Huge So-Cal EV Charging station

Dec 20 2011 Published by under Future things, Sloar, Solar Install, Uncategorized

 

Above is a photo of the Southern California Edison demonstration electric vehicle charging station in Irwindale California . This is a huge charging station with eight SAE J1772 EVSE and four old style inductive paddle chargers.  That is twelve charging stations, each with it’s own dedicated parking space.

The twelve parking spaces are covered by very large PV solar (300 panels) array that can produce 35,000 kWh per year. Or enough electricity to drive 10,000 miles a year.

Her is a photo look up at the PV solar array.

Could not believe that all eight SAE J1772 EVSE station were unused.

 

This is all the support equipment for the L2 and L1 stations.  When I first saw all these electrical cabinets and the ladder with supplies I though they might be installing a L3 charging station, but no such luck.

The EVSe are all part of the Charge Point network so you can check the status and avaiable on-line using the Charge Point website.

Just an interesting note:

I did not realize that this Southern California Edison location, in Irwindale California, was the same location of a employee shooting were four people were injured or killed. And I’am this dumb bozo taking pictures of the Edison building, walking around like nothing happens. I was wondering why there were so many security guards around.  But no one approached me are stopped me from taking the photos. It was not until later, on the freeway going home, that I heard a news story about the shooting and they said it was the Irwindale location, where I was.

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Solar Park & ride

Sep 09 2011 Published by under Cars, Changing scene, Sloar

The park and ride, pictured above, is in Vacaville California off of interstate 80 at the Davis exit. The location is half way between Sacramento and San Francisco.   It is the first, location in California, to house a 440 volt quick charging  station.  The quick charge station will charge a Nissan Leaf from empty to 80% charge in just 30 minutes. The park and ride also has a very large solar array to supplement the electrical car charging done at this location. With several L2 charging stations.

Here the 440 level 3 charger, located under the solar panels,  beinging used to charge up a Mitsubishi i-Miev at a press event conducted at the  Vacaville California location. There are discussion and tentative plans to build over 300 of these CHAdeMo format chargers through the United States. Nissan has already build a CHAdeMo format L3 charging network through Japan, placing one every 40 or sol miles.

Will the every 40mile charging station work here in the United States or will EV’s just be around town cars. Oh do not forget the upcoming version two of the electric car where refueling will take less then 2 minutes.

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Phoenix Motor car Update

Aug 25 2011 Published by under Cars, Changing scene

Back in 2008 I wrote about Phoenix Motor cars. A small start up that was doing Research and development on electric cars. Original Phoenix Motor car had two models and sport truck and a sedan. If you visit their website it looks like they have drope the sedan. The sport truck is the only vehicle on the website. Plus they are ONLY doing fleet sales at this time . No private party sales. That is sad

I also had the opportunity to drive by their corporate offices in Ontario California. As you can see from the photo below

Phoenix Sport trucks waiting to be electrified, by Greg Powers

the lot is full of sport trucks. Lots of them for a small manufacture.  Well they are not really na automotive manufacture. They buy the rolling assembled truck for a manufacture in Korea. Then install the all electric drive train here in Ontario California.

The new policy of only doing fleet sales is reflected in the over wellming number of white sport trucks. The other strange thing is the trucks are sitting in a parking lot that is part of a lite industrial park.

phoenix Motor car sport truck, by Greg Powers

Her is another photo showing a side view of the sport truck.

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Saving Money on Utilities: Part 1

Jul 17 2011 Published by under Dumb Americans

Things we did to save money on utilities:

Electricity, this was the area we made the biggest impact. We saves a tone of money by installing a variable speed pool pump.  This is an expensive item but an out dated pool pump can waist  a lot of electricity. We paid about $1,100 for a new highly efficient pool pump. But this is a device you use every for 6 to 8 hours a day. We were using 18kWh a day running our pool pump. With the new pump we are using only 2.5kWh a day. A huge savings.

Also in the area of electricity we replaced all our light bulbs with LED bulbs not Compact Florescent. LED light bulbs use one tenth of the energy of an incandescent or Halogen bulb. Plus LED’s do not contain the very toxic mercury that CF do.

As we replace appliances we always check the energy guide labels to purchase the lowers energy cost appliance we can find that meets our needs. You would be surprised the difference in the energy usage between different appliances.  It all adds up.

The we started scouting the house for vampire power users. Vampire power are devices that use powers 24  by 7 even when you are not using the device. And the bigest culprit here are wall warts. you know the power transformers that plug in to the wall. well they draw power even when the device is not being used.  This add up real fast if yo can reduce you vampire power by only 0.5kWh that ends up being a 12kWh per day savings.

We drove our electric usage from a average of 40kWh a day to and average or 22kWh a day. The max we were hitting in the summer was 60kWh a day down to 44kWh a day.

