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  • #16
    Originally posted by Ampster View Post

    No doubt those utilities do that. You are correct that anybody who installs solar is taking a chance but it is important to understand what that risk is. It is an economic risk not a regulatory risk as you have suggested.

    Your example does not address the issue about whether the Original Poster or I can operate a "generating facility" behind the meter in California.

    Maybe Florida is different but with the low rates there economics probably are the big driver that prevents people from even considering doing that. The only cases I have seen in California where the Investor Owned Utilities have done anything like your friends in Florida have done is in cases of battery installations funded by grants. In the case of Self Generation Incentive Program grants the agreement specifically prohibits selling power from batteries that have been charged from the grid or from solar. In those cases the expected output of the grantees existing solar is used as the standard for which that facility cannot sell more to the grid. That is a case of a contractual relationship pertaining to the terms of the grant and an existing PTO regarding selling to the grid.

    I am still waiting for somebody to give me the Civil Code section or any other law in any other state that restricts the right of a homeowner to generate their own electricity. I do understand that Municipal Utilities may have the ability to legislate such restrictions but those cases may be rare.
    Fair enough. CA rules are much different then Fl rules so you may be able to self generate without any penalties. I do remember that some states (TN and KY) at one time actually frowned upon any self generation to the point of not allowing any form of grid tie PV except for maybe totally off grid on an RV.

    Hopefully times are changing and the POCO's will start to really work with their customers to help them install a pv system so there are more local generating points in their district.
    Last edited by SunEagle; 11-08-2019, 11:02 AM.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Ampster View Post
      I respectfully ask again, do you have any data or a reference to the Civil Code that supports your claim that behind the meter generating (inverting to be specific) equipment that is UL approved needs the permission of an investor Owned Utility in California?
      No, I do not.

      Nor do I believe I ever wrote or made such a claim.

      But I also believe the situation is not as dichotomous as you or the cynical conmen at Legionsolar seem to want to make it. This is primarily about safety, not splitting words or separating fly crap from pepper distinctions about when/what something is grid tied or not grid tied.

      If you're interested, read on to the extent your attention span allows.

      My intent in that post was to convey the sense that if a grid tie system that can supply power to the grid has non UL approved equipment where such certification is required, the AHJ (not the POCO BTW) may well fail the installation.

      The link to the POCO is that, at least for SDG & E, the POCO will not issue a PTO for equipment the AHJ has failed, rejected or red tagged. That's not to say that one inspector may see a system as not meeting code where another inspector may. That's reality. But that's also a different matter.

      If an energy producing facility is behind the meter and will not have any interconnection or interface with the grid, in any way, ever, then I agree the POCO probably has no say in it.

      But, any changes in a residential electrical system that require a building permit, including plan/design review and inspection will need to conform to any building codes in force, including equipment certification requirements as required by such codes.

      If I have a PV system that can be isolated from the grid part of the time, but interactive with the grid at other times, then I believe any electrical code in force as part of any building code in force will regulate what is/is not allowable behind the meter, just like any other component of an electrical system in a residence. UL approval may or may not be applicable or required, depending on the equipment and the AHJ.

      Statutes or civil codes reference particular recognized codes such as the NEC or the ASME pressure vessel code and others as applicable for a lot of particulars rather than put all the minutia contained in those codes in the statute. Saves time and makes for better, more complete statutes.

      I haven/t checked case law, but it does seem to me that by signing most interconnection (NEM) agreements, residential PV users give up (at least implicitly if not actually) some of their autonomy with respect to what they can do behind the meter, particularly if it might cause problems with the grid or pubic safety.


      Now, aside from that, I also looked into Legionsolar's website. I was mostly not impressed by it.

      But, when I got to reading their FAQ's and somewhat lengthy tirade about what to do and tell anyone such as an AHJ or a POCO who (I assume) challenges or disallows the use of any of what I also assume is Legionsolar equipment, I was impressed, but not in a positive way.

      That portion of the website and a lot of their FAQ's look like a real red flag to me with a tone I've not seen previously seen in print from a producer of PV equipment.

      If I was still working, I'd get ahold of purchasing and, as was part of my job responsibilities, I'd formally instruct purchasing/material acquisition to remove them from the allowable bidders list.

      I'd seriously suggest that folks reading this post also check out the Legionsolar website and form your own conclusions and opinions.

