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  • Grid-tie with homemade panels

    Greetings,
    I am inquiring about general grid-tie solar information.
    Can you use homemade solar panels to tie into the city grid? Are there any restrictions?
    I've been reading some specs for different grid-tie inverters, and wonder exactly how the power limits apply. For a 600W inverter that allows 22-60 VDC, would the amperage then be applied to whichever voltage is present? So 30amps at 20V, for instance? Or 10amps at 60 volts?
    How can I keep track of my solar input to the grid, to make sure I'm being discounted for the energy provided?
    Also, how does the DC to AC conversion workout? If I'm inputting 15v at 4 amps, for 60 watts, from the panel in DC, what amount of AC energy will be given to the grid? Is it the same amount of watts but the voltage and amperage vary- so 60 watts at 120 volts, would make it half an amp, instead of the 4 amps DC?

    Also, any other helpful first time hints- brand names, size, stacking vs individual inverters?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by caden.mulligan View Post
    Greetings,
    I am inquiring about general grid-tie solar information.
    Can you use homemade solar panels to tie into the city grid?[COLOR="#FF0000"] NO[/COLOR] Are there any restrictions? [COLOR="#FF0000"]Yes it is not allowed in th US and most other developed countries[/COLOR]
    I've been reading some specs for different grid-tie inverters, and wonder exactly how the power limits apply. For a 600W inverter that allows 22-60 VDC, would the amperage then be applied to whichever voltage is present? So 30amps at 20V, for instance? Or 10amps at 60 volts? [COLOR="#FF0000"]Most require a minimum of 280V input.[/COLOR]
    How can I keep track of my solar input to the grid, to make sure I'm being discounted for the energy provided? [COLOR="#FF0000"]Via a net meter or revenue grade meter at the solar imput.[/COLOR]
    Also, how does the DC to AC conversion workout? If I'm inputting 15v at 4 amps, for 60 watts, from the panel in DC, what amount of AC energy will be given to the grid? Is it the same amount of watts but the voltage and amperage vary- so 60 watts at 120 volts, would make it half an amp, instead of the 4 amps DC? [COLOR="#FF0000"]More or less correct but inverter losses etc must be considered
    [/COLOR]
    Also, any other helpful first time hints- brand names, size, stacking vs individual inverters?
    [COLOR="#FF0000"]Use the search button at the top All of these questions have been answered before.
    [/COLOR]
    Thanks.
    Comments and answers in red
    NABCEP certified Technical Sales Professional

    [URL="http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showthread.php?5334-Solar-Off-Grid-Battery-Design"]http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...Battery-Design[/URL]

    [URL]http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html[/URL] (Voltage drop Calculator among others)

    [URL="http://www.gaisma.com"]www.gaisma.com[/URL]

    Comment


    • #3
      Some DIY sites had commented that they were using homemade panels to connect to the grid. Some inverters that I looked at plugged right into the AC wall outlet. Would this serve as a breaker or fuse for the system? These were in the 300 to 600 watt range. And do these inverters work as easily as they seem? Just plug it all in?

      Comment


      • #4
        Neither home made panels or the inverter you reference too can be used in any code compliant manner. Neither carry a testing agency listing like UL. You would never be able to pull a permit, pass inspection, and no electric company would connect you. In addition no insurance carrier would cover any damages incurred from a non compliant system.
        MSEE, PE

        Comment


        • #5
          Most materials in a homemade panel, will not stand up to the high voltages [ >100V], entrapped moisture, and heat levels, for long.
          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


          • #6
            Originally posted by caden.mulligan View Post
            Some DIY sites had commented that they were using homemade panels to connect to the grid. Some inverters that I looked at plugged right into the AC wall outlet. Would this serve as a breaker or fuse for the system? These were in the 300 to 600 watt range. And do these inverters work as easily as they seem? Just plug it all in?
            Most of the posts on such sites are just people chattering while knowing that no one will check the accuracy of their statements.

            Anything found on the internet must be taken with a grain of salt.
            [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

            Comment


            • #7
              I wouldn't say never for DYI and grid tie. I think it depends on the city/county/state. etc rules


              --Ray
              8xSV-X-195-LV - 22.80 Voc - 18.30 Vmp - 10.66 Imp - 11.55 Isc
              2xUL Solar 85w - 21.9 Voc - 17.9 Vmp - 4.84 Imp - 5.17 Isc
              1xUL Solar 120w - 21.9 Voc - 18.1 Vmp - 6.6 Imp - 6.8 Isc
              7xHF 15w - 23.57 Voc - 17.5 Vmp - 0.86 Imp - 1.15 Isc
              MorningStar MPPT 60 Charge Controller
              Midnite Classic 150 Charge Controller
              700ah used Gel batteries
              Xantrex PROWatts 600 PSW Inverter
              HF 1000/2000 MSW Watt Inverter

              Comment


              • #8
                Interesting the claim that Enphase have a life of 300 years - that is someone misreading data

                He claims he got the 30% tax credit on homemade panels?

                All in all, a typical youtube presentation - lots of claims and fluff but not much more - the one on heat pumps about turning an ASHP into a GSHP is a bit silly.

