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Is it possible/safe to plug photovoltaic electricity into wall socket? Answered

I have a photovoltaic panel and I want to connect it to the AC power line of my house.

To  connect it to the electrical panel of the house I should use long wires.
So I thought: "Is it possible to plug it into the nearest wall socket?"

Of course I don't want to put straightway DC from the photovoltaic panel into the AC power line... what I mean is  to plug the output from an inverter into the wall socket.

Is the inverter supposed to adjust the phase of its output current to match the mains' phase?
Should I look for a particular kind of inverter?

Thanks for your answers



EDIT:
Doing further research I found that a company sells photovoltaic systems that you can plug into the wall socket.
So in theory it should be doable, but as rickharris pointed out, it seems that it would cost more than I'm ready to spend.

Probably I had better resort to plan B: connecting the solar panel to an inverter, snaking wires through the walls and adding another receptacle to an existing electrical outlet.



Thanks to all of you

Comments

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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

Best Answer 7 years ago

You are correct in thinking this requires a special kind of inverter, one capable of synchronizing itself to the freqency and phase of the mains.

This kind of inverter is called a "grid-tie inverter".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid-tie_inverter

I haven't checked in a while, but these tend to be expensive, and made to handle much more power, i.e. kilowatt*hours per day, than a single PV panel is capable of producing.

That is to say, I think the grid tie inverter is only going to be economical when connected to a large array of PV panels, and even then it is going to take several years to recover the cost of the whole system.

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krobotnik
krobotnik

7 months ago

A grid-tie inverter isn't going to damage anything if you plug it into the wall socket.
Assuming you match the grid spec I don't see how it's going to be an issue.

Think about it. You're not putting out serious amps, you don't have a 60-panel array.
Your house is probably going to use more than your solar array in the various things,
fans, ac, laundry, lights, kitchen, chargers, computers, tv, etc. So all you're doing
is 'reversing' (not really.) a small amount of current that would normally come from the
breakers to the plugs back thru one of the plugs to the breaker, then out to the draw plug.
That's it, just the rating of the inverter x the solar panel output.

If you were to put a huge load on, like all 20amp-50amp circuits with vacuum cleaners going, you still would only be 'drawing' (again not actually) the small amount of current the inverter puts out back thru that one plug into the breaker to the draw plugs, the rest coming from the main. The thing to screw up AFAIK would be some 'smart' plug electronic end type device possibly, but I can't even imagine why that would be. YMMV.

If anyone thinks I'm wrong about this I'd love to hear why.

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Josehf Murchison
Josehf Murchison

7 years ago

If you are just going to use it during blackouts yea.

Just pull the main breaker and plug it in.

If you are going to use it all the time you need a grid tie inverter.

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rickharris
rickharris

7 years ago

I have a 4Kwatt PV system tied into the mains supply. The inverter was about £300 so this isn't a cheap project. All told the PV system was £6000.

You can't just connect to the supply - there are safety issues and your power suplier will probably have some rules you need to follow as well.

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mpilchfamily
mpilchfamily

7 years ago

No it needs to be connected through you breaker. You need to look up and follow your local regulations regarding this issue.

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waterrocketexpert
waterrocketexpert

7 years ago

Whoa please don't kill yourself. Try the search function.

I typed in this: how to connect your photoelectric panal to your house power supply

and got an good article.

Here is a quote: "Because of their modularity, PV systems can be designed to meet any electrical requirement, no matter how large or how small. You can connect them to an electric distribution system (grid-connected), or they can stand alone [10610](off-grid). You can also use PV technology to provide outdoor lighting."

Don't believe me? Try it yourself.