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  • #16
    Originally posted by ButchDeal View Post

    I would HIGHLY suggest that you use the IronRidge flashing system and not get some flashing from Homedepot.
    https://www.ironridge.com/pitched-ro...ng-flashfoot2/
    I will definitely take your advice on that, thanks!

    Edit: I have concrete tile, it looks like that system is for shingled roofs. I will be mounting it with the angled brackets that fit under the tiles (Ironridge All Tile Hook). The flashing was for electrical conduit connections only.
    Last edited by nsgoldberg; 06-28-2019, 06:59 PM.

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    • #17
      If I derate my main from 200A to 175A, that gives me 65A of backfeed, which is enough for a 10kW system.

      I'm confident 175A is sufficient for the home, even if I went with a separate EV charger, which would require a 40A circuit. The largest load on the house is the A/C (40A circuit).

      My question is, would electrical load calcs be required for this? How is the panel typically derated? Is a separate permit required for this, or is it part of the PV inspection? Can I just buy a 175A main and swap it out?

      EDIT: Just for a sanity check, did a load calc and determined max load to be 28kW and 37kW with an EV charger, which would require a 100A panel (up to 48kW)

      I'm thinking if I can find a 175A breaker to fit my MSP, that's the way to go. A MSP replacement in the future would be nice, but I'm short on funds for that at the moment.
      Last edited by nsgoldberg; 06-28-2019, 08:16 PM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by nsgoldberg View Post
        I have an older breaker panel that uses a strange main breaker. I don't ever flip it, because half the time I do, it won't reset. You can't find them new, but there's a company in LA that rebuilds them for $300.
        That sounds like it needs to be replaced ASAP.
        If it is a Federal Pacific (FPE) Stab-Lok it should be replaced as a very high priority.

        I'm guessing I would need to hire an electrician to do [ line side tap ], and another ($$$) permit from the county.
        I would do everything with one permit.
        I'd consider it all one project - especially when it comes to tax credit. And one permit supports that view.
        The AHJ that I've dealt with are OK with an owner-builder doing some work and hiring a licensed person for parts of the job. (they strongly discourage hiring someone without a license, for good reason IMO)

        Perhaps I should just stick with the 7.6kW inverter. But, if I expand later, that's going to require a derate, correct?
        If you have 10kW of panels, all facing South (no part-east, part-west) and a 7.6kW solaredge inverter you'll probably have some part of certain days where you could be producing 8-9kW and instead have it plateau at 7.6kW. I think the PVWatt will let you do different scenarios so you can get a guesstimate of how many kwh you're likely to lose due to clipping.

        On another note, the sum of the breakers in my 200A panel is 470A. Would that be an issue during inspection?
        Probably not.
        There are worksheets to do NEC calculations for what size service you should have for your house.
        ex: https://groverelectric.com/assets/do...%20Service.pdf
        (not guaranteeing that's a correct interpretation of NEC 220-82, but it's the first one I found via google. Your city/AHJ may have their own version.)

        Very nice! I like that area. I remember reading 3' roof setback, I have it currently planned for ~2'. I've been paying attention to installations all around the county, and most are right to the edge of the roof. So it doesn't seem to be something the county is strict about.
        It changed in past few years. So older installations may not have had to meet that rule.
        I wanted a little narrower in spots, so I talked to the fire dept and they approved my plan which needed that rule waived. With the fire dept's blessing, the building dept was satisfied and would accept my plan for the permit.



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        • #19
          Originally posted by nsgoldberg View Post
          I'm confident 175A is sufficient for the home, even if I went with a separate EV charger, which would require a 40A circuit.
          It might be fine- but you should do the calculations and see if it would meet NEC rules.

          My question is, would electrical load calcs be required for this?
          Yes, you should do them.

          How is the panel typically derated? Is a separate permit required for this, or is it part of the PV inspection? Can I just buy a 175A main and swap it out?
          ...
          A MSP replacement in the future would be nice, but I'm short on funds for that at the moment
          I wouldn't just swap out the 175A main - not on something where you have trouble with the main and it's not readily available.
          I'd get a panel with 225A end-feed bus and a 200A main breaker, which means I could have a 60A breaker for solar (225 * 1.2 - 200 = 70A and 60 <70). 60A breaker means I could have a 10kW inverter. (60A * .8 * 220V = 10.5kW)
          There's also panels with dedicated spots for a PV breaker which I think might let you go to even more than 60A.

