Tell me about your solar

@israndy thanks for sharing this!

I just installed sense on my meter last week, after PG&E approved the interconnection of my photovoltaic system.

I installed 12 SunPower 72-cell (210-230W) modules with SolarBridge Pantheon P250HV microninverters on the roof of my home in Oakland myself (with a bit of help from friends). In total, my array is 2.7 kW DC.

I decided to make my own site drawings and take it to the building department to get it approved. They were happy to take my money for the permit, even if my drawings lacked the detail that normal installers include.

I used the IronRidge racking system, and worked with a friend to lay out the array, install the mounts, and install the rails. We installed most of the panels in one weekend. Another friend helped me install the remaining panels the following weekend. It took me one more weekend to connect the array to my panel, and then the city building inspector came the following week to approve. PG&E approved my interconnection four days later, and I could turn my array on!

I needed a monitoring system so I got Sense with Solar while I was completing the project, and I installed it at the same time that I turned on my solar array.

In the past week, I have been producing about 12-13 kWh each day, and my house uses 4-6 kWh each day. I am hoping to electrify some of my appliances over the next bit so I can better balance my solar production and electricity demand. I may add more solar panels to my roof if I exceed my solar production with the new electric appliances.

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DIY POINTS for you!

Do you have an EV? Would seem like a good excess output eater!

Or put up a sign and offer drive-by sunny-day charging, like a 21stC Lemonade Stand for adults, no?

Seriously though, feels like you are a prime PowerWall candidate. Did you notice Tesla is doing a discount due to the PG&E situation?

I should have made more of a stink that I had installed the panels by myself. Didn’t know there were DIY points on the line. I got the system used from someone doing an upgrade and another someone who never got around to doing their install. I used an online service to create the plans. Submitted my permit, purchased the parts at HomeDepot to wire it all together, sweat thru August on the roof mounting and stringing everything.

I REALLY thought I was gonna have to pull it all down but the city inspector had ZERO issues with my install. I was so concerned after meeting a professional solar installer buying wire himself who told me I had to get a $500 tool that imprints on the ground wire where I spliced the solid core to the stranded run going back to the breaker panel. Perhaps they hold their feet to the fire cause they are more likely to try and cut corners.


I got this photo from him of how my jbox SHOULD look

I have been looking into options to add battery to my system, but I think my original plan is still the best. Use the two electric cars I have to capture all the extra solar over what I use during the day. Didn’t keep me from sending 500 kWh to the grid in the first month the system was live.

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Lake Mary FL - 11.7 kW with 36 Panasonic 325s, Enphase IQ7x Micro Inverters. Net metering with Duke Energy as a tier 1 system. Got my PTO on September 26, 2019. My best production day so far is 62.881kWh on Sept 27th.

That big open roof area is the north side of the house…

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It certainly does seem that in the “now I have excess solar” ==> EV vs PowerWall equation that EV should come first … if it means deprecating a gas vehicle.

Then there’s …

I suppose in that regard you would start with converting a gas hot water tank to electric (hybrid if possible).

Seeing the way they do it in Switzerland & Germany (and Japan with cogen systems) I think the U.S. has a long way to go. Hopefully there will be some leapfrogging!

[Note: This is the end of 2015!]

Meanwhile there are long distance high-voltage DC grid interconnects that approach 95% efficiency, so there’s also that to consider. Anybody who thinks the “What should I do now with energy?” question is a simple one doesn’t have all the variables.

@ixu Thanks for your comments and the link you shared. Europe is definitely ahead on home energy use. I’m not a huge fan of biofuels, and I would actually prefer a geothermal system that used heat pump techology to heat/cool my house and heat water as well. Something like this is available through Dandelion Energy, but they are limited to the East Coast for now. https://dandelionenergy.com/

I don’t have an EV yet, but I am planning to get one in a few years (Tesla Model Y!).

I currently have gas heating, hot water, oven, and stove in my house, which is 1500 square feet and was built about 100 years ago. I plan to replace the inefficient gas furnace with a heat pump central air conditioning unit. The oven and stove will be replaced by an induction range as well.

