Still learning says it all. Needing information

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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,425 admin
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    SL,

    The terms are confusing... Don't worry--I am just trying to help.

    Yes, you have the meter understanding correct...

    Also, some utility meters are setup to not spin backwards (a few may even spin forward instead of turning backwards and charge you for the power you are generating).

    Lastly, the second meter is usually something to do with the Utility to allow them specialized billing (paying you different than simply turning the main meter backwards).

    In some cases, the second meter is a "good thing"--in other billing/tariffs, the second meter indicates a "bad thing".

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Still learningStill learning Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    Bill,

    I hope you did not take my reply back to you that I was being demeaning I sure did not mean it that way at all. Just wanted you to know that I do know the difference and somehow I keep thinking about that little Kill A Watt meter that I truly love, so I have that in my mind while typing so that is how it’s seems to get too loosely gets used.

    Bill would it also be alright for me to place a link in this thread to go to Andalay web site and see what the members might think about this place as a source of purchase?

    Thanks

    SL
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,425 admin
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    SL,

    Not to worry... I have been where you are at and understand. We try to take things lightly here--because it is fun.

    Sure, a link regarding a question about a possible vendor is fine. I believe that they have been linked to before here.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • TnAndyTnAndy Solar Expert Posts: 249 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    if my system was producting lets say 300 watts of power, and everything in my house was turned off except for a tv and it was pulling 400 watts of power that would leave me using 100 watts from the electric company. Would this just cause the electric meter I have to slow down and only show at that time I am comsuming 100 watts of power.

    correct

    Maybe a better example of my question would be if nothing in my home was using any electric at all, and the solar system was producting 300 watts of power would the electric meter run backward.

    As BB said.....maybe......depends on the meter. Mine would, but it is a meter that is designed to back up if more power is generated on my side than is being used.


    If they use a second meter for anything, they probably pay something different for the solar production......you need to find out what that is. Like I said, in OUR case (TVA), it's a GOOD thing.....as we get 12 cents NET for each hour produced.

    But it could also be a BAD thing, in that they may only pay wholesale or "avoided" cost.....which could be as little as half the rate you pay......in which case, net metering would be better for you...in that you would at least save the cost you would have paid to them for your own production...( "penny saved is a penny earned".....of course, considering income taxes now, it's more like a penny saved is 2-3 pennies earned....ahahahaaa )
  • Still learningStill learning Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    Here is the website for Andalaysolar, see what you guys think.

    http://www.andalaysolar.com/cm/Home.html
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,419 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    I think you should read the threads on the expected pros and cons of enphase inverters.

    I don't see anything particularly revolutionary or new in their set up. I didn't see what kind of Pv panels they use, nor a representative installed price or price per ac watt.

    Tony
  • Still learningStill learning Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    I e-mailed the company, and here is what they said about the panels.

    The Andalay panels themselves are mono-crystalline 175 watters made by the largest solar provider to the U.S., Suntech.

    However, until I can get some real answers from my utility company I am not going to do anything, I sure would hate to purchase anything and find out I cannot connect to the grid. I talked with them again on Friday, to another person at the utility company and now they say I have to have a breaker box circuit located next to the meter base in case they would need to disconnect it from the utility. I tried to explain that the enphase inverts would not even function if they did not see the voltage from the grid, so if there was a electric disruption that they would not even be putting out any voltage to the grid. When I say the system would be connected to a detached garage, and would be feeding through a sub-panel, into the house, he said well then you will need to have another service drop and another meter on the detached garage. I think at this point it is time just to give up, so frustrating and confusing. I really think that at least my utility company does not know much about solar installs or, they really don't want to be bothered with it. Every answer I get from them, nothing is positive, and they seem to not want to cooperate with me or, they just don't know. Or maybe it's that I don't know which might be the problem on both end of the conversation.

    However still learning, just frustrated.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    a new service drop to the garage?:confused: they are full of it. most likely they don't want you to have solar and i believe the stupidity part does have a play in it to a small degree as they believe they will be shocked by your system with any grid problems and they still think your little system will put them out of business or a job.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,425 admin
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    The solar panel disconnect is from the "early days" of grid tied systems... Our local utility (PG&E) used to require a disconnect three+ years ago--now they do not.

    You could probably just get away with a disconnect near your meter that just cuts power to the garage. Worst case, they will cut the power to your garage during a power failure and you may have to wait for them to restore service (utility to remove lockout from your garage cutoff) after power has been restored to your area.

    In reality, they probably will never pull the disconnect (the solar array disconnect is supposed to be a favor to you--they threaten to pull the meter as a "safety measure" if the power is out and they are working on the lines in your area).

    Meeting the current UL safety requirements for GT Inverters seems to have satisfied our utility.