          IMO waiting a few months and saving so you can do it all at once is a better idea. If you don't have funds now, save so that you do.

          And plan that you'll have to spend more than just what's in the kit for miscellaneous things. wires, conduit, nuts, bolts, etc. etc - they all add up.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by nsgoldberg View Post
            Wow, a lot of great tips and suggestions here, thank you all! Did some research on what was said here before responding.






            I remember reading 3' roof setback, I have it currently planned for ~2'. I've been paying attention to installations all around the county, and most are right to the edge of the roof. So it doesn't seem to be something the county is strict about.

            You're right, I will need documentation for a larger installation. Hopefully they will accept the rationale of planning on buying an EV.

            Our roof is in great shape, but I think I'll pull some tiles to confirm prior to installation, and do a good look underneath in the attic. Thanks for the tip!
            On the fire code, roof setbacks and panel placement:

            - It's not only ridge setback. Sides and other areas as well for emergency personnel access/escape are considered depending on roof layout.
            - Depending on who the inspector is, any setbacks may/may not be enforced. Enforced or not, They will still be noticeable to the fore marshal if they are cruising around and happen to have a woody that day.
            - Currently enforced or not, fire regs for access/egress were not enforced at all before 3 or 4 years ago. Some of what you are looking at was probably installed before then.

            One other point: What do you have for wind loading design/calcs ? Just a heads' up.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by nsgoldberg View Post

              I will definitely take your advice on that, thanks!

              Edit: I have concrete tile, it looks like that system is for shingled roofs. I will be mounting it with the angled brackets that fit under the tiles (Ironridge All Tile Hook). The flashing was for electrical conduit connections only.
              Two comments, well 3 actually,
              1.) Angled brackets add a moment arm that can bang up against concrete tiles from wind caused vibration. That alternating stress can easily or at least eventually fatigue load a lagged attachment and possibly loosen it up. IMO only, such attachments are a flawed design.
              2.) As you well know, concrete tiles are brittle. I'm sure you also know about cyclic loading and fatigue. When that movement starts banging up against what is a very brittle concrete tile, sooner or later the tile will break.
              3.) Butch has what is, IMO only, a better idea . Just make sure you have ~ 6" or more clear between the top of tile and bottom of panel. Your array will run ~ 2 - 5 deg. C cooler than if it's only clear by, say, 1-2 ".That larger clearance will also help the optimizers run cooler and make it easier to change them out.

              While you're at it, think about if/how you'll get access to all the panels if/when necessary, especially on a concrete tile roof.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by foo1bar View Post
                That sounds like it needs to be replaced ASAP.
                If it is a Federal Pacific (FPE) Stab-Lok it should be replaced as a very high priority.


                I would do everything with one permit.
                I'd consider it all one project - especially when it comes to tax credit. And one permit supports that view.
                The AHJ that I've dealt with are OK with an owner-builder doing some work and hiring a licensed person for parts of the job. (they strongly discourage hiring someone without a license, for good reason IMO)


                If you have 10kW of panels, all facing South (no part-east, part-west) and a 7.6kW solaredge inverter you'll probably have some part of certain days where you could be producing 8-9kW and instead have it plateau at 7.6kW. I think the PVWatt will let you do different scenarios so you can get a guesstimate of how many kwh you're likely to lose due to clipping.


                Probably not.
                There are worksheets to do NEC calculations for what size service you should have for your house.
                ex: https://groverelectric.com/assets/do...%20Service.pdf
                (not guaranteeing that's a correct interpretation of NEC 220-82, but it's the first one I found via google. Your city/AHJ may have their own version.)


                It changed in past few years. So older installations may not have had to meet that rule.
                I wanted a little narrower in spots, so I talked to the fire dept and they approved my plan which needed that rule waived. With the fire dept's blessing, the building dept was satisfied and would accept my plan for the permit.


                Originally posted by foo1bar View Post
                It might be fine- but you should do the calculations and see if it would meet NEC rules.


                Yes, you should do them.


