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  • Hello from La Mesa, California

    I've lurked for a while and learned a lot on this forum, so it's time I introduced myself.

    Our system has been working for about a month now, and part of that time we were away on vacation, so production got a good head start on consumption.

    We have a SolarEdge 7.32 KW system with 24 LG 305 W panels, facing almost due south (azimuth 172 degrees, 23 degree tilt). I really liked the technology of combining intelligent power optimizers with a single "dumb" inverter in a sheltered location. We considered microinverters, but I worry about the lifespan of electrolytic capacitors in an adverse environment, in spite of manufacturers claims. Also, the SolarEdge system was more cost-effective.

    Installation by Jamar Power was combined with a new roof from Mark Anthony Construction and Roofing, and the whole thing went without a hitch, with all the work was done in just over a week. I would certainly use these guys again!

    Now I'm playing around with monitoring (because I'm a geek), with a Rainforest Eagle to read from the SDGE smart meter, the Zigbee from the inverter, and getting set up with PVoutput and Wattvision. I still need to get an API key from SolarEdge to work the solar output data into the mix.

    Overall, we are very happy with having done this!
    [url]http://tinyurl.com/p37gryz[/url]

  • #2
    Hi, my mom's house has La Mesa mailing address and I have gotten a couple of PMs on this site praising that same company. It seems like they must do great work.

    Can you post all the specs and price on your system ?

    How many other proposals did you get ? Could you post details on those also?

    Please tell us how you decided to go with Jamar ?

    I'm curious about your roof. What type is it ? Did the roofing company put in anchors for the solar installers to use while they were re-roofing ? Or was other coordinating done between the two companies ?

    In what part of La Mesa do you live ?

    What kind of numbers are you getting back as far as solar power produced ? What were your electric bills prior to getting solar installed ? What is the approximate square footage of your house ? Do you have air conditioning? How many people live in the house and what type of electric usage do you have ? What time of day do you think is your heaviest use ? Will a Time Of Use type metering option be available to you ? (Not sure if that is the exact terminology.)

    How difficult is it to set up that monitoring that you mentioned, I mean the Rainbird, Zigsbee, etc. ? Do you have a background in engineering or computers, or anything that gives you a bit of an advantage?

    Congratulations on your new system ! ! !

    About all the questions -- well, we are just curious and want to know ! ! !

    Thanks !

    Comment


    • #3
      >>>see embedded answers below>>>

      Originally posted by albert436 View Post
      Hi, my mom's house has La Mesa mailing address and I have gotten a couple of PMs on this site praising that same company. It seems like they must do great work.

      Can you post all the specs and price on your system ?
      >>>as above, with SE P400 Power Optimizers and a SE SE7600 inverter, and panel-level monitoring. Cost about $3.50/watt

      How many other proposals did you get ? Could you post details on those also?
      >>>five others, one from a good company providing Sunny Boy SMA systems, one from a good company with Enphase micro-inverters (almost went with them; they have done systems for several people I work with, and everyone has been happy). One came piggy-backed on a roofers estimate, one was a couple of guys with little electrical experience, but strong on marketing ( oddly, with higher prices, and no redeeming qualities).. The SMA system was similar in price, the Enphase a couple thousand more, if I recall right. We have trashed all the other bids at this point.

      Please tell us how you decided to go with Jamar ?
      >>>Our neighbors had spent a lot of time on this forum and suggested we call Vince at Jamar before signing with anybody: I am SO glad we did that! It was soon clear that it was a better system from an excellent company at a good price. No regrets.

      I'm curious about your roof. What type is it ? Did the roofing company put in anchors for the solar installers to use while they were re-roofing ? Or was other coordinating done between the two companies ?
      >>>Asphalt shingle. Jamar coordinated to install anchors after the old Cal-Shake roof was stripped and sheeting installed. Both companies dovetailed perfectly, and now the 50 year GAF-backed roof warranty applies to the mount waterproofing as well.

