Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

Hi all, first post here, but I'm very active on the diy electric car forum (http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/). They actually referred me here for my solar panel questions.

I'm in the process of converting a 1978 Triumph Spitfire to electric, so I know a bit on electronics (http://78electricspitfire.blogspot.com/). I do have some questions about solar panel systems though.

My family will be purchasing a large plot of land shortly, and we'll be building a small house/cabin on the property to live in for a while. I'd like to power a refrigerator, microwave, TV, and computer. There is currently no utility service on the property, and to bring it out there will costs thousands of dollars.

I've researched through many supplier sites, and prices are all over the map. Also, it seems like buying a complete kit is more expensive than the individual pieces!

Inverters seem to be the more problematic item to buy. I've determined I need a pure sine-wave inverter, but the prices are odd. I can get a 5000W inverter that looks decent for $800. But those kits supply 6000W inverters for $2800. I would rather run 3 5000W inverters for that price! Wiring it into a distribution panel will be more interesting, but 6000W max is inadequate anyways. I'm thinking 1 inverter per room.

Here's what I've found for purchasing...

Kitchen (higher because of microwave / refrigerator):
AIMS 5000 Watts (Continuous) Pure Sine Wave Inverter $1499
http://www.theinverterstore.com/

Other rooms:
AIMS 3000 Watts (Continuous) Pure Sine Wave Inverter $849

For charging from the panels:
BZ 500W/45A Solar Charge Controller MPPT, Made in USA (Efficient)
http://www.bzproducts.net/id2.html

For charging from backup generator:
Iota 90A 12V Battery Charger 1200 Watts $369

I'm still on the hunt for a propane generator for backup (ideally made in the USA). So far the best I've found is:
Briggs & Stratton 3500 Watts Generator $629.99, Gas

SUN 200 Watt Solar Panel $2.38 - $2.48/Watt $496.00
http://sunelec.com/

Walmart MAXX29 Deep Cycle Batteries. $80
(I'm sure people here will say I should go with Trojan or some other brand, but I know a guy that uses these to pull 200Amps+ in his electric car.)

As a start, probably at least 10 of the 200 Watt panels. I'd like my choices to be flexible enough such that I can expand as necessary. From reading, it sounds like the SUN panels may not be eligible for federal tax credits. I guess because Evergreen's are UL they are eligible for tax credits? I may switch to those for that reason.

Is there something I'm missing, or do these components look acceptable / compatible together?

Appreciate the help, thanks!

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    First, some warnings about some of the equipment you mention:

    AIMS inverters. One of them won my award as "possibly the worst inverter in the world."

    BZ charge controllers: ABSOLUTE CRAP and you won't find one differing opinion about them on this forum.

    B&S Generator. Serviceable, but they aren't the best in terms of fuel consumption, longevity, or quiet.

    Now let's go about it the right way before you spend any money.

    Step One: determine your loads. If you've got an idea what you hope to include in the cabin get yourself a Kill-A-Watt meter and measure the power used by the same devices in your existing home. Then you can determine what size system you should be planning, and possibly what electrical devices you should move from your "must have" to your "would be nice" list to make it more practical.

    Once your loads are calculated you can figure out what size inverter you need. It will have to handle your maximum cumulative power load. Then you can calculate how many Amp/hrs of battery you need and how many Watts of solar panels are necessary to re-charge them properly.

    Fine-tuning the system comes down to selecting equipment, fuses/breakers, correct wire sizes, and mounting/orientation of panels. That last one is very important as it can make a huge difference in the total amount of solar power you can extract in a day.

    As for the equipment you mention, I wouldn't recommend any of it except possibly the SUN panels and Iota charger (which you won't need if you get a good inverter with built-in charger).

    How much time were you planning on spending there? Weekends, weeks, months per year or a new permanent home? It makes a difference in planning. For instance, for occasional use a propane refrigerator can be a better $ value than an electric one (and no, small ones don't really save you anything). Microwave? Big power for a short time, but doable. TV? How large and what type? And as for a computer ... hopefully it's a laptop because the big ones use significant wattage.

