[mythtv-users] [Slightly OT] solar power for all our gadgets

Simon Hobson linux at thehobsons.co.uk
Tue Mar 10 17:13:19 UTC 2009

Josh White wrote:

>There's also the satisfaction of knowing that no matter what happens 
>to the grid in the near future, you increase your chances of having 
>power when the grid does not (so long as you can fight off the 
>zombies trying to get your precious power, and brains).

As long as you had the foresight to spend extra on a system with 
local storage (ie batteries) and the ability to run off-grid. As an 
example, over here there are some units now going into larger trials 
that combine a gas boiler with a stirling engine driving a small 
generator. The idea is quite sound - use some o the waste heat from 
your hot water requirements and feed some leccy back into the grid.

Two problems :
They generate leccy when you are heating water - so a lot of the time 
you are exporting power rather than offsetting your power 
consumption. Since the system is rigged to disuade embedded 
generation, the price paid for exported leccy is a small fraction of 
the price paid for imported power.
They are designed to specifically NOT generate if the grid isn't 
there - so no possibility of running your own island when the grid is 

I would not be at all surprised to find these solar installation 
having setups designed to detect loss of grid and shut down - so as 
to avoid the potential problems of feeding the grid (you either 
overload the unit, or stuff dangerous voltages up the line, os some 

Simon Hobson

Visit http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk/ for books by acclaimed
author Gladys Hobson. Novels - poetry - short stories - ideal as
Christmas stocking fillers. Some available as e-books.

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