service question

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-05-11, 09:49 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
service question

i have posted this question to my provider but 5 days have gon by with no reply. i will not likiley do anything until my problem is fixed but i wonder if anyone here can tell me after my long story what hte answer really is..ok here goes..

200 amp 220 volt 2 wire and a neutral service underground from pole. 1 leg is broken under gravel road provider hooked what they called a "service saver" at my meter to (as they said) to bring my home back to a 2 leg server but at a reduced amperage. this service saver splits the good leg back into two legs but at about 100 amps is what i was told by the repair team. my question is this..i also have a solar array with an output of 10KW per hour that backfeed through the service to the grid. i asked the repair team if my solar panels would function normally backfeeding to the grid through this "service saver" the repair team told me they did not know as this was a first for them. does anyone here know if this would be safe or if damage may occur due to my panels feeding through two lines at the meter but being choked back to one line in the "service saver"

i don't think i will take the chance and turn them on untill the service is fixed but i was wondering what the pros here may think?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-06-11, 04:48 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
BB, never had the occasion to use one, but from what I have read the amperage is cut to the bones, so if you have a large house with a big demand, you may trip it out. From another source, likewise, if used for a longer period of time, the meter base may need replacing as the contact points will heat up and cause the regular meter not to seat properly. Just for info.
I don't think I would power up the grid until I had all the cabling put back together. How long are they expecting you to be out of normal service?
 
  #3  
Old 08-06-11, 05:04 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
Originally Posted by chandler View Post
I don't think I would power up the grid until I had all the cabling put back together. How long are they expecting you to be out of normal service?
their quote was 5 days for proper locate and up to ten days before a repair is made. We had an F2 tornado (not common for ontario canada) last week and took down 5 steel towers and 22 poles about 3 miles from my home and i think that may have someting to do with their timing. I am losing income as the panels sit with the mian breaker off but at least there is no chance of damage. I will be waiting for proper repairs before i "hit the switch" I was just posting to see if by chance anyone had ever heard of such a thing before. I guess i am my service providers first ever occurance of this and they are at a loss as to how it would work also. Thanks for you input
 
  #4  
Old 08-06-11, 05:49 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,587
Still trying to understand the whole solar backfed grid, but a question for you. Doesn't your home use the power from the solar and the excess then goes out to the grid? Suppose you have 8kw of house load, 2 kw would backfeed onto the power grid.
 
  #5  
Old 08-06-11, 07:20 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
I am not familiar with the "service saver" device at the meter, but it sounds as if it is no more than a jumper to heat up both sides of your service from the remaining one good 120 volt conductor. I cannot see how your 240 volt appliances could still work, do they? If this device is no more than a jumper arrangement, I would think turning your solar back on to the grid at this time would create a direct short. If you have any additional information on the "service saver", I'd like to see it.
 
  #6  
Old 08-06-11, 09:03 AM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
I would leave the breaker off for the inverter. If you turn the breaker on it will fry the inverter as the jumper is a direct short.
 
  #7  
Old 08-06-11, 11:17 AM
Luana's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 147
Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
I am not familiar with the "service saver" device at the meter, but it sounds as if it is no more than a jumper to heat up both sides of your service from the remaining one good 120 volt conductor. I cannot see how your 240 volt appliances could still work, do they? If this device is no more than a jumper arrangement, I would think turning your solar back on to the grid at this time would create a direct short. If you have any additional information on the "service saver", I'd like to see it.
It is a small transformer that connects across the two good wires. At the street the two good wires are re-connected for a straight 240 volt feed which then goes to the primary of the service saver transformer. The secondary of the transformer is a common center-tapped that then goes to the house. Essentially a one-to-one isolation transformer with a center tapped secondary. An autotransformer could also be used.
 
  #8  
Old 08-06-11, 06:48 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
i am not knowledgable on how the poer is used but i would guss yes, in full sun i would be producing 10.3 KW per hour and it would feed into the solar array meter saying it was sending that much power to the grid..if the house was acalling for any power the solar wouldl deliver to theh house first and any of what the solar was producing that the house was not using would go back out to the grid .regaurdless of where it was going it would go out through the meter hooked to my panels saying i was sending 10/3 KW per hour to the grid there would be another meter at the house saying it was recieving so many KW it does not know where they are comingn from it just records the amount being used my solar meter reads what is goig out and my home meter reads what is coming in whatis goign out is .802 cents per KW and what is coming in is so many cents per KW depending on the time of day.
 
