Solar Power - Electrical Grid TieIn

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by perennial, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I read the article in the current Countryside Magazine and was really curious
    about this.

    We are in the process of building a house and are putting in a geo-thermal heat system (vertical) which will also heat our hot water in the warmer months and supply ac.

    It will cost us about $1.00 a day to run our heat/cooling system and hotwater. We will also have a woodstove insert for our family area and for
    when ice storms hit in winter and power goes out. I know without solar batteries, i will have no power, but we don't want to pay lots for the few times the power might go out.

    My question is:

    1. Has anyone used just the panels tied into your electric panel so that
    if you generate enough solar to run the house the meter starts going backward.

    2. How expensive is it (about) if hubby does it himself (he's an elec. enginner)? What would he need?

    3. Is it worth it if our elec. bill including appliances, hot water and heat/cool would be about $70 month? (just my estimate) We have invested in the geo-thermal heat so i'm not sure it's worth it to invest in solar panels.

    We decided it would get too expensive to startup to go off grid with batteries and all - we just want to keep it very simple.

    Any pointers would be great.
     
  2. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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  3. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    Wait for the solar guys to check in, but I'd bet that it's going to cost you a lot more than you're interested in investing to generate $70/mo worth of electricity from solar panels.
     
  4. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Grid tied systems DONT run the meter backwards. YOU need to have a seperate meter that will register how much you send back.


    Issue to consider with grid tied systems. Even if you dont use a single KW of power from the utility you will have a minimum fee you will need to pay.
    Many power compnies dont support grid tied system or require such expensive equipment to not make it cost effective to put in a proper system.

    What you pay for electic is not what your paid for the energy you put back into the system. You pay retail price to use their electic, they pay wholsale prices to buy yours.

    If your putting a solar powered system on your house and think you will have enough power to sell back, maybe your system is oversized.

    There are people who are grid tied but often they use the grid tie system as more of a whole house UPS than anothing else. Let the grid charge the house batteries and when the grid goes down they have several days of reserive power.
     
  5. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't sound like it will be worth it for us to invest. We chose to invest in one of hte most efficient heat/cool systems available. It will be interesting to see just what it will cost us for elec. Only 2 more months and we will be in.
     
  6. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    Newer meters DO run backwards when hooked up to a power source
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thought it was the other way around - old meters run either way, new ones have a ratchet so they don't.

    Anyhow, it is illegal to hook up a connection that back-feeds into the power grid through the meter without disconnects, etc.

    Some power companies do not accept backfeeding power at all. Others (I believe my whole state requires the power cos to do so) will allow backfeeding, but only through proper safety interlocks to keep you from harming line-men.

    As someone else mentioned, the power co will install a 2nd meter for the power you feed into the system, and will only pay you wholesale costs for it, while you are charged retail. Kinda fair, if you look at the big picture. You shouldn't be recieving retail price for the product.....

    So, takes a while to pay off, and depends how much you are producing if it pays to put in the initial set-up equipment.

    As mentioned here or in another thread - don't remember - some power cos get pretty creative in 'paying' you for the power, and it becomes a free giveaway to them....

    --->Paul
     
  8. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    They installed the latest hi tech meter here.
    It does register seperately in both directions.......it really does
    I was requested Not to back feed untill the "contract" is signed The contract is Many many many pages long.
    (yup the Philly lawyer sort of thing)
    So for now I'm "on but off the grid" .....

    Yes it gulls me that the meter on the pole costs $10 a month just for the privledge of using their juice.......which I havent for several months now.

    You will need a pretty hefty ( $$ ) PV system to generate that buck a day power requirement.
    Only certain inverters are "UL approved" for grid-intertie.
    What do you have..??