That is a huge savings and anyone can do it. This does not mean i’m a tree hugger, it just means i’m cheep, frugal and like keep my money. It is also a great was to reduce expenses when your getting ready to retire.

 

 

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Tesla Model S

Mar 25 2011 Published by under Cars, Changing scene

I drove down to Newport Beach to see the Model S at the Tesla dealer. I had been invited to a special showing of the touring Model S. Getting there and seeing the car being rope off I was disappointed. Then to find out that we were not going to be able to touch or even get in the car was a real bummer.  Apparently this particular Model S is a concept Model S and not a production version.  The sale person claimed that the the concept car cost over two million dollars to build.  So no touching.

The real reason is the exterior and interior of concept are close to the production but not exactly the same. The exterior is about 90% the same, just some minor aerodynamics changes for efficiencies.  As for the interior there will be major differences. Seams the concept was built on a existing rolling platform.   So the concept still has a drive train tunnel. The production Model S will not, as the entire drive train is only 12 moving parts mounted around the rear axial. Sales staff said the will be considerable more room in the cockpit of the production Model S.

Good news is the 17 inch touch screen that makes up the center stack will be in the production version. This will be a full connected car.  The dealer/Tesla will push out updates to you car automatically.   Tesla also said there will be third party apps available for the car. Using a smart phone you will be able to check the stats of you Tesla, charge levels etc… Remember that two big investors in the start-up of the Model S were founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. It is rumored that an internet connect car was a stipulation of the investment.

Now the bad news. The touring of the concept model is a road show to get you to put down a $5,000 get in the queue deposit. The sale person said she would be happy to put it on your credit card. Definitely an upper crust crowd, no cash.  Mind you the 5 grand does not get you a relative position in line. It just gets you in the queue. What to put more money down or sign up for more options you move up the list. But the options are expensive.

To start with there is the “Signature”  edition. It will cost you 40 grand down to order the “Signature”, but you will one of the first to get a Model S Tesla.  Plus ALL the “Signature”  edition model S cars will be the 300 mile version of the battery pack, which is a $20,000 upgrade. In addition the the battery upgrade the “Signature”  edition will also be the highest trim level. So this is not the $50K Model S, it will be more like $100K.

So what about everyone that does not to sign up for the “Signature”  edition? Will, the first non-”Signature”  edition cars to roll off the assembly line will also be the 300 mile battery pack version. So if you want a reasonably priced Tesla Model S, like the advertise $50 price point, you are going to be waiting a long time. Maybe another 24 to 36 months.

But like the sales person said it is a “luxury electric Car” . She said it with a BIG smile.

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Chevy Volt Test drive

Mar 17 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Cars, Changing scene

My wife made a visit to the local Chevy dealer to check out the Chevy Volt.  Thought they may have one on the show room floor. To my surprise that had several on the lot. so we started look at a few that were on the lot. A salesman approchased and invited us into the show room to look at and drive  the Volt.

So here are my first 10  impressions.

  1. I like the concept car/ show car styling a lot better, the production version is dumbed down a lot
  2. No leg room in the back seat when the drivers seat is move back all the way. I mean non, not any, zero, so forget about using the back seat if the drive it Tall like me 6’4″
  3. Do not like the painted center stack of buttons. Overwhelming at first maybe it grows on you.
  4. Loved the multiple display screens and the total glass dash
  5. The electric motor provide tons of  low end torque.
  6. Front grill in not a grill so do not make it look like one, get daring and create something different
  7. It is EXPENSIVE compared to the Nissan Leaf, but cheaper then the Tesla model S.
  8. Dual power plants revealed the wifes “Range anxiety”
  9. Drives like any other car
  10. Very quite aka no tailpipe.

So bottom line, Would I buy this half electric, half Gas powered car? Not for me but my Wife loved it. So I guess we will be buying one in the next 12 months or so.  How is that for a positive answer. But I would still like to see the Nissan Leaf.

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Solar – Monitoring System

Feb 19 2011 Published by under Geek stuff, Sloar, Solar Install

What fun is a new solar co-generation facility if you do not know what your are producing. The Sunpower system come with a few bell and whistles in the monitoring area.

The first monitoring device is a small glass display panel that shows what the system is producing. It displays daily and life time production.

 

Then there is the website that Sunpower monitors hour by hour solar panel production. Pretty cool to see what your system is doing at different times through the day. The information is presented in a very elegant and simple manner. Very easy to grasp the concept.  Its is so simple that you do not realize the wealth of information.

But there was a problem in paradise. How can I manage my electrical usage only seeing what I’m producing?  Well Sunpower has a solution. They can add a device to your incomong electrical street service and add consumption to your monitoring system.