    Just so you know, I'm off-grid with electric 'frige, comp, satellite communication set-up, water pump & septic pump, et cetera and I use about 100 kilowatts per month. Compare that to your utility bill. Conservation is the key.

    Lastly, my personal opinion on "solar kits" of any type: don't touch them with a barge pole.
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    Theres a lot you are missing and Ill address a few. Im not being abrupt but you post is a little gun ho :p

    There are no credits available for off grid installs:cry:

    One 3 kw Inverter can easily handle a family household with out Air conditioning.

    Trust me I live very comfortably in a hot although dry climate with a 3.3kw inverter charger 3 double bed rooms American Fridge Freezer , 40 inch LCD TV all modern appliances including a washing line for clothes drying. Ceiling fans microwave washer ect. even a hyro spa powered bath :cool:

    The price for a quality 3kw inverter charger ranges around the $2800 mark yes Indeed you can get maybe 3 similar sized True sinewave units for $800 a piece but when they have all gone puff woosh there goes the smoke, and none will sync with your generator thats $2400 of scrap. Even if they did sync the power output from the charges is derisory. Thats assuming there they are inverter charges.

    12v base system supplying a 5kw inverter wow Id like to see the correct wire guage for that. Base voltage is a crucial decision in the overall system design go for 48v its a $ saver all the way, on wiring and charge controllers and system ease of install, if you cant easily see why this is ask !

    Plus by the time you have run very heavy duty battery cable from your battery bank to each separate inverter in different room you will have spent a fortune.

    Living off grid needs a change of attitude to energy requirements and conversation unless your loaded. Which I suspect your not or you would have the utility bring you a line in.

    Conservation of energy is formost in your research as every $ spent on conservation has a rule of thumb of $10 saved spent on renewable energy.

    I agree on going for budget FLA batteries for you first foray into off grid living and use them as a learning curve so by the time there ruined you will hopefully have learn how to make your next set last longer.

    Welcome to the forum its a great place to start and the good news is that you havent spent a penny on any kit yet so no mistakes yet.

    Read this forum ask loads of questions and IMHO join HomePower magazine get all there past issues on DVD for peanuts are start some serious research and save your self a fortune with a useable off grid system at the end of it

    Better still for free check out our hosts free advice here

    Nigel
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,509 admin
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    Clintk,

    I had to edit your posts...
    1. We don't usually allow EBay links.They disappear in a few weeks and are useless for people to talk about/review down the road.
    2. Most of the links where not formed correctly... You pasted the truncated URLs (links with "..." snips in them).
    3. This site is hosted and paid for by NAWS, a solar RE equipment retailer and wholesaler... So, we try to keep the links to competitors pointing to specific products and questions.
    Regarding your questions:

    The AIMS 5kW inverter--I don't know which one you where pointing at--but they appear to have both 12 volt and 34 VDC 5kW units.

    5kWatts at 12 volts:

    5,000 watts * 1/0.85 eff * 1/10.5 volts minimum = 560 amps

    And, more if it supports surges (upwards of 1,000 amps)... That is a difficult amount of current to bus around, fuse, and switch.

    At these power levels, you should be using a 48 volt inverter.

    Also, I wonder how clean its sine waveform is...

    The AIMS 5kW 12 volt pure sine inverter also has a no-load power draw of 3 amps (36 watts)... The better inverters are down in the 6 watt range (Xantrex XW 6048)--but that guy is going to cost you $3,400 or so (but includes a battery charger, transfer switch, AC1 + AC2 for Grid and Generator connections, and grid tied mode for selling power back to the utility).

    Regarding the BZ Products Charge Controller--Run, do not walk, away from that monster.

    If you are serious about large/reliable MPPT solar charge controllers--look through the offerings by our host. Xantrex is probably the newest model out there at this time--works well with off grid and hybrid inverters. You will have to pay more almost $600 to get one.

