Design Your Own Grid Tie System using a micro Inverter

DC to AC Inverter PV Panels

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Photovoltaic Panels

Photovoltaic Panels generate electricity from the Sun. That much, I am sure you already know!

There are three basic types:
1. Mono-crystalline: Square and Round cells make up the design of the panel. These panels are the most efficient for space to power output ratio.
2. Poly-crystalline: Very similar to the single crystal panels above, these Panels have a speckled blue pattern and are almost as efficient for space to power output.
3. Thin Film: These panels used very little silicon to manufacture, if any at all. The photon-electron conversion system is part of a very thin layer of silicon and is attached to a non-silicon substrate, like steel, aluminum or plastic.

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DC to AC Inverter

The Inverter Converts the DC Power from the PV Panels to AC Power to push electricity back through the meter. Most Inverter types use a series string of panels to connect to the DC side of the inverter. These "String" Inverters usually require 200 to 600 Vdc to operate. But the Micro Inverter attaches directly to each panel reducing the number of connections and eliminating the DC Disconnect

1. If a each PV panel is 190 Watt at 30Vdc.
2. The Inverter requires 30Vdc to run properly.
3. Each Panel gets its own inverter so you can start with as little as one Panel.
4. Up to 15 Panels can be connected to one breaker in your AC Circuit Panel.


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Electric Meter

The electric meter is the houses connection the Electric Utility - The GRID. It symbolizes dependence to some and protection to others. The electricity made onsite reduces the amount purchased from the utility. The meter spins backwards (or slows its forward progress) when the sun in shining. When the GRID is down, the meter cannot spin and the power from the Panels goes no where...
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Bill of Materials for a Typical Example System:

Item # Quantity Description Notes
1 1 or more 200W PV Modules 35.2 Vmp, 43.8 Voc each, Could use 7-14 panels in a startup system
2 1 UniRac Four Rail Kit Available in different lengths and configurations based on Layout
3 1 UniRac 20pc Box "C" End Clamps to mount panels to rails 20pc box is usually cheaper than buying 16??
4 2 UniRac 20pc Box A-B-C Mid Clamps to mount panel to rails Like #3, it depends on the PV Layout and mounting
5 1 Enphase Micro Inverter M190 Has built-in GFPD and MC Cable whips
6 1 240VAC-30A Breaker for Main House Panel Plus AC wiring from Inverter to Main Panel

Note: Estimate of items required. Job Site inspection/review is necessary to verify electrical, structural and permit requirements... Some sites also require a AC Lockable Disconnect. Be sure to Contact Us if you have questions about your specific situation...


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Updated: July 02, 2010