      In what part of La Mesa do you live ?
      >>>SD County actually, on the south slope of Mount Helix, with a La Mesa mailing address also.

      What kind of numbers are you getting back as far as solar power produced ?
      >>> averaging almot 50 kWh per day, less if cloudy or rainy.
      What were your electric bills prior to getting solar installed ?
      >>> figured about 11,000 kWh per year, dollar amount varied with tier that we got into.
      What is the approximate square footage of your house ?
      >>> 2900 ft^2
      Do you have air conditioning?
      >>> Yes, usually only run it for a few weeks in summer. Often we have a cool breeze in the evening.
      How many people live in the house and what type of electric usage do you have ? What time of day do you think is your heaviest use ?
      If not running the A/C, biggest drain is pool pump at 2500 W, usually runs about 4 hours/day. We're looking into a variable-speed pump to cut that down (should've probably done that BEFORE going solar!). Nearly all of our lights are LED, stove is gas, refrigerators & computers, etc use about 5 kWh/ day.
      Will a Time Of Use type metering option be available to you ? (Not sure if that is the exact terminology.)
      >>>Not sure. We are net-metered now, so I don't think there's and advantage to time-of-use anyway.

      How difficult is it to set up that monitoring that you mentioned, I mean the Rainbird, Zigsbee, etc. ? Do you have a background in engineering or computers, or anything that gives you a bit of an advantage?
      >>> No background, just a lifelong geek. The Zigbee system came with the solar system, basically allows wi-fi-like connection to our home network, panel-level monitoring to a computer or smartphone, etc. >>>The Rainforest Eagle also uses a Zigbee link to read from the SDGE smart meter directly. It's not all set up yet, but the info to do it is right here in this forum:

      http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/archiv...p/t-20320.html

      http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...Setup-Question

      Congratulations on your new system ! ! !
      >>>Thanks!

      About all the questions -- well, we are just curious and want to know ! ! !
      >>>No worries!

      Thanks !

      [url]http://tinyurl.com/p37gryz[/url]

      Comment


      • #4
        Wow that is so similar to my mom's house, she's in the county also but just southeast of Mt. Helix.

        Looks like we'll replace her old pool pump with a variable speed, we just had to replace the electric lines out to the pool and next thing will be the pump etc. now that we are powered back up.

        I'm not too savvy on this, your pool pump, when you say it it draws 2500W, does that mean per day when it is running for 4 hours ?

        Of course it is summertime now and it will be interesting to see how your numbers average up over the year.

        Because at 50kW per day extrapolated out (not realistic I know) but it would be 1500kW per month, and if your usage is 11000Kw per year (let's call it 1000kW per month) then you'll be way over.

        But of course you'll be making less in the winter time, presumably.

        Looks like though you'll have zero electricity bill, am I understanding this right, and if so was that your intent ?

        Just wondering !

        Thanks so much for your extensive reply ! This company must be doing something right !

        Comment


        • #5
          2500 w times 4 hours = 10,000 Watt-hours, or 10 kWh per day. The pool pump is a big chunk of our use, more than we realized when we were planning the PV system. Ours is an older house with a big legacy pool that takes too much power to clean and evaporates too much water, but they didn't worry about that stuff 35 years ago, and to remove the pool would be very costly and destroy the focal point of the back yard. At least we still use it.

          Power output drops a lot on cloudy days, and will in winter, when the sun is low and days are short. It's probably about as good as it gets now, even though the sun is not quite as high as it was a few weeks ago, there is much less "June gloom" morning cloud cover now, so the panels start working from early morning onward.

          We wanted 100% power production (1) to be "green", (2) to allow additional use of the A/C, and, (3) for the possibility of a plug-in electric car, and/or a "PowerWall" in the future when prices fall. Also we hate paying SDGE at some of the highest rates in the country.

          One could make a good argument for two to four fewer panels, adding more later if needed, but we wanted to do it all up front.
          [url]http://tinyurl.com/p37gryz[/url]

          Comment


          • #6
            I totally get you.

            lol, mom's pool is a 50+ year-old legacy pool, hard to believe so many years have gone past !

