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Finally joined the photon-capturing club!

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Zaxxon, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. Zaxxon

    Zaxxon Member

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    No Tesla (yet), but I've now got the other half of the 'driving on sunlight' setup covered. I'm only 3 days post-energizing, but watching the power company meter run backwards hasn't gotten old yet. :cool:
     
  2. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    AWESOME!! WELCOME!! Solar is the more cost-effective half anyway... make more sense to do it first :biggrin:
     
  3. Zaxxon

    Zaxxon Member

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  4. jkliu47

    jkliu47 Member

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    Yeah watching that meter run backwards is a kick :)
    My question is - since my utility just digitized my house meter to digital this year, what happens when the digits get rolled back to zero - will the meter show negative numbers? :confused:
     
  5. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Usually there are two numbers. Digital meters track EXPORTS and IMPORTS so your meter will no longer "run backwards". This also enables the utility to pay one rate for exports and charger another for imports... net-metering is awesome but unsustainable...
     
  6. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

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    when my meter runs in reverse past zero, it displays 99999, 99998, etc
     
  7. Zaxxon

    Zaxxon Member

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    But how do they know whether you were net negative or just REALLY power-hungry? :)
     
  8. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Digital or Analog? I had an old electro-mechanical meter that spun backwards too... until my utility found my solar panels...:rolleyes:
     
  9. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

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    They tried putting a digital meter on mine a couple of months ago when I did my install. Problem is that it would NOT run backwards. The tech installer said it was not "smart enough". So they tried another and it too was not smart enough. So they put in an old analog meter. Now they have to come to my house monthly to read my meters manually. I have been told they will have smart meters by the end of the year. For now, I am just enjoying watching the wheel with the little black line scrolling the numbers backwards!
     
  10. Electricfan

    Electricfan Member

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    Sorry to be so nosey, but what happened when your utility found your solar panels??
     
  11. Zaxxon

    Zaxxon Member

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    Yeah, I'm curious, too. Stealth grid-tied panels seem like a huge liability issue to me.
     
  12. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    #12 nwdiver, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
    Well it's West TX... you know, the wild west, they don't even do electrical inspections! :biggrin: They had just replaced the analog meter with a "smart" meter that wasn't bidirectional so when the inverter tried to "spin" the digital meter backwards it sent an error code. The utility send a tech out to investigate. The story I got from my roommate was amusing... the guy knocked on the front door and said, "You know you guy got solar panels back here?" So they just had us fill out an inter-connect, installed a bi-directional meter and that was that.

    The REALLY funny part came a few months later when we switched to a different RSP; They didn't reset the EXPORTs and the house had already exported ~7000kWh... they credited us for ALL the exports... not just the ones for 1st month so 1 month into our new contract we had a $600 credit on our bill. Utilities are still trying to figure out this "solar thing"...
     
  13. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

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    I should also add that a newer "smart net meter" had to be installed by utility company. Doesn't matter if I was really power-hungry or not. All the utility cares about is net. There a separate monitoring system to determine our generation, but that "revenue-grade" separate meter is installed for the purpose of SREC calculation (which we can sell as clean energy credits)
     
  14. slipdrive

    slipdrive Member

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    In addition to the smart digital meter on the grid side, my utility XCEL also puts a "production" meter in the feed-in line from the solar inverters to the main panel. They count every kwH as "their" greeniness, as well as pay a solar credit of .05/kwh produced. I imagine every interconnect agreement is different utility to utility. XCEL allows credits to roll year to year instead of paying me a few pennies for the excess. It works nicely to get full retail value on an annual basis, and when production varies year to year.
     
  15. Electricfan

    Electricfan Member

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    Continuing my nosey mode, could you share what brand of solar panels you used, and what type of inverters? I'm getting a system with microinverters on each panel. Interested if anybody has opinions on that type of system, good or bad.
     
  16. Zaxxon

    Zaxxon Member

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    I went with SolarWorld 280W panels running on Enphase M250 microinverters. It's working out well so far. Since panels will rarely produce their nameplate capacity, a lower-powered inverter is enough. I've seen minimal clipping thus far.
     
  17. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    True. My little cooperative put a high-end digital meter on our installation, but their tech has to come on the last day of the month to write down the delivered / received numbers by hand -- they aren't capable of handling the new meters.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Since you're on PVOutput, why not join the Tesla Owners & Friends team? Tesla Owners & Friends

    It doesn't cost anything and gives us a little bit of visibility.
     
  18. Zaxxon

    Zaxxon Member

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    Just joined. I see there was only one member prior, though.

    The meter thing bugs me, too--my new meter is capable of sending me consumption data, but my power co won't enable that feature for me.
     
  19. Electricfan

    Electricfan Member

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    I wonder about the roof angle and power from the panel - obviously the steeper the roof the more the panel is angled. So what impact does this have on the panel's efficiency? Is there any advantage in raising the panels to make them face the sun more squarely?
     
  20. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    The optimum angle for your array is usually the latitude you're at... so for Houston it's ~30 degrees... but WHEN you make power can be more important than HOW MUCH. You probably need more power in the summer so a shallower angle might be more valuable even if your annual generation is less.
     

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