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Old 10-14-2019, 05:28 AM
 
Location: Maryland
2,279 posts, read 833,892 times
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I read an article that sounded suspicious, that many home owners in CA with residential solar we’re discovering that their solar system quit working when the power grid went down. I searched on that and it looks like that can be the case, depending on the type of installation one has. I wonder how many have been stung by this?

https://www.intermtnwindandsolar.com...-power-outage/
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:34 AM
 
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That’s why before getting solar you need to also plan to get battery storage and a transfer switch - if legal in one’s state.

Some people figure that they can run on pure solar but that’s a bad idea. A passing cloud and suddenly your power drops.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:00 AM
 
41,049 posts, read 42,779,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LesLucid View Post
I read an article that sounded suspicious, that many home owners in CA with residential solar we’re discovering that their solar system quit working when the power grid went down.

Most installations are grid tied to reduce costs, also called net metering. When you are not using power it goes onto the grid and the meter goes backwards, you can then draw on that power when you need it. There are costs associated with net metering such as connection fees etc.


Otherwise you need battery storage which can easily double the cost of the solar install.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:56 AM
 
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Of course, there must be batteries. Cloudy days are even in California.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:23 AM
 
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My neighbor just installed solar and told me he decided not to get a battery backup because it was an extra $10K. I think that's a smart decision, since we don't have power outages often enough to justify spending $10K to keep your own lights on.

If you want backup power, you can install a whole-house battery backup WITHOUT solar panels. They are two totally different things. Solar installation is just to "be green" and to lower your power bill (with a huge initial investment). Our family of 4 is already on 100% green power, and our bill is only $75/month. Our ROI on solar would be a measely 1.7%, so we might as well just put the money in the bank. I'm getting 2% on a savings account right now. Our power bill would have to triple, we'd have to be SURE to stay in the house for 20 years, the system would have to be maintenence-free for that entire time, and even then I'd only be getting maybe 6% on the investment.

Unless you have some reason you REALLY want to get into the power-generating business, your rates are sky-high, and/or you use a TON of power, most people are getting hornswaggled by solar installers.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wac_432 View Post

If you want backup power, you can install a whole-house battery backup WITHOUT solar panels.

I have a small UPS for my modem, router and Ooma device for short outages. If I had unlimited budget a large battery storage system complimented with gas generator to charge it would be quite nice.



With limited budget large portable generator with interlock on the panel.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:22 AM
 
Location: The Northern Field
2,138 posts, read 596,559 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LesLucid View Post
I read an article that sounded suspicious, that many home owners in CA with residential solar we’re discovering that their solar system quit working when the power grid went down. I searched on that and it looks like that can be the case, depending on the type of installation one has. I wonder how many have been stung by this?

https://www.intermtnwindandsolar.com...-power-outage/
Their solar systems did not quit working.

The grid quit working, and their solar systems are a part of the grid. The circuit of which the private solar array is a part goes down. And what happens when an electrical circuit is broken? (seriously, this is 9th-grade physics lab stuff)

The point of residential solar systems is generally to reduce reliance upon fossil fuels and the save money. Anyone acquiring solar panels solely linked to the grid, and intending them as a backup source, is... well, they're doing it wrong.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Maryland
2,279 posts, read 833,892 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2x3x29x41 View Post
Their solar systems did not quit working.

The grid quit working, and their solar systems are a part of the grid. The circuit of which the private solar array is a part goes down. And what happens when an electrical circuit is broken? (seriously, this is 9th-grade physics lab stuff)

The point of residential solar systems is generally to reduce reliance upon fossil fuels and the save money. Anyone acquiring solar panels solely linked to the grid, and intending them as a backup source, is... well, they're doing it wrong.
You’re picking at words, IMO. If it quits doing its intended purpose, that’s a failure in my book, regardless of the reason. Granted, as explained in the article, in this case it is designed into grid connected systems to protect electrical utility workers who would assume they’re working on a grid without power, which would not be the case if grid connected systems were allowed to feed power into the grid.

So it works as intended, shutting down when the grid fails.

It also fails to provide the homeowner with power when most needed when it quits working.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:13 PM
 
11,695 posts, read 8,673,901 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LesLucid View Post
I read an article that sounded suspicious, that many home owners in CA with residential solar we’re discovering that their solar system quit working when the power grid went down. I searched on that and it looks like that can be the case, depending on the type of installation one has. I wonder how many have been stung by this?

https://www.intermtnwindandsolar.com...-power-outage/
I remember this being the case many years ago since solar started, what I heard was that if the power goes out since your solar is connected to the grid (such as getting paid if you produce extra) that it shuts down in case of a power outtage so that it does not electorcute any of the others on your same grid. I forget the specifics but that was the main gist.

People don't usually get solar for outages, it's to save money on electricity, unless you are fully off grid.
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:49 AM
 
41,049 posts, read 42,779,258 times
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Originally Posted by LifeIsGood01 View Post
I....(such as getting paid if you produce extra) ...

If you are being paid for over production it should be no more that the lowest wholesale cost to the utility and capped somewhere around 5 to 10 percent of your usage.
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