PV Grid-tied System options

tsperezAugust 6, 2006

I'm new to this forum and seeking advise on adding a PV system to my house. Actually, I have too many questions but the main question I have is if I should proceed with this project since it does cost a good amount to get started. The basics first: I have a 13 yo home that is well built - 2,800 sq ft living with about 3,800 total area. My bills run between $250 to $450 per month. Cost of power is currently 16.1 cents per kwh. In July i used 2,900 kwh. Live in south Texas (lots of sun).

Can I get a decent invertor like the Xantrex 3.8 GT and connect only about 4 panels of 120 to 200 watts each to get started? Later, as budget permits I would like to add more panels - like 4 at a time.

Thanks in advance for any advise. I do appreciate it.



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


You need to have a vision of what you want to end up with . . . you can for example buy a big inverter now; add capacity ( PV ) to it as budget permits . . . but you need to know where you're going to begin with. You also must early on; decide if you're gonna be grid tied or not . . totally separate system for only some things . . battery back-up or not . . . etc.

You should also know up front, that every dollar you spend to reduce your present consumption; will save about 20 dollars in PV etc that you DON'T need. Reducing your consumption will GREATLY affect what you end up needing . . .

You've got some major consumption . . your July usage is higher than ANY annual usage I had here in this place before I went PV / grid tie. I now supply about 85% of my annual electricity here in central New York state . . far from the sun capital of the world . . . and nowhere near as sunny as Texas.

My system is 2.8 kW ( nominally ) and I've got 16 panels @ 175 watts each. One Xantrex inverter and a 1000 lb battery bank ( my choice for battery back-up ). Installed it started out ~ $30k; incentives and state / fed tax breaks brought the final cost to about half that.

I'll mention that if you DO tie into the grid; you MUST do it properly for the safety of all . . my local ( friendly ) utility had all sorts of flaming moving hoops to jump through; but that was all handled by the place that put the system in. It is important to do it properly . . NEC now has a section dealy specfically with PV systems . . . grid tie or not.

I can supply some pix / a write-up about my system if you'd like . . email me to my member email with a real email address for yourself if you want it . . .

Good luck . .


    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 6:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Texas has several renewable energy groups sponsored by the State of Texas. Some are more visible than others. txses.org

PV in Texas is very expensive. Wind seems to be a better price. For PV, read Homepower. September is the time of the big show in Fredericksburg ?

I believe in energy reduction.
My next concern is the cost of AC.
One project that seems to save, is solar preheating of hot water.

B4 committing to a project, you need to check on the responce of local HO organisations. In N. Texas, a member had considerable resistance to solar on the roofs this spring.

One very difficult problem is grid connections. Texas was a early leader in the National initative, but the rules regarding it are lame at best. If you belong to a Co-Op, they do not have to allow you to be a co-generator.

In the Dallas area, TXU is not against it, but does not make it easy officially.

Oversize inverters cost extra power. With 4 panels, and a large inverter, the power may be mostly spent with inverter needs.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 2:43AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Any solar panel experts here?
If so, I'd like to get a few minutes of your time on...
if you must use solar, consider this option
first of all, for renewable energy i much prefer the...
Can solatubes go horizontal?
We just redid I our house and I am depressed at how...
Geothermal issue
I don't know whether to post this under renewable energy,...
solar tube skylight
Does anyone out there have a solar tube sky light and/or...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™