The ugly truth behind grid-tie solar systems. Part 1, FarmCraft101 solar. Watch before you buy!



In Part 1, I go through the pros and cons of a grid-tied solar system in detail. We recently had a 9.1kw solar system installed, and even though I am not a solar expert, I learned a lot in the process! Hopefully other can benefit from my experience.

The ugly truth: With a grid-tie system, you cannot use your solar panels in a power outage!

My Solaredge inverter:
My Schneider backup inverter:

I will break even on my cost in about 8.5 years. The panels have a 25 year warranty. The grid tied inverter ($1200) has a 10 year warranty. Of course the inverter may last 15 or 20 years. Either way, excepting for possibly replacing the inverter, after 8.5 years this system will be earning almost $2000 per year.

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45 comments

  1. After watching the entire video (very good), I don't understand why this is named "the ugly truth" — or is that just click-bait?

  2. I went with 440V DC to 220 V AC. It gives me a 40 amp AC circuit into the main box. The bad part is in order to do a battery setup it has to be a high voltage setup so a Tesla or LG.

  3. So what you are saying is that if tax payers weren't helping you pay for your solar panel system you wouldn't be saving any money!

  4. Mini Solar tip: e.g. a Beuler and all other hungry electricity consumers can be continuously adjusted down to e.g. 300W with a 5000W dimmer (7EUR). I run 5 dimmers in parallel on an 850W inverter. Kettle 2.2KW at 150W runs 12 hours a day, so the water is always hot. The room is also nicely heated. 2.5KW washing machine runs in parallel with dimmed to 200…400W. Iron, dishwasher, oven, electric heater, coffee machine, all internal heating are throttled with me. Videos about it on my channel https://youtu.be/eC2olbCBhh0 The inverter stays cool, quiet and the MOSFETs remain intact because extreme current peaks no longer arrive at the inverter. Now every Mini PV Inverter is enough to sell large devices…

  5. very good vid, explains stuff we need to know, how much is power company paying you for power that you sell to them? THANX!

  6. And in 7.1 years you will replace components so the cost is a continual expense. In other words you never really pay it off.

  7. you probably installed it wrong, it really matters if you connect it as parrallel or series

  8. The proposition that a grid-tied system cannot be used during a power outage is no longer absolute truth. The problem is that the companies who make the inverters, or more specifically "microconverters", are starting to realize there is a market for producing power when the grid is down. Unfortunately, the inversion process and alignment of the phase(s) to the grid is so complicated and requires certification and approval from the grid operator and it is not a do-it-yourself kind of system. However, that may be changing. Sun Power is offering systems that are grid tied, but can be run when the grid is down provided you purchase their battery package; a package which may cost more than the panels and inverters. It's all about marketing and maximizing profits which is unfortunate as generation of electricity ought to be considered as something of national security. i think things will be changing over the next decade (it is now July, 2022).

  9. I've been thinking about it for my house, my average power bill is about $60 though. So I was thinking about trying to make a system for around 5k

  10. Great explanation of how power goes back to the grid. Were those reliable brands you used hybrid inverters not around back then? (Allowing you to get one instead of 2 inverters?)

  11. Just another way people found, to screw people and make money. Elon turned republican, to not get taxed on his billions .What else can you expect from a republican.

  12. Hey I noticed your feeder is before the solar panels. Don’t shoot a deer there because bullets and arrow usually go straight through. Hahahahaha more meat but no electric or spark to cook it would be bad. Plus no freezing

  13. Nice video. I am looing at the structure that support the solar panels. I am looking at the connection at the top of the post. Is there a catalogue that you can share? Thanks

  14. amazing. all the videos say their system only costs them 17,000. however they all seemed to install them themselves so there are no labor costs. seems like most videos are done by those who have the ability to install them to save massive labor costs, and have to go to great lengths to justify solar. however, no videos rave about how well their systems do after 10 years when they need to replace most everything except the panels, which are btw the least expensive part of a system.

