Cost of permits? Is getting one difficult? Paying someone to draw up the plans?

VirtuousdesiresVirtuousdesires Registered Users Posts: 28 ✭✭
What is the average cost for a permit and what ever comes with it?

What happens if you don't get one and get caught worst case scenario?

I understand I'll have to submit some kind of drawing, but I don't know how to do that. I also don't know all of the NEC requirements. Is there people who charge a reasonable price to make me up a drawing and indicating what I need to be NEC compliant? Stuff like type of conduit, grounding, types of fuses, are marine battery disconnect switches acceptable and so on?

If this process is not too difficult, I have settled on an 800 watt system at 12 volts and already know what equipment I want that is certified.
Morning star TS-60 PWM (With display, RTS), 2 DEKA G31 flooded batteries (210 AH), Aims 1200 watt Pure sine inverter, 2 100 watt panels, Bogart Engineering 2030 RV trimetric meter.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,771 admin
    Is your house of grid, or on grid and in the middle of town.

    Will the system be tied to utility power?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VirtuousdesiresVirtuousdesires Registered Users Posts: 28 ✭✭
    edited March 2017 #3
    > @Virtuousdesires said:
    > What is the average cost for a permit and what ever comes with it?
    >
    > What happens if you don't get one and get caught worst case scenario?
    >
    > I understand I'll have to submit some kind of drawing, but I don't know how to do that. I also don't know all of the NEC requirements. Is there people who charge a reasonable price to make me up a drawing and indicating what I need to be NEC compliant? Stuff like type of conduit, grounding, types of fuses, are marine battery disconnect switches acceptable and so on?
    >
    > If this process is not too difficult, I have settled on an 800 watt system at 12 volts and already know what equipment I want that is certified.

    > @BB. said:
    > Is your house of grid, or on grid and in the middle of town.
    >
    > Will the system be tied to utility power?
    >
    > -Bill

    I live in a mobile home park in a city type of area definitely grid connected.

    This system will not be grid tied. It's more for a hobby kind of thing and emergency power. I planned on building it like an off grid system.

    The park doesn't seem to have an issue with me putting panels on the roof. The panels way a whopping 136 pounds or so, so I think my humble mobile home roof can support the weight. :)

    And I hope an inspector would NOT bat an eye having a battery bank in our living space. I will be building a box from 3/4 inch quality plywood. My Zephyr battery box fan just came in! (Looking at it, I could probably build it for a fraction of the price I paid for it...)
    Morning star TS-60 PWM (With display, RTS), 2 DEKA G31 flooded batteries (210 AH), Aims 1200 watt Pure sine inverter, 2 100 watt panels, Bogart Engineering 2030 RV trimetric meter.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,592 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I live in a mobile home park in a city type of area definitely grid connected.
    I would go ask the inspector, if there is one. I would thin likely you wouldn't need an inspection for a small "Off Grid" system, but having asked is always nice...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • VirtuousdesiresVirtuousdesires Registered Users Posts: 28 ✭✭
    edited March 2017 #5
    Photowhit said:

    I live in a mobile home park in a city type of area definitely grid connected.
    I would go ask the inspector, if there is one. I would thin likely you wouldn't need an inspection for a small "Off Grid" system, but having asked is always nice...
    I already have asked if one is required and it definitely is even if I put two panels up. If any amount of solar is erected that's not portable and is permanent, I need a permit. He didn't really answer any thing else, seemed a bit hard nosed. It's tempting to go without a permit. It's not so much a money thing as the fear of a bunch of red tape and jumping through hoops.
    Morning star TS-60 PWM (With display, RTS), 2 DEKA G31 flooded batteries (210 AH), Aims 1200 watt Pure sine inverter, 2 100 watt panels, Bogart Engineering 2030 RV trimetric meter.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,592 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I already have asked if one is required and it definitely is even if I put two panels up. If any amount of solar is erected that's not portable and is permanent, I need a permit. He didn't really answer any thing else, seemed a bit hard nosed. It's tempting to go without a permit. It's not so much a money thing as the fear of a bunch of red tape and jumping through hoops.
    Ouch!

    I'd find out how big a pain he intends to be...

