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Floridian planning to add solar to home

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  • Floridian planning to add solar to home

    I'm an electronic technician and I'm finally getting around to adding solar as a resource to my home energy. Once I found that grid tie inverters were available pretty cheap it got my wheels spinning. I had previously research solar and due to battery cost I didn't see a reasonable RIO in going solar. I wanted to add a radiator fan to help cool my garage for the summer and found grid tie inverters. Now I'm redirecting my attention to growing a small grid tie system and adding panels and inverters every year to control cost. I'll be doing lots of reading to find answers and if I can't find the answer, I'll ask you guys.

    I'm a Jaguars fan, enjoy fantasy football, Linux user, spent over 20 years fixing aircraft electronics, now back as a full time college student. I'm gadget enthusiast. Last year I mined cryptocurrency this year I'm doing solar. Priority for solar, is controlling cost. I'm worried that grid tied inverters aren't reliable for 10 years of operations and will kill my RIO.

    Goal to build a 1kw grid tie system. I want to build the panel support and make it adjustable for 7 to 46 degrees throughout the year to maximize output. I'm starting with 4 or 6 100 watt mono panel in a series/parrallel configuration and looking at a 500 or 600 watt grid tie inverter. I'd like the system to be easily switchable for off grid operations if necessary. Due to territorial restraints I'll be limited to about 8 solar hours. Once I remove a tree and add panels to the south west side of the house I'll be able to add more wattage. Future upgrades.

    1. Looking for hints to building adjustable inexpensive solar panel mounts (about 6 feet off the ground),

    2. Recommendations on grid tie inverters trying to use parrallel connected panels to reduce wiring cost by raising panel output voltage and keep amperage low. 4 to 6 100w panels on a 500 to 600watt input 30 to 60v versus? cost is very important.

    3. Ideas for low cost solar tracker for next years projects.

    4. Smart wall outlet adapter to export grid tie data to PC (like cvs format) to track output from solar system. Low cost android and probably bluetooth.

    Thank

  • #2
    Originally posted by tabletuser33 View Post
    Now I'm redirecting my attention to growing a small grid tie system and adding panels and inverters every year to control cost.
    Does not work that way. Incremental will cost you a fortune with permits, inspections, and utility contract fees with each upgrade. After 2016 no more free money from the government and your neighbors to pay for it.

    You go all in or go home.
    MSEE, PE

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tabletuser33 View Post
      Goal to build a 1kw grid tie system. I want to build the panel support and make it adjustable for 7 to 46 degrees throughout the year to maximize output. I'm starting with 4 or 6 100 watt mono panel in a series/parrallel configuration and looking at a 500 or 600 watt grid tie inverter. I'd like the system to be easily switchable for off grid operations if necessary. Due to territorial restraints I'll be limited to about 8 solar hours. Once I remove a tree and add panels to the south west side of the house I'll be able to add more wattage. Future upgrades.


      Thank
      First off there is no POCO that will allow you to only install a 1kw grid tie system.

      Second there are no legal UL approved grid tie inverters below 3000watts. If you are looking at the ones that "plug" into a wall outlet then STOP. They are illegal in the US and dangerous due to poor quality and potential cause of fires.

      Third, even in Florida you will not be getting 8 hours of usable sunlight a day. The most will be about 7 peak in the summer and down to 3 hours in the winter. I live in west central Florida and have an average of about 5 useful sun hours a day all year.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

        Second there are no legal UL approved grid tie inverters below 3000watts. If you are looking at the ones that "plug" into a wall outlet then STOP. They are illegal in the US and dangerous due to poor quality and potential cause of fires.
        Actually, SMA has the SB2000HFUS and Solectria has the PVI1800.

        But, the OP is better off with microinverters, like Enphase, since you want to add in the future. You'll need to use at least 60 cell modules, so 100W isn't an option. besides, they cost less per watt than the small 100W panels, so you'll save money in the long run. Since they convert the DC to AC right at the panel, the voltage will be 240VAC, and you'd use the proprietary cabling that wires them in parallel, increasing the current but not the volts. Their Envoy provides remote monitoring of the system.
        Solar Queen
        altE Store

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Amy@altE View Post
          Actually, SMA has the SB2000HFUS and Solectria has the PVI1800.

          But, the OP is better off with microinverters, like Enphase, since you want to add in the future. You'll need to use at least 60 cell modules, so 100W isn't an option. besides, they cost less per watt than the small 100W panels, so you'll save money in the long run. Since they convert the DC to AC right at the panel, the voltage will be 240VAC, and you'd use the proprietary cabling that wires them in parallel, increasing the current but not the volts. Their Envoy provides remote monitoring of the system.
          I didn't realize there were any 2000 watt grid tie inverters still on the market. I thought they went away along with the older low wattage grid panels.

          I agree using micro-inverters provides a path for future "expansion" as long as your POCO agrees to the additional wattage.

          I beleive the OP was looking at those illegal grid tie inverters which was my main warning point in my other post.

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