      I found it to be a bizarre, almost paranoid collection of shallow and weak statements with which to counter questions and failed inspections from AHJ's and POCOs.

      One such statement is that their equipment is not grid tied and so the POCO has nothing to say about it. Seems to me any system that has the ability to be off grid some of the time - as they seem to want the reader to infer - implies that it has the capability to be a grid tied system the rest of the time. In my book, such dual capability means it's a grid tie system and their argument is specious at best, B.S. at worst.

      See the FAQ's. Looks almost paranoid to me. Example: The FAQ: "If your energy company discovers your have 'Permission Free Solar', they may dislike it". Why ? Maybe Legionsolar's equipment has been rejected enough to make a FAQ out of it ? Hmm.

      Read onto their version of consumer rights after that FAQ.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

        Fair enough. CA rules are much different then Fl rules so you may be able to self generate without any penalties. I do remember that some states (TN and KY) at one time actually frowned upon any self generation to the point of not allowing any form of grid tie PV except for maybe totally off grid on an RV.

        Hopefully times are changing and the POCO's will start to really work with their customers to help them install a pv system so there are more local generating points in their district.
        Lets hope that POCOs around the country get smart and work with their customers. That didnt happen in Hawaii and there was significant load departure because of behind the meter solar installations with batteries.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

          No, I do not.

          Nor do I believe I ever wrote or made such a claim.
          .......
          Good, glad we got that cleared up. Now if we could convince @Mike90250 that there is no statute preventing self generation behind the meter as long as that generation conforms to local building codes, is UL approved and does not export to the grid.
          Just to be clear I do not support the use of systems like the Original Poster described. I particularly don't like their answer that implies that you don't need permits because it is an appliance. It is misleading because an appliance isn't considered an appliance if it is permanently installed. The solar panels have to be permanently installed if you want them to stay on your roof in any kind of breeze.
          Last edited by Ampster; 11-09-2019, 01:33 AM.

          Comment


          • #20
            In 2002 when I did grid tie, anything connected to the household wiring, needed to have UL cert for it's function, before the Power Co would allow it to share electrons with their grid. Even if it did not backfeed/export, it still needed to be UL 1741 certified by an authority, that it was safe to connect to house wires which eventually connect to the grid.

            Without that clause, anything can be built, and said that it won't backfeed. And when it does and a lineman goes down, and it's found your house has this weird solar stuff on it, with strange changes in the the meter readings for the last months, you are looking at manslaughter. Wave your appliance hands all you want, but when the meter is plugged in, connecting your premises to the grid, you have to follow their rules, that generation gear, has to be UL type certified for THAT SPECIFIC application.
            And plug-in (generating appliance) inverters are never allowed in houses, because local generation happens behind the breakers and the wires are not protected

            If you unplug the meter, there is now no grid and you can do as you please.

            Even certified gear can have issues, the XW series like I have, has a propensity for welding the transfer relay contacts. That's never generally good, and because the gear is certified, the homeowner is relived of most of the liability if there is an incident and it's called a manufacturing defect.

            Since I'm totally off grid, I'm not following all the latest GT news, but it would be major to now allow un-certified generating gear to connect to the grid in any manner, whither it's supposed to backfeed or not. UL 1741is the inverter backfeed cert you need to look for.

            So, when I see statue stating it's ok, I'll believe it. Until then, I'll advise caution against it, they have lawyers on staff, and you don't.

            If you are in a city, and you violate the PoCo rules, they can pull your meter, and then some cities red tag your home as uninhabitable because of no monopoly electricity. In cities, you generally cannot abandon the grid because of all the hands scratching each others back to keep the monopoly going.
            Last edited by Mike90250; 11-09-2019, 04:34 AM.
            Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
            || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
            || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

            solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
            gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
              In 2002 when I did grid tie, anything connected to the household wiring, needed to have UL cert for it's function, before the Power Co would allow it to share electrons with their grid. Even if it did not backfeed/export, it still needed to be UL 1741 certified by an authority, that it was safe to connect to house wires which eventually connect to the grid.

