Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

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  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!
    wilsonbh wrote: »
    I am in the process of installing a metal roof. Once completed, I'll pursue the solar panel system.

    You may be able to save some costs, by integrating your panel racks with the roof job.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | 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 ,

  • wilsonbh
    wilsonbh Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!
    mike90045 wrote: »
    You may be able to save some costs, by integrating your panel racks with the roof job.

    I am getting a type of roof called "Standing Seam Metal Roof" and on those standing seams are brackets that can be attached to allow solar panels to attach to the roof. It's actually easier than on an asphalt shingle roof and has a longevity rating in excess of 50 years.

    My only real issue is believing the rebate the State of Florida has at $4/watt. I don't completely believe it. Because if it's true, then a $26K system would only cost me about $6K out of pocket and I own the whole thing. It is hard to believe.

    Like the saying goes, "If it's sounds too good to be true, ....."

    Billy
  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    Poo poo all you want ... Its real and I did it.

    Sit on the side lines and complain about the " regulations " and how the rebate program is " to good to be true " and miss the opporunuity of a life time


    All it takes it some initative on YOUR part to make it happen and of course the funds to do the installation. People in Florida have the single best progam in the country , its real, I did last July.
  • wilsonbh
    wilsonbh Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!
    Poo poo all you want ... Its real and I did it.

    Sit on the side lines and complain about the " regulations " and how the rebate program is " to good to be true " and miss the opporunuity of a life time


    All it takes it some initative on YOUR part to make it happen and of course the funds to do the installation. People in Florida have the single best progam in the country , its real, I did last July.

    I fully plan to check out every aspect of it and install my own system, but I've been burnt a number of times and so will proceed with caution. I live in the land of regulation so I'm no stranger to dealing with it. I just need some assurance that the money is on the table and not just a ruse to get publicity. The gov't is notorious for doing things like that...

    Billy
  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    Keep in mind you technically can't be a do it yourself installation. You can have a licensed Master Electrican ( must be current with the State license wise and they DO check the license # ) pull the permit and if he is OK with your help in installation/purchase of the supplies ect, signes off on it and supplies an invoice for the State Rebate Application that would work and is the way I did mine.

    With the State Rebate, just follow the rules EXACTLY as they are listed and explained and as long as there are funds, you should have no issues. My biggest learning was working with the PE ( panel attachements must meet hurriance code of 125mph winds ) and having to teach the local inspectors what gridtie PV is, my systems were the first in the county for residential home owner.

    It can be done for next to nothing net dollar wise if you do all the leg work, purchase all the supplies yourself and have the required pofessionals be the GC for the project.

    You might also want to contact a local installer and get a quoted turn-key price ...

    I'm very happy I did it ...
  • wilsonbh
    wilsonbh Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    I'm meeting with one of the installers listed in the State of FL Alternative Energy accepted installer listings. Meet with them tomorrow morning. I'm sure he's motivated to make a profit so I'll be careful how I communicate my desires to him as I want to have as little out of pocket expenses as possible. I wish there was a checklist for doing this project.

    I live in Brevard County, what county are you in?

    Billy
  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    Ask him if you can supply the panels and inverter and if so quote the job that way. I would expect using the sunelec seconds panels and a GT5.0 you can save about 12K over what a all-in-one shop will quote as they will use high retail on another brand of panels and inverter. He still get to charge for racks, permits and labor, but for most people thats a good thing. I would be friendly and honest on what your intentions are and who knows you might be surpised

    Im in Lakeland as my info shows ( Polk County )
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,412 admin
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    Also, understand what happens if there is a warranty repair required... Typically, I would expect that the installer would be on my roof to R&R a bad panel because he marked it up and got a slice of the profit.

    If, however, I supply materials, then I would expect to pay for R&R bad panels under warranty repair (and, possibly looking to the panel supplier or manufacture to cut a check for the labor)...

