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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The battery pack for my 2012 Volt is degrading somewhat. I only get 8.2 kw of useful charge and not 9.7 kw like when I first bought the car. The car has 175k miles on it. I'm thinking of getting a new/used battery pack for it. I was wondering if I could use the old battery pack for storage for some old solar panels I just had taken down off my roof. I put a brand new solar system on my roof but have the old panels of a 2.45 kw system that I was thinking of installing on my shed. I could really use electricity out at my shed which is about 150 feet from my house. I was wondering about using my old Volt battery pack as storage for electricity produced from my old solar array. I also have the inverter from my old solar system. Is this even possible/practical?
 

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2017 Volt Premier 80k+ Miles
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Your problem will be having the controller thinking everything is normal, you would still need the coolant pump available, programming... I don't know if those can be overcome, however it wouldn't be worth the time and effort. It makes no sense to spend a minimum of $6,000+ on a new (used) Volt battery that isn't needed. I personally wouldn't even put that money into the car even if it was, as it may be more than the car's value. I'd trench a line to the shed instead.
 

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Chevy, Volt 2013, ~221,000K Miles.
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How often is the Volt away from the house when you want electricity in the shed? Just turn the volt into a power source for the shed when you need it: Inverter Kits now Available! | GM Volt Forum (gm-volt.com) I have not done this kit but did something similar to power essential plugs in my house in case of what used to be frequent blackouts. ...Just my thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have a 1500W inverter already but that isn't enough juice for my needs. My electric tiller uses more than that.

Also the reason I'm interested in replacing the battery pack is that my ICE kicks in cool/cold weather, above the 25 degree threshold for battery pack warming. There will be times when it is 40 degrees outside and I have a full charge and it will run entirely on gas. I've discussed this issue in a separate thread. I figured that by replacing the battery pack, I could save the good batteries for my solar storage system.
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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What kind of solar system do you have on your home? I've tried getting several quotes here in Illinois however the SREC program seems to be on a waitlist for new installs and I'm not sure if I'm able to get the tax benefits (some vendors said it's over $10k with all the rebates). I had also considered using my old Volt battery pack for a DIY solar system, but the dealer ended up sending it back to GM for the core charge. I am wondering what your experience has been with solar vendors in Central IL, most tried to get me into a solar leasing program which I was not interested in...

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I got my system through Legacy Solar here in Central Illinois. It is a 8.2ish kwh system of 327 W SunPower Equinox E-Series. I paid $28k out of pocket. Got ~$7,300 back on federal tax credit and over $12k back 10 months after purchase due to the state RECs incentive. From what I hear, there is quite a wait list right now for the RECs and the install. Certainly worth it if you can get the RECs incentive. IMO worth it even if you don't get the RECs incentive. I wonder if you can get on the waitlist and wait to pay anything and wait for the install until you know you are approved for the RECs? Right now, I've got the 14 - 175 W Solar World panels (from my old installation) just stacked in my backyard and not being used. Not sure that I will bother with installing them on my shed after all. And not sure about how to go about selling them.
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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Thanks for the info! I’ve heard good things about Legacy Solar, the owner is a Physics teacher so I’m more inclined to trust them than some fast talking salesman (I’m a EE, so my BS meter goes off really fast when people promise the world at a low monthly payment!) My quote from Legacy using 16 Sunpower A-Series panels and microinverters was more than I could comfortably do at this time, so I’m still in a waiting phase at this moment. My monthly usage is only 280-480kWh depending on time of year, so a small(er) system might suffice. Do you have photos of your install?
 

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Wow, small world here! I‘m in Eureka, IL. I had my 12.75kw solar system installed 1 year ago from Straightup Solar and couldn’t be happier. I have a metal pole barn that I installed (34) 375w panels on. I still have room for a few more panels but have the biggest system that the state requires for the srec program. For the last 6 months, my monthly electric bill has been $11.31 for meter charges. I have been over producing, so i think this will continue for the next couple months. I’m 99% electric, only use propane for the stove and house generator. $35k project with $9k back in taxes from federal and $17k from the srec program. I figure I’m saving about $150 month in electricity. Ive been looking for a volt for about a year and picked 1 up last month. 2018 premier with 15k miles, looks brand new and loving it! I have not been to the gas station for 1 month now. Work is 35 miles round trip. Plug it in at home for free. I live in the country, so no water bill, no sewer bill, minimum electric bill and now no fuel bill. You can’t make this stuff up.
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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That’s awesome! I’m about 116 a month in the summer months for gas and electric, the Volt added about $50 a month but I’d certainly like to get that down quite a bit. My first house mod (when I moved in) was to swap the ancient AC system with a 22 SEER, VFD unit with modulating air handler. That alone cut my utility bills in half, plus I got an Ameren rebate. Would a 3-4 kW solar system even make sense for the little usage I have? Most systems were $13k+ and I’ve been working hard to reduce my electric usage, but not yet produce it…
 

