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Discussion Starter #1
In California there have been probably 300,000 homes go solar in the last 4 years through lease and power purchase agreements (PPA). I worked for a short time for a company that issued PPA's. Its not bad for the consumer or the seller (obviously) but to get a building permit for solar in CA you MUST be tied into the grid. This means if the power goes down - you go down with it - despite your solar.

I need a fix. I need a cheap, easy to use, simple device, package, or whatever that those consumers can buy that will enable them to put their solar package to work for them in the case of SHTF and grid collapse. I swear we could sell a boat load of em if they could be cheap enough?

So how does one take a grid tied system and "flip" it into a power supply for the house completely off grid.

Please note - I can see why it goes down with the grid. If it peddled energy into the grid during an outage a repair man could easily get zapped and I don't want an invention that makes that happen. I just want something a consumer could go out, plug in, flip a swtich or do whatever it takes to make his / her solar panels work for them and be disconnected from the grid safely.
 

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Yeah, your system needs an auto disconnect switch to prevent "islanding" in the case of a grid outage.

All you need is a transfer switch to do what you want. These have 2 inputs and one output. Run one of the inputs to your normal AC (grid) line and the other to your inverter. The output goes to your breaker box.

Eaton, Generac, and many others make these things.

Eaton Contactor Based Transfer Switch

Generac - Nexus Smart Switch

These switches actually perform both tasks. By switching the grid AC out of the system when in offgrid mode, they would stop your solar from feeding back into the down grid.
 
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Other Home & Living - Manual Changeover Switch Box for Generator (Single Phase) was sold for R320.00 on 16 Dec at 13:00 by Bulletjie01 in Johannesburg (ID:10101143)

in iraq we had 2 generators hooked to a system hat ran 24 /7/365. when we needed to service a gen we had a switch box with a switch similiar to this in there. so its just a matter of crank gen 2. turn switch box switch to gen 2 hit power up button on gen 2 turn off gen 1. so your power down for less than a minute. i dont see why a switch like this would not work.

btw i just googled generator switch bow and this came up im in no way affiliated with this company or endorse their product. just wanted you to see a picture of what it was and give you somethign to google and read up on :)

ha prepdoodle beta me to it :)
 

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A lot of these auto transfer switches are designed to automatically start back up generators when the grid goes down, but you probably don't need the added expense of the auto start circuits.

If it was me, I would call Northern Arizona Wind & Sun and let them tell me what I need. (800 383-0195)
 

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Main problem I see is you best read the contract of the installation of the solar system first. Most of those are they are just "renting" the roof space & the power company gets all the power from the solar panels.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The agreement I'm familiar with. It would violate the agreement, but most they'd do is tell you to remove it. Idea is its just for SHTF. In fact if it could sit in a box in the garage and be used post SHTF the better. Afterall if SHTF really bad those lease and PPAs aren't going to be worth much.

Most of the agreements here are PPA or power purchase agreements. A company puts in a $30,000 system on your home, and you agree to buy all the juice it produces at a set price per kilowatt hour, and the rate for power is often better than the utility so it's not a bad deal at all. It'd be a better deal if the consumer could use the system in a SHTF situation.....long term power outage.

Main problem I see is you best read the contract of the installation of the solar system first. Most of those are they are just "renting" the roof space & the power company gets all the power from the solar panels.
 

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Is the rate you pay fixed or can it be increased?

If they install a system at a given cost, the costs are amortized over time and remain fixed. (If you factor in inflation, the actual costs go down over time)

If they install a system and guarantee to lock your rates for the life of the system, it's a great deal since energy prices are bound to increase over the next 20 - 25 years.

And yeah, it would be good to have a system like that in case the SHTF, especially if it was bought with someone else's dime. All you would need to add are batteries and a charge controller, and they could be left out of the system until needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You can negotiate a fixed 20 years rate. They seek an annual set increase like 1.25% which still isn't bad because you can start lower and when your rate is higher in 19 years you are getting a little less juice. It's just math. I respect one of the companies I worked for a short time. It was just math.

Cost of system / kilowatt hours over 20 years. They explained their profit up front and it was fair. They can calculate within a very narrow margin anticipated kilowatt hours over 20 years based on panels, azimuth, pitch etc. our rates have increased 8.5% a year on average last 5 years so 1.25% annual increase was easy.

But NOTE rates are only high enough in CA, NJ and Hawaii to justify this being worth it. Rates are far lower in other 47 states...for now

Is the rate you pay fixed or can it be increased?

If they install a system at a given cost, the costs are amortized over time and remain fixed. (If you factor in inflation, the actual costs go down over time)

If they install a system and guarantee to lock your rates for the life of the system, it's a great deal since energy prices are bound to increase over the next 20 - 25 years.

And yeah, it would be good to have a system like that in case the SHTF, especially if it was bought with someone else's dime. All you would need to add are batteries and a charge controller, and they could be left out of the system until needed.
 
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