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Thread: solar /wind/wood pellet

  1. #1
    Aruba since 1979
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007

    solar /wind/wood pellet


    yesterday here in waterville, we had the pleasure of meeting a man that came to our new digs to evaluate for solar or wind (panels or turbine)

    a wind turbine is out of the question for us for 2 reasons.
    average wind speed in central maine is less than 9 mph.
    to make it doable, the wind needs to average 14 mph.
    and..........we have conservation land (including the river) on our north and east side abutting our land. (wildlife sanctuary). the town government and or the state would NEVER allow for a wind turbine.

    solar........doable but costly. we'd be able to invest $8000 in solar panels and it'd supply 40% power to heat our domestic hot water.

    $22,000 and we'd be able to supply approx 30% of our electricity.

    $30K investment total and it would take many YRS to pay for itself.

    so, we sadly said no but wish we could and wish we had more sunlight and less shade to provide greater energy in the power cells.

    we heat with oil, forced hotwater. including the doestic hot water.

    so we will use a woodpellet stove to help heat the air and limit the usage of the oil.
    (in waltham we have been using the wood pellet stove now for years! and in the past 7 years have used only 1800 gallons of oil so the wood pellets help)
    we burned on average 2 tons of wood pellets per year for the past 7 yrs.
    the pellets ran anywhere from $200 a ton to now $249 a ton (delivered).
    the order we made yesterday was at $249 per ton delivered and we ordered 5 tons we have more space in our garage here for storage.

  2. #2
    Senior Member SanNic44's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Tough to put up alternative energy in Maine given your situation. The wood pellet may be the best way to go. Some purists would argue about the emissions. But wood heat can be relatively sustainable. I forget the formula of how many acres of trees you need to have in order to balance the growth rate versus the burn rate so that you always have more wood. But anyway... many of the pellets are made from so-called waste wood and other byproducts of the lumber industry, which is a good thing.

    Hope the system works well for you!

    Now in Aruba, PLENTY of wind, PLENTY of solar. Only need to decrease the temp inside a few degrees and the humidity a few percent and comfort is easily achieved.
    Aruba's Novelist in Residence (sometimes)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Solar and wind may not be an option, but there are other potential alternative energy solutions. (in addition to wood/pellet/etc.) One increasing in popularity especially here in the northeast is geothermal. While still fairly expensive, as more and more systems are installed the economies of scale are starting to drive the price down.

    My brother (and I to a lesser extent) is in the business of selling "traditional" (oil/gas boilers/furnaces) heating/cooling equipment, and he says that the folks he talks to in the industry see geothermal taking off in New England over the next several years. For fear of breaking any forum advertising rules I won't mention or link to any specific manufacturers here, but for more general info you can take a look at the Wikipedia entry: Geothermal Heating

    Another site you may want to visit is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. This site lists, by state, all federal, state, local and utility-based incentives for installing equipment and/or systems that are more efficient or rely on alternative fuels. I was surprised at how much money is actually out there...may be something available to you to help to offset the relatively high costs you've encountered.

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