The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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Gregski
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

those concerned with back feeding after hours, (back feeding the way I understand it means, the Inverter actually sucks electricity from the wall instead of pushing it in, if it happens it's a small amount usually to have it's LED stay on or something like that, and no I am not saying this inverter does that, I am just trying to get ahead of this myth) can actually set a schedule and have the Smart Plug disconnect the Inverter from the grid at a set schedule, for example

8:00 PM = Turn Off

6:00 AM = Turn On

Emporia Schedule.jpg
Emporia Schedule Custom.jpg
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Gregski
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

this next option blew my mind, the Emporia smart plug is not only integrated with my electrical company ie SMUD but it also knows my geographical location and therefor can operate based on ... [wait for it] the Sun Cycle

so we can once again power on the Inverter but this time based on Sunrise (and + or - 1 hour either way for compensation)
Emporia Schedule Sunrise.jpg

and turn it off based on the Sunset (and + or - 1 hour either way for compensation)

Emporia Schedule Sunset.jpg
Emporia Schedule Sun Cycle.jpg
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

thought I share how I mange the DC input side, which appears to be a pricier solution than the AC side

I'm pretty sure it's a knock off of the Victron Energy SmartShunt 500 amp Battery Monitor (Bluetooth) which costs $130, so when I saw this one for $60 bucks I snagged it, and as soon as I did the price is now $80

for me the selling point was don't have to get off your butt to check the DC side input feature as it has Bluetooth, and some data logging, I would prefer the WiFi capability of the Victron with proper logging but I could not bring myself to spend more on a DC Monitor than the Inverter (so I will probably get both eventually, lol)
DC Monitors.jpg
Seesii.jpg
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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for me this screen is a bit too cluttered and I would be more than happy with their old much simpler display (shown directly below), however it does not have Bluetooth nor Wifi
OLD DISPLAY DESIGN (No Bluetooth though) NEW DISPLAY DESIGN (with Bluetooth)
51+5BXT6NaL._AC_SL1000_.jpg
Display Close Up 60.jpg


here is that Junctek app running on my phone, showing actual data in real time, note the bonus temp feature, it comes with a little metal probe which I affixed to the top on my inverter, this allows me to monitor the inverter temp remotely
DC Bluetooth Monitor.jpg
yes I am currently deploying the belt and suspenders approach by running both the dinky 150A $15 DC meter and the less dinky 400A $60 dollar one with Bluetooth, hey I'm having fun and I haven't burned the concrete patio down yet

IMG_6120.JPG

IMG_6116.JPG
Note I'm not even using the hard wired digital display monitor, which I think they could save themselves a few bucks and offer it as an optional add on, and not part of the base kit (shunt & brain module)
IMG_6122.JPG
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

so lets play agree or disagree

You know how back in the day we useta have iPods and store music on them, and then that went to the cloud, and then at work your files went to the cloud, and then came Google drive and now your family pics are in the cloud, well...

that's how I see energy, arguably the most expensive part of a solar system is the batteries, random Googling shows 200 ah 12 volt batteries can go for $450 bones, so you need at least two of those for a 24 volt system, and if you want to last through the night while surfing you know what, you might as well get four of them and run them in a parallel universe, and I can't even imagine what the Great Power Wall of Tesla goes for

so that's why I dig these cheap throw away grid tie inverters, they make perfect sense in inefficient homesteads where your solar production will never exceed your [ahem] families consumption, where the grid is essentially your energy cloud

why store energy on batteries in your garage with a shelf life of 3 to 5 years, why not let the energy company store the energy for you? I live in the land of complications ie California and our electric bill is tiered, it is redunculous so as long as I am skimming off the top during super peak, on peak, peak hours I am just fine, I don't need power at night, I need to supplement while the windows are open and the AC is on [I'm looking at you my teenagers]
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

rocket surgery.jpg

shown here is the perfect(ish) flat summer angle 20° or close to that panels facing South (mind you in the northern globalsphere)
IMG_6088.JPG

as seen below this is just under $600 bucks (and growing, I really want to max out this little chep-O inverter) in it's current setup it produces 3 kWh per day (summers of 2022)
IMG_6136.JPG

below we have eight 100w panels for a total of 800 watts at the minute, total cost around $800 bones so far
IMG_8634.JPG
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

I shared a great deal on the cheap inverter when I saw one and now I want to do the same for a solar panel, again I am not associated with this Southern California company called Newpowa in any way, however these prices are the best I have seen in the last 2 years.