            Wow that's amazing how much current that pump pulls !

            That's our next step, as I mentioned, hope it will work out.

            Do you think you might run your AC more liberally now with the solar install producing the way it is ? My mom's stays cool if it is open all night, then shut up early in the morning, but mid afternoon it starts to get a little close indoors. Of course in a real heat wave that happens a bit earlier in the day. I could see using the AC quite a bit more just to keep in nice and comfy if I didn't have to worry about the electric bill.

            Really appreciate your replies as our situations are so similar and you and my mom are practically neighbors !

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by forrest1 View Post

              Now I'm playing around with monitoring (because I'm a geek), with a Rainforest Eagle to read from the SDGE smart meter, the Zigbee from the inverter, and getting set up with PVoutput and Wattvision. I still need to get an API key from SolarEdge to work the solar output data into the mix.
              I'll look forward to seeing your data on PVOutput! Please consider joining Team San Diego once you are set up. My system is linked in my signature.

              If you do eventually increase your consumption to be more than the kWh generated by your system, consider a TOU plan. If you can charge your EV or set your pool pump to run only at night, when electricity is cheap, the more valuable electricity you generate during the day may still be able to offset the cost of your increased consumption.
              CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by sensij View Post
                I'll look forward to seeing your data on PVOutput! Please consider joining Team San Diego once you are set up. My system is linked in my signature.

                >>> I absolutely will do that! I just got my admin access and API key from Rick @ Jamar (which he sent back to me about 30 seconds after I requested it...man, he must type fast!). I will try to play with it this evening. I still need to massage PVoutput a bit, too, before I'll be ready to go public.
                BTW, sensij, thank you for your many posts in other threads: very helpful!


                If you do eventually increase your consumption to be more than the kWh generated by your system, consider a TOU plan. If you can charge your EV or set your pool pump to run only at night, when electricity is cheap, the more valuable electricity you generate during the day may still be able to offset the cost of your increased consumption.
                >>>Yes, a work colleague figures his Nissan Leaf was *free* after a couple of years from savings on his electric bill. I have a short commute, and only work part-time now that I'm "retired", so I can't really justify an electric car "yet". I do have some friends with Tesla's: very impressive cars!
                I must learn more about TOU metering; I read SDGE's on-line info, but I need to really go back over it in detail.
                [url]http://tinyurl.com/p37gryz[/url]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by forrest1 View Post
                  >>>Yes, a work colleague figures his Nissan Leaf was *free* after a couple of years from savings on his electric bill. I have a short commute, and only work part-time now that I'm "retired", so I can't really justify an electric car "yet". I do have some friends with Tesla's: very impressive cars!
                  I must learn more about TOU metering; I read SDGE's on-line info, but I need to really go back over it in detail.
                  T.O.U. can save money on a bill or allow more usage for the same $$ size bill that you'd have on tiered rates, or perhaps reduce system size if considered before purchase. It gets a bit tricky figuring not only how much and where power is used in a home, but almost as importantly WHEN that power is used.

                  The amount of revenue (kWh produced X the hourly T.O.U. rate when that power is produced) a system can produce on T.O.U. is a function of the T.O.U. tariff schedule, including times of peak, semi peak, off peak or super off peak, as well as how much electricity the system actually produces. That revenue is independent of the actual bill you get on T.O.U. billing which is based on not only how much electricity you use, but also, WHEN you use it.

                  In theory, for many/most T.O.U. schedules and net metering, if you only used electricity at "off peak" times, and only generated at "peak" times, your system could be sized to produce something like ~~ half your usage and still offset most or all of your bill. That's an extreme and unlikely scenario, but minimizing usage at "peak" times and shifting as much usage as your lifestyle and temperament permit to semi or off peak times is usually necessary to get the most from T.O.U. billing. It does take some awareness and involvement from the user.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by forrest1 View Post
                    >>>Yes, a work colleague figures his Nissan Leaf was *free* after a couple of years from savings on his electric bill. I have a short commute, and only work part-time now that I'm "retired", so I can't really justify an electric car "yet". I do have some friends with Tesla's: very impressive cars!
                    I must learn more about TOU metering; I read SDGE's on-line info, but I need to really go back over it in detail.
                    T.O.U. can save money on a bill or allow more usage for the same $$ size bill that you'd have on tiered rates, or perhaps reduce system size if carefully considered before purchase. It gets a bit tricky figuring not only how much and where power is used in a home, but almost as importantly WHEN that power is used.

