AZ offgrid

fredkfredk Registered Users Posts: 18 ✭✭
Hi, we have been offgrid for a number of years in Az... an issue has come up when we applied to the county for a 'simple remodel permit' ... adding a another room... we seem to be going down a rabbit hole where the county is insisting that what we are doing is not legal, without being connected to the grid they will not issue a building permit ...they are citing the NEC 2017 ( but not able to give references ) as making it mandatory that we connect to the grid if it is close to our property line ( it is... )  
can someone with an intimate knowledge of the NEC 2017 confirm that this is the  case?  It seems wrong at a few levels... I would just like to know whether we can fight this or move on....
thanks 
offgrid workshop-- XW6848 Pro, 3.4KW (10x340W Sunpower ) Schneider MPPT 60-150, 20KWH 58V leaf lithium
 

Comments

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,684 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Don't believe the code would say anything about being connected to the grid only if AHJ did an inspection and found you were out of compliance. NEC is just a bunch of safety requirements. 

    Others here have a more intimate knowledge of the NEC code. I would really get my back up if they were saying the NEC code required grid connection. Depending on how you got the information, it may be some confusion in local ordinance, even then I'd be sure someone put it in writing that you have to be serviced by a monopoly. I'd certainly want that!

    They can make laws requiring grid connection, and if you are preexisting off grid, New construction/addition could require adherence to the ordinance. Without changes, I would think they would allow you to continue to live off grid. If that is what is happening, I'd ask the powers to be for a variance or suggest they might be liable for changes required. The expense of abandoning your existing system and connection expenses... Might bring your bills from installation.

    I don't think anything in the NEC code suggests requiring to be connected to the grid. 
    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.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,051 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What county? Did the structure ever have a cert of occupancy?  This does happen more than it should. I would also try going around the AHJ to the county Supervisor for your district. See what they say also.

     I have had a client who went thru this and a few others who skated thru it. The last step is going to be a Lawyer.
    It will need to be a good one who knows how to make waves in your county.  Good Luck!

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,684 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Dave is an installer and will have much greater understanding of the NEC code than I do. He has agreed with me and I would assume he agrees there isn't anything in the NEC code about this.
    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.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,095 admin
    Many times, it is the local city or county governments that have made utility hookups a requirement (power, water, sewer, even sometimes garbage pickup). If you don't have one (or more of these), they may "red flag" the building as not habitable.

    Some of the issues I have read about--One person did not pay for a water hookup and got into big issues because the sewer fees were part of the water bill. Someone else that was into recycling/composting/etc. did not have garbage service. Another member here had to insall a utility meter socket/box on his off grid cabin (no utilities wanted or in area).

    If you never had power--In theory, that is one less issue. Utilities may charge you for leaving the grid and abandoning all of the loans and investments they have made for distribution lines, power plants, etc... (stranding costs).

    You may have to go through a lawyer and/or variance hearing to get them to do a "one off" for you. Laws can vary immensely between neighboring cities and counties.

    https://www.askaprepper.com/is-it-legal-to-go-off-the-grid-in-your-state/
    You may have to remain connected to the power grid and pay a minimum connection fee even if you refuse to use the service. In some states or municipalities. Lenders and insurance providers may require such a connection, even if the state does not.
    ...

    The best way to determine if complete or partial with a fee disconnection for the power grid is feasible in a specific area is to find out if the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) has been adopted by the municipality – and review both the state and local Uniform Building Code.

    Basically, if a city, town, county, township, or village does not want residents or business owners to be able to disconnect from the power grid, they can simply pass a law preventing such action.

    No expert here--Just some of the stuff I have read about over the years.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 1,000 ✭✭✭✭
    I know that most (or all ?)  of Florida mandates that you have to be connected to the utility if it is available. 

    But that is not NEC of course

  • fredkfredk Registered Users Posts: 18 ✭✭
    Sure appreciate all the good comments... we are in Pinal county and it could make sense that counties are making deals with service providers and instituting bylaws that could require that...  ( at least make sense to the service providers... )  we will pursue this to see how far it goes... the actual inspector on the ground is very sympathetic and is in our corner but the zoning officers appear to be on a different page... will keep you posted as to how this develops...
    offgrid workshop-- XW6848 Pro, 3.4KW (10x340W Sunpower ) Schneider MPPT 60-150, 20KWH 58V leaf lithium
     
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