  #9  
Old 08-06-11, 09:12 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KS
Posts: 1,896
I'm familiar with net metering inverters, but only vaguely with service savers. I've never had one in use but I've heard of them and what they do. I am also of the opinion that you should pull both disconnects (AC and DC) to your solar system. While the inverter will work normally because it detects line voltage on both legs, I don't know how the grid will appreciate being backfed through a service saver, nor how it will affect your meter (you don't want to not get paid properly for what you generate while risking damage to your inverter).

Then there's the issue that power surges are very common during storm damage repair. You are much better off just isolating everything you can until the repairs are complete. Run bare bones. It's going to be much easier on you than trying to squeeze money out of the power company if they fry all your electronics.
 
  #10  
Old 08-06-11, 10:21 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
i have thrown the disconnect at the meter to my solar array. my solar system uses what are called "micro inverters" my 10 KW system has 52 panels and 52 inverters so i will be taking everyones advice and waiting until things get restored to "normal" before putting the system back "on line" i have been off line now for 8 days and have lost about 400 dollars of income
 
  #11  
Old 08-06-11, 10:29 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KS
Posts: 1,896
Originally Posted by billie_boy View Post
i have been off line now for 8 days and have lost about 400 dollars of income
Yeah that sucks, but better to lose a bit of supplemental than be out $20,000 replacing your inverters due to a surge.

$400 in 8 days? Really?? Do you not use power at all, just sell everything you generate to the grid??
 
  #12  
Old 08-06-11, 11:58 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,050
How many years to recoup your original investment?
 
  #13  
Old 08-07-11, 02:50 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
While we wait on an answer, I have a doctor friend who installed, gosh, a bunch of panels on a barn, probably 100' long and 20' to the peak, and only sells it back to the grid. He said it was too much of a hassle to try and use it domestically. BUT, he said his recoup would be in 5 years.
 
  #14  
Old 08-07-11, 10:40 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
they say our recoup is about 7 to 8 years. i guess, yes power does go back to the house but not directly...it first goes through the "outgoing meter" that keeps track of how much my panels are putting through the meter. from this meter i guess it could go to the house or if not needed back out to the grid. however the way the program is designed here in ontario i sell back to the grid at 80.2 cents per KWH and when i buy back through my house meter i pay about 9 to 15 cents per KWH depending on time of day. in june july and i think part of aug. with a full sunny day i can produce between 120 and 130 KWH that would be about 96 to 104 dollars but those are the best times with long daylight hours and no clouds.

the estimate for my area of ontario is about 16 thousand dollars per year income and the initial investment is somewhere over 90 thousand up to 100
these panels are on pedastals that track the suns path in the sky and keep it directed to it's best angle for production
 
  #15  
Old 08-07-11, 10:46 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
It sounds like the way it is setup, you could cut your cord from the grid and run off the panels. It is all integrated, correct?
 
  #16  
Old 08-07-11, 10:53 AM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
It sounds like the way it is setup, you could cut your cord from the grid and run off the panels. It is all integrated, correct?
What about at night?________________
 
  #17  
Old 08-07-11, 11:31 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
no you can run without a "feeling" of current coming from the grid. i'm not sure how it works but it is set up that way to protect our linesmen. If the grid is hsut of for any reason then my solar array does not feel the "incoming" cahrge and will not produce any power. this way my panels can not back feed into what may be percieved as a "dead line" I am not sure how all this works but i have been assured my panels can not back feed if the providers service is cut.
 
  #18  
Old 08-07-11, 11:59 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,023
So...I guess basically with your system...the PoCo is "leasing" or buying your panels output. You pay for the initial install...but they discount your usage depending on what your solar system feeds back to them?

Seems to make sense....you don't have to deal with the batteries and maintenance of a stand alone system. Problem that most people would have is they can't really go "off the grid"....since the system shuts down if the PoCo line has a problem.
 
  #19  
Old 08-07-11, 01:33 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
Could the system be paralelled with a generator?
 
  #20  
Old 08-07-11, 01:42 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
What about at night?________________
Candles, Justin............................
 
  #21  
Old 08-07-11, 02:03 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
it may be able to be disconnected from the grid and used with a generator but for now i like it the way it is...i don't need batteries and i still use the grid. like i said witht he contract i have with the utility i recieve 80.2 cents for every KWH i send out through the meter whetherit comes back to me or out the gate. my regualr meter measures what the home uses and i pay what ever the going rate is at the time. I don't want to use the power i make "untill" the utility has seen that i have delivered it them at that 80.2 cents

perhaps when my contract is done and if they do not offer me another i will look into making and storing power and see about going off the grid (even part time)
 
  #22  
Old 08-07-11, 06:17 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,399
Whether your "service saver" is an isolation transformer or an auto-transformer should make no difference in your using the photovoltaic array. Since 10kW at 240 volts is only 41 amperes there should be no problem in keeping it in operation if the service saver is rated at 100 amperes. To be safe you could cut off approximately half of the PV inverters and then your "loss of income" would only be half of what it would be with no PV at all.

no you can run without a "feeling" of current coming from the grid. i'm not sure how it works but it is set up that way to protect our linesmen. If the grid is hsut of for any reason then my solar array does not feel the "incoming" cahrge and will not produce any power. this way my panels can not back feed into what may be percieved as a "dead line" I am not sure how all this works but i have been assured my panels can not back feed if the providers service is cut.
This is know as "anti-islanding" and is expressly for the reason that you stated, safety of utility personnel.
 