                    The amount of revenue (kWh produced X the hourly T.O.U. rate when that power is produced) a system can produce on T.O.U. is a function of the T.O.U. tariff schedule, including times of peak, semi peak, off peak or super off peak, as well as how much electricity the system actually produces. That revenue is independent of the actual bill you get on T.O.U. billing which is based on not only how much electricity you use, but also, WHEN you use it.

                    In theory, for many/most T.O.U. schedules and net metering, if you only used electricity at "off peak" times, and only generated at "peak" times, your system could be sized to produce something like ~~ half your usage and still offset most or all of your bill. That's an extreme and unlikely scenario, but minimizing usage at "peak" times and shifting as much usage as your lifestyle and temperament permit to semi or off peak times is usually necessary to get the most from T.O.U. billing. It does take some awareness and involvement from the user.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sensij View Post
                      I'll look forward to seeing your data on PVOutput! Please consider joining Team San Diego once you are set up. My system is linked in my signature.

                      If you do eventually increase your consumption to be more than the kWh generated by your system, consider a TOU plan. If you can charge your EV or [B]set your pool pump to run only at night, when electricity is cheap[/B], the more valuable electricity you generate during the day may still be able to offset the cost of your increased consumption.
                      Another great idea, which I have heard before but had forgotten.

                      JPM just out of curiousity, do you have a ballpark idea of cost of install of a separate TOU meter for an EV charging outlet/station ? Funny thing, the young fellow who rents my back unit works for a very large local electronics company which is about 15 miles from my house. He can charge his Chevy Volt for free up there when he goes to work every day, so no worries for him, what a deal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by albert436 View Post
                        Another great idea, which I have heard before but had forgotten.

                        JPM just out of curiousity, do you have a ballpark idea of cost of install of a separate TOU meter for an EV charging outlet/station ? Funny thing, the young fellow who rents my back unit works for a very large local electronics company which is about 15 miles from my house. He can charge his Chevy Volt for free up there when he goes to work every day, so no worries for him, what a deal.

                        I do not. One of the myriad of things about which I'm absolutely clueless. Your tenant has a somewhat unusual job bennie.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm going to have to explore TOU.

                          They used to offer free EV charging where I work, but then somebody complained that it was unfair to fossil-fuel burners, so no more free charging. It's a strange world!

                          http://tinyurl.com/p37gryz
                          [url]http://tinyurl.com/p37gryz[/url]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by albert436 View Post
                            do you have a ballpark idea of cost of install of a separate TOU meter for an EV charging outlet/station ?
                            It is a bit dated, but here is a post that details the experience of getting a separate EV-TOU meter installed.

                            http://my.teslamotors.com/forum/foru...n-diego?page=1

                            About $1500, in that case. Keep in mind that if you install a separate meter for EV, your PV system credits will not offset the EV consumption. They will continue to accrue under whatever rate plan the household meter is on. EV-TOU2 (or one of the non-EV TOU plans) is required if you want to get peak period credit for your PV production, and use it to directly offset the EV charging costs.

                            (looks like embedded links are disabled now)
                            CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by forrest1 View Post
                              I'm going to have to explore TOU.

                              They used to offer free EV charging where I work, but then somebody complained that it was unfair to fossil-fuel burners, so no more free charging. It's a strange world!
                              Yea. If your outfit were real environmentally conscious tree hugger's they'd have figured the cost of the charger(s) and the power and schtupped the non EV employees with that distributed amount.

                              Comment

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