                The internet is a blessing and a curse - in the old days the BSers could only get to their neighbors wo knew them to be what they are - now they can go world wide.
                [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by russ View Post
                  Interesting the claim that Enphase have a life of 300 years - that is someone misreading data

                  He claims he got the 30% tax credit on homemade panels?

                  All in all, a typical youtube presentation - lots of claims and fluff but not much more - the one on heat pumps about turning an ASHP into a GSHP is a bit silly.

                  The internet is a blessing and a curse - in the old days the BSers could only get to their neighbors wo knew them to be what they are - now they can go world wide.
                  Without looking at the documentation I can't say he's BS or Not. Guess the only way to verify is to get a copy of the approved permits and plans he submitted. As for the 30% tax credit i don't recall any provision that the panels had to be manufactured (not a tax expert) just that they can claim the credit when the system is put into service. Since the video claims they had planning approval and the utility allowed it i would suspect that the Tax authority wouldn't balk. Could be that they just claimed the credit and they didn't get rejected or audited.

                  The 300 year is a claim made by the company itself

                  From the "Reliability of Enphase microinverters" literature
                  --Ray
                  8xSV-X-195-LV - 22.80 Voc - 18.30 Vmp - 10.66 Imp - 11.55 Isc
                  2xUL Solar 85w - 21.9 Voc - 17.9 Vmp - 4.84 Imp - 5.17 Isc
                  1xUL Solar 120w - 21.9 Voc - 18.1 Vmp - 6.6 Imp - 6.8 Isc
                  7xHF 15w - 23.57 Voc - 17.5 Vmp - 0.86 Imp - 1.15 Isc
                  MorningStar MPPT 60 Charge Controller
                  Midnite Classic 150 Charge Controller
                  700ah used Gel batteries
                  Xantrex PROWatts 600 PSW Inverter
                  HF 1000/2000 MSW Watt Inverter

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    From Energy Star for solar PV credits etc
                    [B]Requirements[/B]

                    Photovoltaic systems must provide electricity for the residence, and must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirement.
                    **************
                    From the IRS document f5695 - Manufacturer’s certification. For purposes of taking the credit, you can rely on a manufacturer’s certification in writing that a product is qualified residential energy property. Do not attach the certification to your return. Keep it for your records

                    Sunking may be able to say better about the UL or equivalent certification requirement.

                    **********
                    The 300 year MTBF does not mean a 300 year life.
                    Last edited by russ; 02-07-2012, 02:55 PM. Reason: added f5695 section
                    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by russ View Post
                      From Energy Star for solar PV credits etc
                      [h=5]Requirements[/h] Photovoltaic systems must provide electricity for the residence, and must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirement.



                      **********
                      The 300 year MTBF does not mean a 300 year life.
                      So I read that as if the local code enforcement approves it you can get the credit. As for the 300 years i was just referencing where they might have gotten the life expectancy from. that's all.
                      --Ray
                      8xSV-X-195-LV - 22.80 Voc - 18.30 Vmp - 10.66 Imp - 11.55 Isc
                      2xUL Solar 85w - 21.9 Voc - 17.9 Vmp - 4.84 Imp - 5.17 Isc
                      1xUL Solar 120w - 21.9 Voc - 18.1 Vmp - 6.6 Imp - 6.8 Isc
                      7xHF 15w - 23.57 Voc - 17.5 Vmp - 0.86 Imp - 1.15 Isc
                      MorningStar MPPT 60 Charge Controller
                      Midnite Classic 150 Charge Controller
                      700ah used Gel batteries
                      Xantrex PROWatts 600 PSW Inverter
                      HF 1000/2000 MSW Watt Inverter

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sunking can answer that best I believe - NEC is nationwide but local agencies have a say as well.

                        The 300 years is misleading for sure - but not inaccurate as Enphase uses it.

                        The ASHP to GSHP conversion talked about - he was apparently converting the unit to a DX type where the refrigerant goes through the buried tubing. The concept is identical to commercial units however commercial units are designed and equipment sized for that use. The conversion would be a hodge podge mess.
                        [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ray you live in CA where electrical and building codes are the strictest in the country. No AHJ is going to issue you a permit with DIY panels or materials. You might be able to pull a permit to do the install yourself, depends on how tight of a grip the trade unions have around your local government throat, but none will issue a permit with DIY panels. California local NFPA is already looking very close at solar and getting ready to slam the industry with strict new local codes. There have been a rash of fires in southern CA with Solar systems and FD are throwing a fit and have a loud voice in the NFPA, they run it along with insurance carriers.
                          MSEE, PE

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Realistically, someone can claim the federal tax credit for just about anything. Why even bother with installing a system, just claim the credit, the IRS doesnt require submission of any proof that a taxpayer installed a system with the tax return. Of course the person who does claim a credit and doesnt follow the rules has just falsified their tax return to the federal government and at some point could get nailed at an audit.

                            Most of the advocates of these types of scams are in it for the short term buck and they will be long gone before the IRS starts to catch up with the people who took their advice.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by peakbagger View Post
                              Most of the advocates of these types of scams are in it for the short term buck and they will be long gone before the IRS starts to catch up with the people who took their advice.
                              Agreed - Products are promoted under this concept routinely.
                              [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

                              Comment

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