                I wouldn't just swap out the 175A main - not on something where you have trouble with the main and it's not readily available.
                I'd get a panel with 225A end-feed bus and a 200A main breaker, which means I could have a 60A breaker for solar (225 * 1.2 - 200 = 70A and 60 <70). 60A breaker means I could have a 10kW inverter. (60A * .8 * 220V = 10.5kW)
                There's also panels with dedicated spots for a PV breaker which I think might let you go to even more than 60A.

                IMO waiting a few months and saving so you can do it all at once is a better idea. If you don't have funds now, save so that you do.

                And plan that you'll have to spend more than just what's in the kit for miscellaneous things. wires, conduit, nuts, bolts, etc. etc - they all add up.
                Thank you very much for the detailed answers foo1bar! It's not a Stab-Lok, it's a UQFPH-200. It seems they're more readily available online than in stores. I found a new surplus 175A breaker online for $169. Although I would like to replace the MSP with one that is solar-ready, and one with a 225A bus, the cost isn't cheap. The panel itself is inexpensive, but the cost of the permit ($325), breakers, hiring a licensed electrician, PoCo disconnect charges, etc., make it an expensive proposition when I can simply swap out the main. And there's nothing stopping me from swapping the panel out at a later point in time.

                I attached a couple pics of the breaker and panel. It's dusty since we live at the end of a dirt road, but everything looks to be in good shape.

                I'll do the load calcs to have as proof the derating is acceptable during inspection. (And I'll do them prior to ordering the new main).

                Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                On the fire code, roof setbacks and panel placement:

                - It's not only ridge setback. Sides and other areas as well for emergency personnel access/escape are considered depending on roof layout.
                - Depending on who the inspector is, any setbacks may/may not be enforced. Enforced or not, They will still be noticeable to the fore marshal if they are cruising around and happen to have a woody that day.
                - Currently enforced or not, fire regs for access/egress were not enforced at all before 3 or 4 years ago. Some of what you are looking at was probably installed before then.

                One other point: What do you have for wind loading design/calcs ? Just a heads' up.
                Since we're at the end of a dirt road on a mountaintop, and the way the panels are facing, the fire marshall would have to be on our property to notice. Doesn't make a difference though, I want to do everything to code. I don't want there to be an issue down the line.

                I did static load calcs but no wind load calcs. I actually had trouble finding a source for what the AHJ would be looking for. But, part of the $675 fee for the plans is $200 for all the structural calcs and the stamp, so I'm not going to worry about it. I have rafter measurements that I'll be giving the plan preparation company.

                Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post

                Two comments, well 3 actually,
                1.) Angled brackets add a moment arm that can bang up against concrete tiles from wind caused vibration. That alternating stress can easily or at least eventually fatigue load a lagged attachment and possibly loosen it up. IMO only, such attachments are a flawed design.
                2.) As you well know, concrete tiles are brittle. I'm sure you also know about cyclic loading and fatigue. When that movement starts banging up against what is a very brittle concrete tile, sooner or later the tile will break.
                3.) Butch has what is, IMO only, a better idea . Just make sure you have ~ 6" or more clear between the top of tile and bottom of panel. Your array will run ~ 2 - 5 deg. C cooler than if it's only clear by, say, 1-2 ".That larger clearance will also help the optimizers run cooler and make it easier to change them out.

                While you're at it, think about if/how you'll get access to all the panels if/when necessary, especially on a concrete tile roof.
                Great points, thanks! I hadn't thought about flexure from the brackets... And we live in a windy location. I'm guessing you would recommend the mounts that bolt through the tile? I've seen ones where you have to cut a hole in the tile and then flashing goes over it. No moment arm there.

                I'll also make sure to leave that clearance, thanks for the tip!
                Attached Files

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by nsgoldberg View Post
                  The panel itself is inexpensive, but the cost of the permit ($325), breakers, hiring a licensed electrician, PoCo disconnect charges, etc., make it an expensive proposition when I can simply swap out the main. And there's nothing stopping me from swapping the panel out at a later point in time.
                  I'd add also the costs for doing the stucco repair, since I see it's embedded into the stucco.

                  If you are going to do it, it's 30% cheaper (after taxes) to do it now than to do it 2 years from now.

