EcoRenovator  

Go Back   EcoRenovator > Improvements > Solar Power
Advanced Search
 


Blog Register 60+ Home Energy Saving Tips Recent Posts Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-28-16, 05:05 PM   #71
stevehull
Steve Hull
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: hilly, tree covered Arcadia, OK USA
Posts: 829
Thanks: 241
Thanked 165 Times in 123 Posts
Default

I also use number 6 bare copper (no splices) to each microinverter.

Steve

__________________
consulting on geothermal heating/cooling & rational energy use since 1990
stevehull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-16, 10:19 PM   #72
ctgottapee
Helper EcoRenovator
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Central IL
Posts: 94
Thanks: 33
Thanked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Default

Problem with rural is it's often served by small co-ops that can opt out of energy efficiency laws like Net Metering requirements, etc. Or just basically ignore you.

While codes and permitting can be a hassle, it can be done right. Sometimes sucky people get promoted up or get jobs in this spots that most consumers don't encounter and your stuck - they often have a quid pro quo with the service industry to not threaten their own job.
Of course they want panels up to snuff so they don't blow off the roof and take heads off, or electrocute the fireman when responding to a call. We had a fireman die in a blaze recently as some idiot put a large gap in a drywall remodel around the entire home perimeter, which made a nice big hidden chute for the fire to spread all around, then take out the floor joist supports and bring the whole floor down on a crew.

My last rural area allowed almost nothing via the electric company. Their grid tie rules were based on large services and you had to have 3 phase service, pay for the whole upgrade, and a meter that took PF into account (not too big a deal in most cases). Then they would only pay their market cost rate, about a penny or two per KwH for excess and they still charged you for line transportation, which was higher than the electric cost, so it always cost you money to generate excess.
I hooked up a small system and nobody ever questioned as I knew no one would even recognize it; I sized it to never go bigger than my phantom load.

My latest rural area is interesting. They had a long history of union involvement and have few codes or enforcement but permitting required for everything and only for approved contractors that are all union. It's part business and part laziness, ie one guy just trusts the other guy so they don't have to do any real work.
Even the electric co kept asking which union firm I was using for a panel upgrade. I finally just put down the name of the largest repair shop in town, and everyone was happy but they never verified it. They wouldn't come out until I gave them a name.
When they showed up to hook up, they asked where so and so was, I told them they didn't show so I did it myself and the guy kinda paused, and then smiled and said 'I thought this looked better than usual' He noted I used some higher end components and thought maybe the
I did hear him call it in the back in the truck, to make sure it was ok. I wondered what would have happen if I sent my girlfriend out to pose as me and have her claim she did it, would he just lose his ****, think he was on candid camera, hehe!

The electric co is supposed to allow small scale solar and net metering, but they have pretty much black listed just about the entire service area as not compatible and dangerous for the grid. They only green light a few main business avenues. You start the process by paying one of their engineers the hourly rate to determine what you can and can't do. They also had a separate 2-way meter service charge that would eliminate any money you could possibly save unless you were running a walmart.

There are a lot of solar thermal collectors around I've noticed, probably because electric is a no-no.
ctgottapee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-16, 05:58 AM   #73
stevehull
Steve Hull
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: hilly, tree covered Arcadia, OK USA
Posts: 829
Thanks: 241
Thanked 165 Times in 123 Posts
Default

CYG,

Very interesting first hand experiences with electric coops in your area.

In Oklahoma, I have found few to no problems with coops. One thing that I have found is a killer - surprises.

I try to stay off the roof and let my contractor and his gang do the installation, but I have found that a site visit before the panels go on is key. A lot of little things can be hidden under the panels.

Among them; poor grounding, gaps in PVC conduit, failure to torque down bolts to proper settings - the list goes on.

Before any installation in a coop that does not know me, is an actual meeting with the supervisor. I let them tell me what they expect (and I don't interrupt) and just take notes. Then I pull out some photos of other installs with the names of other coops where I have done an install and the supervisor name (head engineer, whatever) and telephone numbers. The meeting is easy from there.

