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Old 03-09-14, 02:04 PM   #1
Rossleatherguy
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Default Thinking about going solar

Long time lurker, first post! My wife and I have always wanted solar. May be able in 1 year. Starting To investigate.
Southwest Az. Total electric. Rural. Well water 2 hp. Summer highs of 1900 kwh. Must have are electric when grid goes down or total off grid. Not uncommon 24-36 hrs grid down summer time! Ground mount must. Space no issue 60 acres. Want independence from the power co. If feaseable/economical.
Got first quote-gave a years of power usage. Did not follow our specs of power when grid down, ground mount, etc.
Quote is 8760 watts $29,801.00. Ground mount extra, no power when grid down, extras at discretion of installers, etc.
Enphase micro inverters, Conergy panels, Sq. D box, install by a different company.
I say run from this quote, if they can't follow wishes on paper how will they ever deliver?
What would you do? I am a farm/ diesel mechanic by trade, so fairly competent at DIY but no time for a project of this nature.
Thanks for you time and thoughts, Ross

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Old 03-09-14, 03:35 PM   #2
Fordguy64
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That does seem a little high but if you are using that much electric and want to be off grid completely you are going to be spending a lot more then that.. Batteries are $$$$ and then you would need a large back up generator and that's more $$$
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Old 03-10-14, 02:15 PM   #3
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They probably did not quote exactly what you asked for because they knew you would never pay the cost to make that all happen. Your thoughts is how most of us want it to work until we see how much that would actually cost then we reconsider it. Unless you are rich and money is no object. If that the case I am sure I would not be typing a response to you.


I would suggest going grid tied and buying a generator for the outages. (to keep cost in check)

You might think about a self-install. Look at these two installs. (keep in mind the pricing they posted is old my pricing is much more current)

Look at Gary’s system
Designing and Installing a Grid-Tie PV System

System and Doug’s system
Doug's New 4.6 KW micro inverter DIY Grid Tied PV Array
Doug's New 4.6 KW micro inverter DIY Grid Tied PV Array

Look at my install
http://ecorenovator.org/forum/solar-...lar-array.html

This is a 12.5 KW Enphase system self-installed for just over 21K (Cost before fed and state Tax credits 55% in my case) all wiring every screws everything. That includes upgrading my main load center to a 225 amp box.

I personally think micro inverters are simpler install for the home owner. This will all go together much quicker than you think. You are posting to a DIY forum that likes to save money

Last edited by pinballlooking; 03-10-14 at 05:04 PM..
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Old 03-10-14, 04:54 PM   #4
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I agree with pretty much everything Pinballooking said. Unfortunately home battery technology as energy storage devices are not where they need to be to economically viable. If you have net metering on a grid tied system that is the most efficient way to go. A gas driven generator would then be used for those times when the grid goes down.

That isn't to say that net metering is the final answer. Electric utilities themselves will have to adopt energy storage devices for this to continue to be offered as a solution to customers. Until utilities do this they will find themselves going more and more off kilter as their customers start generating the energy they use to supply. It's conceivable that 50 years hence, or even earlier, that electric public utilities companies will be primarily distribution and energy storage entities and the actual electricity supply will be a small niche area. Either that will happen or a breakthrough home electricity storage system will be invented that makes electric utility companies truly optional to citizens.
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Old 03-10-14, 05:03 PM   #5
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I hope someday we can take battery’s from Chevy Volts that are no longer useful in the car but have lots of life left in them and use then in our home solar systems.
This would have a win on both sides. They need a place for them to go and we need cheap storage for solar power.

Net metering is like the best battery storage you can get. You store the extra power in the grid and use it when you need it. You don’t have to buy or maintain the batteries.

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Old 03-10-14, 05:15 PM   #6
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Depends on your definition of cheap. Volt battery packs sell for a couple thousand dollars right now from salvage yards.
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Old 03-10-14, 05:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
Depends on your definition of cheap. Volt battery packs sell for a couple thousand dollars right now from salvage yards.
Don’t you think that cost will go down when a few thousand batteries need replaced each year. This is when the cars are older and a few years from now.

http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/n...114_reuse.html

http://www.abb-conversations.com/201...r-smart-grids/

Last edited by pinballlooking; 03-10-14 at 05:31 PM..
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Old 03-10-14, 07:45 PM   #8
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Having designed and installed my own 4.4kW grid-tied system, you're going to be hard pressed to find any companies willing to spend the time to create a free design for an off-grid system. I had a challenge finding a structural engineer willing to design a roof mount system capable of withstanding a 3-second gust of 170mph!

I'd second pinball's recommendation of enphase microinverters for grid-tie, if you decide to go that route. I'm looking forward to building another system with them...

You indicate you have a 2hp well pump, have you looked at converting that to a DC motor?
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Old 03-11-14, 06:52 AM   #9
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Gotta chime in here. If you have any current or future reason to go off grid, stay away from Microinverters. Also, if you have no shade issues, you bucks are better spent on a good string inverter with battery capability like the Outback.

A direct PV driven DC well pump is way better than the current AC one.
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Old 03-11-14, 10:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikesolar View Post
Gotta chime in here. If you have any current or future reason to go off grid, stay away from Microinverters. Also, if you have no shade issues, you bucks are better spent on a good string inverter with battery capability like the Outback.

A direct PV driven DC well pump is way better than the current AC one.
I am pretty sure Mike has lots of solar experience.
Mike what is a ballpark price for someone using 1900 kwh to go off grid?


Keep in mind I have very limited solar experience. You may not have the same requirements as I did. I was doing a self-install that needed to have a fast payback time. Also since I was doing a DYI I needed to be able to maintain the system myself. I required module level visibility I knew no other way to hold them to the new module warranty without that data. I also did not want one or two components to take down my whole array while I waited a month or two for the warranty work to be done. When I compared string inverters I added extra warranty so it was a better comparison.

I read lots and lots but that is not a substitute for real world experience with lots of solar installs.


Last edited by pinballlooking; 03-11-14 at 10:04 AM..
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