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MicroFIT solar plan: is there any way to also use it as Battery Backup?

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  • Sep 16th, 2014 9:30 pm
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[OP]
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Jul 10, 2005
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Toronto

MicroFIT solar plan: is there any way to also use it as Battery Backup?

I understand that feeding power to the grid during an outage will put repair workers in danger.

Is there a switch or special circuitry (approved by ON hydro) that would work as grid-tie at regular times, and as off-grid battery backup during outages?

My ideal project would be to sell energy to Hydro (and keep my batteries charged) most of the time, while protecting from blackouts.

Thanks
24 replies
Member
Nov 24, 2007
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The technology to do what your asking is available in Europe, but not in North America.
[OP]
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Jul 10, 2005
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Toronto
RJones89 wrote:
Jan 16th, 2014 6:46 pm
The technology to do what your asking is available in Europe, but not in North America.
That's a bummer, but thanks for the info.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 1, 2006
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Muskoka
Have you considered a 12V grid-independant system instead? I'm building one this spring with panels bought on sale at Cdn Tire, and there are lots of detailed instructions on YouTube and sites like Instructables. It won't power your fridge or furnace (unless you have DC fan!), but I plan to use for some lights in case of blackout, to charge some electronics, and to power my router and modem full time. It will be a fun project, might even save some money in long run, and I'll have lights and charged phone when everyone else is out!
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Dec 11, 2005
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RJones89 wrote:
Jan 16th, 2014 6:46 pm
The technology to do what your asking is available in Europe, but not in North America.
Er, I don't really know what you are talking about. All you need is a high-amp cut-off switch at your entrance... flip the switch and your house is not connected to the grid at all. It is 200 year old technology. You have one such switch on your breaker panel.
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Mar 27, 2005
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It's not that simple because typical grid-tie solar inverters detect the utility voltage and shut down once it drops below a certain value
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Apr 20, 2011
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brunes wrote:
Jan 17th, 2014 6:58 am
Er, I don't really know what you are talking about. All you need is a high-amp cut-off switch at your entrance... flip the switch and your house is not connected to the grid at all. It is 200 year old technology. You have one such switch on your breaker panel.
Justin C wrote:
Jan 17th, 2014 8:13 am
It's not that simple because typical grid-tie solar inverters detect the utility voltage and shut down once it drops below a certain value
I would imagine you'll need a transfer switch BEFORE the inverter, and your own separate inverter circuit. Then you can do revenue or self sustain, but not both. My parents' inverter is as described above - needs a utility connection to work.
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Nov 25, 2002
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Brampton
I am sure this would cause tax issues with CRA in terms of writing off the costs of your system, since it's no longer solely income-generating.
[OP]
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Jul 10, 2005
754 posts
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Toronto
Bullseye wrote:
Jan 17th, 2014 6:08 am
Have you considered a 12V grid-independant system instead? I'm building one this spring with panels bought on sale at Cdn Tire, and there are lots of detailed instructions on YouTube and sites like Instructables. It won't power your fridge or furnace (unless you have DC fan!), but I plan to use for some lights in case of blackout, to charge some electronics, and to power my router and modem full time. It will be a fun project, might even save some money in long run, and I'll have lights and charged phone when everyone else is out!
Yes, it is a fun project, but my goal is to be self-sustained on blackouts AND generate revenue the rest of the time with the same setup.
[OP]
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Jul 10, 2005
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Toronto
aqnd wrote:
Jan 17th, 2014 9:27 am
I would imagine you'll need a transfer switch BEFORE the inverter, and your own separate inverter circuit. Then you can do revenue or self sustain, but not both. My parents' inverter is as described above - needs a utility connection to work.
I can imagine the technical way to do it. Was wondering if anyone had experience trying to get ON Hydro to approve such setup.
[OP]
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nabeel wrote:
Jan 17th, 2014 10:24 am
I am sure this would cause tax issues with CRA in terms of writing off the costs of your system, since it's no longer solely income-generating.
In any business there is a way to declare when some of your product for sale has been consumed internally.
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dani_toronto wrote:
Jan 16th, 2014 2:06 pm
I understand that feeding power to the grid during an outage will put repair workers in danger.

Is there a switch or special circuitry (approved by ON hydro) that would work as grid-tie at regular times, and as off-grid battery backup during outages?

My ideal project would be to sell energy to Hydro (and keep my batteries charged) most of the time, while protecting from blackouts.

Thanks
Through the microfit program it is not allowed. What you can do is buy extra panels and have them dedicated to charge your batteries in your basement as back up.
[OP]
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Jul 10, 2005
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Toronto
antigua1999 wrote:
Jan 17th, 2014 1:30 pm
Through the microfit program it is not allowed. What you can do is buy extra panels and have them dedicated to charge your batteries in your basement as back up.
So I'd need 2 separate sets of panels, and at any given time one of those sets would be unused?

That doesn't seem efficient at all.

Thanks for the info, anyways.
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dani_toronto wrote:
Jan 17th, 2014 1:35 pm
So I'd need 2 separate sets of panels, and at any given time one of those sets would be unused?

That doesn't seem efficient at all.

Thanks for the info, anyways.
You could use the second set of panels to charge the batteries in the basement and use the power in the batteries to offset some of your hydro charges.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 10, 2005
754 posts
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Toronto
antigua1999 wrote:
Jan 17th, 2014 1:40 pm
You could use the second set of panels to charge the batteries in the basement and use the power in the batteries to offset some of your hydro charges.
Hmm... how to combine incoming Hydro with battery power? I assume sparks would fly (in a bad way) if those 2 touch each other.
Should I have some house circuits off-grid, fed exclusively by the batteries? Or are there controllers that can somehow use as much battery power as possible, and get from the grid the rest that the house may need?

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