              Without that clause, anything can be built, and said that it won't backfeed. And when it does and a lineman goes down, and it's found your house has this weird solar stuff on it, with strange changes in the the meter readings for the last months, you are looking at manslaughter. Wave your appliance hands all you want, but when the meter is plugged in, connecting your premises to the grid, you have to follow their rules, that generation gear, has to be UL type certified for THAT SPECIFIC application.
              And plug-in (generating appliance) inverters are never allowed in houses, because local generation happens behind the breakers and the wires are not protected

              If you unplug the meter, there is now no grid and you can do as you please.

              Even certified gear can have issues, the XW series like I have, has a propensity for welding the transfer relay contacts. That's never generally good, and because the gear is certified, the homeowner is relived of most of the liability if there is an incident and it's called a manufacturing defect.

              Since I'm totally off grid, I'm not following all the latest GT news, but it would be major to now allow un-certified generating gear to connect to the grid in any manner, whither it's supposed to backfeed or not. UL 1741is the inverter backfeed cert you need to look for.

              So, when I see statue stating it's ok, I'll believe it. Until then, I'll advise caution against it, they have lawyers on staff, and you don't.

              If you are in a city, and you violate the PoCo rules, they can pull your meter, and then some cities red tag your home as uninhabitable because of no monopoly electricity. In cities, you generally cannot abandon the grid because of all the hands scratching each others back to keep the monopoly going.
              FWIW, I'm in total agreement with Mike on this one.

              Comment


              • #22
                I also agree with every thing Mike said, but he did not address the question I asked. That question is, do I need permission from any of the California Investor Owned Utilities to install UL1741 certified generating equipment behind my meter?
                It is a simple one word answer. From what @SunEagle and @J.P.M. have written previously their answer is NO.

                If the answer is yes, show me where it says that in the Civil Code or in any tarriff approved by the CPUC or any policy adopted by the CEC. For the purposes of this discussion I am excluding municipal Utilities or cooperatives not regulated by the CPUC. I am also assuming the a building permit has been issued by the local Authority Having Jurisdiction and the equipment has been certified in acordance with UL 1741.

                To be perfectly clear, I am in no way trying to trick Mike into endorsing what the Original Poster is trying to do. I think Legionsolar is being deceptive by calling their product an appliance and implying that one may not need a building permit because one can install it themselves.

                Comment


                • #23
                  [QUOTE=Ampster;n407918]

                  Good, glad we got that cleared up. Now if we could convince @Mike90250 that there is no statute preventing self generation behind the meter as long as that generation conforms to local building codes, is UL approved and does not export to the grid./QUOTE]

                  I'm not ready to say that. I am willing to say there is no statute I've found that states that.

                  Furthermore, if you infer more into what I wrote than was there and then use and incorrectly misuse that inference to try to state or imply I agree with you, I'll clear that up now .

                  I Do Not.

                  I simply know of no such statute. That does not mean one does not exist. It merely answers your question in the very narrow scope of your question.

                  I simply wrote No to your question of: "do you have any data or reference to a civil code...".

                  That is not agreement with your opinion.

                  Until I do have such information that leads me to change my opinion and so believe something counter to what my engineering knowledge and experience would have me believe, including what I've learned of and from other engineers' opinions and experience, and from other good sources of information such as Mike who are better informed on the subject than I am, I'll continue to have the opinion that you're way of approaching the question ignores what a lot of what informed folks think about the matter and in the ignoring may well be dangerous in ways you, and those with similar attitudes and arrogant ignorance cannot understand. I believe posting such stuff can easily lead to incorrect conclusions and so be dangerous. If this was my game to run - and it sure ain't - I'd have banned you long ago for such antics. Stay within your areas of knowledge.

                  Since I'm in agreement with Mike on this one, I see no need to convince him of anything.

                  Basically, until I see some statute that runs counter to everything I've learned about a subject I'll continue to believe there are things a POCO and a municipal code can force a homeowner to do behind the meter.

                  I believe fortune does indeed favor the bold, but if I err, which occurs more often than I'd like, and because fortune also slaughters the foolish, I try to err on the side of safety. I also keep my fingers still with respect to things out of my proficiency areas.

                  Take what you want of the above. Scrap the rest.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Ampster View Post
                    I also agree with every thing Mike said, but he did not address the question I asked. That question is, do I need permission from any of the California Investor Owned Utilities to install UL1741 certified generating equipment behind my meter?
                    It is a simple one word answer. From what @SunEagle and @J.P.M. have written previously their answer is NO.

