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Old 09-27-2011, 09:26 PM   #1
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solar power - how to hook up and how to get PAID?


I have 2 questions regarding solar power. The general stuff, I'm going to make an outside gazebo and would like to put solar panels on the roof. Also, I live in Maryland if it helps, so....

1) It's going to be on the far side of the house from the power panel, so can I calculate the power level and just run the appropriate standard wire back to the main panel area to have it be put into the grid? I know I'd need to have a power meter at that point to get REC credits etc, but can that work? I'd like to put the work into a bigger job to put in geothermal which is why I ask and where I'm going with this.

2) How do I get paid? in other words, someone correct my understanding of REC's and net metering if I get this wrong.

Net metering - after reading on net metering it seems that you really only save yourself the "power generation" charge, but all the various taxes, transmission fees, infrastructure fees etc. still get charged to you even for the power you generate, is this true? if not, explain net metering please

REC's - so the meter says I generated X amount of power, in KwH, and I can sell them in a determined basic units of quantity.

Thanks for the help

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Old 09-27-2011, 09:30 PM   #2
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solar power - how to hook up and how to get PAID?


You need to install proper synchronizing and metering equipment. You don't just hook the solar panel into the grid. This is a specialized install that requires proper permits and inspections. It would not surprise me if this was to cost $10k or more.

Check this site. Grid tie kits anywhere from $8100 - $134K. Don't think that includes install and inspection.

http://www.affordable-solar.com/store/grid-tie-kits

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Old 09-27-2011, 09:35 PM   #3
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solar power - how to hook up and how to get PAID?


You will also need a listed inverter/combiner assembly. Probably an additional external disconnect switch near the meter box.

And permission from the municipality you live in, as well as the POCO for the net metering. And the requisite inspections, etc.

This is really not an area for D-I-Y projects for those without any experience in such installations.

As for the SRECs those are considered a commodity and can be sold to the highest bidder on the open market. No one will accept yours without proper inspections and certifications, however.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:43 PM   #4
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solar power - how to hook up and how to get PAID?


so I guess I glossed over all that inverter and disconnect, I realize that those need to be in there (DC vs AC) but I was/am hoping to put together my own panels by just buying pre-tabbed solar cells and make them fit my needs of the roof since I figure it makes the roofing job a bit easier, I can integrate it more fully and it might/should prove to be a bit cheaper or at least more rewarding.

And permitting I know can be a bear but in the county I live in you can take a test and get certified to do all work up to the meter (including heavy up's etc) so I figured I could do most of the work myself and get an electrician to double check or do whatever I find to be a bit over my head.

Am I right in reading that the process to get certified for SREC's is really that much more above and beyond? do these extra certifications/inspections make up a significant portion of a solar install cost usually? I was figuring I could buy the inverter on one of the second hand websites to cut down on costs and wrap the other items (power line etc) into other projects to spread it out and make it less painful, although it sounds like there is a "fee" to get into the party, or am I wrong in how to take the 2 answers?
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:14 AM   #5
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solar power - how to hook up and how to get PAID?


As sparky said, not exactly a job to the DIY type.....the POCO gets real picky about people putting power back into the grid.

In the US, you would not be allowed to do this without a permit.
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Old 09-28-2011, 05:47 AM   #6
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solar power - how to hook up and how to get PAID?


Quote:
Originally Posted by MLMIB View Post
so I guess I glossed over all that inverter and disconnect, I realize that those need to be in there (DC vs AC) but I was/am hoping to put together my own panels by just buying pre-tabbed solar cells and make them fit my needs of the roof since I figure it makes the roofing job a bit easier, I can integrate it more fully and it might/should prove to be a bit cheaper or at least more rewarding.
You are WAY oversimplifying this whole situation. This is a VERY complicated installation and NOT one for a DIY, even a seasoned one.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MLMIB View Post
And permitting I know can be a bear but in the county I live in you can take a test and get certified to do all work up to the meter (including heavy up's etc) so I figured I could do most of the work myself and get an electrician to double check or do whatever I find to be a bit over my head.
I chuckle when I see people asking this. There is NO WAY I am putting my name/responsibility/reputation on someone else's work, which is what you are asking them to do. Especially a DIY'er.



Do you have any idea what size system it would take for you to sell power back ("get paid" in your words) to the grid??? I can tell you a gazebo ain't gonna cut it.

I understand that you'd like to do this yourself and be proud of it, but you really have to admit that this is all a bit over ambitious.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:50 AM   #7
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solar power - how to hook up and how to get PAID?


Have you checked whether or not your utility even has net metering? Not all do.

When we were building our log home a couple of years ago, we wanted to go solar too (PV laminate on the metal roof). But the ROI turned out to be so long (something like 25 years) that we decided against it. And, as others have said, it is definitely not a DIY project. Even though we built our house almost entirely by ourselves, we would have subbed out the solar had we still wanted it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:21 AM   #8
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The solar insolance for Maryland. is 4.6. And thats if you get the proper azimuth. Which you wont on a gazebo roof. Your actual insolance will be around 4.0 ( which is the average amount of hours your panels receive sunlight a day)At that amount, the only reason to install solar is if your local energy provider charges an obscene amount of money per KWH. What are you hoping to power with these solar panels? If its just gazebo lights, then maybe you have enough solar power. But since your insolance is so low, the only way your gonna power anything is if you install back-up batteries. Decent batteries start at $250 a piece.
As someone else mentioned, your not putting in alot of panels. You wont be selling anything to anyone. You'd need 100 or more panels before you'd generate enough to sell back.
Im NABCEP certified, so I know a little bit about solar. But unless im missing something (which im prone to do) it seems your plan is a little ill fated.

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