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JeanPaulSartre's avatar

How can a solar array power source be bypassed when the batteries run low?

Asked by JeanPaulSartre (5779points) May 13th, 2012 from iPhone

So I’m designing a solar array for my roof. I have a solid understanding of the components needed and the electrical knowhow to do it, but I can’t figure out how to get the power to automatically fail-over back to the grid if the batteries are low. Is this a function of the charge controller, the inverter, or something else entirely?

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4 Answers

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Ah got it. If anyone else is interested, you need an “automatic transfer switch” – or get a manual one for that mad scientist charm.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I’m going to be taking a solar course soon from a friend of mine. How much does one of those run you? And is the manual one a neat looking big handle like I’m imagining?

Bellatrix's avatar

Are you allowed to build your own system and feed power back into the grid where you are?

Here (and I have just had solar power installed) the power company will only allow you to connect an approved system (has to meet an Australian standard) and it has to be installed by accredited installers. Plus the power company can refuse to allow you to feed into the grid, if there are too many systems already connected.

It’s really interesting that you can build your own and connect to the grid where you are.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@incendiary_dan The transfer switch is surpassingly inexpensive – $80 or so, but the whole smack will be closer to $3k, for a pretty small system. Sounds like an awesome course!

@Bellatrix We could feed into the grid, definitely, but I might not since the cost of batteries may be less than the cost of permits to feed in. I can take extra power from the grid as needed, as long as the systems don’t touch, which is more likely what will happen since this is a pretty small system I’m putting together.

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