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  • Question on solar installations

    I have considered on and off installing a solar system at our home to generate some of the electric we use. The system would not initially have any storage capacity. I'd like to keep the panels located on the garage roof only which has a large percentage of the roof with the proper exposure.

    The question is since it is a detached garage does the feed from the inverter have to go back to the main panel or can it feed into the existing (or a replacement) sub-panel in the garage and use the existing cable that runs from the 50A breaker in the main out to the sub-panel in the garage?

    Between the two structures is a breezeway which would make it expensive to have to run a new or larger feed from the garage back to the house. I do not believe the cable is run in conduit from what I see at each end. At the house the cable exits through the wall with no conduit visible and in the garage it comes up through the floor with no conduit visible. This has been this way since the house was built in the 80s long before I lived here.

    So if the solar array generates less than the capacity of the cbale will it work?
    "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

  • #2
    Re: Question on solar installations

    Yes, the existing sub could potentially be used if sized properly(powered both ways) but a pv disconnect is also required. These disconnects must disconnect equipment from all ungrounded conductors of all sources. (see art 690 of NEC)

    The first thing I would consider is the return really worth the investment your making. The answer is usually no in northern location because of limited sunshine. Another thing People over look is the maintenance required on the batteries. Batteries may only last you 4 or 5 years.

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    • #3
      Re: Question on solar installations

      Thanks for your comments john. I'm not looking at having any storage capacity at this time. I see what it takes to maintain the battery banks at work for our backup power and while I would never need anywhere near that capacity I know they are not maintenance free systems.

      Some day, as I said in another post, when a system for storing many kilowatts (the next big thing in my opinion) of power is developed, it might pay. Until then I'm not sure adding storage is worth the trouble.

      Yes, at 39 degree N, I'm not going to get much production in winter months what with limited daylight.
      "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
      John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

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