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here's another
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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Wow, small world here! I‘m in Eureka, IL. I had my 12.75kw solar system installed 1 year ago from Straightup Solar and couldn’t be happier. I have a metal pole barn that I installed (34) 375w panels on. I still have room for a few more panels but have the biggest system that the state requires for the srec program. For the last 6 months, my monthly electric bill has been $11.31 for meter charges. I have been over producing, so i think this will continue for the next couple months. I’m 99% electric, only use propane for the stove and house generator. $35k project with $9k back in taxes from federal and $17k from the srec program. I figure I’m saving about $150 month in electricity. Ive been looking for a volt for about a year and picked 1 up last month. 2018 premier with 15k miles, looks brand new and loving it! I have not been to the gas station for 1 month now. Work is 35 miles round trip. Plug it in at home for free. I live in the country, so no water bill, no sewer bill, minimum electric bill and now no fuel bill. You can’t make this stuff up.
Wow, that’s amazing! I’m considering swapping to an electric stove and hot water heater. Gas is the bulk of my winter bill, which can exceed $100 per month, and with the Volt I’m probably looking at up to $130-140 a month as I didn’t get to charge it much last year. My quote from StraightUp Solar was also more than I can comfortably do at the moment, does anyone have recommendations on (a) low cost solution for a 3-5kW solar array or (b) more energy efficient mods for a house? I have the highest efficiency furnace available, high SEER AC, most of my appliances are Energy Star, and just got a new roof and insulation within the past 2 years. My kWh per month is still 300+ in summer months with the Volt, but I do drive 100+ miles per day (40-44 from home electricity).

Thanks!
 

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The Volt batteries look to be excellent for small systems as you can get them for a reasonable price. 15kw is not much storage though for a complete system. It would be great for an emergency backup for the refrigerator if hooked to 2-3kw of panels in the clear. The goal is to be able to make it through 4-5 days of no solar generation without running the battery all of the way down. It really takes 80-110kw of battery storage to be able to carry that concept through for complete operation of the average 2500sqft very efficient all electric house...even more in the great white north.

Jack Rickard (RIP) of EVTV worked out the "Selfish Solar" concept utilizing Tesla packs. That would be the way to go if off grid totality was the goal. Personally, I would not want to have a giant lithium ion pack of any sort in the house for safety reasons. I keep my Volt outside for that reason. Considering the Bolt fiasco going on currently I just feel a little safer. I would get a small mini barn or something similar and work out an insulated thermally controlled environment for the system. The panels could be on a ground mount next to the barn and low enough to walk up and sweep off the snow (if you live in the snow bird zone). In FL or other nice southern USA areas the options would be more flexible.
LiFePo batteries look to be very safe and I would not hesitate to put those in the house. The problem.....too expensive to make sense unless you live in the wild west where electric prices are ridiculous...(reasonable at $0.11/kWh here in this Midwest state).

My current 1.2kW of panels charge 9 type 31 AGM truck batteries which I went to the Louisville Deca blem battery store and got at half price. I built it 6 years ago for emergency backup as our power goes out a lot from trees falling on lines. That backs up my 5cft chest freezer that only draws 60 watts when running with a 50% duty cycle. I use the system to help heat water when not needed for emergency use. Generators are noisy and need gas and baby sitting. I do have a 1kw small generator to charge the batteries just in case (like an old diesel submarine surfacing to charge batteries). I have not used it yet for that purpose.

Four more years and the system will be at break even so I will look at an upgrade then. Volt batteries have proven to be hazard free and would be easy to set up with an aftermarket battery management system however there will be many choices to pick from 4 years from now. Battery Hookup is a good site to bookmark. I've built a number of small packs from their inventory.
 

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2012 Volt Premium (Cyber Gray Metallic) - Stock
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I am interested, my house has a 17kW Honeywell generator but it won’t allow me to run on solar power only if I were to get panels. The grid tie inverters I am told must receive utility power to allow the solar panels to power the home, and in the event of an emergency (gas line breakage) it would be great to have battery storage.

I am considering my options…it looks like the Illinois SREC program is getting a boost and we might get the $10-15k rebates again!
 
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