Trying to decide

Trying to decide on a grid tied system for our house we have a good south facing roof with no shade from trees or anything.

Right now Gulf Power is going to give $2 a watt up to $10,000. That's what is attracting me right now... And of course the 30% from the govt. Not sure how that works. I owe around $600 at the end of the year in taxes. Do you get the 30% as a total payment when you do your taxes?

Ok the system. I am looking at a 2kW, 3kW or a 5kW grid tied and possible battery back up.

I am getting quotes from a local company for a 2kW 16,000 (before rebates) and a 5kW 28,000 (before rebates) 3kW would be in the middle of that...

They also do the water heater for $5400 + (500 for the PV version) Gulf Power giving $1000 back on that right now.

Our power cost 11.4 cent a kWh and when the house is idle we are using around 300 watts. This is an all electric house.

If the govt 30% is true I'm looking around 10K out of my pocket for a 5kW system. Of course a little more for a battery backup added.

I am trying to decide what to go for... :blush:
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Comments

  • SolarLurkerSolarLurker Solar Expert Posts: 122 ✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    Congratulation on the decision to go solar. Every PV system installed puts us one step closer to a renewable and sustainable future. Drop by drop lakes are filled.


    What state are you in?

    Shooting from my cuff, I think 8 dollars is a bit high, even using sunpower or sanyo panels. I would beat your installer up a bit on his prices.
  • kendivekendive Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Trying to decide
    Congratulation on the decision to go solar. Every PV system installed puts us one step closer to a renewable and sustainable future. Drop by drop lakes are filled.


    What state are you in?

    Shooting from my cuff, I think 8 dollars is a bit high, even using sunpower or sanyo panels. I would beat your installer up a bit on his prices.

    I am in Pensacola, FL area

    So you think that is a little high. They say they are using 210 watt Kyocera panels and Sonny Boy inverters. I opted for the Sonny Island for the battery backup and then the would be another 4K for the battery system which includes 8 T-105 batteries.
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide
    kendive wrote: »

    And of course the 30% from the govt. Not sure how that works. I owe around $600 at the end of the year in taxes. Do you get the 30% as a total payment when you do your taxes?
    Is the $600 your total tax debt, or just the extra amount you owe when you file your taxes?

    The max you can get is your total tax debt. However, if you have any of the credit left over you can apply it to next years taxes, and probably the next year and the next, etc.
    kendive wrote: »
    Ok the system. I am looking at a 2kW, 3kW or a 5kW grid tied and possible battery back up.

    Do NOT get the battery backup unless you really, REALLY need it.
    It makes the system MUCH more expensive, the inverter costs more, you have to get a charge controller(s) which could cost over $1,000 depending on the size of your array. You need a battery shed or battery room, battery racks, cables, etc.
    The batteries requires monthly maintenance at least, and you have to replace the batteries every few years.
    Finally it reduces the system efficiency, so either you end up with less usable energy or you have to buy a larger array to end up with the same net energy out.
  • kendivekendive Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Trying to decide
    Peter_V wrote: »
    Is the $600 your total tax debt, or just the extra amount you owe when you file your taxes?

    The max you can get is your total tax debt. However, if you have any of the credit left over you can apply it to next years taxes, and probably the next year and the next, etc.



    Do NOT get the battery backup unless you really, REALLY need it.
    It makes the system MUCH more expensive, the inverter costs more, you have to get a charge controller(s) which could cost over $1,000 depending on the size of your array. You need a battery shed or battery room, battery racks, cables, etc.
    The batteries requires monthly maintenance at least, and you have to replace the batteries every few years.
    Finally it reduces the system efficiency, so either you end up with less usable energy or you have to buy a larger array to end up with the same net energy out.

    That's just what I owe at the end of the year. Our total tax payments for the year are a little over 22k. They like us. LOL

    Yes I probably really don't need the battery backup system. I do have two tri-fuel Generators now for when the power does go out. I have a troybuilt 5550 and a Yamaha 2400iSH. I normally run them on propane. Alot cleaner and easier to store than gas.

