Utility Costs

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Use in the USA

  • Average Utility Costs
  • Between $141 and $266 for lowest to highest states per month for gas and electric.
  • Average cost of apartment utilities - See nice map at [1]
  • Water - i'm seeing $70-80 regularly, but it seems to be for a family of 4, whereas avg household is 2.5 [2]. This makes average houshold water at $47/person.

Invest in concrete pipe (it leaks [3]) for water storage when sealed and insulated.


  • $42 for 2 people electric - $500
  • $40 for 2 people gas - $480
  • $125 for 6 months for heating - $750


  • Total: $1730/yr savings for 2 people if we go electric. For a facility of 24, we may save $15k easily in energy saving mode (50kW system extrapolation) - if 50kW solar is sufficient to run the entire facility. That would be under very efficient operation.
  • How does it compare? $1692 for lowest below - so OSE saves in practice as the lowest average from statistics.
  • With 7kW electric - Seed Eco-Home saves {see Solar Calculations - $1000/yr in electricity.
  • Note Solar Calculations imply average capture is 1/6 of the installed peak kilowatt - 4 kWhr/day instead of 24 kWhr/day if the sun were shining 24 hrs per day.
  • 6kW-7kW installed would be the right amount to meet the American Average
  • 7kW - gets us


Summary: Grid connection costs are $10k and up, which is thus a budget for going off-grid and not paying any more. If lifetime cost is considered, you will save $150 for gas/electric, $47 for water per month. About $200/mo or $2400/yr. Avg from govt is $2060/year on utilities, but that includes internet/phone/trash - so the govt average is much lower. Even if we take that - an average household will save 78*2k=$160k on utilities, or $64k on utility bills.

  • See Grid Connection Costs
  • Gas - $4800
  • Electric - $2500 unless you're in country and there is no pole by your house
  • Water/sewer - $2500



Transcending the System - Calculations

Point: it doesn't particularly make a lot of sense to heat bulk water for storage. On-demand heat seems to make much more sense.

  • 20kW PV - raw cost of $7k, down to $5.8k in bulk.
  • Water from 59F to 110F (15 to 44) - 30C rise. For 250 gallons.
  • Industry standards - 80 gal heater - 21 gal recovery rate per hour with 9kW. [4]
  • Max gallons recovered with 18 kW electric - 42 gal/hr - or 250 gallons per day.
  • Perhaps the large 80 gal heater is the way to go as a basic, off-the-shelf unit running on solar. Keep it on only during the hottest sun time. Heat loss of a hot water heater is 1-2.5 kWhr/day - [5]. This means that if it took 4 hours to heat the 80 gallon tank at 9kW - then it took 36kWhr, so daily loss of 2.5 kWhr means it would take 14 days for all heat to be lost? That means, we lost 1/14 * 50F = 3.5F per day? If we went to 110F, then after 3 days we are still at about 100F!

Point of Action: Efficiencies

See Efficiency of Utilities Make costs of the following go away with solar:

  1. Heating & Cooling
  2. Hot water - with on-demand. Saves lots of energy in regime of frequent use of small amounts of hot water [6]. That's exactly how most water is used.
  3. Cooking - induction.
  4. Refrigeration - easy during day - and off at night. Not a problem at all.
  5. Lights, computers - need them at night if one is staying up. Take typical time up to midnight, which means tha you are using X units of energy. Calculate case scenarios. Monitor - 20w abd 0.5W - [7], Ryzen 3600 65W [8], GPU - 100W - [9]
  6. Print cluster - needs power if running prints. This is not solved for industrial applications. Answer may be 20kW hr battery bank and smart controls for stopping printing at night and resuming during day.
  7. Note that this is being resolved in 2021 with Seed_Home_v2_Requirements_+_Value_Proposition#Utilities_Value_Proposition