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  • J.P.M.
    replied
    [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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ampster
    replied
    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.

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  • J.P.M.
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mike90250
    replied
    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.

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  • Ampster
    replied
    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.

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  • Ampster
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • J.P.M.
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • SunEagle
    replied
    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.

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  • Ampster
    replied
    Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
    You are looking to spend a fair amount of money and labor, to install a quasi-legit system that can only offset your consumption for a 6 hour window of a 24 hr day.

    Why not at least explore going all out, and installing a large enough system that can actually unwind your meter, or sell back at the high price portion of the day. Get it blessed by the building depart & the electric company, and actually realize a sizeable savings over 10 years. And unless you have shade issues, you should not need to use microinverters.
    I think the long term view as Mike suggests is probably the best approach.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ampster
    replied
    Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

    Based on what my friends at a couple of local Florida POCO's, they have a computer system that will alert their staff if the consumption is lower over a period of time then it was for previous months. This alert is there to help them understand what has changed. It is usually followed up with a site visit to check the grid connection systems. If they find anything out of the ordinary they will continue to investigate.

    The computer check was put into place when people started to use much more electricity then they had in the past. The reason was usually a "grow house" that consumed a lot more kWh then the customer use to. It also would find if a neighbor was tapping into an outlet through an extension.

    It all comes down to meters now being able to record and track unusual usage.

    I can only say anyone that tries to install a pv system without a contract with their POCO is taking a chance.
    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.
    Last edited by Ampster; 11-08-2019, 12:20 AM.

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  • Mike90250
    replied
    You are looking to spend a fair amount of money and labor, to install a quasi-legit system that can only offset your consumption for a 6 hour window of a 24 hr day.

    Why not at least explore going all out, and installing a large enough system that can actually unwind your meter, or sell back at the high price portion of the day. Get it blessed by the building depart & the electric company, and actually realize a sizeable savings over 10 years. And unless you have shade issues, you should not need to use microinverters.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bigbillsd
    replied
    I am not concerned that the poco could find out. There is nothing they can do to me unless I back-feed the grid. Which is highly unlikely. The non UL listed stuff does concern me. But I could cobble all this totgether with UL listed equipment except the solar regulator that is unique to this company. Hard to imagine the panels and inverters aren't UL listed already though. I would guess the only part not UL listed is the regulator. And its a 5v device with a wall wart. .

    As for my 600 w constant draw, I know what it is. A few servers, many POE powered cameras on the perimeter, routers, switches, ATSC signal Ethernet recorders, VOIP system etc. And other things that run more often than I think they should like the freezer and fridge. Both are old, coils cleaned but still need to be replaced with energy star appliances.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ampster
    replied
    Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

    That may be one way.
    I am not suggesting any particular way. I wanted to make sure I understood your sentence the way you intended when consumption drops. How can the power company distinguish between load decline from self generation or from a semi vacant home?
    As for data, I rely on common sense and some knowledge of how power grids operate. Try educating yourself in such things.
    As I posted above I have spent considerable time informing myself about this particular issue of the right to generate power behind the meter without needing permission from the utility. I have researched the issue in legal journals and read the Civil Code. I have also asked on several occasions on this and other forums and no one has shown me any code section or utility tarrif that contradicts my belief. I continue to hear statements like, "If grid tied you're screwed if discovered by the POCO" which are unsubstantiated.

    I ran my hybrid inverter to power my household while PG & E linemen were repairing the grid connection in my neigborhood. They were working in the vault, twenty feet from my inverter and we discussed my system. I never got screwed by them during our thirty minute intercourse.
    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?
    Last edited by Ampster; 11-07-2019, 11:56 PM.

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  • Ampster
    replied
    Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

    If the OP wants to have a pv system but not back feed then they need to get an inverter that will not do that.
    He is apparently in California and there is no statute that limits power generation behind the meter to models of inverter that cannot export. The only requirement is that IF you export you must get a Permission To Operate from your utility to sell back power. For example most Hybrid inverters have several modes some of which export and some of which are Grid Zero modes. In Grid Zero mode the inverter syncs to the grid for frequency but modulates battery and or solar output so that no power back feeds the grid. The ones I am referring to are all UL 1741 compliant.

    The equipment the Original Poster is talking about is not UL compliant in any way and I would not recommend using that kind of equipment.
    Last edited by Ampster; 11-09-2019, 01:07 AM.

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  • J.P.M.
    replied
    Originally posted by Ampster View Post
    I assume you are talking about someone with a grid connection who has significantly dropped his consumption of energy from the power company. Do you have any data to back up that statement?
    That may be one way.

    Another may be when a smart meter reveals power flowing from a residence and there is no net metering agreement in place.

    As for data, I rely on common sense and some knowledge of how power grids operate. Try educating yourself in such things.

    Leave a comment:

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