For water heating, there are a few of options, and I’m trying to figure it out. The cheapest and easiest would be install a heat pump electric water heater, which my utility would give me a rebate for and could reuse my existing plumbing. I could also install a solar water heating system, but that would be more expensive and complicated. However, solar water heating would leave some solar PV capacity for the other appliances and my future EV.

Cypress, Texas
System Size: 8.37 kw
Inverter Type: APSystem YC600
Grid Type: 240V Single-phase
Module type: POLY
27 Panels

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ken2: I’m up here in delightful Deland also contemplating solar. Who did your install and did you put in batteries?

@ejcobb: We go to Deland quite one often, nice place. We used Gulf Electrical Services. They were one of many that responded to my EnergySage request. Highly recommend them.

No batteries yet, that’s probably next with a possible generator.

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We have an 11.97kW DC array with 38x REC315NP Modules with a SolarEdge 10kW Inverter. Our setup is a line side tap with a single meter reflashed for net metering. Our Grid supplier is Ameren IL.

Late summer the system avg. about 66.38kWh per day. During the fall the avg is 61.11kWh. The highest number we’ve seen to date was 72.51kWh production in one day and the lowest on a cloudy day was 11.02kWh. Our avg. daily usage is about 28.41kWh. We do have two EVs.

We do plan on getting a couple of LG Chem’s or Powerwalls in a couple of years. But overall happy with the array.

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Neat setup. I assume you have no excess given the two EVs.

Looking at your roof I realize I’d never contemplated the data comparison potential for the various clusters of an array (S, SE, SW?). Are you able to assess that?

Something that might be handy moving forward is if submissions here could have a directional calibration (which way’s North?)

Clearwater, FL - 9.1 kW with 27 Silfab SLA-M300 with Enphase IQ7 Micron Inverters. Net Metering with Duke Energy. I opted not to add batteries due to their cost. My system has been active since May of this year and im saving over $200 a month on my power bill.

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The modules are facing south. So the rear is North. Left is West. Right is East.

East A array (Far right of the garage in the image above.) gets early morning daylight to wake the inverter as early as possible. West A array gets the remaining light before complete sunset.

So from 6:45AM to about 7:30AM East A array gets most of the light. 8AM the main array South A and South West A start to get light. At about 12:45PM on a clear day. All arrays get light. At about 5PM South A & B and West A stay active and East A gets less light. At around 6~7PM West A is facing the sunset to keep the inverter up as long as possible.

In the Solaredge monitoring portal it shows how much each array is doing.

Early Morning.

Middle of the day.

Just before sunset.

As for return for grid amount is varies from 6~15kWh. Depends if my wife and I are charging on the same day. Or if I am working in the shop. But usually something gets sent back to the grid. And that amount usually covers our night usage. Unless we have a full house over the holidays.

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En mi caso yo tengo un inversor aims de 12k dicho inversor tiene 12 paneles solares de 365w que cargan 24 baterías troyan 6V de 225 ah en 3 bancos de 8 baterias a 48V puestos en paralelo.
En la actualidad compré el sense solar pero las lecturas de producción solar no eran precisas. Me hubiese gustado mucho sacarle provecho.:sob:

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I’m in Charlotte, NC and I have a 18.9kw system comprised of 60 CertainTeed panels and a pair of SolarEdge investors. System was just activated on New Year’s Eve.

I have a gas generator that I’ve owned for quite a while. Batteries don’t make financial sense for me just yet.

I bought and installed Sense to help me get the most of the solar panels and save on my electrical usage.

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Do you have a rough idea of your electrical consumption? 18.9kW should easily be able to top 100kWh on a single sunny summer day.

We are a family of 6, and the system is sized to meet about 90% of our consumption. I also work from home so there is almost always someone here unless we are out of town. I have taken a lot of steps (LED bulbs, smart switches, timers, Sense, etc…) to reduce our usage since the system was sized so I’m looking forward to seeing what the summer will be like.

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18.9 KW system, that is huge! What is your big consumers? Even with 4 kids, Tesla and pool I think we would still be under that on a consumption side.

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I’m not sure what the biggest drivers are - yet. I wish I had installed Sense a year ago prior to looking into Solar, then I would have a better idea. I was on an equal payment plan with the power company, and my bill was $280 a month. If I had to guess, I think the biggest culprit is going to be my AC units.

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