Also I realize the Polycrystaline (blueish) solar panels are the older technology, but I have four of them and they sometimes out perform my Monos sucking the sun out of the sky at up to 80% efficiency and for $72 bucks they are a steal plus free shipping directly from this company.

Note I believe 90% of all cheap 100w or 200w solar panels that we can get on AMAZON are made by the exact same factory and then shipped off to a bunch of resellers and rebranded, you know the deal.


100W 12V POLYCRYSTALLINE SOLAR PANEL


Newpowa 100w.jpg
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

the incoherent ramblings continue...


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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

I just came across this video completely by accident and this part of it totally summarizes getting Solar in California (section not political despite the title)


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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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super video on wire sizes


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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

did that guy really just put out yet another video, and does he even know how Romanian Numberals work?

the one where I tell you what you already know about solar cells, solar modules, solar panels, and solar arrays:

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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by usus »

muehlpower wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:14 pm There are now hybrid inverters that combine both. The solax x3 hybrid devices I use have DC connections for the battery and PV generator. One AC connection for the grid and one for important electrical equipment. The battery is charged by solar power without DC-AC-DC conversion. In the event of a power failure, the important devices remain live. In this case, the solar energy is also used for charging or for direct consumption. An island operation is created. A self-consumption-optimized operation can be set, which means that the PV and battery are used first and the rest is drawn from the grid. PV surplus is fed into the grid, if you want.

I don't know if that's profitable in America, since the electricity costs less than half and I don't know whether grid operators pay for the electricity fed into the grid. In Germany we get up to 14 cents per kWh.

I use two of the 15 kWp versions together with a 17.4 kWh battery and 33kWp PV modules.
Both inverters are connected to same battery?
Is a commercial battery or DIY?
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by remy_martian »

Gregski wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 11:36 pm those concerned with back feeding after hours, (back feeding the way I understand it means, the Inverter actually sucks electricity from the wall instead of pushing it in, if it happens it's a small amount usually to have it's LED stay on or something like that
No

"Backfeeding" means your "grid tie" inverter is recklessly powering the transformer on the street, stepping up your voltage to 6kV.

Powerline workers can get killed by such contraptions (especially if you have it on a timer 🤦‍♂️), which is why it's illegal to grid tie anything without the utility's permission. A felony in some states.
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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remy_martian wrote: Wed Sep 14, 2022 8:04 pm No

"Backfeeding" means your "grid tie" inverter is recklessly powering the transformer on the street, stepping up your voltage to 6kV.

Powerline workers can get killed by such contraptions (especially if you have it on a timer 🤦‍♂️), which is why it's illegal to grid tie anything without the utility's permission. A felony in some states.
negative, please don't comment if you don't have personal experience with this particular inverter, these inverters have anti islanding protection built in, I showed the schedule functionality of the smart plug as a belt and suspenders additional layer of protection for those who are extra paranoid or simply want more control over their connection

back feeding is the flow of electric power in the direction reverse to that of the generally understood or typical flow of power it is when a solar panel tries to act as an LED ie pull energy from your battery pack instead of feed it, in our case the inverter, that's what the smart plug is there for, but again no one has ever seen this behavior with this inverter, I was just trying to get ahead of Internet myths
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

holy cow that's a first

SMUD = Sacramento Municipal Utility District aka my electric company

the green stuff represents my little $1k system sending energy back to the grid

I also just noticed my monthly electrical bill went down from $158 per month down to $109
Energy to SMUD.jpg

SMUD new bill.jpg
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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I know that sounds too good to be true so here is an update in the spirit of full disclosure

1. We became empty nesters, for those of you not familiar with the term it means we are of age where our kids no longer live with us, more specifically both knuckleheads are in college at this time, so not quite living on their own full time yet, but at universities

2. Since we went down from a family of 4 down to a family of 2 we also powered off the extra refrigerator in the garage (a common thing to do here in the Independent States of America in an effort to support the big box stores and keep the tradition of freezer burn alive)
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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on this episode of First World Problems (FWPs) we talk about what can The Greg do to not overproduce energy between the hours of 11:00 am and 3:00 pm sending it back to the grid, but selfishly keep it for himself.
  • Option 1. Simply rotate the current South facing solar panel array and point it more South West. Unfortunately that is not a viable option for The Greg since there is a friggen big tree in the way!
  • Option 2. Remove some of the solar panels from the Solar Array currently pointed South and point them West in a second Solar Array (this will require another Inverter) this will reduce the current over production and increase the late afternoon one
  • Option 3. Buy a "smart" second Inverter with something called a limiter sensor (this current shunt wraps around your mains power in your electrical panel and shuts down the Inverter when it senses the power is going to the grid instead of coming in to your house) this will only solve the first half of our problem
DISCLAIMER: Some homes still only have old one directional electric power meters, meaning they are too dumb to tell if you are using electricity or producing it, and they will charge you extra money for producing electricity and sending it back to the grid!

Move Production.jpg
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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Because electricity costs must be incomprehensible in the State of California (it's in our Constitution, look it up) we do not pay a flat rate per hour, but it varies from Peak, Off-Peak, Post-Peak, Mid-Peak, Peak-Peak, Off-Mid-Peak, Mid-Peak-Off-Peak, you get the idea, lol

this is why I rather produce less during the Off-Peak aka Free green time frame and more during the orange (pronounced: expensive) time frame

SMUD Costs.jpg
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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Not too bad of a result for an experiment! Yeah definitely going to be a battle optimizing panel angle to match peak cost/use time. Mostly because the sun won't be in the same place at the same time every day. You should write your local astronomer about that!

I'll no longer wonder where you get all your free time, lol. My 3 and 6 year olds have derailed ALL my hobby projects, not just my electric ones. Two months ago the then 2 year old dumped a quart of gear oil on me as I was changing the rear gears on my Firebird so I walked away from it, and yesterday I just put it back together, d'oh! Need to get two SMD resistors changed out on my Yaris control board and I'll be able to continue down playing with using it as a battery charger.
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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TheSilverBuick wrote: Mon Sep 19, 2022 3:43 pm Not too bad of a result for an experiment! Yeah definitely going to be a battle optimizing panel angle to match peak cost/use time. Mostly because the sun won't be in the same place at the same time every day. You should write your local astronomer about that!

I'll no longer wonder where you get all your free time, lol. My 3 and 6 year olds have derailed ALL my hobby projects, not just my electric ones. Two months ago the then 2 year old dumped a quart of gear oil on me as I was changing the rear gears on my Firebird so I walked away from it, and yesterday I just put it back together, d'oh! Need to get two SMD resistors changed out on my Yaris control board and I'll be able to continue down playing with using it as a battery charger.
Yard.PNG
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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lol!
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

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so I'm having fun with this project and have tried a number of different configurations, here I have it setup as three different systems

1. Solar East (four 100 watt panels and one 12v inverter)
2. Solar South (four 100 watt panels and one 24v inverter)
3. Solar West (four 100 watt panels and one 36v inverter)

total expenditure about $1,500 bones

all three systems plugged in to three different wall circuits (preferably GFI protected) using $10 dollar Smart Plugs from Emporia

Emporia East South West.jpg
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

Full Disclosure, I did not need 3 inverters I only got them for science please see a thread called: Grid Tie Inverters - What's the difference?

IMG_5912 L.jpg
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Re: The Greg's Grid Tie Solar Project

Post by Gregski »

so let's talk about what's wrong with using the Emporia Smart Plugs to monitor your Solar system:

Smart Plugs Problem.jpg

Emporia 2.jpg
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