Valdemar
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:11 pm

^^^ I'm thinking maybe next year, so should be ok. Meanwhile I'll work on minimizing my footprint with Led lights and variable speed pool pump, should get quicker return on investment and minimize future solar needs.

Valdemar
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:06 pm

Splittinglanes wrote:
Valdemar wrote:You also get 30% back on your taxes if the panel is done for solar, so you''re looking at about $1500 out of pocket or less for a new panel, so not too bad overall.


It's a separate permit and approval, plus power out for a day, plus $3k cost. Yeah, 30% back... But it's a lot of expense for a house that tops out at 40 amp load, and it cuts in to the payoff of the solar.


Well, my Zinsco finally gave up today, this spot used to be occupied by the a/c breaker. You should monitor the condition of the busbars at least.

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Valdemar
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:01 pm

More than 2 months later I'm finally getting closer to the end of this project. SCE has been difficult to talk to and basically if I needed a decently-sized solar array the only option they left me was to upgrade the service to 200A, for which I had to dig a trench, run a conduit so that they can pull new cables to a new 200A panel. So I decided to do it. I'm using a special solar-ready model which allows for 60A solar input w/o de-rating the main breaker. Ironically, because of the extra cost needed for this project (and others too) I now may have to postpone my solar install until the next year, so I won't be able to get a tax credit for this work.

Because the solar is likely to be delayed, I'm adding a TOU EV 2nd meter as charging my Leaf on the standard residential plan is expensive, and I don't want to change to the whole-house TOU until I get the solar. SCE wouldn't allow an EV TOU sub-meter on the old feed for whatever reason they had, but with the new feed cables it is an easy add-on.

In the end I don't feel like it was money wisely spent, but I will have a dedicated circuit up to 100A for EV charging on the SCE's EV-TOU rate, 200A residential service, and an option to add a solar system that will cover most if not all of my needs in the future.

QueenBee
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:18 pm

Valdemar wrote:More than 2 months later I'm finally getting closer to the end of this project. SCE has been difficult to talk to and basically if I needed a decently-sized solar array the only option they left me was to upgrade the service to 200A, for which I had to dig a trench, run a conduit so that they can pull new cables to a new 200A panel. So I decided to do it. I'm using a special solar-ready model which allows for 60A solar input w/o de-rating the main breaker. Ironically, because of the extra cost needed for this project (and others too) I now may have to postpone my solar install until the next year, so I won't be able to get a tax credit for this work.


In my mind it's clear that this work was needed to install solar and even if you end up installing solar next year IMO I would include the cost of it in your federal tax credit. AFAIC the worst case is you get audited and they do a thorough review of all your documentation and decide that it is not included and you have to repay that part of the credit back. Not very likely and IMO it's in the spirit of the intention of the credit.

ggodman
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:27 pm

I just scanned the posts so excuse me if I missed something important, just my experience. Solar City put in a 10.045KW system (42 panels) for me and I have a 100 amp panel and I'm with SCE, I'm leasing so perhaps there is a difference but i'm not sure why you would be limited. I've been running since mid June 2013.

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drees
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:32 pm

ggodman, solar city probably did what's called a line-side tap to get that much PV on a house with a 100A panel.

Basically they hook the PV in front of the main panel tying directly into the utility lines.
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Valdemar
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:15 am

QueenBee wrote:In my mind it's clear that this work was needed to install solar and even if you end up installing solar next year IMO I would include the cost of it in your federal tax credit. AFAIC the worst case is you get audited and they do a thorough review of all your documentation and decide that it is not included and you have to repay that part of the credit back. Not very likely and IMO it's in the spirit of the intention of the credit.


Good idea, thanks. I'll try that.

drees wrote:ggodman, solar city probably did what's called a line-side tap to get that much PV on a house with a 100A panel.

Basically they hook the PV in front of the main panel tying directly into the utility lines.


I thought line-side tap is when they somehow land solar between the meter and the main breaker, no? And in front of the main panel it would be a service-side tap.

Line-side tap on the Zinsco wasn't really an option in my case, and I needed a new panel anyway as Zinsco was steadily deteriorating and had no place for breakers. My electrician told me that line-side tap will void warranty if done on a new panel, and it would be difficult to have SCE sign off on such an install.

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drees
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:46 am

Valdemar wrote:
drees wrote:ggodman, solar city probably did what's called a line-side tap to get that much PV on a house with a 100A panel.

Basically they hook the PV in front of the main panel tying directly into the utility lines.


I thought line-side tap is when they somehow land solar between the meter and the main breaker, no? And in front of the main panel it would be a service-side tap.

Line-side tap on the Zinsco wasn't really an option in my case, and I needed a new panel anyway as Zinsco was steadily deteriorating and had no place for breakers. My electrician told me that line-side tap will void warranty if done on a new panel, and it would be difficult to have SCE sign off on such an install.

Yes, you're right.

When it's not possible to do a line-side tap, what you can do is install a new meter box upstream of the existing meter/panel, junction box where you will splice in your solar/main panel, then bypass the meter socket and install a meter blank/cover.
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Valdemar
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:24 am

drees wrote:When it's not possible to do a line-side tap, what you can do is install a new meter box upstream of the existing meter/panel, junction box where you will splice in your solar/main panel, then bypass the meter socket and install a meter blank/cover.


And I couldn't do even that as the original panel is a part of the home and is fed from underground and you cannot really install anything upstream. I guess I could find a suitable flush-mount 100A meter enclosure that I could install in place of the existing panel and from it feed to a new panel that is installed next to it and land solar in between, and fight SCE to approve it. But it would also add cost to the project. I thought about it but chose the path of least resistance, while somewhat more expensive at least it will give me a 200A service for whatever future needs I might have.

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drees
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Re: 125A Load Center, what are my options?

Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:41 am

Yeah, a new panel and upgraded service is definitely the cleanest way to go, but especially with old underground feeds can be expensive as often you need to trench and run new conduit.
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