    The IOTA Charge controller is a good one, get the "extra module" for it (better charging). However, if you are getting a XW 6048, it already includes a battery charger--so you can save the costs.

    However, you are looking at 12 volts--No, design your system around 48 volts. You want high power inverters and the solar charge controllers will handle 4x the amount of solar panels at 48 volts vs 12 volts (controllers are rated at maximum battery charging current--48 is 4x higher voltage than 12).

    Generator wise... I always recommend as small as one as you can find/justify... For efficient fuel usage, you need to run them at 50% load (or more). The only gensets that run fuel efficient down to 25% of rated load or less are the Honda eu2000i's (around $900 or so) (some of the other Honda family are also pretty fuel efficient below 50% power).

    Otherwise, I don't know what genset you are looking at but the Briggs and Stratons tend to be noisy and fuel inefficient (at lower power ratings)--plus they do not last too long.

    If you are planning on running large loads for long times--then you may want a prime mover rated genset (typically 1,800 RPM) with pressurized oil system and filter. The better Off-Grid/Hybrid systems include or have options for autostart of the gensets too.

    The SUN panels should be fine--however they do not have UL/NRTL listings--if your place needs to meet NEC (for local building codes or for fire insurance)--You will have to use the Evergreen (or other) panels instead.

    Many times we will recommend that Walmart type Deep Cycle batteries for a first time user--The "Training Sets" are cheap(er) and new users tend to kill their first sets pretty quickly (under charging / over discharging, not keeping up with the distilled water).

    One component I would add to an off-grid system is a Battery Monitor. And if you ever go to AGM/Sealed batteries--just about a requirement.

    You are sort of going at this system design backwards--defining the gear without talking about your loads (max Watts, average Watts, AC or DC power, how much power you will need, where the system will be located, etc.).

    When you do the plans starting with Conservation, load planning, and then equipment planning/maintenance budget--you will have fewer surprises.

    Also, if the Grid drop to your property is only a few thousand dollars--go for it. Grid power will cost around $0.10 to $0.20 per kWhr... Off grid power, more like $1.00 to $2.00+ per kWhr.

    It is a pretty simple math exercise to compare the $/kWhr of your system (plus replacement equipment and batteries) vs the $/kWhr of utility power + one time costs all divided out over 20 years.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    You want components from:

    Xantrex, Outback, MorningStar and Magnum based or our collective wisdom and probably many decades of combined experience ... anything else is throwing your money away. In RE , you don't buy on price, you buy on features and field proven performance

    The Walmart deep cycles would last a few months with these loads, sure you can pull 200 amps from a 105ah battery, do it 50 times and time to recycle.

    And before you spend one dime, look again at the cost of grid power, now figure your loads for doing it yourself and figure at least 1 dollar watt/hour is what you'll spend making your own electric.

    Anyone who has done it ( offgrid system ) will tell you if you can get the grid, go that path if cost is you primary concern
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    I concur with SG you are spoilt for choice in the USA. On quality field proven equipment. You can add Midnight Solar to your manufacturing list . They manufacture balance of system parts for Outback, Xantrex, Magnum, Samlex which offer savings on the OEM especially on AC and DC connection boxes and breakers also, they have a new MPPT charge controller coming out soon :roll:. Our host stocks there gear also. ;)

    Nigel
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    I have four words,,,,AVOID "READY, FIRE, AIM!"

    Time spent well now will save lots of heartache, headache, and money going forward.
    Read all you can here and other places before you buy anything. There are some very sharp folks here, many are EEs and many of those have forgotten more about RE and Pv than most of us will ever know.

    There are some pretty sharp on grid folks,, and some who have learnt the hard way about off grid living. Aside from my 4 words,, I suggest that conservation is far and away you best Pv dollar spent. Every $$ spent on conservation will save ~$10 in RE costs.