    I use the Yamaha for the RV when we camp out at our Property.

    Also lets say I go with the 5160watt system for $28400 at 5.50 a watt installed and I get $10,000 from Gulf Power how is the 30% from the govt work. 30% from the $28,400 or 30% after the 10,000 rebate from the power company. I also know the power company will turn that 10K to the IRS and I will have to claim that as income most likely.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide
    kendive wrote: »
    That's just what I owe at the end of the year. Our total tax payments for the year are a little over 22k. They like us. LOL

    Yes I probably really don't need the battery backup system. I do have two tri-fuel Generators now for when the power does go out. I have a troybuilt 5550 and a Yamaha 2400iSH. I normally run them on propane. Alot cleaner and easier to store than gas.

    I use the Yamaha for the RV when we camp out at our Property.

    Also lets say I go with the 5160watt system for $28400 at 5.50 a watt installed and I get $10,000 from Gulf Power how is the 30% from the govt work. 30% from the $28,400 or 30% after the 10,000 rebate from the power company. I also know the power company will turn that 10K to the IRS and I will have to claim that as income most likely.
    IANA tax accountant, but I don't think that rebates for PV are counted as taxable income. The 30% fed tax credit is figured on your total out of pocket expenses for the system after all other rebates have been applied.
  • kendivekendive Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Trying to decide
    ggunn wrote: »
    IANA tax accountant, but I don't think that rebates for PV are counted as taxable income. The 30% fed tax credit is figured on your total out of pocket expenses for the system after all other rebates have been applied.



    That what I was thinking so the 5kW system would be around 12K out of my pocket after rebates.

    I am trying to decide between a 3kW or a 5kW system.

    I like that idea of the micro inverter enphase system, but I would think that would really add to the cost
  • jagecjagec Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide
    ggunn wrote: »
    IANA tax accountant, but I don't think that rebates for PV are counted as taxable income. The 30% fed tax credit is figured on your total out of pocket expenses for the system after all other rebates have been applied.

    I, also, am not a tax accountant, but my reading of the Solar Energy Industries Association FAQ on the credit implies that if you don't report your utility rebates as income, you only get 30% off of the cost minus the rebate(s), but if you DO report them as income, it's 30% off of the total. State or local government rebates are always counted as income.

    Of course, it's pretty much a wash if you're already in the higher tax brackets. If you're in the 35% bracket, the non-reportable utility rebates are actually more beneficial.

    There's no telling how long that $2/watt rebate is going to last, and chances are high that the 30% credit won't get extended again. If I were you and could afford the 5 kW system, I'd install it, since trying to upgrade later probably won't be nearly as cheap. Plus, it sounds like you can take full advantage of the tax credit in Year 1, which is nice.

    As far as using microinverters, I would argue that this depends on how much you believe their reliability claims.

    Chances are very good that your solar panels will last at least 30 years. Most people seem to give string inverters a life expectancy of 10-15 years. That means that you'd have to buy 2-3 inverters over the lifetime of the panels. If Enphase's reliability claims are true, their microinverters wouldn't need to be replaced at all in that same timeframe. Which means that they are "worth" 2-3x more per watt than string inverters, assuming equal performance. Plus the benefits of per-panel MPPT, easier wiring, and the greater ability to add-on to your system later or run odd combinations of panels, or panels in different orientations.

    I'm going with a string inverter for my system, but the microinverter concept certainly piques my interest.
  • SolarLurkerSolarLurker Solar Expert Posts: 122 ✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    The kyocera is a good panel, however it's a lower priced panel. I would think they can do better.

    One nice thing about the sma is you can add batteries down the road. The system would tie in nicely with your generators.

    I think it's silly to not have battery backup. Hurricanes, snow storms, floods, zombies, all kinds of things can make back up a prudent decision.