So now I get both production and usage hour by hour.  You would be surprised how aware this make you of what and when you are using  electricity. Now that I get the full picture I can start managing usage much more effectively and know if I we are using more then was produced or producing more then we were usinging.

solar panel monthly production and usage

Yearly solar panel production

Some of the additional cool stuff the website also captures is historical data. You can quickly look at the graph that runs along the bottom of the page or you can look at monthly and yearly production vs usage.

You can also go back in time and look and any given day and see all the details of production vs usage. Very nice for comparisons when you are trying different techniques of managing usage.

 

But the best and coolest monitoring is available using an iPhone application. On the iPhone you get the current day production vs usage, plus monthly and yearly history. The big ting missing on the iPhone is the ability to go back and look at previous days.

 

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Using 163 Light Bulbs?

Jan 20 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Changing scene, Geek stuff

Do you have 163 60 watt light bulbs on for several hours a day.  Will if you are running a single speed 2 horse power pool pump, that is how many 60 watt light bulbs you have on each and every hour the pump is on.

 

The average 2HP single speed pool pump uses 2000 watts per hour. Most people run there pump atlease 3 hours a day, most likely 6 to 8 in the summer.  So for the average summer month you are spending $50 to $60 a month, based on Southern California rates. It could be costing you more as you move up to a higher rate tier when you consume more electricity in the summer.

How does this happen. Back in the 70′s and 80′s pool pump horse power was king. The pool salesman would upgrade you to a better, higher, horse power for the same cost and you though you were getting a better deal. More power, ya!

So,  do you really need all that horse power to jam the water through a pool pump and filer. NO, you do not. So the pool industry came out with a two speed pump to save you money on electricity.  One speed to clean your pool and get that pool sweep running. With a slower speed to circulate the water and get your turn rate. Did it save money?  You bet!  But now there is even something better.

The Pool industry has a variable speed pump. The pump can be programed to run at almost any speed you want. And here is the dirty little secrete! As you decrease the pump speed, by reducing the revolutions per minute (RPMs),  the pump gets more efficient and uses LESS ELECTRICITY. Are you with me?

The normal pool pump runs at or above 3200 RPM, that will use 2000 watts or more of electricity per hour. A variable speed pump can be run at 1100 RPMs and only use 156 watts or less per hour. Sometime 145 watts.  BUT BUT what about my water turn rate, will it turn over in 6 hours? NO, so you run the pump longer. BUT that use more electricity, right? NO, not  at the lower RPMs.

If you run your single speed pump for 6 hours, that 12,000 watts of electricity.  If you triple your run time to 18 hours with the variable speed pump you will only use 2,772 watts of electricity. That is less then what one and one half hours of the single speed pumps electricity usage.

So what about the pool sweep it will not run at that low flow rate. So you program the variable speed pump to ramp up to maybe 2000RPM and use anothe 1000 watts of electricity to keep the pool clean. Onky for an hour or so. Your still way under 12,000 watts of power.

So save some money and get a variable speed pump. Do they cost more? Ya a lot more.  But you just missed a Southern California Edison rebate program that paid you $300 to install a variable speed pump. I’m sure there will be more incentives. Just keep your eye open. Once you get a variable speed pump you will only be using 2.5 60 watt bulbs per hour not 163. And that save you money and is good for the environment.

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Solar – Photovoltaic Panels

Dec 09 2010 Published by under Geek stuff, Sloar, Solar Install

All the panels are delivered in a small container.

Inside the container the panels are stacked on a pallet with the inverters and all the mounts.

The solar PV panels are packed two to a cardboard box.

The solar PV panels are packed two to a cardboard box.

On the  back of each PV panel is the connection modal with a male and female weather proof connector.

Here is a shot of the PV panels installed on the roof

All 32 PV panels installed on the room making power

Roof mounted photovoltaic solar panels

Next the monitoring system.

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Solar – the Electronics

Nov 15 2010 Published by under American Consumer, Sloar, Solar Install

The collection box: This device is used to collect all the power from the various photovoltaic arrays. The panels are wired up, in series, to create several groups  or arrays. each array puts out about 600 volts DC.  The connection box feeds the wires through attic to the inverters.

 

 

This system has two inverters due the number of PV panels and the desired expansions options.  The inverter take the DC power created by the  photovoltaic panels and covert it in to 240v AC power. These inverters are a little more sophisticated then the inverters you use in you car to get 110 power. These are full sign-wave inverters. A fail-safe system is built into the inverters to shut down if the street service is interrupted.   The interruption is to protect any power Company employee that is working to restoring the main grid.

Two inverter introduces a problem as both inverter takes up two slots in the electrical panel.  I was lucky and had the space in the panel. We had upgraded to a 200amp panel two years earlier in preparation and anticipation of adding solar.

There are also some advantages to having to inverters. If one inverter fails you do not loose all your power production abilities.  Half of you system will still be producing usable power. The other advantage is the cost less to replace if one fails.

Next the photovoltaic panels.

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