I think we're going solar

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by jerrymildred, Feb 5, 2021.

  1. R-P

    R-P Active Member

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    I saw that at first too, but while reading the text I saw it was kWh while the rest was Wh.

    I am not sure how the feeding back is stopped (something tells the microinverters to stop producing?). If we feed back and we're not allowed to, you just don't get payed* but you loose whatever you put back anyway.

    So if anyone has information on how this works, I'm interested!


    * supposedly there are meters like mine that CANNOT go in reverse (mechanically blocked). Mine can (so during daytime the wheel under the counters will run against the arrow-direction). All these old meters are replaced but I am holding on to mine as long as I can. Al modern meters have a separate counter for useage and for (net) yield (so yield after subtracting own useage). The two counters labelled "I" and "II" are NOT useage and yield, but Night and Day. In the past a kWh would be e.g. 20ct during daytime and 15ct during night, so doing laundry after 11PM would save you money. Factories were powered down during night, so the surplus of energy at night was cheaper than during daytime. Nowadays the pricedifference is neglible (23ct/day vs 22ct/night)
    20170720_103354 - kopie.jpg
     
    #141 R-P, Apr 30, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  2. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I guess it was free back then but not now. I'll ask the installation company about that if I think of it next time I talk to one of them. They should be calling today or Monday (I hope) to notify me that the electric company has been asked to change the meter.

    I wondered about that. But the technician who was here for the inspection said that when demand is low, the controller tends to pull more power from one panel than the others. Then again, fuzzy's panels look pretty even at a medium output.
     
  3. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I'm curious about that, too. Besides the special electric meter, the solar controls will need to be switched to net metering mode. Otherwise, the old style electric meter would just let power feed back into the grid afaik. But since the solar installation has current transformers on the utility wires feeding the main breaker panel, it knows the demand and can regulate the inverters to meet that demand. Once the net metering meter is in place, I need to call the install company and they will put the controller into net metering mode via a software switch. That allows the solar controllers to see the grid as another load and that's a really big load, so it will produce all it can. At least that's my theory based on my general electrical knowledge and what the technician told me is the last step in getting my net metering going.
     
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  4. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Update to the variation in solar panel energy production. Today it's a different panel that's outproducing the others. And looking back over the history it has gone from panel to panel. The first few times I looked this morning, I hadn't yet put much demand on them and it was still early. Last time I checked, they were all reading the same at about 45 wH each. Now that the sun is higher and I've charged the lawn mower battery, here's what I have as of 10AM. It's definitely the controls doing it. The whole house is only using 302 watts at the moment. That'll change pretty soon. It's supposed to hit 90º today.
    Screen Shot 2021-04-30 at 10.09.11 AM.png
     
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  5. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Some old meters had a ratchet to prevent going backwards. Like yours, mine ran backwards just fine.
    My new "smart" (self reporting) meter simply has separate registers for each direction. Unfortunately, the utility didn't have them programmed to display both registers on the rotation pattern. (Two useless items are included in the rotation). The outgoing register appears only on the regular billing statements, so I can no longer monitor my house's full energy use on a more granular timescale or in real time.

    Had they disclosed this before the meter swap, I would have considered the option of keeping the old meters.

    Lacking net metering yet, your system is being throttled to prevent any significant outbound flow. It seems that the throttling may be taking the full output of individual modules and shutting down the rest, changing the selection over time.

    Mine has never been throttled, it doesn't even have the hooks to do so. I was getting net metering from the very beginning, before any inspectors or utility meter-swapper/installers arrived.

    In that snapshot of mine, the medium output level is simply a reflection of the available sun strength. That looks like light overcast clouds, and no tree shadows.

    As for the pretty even production level illustrated among mine, that almost indicates a problem, they shouldn't be that even! I built it up in three batches (6, 10, and 10 modules) over two years, and each batch has different module ratings. It ought to be showing a bit more spread than that. (The lowest-output module on left-hand block has always been below its batch mates, but not by enough for me to investigate.)
     
    #145 fuzzy1, Apr 30, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
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  6. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Here are some tree shadow patterns on mine, from earlier this month.

    Late morning:
    upload_2021-4-30_10-13-9.png

    About 4 pm, when the shadows of a neighboring wall of trees angles across and partially eclipses the system:
    upload_2021-4-30_10-15-56.png

    Full eclipse happens about 5 pm, though it continues producing at very low level from scattered light until sunset.
     
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  7. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Mine are in tree shade or part of them at least from sunrise up to about 2 hours after sunrise. No more tree shade till sunset. And it's a south facing roof. It's just about as ideal as anything I could hope for. Yesterday was my most productive day so far. I am SO ready for net metering to kick in. :LOL:
    Screen Shot 2021-05-01 at 7.30.26 AM.png


    And here's the panel by panel output yesterday, so I like your idea, @fuzzy1 that it just uses one panel when one panel will do the job.
    Screen Shot 2021-05-01 at 7.33.11 AM.png
     
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  8. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Well, maybe I should retract that notion. I looked this morning not long after the the panels started producing. All the panels were the same at something like 17 wH each or some such number.

    Unfortunately, my software doesn't let me see the power; only the energy. I made a request yesterday for the installers to see about setting me up with Enlighten Manager so I can see the data Fuzzy has. In the meantime, I noticed a recent exchange between Enphase and a reviewer on the App store. The reviewer complained about not having power readings other than the max power output over a given time period. Enphase responded that they are working on that. I'm not holding my breath. :whistle:
     
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  9. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    @fuzzy1, I finally got the Enlighten Manager web interface & mobile app. WOW!! That's a boatload of data. They charge $9.99/month for it or I can buy it for $249. I'm just testing it for a month for now, but I'm pretty sure I'll buy it and just consider it part of the cost of the system.

