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  • Home Solar Evil Alien Planet No Understanding

    I hate electricity. The worst thing that I could do is rewire a household or vehicle electrical issue. I have been shocked onto my butt several times. Started a few fires. I know NOTHING about this magical topic. So....

    The house I'm buying has a full solar array on the roof. It's got a couple of boxes (Inverters) in the garage. That's all I know about it.

    It's already given me a headache, just trying to read through just the state and federal policies and guidelines alone.

    Apparently, I can "sell" my unused energy back to the power company? No clue....

    It works on converting AC to DC or vice versa? No clue.....

    Northern California is great for solar, I know this. Even though I live on the foothills of the mountains, it gets freaking hot in the summer. Like 115 degrees hot for weeks on end. It's relatively cloud clear and sunny during the fall and winter months too!

    Any of yous has some advice for Buggy? :)

    I'm not a fatalist. I'm a realist.

  • #2
    This is amazing brother, congrats! You're all set, nothing for you to do.

    The best thing you can do to support the site is pass it on to your friends and fav sites like other forums, facebook, twitter etc. Let people know about us! :)


    • #3
      I am pretty ignorant when it comes to electricity over that provided by a 12 volt battery.
      I have spoke with some offgridders who run solar and they do indeed sell their unused power to the local power utility company. The catch though is that they don't send you a check they give credit. Perhaps you could work a deal with a neighbor to use your credit to pay their power bill. I don't know, just thinking out loud and sharing what I have heard for whatever it is worth.
      I live in Montana, so there is most likely different laws and regulations per state.


      • #4
        kind of hate to do this, but follow this link to another site that is very heavy into solar energy. Their forum is very good about answering questions plus you may find all the answers you are looking for in old threads.

        basically the solar panels will pull the energy down through a charge controller that will regulate the input (to an extent). Depending on your system, you can take DC power directly from there but most systems will charge the batteries then you take the power back from the batteries. If your house is set up to run on DC, then you can run directly from the batteries. There is a switch in the system that will cut off the power from the solar panels if it drops too low, or to stop your system from trying to feed back into the panels from the batteries. If your house is running AC power, then the DC power will run through an inverter, changing it from DC to AC; on nearly every "house" level system, the inverter will give you a Pure Sine Wave output, very similar to standard AC......but much much cleaner and more stabile. Most small level inverters that are sold in stores (100 watt - 600 watt) produce a Modified Sine Wave output which isn't nearly as good and can cause issues with more sensitive equipment.. Your system could also be set up on 24V, 36V or 48V systems depending on your battery configuration and the power your house is set to handle. Most standard car batteries are 12 volts and the smaller solar systems usually stay with 12 V. But it's not really efficient for the larger systems which is why they move to 24V or higher.

        Your batteries will be the critical element and need the most attention. It's very highly recommended to rotate all the batteries at the same time if you are changing them. Only taking out 1-2 at a time will increase wear and tear on the other batteries and cause them to fail quicker. A good solar charge controller also has the ability to run a "maintenance" cycle through the batteries. This is basically a hot charge that clears the plates in the batteries and brings them back to nearly factory condition.

        Spend some time at the link. If you are going to ask questions, the very first information they will want to know, are your power needs and existing system. Good luck.
        An Online Community For Discussing Solar Power, Wind Power, And Other Forms Of Renewable And Alternative Energy.
        Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum


        • #5
          Buggy: Have you called the power company to get any information? They usually have a customer service department that can explain how the process works. You could probably even have somebody come to the house to look it over, and show you what to do. With your skills I'm sure it won't be any problem
          The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

          Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is you are stupid, and make bad decisions.


          • #6
            Buggy I have heard of what you are doing where the power company buys your unused electic but don't know of anyone that has done it. Though it looks like you are set to go from the pictures. I think it's great you can go solar. With some ceiling fans in main living area and bed room it will help to circulate the air and you can keep the air conditioner turned up on a higher notch to use less electric as well. I can't do without the fans. open windows on cool nights and use the fans for air floor and it gets really nice and cool in house. We have a period of about 2 months in spring and 3 to 4 months in fall that we open windows and use the ceiling fans and that's it. electric bill during that time is less than $50.00.


            • #7
              Solar panel = DC voltage
              Inverter converts DC to AC to power normal 110V appliances.
              Charge controller regulates charging the storage batteries.
              Storage batteries store and supply 6, 12, 24, or 48 DC volts to the system.

              Don't kid yourself. DC voltage will kill you.
              If it was man made it can be man re-made.


              • #8
                OKAY! Got some great news! I close on the house friday and did a walkthrough today. The current owner spent $190 on his electrical bill....FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR!

                Yeah for SOLAR!

                Also, you just turn it on, the system does all the work for you. I can handle that!

                I'm not a fatalist. I'm a realist.


                • #9
                  You need to look at all the items in the house that uses power i.e. appliances, lights, fans, a/c, etc. most have been converted from what we use in RV's they are very energy effective. You will need to know what the load limit is of the current system and see if you can live with it. It not you will need to spend money and increase the size of your system.

                  My question to you is what is the wind like where you live? Is it windy (12 mph minimum) for a minimum of 20 days per month? if so you can add wind power to your system.


                  • #10
                    I have spoke with some offgridders who run solar and they do indeed sell their unused power to the local power utility company.
                    These people are not off-grid. Buggy us not off-grid either... What Buggy and the other ones are is called "Grid Tied", but have solar panels. If you have a power outage, the power company generally will not allow you to have batteries and be "off grid".

                    I will probably be grid tied with my main cottage, unless I get lucky, but my smaller building is a stand alone completely off-grid with six 12-vt batteries, and currently a 1,000w system, which I may bump up to a 2,000w system or a bit more battery. I also will be generator tied with that system for cloudy days. Hopefully this project will be completed next week or so.

                    The main cottage will also have a lockout switch for a generator when power does go out, like it did the other day for 16 hours.



                    • #11
                      We have a natural gas generator that is great but is not off grid as it relies on natural gas. We can convert it to propane but in a situation where propane or gas cannot be gotten anywhere they will soon become useless. I am looking into solar and also setting up an off grid area. I have looked into the solar generators but are very expensive. Although I have been toying around with the idea of one for fridge and freezer and then then panels for lights, etc.


                      • #12
                        Would a wood burning gasifier work instead of natural gas or propane?



                        • #13
                          Not sure if that would work on this generator. I know it has everything to convert back to propane but hubby would have to modify it for a wood burning gasifier. But really don't think this can be done on this one. That is something to look into but really think would have to replace the generator we have to do it.


                          • #14
                            So I had a family member visit us who is in the solar business. I showed him my setup. He told me that my converters DO provide off-grid power with a simple cutoff switch.

                            I AM ECSTATIC!

                            DOn't get me wrong, on grid solar is great. My entire electric bill for last year was $67, That was just for the monthly fee to the power company. What I wanted to do is be able to make power if the electrical grid goes down. With limited research I did, it would cost a fortune to install converter, amp and batteries. Now, with a simple electrical conduit I'm golden!

                            I still need a battery bank, however, it being sunny in California 98% of the time, that can wait.

                            I'm not a fatalist. I'm a realist.


                            • #15
                              Buggy: I'm glad it is all coming together for you. An annual electric bill of $67.00 is something we would die for.
                              The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

                              Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is you are stupid, and make bad decisions.