    Look at the back outs in Texas/new Mexico.

    The bulk of our national electric infrastructure is antiquated and out dated, when every one begins plugging in there EV, it's going to get really interesting.
  • kendivekendive Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Trying to decide
    The kyocera is a good panel, however it's a lower priced panel. I would think they can do better.

    One nice thing about the sma is you can add batteries down the road. The system would tie in nicely with your generators.

    I think it's silly to not have battery backup. Hurricanes, snow storms, floods, zombies, all kinds of things can make back up a prudent decision.

    Look at the back outs in Texas/new Mexico.

    The bulk of our national electric infrastructure is antiquated and out dated, when every one begins plugging in there EV, it's going to get really interesting.



    Yea that is why I was looking at battery backup down the road because of hurricanes. I have been in hurricanes where we loose power for two weeks. So if I get a 5kW system and a sunny boy inverter it's easy to add a battery system later or do you have to op for the sunny island system now to add batteries later.


    I think I will try to get them to get the price down. I have cash ready and I guess if I start talking buying now with cash they may deal with me.
  • xiphiasxiphias Solar Expert Posts: 52 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    Just a thought.... For backup power, I would consider the survivability of a PV system in a Gulf hurricane to be much lower than a generator. It doesn't take much physical harm to compromise a PV system and cause it to go offline.

    For hurricanes and severe storms around here, a common solution is generator.

    On the other matters, I'd go 5kW. Max out now and be done. Enjoy.

    Truly don't know about microinverters. Some arguments for, some against regarding long-term durability, performance, etc. If you really don't have shading issues, traditional string inverter approach (with or without a DC optimization option like Tigo, SolarMagic or whatever -- which like microinverters are also new...) is quite straightforward.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    there aren't any easy answers when it comes to rare long term power outages. simply going with a generator because the pvs could be damaged can be just as problematic for the gas stations won't be pumping gas when they have no power and gasoline does not store well or for real long timeperiods. on top of that would you have enough gas stored as an andrew or katrina event can go for many months.:confused::cry: it is important to try to think things through in trying to preserve ones power and just like stocks it may be wise to invest in more than just one.;)
  • kendivekendive Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Trying to decide
    niel wrote: »
    there aren't any easy answers when it comes to rare long term power outages. simply going with a generator because the pvs could be damaged can be just as problematic for the gas stations won't be pumping gas when they have no power and gasoline does not store well or for real long timeperiods. on top of that would you have enough gas stored as an andrew or katrina event can go for many months.:confused::cry: it is important to try to think things through in trying to preserve ones power and just like stocks it may be wise to invest in more than just one.;)

    I agree with you. That is one reason that I converted my generators to a tri fuel and now run them on propane... I can store propane much safer and longer than gasoline.

    One question I have is if I get a 5 kW system Grid-Tied with a normal sonny boy inverter. Can I add a battery system with a separate inverter just for the batteries later. I already have a prosine 1800 watt 24 volt inverter now.

    I was just going to start with a small 1kW system off grid only just to learn and play with and have another source of backup power. Then I found out the power company and the govt is giving money to have a system installed and looking into the grid tied system now.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    If you have the grid available, then use it for grid tie. Your money will go about 4 times as far net/net than doing a battery based system.

    Then you can use the genny for pesky outages much cheaper than using battery back up.

    Remember, the batteries (sized to be really useful) are a short live cycle item that will need to be replaced ever 5-15 years depending on usage. To spend a ton of money on batteries (and infrastructure to support them) for rare outages is simply in most cases, not cost effective.

