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Old 10-17-16, 03:02 PM   #51
stevehull
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Do a 22 panel install on the house south facing roof first, then the east facing garage dormer and lastly the shop.

A 22 panel system is easy, quick, inexpensive and gets you going.

The Enphase M250 microinverter is a perfect match for a 280-300 watt panel. About 15% more expensive, but you get more kWhrs. But you cannot use 72 cell PV panels - the M215 and M250 can only use 60 cell panels.

The Envoy monitoring system can do up to 500 panels at different locations.


Steve

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Old 10-21-16, 11:45 AM   #52
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In my research and planning of the solar I ran across this awesome blog by a local guru:

Connecting the Wells - John Saves Energy

And now I REALLY want to look into geothermal too!

By perusing his blog, I'm about 99% sure he is a Ecomodder guy and probably has an account here too. I may have missed it.
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Old 10-21-16, 12:16 PM   #53
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So, I hope this doesn't disappoint you guys too much, but after about 60 hours of research, 30-40 qoutes, deliberation, etc. I decided not to use Enphase microinverters. (Nor ABB 250s which were only $84 each)

To get my price/watt down as low as possible it turns out that the SolarEdge with power optimizers has a slight cost advantage and I could see no downside other than a future inverter failure would be more expensive when the time comes.

Using Solaredges Design Tool software was something that works great. I only wish I had found it earlier in my research. Hopefully someone will stumble across this thread and find it useful in the future. It did validate my hours of hand calculating.

Solaredge has a huge market share, free 25 year monitoring. The power optimizers allow similar control, monitoring and troubleshooting capability as the microinverters. It's like a hybrid of the string inverter and a microinverter.

28 panels and the associated hardware is on the way!! Thanks for all your encouragement and input.
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Old 10-21-16, 12:24 PM   #54
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Robaroni uses SolarEdge with power optimizers he has had good luck with them.
http://ecorenovator.org/forum/51257-post542.html

It still has per panel monitoring so all good. Congrats!
Any solar install is great in my book!
So what will 28 panels put you at in KW
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Old 10-21-16, 12:52 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinballlooking View Post
Robaroni uses SolarEdge with power optimizers he has had good luck with them.
http://ecorenovator.org/forum/51257-post542.html

It still has per panel monitoring so all good. Congrats!
Any solar install is great in my book!
So what will 28 panels put you at in KW
7.56 KW which is a little less than I had hoped for, but maybe I can add another array to my shop next year and get 11KW or so when all is said and done. With the way our state tax credit is structured and the inverter costs factored in around 7KW is the sweet spot for fastest payback. I'm calculating a 60 months and 3 day break even with this system.

I will have to check out Robaroni's posts!
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Old 10-21-16, 03:26 PM   #56
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Several of us use geothermal heat pumps combined with solar PV. Pinball uses mini splits - which are almost as efficient as a geo heat pump - but without the cost of drilling the wells.

I use an open loop geothermal heat pump meaning it uses well water which is then dumped into a pond (so called "pump and dump" system). The ponds are then used for livestock watering and irrigation.

Your location calls out for minisplits . . . . .


Steve

ps watch the Renvu page carefully and buy panels + inverters when they are on sale - which is often. My last purchase was Hanwa Q cell 265 W panels @ $0.51/watt, Enphase M215 at $85 each and the Enphase Engage trunk cable at $10 per drop. I negotiated for the trunk cable drop price . . . but it was a simple ask and they said OK!
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Old 10-22-16, 09:49 AM   #57
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I also have a SolarEdge system. Mine is a bit smaller 12 280 watt modules with the 3kw inverter. The Max output for the inverter is placarded at 3,300 watts but I've actually seen 3,480 watts on my eGauge with the display on the inverter showing the power output that high too. There are limits to oversizing the array that are covered in this document.
http://www.solaredge.com/sites/defau...zing_guide.pdf

My power company has me on a production based incentive program(in addition to net metering) where I'm locked into my current system unless I get approval from them to make a change until that 10 year program is over because I'm basically allowing them to claim the M-RETS credits as their own, which is based on the PVWatts estimates of my system, so if I upgrade the system, they don't get the same amount of credits as what I'm being paid for. ..but once that is over I think I might DIY pole mount a few additional modules in the back yard to boost my output. I could add up to 690 watts more in the back yard, tied into my current string, and the costs would be minimal for the addition, a basic 2 module pole, bury the power wire, add 2 optimizers, run the permit, etc using the same inverter. I'm sortof wishing I would have had one size larger inverter though because my neighbor just chopped down the tree that was blocking a different roof section that would likely allow another 2kw of nameplate capacity to my system. I think what I'll do, is if the inverter ever goes outside of warranty, I'll upgrade the capacity at that point and install more modules on that other face.

I really do like the SolarEdge system and it's been trouble free. You can get it equipped for the new rapid shutdown requirement, which is a pain for other string inverters. I heard something about other inverters not producing power unless they had a minimum number of watts. I haven't seen this with SolarEdge, I'll see a single digit wattage output displayed on my inverter and a clean ramp up in production on my eGauge that ramps up from zero.
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Old 10-22-16, 10:34 AM   #58
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Thanks for the info MN!

I went with the SE7600 which SolarEdge actually rates for 9600 watts max DC power (STC) so I should have room to grow should my neighbor to the west take out a row of pines he has said he wanted cut down.

If I add to my shop roof it will need it's own inverter or microinverters to avoid a long trench and associated costs. My question right now is; Can I claim another tax credit next year if I do the shop next year?
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Old 10-22-16, 02:32 PM   #59
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To answer the original question of worth the cost

It's important to take into account that customer favorable Net Metering is likely to be reduced or go away. It's an attractive target for the power companies and with so few solar customers and a small industry, there isn't much financial/political power to save you/us.

If you have power and distribution Net Metering in a friendly state, your at least likely to see the distribution credits go away, and even possible full usage charge (ie you are paying the kwh distribution charge even when you are consuming from only yourself.
You are likely to see some 'solar surcharges' added as well.


The stability of natural gas prices for someone installing in an area with heavy heat usage would be another risk, although there is still some possible saving for DIYs that have a tougher time with nat gas appliances.
I personally have felt this as I transitioned to all electric, heat pumps, and a little solar, back before natural gas plummeted in price. It's tough to compete with cheap nat gas, even the nuclear industry is experiencing this pain in power generation.
There is a strong industry that will likely keep favorable nat gas prices around for some time.
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Old 10-22-16, 03:28 PM   #60
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With hydraulic fracturing and the constant threat of useful idiots ramming a fracking ban through, the fracking for gas and US gas reserves will continue to increase even when it makes no economic sense to continue fracking in the short term.
The price of natural gas is going to remain low for the forseeable future.

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