new 200 amp service
I am installing a new 200 amp service and would appreciate some input. I'll be installing a combo meter/main panel outside. From the main, I intend to install breakers for the nearby A/C unit, outdoor outlets, future garage circuits, and a soon-to-be-installed netmeeting solar generation system. A subpanel (haven't decided on amperage) will be fed from the main about 20 feet away in the basement (same building). The rest of the house will be fed from the subpanel. My questions:
1. Any glaring issues with this plan?
2. How many amps for the subpanel? I know this depends on load, but is there a practical limit, i.e. is a 200amp sub just too big no matter what? I had tossed around the idea of buying a 200 amp main to use for the subpanel, and using the included main breaker as the feeder from the main. Can I do this or are the breakers not compatible that way.
3. Should I install a 'main' breaker in the subpanel for ease of shutting down the whole panel at the panel or is that overkill? Big breakers are expensive. Clearly I can go outside and flip the breaker if necessary, and really how often does one need to do that?
4. I'm planning on using 4/0 4/0 2/0 aluminum for the service drop. Can I run the same wire from the main to the subpanel? Obviously I will need a ground, which I think should be #4awg copper. Does the cable and ground need to be in conduit, or can I just run the ground along side the cable?
5. I will ground the meter/main with grounding rods connected to meter/main with unbroken #4awg copper. I can not ground to the water system because the entry point is not metal. Do I need additional grounding?
Thanks for the feedback.