    Having an installer that has put in GT systems with your utility can be a help--if the installer has gone through this with the utility before by showing them other utilities which have accepted installed GT systems before and there have been no issues with power failures (or it is worth the trouble to the installer to convince the utility because others will hire them too).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,419 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    Find a local contractor who has dealt with this utility, and hire him as a consultant. Clearly either the utility rep doesn't have a clue, or somewhere there is a communication issue between everybody.

    Don't get discouraged. It may take a bit of work,, but you should be able to sort through this with a bit of diligence.

    Tony
  • Still learningStill learning Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    Just a little update on my process, which has not been much lately, just because of bad luck but I will get to bad luck thing in a minute.

    The good news, Sear did get my new refrigerator installed, and after monitoring it for about a week it is in specs, the old one had to have something not quite right with it. Matter of fact it is running less Kill A Watts than advertised. So I am pleased that my Kill O Watt meter caught this while it was still under warranty.

    Since my last post we had lots of rains for days, and then a big downpour I mean big and I live up on a hill and my basement flooded, so that keep me busy for the last few days. I don’t have flood insurance and never thought I would need it because of where I live, but yet it happened. The Plummer is going to have to do some major digging to get to the pipes around foundation and I might also have to take down the insulations that are on the basement walls. Since I do not have flood insurance this is all going to be coming out of pocket.

    I was ready to go forward and buy a 224 watt sharp panel and Enphase inverter from vanguard solar just to get me started but now I don’t know if I will have the extra cash now to do that.

    Here is their website, http://www.vanguardsolartechnologies.com/renewableenergy.html I was wondering if anyone here has heard of these people or has purchased anything from them.

    Thanks guys,
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    sorry for your troubles, but you aren't the only one this has happened to as it happened to me this year as well.
    now instead of plugging other businesses under the guise of "has anyone heard of" i suggest you just continue to save and in the meantime you can do the research as to who you may wish to go with in your purchase.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    Curious for an update on the OP's situation.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    "now instead of plugging other businesses under the guise of "has anyone heard of" i suggest you just continue to save and in the meantime you can do the research as to who you may wish to go with in your purchase. "


    - whether he is plugging a company or not I don't think asking about everyone's experience with another company is at all a bad thing. I would call that research. I for one would like to know if they are legitimate as I am shopping around right now for panels. Given that cost is the biggest consideration for most people discouraging talk about it sounds like a 5 year old yelling "get out of my sandbox if your not going to play my way"
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    gordo,
    we had many inquiries that were just free exposure for other companies and products to be plugged here. spam comes in many forms.
  • Still learningStill learning Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    I just thought I would post and say that I did get my work done on the basement, and they had to dig down basically below the basement walls and replace several pipes, in the front of the house and behind the house, was a costly mess and next spring I will need to get someone to haul me some top soil after all this settles over the winter. If you look up a couple of post you will see that my basement flooded, and not only did I have damage on the outside but the inside as well.

    So my solar project is still on hold until spring at this point.

    I did want to address that “plug a company, and spam issue”, because I so enjoy this forum and I do not want to cause any problem. I did not mean in any way to plug a company or it to be considered spam. It was in poor taste for me to post a link to any website that sells the same products as our host sells. I was and still am very excited over solar energy, and when I posted these companies and links, I was in a hurry to get started, and I had made my mind up that I wanted an Enphase system something I would start small and grow the system over time. With that being said, when I looked at our host web site, the Enphase inverters were not in stock and on back order so I started looking at other companies and wanted only input if someone had purchased products from them. But since I have spent money on home repairs that were not expected, I will have to wait until early spring before purchasing any equipment. Also, I do not live in sunny Florida, Arizona or California, where I live we have winter and I wanted to get something installed before it got too cool to work outside. So the push to get something quickly is not an issue anymore, and my intentions are to order my equipment from our host, early in the spring and if the Enphase inverters are still on backorder I would have the spring and summer to get everything installed.

    Once again I want to say that I am sorry to the host of this website and to the moderators and any member that I offended. From now on I know that I should only ask about products by name brand and not about a company.

    This site has huge amounts of information very interesting and great members, I want to stay a part of this community.
  • KamalaKamala Solar Expert Posts: 452 ✭✭
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    I wouldn't worry about it, Still Learning. This place is pretty forgiving. Host and moderators all. The flow of knowledge is the "prime directive."

    Good Luck!

    K
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Still learning says it all. Needing information

    thanks for the clarification that it wasn't your intent to spam in any way. as to purchasing i don't care who you purchase from, but i'm sure you will make our host very happy if you choose him after you've done your research on price and service. in other words, choose for the right reasons and not because you use this forum as there is no pressure here on who it is you purchase from.
    enough on this aspect. carry on.
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