    I don't expect any warranty repairs will be required--just clarify the roles and responsibilities.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • wilsonbh
    wilsonbh Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!
    Ask him if you can supply the panels and inverter and if so quote the job that way. I would expect using the sunelec seconds panels and a GT5.0 you can save about 12K over what a all-in-one shop will quote as they will use high retail on another brand of panels and inverter. He still get to charge for racks, permits and labor, but for most people thats a good thing. I would be friendly and honest on what your intentions are and who knows you might be surpised

    Im in Lakeland as my info shows ( Polk County )

    Did you buy everything from sunelec ? Were you happy with the seconds panels you got? How did they ship them?

    I'd like to do the exact same thing you've done. I have a metal roof and can attach a rail as you did, across the seams with these brackets that bolt onto the seams. I assume the solar panels could then easily attach to the aluminum rail?

    Lakeland is not far from where I live, maybe 2 hours away. Would you be willing to allow me a visit sometime to see what you have?

    Do you have pictures posted online somewhere?

    Billy
  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    Sunelec is only two hours from you ... save the shipping and do cash and carry. I've done business with them since 2003, honest people with honest deals but can be hard to communicate with at times. I have recommed them to others and have yet to have someone say they didn't get what they paid for ( check my forum for some other system people installed using the seconds panels )

    As for everything else, what your really asking me is to be your resource for a discount vs. paying a solar installer. If you want the savings, you need to do the research and leg work and figure it out, I have already provided all the links so you can save 10K+.

    It took me allot of time and efforts to find a PE, figure out plans, deal with the inspectors, find a Master Electrician to work with. You want the discount, you will need to to the same if you expect a simliar savings

    It can be done and I did it, but its up to you to invest your time if you want to save money over having a installer do a turn key system.
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    It took me allot of time and efforts to find a PE, figure out plans, deal with the inspectors, find a Master Electrician to work with.


    What's a PE ??

    " 1. The message you have entered is too short. Please lengthen your message to at least 18 characters."
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | 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 ,

  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    Short for Professional Engineer, they are the ones that have to review and approve any structural plans. When one goes to the building department for a permit, first thing they want are plans with a PE stamp.

    Here in Florida, that would include a review of the roof load, mostly for uplift requirements for 125mph wind load. I looked in the yellow pages and called about 10 places until I found someone even interested in reviewing my own plans for solar mounts. Turned out to be a really nice guy and was very down to earth, thats how I got the Home Depot gutter clips approved for the solar panel mounts.

    This is a good example of what is gained by using an installer, they deal with all of this and probably would just use factory approved mounts ( comes with PE stamped plans ). Factory is fine, but about 10x the cost of gutter clips with no improvement in holding the panels in place. I guess I can't help that NewEngland thriftiness in my genes ...

    SG
  • wilsonbh
    wilsonbh Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    Just got my first disappointment. Visited a local installer and he wants $3/watt to install but then, that's turnkey. However, $9K for a 3kw system to run wires and turn bolts. Totally unreasonable!!!

    This stuff is not rocket science. Match the equipment, attach it to the roof and walls and interconnect via power company agreement. I'm still looking for the hard part.

    Isn't an installer required to obtain the rebate? Without the rebate, it really makes no sense to do this.
  • wilsonbh
    wilsonbh Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!
    Sunelec is only two hours from you ... save the shipping and do cash and carry. I've done business with them since 2003, honest people with honest deals but can be hard to communicate with at times. I have recommed them to others and have yet to have someone say they didn't get what they paid for ( check my forum for some other system people installed using the seconds panels )

    As for everything else, what your really asking me is to be your resource for a discount vs. paying a solar installer. If you want the savings, you need to do the research and leg work and figure it out, I have already provided all the links so you can save 10K+.

    It took me allot of time and efforts to find a PE, figure out plans, deal with the inspectors, find a Master Electrician to work with. You want the discount, you will need to to the same if you expect a simliar savings

    It can be done and I did it, but its up to you to invest your time if you want to save money over having a installer do a turn key system.

    Yes, I will be making a visit to their store as an additional cost savings measure. I plan to model what I do based upon what I've read here and on your site for what you did.