                    If the answer is yes, show me where it says that in the Civil Code or in any tarriff approved by the CPUC or any policy adopted by the CEC. For the purposes of this discussion I am excluding municipal Utilities or cooperatives not regulated by the CPUC. I am also assuming the a building permit has been issued by the local Authority Having Jurisdiction and the equipment has been certified in acordance with UL 1741.

                    To be perfectly clear, I am in no way trying to trick Mike into endorsing what the Original Poster is trying to do. I think Legionsolar is being deceptive by calling their product an appliance and implying that one may not need a building permit because one can install it themselves.
                    I never wrote no as the answer to that question.

                    Until I find out otherwise, my opinion of what's one of perhaps workable answer to the question that's most likely to lead to the safest and most workable application based on my present state of knowledge is "It depends". That is, it depends on the particulars of the application for safety and also, from a practical and pragmatic outlook, what the AHJ thinks is the best conformance to the code (s)he's charged with enforcing.

                    My wonder here is partly why are you seem, to me anyway, digging in your heels on verbiage - or the lack of it - in some written code(s) while at the same time mostly ignoring what's the original purpose and intent of most codes in the first place: Safety.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Ampster View Post
                      .....did not address the question I asked. That question is, do I need permission from any of the California Investor Owned Utilities to install UL1741 certified generating equipment behind my meter?.....
                      I have no idea, I have no desire to investigate it for you.

                      I strongly suspect that if you have any Utility connection, you need their permission to connect any sort of device that generates power. They will decide if it meets their criteria, which is often UL 1741.

                      I have given my knowledge on this, asking me again will just make me grumpy.
                      Since you are constantly asking, why don't you locate and publish the link that states it's OK, since it seems so meaningful to you.

                      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post

                        I have no idea, I have no desire to investigate it for you.
                        For me? I know the answer. There are probably a lot of PG & E customers that have been inconvenienced by the power outages that would like a simple solution, whether it be a generator or battery. I agree the focus should be on a safe solution.
                        I strongly suspect that if you have any Utility connection, you need their permission to connect any sort of device that generates power. They will decide if it meets their criteria, which is often UL 1741.
                        Fair enough, you are free to express an unsubstantiated opinion and you have the power as a Moderator to ban anybody that disagrees with you. I do not chose to give the POCOs more power over my choices without verification.

                        I have given my knowledge on this, asking me again will just make me grumpy.
                        Since you are constaently asking, why don't you locate and publish the link that states it's OK, since it seems so meaningful to you.
                        I have found a link from PG & E. . I have also asked two building officials in separate jurisdictions.
                        https://www.pge.com/myhome/edusafety...tricgenerator/

                        There is nothing in the above that suggests that permission is required. There are the usual caveats that warnings about connecting to or back feeding the PG & E lines. I know @J.P.M feels that generator is not descriptive of what an inverter does but my Permission To Operate refers to my Inverter as a generating device and I found nothing else referring to inverters.
                        Last edited by Ampster; 11-09-2019, 08:38 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Your link explains it perfectly. When a temporary device is generating power, you cannot be connected to the pg& lines, a transfer switch is required.

                          However, I thought we were discussing PV & inverter generation, not portable or fixed fossil fuel generators.

                          You are free to walk your own rose colored path. I strongly suggest you not encourage others to accompany you, they can read and make up their own minds

                          And they reserve the right to inspect gear wired into your house:

                          A double-pole, double-throw transfer switch (see diagram A2) is the recommended device to keep your generator from backfeeding into PG&E's system. The switch also keeps PG&E's power from re-energizing your house wiring while your generator is running, protecting your generator, wiring and appliances from damage when your service is restored.
                          Have all additions to your house wiring inspected by your city or county building department.
                          When installation is complete, call PG&E to let us know about your back-up system. We will make a note in our records to remind our workers of your generator if they are working on an outage in your area. In some cases, PG&E line workers may ask to check your electric generator transfer switch for safety.
                          If you already have a permanently installed standby generator but you don't know if it's installed properly, call your local building inspector or a licensed contractor for help.