    My final thought is at least consider the idea of a Propane fridge. It is a question that is quite complicated to answer. I myself live off grid full time with Propane fridge. I have come to the conclusion that if you are going to be full time with full size fridges it probably makes sense to by the most efficient compressor fridge you can find. On the other hand if the house is going to be used seasonally, or occasionally then the equation favours a good L/P fridge, with condenser fans, and extra insulation possibly. The real question is where is the break point?

    Good luck and welcome to the forum.

    Tony
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    Tony I did the maths for Spain on LPG Refer v High Efficient Electric Refer.

    Assuming that both FF were bought new similar sizes and the balance of system was already installed ie batteries inverter panels CC . The extra panels required to support the extra load of the Electric FF in my calcs 300/350 watts of PV .

    Then bringing in the cost of gas my payback time for someone living FULL TIME off grid was less that 3 years. In favor of the High Efficiency Electric Fridge Freezer

    So for a cabin used evenly through out the seasons for three months a year that would jump to 11/12 yrs payback in favor of electric.

    However I have yet to have an ice cold beer from any gas fridge in Spain :cry:
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    Nigel,

    You illustrate my point well. If you run the same numbers with a cabin/house is used only weekends where does he number come?

    Also, I modify all my L/P fridges with t-stat controlled fans on the evaporator and condensers and I try to install the fridges with ~2" of rigid foam around the cabinets that all serve to reduce the run times, making the equations harder to quantify.

    The number also can get confused depending on what you pay for a fridge. A new LP fridge at top dollar makes the payoff shorter. On the other hand, if you pay top dollar for a compressor fridge, and you buy a good used LP fridge,,,,

    Having said that, buying used RV LP fridges is a bit of a crap shoot, but I have gotten some pretty good bargains over the years, including free from the local dump! (Wrecked/abandoned RVs, travel trailers are a dime a dozen, there are tons of them out there free or nearly free! Find a moldy travel trailer behind a house, and most times is has a perfectly good fridge it it).

    Tony



    Tony
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    If my maths were or are correct a 52 week end 2 day warrior only. It would add a pay back factor of 3.5 x 3 years which is 10.5 years but that doesnt allow for increases in LPG over that period which would bring it down somewhat.

    I also did these calculations when LPG was almost at its peak last summer, its dropped about 30% since the credit crunch, but I will imagine that wont last for long:p

    A LPG refer is about 3 times more costly than an A+ Rated energy refer of the same size to buy new.

    My calcswere on a small 1/3 Freezer 2/3 Fridge about 9/10 cu ft of storage. It had a energy consumption of approximately 220 kwhrs a year about .6 kwh a day. Getting better and better each year

    My Samsung American Refer uses 1.5kwh a day. A rated, which is still pretty good. Im unaware of any A+ rated American Style Refers in Europe.

    Plus Im aware that they have improved even further and we have A++ energy rated refers now. Probably sub 200 kwhrs a year
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    Wow, quick responses. :-)

    Duration: We'll be living in the cabin for a couple years, after which point it will turn into more of a guest house.

    Utility lines: It would be cheaper to run poles out to the property, but I would prefer to be less reliant on any government services. (I'll avoid saying anymore to keep the discussion technical.)

    Cost for components is a concern, I just need justification for paying 3x more for the same rated equipment. It's hard to find reviews on some of these components, so if you guys say it will fail after 2 weeks I'm going to listen.

    Glad to hear the SUN panels are okay. I'll look into the building code issues with them not being UL. Also good to know I'm not eligible for the federal credits anyways.

    Keep the Walmart's on my list, check.

    I've seen the XW6048 advertised quite a bit. Looks like it's 48V. For the "Generator" portion, do I just plug in the 120VAC cord from the generator or is it specially hard wired?

    I'll check out those other products you all recommended.

    Thanks for the help!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,509 admin
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    Sizing is important for battery bank life... You may end up with other (larger) batteries because your requirements are so large--that having multiple parallel strings of smaller batteries is just not a realistic option (I would recommend trying to stay at or below 3 parallel strings, others have recommended 4 or below). The name of the game is to get all the parallel strings to share the load evenly. Otherwise, you will have one string that does most of the "work" and therefore will die before the others.

