Austin Energy Guidelines for On-grid Solar Power

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Unlike a standalone Solar, or PV system, the guidelines for constructing a solar system that will interface with Austin Energy are much more rigorous.  Austin Energy refers to this as a “parallel” system.The following information is a small overview of Austin Energy’s interface guide.•    You are required to present technical data including layout drawings, equipment specifications, coordination data, equipment test data, synchronizing methods, operations manuals, and maintenance•    You will be responsible for installing and maintaining the interconnection equipment•    Austin Energy may request maintenance records to verify protective equipment checks.•    You must provide your own protective devices for your system.•    If Austin Energy incurs any extra costs due to the interface arrangement, they will be yours to pay.•    Any PV system designed to be interconnected can operate only after receiving written approval from Austin Energy.MountingThere are several ways to mount the panels: fixed, fixed with adjustable tilt angles, manual tracking, passive tracking, and active tracking.  All of these mounting approaches can be placed on the ground or on a roof, except for some active trackers, which are pole mounted and thus more suited for a ground installation.BatteriesThere are only a few types of batteries available for PV systems, due to the fact that they must be able to withstand a deep discharge.  Marine batteries can handle somewhat of a deep discharge, and can be used in a beginning system.Gel cells can be used under limited conditions, but they will not handle deep discharges.The best choice for PV systems is deep cycle lead acid.  They can be discharged up to 80 percent, and Industrial Chloride batteries can last 15-20 years.

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