I show them the plan, bring in a microinverter, some short rail segments, bonding clips, etc. Then I show them post install spreadsheets of other installs that document kWhr production, and any issues that are relevant. My recent experience with a poorly grounded neutral (behind the meter) just came in handy yesterday. Enphase was able to remotely diagnose this and the coop engineer was VERY impressed with that capability.

Early on, one coop inspection field team asked me to have some panels removed so they could inspect the components under there. Thankfully all was not only OK, but it exceeded their expectations. One biggie - they all like UNSPLICED, heavier (thicker) than code, grounding wire. They have all been impressed that I use multi-strand copper ground wire and multiple ground rods.

Word gets around . . .

Only once have I had an issue and that was the location of the turn off switch. To keep wire short, I mounted this next to the main panel. The inspector did not like this and wanted it moved some five feet away. He felt that it might be confused with the panel in the event of an emergency. We settled on putting on BIG stickers that said "PV backfeed to panel" and another that said "solar panel disconnect switch". I have stickers that are 1 inch x 6 inches that say this, but he wanted them bigger. So I had a firm make them up bigger (and found out that I can order them off the internet far cheaper than ordering through Renvu).

As for net metering, all 30 (31?) of the Oklahoma coops have it and there is no extra charge. They give you the avoided cost of generation for any kWhrs that are generated above monthly use. This is ~ 50% of retail.

I lust after some of the people on this site (Pinball) that have a yearly net metering contract where excess kWhrs, generated in the summer, can be used to offset lower sunshine winter hours. But it is what it is.

For a self install, I suggest an actual meeting with the utility or coop. Show them exactly what you are going to do and ask them where you can do "better than code". They all love that. Then do exactly what you say.

I have had to explain my RF chokes on the 240 line coming off the roof more than once. The field utility people have never seen it, but all the engineers know of it (all electric substations have RF chokes). One engineer didn't like my simple coil held together with zip ties, so I wound the THHN 240 V wire around 6 inch PVC pipes and he loved it.

All in all, most coops that I have encountered, have been reasonable. Of course policy is policy and that can differ (as documented in prior post) between coops.

Bottom line - do your homework BEFORE you go up on the roof!


Steve
__________________
consulting on geothermal heating/cooling & rational energy use since 1990
stevehull is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to stevehull For This Useful Post:
ctgottapee (10-31-16), jeff5may (10-31-16), Roostre (10-31-16)
Old 11-03-16, 08:49 PM   #74
Roostre
EcoLearner
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Rocky Mtns
Posts: 113
Thanks: 107
Thanked 26 Times in 19 Posts
Smile Pallets arrived today!

Click image for larger version

Name:	SunEdison Paenl 275W.jpg
Views:	176
Size:	81.3 KB
ID:	7353

Happy to finally have the parts here.
Roostre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-16, 08:53 PM   #75
Roostre
EcoLearner
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Rocky Mtns
Posts: 113
Thanks: 107
Thanked 26 Times in 19 Posts
Default SE7600 and a power optimizer fresh outta the box



Heavier than anticipated.

Massive heat sink on back:



Close up of a panel:

Roostre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-16, 08:54 PM   #76
pinballlooking
Super Moderator
 
pinballlooking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SC
Posts: 2,841
Thanks: 165
Thanked 537 Times in 440 Posts
Default

Very exciting to get the parts.
Wow that is a big heat sink
Do you know when you are going to install.
__________________
Current project Aquaponics system , Passive Solar Greenhouse build

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Solar Install 12.5 Kwh-
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Mini Split installs -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

EV Chevy Volt -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
pinballlooking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-16, 09:04 PM   #77
Roostre
EcoLearner
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Rocky Mtns
Posts: 113
Thanks: 107
Thanked 26 Times in 19 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinballlooking View Post
Very exciting to get the parts.
Wow that is a big heat sink
Do you know when you are going to install.
Not yet. I'm waiting for the city at the moment.