    The XW 6048 is a pretty nice inverter. It is a native 120/240 VAC split phase unit. No extra parts. And, for 120 VAC loads, one leg can output up to 75% of the unit's total power rating.

    The genset input would just plug in/hard-wire into the Inverter (through the transfer switch). You would program the Inverter/Charger for battery bank size, genset size, etc.

    Your best bet is to download the manuals for a couple of the product lines you are interested in and read through them. All of these devices are pretty complex and can cause issues if you don't plan for them ahead of time.

    I understand the desire to be "independent"--but just getting parts, batteries, fuel, etc. makes us dependent. Having the utility is just another of those threads--no better or worse.

    I don't know that I (or others here) can convince you that paying 3-4x for the "same piece of gear" is reasonable or not.

    In the end, for specialized equipment designed for long term use is not cheap. Choosing devices, designing heat sinks, environmentally sealed units that don't have cooling fans pulling dusty/humid air through their internals, meeting FCC Class A or B, UL/NRTL Listing for fire/safety, Meeting CE requirements, ability to support units for repairs/parts/tech support for 5-10 years--all takes money.

    And if any of them get a direct hit from a bolt of lightning--the will probably all look like a smoking metal box.

    I am as cheap (or cheaper) as the next guy... In the end it is the level of service and risk that you can accept for your installation. One $3,400 does "everything" part vs two $899.99 parts and a $400 charger and a $200 transfer switch, etc. (one online, the other a spare in the shed) can sometimes be a tuff sell. :confused:

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    While I understand the desire not to be involved with the utility, one has to consider this: An off grid system will cost about twice as much on a per net watt basis than a grid tied system. This is due in large measure due to basic efficiencies of the added systems components such as battery charging ef, charge controller ef, and basic battery charging ef. Add in the cost of generators and chargers as well as a life cycle cost of batteries and you end up about twice as expensive.

    Couple that with the fact that most off grid systems don't qualify for either tax credits nor utility rebates, the net effect might be about FOUR times as expensive net/net!

    So the out of pocket expense for a 2 kw grid tie system might run say $8/watt or $16,000, depending on details might net out ~$8,000 after rebates and tax credits.

    The same 2 KW system might run say $12/watt or $24,000. No rebate, no tax credit, net cost $24,000. Add in battery replacement every 3-10 years and it might even be higher.

    The harsh reality is that grid power is ALMOST always cheaper than off grid solar.

    Tony

    PS. If you can't find reviews here for certain hardware, it is probable that it is second or third tier hardware that is often POSs that doesn't warrant a review as it never gets used by anyone with any real experience.
  • TnAndyTnAndy Solar Expert Posts: 249 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    Guy told me one time "Briggs and Stratton is what us 'po folks buy until we can afford a Honda".......and I'd have to agree.....every B&S ( how appropriate ) I've ever dealt with has been a PITA compared to a nice, easy starting, smooth running Honda.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    "...the fact that most off grid systems don't qualify for either tax credits"

    My reading was that they just have to met NEC code to qualify for Tax Credit, My off grid did and I recieved the Credit, if I did this in error please correct me.

    I hope they haven't changed this as I added some wattage this year.

    Please also note some people live on minimal electric like my self. Combine this with my "one Choice" electric company charging $25 per month "line fee" Before you buy any electric! This is becoming more common and I wonder if it's done to keep the grid connect "net metering" less of a bother for electric companies. It makes grid connect more expensive than batteries for me.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,509 admin
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    You really need to run some numbers (cost of off-grid system + 20 years of generated power vs cost of poles+service charges+20 years of electrical power)--all divided by 20 years of kWhr usage.

    Realistically, off-grid power is ~$1.00 to $2.00+ per kWhr... It takes a lot of electric utility charges to approach those cost levels.

    Part of the costing will be based on how much power per month you use... If your consumption is only a 100 kWhrs per month--then Off Grid can make good sense.