    Not many (any?) inverters with Household UL listing (UL 1741) under $1400. You might ask ExelTech, I've read somewhere their XP line is UL rated for telecommunications, That is a different standard than automotive (UL 458?) and they have a shroud for the DC and AC connections.

    You will want to find out what year NEC code they use and go from there, charge controllers need GFI in more recent years. It would be a pain if he intends to be a 'jerk' about it...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • cow_ranchercow_rancher Solar Expert Posts: 117 ✭✭✭✭
    Well he's not being a jerk about it, he's an inspector, it's his job to make sure that any PERMANENT installation meet the city's/county's building code, and since it is electric, the city/county electric code, which is probably the NEC.  The reason for Building Codes is to protect the person that buys your trailer in the future.  There was a person that lived down the street from me that put and addition onto his house, and then moved to many jobs overseas and back East, as in Wash DC, he never sold the house, he never rented the house, and I thought wow is this guy stupid or what... then I had the opportunity to view his house and addition (my MIL watched his house for him), and the only way into this new addition was through the Master Bedroom window, and there was no exit to the outside, talk about fire and safety violations!!!

    It's not hard to meet most building code and electric codes. any home improvement store will help you design it, the plans can be hand drawn, but the inspector will expect you to build to them, the cost of the permit is not that much, it is a hoop you have to jump thru, avoid it and you will pay the price, plus penalty.

    Rancher
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,592 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well he's not being a jerk about it, he's an inspector, it's his job to make sure that any PERMANENT installation meet the city's/county's building code, and since it is electric, the city/county electric code, which is probably the NEC.  The reason for Building Codes is to protect the person that buys your trailer in the future.  There was a person that lived down the street from me that put and addition onto his house, and then moved to many jobs overseas and back East, as in Wash DC, he never sold the house, he never rented the house, and I thought wow is this guy stupid or what... then I had the opportunity to view his house and addition (my MIL watched his house for him), and the only way into this new addition was through the Master Bedroom window, and there was no exit to the outside, talk about fire and safety violations!!!

    It's not hard to meet most building code and electric codes. any home improvement store will help you design it, the plans can be hand drawn, but the inspector will expect you to build to them, the cost of the permit is not that much, it is a hoop you have to jump thru, avoid it and you will pay the price, plus penalty.

    Rancher

    Home improvement stores will be clueless about solar in general, you might find that one guy who has done it as a hobby.


    12 volt is reasonably safe to deal with and small systems are great learning tools, But the addition in cost if he wants it 'to code' (and yes the year of the code enforced will make a difference here as I pointed out)

    An 800watt solar array, will be in the $500-800 dollar range, and a reasonable quality pure sine 1800 watt inverter with UL 458(?) for vehicles can be had for @$300, but a 12 volt UL 1741 is a rare duck! I was curious so I went looking, I found a new to me, Outback GFX1312 for $957, and that's cheaper than I thought one could be had, but still a large price difference. Then I found this when looking for certifications;
    "Note: This product is not ETL listed to UL1741. Not intended for use in the USA or Canada."

    The Outback FXR2012 is listed, and costs $1694 Throw in another $75 for AC and DC conduit adapters (I've see many systems inspected without DC run in Conduit, and it might be legal for DC under 30 volts...

    The Samlex EVO-2212 is made to UL1741 at $1255...

    ...and then there is the charge controller, GFI might not be required below 30 volts, so if he's going with MPPT and 60 cell panels he might get by with paralleling the panels, at the additional cost of a combiner box. Or use a more expensive chrage controller with GFI built in... Or a PWM charge controller with the more expensive 12 volt nominal panels.

    So while it isn't hard, it can be darn expensive!

    I suspect he can make it "portable" by mounting, even on his roof, with tie downs and roof piers for cars, Or better yet on a shed or porch roof, perhaps a $100 solution...