    T
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    there is nothing wrong with backing up some household circuits with an inverter/charger and batteries as you can't always run a generator, such as at night, or even be there all of the time when it pops off. this can be a small backups arrangement like i have as my 1kva mms1012 has a built-in transfer relay and can be done independently of a solar install if you like although a pv and cc used to float the batteries would be great. the utility power charges the batteries normally and if the power goes out you are on your own. at this point it's either a backups through batteries and inverter or the generator. nowadays you would have the ability to connect the gt pvs through a high voltage cc as well. higher voltage ccs can fulfill this application at times of need and all it may take is a good switch to transfer the pv power to the high voltage cc and even this can be made to be automatic as well with a good auto transfer relay. the classic from midnight solar is available with 200v and 250v ratings and i believe xantrex is either coming out with one or has already done so. whether or not everything is at peak efficiency or not should not deter somebody from implementing something that helps them stay powered when it is needed.
  • kendivekendive Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Trying to decide
    niel wrote: »
    there is nothing wrong with backing up some household circuits with an inverter/charger and batteries as you can't always run a generator, such as at night, or even be there all of the time when it pops off. this can be a small backups arrangement like i have as my 1kva mms1012 has a built-in transfer relay and can be done independently of a solar install if you like although a pv and cc used to float the batteries would be great. the utility power charges the batteries normally and if the power goes out you are on your own. at this point it's either a backups through batteries and inverter or the generator. nowadays you would have the ability to connect the gt pvs through a high voltage cc as well. higher voltage ccs can fulfill this application at times of need and all it may take is a good switch to transfer the pv power to the high voltage cc and even this can be made to be automatic as well with a good auto transfer relay. the classic from midnight solar is available with 200v and 250v ratings and i believe xantrex is either coming out with one or has already done so. whether or not everything is at peak efficiency or not should not deter somebody from implementing something that helps them stay powered when it is needed.


    That's what I really want to do... Now I am looking into the Grid Tied only because the power company will give me $2 a watt.

    Now once I have the Grid tied system installed is there a Charge Controller that I can tie in to charge batteries and supply power to the grid tied inverter? Most likely the grid tied system will be 48 volts and I would like to just keep a 24 volt battery system. I am not sure if that is possible.

    I will be calling another solar company today to get some more quotes. Just to shop around.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,494 admin
    Re: Trying to decide

    It is possible to connect a Grid Tied inverter to a Off-Grid / Hybrid inverter (behind an AC transfer switch). The OG inverter sets up the "Grid" and the GT inverter drives power backwards through the OG inverter to recharge the battery bank.

    However, not many OG inverters officially support this function (Sunny Island, possibly Xantrex XW hybrid inverter, and some other True Sine Wave inverters will accept the power). Also, the OG inverter has to be at least as large (or a bit larger) as the output rating of the GT inverters. And there is the issue of controlling charge current to the battery bank (Sunny Island and possibly XW will properly manage battery charging).

    In general, you cannot connect GT inverters to a generator powered grid (frequency is not stable enough, generator cannot accept power from GT inverters).

    I am not sure where you are getting your 48 volt input pure GT inverter... There are a few small vendors (like SWEA) that do work with low voltage GT solar arrays (as well as Micro Inverters like Enphase). SWEA does not seem to be UL/NRTL approved. And I would doubt that you can share the solar panel with the Enphase and an external solar charge controller (and probably not "to code" either which is required for most Grid Tied applications).

    Most central GT type inverters have somewhere around 200-600 VDC input voltage and most Solar Charge controllers peak at 150 VDC (Midnite Solar has a charger that goes to 250 VDC, Xantrex/Schneider may have one that goes to 600 VDC)... So manually (or automatically) switching a solar array from GT to OG charging use is difficult to setup (at least right now).

    The Xantrex XW system does both Grid Tied and Off Grid modes and should be OK for solar rebates for grid tied systems (Hybrid inverter with 24 or 48 VDC battery bank).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide
    BB. wrote: »
    And there is the issue of controlling charge current to the battery bank (Sunny Island and possibly XW will properly manage battery charging).

