That Was Then, This Is Now.. (Electricity)

So, those of us of a certain age will remember when weather, power plants and issues caused us to have to reduce our power useage. Perhaps it was when a power generator went off line or excessive air conditioning was needed. We were asked to shift our useage from day time until after 5pm when industry shut down for the day. We would hold off using the dryer and ovens to lighten the grid.

Well, that was then and this is now.

My electric company has installed smart meters which keep track of energy usage and report to the electric company our useag based upon time of day.

So what has changed? They now have the most costly tier of electraic rates for useage in the middle of the night. When is the best time for us to use electric? Daytime!

This is done they say, because the sun is out! We here are switching more to solar and wind (which also seems higher during the day). Any way to get us weaned off oil is useful. It is not unusual for LED bulbs to be very cheap with the majority of the cost borne by the electric company. We cannot import power from ‘the grid’ because we have no other state to get it from. We even have issues supplying power to other counties (each county is essentuall another island). Stretching power lines between neighbor island is near impossible as the ocean floor is quite deep here and we have massive ocean currents.

Up county here they have added a very large solar plant with 94,000 panels.

Waikoloa Solar + Storage can generate up to 30 megawatts and is supported by a 120 megawatt-hour battery storage system. The energy produced is expected to power nearly 14,000 homes, said Sandra Larsen, AES Hawaii market business leader.

The solar farm is the Big Island’s first and largest solar plus storage project. It’s located on 300 acres on Waikoloa Road. With the Waikoloa project online, Hawaii is now producing 54% of its energy from renewable sources, according to the utility.

Very impressive…!

Here is a better explanation as to our issues (frome someone who appears not to live here :slight_smile:

There was a story a few weeks ago about a solar farm in Texas that was almost completely destroyed by a hailstorm. I have often wondered how fragile the solar panels are.

Most current-production solar farms located in hail-prone areas have a “hail-stow” feature that tilts the panels to prevent damage during forcasted periods of possible hailstorms. A study was conducted for a 200 megawatt Texas-based farm and the lost revenue in using the feature during forcast hail conditions was 0.1 percent of total revenues.

It’s ironic that the incidence of more violent weather has inceased with the advent of more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the very thing that the solar farms are designed to mitigate.

Our solar farm is in an area that was an old training ground and may still have unexploded ordinance, but luckily not known for hail.

Do the solar panels installed on the roof of a home in a residential application have any protection from hail storms?

Aside from original panaI design to handle small and medium-sized hail, assume they would not, too heavy and complex a system for residential roof installation. If you lived in an area prone to hail storms, it would certainly be a consideration.

Just as I was posting to say that luckily we don’t get hail (we have a large solar farm here), the weather department says:

" Powerful storm in Hawaii brings severe weather threat for islands, Winter Storm Warning for mountains

A potent upper low pressure center is swirling just to the north of the island, providing copious amounts of tropical moisture along with atmospheric instability that is producing strong thunderstorms that may even reach severe criteria with 50 mph wind gusts and large hail."

Luckily these staors are few and far between.

Things… they are achanging… :grimacing:

Only a bit. We have had snow here for centuries. Mauna Kea (White Mountain) was named by Hawaiians because of the snow up there during various times of the year.

This is changing… a LOT…

I always take readings with a grain of salt, because numbers can be manipulated or wrongly interpreted. I am NOT saying anyone is manipulating this data, but let’s consider some scenerios.

  1. Although we used temperature data from the weather service, many times temperature readings were taken at the airport. Besides the massive concrete and alphalt areas which held heat fom the sun, lack of trees and overhanging items and with the help of all that jet fuel being burned; airport temps were useful for the airport but not necessarily useful miles away. Some temperature recording devices were effected by being too close to jet exhaust. So the temperature reported there and included in city-wide reports might raise the average a bit, although perhaps insignificantly. However the temperature at the airport is still valid for the airport.

  2. Then there is the Mauna Loa Observatory (exactly 21 air miles from me). It is said that it is not effected by the volcano, but keep in mind that the Observatory is only 21 miles from Kilauea, one of the most active volcanos in the world. That observatory, while about 13,000 feet above the volcano caldera is still downwind from the volcano. Yes, they more than likely take that into consideration, but it lends itself to more investigation. Suggestions are that the smoke from volcanos lowers earths surface temperature by blocking sunlight. In terms of total energy released, Kilauea is the hottest volcano in the world.

Only recently did scientists discover why Hawaii’s barometric pressure changes at the same times twice a day. Our pressure, ignoring the occassional storm remains fairly steady except for the obvious peaks shown in a clip from my own weather station below. This is one day from midnight to midnight. Note the 10am and 10pm peaks! Think about it. It probably isn’t due to the moon (which effects tides) because it would happen the same time as tides, but this is about the same time each day. If they could then measure elsewhere and see if it also happens elsewhere and at what time.

"Why Atmospheric Pressure Peaks At 10am And 10pm In The Tropics

December 14, 2008
University of Hawaii at Manoa
For over two centuries, meteorologists were puzzled by the observation that atmospheric pressure in the tropics peaks at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. nearly every day. "

So scientists finally believe they have the answer as shown in the article. We all saw the data but they finally feel they have interpreted the data to give them the answer in 2004.

So while we think we know all the causes and answers, we keep looking. That is science!

at what cost? solar power is very niche’. not sure of much heavy industry in Hawaii.

Although large companys might get an electric rate reduction, those residents dependant upon electric from the utility here must switch to heavy usage during the day “or pay the price”. That price is high! Hawaii is the highest I believe in cost for electricity in the U.S…

“Electricity prices in Hawaii are generally higher than on the U.S. mainland due to the cost of imported oil used to power many of the islands’ generators. The fluctuation in the cost of fuel, which makes up roughly 50% of a typical bill, is the biggest driver.”

Because we just brought online a large solar array, Hawaii Island has some of the lowest daytime prices for electric. Definately double or triple what people on the mainland are paying. For me it is cheaper to use the oven, drier and so on during the day for power I use from the grid. It is half price (Clark would love a 50% discount!)

Our utility HELCO even offsets the cost of things like LED bulbs so that we pay next to nothing for them. This helps the utility continue to lower their capacity needs.

In 2022: " Twenty-one percent of Hawaiian Electric’s residential customers have rooftop solar. On the five islands served by Hawaiian Electric, 32% of single-family homes have rooftop solar; on Oahu, it’s 37%. Hawaii has among the highest rates of rooftop solar adoption in the nation." California has 39% residential. In 2023: Only 0.2% of single-family homes have residential solar in Georgia, according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Meanwhile, the state ranks seventh in the nation for utility solar.

This one is pretty hard to dispute:

Maybe this is the reason for this statistic (from the Georgia Power website):

“Neither Georgia Power nor the State of Georgia currently offer any incentives or rebates for residential solar installations.”