling and tinkering with pipes and pumps, go for it.

I'll look into the bitcoin mining, maybe that's the way to go. 

I don't agree. We've (my brothers-in-law, I and my father) with different setups: i.e. normal soil based, soil based with hydroponic food, full on hydroponic and then aquaponics. The aquaponic system seems to work the best so far. I just need to get around to it. Already removed the black bags, tank is empty, but I need to redo my 12m x 5m tunnel, as it was too big and the wind damaged it too quickly. The 5x5m one survived a bit longer but I want to redo the whole design. Rather build a "carport" style greenhouse like my brother-in-law did (I don't have pics) as it seems more rigid against the strong winds. 

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3 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Silver, what is the cost to setup such a data center, with the required protections and connection to the WWW?

I would imagine that the data connection would be the biggest issue. You need very high speed connections to the web to make it work. Probably in the gigabit range?

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1 minute ago, SilverNodashi said:

I don't agree.

I don't agree with you disagreeing. :D

DB is right. Just last weekend we chatted to a small business that sells parts and all for growing stuff with no soil. She said same as what DB said.

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Just now, The Terrible Triplett said:

Silver, what is the cost to setup such a data center, with the required protections and connection to the WWW?

haha. you kidding, right? So, let's say you really want to do this. Get a quote for a fireproof room, with raised floor, aircon and then a decent data feed. Then add fire suppression (Say R50k for a 25sqm room), install some racks and servers and UPS. You probably going to walk away with a R500k bill. 

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Just now, cvzyl said:

I would imagine that the data connection would be the biggest issue. You need very high speed connections to the web to make it work. Probably in the gigabit range?

My mate pays R15K/pm for a 20Mb connection from one of the big guys, 1:1 contention. 

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2 minutes ago, SilverNodashi said:

haha. you kidding, right? So, let's say you really want to do this. Get a quote for a fireproof room, with raised floor, aircon and then a decent data feed. Then add fire suppression (Say R50k for a 25sqm room), install some racks and servers and UPS. You probably going to walk away with a R500k bill. 

I know. :) 

Question was asked to put it in perspective.

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But in data centre terms 20mb is nothing. Reasonable sized sites should pull that link down (web server) and data centres for storage of files will be even worse.

Unfortunately connectivity in SA is real shit, that is why data and web servers are normally located in the US, Europe, Eastern Europe. Cheap and fast connections.

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