                  Since we're at the end of a dirt road on a mountaintop, and the way the panels are facing, the fire marshall would have to be on our property to notice.
                  Permit office will likely check the setbacks on the plans. So they'd nix it.
                  And the inspector would probably check that you did everything to the plan (including setbacks)
                  So the fire dept would be only involved if you ask them for a waiver so that you can provide that waiver as part of your plans for your permit.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by foo1bar View Post
                    I'd add also the costs for doing the stucco repair, since I see it's embedded into the stucco.

                    If you are going to do it, it's 30% cheaper (after taxes) to do it now than to do it 2 years from now.


                    Permit office will likely check the setbacks on the plans. So they'd nix it.
                    And the inspector would probably check that you did everything to the plan (including setbacks)
                    So the fire dept would be only involved if you ask them for a waiver so that you can provide that waiver as part of your plans for your permit.
                    I can do the stucco work myself, and material for that is pretty cheap. I realize I would be missing out on a 30% discount; that's the major factor pushing me to do it now.

                    I spoke with a general contractor friend yesterday, and he said an electrician isn't required for panel replacement, and the PoCo doesn't charge for a disconnect. In that case, the cost is substantially lower. I only need to pay for parts and a permit. I'm going to try to get a hold of someone at the AHJ tomorrow to confirm, but there's only one guy who can answer questions, and he never answers his phone or returns messages. I had to go through his boss last time after trying for nearly a month.

                    Not worried about the setbacks, I'm doing everything by code anyway.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Markyrocks69 View Post
                      The only thing I can say is that you could probably save some money by sourcing the equipment from different vendors. That's not going to be as convenient as a all inclusive kit but I paid around the same price for a system twice that size.

                      Also be aware that if you're planning on doing the install yourself that those panels are big. So going to be a challenge getting them onto a roof without a second person or a machine.
                      Originally posted by foo1bar View Post

                      I'd look at other vendors. I think you can do better than $11k.
                      I'd look at renvu, soligent.

                      I did a DIY install with 60-cell panels, and those were awkward to handle - 72-cell panels are going to be singificantly worse IMO.
                      Also - I would look at lower efficient (but better $/W) panels.
                      For example, you could get 72-cell 365W for $180.20/panel ($.49/W)
                      26 of those would give you more power for cheaper I think.
                      There's some cost per-panel for optimizer, rails, etc. etc. So it isn't all about the per-panel cost (just mostly)
                      I'd also look at 60-cell 275W @ $.45/W (more optimizers, but easier to handle I think)
                      I've been shopping around, and piece parting everything out isn't coming out cheaper. There are other panels for cheaper on other sites, but shipping is $500+ for the panels, and I'm getting hit for shipping charges on the other components. Meanwhile, Wholesale Solar offers free shipping on their kits. I've checked Renvu, Tandem Solar, and basic Google searches. I also signed a dealer application to Soligent, but haven't been granted access so I can't see pricing. I may not have been approved since I'm not a company (I entered "homeowner" into the company name).

                      Also used Renvu's kit builder, and that price came out to $12,600.

                      Maybe I'm missing something here, Markyrocks69 said he paid the same amount for a system twice the size, but I can't see how that's possible. It seems like $11k for a 7.6kW system with optimizers and a 10kW inverter is a decent price.

                      Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!
                      Last edited by nsgoldberg; 07-11-2019, 05:58 PM.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by nsgoldberg View Post

                        Also used Renvu's kit builder, and that price came out to $12,600.
                        Renvu's kit and another company's kit may have some significant differences.
                        I know from experience that I can add/delete as I want from the list that Renvu comes up with.
                        I had to change the rails some to fit what I was doing - and add additional feet and other misc items. And I think I deleted some things that I didn't need.
                        When I was looking I priced things out with all the various items I would need. If a kit didn't have that item (ex. PV wire, or an MC4 crimper) then I had to plan on buying that somewhere and added that extra cost to determine what the total cost would be for each potential vendor/option I was considering.


                        Maybe I'm missing something here, Markyrocks69 said he paid the same amount for a system twice the size, but I can't see how that's possible. It seems like $11k for a 7.6kW system with optimizers and a 10kW inverter is a decent price.
                        It depends on what you're looking at. I don't think with the cost for *everything* you can do a 15kW system for $11k.
                        But maybe you can do better than $11k for 7.6kW.
                        I think you said you're doing a roof with concrete tile - which I don't know how the pricing is for mounts for that, or what costs will be with that with conduit penetrations and such.