    I'm not asking for you to be my resource as a "discount" as you state. I'm just trying to do what I can to make this work and truly, in this stuff, knowledge is power. I'll do what I can to save money as I can't afford it otherwise and makes no sense in the first place unless I can qualify for a rebate. I do appreciate the feedback you've provided though, thanks for that.
  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    No, rebate is all on you,

    If you had expended two minutes of your time and followed up on the links I have provided, you would have know this.

    http://www.dep.state.fl.us/energy/energyact/files/faq_solar_rebates.PDF
  • wilsonbh
    wilsonbh Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!
    No, rebate is all on you,

    If you had expended two minutes of your time and followed up on the links I have provided, you would have know this.

    http://www.dep.state.fl.us/energy/energyact/files/faq_solar_rebates.PDF

    If I can't find an installer that will work with me, possibly allow me to install much of the system to preclude that expense, then this is a NO GO.
    "Florida Law requires systems to be installed by a contractor. Systems that are not installed by an appropriately licensed contractor are not eligible for a rebate. In addition, the system must be certified as operational by the contractor that installs it and must meet any applicable local building codes."

    I do not believe you are correct in your statement in that "...rebate is all on you." The rebate requires a specific approved installer designated by the Florida Solar Energy Center listing to install this stuff. Maybe you were able to skirt this requirement somehow and get a reduced cost, I wouldn't consider that the norm for the average Joe wanting to get this done.
  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    I didn't skirt anything, I followed the rules and found a master electrician that allowed me to perform work under his license.The person/company you hire can sub-contract anything the license holder wants ( most businesses only have a single license and all employees work under that ). I have the advantage of working with many licensed professionals over time and understand how licensing, General contractors and permiting work. ( I built my own house and was my own general contractor )

    And yes the rebate application is ALL ON YOU. Yes there are places for signatures and other documents to be included in the submission, thats all spelled out, but it is the RESIDENT that files the application and will recieve the rebate, not the contractor you have hired.

    Since you have determined it can't be done, for you it can't. I have proven it can be done, I'll leave it to others to judge which outcome would best suit there needs.

    For people that want to take advantage of the rebate program and don't have the knowledge/skill/time , they can choose to use professionals and receive a nice rebate of 20K. I know of no other improvement to your home that you can get the government to give you that amount of money.

    SG
  • wilsonbh
    wilsonbh Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    You are correct! It can't be done by me if I am forced to use an installer for the entire project. I've read all the documentation, talked to 3 installers and two Master Electricians. I don't know these people personally, only professionally. I've obtained 3 quotes for a system. I've iterated several options for install (ie I by the equipment, etc), I could easily afford the equipment and I believe I could install it and get it functional. I believe I could accomodate the FPL interconnection agreement, but when the cost of the install is added into the mix, it pushes payback (even with the rebate) out to 15+ years. It turns into a bonehead thing to do.

    It reminds me of my installation of my Standby Generator. A local electrician wanted $1200 to install the transfer switch into my circuit breaker panel. It took me 2 hours to do it and cost me nothing, and yes, it works perfectly.

    I believe these solar systems are still unjustifiably expensive but only when the installer gets involved. I've made a proposal to one installer to allow me to install my own setup, with their oversight. Essentially, I'd be doing everything myself, with their blessing. I'd ask questions if I get stuck somewhere and I purchase all the equipment (SunElec in Miami). I run the wires and turn the bolts. They get paid for inspecting and signing off the end product. I'll have an electrician inspect and sign off the electrical connections. If I can get a system this way and cut down the cost of the install, I might be able to justify the expense and pull this off. Otherwise, I'm back to "bonehead..."

    IF one can install much of this using their own labor AND then qualify for the rebate, then it's feasable. Otherwise, it is not.

    Thanks to everyone for responding to my questions.

    Billy
  • wilsonbh
    wilsonbh Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
    Re: Growing my setup - questions on inverters!

    A clarification to some of my confusion. Studying the State of Florida's requirements, it appears that only a Master Electrician need sign off the rebate certification. I was confused as I thought that I needed to use a Florida Solar Energy Certified Installer listed in the FSE listings AND a Master Electrician. That would have added a 2nd person to pay for the install. Plus, the Solar Installers seem to over-charge for these things.

    I think I can find an electrician that will allow me to install my system then certify it for me.

    It's looking better and better......

    Billy