Anyone remotely interested in these systems should read this white paper:
http://www.solaredge.com/sites/defau...design-nec.pdf

I found it helpful and educational.
Roostre is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Roostre For This Useful Post:
jeff5may (11-04-16)
Old 11-10-16, 04:21 AM   #78
Roostre
EcoLearner
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Rocky Mtns
Posts: 113
Thanks: 107
Thanked 26 Times in 19 Posts
Default

Well... I probably shouldn't write this, but here goes. I've been up all night with a migraine and a big case of anxiety. I have 3 pallets of stuff in my garage and found out a couple days ago that the company I hired to do the permitting has still not turned them into the city.

I went with a local solar place that I won't name here (yet). They told me they would have the permitting done by 11/3/16. Because I did not want to be the reason it didn't get filed; I drove to their shop and paid for the permitting plus the cities fees (They said they would pay them when they turned them in).

I called on it 11/8/16 and was told they were going to get it in 11/9/16. I sent him a text yesterday afternoon asking for a copy of my permitting package and received no reply.

Winter is coming fast. I have the week of Thanksgiving off for vacation and really hoped I could get this done at that time, but now I doubt the city will even be able to look at it before then. I paid these apparent scammers $1110 for the engineering and permitting and now it looks like I will need to find another permitting/structural engineering firm. This is a $6000+ mistake if I don't get the tax credits this year. Really getting depressed about how this is going. Doesn't help that my wife and friends have a big case of the "told ya so's".



Roostre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-16, 06:41 AM   #79
stevehull
Steve Hull
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: hilly, tree covered Arcadia, OK USA
Posts: 829
Thanks: 241
Thanked 165 Times in 123 Posts
Default

Roostre,

We appreciate your frustration. But why did you feel you needed to get a "local solar place" to do your "engineering" and permitting?

There is a lot of expertise on this site - and for free!

I would immediately (today) ask the city what you need for a permit. I get permits like this all the time. They typically want a copy of the technical specifications/install book, a simple drawing of the system (mechanical and electrical), pictures of the roof, the specific address (sometimes the geo location) and the name of the electrician that will do the hook-up. Sometimes the electrical utility will require insurance on the system, but that is an easy call to your agent to get a binder. I have never had anyone ask me for a licensed PE to get a mechanical assessment. Fees are not high - maybe a couple hundred $ at most.

Also call SolarEdge and see if they have any experience in this. I do know that Enphase is very helpful and will actually talk with a local permitting person. Had to do this once when the local office did not believe that the Enphase system would shut off (in msec) if it looses grid 240 power. This is CLEARLY stated in the install/specification booklet, but the official wanted somebody to tell him that . . . . You do what you have to do.

If you can do this then go to the next step - cancelling your contract.

Then I would approach the local firm you hired and tell them you are cancelling your contract. Small claims court will do you right.

In your favor, they told you the permits would be done by 11/3 (they did not do this).

Let us know how to help.


Steve



Steve
__________________
consulting on geothermal heating/cooling & rational energy use since 1990
stevehull is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to stevehull For This Useful Post:
Roostre (11-10-16)
Old 11-10-16, 07:07 AM   #80
Roostre
EcoLearner
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Rocky Mtns
Posts: 113
Thanks: 107
Thanked 26 Times in 19 Posts
Default

Thanks Steve!

I called my city building department and they told me I must include a letter from a licensed structural engineer stating that my roof can support the added load of the system.

That is why I went with a local place that advertises "EZ Permitting" and technical assistance for DIY installs. SO far I have not gotten anything positive out of the deal.

I do not have it in writing that they would deliver by 11/3 ; its all just their word against mine.

My frustration is with hiring "professionals" that do not act like or deliver professional results. I have occasionally hired such people, but they are few and far between.

Mostly I needed someplace to vent. Thanks for listening. I'm a doer and not a waiter, so it has been tough waiting this extra week. Also, I have a hearing problem so calling these places is difficult. I find it much easier to communicate in writing these days.

Roostre is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Ad Management by RedTyger
Inactive Reminders By Icora Web Design