    If the battery bank is only charged from an AC charge controller, I don't think this is a problem (at least not directly). The inverters will still have to manage output so voltage doesn't rise/fall as loads are added or removed, including the battery charger.
    BB. wrote: »
    ...most Solar Charge controllers peak at 150 VDC (Midnite Solar has a charger that goes to 250 VDC, Xantrex/Schneider may have one that goes to 600 VDC)... So manually (or automatically) switching a solar array from GT to OG charging use is difficult to setup (at least right now)

    Other than the FIT program in Canada not allowing it (a policy issue and not a technical issue), why not have the high-voltage charge controller and the grid-tie inverter attached to the PV at the same time?
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,494 admin
    Re: Trying to decide
    techntrek wrote: »
    If the battery bank is only charged from an AC charge controller, I don't think this is a problem (at least not directly). The inverters will still have to manage output so voltage doesn't rise/fall as loads are added or removed, including the battery charger.

    Connecting a GT inverter to an OG inverter is probably not what you are thinking of... Normally, you can get OG inverters with internal AC transfer switches... They take AC Grid/Gen power on there input and output either AC Grid power or Inverter AC power on their output--And they have an internal AC input to DC battery charger (inverter/chargers).

    A GT inverter connected to an OG inverter literetly pushes AC energy back through the OG Inverters AC power output and back through the internal electronics to recharges the battery bank. Most OG Inverters are not designed to control the battery bank voltage this way--Typically the battery bank will over voltage and the inverter may shut down... But that is about it.

    The Sunny Island (and possibly the XW Hybrid) Inverter will monitor the DC Battery Bank voltage/state of charge and adjust the AC 50/60 Hz by increasing the frequency. When the AC voltage exceeds (for example) 61 Hz, the GT inverter(s) will shut down and the OG inverter will now carry 100% of the load.

    For non-Sunny Island setups, (Some Outback TSW inverters are known to work with GT inverters), normally a charge controller is mounted on the battery bank... To either dump excess energy (into a heater) or to turn off the GT inverter (or turn of an AC relay)... Can be done, but you probably need some electrical/electronic experience to setup such a system (safely).

    Other than the FIT program in Canada not allowing it (a policy issue and not a technical issue), why not have the high-voltage charge controller and the grid-tie inverter attached to the PV at the same time?

    Several reasons... One is safety. Normally, the Solar Array is isolated from any other connections. If there is a current leak (broken wire/panel, solar charger), the GT Inverter is designed to detect the current leak (over 1-5 amps) and shut down until the problem is "fixed".

    Also, some newer GT inverters (just coming to the US now?) are not isolated from the AC mains... Means that the GT Solar PV array is now connected to the AC mains and is no longer electrically "safe" as most DC systems assume (your DC battery bank may now have 120/240 Vots or more on it).

    Another reason is that Grid Tied Inverters are MPPT type controllers (Maximum Power Point Tracking). Basically, they monitor the Varray voltage by adjusting Iarray (drawing more and less current, aka sweeping the array current). They run this against the Pmp=Vmp*Imp (mp=maximum power).

    And for the most part, any DC charge controller you use with "high voltage" solar arrays will also be a MPPT type charge controller. And it will too also be "sweeping the array" looking to solve its own Pmp=Vmp*Imp equation. Basically, the controllers will just end up confusing each other and not operating anywhere need optimum panel output energy.

    So, the only way could share an array would be to use a DC transfer switch. Array connected to GT inverter when grid is up. And switch over to OG solar charge controllers when the grid is down. And you get back into the issue that most central GT inverters use 200-600+ VDC and most MPPT solar charge controllers only use Vbatt-150 VDC (again, there are some brand new controllers that use Vmax of 250 vdc to 600 vdc--so this is possible if correctly done).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • kendivekendive Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Trying to decide
    Other than the FIT program in Canada not allowing it (a policy issue and not a technical issue), why not have the high-voltage charge controller and the grid-tie inverter attached to the PV at the same time?

    That what I was thinking putting a charge controller in with the grid tied system.



    I just called another solar company and they said over the phone $5.25 a watt installed for a 5kW grid tied system.