    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • VirtuousdesiresVirtuousdesires Registered Users Posts: 28 ✭✭
    > @Photowhit said:
    > cow_rancher said:
    >
    >
    > Well he's not being a jerk about it, he's an inspector, it's his job to make sure that any PERMANENT installation meet the city's/county's building code, and since it is electric, the city/county electric code, which is probably the NEC.  The reason for Building Codes is to protect the person that buys your trailer in the future.  There was a person that lived down the street from me that put and addition onto his house, and then moved to many jobs overseas and back East, as in Wash DC, he never sold the house, he never rented the house, and I thought wow is this guy stupid or what... then I had the opportunity to view his house and addition (my MIL watched his house for him), and the only way into this new addition was through the Master Bedroom window, and there was no exit to the outside, talk about fire and safety violations!!!
    >
    > It's not hard to meet most building code and electric codes. any home improvement store will help you design it, the plans can be hand drawn, but the inspector will expect you to build to them, the cost of the permit is not that much, it is a hoop you have to jump thru, avoid it and you will pay the price, plus penalty.
    >
    > Rancher
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Home improvement stores will be clueless about solar in general, you might find that one guy who has done it as a hobby.
    >
    >
    > 12 volt is reasonably safe to deal with and small systems are great learning tools, But the addition in cost if he wants it 'to code' (and yes the year of the code enforced will make a difference here as I pointed out)
    >
    > An 800watt solar array, will be in the $500-800 dollar range, and a reasonable quality pure sine 1800 watt inverter with UL 458(?) for vehicles can be had for @$300, but a 12 volt UL 1741 is a rare duck! I was curious so I went looking, I found a new to me, Outback GFX1312 for $957, and that's cheaper than I thought one could be had, but still a large price difference. Then I found this when looking for certifications;
    > "Note: This product is not ETL listed to UL1741. Not intended for use in the USA or Canada."
    >
    > The Outback FXR2012 is listed, and costs $1694 Throw in another $75 for AC and DC conduit adapters (I've see many systems inspected without DC run in Conduit, and it might be legal for DC under 30 volts...
    >
    > The Samlex EVO-2212 is made to UL1741 at $1255...
    >
    > ...and then there is the charge controller, GFI might not be required below 30 volts, so if he's going with MPPT and 60 cell panels he might get by with paralleling the panels, at the additional cost of a combiner box. Or use a more expensive chrage controller with GFI built in... Or a PWM charge controller with the more expensive 12 volt nominal panels.
    >
    > So while it isn't hard, it can be darn expensive!
    > I suspect he can make it "portable" by mounting, even on his roof, with tie downs and roof piers for cars, Or better yet on a shed or porch roof, perhaps a $100 solution...

    I have my eye on the Magnum ms2012, that has the UL listing required.

    But man, that's 200 amps at full output on my batteries! Seems either way I'm going to pay for a bigger battery bank if I go stay with 12 volts or go to 24 volts. From what I am learning thus far, one loses AH but gains in effeciency so really there is no loss in the amount of time the equipment can run. Does that sound right? I was hoping to stick with 12 volts for the DC accessories available. But it would seem doing 12 volts is a headache! Lol
    Morning star TS-60 PWM (With display, RTS), 2 DEKA G31 flooded batteries (210 AH), Aims 1200 watt Pure sine inverter, 2 100 watt panels, Bogart Engineering 2030 RV trimetric meter.
  • VirtuousdesiresVirtuousdesires Registered Users Posts: 28 ✭✭
    > @cow_rancher said:
    > Well he's not being a jerk about it, he's an inspector, it's his job to make sure that any PERMANENT installation meet the city's/county's building code, and since it is electric, the city/county electric code, which is probably the NEC.  The reason for Building Codes is to protect the person that buys your trailer in the future.  There was a person that lived down the street from me that put and addition onto his house, and then moved to many jobs overseas and back East, as in Wash DC, he never sold the house, he never rented the house, and I thought wow is this guy stupid or what... then I had the opportunity to view his house and addition (my MIL watched his house for him), and the only way into this new addition was through the Master Bedroom window, and there was no exit to the outside, talk about fire and safety violations!!!
    >
    > It's not hard to meet most building code and electric codes. any home improvement store will help you design it, the plans can be hand drawn, but the inspector will expect you to build to them, the cost of the permit is not that much, it is a hoop you have to jump thru, avoid it and you will pay the price, plus penalty.
    >
    > Rancher

