Solar System Experience
The installation of the panels, inverters, breaker panel, system shutoff, Envoy unit, appropriate NM labels, green painted mast and the connection to the transfer switch took 3 people, 6 hours. We prepared the roof (power wash and silicone coating) and installed the rack supports and racks a few weeks ago. We also provided the access into the attic for the conduit while preparing the roof. The correct permit was obtained from the DPNR....not fast but it was obtained. I should have been more clear.
Yes, it is a new company and I submit to you that we need more new companies that are interested in doing business in the VI. Like all business, competition is good. I knew a couple of the owners and after researching the systems and conducting a number of conversations with Enphase corporate support regarding the installation, support and equipment over a 4 month period, decided to have them install it. I have wired a number of homes and this truly is not a difficult task in a simple residential installation if you adhere to the VI code requirements to keep Lenny happy. In a large commercial application, it would be much more involved.
According to the USVI Legislature bill tracker, the bill has not been sent to the Gov yet. It has gone through one amendment from the rules committee. I'm first to admit I'm not an expert on the legislative process but here is the link.
Bill is co-sponsored by two senators I normally vote for and am very surprised they proposed this. I have e-mailed Sanes with some questions regarding the proposed bill and will post the response when I receive it.
FYI. I received the following response from the senator:
"The language in the bill needs to be change. I spoke to legal counsel and I'm holding the bill until further notice."
I have a call in to try to determine what the future of this bill is and will post any further information as received.
After talking with the senator the intent of the bill is for this levy to be applied to comercial producers. He is very concerned that the language was presented as-is and has intentionally held the bill from progressing further. He intends to have the bill removed (fromt he website) until it can be revised as intended.
The permit for our installation also took 4 months to obtain from the DPNR. Following several contacts with the Gov and other officials on STT, they sent over the DPNR head from STT to have a talk with the inspector and sign all the outstanding permits. It was installed 2 days later.
I know 4 people who have had their systems installed since early this year and still no final inspection. So, do they expect everyone to spend all the money for alternative energy and then leave it sitting there unused for months while they ponder doing the final. That is total lunacy. There is nothing in construction going on here that would delay a simple electrical inspection for 5 months! Just total inefficiency, IMO.
Regarding another comment, the DPNR told me that they had NO digital net metering meters. But then, WAPA recently told us that they did not have any bulbs for our street lights that have been slowly going out for 3 years (only 2 of 6 now work and we get billed a flat monthly fee for all 6 regardless of there status).........are you ready, Hurricane OMAR!!!!! That was in Oct. 16 of 2008!
Again, I hear ALL these complaints about permits, etc. Let me set everyone straight. There is a permitting process that has a few pages of paperwork to fill out and drawings that need to be drawn. Believe me when I tell you, most of the " solar companies" do not know how to fill these out properly. I have seen it first hand. Why don't they do it correctly? Because they don't understand anything other then micro-inverters. The permit does not have a section on it for micro-inverters. If a true solar professional understands how to figure the electrical information needed for a solar system, then they will know how to fill out the permit correctly, even using micr's. If it is not filled out correctly, then it will not be processed until such. I know your case personally (gonetropo), and the one owner of their company threatened to sue the inspector for not doing his job. Great way to make friends with the inspector., and DPNR for that matter. I sat in a meeting last Tuesday with all the installers on this Island, DPNR Director, inspector, Unit Chief, and WAPA, your guy made a total fool of himself. It is one thing to be the new kid on the block and need to understand "HOW" to fill out a permit and understand the flow chart of how the entire process works, but it is another thing when he tells the Director that they need to make a pre-made form to fit his needs as he does not know how to fill these out and what DPNR wants on the permit. This business is not a one product fits all, every system is the same, business. It takes training, understanding and most of all, years of hands on experience. I hear these stories of how long it takes to get through the process, I never wait more then three weeks for a permit to install a system. I never wait more then two weeks for WAPA to inspect and sign off, and one to two weeks until the, yes, a Bi-Directional Digital meter is installed. DPNR is correct, they don't have these meters, WAPA does. The lower price of these "discount solar companies" comes with these types of problems. If the paperwork in filled in correctly and completely, and given to the correct people, it all works for the most part smoothly. Again, I have been doing this for 30yrs, 6yrs here. The permitting process is faster here then everywhere else that we install in the US, Caribbean, Canada, Guam and AU. Also, when you understand the amount of electrical inspection, permitting, follow-up inspections because systems are installed incorrectly, etc., that the inspector has to do, you can understand any slight delays. This guy does a ton of work, and does it well I may add. There is a lot of permits on his desk, and he works 12 hr days though paid for 8. I'm not related to him, or even what I would consider buds with him, but he is working hard for the good of the Island. By the end of 2013, permitting will ALL be done electronically, which will speed up the processes. Streetlights, now that's a different story......
I'd want solar stand alone. I know they make small ones for camping and RV, but my interest as a renter, is some kind of solar powered battery I could plug into. I don't use much, my electric bill is around 40-50 a month. I don't know how to explain my usage really, sorry. I know nothing about electric. Fridge, computer, small tv, blender, microwave, a light, not all at the same time, lol.
It's a neat idea, but I don't think you're going to find anything like that... because of safety (and practical) issues. Let me see if I can explain:
- the fridge, computer, small TV, etc are all plugged into the home's wall outlets.
- so, for convenience, you'd want the generator to feed power to the whole home, in place of the WAPA power cable.
- but, there's no easy/safe way to do this for a temporary/rental situation (certainly not easy for the average home owner).
- so, instead, you'd have to run cables from the generator to each of these devices (unplug the devices from the home, and plug them into the cables from the generator). This is just not very practical because you'll have cables strewn all about.
- and, if you did manage to insert the generator into the home's power system this way then you'd run into another potential problem: some cloudy days, the solar system would not supply enough power (despite the battery); and so you'd need a way to switch back to WAPA power. Again, just not very practical.
- finally, I doubt the landlord would allow you to drill holes in the roof to install the panels. So, you'd need to find a protected (yet open) area and means to install the panels such that they faced the Sun much of the day. Just from quick estimating, I'd guess that you might need 2 panels based on your devices (a fridge could be 300-500 watts and is on all the time... but maybe not drawing all that power, all the time???). A clever solar generator manufacturer might have a solution to this, but the other problems discussed are tougher.
And, for all the clever people: I don't think a "suicide cable" is a good Harry Homeowner solution to this problem... please don't go there.