    I also just got off the phone with the power company and asked questions on the net metering and she told me around here a 5kW system can generate around 20kWh a day so around 600kWh a month. We use around 500 to 800 a month. So the 5kW system would be a good choice for me.

    She also said the net metering is a one for one payback based off a kWh. So if I generate 600kWh in a month and only use 500kWh I will get that credit on my bill for the next month and then at the end of the year if I am ahead they will cut me a check for the power I generated...
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,494 admin
    Re: Trying to decide

    1 Year Net Metering (retail power pricing) is pretty much the best deal out there for consumers... Any money left in the bank at the end of the year may only be paid out based on the wholesale cost of power (typically, 1/2 your billed rate or even less). Typically, unless it is like the Canadian/European FIT (Feed In Tariffs, also many wind power farms in the US have some sort of FIT/Taxpayer funded credit program), selling power to the utility is usually not a money maker--Typically the systems are designed to supply just around 100% of your yearly needs and they pretty much penalize anything over personal usage.

    Again, though, there are some places in the US that do pay ~$0.15-$0.20 for solar power and charge the solar PV homeowner ~$0.10 per kWH for power they use. It is all based on local regulations/requirements.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • kendivekendive Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Trying to decide
    BB. wrote: »
    1 Year Net Metering (retail power pricing) is pretty much the best deal out there for consumers... Any money left in the bank at the end of the year may only be paid out based on the wholesale cost of power (typically, 1/2 your billed rate or even less). Typically, unless it is like the Canadian/European FIT (Feed In Tariffs, also many wind power farms in the US have some sort of FIT/Taxpayer funded credit program), selling power to the utility is usually not a money maker--Typically the systems are designed to supply just around 100% of your yearly needs and they pretty much penalize anything over personal usage.

    Again, though, there are some places in the US that do pay ~$0.15-$0.20 for solar power and charge the solar PV homeowner ~$0.10 per kWH for power they use. It is all based on local regulations/requirements.

    -Bill

    Very well said... Thanks. That helps alot to understand how all this works.

    I am figuring after rebates I am looking at around 5 to 8 years to break even...

    I will for sure get the TED system to monitor power used and power generated.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    Bill, I think the whole point of the new (but un-released) high-voltage Xantrex XW MPPT80 is so it will work with the rest of the XW system - no dualing MPPT sweeps, handling grid-tie while also keeping batteries charged. I know details are mostly non-existant so nobody really knows anything yet, but since the system is all networked together its easy to assume this.

    Not sure about a safety issue with non-isolated GT inverters. Just because they don't have an isolation transformer doesn't mean you'll have 240 volts AC showing on your battery terminals. Common ground, yes, but the other leg still runs through the rest of the inverter's circutry.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide
    kendive wrote: »
    Yea that is why I was looking at battery backup down the road because of hurricanes. I have been in hurricanes where we loose power for two weeks. So if I get a 5kW system and a sunny boy inverter it's easy to add a battery system later or do you have to op for the sunny island system now to add batteries later.


    I think I will try to get them to get the price down. I have cash ready and I guess if I start talking buying now with cash they may deal with me.

    You mentioned earlier paying $4k extra for 8 T-105 batteries, and I assume that includes charge controllers, etc.

    Just wanted to make sure that you realize that 8 T-105 batteries are only enough to run your Air Conditioning for an hour maybe two. Or enough to run your idle house for 24 hours (i.e. about 350 watts for 24 hours)

    That seems to me to be a lot of money for not a whole lot of backup power.

    Plus six or seven years down the road, whether you use the batteries or not, you'll have to replace them and they will almost certainly cost MORE then than they do now.

    Plus the NEC doesn't allow batteries in the living space in your house. So you'll probably need to have a separate room or shed for them, though you might be able to get by with a sealed battery box located in the garage. The $4k price probably does not include this space plus the required ventilation, etc.
    Plus there is the whole hassle of checking them once a month, cleaning them and adding distilled water, etc.

