[aprssig] Fwd: Solar Power Works!

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Tue Aug 23 15:21:34 EDT 2016

> ...how do you unilaterally increase... your solar system without city
> approval

Once you have a grid meter, in the example I gave I used a 120v plug in
inverter.  And the local electric codes do not apply to any kind of plugin

> . Each of my 22 solar panels has an "Optimizer," (smart dc-dc converter
> itself)

Those are notorious for RFI... The article in a spring QST said he had to
add RF chokes to every optimizer and every panel all over the roof.  Whereas
we recommend just the standard DC string with no invertetrs except the one
where it only takes 3 chokes if there is any RFI in the first place.

> I remained unconvinced about pay-back until I realized the rebates would
> pay 2/3 of the cost.

AMEN!  Why leave those thousands of free $ on the table when going solar is
not only good for us as individuals, but everyone else who has to breath
coal fumes.

Glad to hear you are on board!  And for anyone else who knows eventually
they will go solar, then every monthly utility bill you pay from now until
then is just throwing your own money away with nothing to show for it.  Bob,

-----Original Message-----
From: aprssig [mailto:aprssig-bounces at tapr.org] On Behalf Of Larry McDavid
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 1:33 PM
To: APRS TAPR Mail Reflector
Subject: [aprssig] Fwd: Solar Power Works!

Bob, I often read about your solar power enthusiasm on the APRS reflector,
over many years. I remained unconvinced about pay-back until recently when I
realized the rebates available to me would pay 2/3 of the system cost. I now
have a 6000 Wp solar system on my home in Southern California, where our
most severe environmental worry is excess UV.

I recently was asked to very quickly produce an article for my local ham
club newsletter; I chose to write about my solar power experience. I attach
a copy of that newsletter so you can read what I wrote.

My system has a single 6000 watt-rated SolarEdge inverter. Each of my 22, 3
x 5 foot 275 watt solar panels has an "Optimizer," really a smart dc-dc
converter itself. And, each panel communicates digitally over its dc output
to the inverter, which communicates to the SolarEdge website, giving me
clear display of even individual panel performance in virtual real-time.
Anyway, read the article for more.

But, I wonder how you unilaterally increase the size of your solar system
without city approval of the change. Anaheim inspectors visited no fewer
than nine times during my solar installation! The city restricted my system
design to a maximum of 100% of the energy I used in the preceding 12 months.
How can you just keep adding panels?

As of today, since December 17 last year when the system was activated, I
have fed 1064 kWh more into the city grid than I've used. I will surely use
some of that credit as I use more air conditioning in the August-October
high-usage months but I'm beginning to believe I won't use all that credit.

I do have a Net Metering Agreement with the City of Anaheim, which is my
electrical utility, owning all the distribution grid and selling electrical
energy to residents. Fortunately, the city does not stair-step the rate with
usage (not once past the state-mandated baseline rate), unlike typical state
public utilities. Anaheim is a wealthy city, much due to the presence of
Disneyland, the associated hotels and the city convention center, the
largest on the west coast.
So, the city had money to buy partial ownership in several large generating
stations across the US. In addition, the city owns six large natural
gas-powered turbine peaking generators. The city has a very active "Anaheim
Underground" program to move all HV lines underground; all such poles are
gone from the Disneyland area already and two years ago the city removed a
66 kv line near me and all the power poles.

Solar practicality varies with location. I have a friend on the west coast
of Canada where hydroelectric power costs only $0.08 per kWh. That is a
"renewable" resource so Canada does not incentivize solar power.
That, combined with the rain (they actually get rain!) and northern location
just makes solar difficult to justify.

I got 5.6 inches of rain at my home last rain-year. Without rain, my solar
panels get dirty and I surely don't want to spray high-mineral-content city
water on them. There are now three local businesses whose only business is
cleaning solar panels with deionized water! I tried that once but it
increased my output only 4%; guess I'll wait for rain...

Best wishes,

Larry McDavid W6FUB
Anaheim, California  (SE of Los Angeles, near Disneyland)

Best wishes,

Larry McDavid W6FUB
Anaheim, California  (SE of Los Angeles, near Disneyland)

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