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Solar Electric - 6.5 kw system

Post in 'The Green Room' started by jebatty, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    It may go on live today! ... and it will be cloudy. A few pictures of the system. 26 Suniva panels, micro-inverters, data-logging controller with wi-fi and hard-wired ethernet, underground wiring to the house. If live today, unfortunately I will not be home when switched on. Have to be out of town for a meeting.
    DSCN2069.JPG DSCN2072.JPG DSCN2072a.JPG DSCN2073.JPG DSCN2076.JPG FSCN2078.JPG
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2013
    vinny11950 and stayfitz like this.

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  2. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    The racking system look impressive. Is the angle adjustable for seasons? I am little surprised that they mounted them so low, normally I see snow area systems mounted higher to accommodate snow accumulation.

    I assume that the system feeding into the grid via "line side tap" (not through the main breaker panel).
  3. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    NIce! I'm severely envious.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's pretty exciting! What inverters are you using, Enphase?
  5. Where2

    Where2 Member

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    I don't think running your dryer is so much of an issue once you get those 26 panels on-line...

    I guess I'm a little surprised you already have three different electric meters before you add the SREC meter. (one meter is presently removed for safety to the left of the new big red disconnect lever; the SREC meter will go to the right of the new red disconnect lever).
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    If you have the same clothes dryer I have it will knock it to its knees at 5,000 watts. Intermittent for sure but only after it warms the thing up. My head explodes watching the whole house monitor when I use the dryer. Seldom.
  7. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    You have a good point but I doubt snow will be a problem, unless climate change moves us into a high snow belt. Our winters are cold but snow fall usually is pretty light, with most occurring in March when the melt is starting to take good hold. Last winter was an exception when Mar and Apr was very heavy, something I have not seen before in the past 25 years. The grass you see by the panel array is about 4-5 feet high.

    Did you see all the meters and boxes on the side of the house? There are at least two shut-offs, one at the panels and another at the house. Since I was gone yesterday when the system went active, I need to talk with the electrician to bring me up to speed on all the panels and controls.

    Aurora Power-One Micro 0.25

    The pre-solar meters were general service, dual heat (interruptible) for electric space heating, and off-peak for electric hot water. The off-peak meter is removed and off-peak supply now is via the dual-heat meter, resulting in a still low but slightly higher rate than off-peak.

    I have the monitoring panel, which will communicate through the web or directly to my computer, but it is not yet installed. It communicates with and collects data from each of the 26 panels.
  8. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Looking good.

    I have 25 suniva panels with micro inverters. Yesterday was exactly 1 year after I went live. The installer predicted between 5-6 MW for a year. I got 6.4. Very pleased.

    April was my best month. Somewhat low temperatures, longer days, and still no leaves for shading.

    Good luck.
  9. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    The panel communication device is Aurora and looks pretty sophisticated. The array is too far from my router to establish a solid wi-fi connection. Bummer. Fortunately, I foresaw this possibility, and an ethernet cable also was buried underground when the electric was put in underground. Need to get some connectors and test it out. Talked to the power company, and possibly on Tuesday someone will be out to OK the system. A friend also put in a system with Suniva panels earlier this summer, and he says his too is performing better than expected.
  10. Where2

    Where2 Member

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    Those interrupter boxes look just like the one stationed next to my central A/C compressor unit. We haven't gone to multi-tier pricing in Florida yet. (thankfully). I only have one meter for everything, because we also don't have SREC's.

    My Enphase setup is still so new (at only 11 weeks since going live) that I still check it multiple times a day to see how much energy I'm generating. This weekend will be curious. It's finally cool enough to open the windows in South Florida. If it's sunny, I might actually over produce. :)
  11. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    FYI, new panels will overproduce initially, they degrade rapidly when first exposed to sun so the manufacturers put in some margin in the ratings, after few months in summer the curve levels out, over a winter it may take a bit longer.

    A comment about solar is eventually you will almost forget its there except when you get the power bill. About the only time I check it is when I happen to be nearby and usually I just scan for the correct LEDs blinking.

    NH has SRECs but the utility got the state to set them so low that its not worth selling them.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  12. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    My first frustration. I tried to put an ethernet jack and plug on the ends of the buried ethernet cable without success in getting communication. I read about some difficulty (maybe lack of skill and experience) in getting the pin-outs right and in getting solid connections, but was hoping I would luck out on my first attempt. Will try again today.
  13. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Make sure to maintain the twist on each twisted pair as close to the plug as possible. Its the twist in each pair and the fact that the twist rate varies between pairs that allows reliable communication.