                          You are responsible for any injuries or damage to your property, your neighbors' or PG&E's, from an improperly installed or operated generator.
                          Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                          || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                          || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                          solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                          gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                            Your link explains it perfectly. When a temporary device is generating power, you cannot be connected to the pg& lines, a transfer switch is required.
                            No disagreement there.
                            However, I thought we were discussing PV & inverter generation, not portable or fixed fossil fuel generators.
                            We have been talking about inverters behind the meter. You asked for a link and the only one I found talked about generators, It is silent about Inverters and I can only assume that concept is the same.But you can take the position that they are not allowed and I can take the position that they should be treated the same as generators in the absence of anything to the contrary. If these devices are behind the meter what legal distinction can a power company use to say one is okay and the other is not? The physics is the same whether it is fossil fuel or batteries/solar.
                            You are free to walk your own rose colored path. I strongly suggest you not encourage others to accompany you, they can read and make up their own minds
                            That is all I am expecting. People should know that in California as long as they install UL approved generating equipment, behind the meter in accordance with local building codes, in a safe manner, they may not need to asked permission of their Investor Owned Utility to operate such equipment as long as it is not connected to the the utility lines.This is not a rose colored path. It has been corroborated by two building officials from two different jurisdictions, and some PG & E linemen who worked in a vault while my system was operating. You are free to disagree but so far you and JPM have not offered any evidence to support a different conclusion. The readers of this forum are free to reach there own conclusion after investigating their circumstances. In no way would I recommend that anybody rely on any anonymous poster on the Internet to make any electrical design decision.
                            And they reserve the right to inspect gear wired into your house:
                            I have seen a lot of discussion on this issue with regard to sub panels and other equipment behind the meter. I have not seen one shred of evidence that suggests that any Investor Owned Utility has ever exercised jurisdiction over any equipment behind the meter. The only exceptions are by contract, in the case of a NEM agreement or a SGIP grant. If you have an example that would be useful for those that are trying to make up their minds.
                            Have all additions to your house wiring inspected by your city or county building department.
                            I have been saying the same thing during this whole discussion. There is no disagreement on that issue.
                            When installation is complete, call PG&E to let us know about your back-up system. We will make a note in our records to remind our workers of your generator if they are working on an outage in your area. In some cases, PG&E line workers may ask to check your electric generator transfer switch for safety.
                            That is exactly the conversation I had with the line workers when they were working on the vault at the end of my driveway. No issue there. They also said no permission was required.
                            If you already have a permanently installed standby generator but you don't know if it's installed properly, call your local building inspector or a licensed contractor for help.
                            That confirms what two different building departments told me. Don't bother the utility, make sure it passes code.
                            You are responsible for any injuries or damage to your property, your neighbors' or PG&E's, from an improperly installed or operated generator.
                            That is a fundamental aspect of Tort law in California. Nothing new there.

                            I think we have both made our arguments for and against. Let's leave it at that or start a new thread to dive into it deeper id you want to continue this dialogue..
                            The irony is that the Legionsolar website is bootstrapping off of the argument that I have been making but left out important details.. At least we can agree that the Legionsolar is pushing the envelope and ignoring two important issues which are building department approval and UL certification.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Legionsolar does not utilize a recognized/listed transfer switch. The power co wants a transfer switch. A transfer switch is a mechanical device, not a wireless software control.

                              They appear to use a current transformer to sense direction and use a wireless signal to command inverters to shut down. This is so wrong on many levels, basic communications security and power line integrity. They are not pushing the envelope, they have torn it open, collected the $ from naive customers, and having a party, while ignorant consumer is clueless. This is the data the OP was wanting.

                              You appear to have fallen into a condition where you are conflating your wishes with sales speak from unscrupulous vendors.
                              * Plug-in inverters are not allowed in NEC.
                              * Having a permit signed off for one, can only be done by mistake.
                              * And they currently carry no UL cert.
                              Using one, is unsafe for the homeowner and linemen.

                              > People should know that in California as long as they install UL approved generating equipment, behind the meter in accordance with local building codes, in a safe manner, they may not need to asked permission of their Investor Owned Utility to operate such equipment as long as it is not connected to the the utility lines.

                              And yet 300w GT inverters must connect to the utility line to boot up, and are therefore not permitted.
                              Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                              || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                              || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                              solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                              gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Ampster View Post
                                .....
                                I am still waiting for somebody to give me the Civil Code section or any other law in any other state that restricts the right of a homeowner to generate their own electricity. I do understand that Municipal Utilities may have the ability to legislate such restrictions but those cases may be rare.
                                Still waiting.

                                Comment

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