    We made another step in getting full functionality yesterday. The installers sent the net metering application to Duke Energy yesterday. They said I should expect Duke to email me a form to sign very soon, but it hasn't happened yet. So now the ball is in Duke's court. Meanwhile, it's getting hotter and we're wasting sunlight.

    Here's a view going from startup through yesterday of production, consumption, and potential production if net metering was enabled. As I said, it's getting hotter every day. We usually have the AC set to 77 and it ran almost six hours yesterday. Today should be "cooler" and cloudier. Only 85° today and 80° tomorrow.
    Startup thru May 2-sm.png
     
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  10. Merkey

    Merkey Active Member

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    What does "Estimated Curtailed Production" mean and what is the humidity level now in FL?
     
  11. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    They still don't have me on net metering so it will only produce what I'm using. Actually a little under what I use. The estimated curtailed production is what the system thinks it could have produced had it not been throttled by not being able to store energy either in the electrical grid or in batteries.

    It's been very muggy. Yesterday when I went for my walk at 10 AM, it was 88° but the "feels like" was 100°. Right now, it's 81%. Forecasting about 99% by morning. Just another day in the armpit of North America.
    Screenshot 2021-05-06 at 11.35.23 AM.jpg
     
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  12. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    YAY! Another step in the right direction.

    I just got, signed, and returned the interconnection application for the NEM meter. It felt like it took forever due to the weekend, but it was only two business days. After I electronically signed, the installers signed, and then Duke Energy sent me the completed form. But with no mention of when they would be out with the new meter. Once they created the form this morning, it was a matter of minutes till it was done. Aside from the delay in them actually creating the form, I was the next biggest delay because I was on the phone when the email came. :whistle:

    It looks like we're getting this just in time. Saturday I bought my plane tickets for my next trip to Africa. I'll be gone for a month, so my wife will probably go visit her mom or her sister. With the house buttoned up that long, I expect that I'll be banking lots of kWhs.
     
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  13. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Keep safe, @jerrymildred International travel these days is not for the faint of heart.
     
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  14. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    The COVID instructions are exceedingly vague and confusing. Thankfully for me, we have a guy headed there this coming Monday and another on May 28. I'll let them blaze the trail. Hopefully, they will not have problems.

    After I get to Togo, the hard part comes; the 300-mile, 10-12 hour drive north to Mango. One of the guys I'll be working with lives up in Mango and he often said, "A trip from Mango to Lomé is not to be taken lightly." He must be a prophet. A couple weeks ago he was going down there in a taxi and the taxi driver hit a motorcycle, killing both of the riders. My friend got a banged up leg out of it. He had 2 of their kids along, but they were fine. Lots of tipped over, burned out trucks, busses, and cars along that road.
     
  15. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Godspeed!!

    Not much up that way on Google Street view....
    Closest I've been to that neck of the woods is Abidjan, many years ago.
     
    #155 ETC(SS), May 11, 2021
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
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  16. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Back to the original topic: Woo hoo!!!!!
    It's done. I'm finally exporting. Even this late in the day, it's putting away electricity for tonight.
    Screen Shot 2021-05-11 at 5.57.57 PM.png

    I signed the form yesterday mid day and Duke came over about noonish today and put in the meter. Kudos to Duke Energy for being so quick. A little later, I remembered that I needed to have the contractor remove the shackles from the system so it would export. I called and told them. By 3:00 I hadn't seen a change. So I called Anthony, the tech who helped with the inspection. He had said I could call him to turn on the full production. So I called. He said he was driving but would do it as soon as he got back to his computer. And that's what he did. Kudos to Anthony as well. You can see at 4PM where the production went above the consumption.
    Screen Shot 2021-05-11 at 5.57.27 PM.png

    It's been a mostly cloudy day but I've produced 70% of my energy so far today even with the lateness of the day going to full power. Tomorrow should be interesting. Another mostly cloudy day with a max UV index of only 7 and a high of 86. Who will win? The air conditioner or the sun? :D

    [Edit to add: The extended high demand from 2-4PM (just before they turned on NEM) was my wife doing laundry (electric dryer). So it was a little heavier use day today as well.]
     
    #156 jerrymildred, May 11, 2021
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
  17. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Oh my! It wasn't even 2PM when I checked and the panels have already produced more energy than on any previous day before the new meter. And it's not even that sunny of a day. High, thin clouds. UV index just now finally hit 9. It's been around 6 most of the day.

    Here's the production/consumption chart since installation. The net metering started a little after 4PM yesterday so not much there. And today is just a partial.
    Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 1.54.34 PM.png

    Also, the panels are now all putting out the same.
    Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 1.56.40 PM.png

    And the power chart as of 1:45 this afternoon. The two early power consumption spikes were charging the Prime before going for a lab test and then before going to work. After 10AM is probably air conditioning. It's over 90°F today.
    Untitled.jpg

    I could not be happier so far.
     
  18. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    First full day with net metering and full production. Lots of light overcast and a few real clouds now and then. A low of 78º and a high of 91º. I sure can't complain!!

    Screen Shot 2021-05-13 at 5.49.51 AM.png

    The numbers

    Screen Shot 2021-05-13 at 5.48.10 AM.png
    The day

    Screen Shot 2021-05-13 at 5.48.57 AM.png

    The whole history. May 12 was when net metering went live.
     
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  19. John321

    John321 Senior Member

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    I see why you were interested in getting net metering up and working as soon as possible.
     
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  20. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Yup! Every day was costing me money.

    Today looks like it'll be different. Very cloudy forecast. It'll be a good test anyway.
    Screenshot 2021-05-13 at 8.13.43 AM.png
     
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