    If you consumption is 1,000 kWhrs per month--it takes a big solar RE system to generate that kind of power (with costs and maintenance to match). Large amount of power usage spreads the fixed costs out much more over your per kWhr usage rates.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power
    Photowhit wrote: »
    "...the fact that most off grid systems don't qualify for either tax credits"

    My reading was that they just have to met NEC code to qualify for Tax Credit, My off grid did and I recieved the Credit, if I did this in error please correct me.

    I hope they haven't changed this as I added some wattage this year.

    Please also note some people live on minimal electric like my self. Combine this with my "one Choice" electric company charging $25 per month "line fee" Before you buy any electric! This is becoming more common and I wonder if it's done to keep the grid connect "net metering" less of a bother for electric companies. It makes grid connect more expensive than batteries for me.

    MY mistake,,, what do I know, I'm in Canada,, another example of "do your home work!

    Sorry,

    T
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    This is from the IRS form
    Qualified solar electric property costs. Qualified
    solar electric property costs are costs for property that
    uses solar energy to generate electricity for use in your
    home located in the United States. This includes costs
    relating to a solar panel or other property installed as a
    roof or a portion of a roof. The home does not have to
    be your main home.

    More information in the personal tax credit

    http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=US43F&re=1&ee=1

    Typically, the GridTie requirement comes from local or state rebate programs, not the Federal IRS tax credit. The SUN panels would be fine from the Federal Tax credit as there is no requirement for UL , NEC ect.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power
    This is from the IRS form

    More information in the personal tax credit

    http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=US43F&re=1&ee=1

    Typically, the GridTie requirement comes from local or state rebate programs, not the Federal IRS tax credit. The SUN panels would be fine from the Federal Tax credit as there is no requirement for UL , NEC ect.

    Great, thanks for the reference!

    My incentives to be "off the grid" are not financial, so payoff costs really aren't a concern. If I can afford a complete off-grid solution, I won't run poles out. If I can't afford it now, I'll run the poles with the full intention of being off-grid a few years later. I'd prefer not to have utility lines down the middle of my property though.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    To build anything close to what your thinking for loads is going to be 50-100K ... and it will need constant maintenance and parts replaced over the years. So, use this as a good ballpark number and then compared to the few thousand running the grid power will be with no hassle

    No one says you have to use poles, you can do underground as a choice, cost more but no aesthetic issues either
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    I followed the other link and it is information for 2008.

    I did a quick search and fould this;

    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index#s4

    Though this is just an information sheet, it includes the language Photovoltaic systems must provide electricity for the residence, and must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirement.

    I believe NEC code requires UL listed panels.

    I think the old solar required that the solar install to be for a primary residence and that you could claim the credit for the year you assumed residency (I'm sure of it as I was trying to get in before the end of the year, since I had a year with higher tax liability.) Though this may have changed...

    I'm also pretty sure since they removed the $2000 cap that they also let you take the tax credit over a few (3?) years.

    Reguardless I would not use info from a forum to make choices, with out information confirmed from a goverment web site (even then I'd copy the web site!)
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    There is no such language ( code compliance ) in the IRS form and they are the agency that actually provides the tax credit. I also have read the energystar thing but I would take the IRS for tax information over anything else on the net, IMHO of course.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    even if it were so, what is the code as the nec is not a law making or law enforcing agency? the code does vary from one place to another and although the nec code is adopted as law in many places, there are many that vary from it, have their own, or rarely no code at all. in general, the nec code only seems to have a tendency to carry the weight of law only due to the numbers of local governments that have adopted it.
    so this brings up the question of whether mr. heyni from hootersville who is the building/electrical inspector, who has his own code (none), would have any constituents in that jurisdiction that would qualify for the federal tax rebate by someone's given definition of requiring the system to code.
    sorry for this side veering of thoughts.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Planning Off-Grid Solar Power

    I just got word the seller accepted our counteroffer! Assuming the survey comes out clean and no other issues pop up, we should close on the land by the end of September.
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