The ugly truth behind grid-tie solar systems. Part 1, FarmCraft101 solar. Watch before you buy!

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In Part 1, I go through the pros and cons of a grid-tied solar system in detail. We recently had a 9.1kw solar system installed, and even though I am not a solar expert, I learned a lot in the process! Hopefully other can benefit from my experience.

The ugly truth: With a grid-tie system, you cannot use your solar panels in a power outage!

Part 2:
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I will break even on my cost in about 8.5 years. The panels have a 25 year warranty. The grid tied inverter ($1200) has a 10 year warranty. Of course the inverter may last 15 or 20 years. Either way, excepting for possibly replacing the inverter, after 8.5 years this system will be earning almost $2000 per year.

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38 thoughts on “The ugly truth behind grid-tie solar systems. Part 1, FarmCraft101 solar. Watch before you buy!

  1. I lot of oil products, natural gas and coal will be needed to manufacture electric cars and more so in generating electric power for those cars. Coal number one as Germany is 80% coal run 30% of which comes from the USA, natural gas big growth in North America to generate power as we turn off coal. But coal is need to manufacture wind turbines 240,000 tons of C02 for an 80 meter wind turbine (Metallurgical coal need for cement 32,000 tons, 12,000 tons of re-bar, plus steel for transmission copper and oil for the blades all to be land fill in 35 years or less) Solar panels need 22 smelted and refines elements for a 15 to 25 year service before land fill (solar panels are very difficult to recycle because of the acids used in the manufacturing will mills 40 to 60% can be recycled only. NO RENEWABLE ENERGY scientifically impossible

  2. The inverter lifetime is ~10 years. The panel performance falls off something like 0.8 to 0.9% per year on average. Factor in how much you are able to extract sufficient energy from sunlight and how clouds reduces this and it might be more difficult to recover your costs than assumed but I applaud your taking this on and trying it.

  3. Two things you can fix and still be grid tied. One have a switch that takes you off the grid when it goes down. This is normal houses normally have breakers to the main grid. This is also normal for people with emergency generators. Two get your self Tesla batteries. Batteries are your back up. Nowhere is this against the law. And you can still be grid tied.

  4. the inverter likey does not boost the output voltage to slightly to cause the reverse current flow or at least thats not all it does. it almost certainly will apply a small phase shift this is where the real power is applied in more simple terms it will start its output sine wave slightly before the power grids sine wave.

    in a grid tie generator it will have adjustments for the voltage as well as a throttle. once tied to the grid you can adjust the voltage and that portion will adjust the KVAR or the "imaginary or reactive power" you would use this to correct power factor but eccentrically it does not take the mechanical power of the engine to do this. however you do have a throttle control,since no matter how hard the motor trys to turn it will not spin faster, the grid is more than capable of absorbing all the energy you can though at it with a small generator and you will not output more than 60Hz but what you will be causing is a phase shift this is where the increase torque of the motor is used up and you can then back feed the grid.

  5. 11:11 I think that applies to PARALLEL. Those are just diodes to prevent backflow of electricity. Someone just made a decent waterproof module (for they need to be in between each panel), benefits were popular, others copied it, eventually became cheap enough that every panel has one.

  6. What a lot of folks don't realize is the huge safety factor involved in anti-islanding(running while the mains is absent). The grid acts as a big battery, without it, think what would happen around sunset and sunrise. The load will look in essence like big short to the solar panel inverters, and even if they were to run damage sensitive electronic or gear or power hungry AC equipment would damaged in a brown out scenario. So it's very important to disconnect the moment your system sees the absence of 60 Hz 240VAC from the power company. Of course if you use to purchase a battery power wall, all bets are off, but they are still pricy today.

    So in closing, keep in mind, that grid tied systems are near perfect load balancing systems that gradually share power load delivery between Sunrise and Sunset, best regards to all.

  7. You can easily trick your system into thinking the grid is still up. If you don't know what you're doing I'd advise strongly against it as you can easily kill your neighbors or line workers or anyone thinking the power is out. You definitely understand your system and that's the best explanation for both the people that know and your average person. Thanks.

  8. Once again, nobody factors in the interest you pay on the loan if you’re not paying cash for it… $23,000 over 5 years at 4% is another $2,400 in interest paid. So for the first 5 years or whatever the length of your loan, you will be paying an extra $200+ a month until the loan is paid off… that’s why solar is still too expensive and not worth it as of right now.

  9. So what about the argument that when more houses go solar, with back up grid power, that it drives up prices for everyone else, due to the electrical grid still needs to be maintained, and Electric Companies set rates on operating expenses, Less people paying in to maintain causes rates to go up.

  10. Very nice job explaining grid tied solar, one of the best! FYI, my (8k) hybrid, off grid system will payback in 12 years. The number one reason to have an off grid system is for self reliance. I will have power even if there is a zombie apocalypse.

  11. All these negative comments… It should be stated that it's an investment to pay off you electricity for the next 10 years! Do the math! It's to reduce a liability and in some cases make it an asset…

  12. Off grid, with Nickel/iron edison batteries make the most sense. They are very tough,last for decades. Proper off grid system eliminates power bills and stays up when the grid is down or browns out. Here in Australia the renewable power grid generation is doing two things…………skyrocketing power bills and an unbalanced grid that is difficult to manage. The incentive to close coal stations will only put bills up and cause brown outs as the grid struggles. On top of the Electric Vehicles will further burden the grid and convince people to leave,go off grid and cause shrinking support for the grid network. Complete madness.

  13. A 'solar system' has planets. A PHOTO-VOLTAIC system generates POWER. CURRENT flows; power is CONSUMED. RPM NEVER RPMs (professor screaming in my head). Oh, and you can bypass grid-tie interlock with ABT change-over to battery bank. Also, wire size is depended on RESISTANCE (R) i.e. P=I*R^2 cause heat = fire = bad. Please research before educating. And speeky, Englesas.

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