                        Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!
                        Have your wife start a company - sole proprietorship - if her name is Jane, call it Jane Goldberg Solar. (I believe that no Doing-Business-As or Fictitious-Company-Name-Registration is needed when your name is in the company. You'll need to look into that for yourself and your state laws)
                        Then have her register with Soligent using that company.

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                        • #27
                          Sorry I am bit late to the party but I dont think I saw a recommendation for a good quality surge suppressor on both sides of the inverter. I and a few folks I have met have lost inverters due to utility line surges. They key is to buy and install a good quality one, many are intended to clamp the voltage at level that keeps the wiring from smoking but the electronics are long gone by then. Midnight Solar makes a nice one with low clamp voltage and fast response. Delta power suppressors that are cheap do not have a good rep for this service.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by foo1bar View Post
                            Renvu's kit and another company's kit may have some significant differences.
                            I know from experience that I can add/delete as I want from the list that Renvu comes up with.
                            I had to change the rails some to fit what I was doing - and add additional feet and other misc items. And I think I deleted some things that I didn't need.
                            When I was looking I priced things out with all the various items I would need. If a kit didn't have that item (ex. PV wire, or an MC4 crimper) then I had to plan on buying that somewhere and added that extra cost to determine what the total cost would be for each potential vendor/option I was considering.



                            It depends on what you're looking at. I don't think with the cost for *everything* you can do a 15kW system for $11k.
                            But maybe you can do better than $11k for 7.6kW.
                            I think you said you're doing a roof with concrete tile - which I don't know how the pricing is for mounts for that, or what costs will be with that with conduit penetrations and such.


                            Have your wife start a company - sole proprietorship - if her name is Jane, call it Jane Goldberg Solar. (I believe that no Doing-Business-As or Fictitious-Company-Name-Registration is needed when your name is in the company. You'll need to look into that for yourself and your state laws)
                            Then have her register with Soligent using that company.
                            That seems like a lot of work! XD

                            I'm just going to go with the Wholesale Solar kit, I might be paying a little more for the convenience, but heck, I'm still saving thousands over paying someone to do the install.

                            Originally posted by peakbagger View Post
                            Sorry I am bit late to the party but I dont think I saw a recommendation for a good quality surge suppressor on both sides of the inverter. I and a few folks I have met have lost inverters due to utility line surges. They key is to buy and install a good quality one, many are intended to clamp the voltage at level that keeps the wiring from smoking but the electronics are long gone by then. Midnight Solar makes a nice one with low clamp voltage and fast response. Delta power suppressors that are cheap do not have a good rep for this service.
                            Never knew these existed, however, it seems like a good idea. Here in Southern CA, lightning isn't an issue, but power surges through the utility can be. So I would consider placing one on the AC side. The inverter I'm looking at (SolarEdge 10kW), has four knockouts on it. I'll only be using two. Is it possible to place the surge suppressor on the inverter itself, and piggyback it on the connections to the inverter inside the inverter? Not sure if that would be an issue with the inspector.

                            Otherwise, my panel is recessed into stucco, and it would take a bit more work to install it. I see they sell recessed boxes specially made for them, those are nice.

                            I also found it interesting that the surge protector isn't in series with the AC side, but rather it runs in parallel. I suppose it's only meant to absorb a small amount of amps but a high voltage. Still having trouble seeing how it running in parallel actually protects the equipment.
                            Last edited by nsgoldberg; 07-12-2019, 07:06 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              A surge protector is always wired in parallel. If the voltage rises about 400V, it starts conducting and dissipating the surge power. If you put it in series like a fuse, it could not do it's job.
                              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

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                              • #30
                                I am not familiar with the SolarEdge inverter but I think the highest priority is protecting the incoming main panel from the utility which means installing the suppressor in a knock out on the main panel. I have a string system so I have a roof combiner box and have the SPD mounted on the roof box with the ground spliced to my panel frame ground that run directly to my primary ground point. This ground cable runs outside the house to try to direct any near strike outside the house. Of course no guarantees with a direct strike but I do have tall trees nearby so hope I don't get a direct hit.

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