400a service + larger inverter

yoyorickyyoyoricky Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
Hello, i am planning to upgrade my PG&E service to 400A. Most of the residential main panels have 2x 200 amp circuit configurations.
My electrician (who is not the solar electrician) is working on my remodel/addition at this time and wants to leverage of one circuit for 125 sub panel that lights, household appliances etc will feed into since this sub panel is relatively far from the main and it would be expensive to run 200a wiring all the way there (i have existing 100a subpanel with the wiring around running there).

Most of 400A CSED devices also have 1 200a circuit built into it. If i were to put my inverter on that circuit, then the largest I can do is the 40a inverter I believe. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008KM9VIC/ref=psdc_495300_t1_B00NLMB684

Here is I was thinking I wanted to do.

1) Use the 'factory' pre-installed 200a panels to host my 40a car charger, my pool subpanel, 2x dedicated 30 amp outdoor electric space heaters and a HVAC system from the new home addition.

2) Run two sub panels from here. 125a for main house and another dedicated for solar inverter.

Is this possible?


  • yoyorickyyoyoricky Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Hi David, thank you for responding. My electrician is very experienced for construction but doesn’t deal with solar systems. (He is semi retired). I’m mostly researching for my own understanding and knowledge not that I would buy this from amazon directly. 

    How would you design such a 400a system in this situation? The simplest thing is Probably just to stay with 200a service and get one of the “solar” rdy panels or use 225a bus rated system but I wants to take the opportunity to upgrade to 400a to future proof myself given my future holds Multiple electric cars and a dry sauna at some point on top of aforementioned things. 

    Thank you. 
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,655 admin
    Regarding GT solar, you need to check with your utility (and your building department). As simple as GT Solar can be (solar panels=>roof=>wire to GT inverter=>main panel)... The actual requirements by your building department and utility can cause pain, and starting to with some locations, make GT solar uneconomic / difficult to fit all of your panels on the roof (walkways for fire personnel, heritage trees, construction next door, etc. (things are continuing to change too--In 5 years, could be another set if issues).

    If you want batteries--Then a save place to install them, and get power to the batteries/inverter... Backup genset? Fuel?

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • yoyorickyyoyoricky Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Another person posted “But the least expensive of all is a 320A meter socket ($150) and two 200A MCB panels inside the house right behind the meter($200). No more panels are required and total cost is $350“

    so so instead of a combo like I posted, can I just do 320a Meter socket and then have two subs inside the other wall? One “main” I could downrate to 175 which gives me space for 240-175=65 amp for inverter. Then run a sub panel off this main and supply rest of house. For 2nd 200 amp, put the other larger systems, like 30 amp heaters, Hvac, 40a car charger, etc?

    this seems way cheaper than these combo units. 
  • yoyorickyyoyoricky Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Pge did a load calculation and already approved the 400a service. They said I only needed to pay a 75 fee and they would change the overhead service wire in but after the city passes inspection.

    i have two hvac and two 30 amp outdoor heaters and car charger, jacuzzi hot tub and pool system. I’m quite certain I could stay with 200a service and figure out way to add solar inverter but while we were doing all this electrical work, I was hoping to future proofing myself for second car charger and a dry sauna we might want to add later. 

    Thx for the feedback in equipment. 
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,428 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2019 #6
    From past experience I discovered outlets such as Home Depot are often less expensive than distributors, on some items, even when spending > a million dollars per annum at a wholesaler, they don't however provide the service, knowledge, the range of equipment and tend to be geared to residential hardware All of our equipment need to be spec grade so it was more convenient to do a one stop shop, when a couple of thousand feet of conduit is needed the retail outlets simply don't stock that quantity. 
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • yoyorickyyoyoricky Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Tecnodave said:

    I missed post #5 where you were suggesting a $150  meter socket outside and two 200 amp panels inside for $350......
    who is going to approve a meter socket with no main?  And two 200 amp panels for $200,  for a total of $350.......something wrong there.....a cheap 200 amp panel is more than that.....a 200 amp main breaker alone is more than that, I pay much more than that and I buy wholesale at major distributors with 40 plus years there.  I don't know where you can buy three panels for $350..... I seriously dought it.  Home Depot sells 125 amp all-in-ones for $125.00........ But then again there are cheap stuff out there. I'd bet you could get a killer deal on some Zinsco or Stab-lok panels.   Can't understand your reasoning here. I've seen Chinese generator panels on the market......what UL approval....how well do you sleep with that stuff?
    The post I read with those prices was from a 2004(?) while back so the prices are all way off I’m sure. It just the design part I was referencing fwiw :) 

    here Is the original thread. https://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=59717

  • yoyorickyyoyoricky Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    Tecnodave said:

    I missed post #5 where you were suggesting a $150  meter socket outside and two 200 amp panels inside for $350......
    who is going to approve a meter socket with no main?  
    Does something like this work for the meter socket? https://m.platt.com/platt-electric-supply/Meters-Accessories-Meter-Sockets-With-Bypass/Eaton-B-Line/324-N/Products.aspx?pid=15759

    my main purpose isn’t to really do it for $350 but to try to educate myself on what’s possible and what kind of gear goes where. Even if the meter main and sub combo was over 1k, I would still do it. Just tryjng to educate myself on what gives me the most flexibility (and solid quality) without cost 5k :) 
  • yoyorickyyoyoricky Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    edited May 2019 #9
    i looked at their site and can't find 1) Ringed type (as i understand PG&E requirement?) 2) OH service 3) 400amp in residential. They do have some that cost 5k+.

    Can't I leverage a meter box and then put the 2x 200 amp main after the meter box vs a combo product? This seems to give me way more flexibility.
  • yoyorickyyoyoricky Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    fwiw, this seems to work for product. https://platt.com/platt-electric-supply/House-Panels-Accessories-Panels/Eaton/CG1212P400BS/product.aspx?zpid=495471 + their OH kit and bypass (required for PGE). 
  • yoyorickyyoyoricky Registered Users Posts: 9 ✭✭
    also looks like https://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-Homeline-400-Amp-30-Space-40-Circuit-Outdoor-Ring-Type-Underground-Main-Breaker-CSED-SU3040D400CB/100140344 would work since they have a kit to make this work with overhead.

    what would be the best way to actually provision this for solar inverter?
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