  15. The cutdown with one panel failure has been untrue for some time now.
    These things have bypass diodes inside, so they would basically just bypass the (broken parts of) the misbehaving panel.

  16. Great Video…What type of Mounting system is that you are using? Where can i purchase it? How much does it cost? Thanks!

  17. Change in frequency drive Real Power WATTS in or out of the system. Change in voltage drives Imaginary Power VARS in or out of system.

  18. So if I heard correctly, solar panels will either reduce your electric bill, or buy you credit with the power company? I just bought 3200w of solar panels, and I'm trying to decide whether to build a simple grid tied system or a hybrid (grid tied with battery backup). I bought 15 225w 36v panels, but I can go buy 15 more @$55/panel. Worth it? Do I have to use a $2100 grid tie inverter?

  19. That's not an "ugly" truth, it's literally in the name. GRID tied system. . .
    The "pretty" truth is you'll pay off your solar, you'll NEVER pay off your electric bill.

  20. electric company in my area makes it tough to get a ROI with net metering. They charge you ten cents a kwh and only credit you with 2.5 cents. They have other plans where you only pay 5 cents a kwh, but have large swaths of time where they charge you 25 cents a kwh.

  21. Could the inverter generate a third leg? That would be good for machinery. Not sure if that is an option … Off to google I go.

  22. Perhaps just send all electricity produced to the grid, and buy t back when needed. That is, if the price of electricity output equals imput from the grid.

  23. Yes, if you lose an optimizer it will not affect any other modules. I've been running SE since 2011, it's a good setup. My other system is off grid/intertie, if the grid goes down that system powers my home with ~10.5 kWh of battery.

  24. Quick comment about Moxie Solar. The company seems to to be going out of business as we speak but! Are the salesman still taking customers and there money. Check this out, I reached out and text my Moxie Solar salesman Chris, he responds back right away. Chris: Is everything working smoothly? Let me know if it's a service issue and I can expedite a request. Me: Not really, we’re still waiting for a build date to be scheduled for our solar. Chris: I Reached out to my project manager for an update on your project. Will keep you posted! That’s the last thing we heard from anyone from Moxie Solar. We signed in June 2021 it’s now February 2022. Moxie Solar review’s tanked in the last six months. Other customers have reached out to us and let us know a class action lawsuit is on the way. Some have retained attorney’s and are demanding there money back. The ground is frozen here in Wisconsin so I’m going to wait it out till spring and see if it gets rectified. Hope that’s not a mistake on my part?
    Update: a local electrician calls us out of no where and said, hi sorry about calling you like this but your on a list with us to get solar put in but, we won’t be doing the solar job for you because Moxie Solar has not paid us for the last 10 jobs we did. And even if they paid us in full we would not do business with them again. Sorry for this inconvenience.
    So Moxie Solar’s contract requires the first two payments before they even come out. We may be out a lot of money. Is it time for an attorney???

  25. I have a SunnyBoy inverter that gives me 10 amps at 120 VAC when the grid goes down, on a separate outlet. That's plenty to run the fridge while the sun shines. Not as resilient as a backup battery, but FREE!

  26. can i use only 1 cable between the house and the grid meter if the panels are on the house and the grid meter is like 20 meters away from the house or would i need to run a separate solar cable to the grid meter too and then that meter gives it back to the house through the original 20m cable?

  27. Beware of solar panels with power optimizers!! Major source of radio interference for you and your neighbors. FCC does not require manufacturers to install RF filters on new installations! Beware. Search solar panel RFI

  28. We live off the grid and are upgrading our system from 24 volts to 48 volts . it will cost us $36000 for a complete system.

  29. Anybody know what is the power limitation of on-grid inverters? Example: 4kW in panels, on-grid inverter with max output of 5kW. Can I get 4kW out of panels and another 3kW out of grid or is it limited to 5kW total?

  30. Well explained! Too bad about your utilities wholesale rate for power sold to them, def. a deal killer.

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