Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Integrating Solar Power Into Existing Home

The first problem we have when we start generating solar power say with 1 panel, a controller and a 95 ah battery is to deploy the power for use.

In a motor home or caravan it is a simple matter of connecting the battery to a 12 volt light bulb or bulbs and you have light. You could also run the system in a garage and wire up the garage for 12 volt lighting.

What if we want to use the power we generate in our own home with our existing 240 volt wiring. The only choice is to set up a grid connect system. This is where the power we produce is fed to the grid for which we are paid by our electricity supplier and we are charged for the power we use. Usually there will be a difference between what we are paid and what we are charged.

Seems simple but there is the administrative red tape that we have to go through. We will need permission from our line company to connect to their grid and a contract with our eectricity supplier to pay us. These are not problems in themselves as the regulations do not allow them to refuse our request. However.......

First we need a grid connect inverter. This is not just any inverter it is an inverter that will match the phase of the power you produce to that of the grid. It will also shut the power off if the grid is down so that worlers working on the lines don't get electrocuted. Of course it is expensive. Expect to spend upwards of $5000 depending on the power required. You will also need an export meter that is supplied by the supply company for which you will be charged.

Oh-Oh but lets say you decide that you want to do it anyway well your simple setup above will not suffice. Lets say you expand your setup to producing 1 kilowatt a day which is about 100 watt of panels. Say you are paid 20 cents per kilowatt (very generous) your income is 20 cents a day or $6 a month. Remember above that you will be charged for the export meter? Well lets say it is $20 a month! You are now paying the electricity supplier for the priviledge of selling them power!

What a dilema and a catch 22 situation. They should just allow us to connect into the grid and let the meter flow backwards. This however is illegal and it is also dangerous.

Never fear we have a solution that will solve this problem. The ACDC RG1 power regulator. This device allows you to connect your solar batteries to a household circuit be it the hot water system, power or lights. You use up the power you produced stored in your batteries and when the batteries are depleted the system switches over to the mains. When he batteries are fully charged again the system will switch back to the batteries.

This way you get full credit for the power you produce at the price your supply company charges you. You connect the system directly to you power circuit ( by a registered electrician ) using your existing house wiring.

For this system to work you will have to invest in a inverter to convert DC power in the batteries to 230 volt ac. The system is availiable in 24volt and 12 volt configuration. Generally inverters above 2000 watts are 24 volts. Components and cables for 12 volt systems are expensive for higher output because of higher current. Existing models of the DCAC RG1 are priced at $795.

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