    Given the above are you SURE you want to go with a battery backup instead of a generator?
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide
    kendive wrote: »
    I will for sure get the TED system to monitor power used and power generated.

    You might want to look into the Brultech ECM-1240 system.
    http://www.brultech.com/

    For about $200 delivered you get a ECM-1240 with 14 current transformers. With this you can monitor your main power (including net metering) your PV system, your dryer, your stove, your refrigerator, your entertainment system, your generator (if you want), etc.
    And you can monitor the power used by these items separately so you can see exactly how much power each one is using.

    Setting it up is probably a bit more technical than the TED, but it gives you a lot finer detail.

    Plus I've hear that the TED can have problems with some solar inverters. From what I've read it either works with no problem, or it doesn't work at all and can't be made to work.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    I got excited until I saw that 1240 system requires a network connection and use of an outside site. If it stored the data locally I'd be installing the sensors in my panels next weekend!
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • sub3marathonmansub3marathonman Solar Expert Posts: 300 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide
    techntrek wrote: »
    I got excited until I saw that 1240 system requires a network connection and use of an outside site. If it stored the data locally I'd be installing the sensors in my panels next weekend!

    Actually, I've looked into the Brultech too. It doesn't need the use of an outside site. You can pay extra for it to be preconfigured for that, but you can also tie it in to your router and compile the data on your computer. Of course, your computer has to be on to get the data, so that means it will be running 24/7.
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide
    techntrek wrote: »
    I got excited until I saw that 1240 system requires a network connection and use of an outside site. If it stored the data locally I'd be installing the sensors in my panels next weekend!

    It does store some info, but not detailed info. For example, it will store average kWh consumption but not minute by minute consumption. For detailed info you either need a local computer or have to forward the data to an online site.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    Used to run one 24/7, I've gotten away from that. Maybe a small fan-less PC would do the trick but that's still an extra load running all the time I would rather not have.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • sub3marathonmansub3marathonman Solar Expert Posts: 300 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide
    kendive wrote: »
    Trying to decide on a grid tied system for our house we have a good south facing roof with no shade from trees or anything.

    Right now Gulf Power is going to give $2 a watt up to $10,000. That's what is attracting me right now... And of course the 30% from the govt. Not sure how that works. I owe around $600 at the end of the year in taxes. Do you get the 30% as a total payment when you do your taxes?

    In Florida, as far as I know, and definitely as a non-tax expert with the legal disclaimer to consult your own personal tax adviser, it appears that the 30% deduction is on the total price of the system. After that is where things get questionable depending on your location and the actual rebate. In Florida, if you've gotten the state rebate, it is my understanding that the rebate is taxable. For some that will be an advantage, for others in the higher tax brackets it could be a disadvantage. Also, you do not get to choose if you want to count any rebate as income or a subtraction from your total system price 30% deduction. If the rebate is administered by a utility, it is possible that it isn't taxable if it is a "utility energy conservation subsidy." You would have to check with the utility and read Section 136 of the IRS code. If it is a payment for a future amount of PV production, or current or future Renewable Energy Certificates, it will be taxable. I don't know what happens if there is a time delay that spans tax years between putting the system in service and receiving the rebate.

    I found this: http://www.cleanenergystates.org/CaseStudies/LBL_CESA_res-itc-report.pdf that might be helpful reading.

    Then, for whatever amount the 30% deduction ends up as, you can reduce the amount of tax owed for that tax year, even down to $0. Any remainder can be carried forward for the next year, and the next year, etc. BUT, I believe the time will run out in either tax year 2015 or 2016, people will have to double-check on that. So for somebody who pays little federal tax, it is possible that they could run out of time for their 30% PV deductions. For those fortunate enough to pay a large federal tax, there should be no problem using the deduction.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trying to decide

    Sub,

    The now defunct Florida rebate was non-taxable, and for tax purposes the 30% fed credit is on the net system cost after the rebate was deducted.
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