  #23  
Old 08-07-11, 06:44 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
Question:

however the way the program is designed here in ontario i sell back to the grid at 80.2 cents per KWH and when i buy back through my house meter i pay about 9 to 15 cents per KWH depending on time of day.
How can the power company afford to pay you 80.2 cents per KWH for what you produce while they only charge you 9 to 15 cents per KWH for what you use? Where is the expensive power you produce going? Is the government subsidizing the power company to pay you those rates?
 
  #24  
Old 08-07-11, 07:02 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,399
Much of the electricity generated in Canada is from government-owned power plants. I suspect they have something similar to PURPA in the US that requires utilities to purchase power at "total avoided costs" from small generation facilities.

Back some 15 or 20 years ago the company I worked for had a small co-generation facility. They had a lot of problems but when it ran it made money hand over fist for the company. If I remember correctly the utility sold power to the company for about 2 cents a kWh and bought the output for about 20 cents a kWh. The serving utility finally negotiated a lower cost for the power they sold the company for a promise we would shut down our co-gen facility as the undependability of the co-gen wreaked havoc with the utility.
 
  #25  
Old 08-07-11, 07:23 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
Question:



How can the power company afford to pay you 80.2 cents per KWH for what you produce while they only charge you 9 to 15 cents per KWH for what you use? Where is the expensive power you produce going? Is the government subsidizing the power company to pay you those rates?
Because the rate they charge you is an average of the cost from all power plants. Power from coal is real cheap. Power from solar is expensive. There are power plants that are meant to kick on only in peak usage because they can respond quickly to the demand whereas a coal power plant can't. That type of power is also very expensive. If 50% of their power is from coal at 3 cents per kwh (I made that number up) and they get 1% for 80 cents from solar, it's pretty easy to see how the average cost is much lower.
 
  #26  
Old 08-08-11, 06:24 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
Much of the electricity generated in Canada is from government-owned power plants. I suspect they have something similar to PURPA in the US that requires utilities to purchase power at "total avoided costs" from small generation facilities.
Somehow I figured govt regulations had something to do with this, regardless of what country.

If 50% of their power is from coal at 3 cents per kwh (I made that number up) and they get 1% for 80 cents from solar, it's pretty easy to see how the average cost is much lower.
That also tells me commercial solar isn't a viable alternative given today's technology. That is, unless you are the producer and the govt requires the power companies to buy it from you at outrageous prices.
 
  #27  
Old 08-08-11, 08:04 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
my bill when added up with all the charges (and these are twice) delivery charge from the generating station that makes the power (the government) to my provider(another government department i think) and then the charge this depatment charges to send it to me. I think my normal bill is a lot more than what you may think....delivery charges...debt retirement charges ..line loss i am paying about 16 cents per KWH that could go higher than 20 cents if i used more "on peak" electricity.

i think this was an incentive to get people started and create some jobs..get the solar market established here in ontario and prices will come down and technology gets better. remember how much the first computers cost and how little they really did comared to todays. the total production of solar power in ontario is less than 1 per cent of the total used. allready the contract price has been lowered on my type of system to around 64 cents..as prices of the units drop so does the price offered. I like to think i am on the verge of helping make this a sustainable energy. although i do think they have to come up with a cheap way to store this power as right now it is not very dependable and makes nothing at night.
 
  #28  
Old 08-08-11, 08:12 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,399
...i do think they have to come up with a cheap way to store this power as right now it is not very dependable and makes nothing at night.
They DO "store" it during the day, as water behind the dam from not requiring as great an output from the hydro plant when the sun is shining.
 
  #29  
Old 08-08-11, 08:56 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
yes furd i do they can store power that way but i am also hoping they can get batteries or some sort of cell that i could "fill" from my solar and use at night that becomes cheap enough to make storage on a small scale viable. it must be tough to sit in toronto and be the guy who has to figure (guess) how much power the province will need the next day. as i understand it he has to buy power from these plants that are privatley owned. when he buys ahead of time he gets a better rate. when he miscalculates and must call up for more power imediatley the price is quite high. i have heard they normally pay about 63 cents per KWH and when they call and want more right now...i have heard it can be over 1 dollar. there are three such plants like that near by me and one i have worked at told me they get paid just to "be ready" just idling.
 
