BB. wrote: »
Even if you hire somebody--It still does not hurt to understand how everything works so you can make sure that consultant/installer is doing things right.
Are you familiar with an automotive electrical system (battery, alternator, loads, regulator, etc.)...
An off grid system is very similar. The battery is the "heart" of the power system. The alternator is the charging source and works fairly similar to solar panels. When the engine is running/sun is up, the current flows to the battery to recharge it. When you have loads, they draw energy from the battery and the alternator/charge controller as needed.
The off grid inverter--Is just another load on the battery bank which "inverts" lower voltage DC power to higher voltage AC power (some inverters also have charging capabilities from attached gensets or even grid power--sort of like a UPS, uninterruptable power supply for a computer).
A grid tied inverter + solar panels--For all the world is very much like an AC Battery system. In this case, the "Grid" (utility power) is the "AC Battery" and your loads are supplied from the grid... While the GT inverter "recharges" the AC Grid (there is a fundamental difference between a GT and and OG inverter if you want to get into that discussion. An OG inverter can never be connected directly to the AC grid without risk of fire or worse. And a GT inverter will not run appliances like an off grid inverter if the grid is down).
Because you only have "useful" solar power for 6-8 hours per day, the solar array has to be larger than your average loads so that it can recharge your battery banks during the day, and the battery supplies power when the sun is down (same thing for Grid Power--panels "turn the meter backwards" when the sun is up, and your loads turn the meter forward otherwise).
LemonChips wrote: »
.... last month I pulled about 3100KW! I figure if I'm going to pay a large bill I'd rather put it into this so I won't pay that for ever. .....