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do you need any city permit to install your own solar panels in Texas ?

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  • do you need any city permit to install your own solar panels in Texas ?

    Some guy on Ccraigslist selling Solar panels said you can install solar panels yourself without any city permit , all you need to let your HOA and Utility company know. Is this true ?

  • #2
    Originally posted by sunlar View Post
    Some guy on Ccraigslist selling Solar panels said you can install solar panels yourself without any city permit , all you need to let your HOA and Utility company know. Is this true ?
    Highly unlikely.
    You need an interconnect agreement with Power company which is a contract and much more than "letting them know" since they have to approve.
    You generally need an electric permit as well, though you didn't mention the particular city.
    We have had very few that do not require permits and they were very rural.
    OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

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    • #3
      I would never trust what "some guy on craigslist" says.

      I installed our solar panels myself.

      I live in a town where permits are not required.

      This is the fifth home that I have owned. I have never owned a home within a HOA.

      I am not sure what exactly you would want to be telling a Utility company? Early on, I spoke with our utility company, I got their contract and learned how they handle / view net-metering. I decided to avoid net-metering. For us, going off-grid has not required any conversation with the utility company.
      4400w, Midnite Classic 150 charge-controller.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post
        Highly unlikely.
        You need an interconnect agreement with Power company which is a contract and much more than "letting them know" since they have to approve.
        You generally need an electric permit as well, though you didn't mention the particular city.
        We have had very few that do not require permits and they were very rural.
        When you say: "Interconnect agreement" I think that you are specifically referring to a net-metering contract.

        4400w, Midnite Classic 150 charge-controller.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by organic farmer View Post

          When you say: "Interconnect agreement" I think that you are specifically referring to a net-metering contract.
          interconnect agreement is the contract with the power company and does not specifically refer to net - metering. In areas with Dual metering, an interconnect agreement is still required.
          It is the legal contract allowing you to feed power back to the grid with out being fined, and to get some compensation for it, regardless of net metering.
          OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

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          • #6
            Originally posted by organic farmer View Post

            When you say: "Interconnect agreement" I think that you are specifically referring to a net-metering contract.
            Interconnect agreement covers the requirements of how (physically) your system is to be connected to the grid.

            Net-metering contract is the monetary agreement between you and the PoCo.

            Sometimes they are covered in 1 agreement but not always.

            WWW

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            • #7
              As 'grid-assist' I have grid power availability [when the grid is up]. I can use it as an 'Aux-Input' into my system just like using a generator. This does not require any separate contract with the utility.


              4400w, Midnite Classic 150 charge-controller.

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              • #8
                I am in houston. . if i use a plugged system which is the solar system plugged into a 240 volts outlet. Do i still get permission from the power company ?

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                • #9
                  If you want to do an independent (expensive, battery-backed) system, yes the craiglist guy is correct that you can get away without a permit (If you ask your building dept. - they might say otherwise). But if you intend to do the efficient, cost effective choice of being grid-tied (like 98% of all solar systems), then your Utility is going to require you to be permitted with a licensed installer using new, listed equipment. An exemption beng our utility here does allow you to backfeed less than 1000watts without an interconnect agreement.
                  BSEE, R11, NABCEP, >1200kW installed

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                  • #10
                    thank you everyone for the help. I know that I don't need to hire an electrician plug electric stove to a 240 volts outlet. Can I use plugged solar system into 240 volts outlet so I don't have to pay electrician ? To me this is the cheapest grid tie DIY without involve any expert. You only needed a electrician if you need to install a 240 Volts outlet.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sunlar View Post
                      thank you everyone for the help. I know that I don't need to hire an electrician plug electric stove to a 240 volts outlet. Can I use plugged solar system into 240 volts outlet so I don't have to pay electrician ? To me this is the cheapest grid tie DIY without involve any expert. You only needed a electrician if you need to install a 240 Volts outlet.
                      Plugin solar in the US is not legal, does not meet UL code and can not be permitted or interconnected. It will void your insurance and could result in a fine.
                      In most locations you do not need to hire an electrician if you can do the work yourself, but you do need a permit, inspections, and interconnect agreement.
                      OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by solarix View Post
                        If you want to do an independent (expensive, battery-backed) system, yes the craiglist guy is correct that you can get away without a permit (If you ask your building dept. - they might say otherwise). But if you intend to do the efficient, cost effective choice of being grid-tied (like 98% of all solar systems), then your Utility is going to require you to be permitted with a licensed installer using new, listed equipment. An exemption beng our utility here does allow you to backfeed less than 1000watts without an interconnect agreement.
                        Your home insurance and mortgage holder as well as local ordinances likely will require a permit and inspections for off grid as well. Just no power company involvement for off grid.
                        Just because you are off grid doesn't mean you don't need a permit and to do things safly.
                        OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sunlar View Post
                          Can I use plugged solar system into 240 volts outlet so I don't have to pay electrician ? To me this is the cheapest grid tie DIY without involve any expert.
                          plug-in inverters are notorious for being cheap and crappy. There have been numerous fires caused by them - probably because they are usually so poorly made/QA'd. And when it fries itself you're going to be left holding the bag - the fly-by-night company that sold it to you and the chinese manufacturer aren't going to stand behind it.

                          IMO using a plug-in inverter is about like using a charcoal grill inside - sure it can be done - might even get away with it for a long time. BUT you are running a serious risk of a fire and having the insurance deny your claim when they find out you're doing something so stupid.

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                          • #14
                            I have heard of people using Sunny Boy 2500 grid tie inverters with a 220 volt dryer cord plugged into a 220 dryer outlet. Not totally kosher with the POCO but it does work.
                            2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by littleharbor View Post
                              I have heard of people using Sunny Boy 2500 grid tie inverters with a 220 volt dryer cord plugged into a 220 dryer outlet. Not totally kosher with the POCO but it does work.
                              Not totally safe either, and I would not take that chance if I faced that choice.
                              SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

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