    Yeah, I have mixed feelings about having to get a permit. On one hand I hate having to ask for permission yet on the other hand I could see why in many (Not all) situations why those laws are there. If not for building codes, electric and plumbing, it would be quite a mess because I believe a lot of people would not take the time to do things right and cut corners left and right. :)
    Morning star TS-60 PWM (With display, RTS), 2 DEKA G31 flooded batteries (210 AH), Aims 1200 watt Pure sine inverter, 2 100 watt panels, Bogart Engineering 2030 RV trimetric meter.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,605 ✭✭✭✭
     
    Seems either way I'm going to pay for a bigger battery bank if I go stay with 12 volts or go to 24 volts. From what I am learning thus far, one loses AH but gains in effeciency so really there is no loss in the amount of time the equipment can run. Does that sound right?
    Not quite, you have exactly 1/2 the amp hours because of double the voltage but the same WATT HOURS. Really has nothing to do with efficiency. Example; 4-6 volt golf cart batteries wired in series gives you 24 volts @ 220 Ah. Same 4 batteries wired series/parallel for 12 volt gives you 440 Ah,  either way you get 5280 watt hours.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 540 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,844 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @Photowhit said, Home improvement stores will be clueless about solar in general, you might find that one guy who has done it as a hobby.
    Thats the truth, have heard them giving bum advice to customers on many occasions, but suppose the store got what they paid for, minimum wage.

    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Battery Bodyguard BMS 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Daly BMS, used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • dennis461dennis461 Registered Users Posts: 109 ✭✭✭
    What is the average cost for a permit and what ever comes with it?

    What happens if you don't get one and get caught worst case scenario?
    .....

    If this process is not too difficult, I have settled on an 800 watt system at 12 volts and already know what equipment I want that is certified.
    Cost and hassle depends on your circumstances.  Are you in the USA, what state, township (or local jurisdiction)? Do you own the property or lease it?

    Our local township in NJ has a two part cost of the permit.
    First is set by type of work, and does not vary.
    Second is based on cost of the modification, and my hassle started when the township official insisted 'labor' was to be included with material cost, even though I did all my own labor.

    Another requirement for the permit was a structural survey by qualified engineer to assure the PV system would stay on the roof during local wind/snow loading.
    This cost is not easily estimated.

    The Electric Company and NJ Board of public Utility 'permits' were for the most part, free.
    However, the BPU wanted a licensed electrician signature which added cost.


    Township  Permit $369.00
    Electrician  Fee $200.00

    If you do not get a permit and get caught, you will have to pay original cost plus a fine, and possibly a letter form the utility denying a right to tie into the grid (if grid tied system is wanted)
    Camden County, NJ, USA
    19 SW285 panels
    SE5000 inverter
    grid tied
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,592 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2017 #14
    My reasoning for NOT buying a high end, high wattage, 12 volt inverter is, you have no where to go. They are pretty specific to RV and some boats. If you want even 2000 watts I would suggest going to a 24 volt system, and at 2000 watts you likely want at least 4 golf cart batteries for 12 or 24 volts....

    ...and now your cheap learning system has become a pretty good sized system and more expensive.

    The advantage is that you can take a 30% tax credit (off your bottom line) for a system through 2019 (barring any rewrite by GOP) I wrote this then realized I don't think you qualify as you don't own the property, please double check...

    If you are in Missouri area, or between St Louis and Tallahassee and not planning to do this until late fall, Drop me a message. I have a Midnite E-panel for the Magnum inverters, I would sell you cheap, but don't want to ship it. I purchased it and a didn't go with a larger inverter yet and won't until this battery dies, perhaps another 5-7 years, when I can switch to a 48 volt system.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • VirtuousdesiresVirtuousdesires Registered Users Posts: 28 ✭✭
    dennis461 said:
    What is the average cost for a permit and what ever comes with it?

    What happens if you don't get one and get caught worst case scenario?
    .....

    If this process is not too difficult, I have settled on an 800 watt system at 12 volts and already know what equipment I want that is certified.
    Cost and hassle depends on your circumstances.  Are you in the USA, what state, township (or local jurisdiction)? Do you own the property or lease it?

