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Posted by stevey on March 10, 2011, 9:36 am
 
Hi JudyS
If your choice on Enhase is based on shady conditions then the premium
you pay
on a 4.5 KW (about $300 over a conventional module and grid-tie
inverter plus the
cost of automatic transfer switch to disconnect your house from the
grid when it is
down  ) is justified.  Since Enphase implies AC grid connect.
Good Luck.



Posted by Randy on March 14, 2011, 12:37 am
 


Out of curiosity i did a little math.
To get close to 4000 Watts a person would have to buy about 21 Enphase
inverters (perhaps 22.)
At Northern Arizona Wind and Sun they cost $27.50 a piece for a cost
without shipping: $777.50
They list a Xantrex GT Series 4000 Watt Grid Tie Inverter for $542.50
Yes you would need a combiner box and a few other details but I believe
the enphase would be more economical in a smaller system.
Hope this helps
 Randy



Posted by Chris on March 16, 2011, 4:58 pm
 Hey Judy,

Sorry to take so long to reply to your question. In regards to adding
a battery backup, you should check out my blog post on solar power for
homes:

http://thesolarpowerexpert.com/solar-power-for-homes/

I've got a flow chart/diagram of how to wire it all up. Your idea is a
good one and implementing a battery backup with a grid-tied inverter
is the best way to take financial advantage of recent net metering
laws. It's also handy for when the grid goes down, as you mentioned.

If you are handy with electronics (or know someone else who is) you
should check out the free charge controller:

http://www.freechargecontroller.org

In addition to functioning as a charge controller, it has plenty of
extra I/O to allow you to implement exactly what you want to do in
terms of an economical way to switch your home between battery power
and grid power.

Cheers!

Chris Troutner
http://www.thesolarpowerexpert.com




Posted by Randy on March 17, 2011, 2:26 am
 
Hey Judy,

Sorry to take so long to reply to your question. In regards to adding
a battery backup, you should check out my blog post on solar power for
homes:

http://thesolarpowerexpert.com/solar-power-for-homes/

I've got a flow chart/diagram of how to wire it all up. Your idea is a
good one and implementing a battery backup with a grid-tied inverter
is the best way to take financial advantage of recent net metering
laws. It's also handy for when the grid goes down, as you mentioned.

If you are handy with electronics (or know someone else who is) you
should check out the free charge controller:

http://www.freechargecontroller.org

In addition to functioning as a charge controller, it has plenty of
extra I/O to allow you to implement exactly what you want to do in
terms of an economical way to switch your home between battery power
and grid power.

Cheers!

Chris Troutner
http://www.thesolarpowerexpert.com



Essentially The Outback GFX or Xantrax XW system.
All transfer switches built in with all UL and NEC required disconnects
during power outages for linemen safety. No fancy designs, just have a
standard electrician wire them up and you're good to go.
Both Zantrax and Outback have plenty of I/O.
I do believe plans may be free but to build can take time and money.
Sorry,am I wrong to be skeptical?
Or are we just disconnecting manually from the grid and having the Enphase
system run while trying to sell to the generator?
Perhaps I am missing something, it wouldn't be the first time.
Any way, if a problem crops up and your free charge controller overheats and
catches fire, was it UL listed or by some other testing company?
Your insurance company would like to know.
Any way The major companies go to extreme efforts to design and test
equipment so that linemen, consumers and all involved are kept absolutely
safe.
Its worth the money.
And truly, solar rarely saves you money till you have made it past R.O.I.
Companies that I have dealt with that can help you with any questions and
equipment that I would trust with my home are:
http://www.sunelec.com/  ....yes their prices are real and equipment first
rate.
http://www.solar-electric.com/  Good people, fast service, low shipping cost.
http://www.altestore.com/store/   Has everything, little pricier but good
store.
And wholesale solar, affordable solar, Infingy. There are other fine
retailers but these people have done well for me.
They all have information on the tried and true systems and their pluses and
minuses and are happy to talk with customers.
Randy (not an expert, just cautious)



Posted by Chris on March 18, 2011, 3:47 pm
 You're absolutely correct to be skeptical. The Free Charge Controller
is definitely an experimental set-up. That's why I said she should
only look into it if she's handy with electronics. I whole heartily
recommend the off-the-shelf components you recommend. The advantage of
the Free Charge Controller ( http://www.freechargecontroller.org  ) is
that it's open source.

Also, just to clarify, the Free Charge Controller is just a charge
controller. It's not a grid-tied-inverter, so you don't have to worry
about UL rating or anti-islanding. However, it has the I/O to turn all
those things on and off. My original plan when designing it was to
have a central controller that could charge the batteries using MPPT
for maximum power transfer. Those batteries would then power a grid-
tied-inverter for selling power back to the grid. When the batteries
reached a pre-defined state of charge (SOC) then the controller would
disconnect the grid-tied-inverter from the batteries and the charging
cycle would continue.

Cheers!

Chris Troutner
http://www.thesolarpowerexpert.com



 good


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