  #30  
Old 08-09-11, 10:49 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,509
I don't see any reason why you couldn't run the solar panels while running through the isolation transformer. The connection is electrically identical, just limited with total throughput. The price you get for you solar is outrageously high! Congrats on getting such a good deal.

Someone mentioned a generator up in the thread. That would be a bad idea. This type of inverter requires a good sine wave from the utility to synchronize to and they could be damaged by bad power from a generator.
 
  #31  
Old 08-09-11, 05:47 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
That also tells me commercial solar isn't a viable alternative given today's technology. That is, unless you are the producer and the govt requires the power companies to buy it from you at outrageous prices.
It is very viable. There are commercial installations going in all the time here in NJ. The one power company here has installed 200 PV panels on utility poles. They are meant to supply more power during peak times. Having solar panels installed like that and on homes distributed throughout the network is far more efficient than transmitting power from Canada. You lose over 50% of the electricity to heat when you transmit it long distances. It's also a great way to increase the generation capacity of the grid without having to upgrade transmission lines. Let's not forget those giant gas turbines they use for peak demand. They cost a lot per kilowatt as well. Electricity here is largely from fossil fuel and nuclear sources. Between delivery and power charges, it runs abour 18 cents per kilowatt hour.
 
  #32  
Old 08-09-11, 06:30 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
Someone mentioned a generator up in the thread. That would be a bad idea. This type of inverter requires a good sine wave from the utility to synchronize to and they could be damaged by bad power from a generator.
Interesting. That was me.

My power is 9c/kwh. I'm surrounded by anthracite, although I think bituminous is used for power generation.
 
  #33  
Old 08-09-11, 07:57 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,399
You lose over 50% of the electricity to heat when you transmit it long distances.
Hardly. Maybe one or two percent over VERY long distances. If it were as high as even ten percent you would see a lot more smaller power plants and a lot fewer large power plants.
 
  #34  
Old 08-10-11, 06:01 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
Originally Posted by drooplug View Post
It is very viable. There are commercial installations going in all the time here in NJ. The one power company here has installed 200 PV panels on utility poles. They are meant to supply more power during peak times. Having solar panels installed like that and on homes distributed throughout the network is far more efficient than transmitting power from Canada. You lose over 50% of the electricity to heat when you transmit it long distances. It's also a great way to increase the generation capacity of the grid without having to upgrade transmission lines. Let's not forget those giant gas turbines they use for peak demand. They cost a lot per kilowatt as well. Electricity here is largely from fossil fuel and nuclear sources. Between delivery and power charges, it runs abour 18 cents per kilowatt hour.
If it were truly a viable alternative energy source, the government wouldn't have to subsidize it. Take away the government subsidies and requirements and see how quickly solar power would die.
 
  #35  
Old 08-15-11, 07:21 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
after 15 non productive days, i have finally spoken on the phone to an electrical engineer at my service providers local his words were,...turn er on, everything will work as normal. Did and it does. dam i wish i could have gotten that infor before i missed out on all them KWH.

as for those that say it isn't viable, im not so sure. we have many gas fired privatley owned electric generating stations here in ontario and depending on how they sell it and when they chaged form 60 cents to well over 100 per KWH
 
  #36  
Old 08-15-11, 08:28 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
Whether or not solar is ever viable is dependent upon your normal rates. It sounds as if the viability of solar in Canada is much closer than here although current policies are driving our rates higher day by day.
 
  #37  
Old 08-15-11, 10:33 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
Posts: 4,808
Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
Could the system be paralelled with a generator?
Short et sweet answer Justin is .,, no you can not do that with the solar panels due the sinewave requirement and need compated control to sychronus it { majorty of small to med size generators are NOT designed to be sychronous with uility grid }

My generatours can do that without issue due I have sychronous control panel with phase reverseing relay so it will prevent feedback to grid when the POCO grid fail it can go " Island mode "

And last thing majorty of POCO I know both USA side and France side have specal interlock relay so they are designed to prevent feed back when the Grid go down.

Merci,
Marc
 
  #38  
Old 08-16-11, 06:46 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 381
yes frenchie you are right about not back feeding when the grid is down. i am not sure how it all works but was told that the panels have to "feel" an incoming current before the inverters will work. so, no charge from the grid, no power out from the panels. That is the simple explanation i recieved at the time of installation.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes