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Old 08-25-2017, 01:57 PM   #1
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Grid tied solar with net metering?

I am wanting to do a large solar setup on my bus then this hits me...

Indiana does net metering so if you produce more electric (via solar ir wind) than you use your meter will go backwards thus giving you credit. My bus will spend probably 80% of its life sitting in my driveway so I could potentially install a large plug to make it grid-tied while the stationary. Does anybody have any experience with this or thoughts?

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Old 08-25-2017, 02:06 PM   #2
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Set it up on land or your roof, you'll need electrical/building permits, also the tax breaks and financing approvals are not creative.

Just design it so can later be moved to the bus.

I doubt a mainstream outfit like Solar City will touch it, likely need to DIY, subcontract specialist bits like the licensed electrical.
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Old 08-25-2017, 03:33 PM   #3
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The electrical part is very simple. If you have an old style disk meter it will just slow down or turn backward.
I use these model with good result
eBay item number:
112435499664


the rebates are not really worth it if you need to buy expensive solar panels thru an expensive contractor.


later J
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Old 08-25-2017, 03:45 PM   #4
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the rebates are not really worth it if you need to buy expensive solar panels thru an expensive contractor.


later J
I guess that depends on where you are.

In Washington State, if you install gear that is made in Washington, the incentives have been quite generous.

If you are able to install panels, charge controllers and inverters that are made by a WA company you can get good rebates AND net metering rates of up to $0.80/Hwh. Not bad when the "retail" rate for residential power is $0.097/Kwh.
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Old 08-25-2017, 03:47 PM   #5
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Where I live I'm paying $ .169/kwh and that's because I'm an old hippie and I'm buying 100% wind from a 3rd party. If I signed up for BG&E for whatever they wanted to sell me from a coal or a nuke plant I'd be paying 9 cents and change.

If you have an old-style disk meter AND you have a spare 1000W of solar lying around unused AND you bought that inverter AND you pumped a full kilowatt back into the grid, you'd be saving yourself like 9 or 17 cents or something. And that's because you're essentially getting paid retail by avoiding buying at retail. If you do it right and get a contractor to cover your roof with panels and install the system and put in the bidirectional meter the utility wants you to you get to sell it back to the utility at wholesale prices - "full avoided cost" or some such. It's set up so that they get their normal profit on the kwh that you generated for them. It's a racket, I tell ya.

Really much better to put money in the hundreds or thousands into energy efficiency or avoidance technology - stuff like tankless on-demand hot water or LED lights. Leave the solar roof stuff to the old hippies.
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:42 PM   #6
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I too have explored schemes for installing solar at home.. on the bus.. so that I could benefit from the panels every day, yet also take them on the road with me when we go camping.

Though I haven't tried to pitch the idea to any building inspector, I get the idea that they're really not the type to be creative nor innovative. (I hope my generalizations don't hurt any feelings!) They want to see things by the book, the tried-and-true way, and based on this I expect a permit would not be issued for a system in which the panels, and maybe the inverter too, are designed to be disconnectable. Note that if you were to have the grid-tie inverter in the bus it would have to be the type that supports islanding. If not, it would not give any output when you unplugged the bus from the grid!

So far as rebates are concerned, I expect those too will not embrace the idea of having panels installed on a "mobile rack" aka bus.

I've finally come around to the conclusion that if I do anything with solar, it'll be purely because I want it and I'm paying for it fully from my own pocket. It won't be grid-tied, either. The closest I'd get is to re-arrange some part of my home systems so they automatically transfer to solar when available and to grid when solar is inadequate (or when the solar has gone for a road trip). A system designed this way could be framed as a "solar-fueled portable generator backup" for the permit application and installed/connected to the house as per normal generator backup protocol. That, I think, would have relatively little trouble earning a building permit.
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:01 PM   #7
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Yes I was not suggesting telling anyone about the portability option.

Bureaucrats need to see everything in order, nothing out of the ordinary.

After everything's in and working, long as it's yours outright no liens etc, can break it down and install on the bus.

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Old 08-25-2017, 05:54 PM   #8
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Yeah from what I've seen you get inspected once initially and then they leave you alone unless you have a tattle-tale neighbor or something...
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Old 08-28-2017, 05:20 PM   #9
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Yeah from what I've seen you get inspected once initially and then they leave you alone unless you have a tattle-tale neighbor or something...
Unless the neighbor is as smart as you are, they probably won't tumble to the fact that taking panels off the roof is breaking a contract, or sticking it to the Man, or whatnot.

I still think that the amount of solar that we need/want/can fit onto a bus roof isn't enough to make a dent one way or the other in your utility bill. However, if your bus has solar capacity installed, and it's parked beside your house, and the shore power is plugged in, ain't nobody can tell whether or not you're running off of solar electrons or purchased electrons. The illegal part is when your meter starts spinning backwards, but that's only the old style analog meters. They're a dying breed.
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Old 08-28-2017, 05:39 PM   #10
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unfortunately many power compoanies arew finding loopholes in the laws and getting rid of net-metering... they start raising the "transmission fees" and lowering the Kwh in areas that are solar-rich. so they dont have to pay back anything!.
-Christopher
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