    You're not trying to go more than 100m are you? Ethernet is limited to 100m without additional electronic hardware.
  14. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    If using punch down blocks make sure the ends are cut flush so they don't ground. If using rj-45 crimp-on connectors once the wires are nice and flat in the right order use a sharp pair of scissors/shears to cut to length. Don't mash them with linesman's pliers or the like, the ends of the wires need to be round in order to slide all the way up the connector and if out of sorts they will bunch up and cross your pairs.
  15. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I reverse wired a plug, corrected that, and the network connected. Since the power company has not OK'd yet, I could only run the panels for "testing purposes." One of the 26 panels was not acquired by the Aurora, and the installer will have to check that out. At noon today, quite clear but some haze, 25 panels were producing 4.7kw. I will be touch with the installer.
  16. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Power company approved the install on Monday afternoon (today is Friday) and the system is on-line. The installer missed a connection on the one panel, fixed that. Network is working great. Unfortunately, intense cloud cover and rain since, hoping for sum sun over the weekend. Even with the heavy cloud cover production during mid-day is around 10% of rated output.
  17. TommyTally

    TommyTally New Member

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    Wow, that is impressive. I'm green with envy over here.
  18. Where2

    Where2 Member

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    Yes, you will find cloudy days depressing for yet another reason now... Even from my cubicle in the cube farm, I can tell when it's a cloudy day outside without being able to see a window. Although the geek in me finds it curious how the variability in cloud cover changes my A/C run time. I get the cloud cover data from my PV graph, and my A/C run time from my Nest thermostat.
  19. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    As you know, production will be low in the autumn. However, when the snow comes, the cold temps and the albedo effect will give you a slight bump. Your numbers over a day or a week won't surpass autumn numbers, but it's pretty cool to see max output in January for an hour or so.

    After being used to all that, April's production will be mind blowing.
  20. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    OK, I have to ask - how much does a system like this cost, ballpark like? I have had this idea in the back of my head for years but it never moved past the 'costs too much forget about it' stage.
  21. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I got a taste of what that might be like yesterday, very cloudy in the morning, but then the sun broke through in the afternoon. Cloudy production was around 700 watts, sun production at 3pm was 2100 watts data logged, and I saw a real time peak of 2800 watts.

    My cost is right about $4.50/watt before tax credit. My costs are somewhat high because the system is ground mount with very sturdy racking, much more substantial than some other racking I've seen. Also, because of the nature of the soils 4 - 2 foot diameter concrete footings at 6 feet deep were placed. Then, the array is about 280 feet from my house, and all cabling is underground, including boring under the public road, and adding an ethernet underground cable as well. Our power company has some significant requirements that the electrician said also added to the cost. Finally, all work was done by the electrical contractor. The final work is very professional looking, neat, clean and orderly.
  22. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Do your aurora microinverters clip? Mine clip at 225 W, although I've seen 2 go to 226. Also, realistically its rare to get there with my 255 watt panels. My set up is roof mounted with one array At 28 degrees, the other at 56 degrees.
  23. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Minister of Fire

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    This is all new to me. The system is rated at 6.5kw but you're only getting 2.8kw?
    How much will you get in tax credits and rebates?
    What were you expecting to get out of it over the course of a year?
    I'd like to incorporate solar in my next home so I'm boning up on it now.
  24. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Haven't been around to know whether or not they clip. I will look for that the next time I am present during high sun. A little over 2 hours of full sun today, but some production from 8:30am to 5:30pm, 23kwh total, and I was absent most of the day. Top average production was 5376 watts; production over 5000 watts for 2:15 hours. The low sun angle is taking its toll, clouds moved in during the afternoon, and the sun angle will continue to drop until the winter solstice. I'm heading into the worst time of the year for solar production, plus Nov and Dec typically are quite cloudy in our area, sun returning in January.

    I don't expect to see rated production until mid-spring through mid-summer when the sun is high in the sky, but I'm new at this, so every day is a learning experience. I get the 30% federal tax credit, no rebates in MN available to me.
    Estimated average production over a year is 715kwh per month.
  25. Where2

    Where2 Member

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    Yes, I've slowly watched production wane since my system went online in August. 23.7kWh was a my best day in August, 22.5kWh in September, 21.75kWh in October. There's definitely a trend there... March and April were curious to watch on other people's Enphase systems in my area. I literally saw production graphs with flat tops from the SolarWorld 240W panels just down the canal from me about a mile. For those just beginning to look into PV systems, one thing I found helpful was to watch production numbers from systems within ~50 miles of me listed as "Enphase Public Systems". It's much easier to determine how large a system you may need when you can watch actual production numbers from a PV system near you.

    Like Jebatty, I'll only receive the 30% federal tax credit. The only incentives the "Sunshine State" offered me was no sales tax on PV equipment. That only helped with the big ticket parts because HD/Lowes managers look at you crosseyed when you tell them they shouldn't be charging you sales tax on a 250' coil of 10/3 UF (wire) and a 100A Square-D panel simply because you are using it in a PV setup, even though it is clearly sales tax exempt by state statute when used for this purpose!

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