    Our local township in NJ has a two part cost of the permit.
    First is set by type of work, and does not vary.
    Second is based on cost of the modification, and my hassle started when the township official insisted 'labor' was to be included with material cost, even though I did all my own labor.

    Another requirement for the permit was a structural survey by qualified engineer to assure the PV system would stay on the roof during local wind/snow loading.
    This cost is not easily estimated.

    The Electric Company and NJ Board of public Utility 'permits' were for the most part, free.
    However, the BPU wanted a licensed electrician signature which added cost.


    Township  Permit $369.00
    Electrician  Fee $200.00

    If you do not get a permit and get caught, you will have to pay original cost plus a fine, and possibly a letter form the utility denying a right to tie into the grid (if grid tied system is wanted)
    I live in Michigan. I have no interest in grid tied. :)  I rent the lot but own the mobile home. The park has no issues letting me put panels on the roof. Assuming I can even find quality panels...
    Morning star TS-60 PWM (With display, RTS), 2 DEKA G31 flooded batteries (210 AH), Aims 1200 watt Pure sine inverter, 2 100 watt panels, Bogart Engineering 2030 RV trimetric meter.
  • VirtuousdesiresVirtuousdesires Registered Users Posts: 28 ✭✭
    Photowhit said:
    My reasoning for NOT buying a high end, high wattage, 12 volt inverter is, you have no where to go. They are pretty specific to RV and some boats. If you want even 2000 watts I would suggest going to a 24 volt system, and at 2000 watts you likely want at least 4 golf cart batteries for 12 or 24 volts....

    ...and now your cheap learning system has become a pretty good sized system and more expensive.

    The advantage is that you can take a 30% tax credit (off your bottom line) for a system through 2019 (barring any rewrite by GOP) I wrote this then realized I don't think you qualify as you don't own the property, please double check...

    If you are in Missouri area, or between St Louis and Tallahassee and not planning to do this until late fall, Drop me a message. I have a Midnite E-panel for the Magnum inverters, I would sell you cheap, but don't want to ship it. I purchased it and a didn't go with a larger inverter yet and won't until this battery dies, perhaps another 5-7 years, when I can switch to a 48 volt system.
    Some of the Magnum 12 volt inverters are certified for home use with the proper UL rating. I may end up having to get an MPPT controller anyways because I can't find quality 12 volt panels. They all cheap with weird marks on the cells. I'm in Michigan by the way.
    Morning star TS-60 PWM (With display, RTS), 2 DEKA G31 flooded batteries (210 AH), Aims 1200 watt Pure sine inverter, 2 100 watt panels, Bogart Engineering 2030 RV trimetric meter.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,592 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Some of the Magnum 12 volt inverters are certified for home use with the proper UL rating. I may end up having to get an MPPT controller anyways because I can't find quality 12 volt panels. They all cheap with weird marks on the cells. I'm in Michigan by the way.
    Just one of the 'problems' with growing a system is that once tied into a voltage, inverters and battery don't adjust in general.

    My transitioning from 12 volt to 24 volt;
    When moving to a 24 volt system I was smart enough to know I was going to want a larger system and purchased 4 golf cart batteries and use 2 strings in parallel until a year later, when I moved and changed system voltages and a larger array using the 4 batteries in 1 string.

    ...but you don't mix old and new batteries and now I was trying to run a window A/C off 4 golf cart batteries. I did but had short run times from stored energy for 4 years. So I finally killed the golf cart batteries 5 years is pretty good torturing them in the summer. I purchased a 24 volt forklift battery. A year later, I had plenty of storage and the HOA changed the rules and I was required to move. So I purchased a Tin Can (Mobile Home) well 24 volt system is a bit small for trying to do all I wanted. So 4 years after moving, I'm 'stuck' with a 24 volt system for the next 5-7 years unless I want to dump the battery and purchase a new 48 volt battery and inverter.

    If you will be buying a higher end inverter like the Magnum, I would seriously consider going for a 24 volt version, perhaps it will save you if you choose to continue/expand your system.

    Look into the Federal tax credit, I'm more than a bit fuzzy on if you can qualify if you don't own the land. For that matter if your renting your lot, you might be required to have a tag on your mobile home. In that case you could argue that you can use UL458 equipment for mobile use!
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
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