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Old 05-01-15, 08:15 AM   #11
pinballlooking
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This manual describes the Envoy setup.
http://enphase.com/global/files/Envo...eration_NA.pdf
It talks to the microinverters through the neutral wire. You don’t want it plugged into a power strip.
Plug it close to where the solar breakers come in. Mine is plugged into the subpanel where the solar comes in.

Did the power company put your new meter in?

Very cool you are up and running!

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Old 05-02-15, 03:49 AM   #12
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245 watt sharp panels were $185 scored from craigslist. My m215 inverters were ebayed between $125-140 shipped. I bought one m250 for $155 shipped. 2 sets of trunk lines for $25 a connector, I bought 9x, 3 extra for future expansion totaling $225. Racking was unistrut, 4x 10' pieces for $23 ea, and 24x angle brackets for feet $4 ea. Screws and misc hardware $30. 2 tube black jack roofing sealant $3 each. 12-4 outdoor romex,250' for $180, I used about 60' but this was near the lowes price for 60' of cut wire. New breaker panel $70 plus a few breakers $25. Part of my update to a roomier panel I changed all my double poles to thicks, I think it looks better and its easier others to identify the big breakers. I paid $300 for the enphase envoy which should monitor my panels, not required but should be helpful once I get it set up.
Totaling very close to $2950 for 1.4 kw. $2.10 per watt.

With the current set up I could easily plug in 3 more for just cost of panels, inverters and racking, about $1050. Bringing cost down to 2.1kw for $1.90 per watt.

Last edited by gtojohn; 05-02-15 at 08:52 AM.. Reason: bad math
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Old 05-02-15, 04:10 AM   #13
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Pinball, I don't have a revenue meter yet. Electrical needs to be tidied up before final. Until then system is being tested and run with current smart meter. Since the grid tie won't island or feed back without grid power so safety isn't an issue. As you probably know the enphase require grid power for 5 minutes before the will produce power. With my base usage and small array, power going back won't be much of a revenue lost either. My main goal is to trim off the most expensive part of my electrical usage assuming my payback would be fastest.
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Old 05-04-15, 08:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtojohn View Post
Pinball, I don't have a revenue meter yet. Electrical needs to be tidied up before final. Until then system is being tested and run with current smart meter. Since the grid tie won't island or feed back without grid power so safety isn't an issue. As you probably know the enphase require grid power for 5 minutes before the will produce power. With my base usage and small array, power going back won't be much of a revenue lost either. My main goal is to trim off the most expensive part of my electrical usage assuming my payback would be fastest.
Keep in mind that non-bidirectional meters almost universally will count up no matter which way the power is flowing through them. My old meter did this when we were doing initial testing. The idea is that they will not count down in the case that the meter is wired in reverse. ..not that this is easy to do or anything. So if you are running a high powered appliance and are generating say 1500 watts and the appliance is using 1300 watts, you might still be paying for the remaining 200 watts. The only time that I could figure it would make sense to power up my system before final inspection and meter install would have been when running my electric clothes dryer. Oddly enough I didn't have a load to run before I got the meters installed and figured the 4kwh of a dryer load wouldn't make much difference anyway so I left the lever in the off position. Some smart meters might just zero the return wattage though. Dial gauges count up only.
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Old 05-04-15, 08:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Renovator View Post
Keep in mind that non-bidirectional meters almost universally will count up no matter which way the power is flowing through them. My old meter did this when we were doing initial testing. The idea is that they will not count down in the case that the meter is wired in reverse. ..not that this is easy to do or anything.
They did this because people were pulling their meter and turning it upside-down. They would let it run backwards part of the month then the flip it back over and let it run normal the rest of the month.
The guy said when they would catch them was when they forgot to flip it back over and they would get negative usage.
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Old 05-07-15, 06:20 AM   #16
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Oklahoma is backwards on winter electric rates. We have a 2 tier system where the 1st 600KWH per month is billed @ 9 cents, then the rate drops to 5 cents for all use over 600KWH. In summer we have TOU rates where you pay 6 cents off peak and 20 cents on peak (2-7pm M-F). Fortunately the 2-7pm peak rates are well aligned with solar peak output. Summer is June 1 - Sept 30, winter is the other 8 months.
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Old 05-07-15, 11:26 AM   #17
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You may already know, but hooking up any backfeeding/producing system to any utility requires their permission so use sound judgement (ie is anyone gonna give a crap and how much crap could fly, etc). Often the utility and local code requirement will really eat into the costs so its helpful to map that out and have approvals first.
And as noted almost all meters continue to add when spinning backward, some including the digital will trip alarms as well.

I did a minor system to cover phantom load, as in my area the utility doesn't offer net metering and charges crazy fees/rates for solar hookups. Also no state or utility rebates.
I used one enphase and a couple large unisolar thin film panels, and it never produces more than my homes typical phantom load. More of a fun test as my local power cost is dirt cheap so it'll break even maybe in a decade or so if at all.

Also look into the requirements on the tax incentives and rebates; some require certifications, etc. Depending on your rates, a lot of your payback may be tied up into this so it's important. Other things like how your insurance will handle panel damage or roof damage where the panels are is worth looking into.

Your racks look nice!
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Old 06-21-15, 03:34 PM   #18
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I just finished my first whole month billing cycle with my small array. 638 kwh of usage total, in June I used less power than January and thats with gas heating. Which is actually tied for my 3rd lowest usage in the last 24 months. During this current bill cycle we used plenty of a/c, ceiling fans and ran the pool pump as needed. Both a/c had separate failures which led to extended periods of run time before I became aware we were without a/c. My usage was a little higher because of this. My monitor shows that despite unusually cloudy weather I've generated 210kwh this month which retails close to $30.
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Old 06-21-15, 10:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtojohn View Post
I just finished my first whole month billing cycle with my small array. 638 kwh of usage total, in June I used less power than January and thats with gas heating. Which is actually tied for my 3rd lowest usage in the last 24 months. During this current bill cycle we used plenty of a/c, ceiling fans and ran the pool pump as needed. Both a/c had separate failures which led to extended periods of run time before I became aware we were without a/c. My usage was a little higher because of this. My monitor shows that despite unusually cloudy weather I've generated 210kwh this month which retails close to $30.
210kwh is not bad for a 'small' array.
I couldn't imagine 15cent electricity; I'm at 3.8cents + 2.5cents distribution
Congrats!
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Old 06-22-15, 09:48 AM   #20
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Congrats gtojohn! I wish I had a nice little array that size.

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