New From Florida

Marsh68

New Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2021
Messages
2
Hi everyone. Just joined. Are there many Florida members here? I'm having a tough time getting much info on codes and requirements where I'm at. I spoke with the county building department, code enforcement and licensing trying to obtain any restrictive requirements with installing DIY solar. They only quote the NEC 2017 guidelines. The local solar contractors all push microinverters and most tell me I must have a "certified" solar contractor to any solar installs. The county just says I need a licensed electrical contractor and architectural engineer for permitting. I built my own house in 2005 and guest house in 2007. Has anyone in south Florida build there own string inverter system themselves successfully? Mainly Martin County. I'm in a rural area so there's no space or easement issues. I have no issues hiring an electrical contractor, I just want to use equipment "I" pick out and have input on design. Any info with experience in this area would be great. (I was an industrial electrician for 15 yrs before I moved to industrial controls for the last 15 yrs)
 

DerpsyDoodler

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Jan 10, 2021
Messages
1,635
Hi everyone. Just joined. Are there many Florida members here? I'm having a tough time getting much info on codes and requirements where I'm at. I spoke with the county building department, code enforcement and licensing trying to obtain any restrictive requirements with installing DIY solar. They only quote the NEC 2017 guidelines. The local solar contractors all push microinverters and most tell me I must have a "certified" solar contractor to any solar installs. The county just says I need a licensed electrical contractor and architectural engineer for permitting. I built my own house in 2005 and guest house in 2007. Has anyone in south Florida build there own string inverter system themselves successfully? Mainly Martin County. I'm in a rural area so there's no space or easement issues. I have no issues hiring an electrical contractor, I just want to use equipment "I" pick out and have input on design. Any info with experience in this area would be great. (I was an industrial electrician for 15 yrs before I moved to industrial controls for the last 15 yrs)
I wouldnt trust what the installers are telling you. They want your money. Are you looking to grid-tie? where will the panels be mounted? that may be the difference between needing permit and not. That said, there are plenty of people more knowledgable about this than me, here. You'll be able to find the answers or guidance you need.
 
Last edited:

JoeMartinMVC

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2021
Messages
10
I'm in a similar boat and looking for similar answers. I'm in the NW of Florida in Santa Rosa County and they said I need an electrical permit (which is easy) and a building permit since I'm doing ground mount, which requires engineered plans, and that's where I'm running in to issues.
 

Marsh68

New Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2021
Messages
2
I initially wanted a UPS setup for my new AC system but now I see I could save quite a bit with a 10k panel setup. I have an Emporia power monitor system which is awesome by the way, and have a very good idea how much power I use and from which circuits. I didnt really care about grid-tie, buy it seems that could be extra savings. Still not sure how i want to mount the panels. I could go either way. I have lots of options.
I wouldnt trust what the installers are telling you. They want your money. Are you looking to grid-tie? where will the panels be mounted? that may be the difference between needing permit and not. That said, there are plenty of people more knowledgable about this than me, here. You'll be able to find the answers or guidance you need.
 

The New JC777

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
131
Its all about the wind here in Charlotte County Fl. I would do a ground mount purchased from a company that will give you all of the engineering and installation documents.
 

Diysolar123

Solar Addict
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
Messages
642
many counties in florida require ALL solar installation to be done by a "licensed solar engineer"..the joy of increased gov regulations in all areas.
If you want to try and do it on your own you have to have all plans "signed" by the same said people...
 

JoeMartinMVC

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2021
Messages
10
I'm fortunate that NW Florida doesn't seem to require a licensed solar engineer, but they do want engineered plans. I'm wondering if I can adapt the Tamarack plans to accommodate for using top rail alone and not use their proprietary and expensive rails.
 

Jim1033

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
48
I did a 10 k grid tie as owner builder a few years ago. I did have an engineer do the plans and went through FSEC for certification. I also had to deal with the power company and their silly agreement. Put it up myself and had it inspected by County. No real issues. Now if you are wanting to do a AliExpress special you probably will not be able to get product approvals, UL listing and not legally be able to have it. I am in the Sanford Orlando area.
 

JoeMartinMVC

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2021
Messages
10
I did a 10 k grid tie as owner builder a few years ago. I did have an engineer do the plans and went through FSEC for certification. I also had to deal with the power company and their silly agreement. Put it up myself and had it inspected by County. No real issues. Now if you are wanting to do a AliExpress special you probably will not be able to get product approvals, UL listing and not legally be able to have it. I am in the Sanford Orlando area.
We've done a couple here in the past few years and the only thing they originally required was an electrical permit and inspection, but I guess they recently changed it to require a building permit for the actual mounting system. I don't think UL is required so much as just making sure it can survive 130 MPH winds.
 

svetz

Works in theory! Practice? That's something else
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
4,918
Location
Key Largo
AFAIK in Florida you can install your own microinverters... but some inverter companies might void the warranty if not "professionally" installed. Typically those vendors offer "installation" courses so the DIYer isn't out of luck.
 

JoeMartinMVC

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2021
Messages
10
I did a 10 k grid tie as owner builder a few years ago. I did have an engineer do the plans and went through FSEC for certification. I also had to deal with the power company and their silly agreement. Put it up myself and had it inspected by County. No real issues. Now if you are wanting to do a AliExpress special you probably will not be able to get product approvals, UL listing and not legally be able to have it. I am in the Sanford Orlando area.
Do you mind if we ask how much the plans with the engineer cost?
 

Jim1033

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
48
I do not remember now. It was a few years ago. I think like $1500 plus permit fees. Maybe $600 including the FSEC. Not sure what they are now.
 
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