This post is about getting my electrical system overhauled ready for solar panels and a natural gas generator. The generator will be using a 200a ATS, but I also opted to install a 30a inlet with a manual interlock. This will let my plug in a portable gasoline generator if I ever needed to, or the 30a outlet in my F150 Powerboost which has a 7.2kw Generator Mode.
Here is what things were like before, they were not good. The main panel was on the side of my house, which causes the feed from the utility to go across my driveway and be an eyesore. Its also in front of my gate, so anyone could walk up and mess with whatever they wanted, and to top it off, my gate opens to cover it.
As you can see here, there has been some work done including a new panel a while back, but they never ran any conduit into the new panel
So, if you want to run a new circuit, it has to go through THIS.
What a mess.
Around the side of the house we installed a sub panel so I could add more circuits, but that wasn't done very well either, as you can tell from the conduit just hanging out.
From the crappy panel on the wall, there was a 60a circuit which fed the detached garage via a sub panel. The cable runs through a breezeway.
This obviously isn't very good either.
Since there is already cable running through the garage and breezeway, I wondered why the main feed from the utility wasn't just on the garage, and then feed a sub panel on the house.
Doing this would mean a much shorter run from the pole, no cable over the driveway, 200a available in the garage for easy electric car charging, and it would save me over $2000 on the natural gas generator install because of reduced cabling. It also means I don't have to pile a bunch of electrical equipment on the side of my house.
I chose this area for the new panel panel, and generator. As you can see, its also right near the gas line, and right next to the power pole. It means all of my homes infrastructure is in one place which is secure, and out of the way.
The cardboard is there the generator will live.
I started by chopping down some fence to make it easy for the electricians, the utility and the generator installers to get around. Without this shortcut, you have to go all the way around the garage
First thing done was the new meter base and new main panel. This got done early in the morning before the utility came out to move the feed
Once that was up, CenterPoint energy showed up and cut down the old feed
And then worked to get the new one connected in one visit
The new run is MUCH shorter, and seems to just make way more sense than going all the way across the garage
The new panel is an 8 space 200a panel, with feed through lugs. 2/0 cable is used to go back to the house, which also has a 200a panel
The cable was fed all the way from the house, back into the garage where it will enter the panel
While working on this, we worked on removing the old equipment
A lot of the cables didn't even go anywhere, they just went up to the attic and ended and were never connected. We manged to remove a lot of junk
There was a few that went down through the wall, which was a challenge to get the new panel around the corner, but we managed
The holes were filled with foam foam/plywood temporarily. You can see how much neater this is, no more cable over the driveway
With the crappy conduit removed, this is now the only panel on the house. Its a 48 space panel feed with 200a from the main panel
To get all the cables in there, we had to rip out some sheetrock. A small price to pay for proper electrical
This is now what is on the exterior of the garage. A new ground rod was installed, and everything was routed through the inside of the garage to make it as neat as possible.
We then added a the 30a inlet for a gasoline generator
This inlet is quite large compared to other models, but it lets you close the cover with the cord attached
Here is the new main panel with a generator interlock
Next we can move to the inside of the garage. That 125a breaker feeds a new panel inside
At some point in the future I will be swapping to Combination breakers, when I run some new circuits.
Thats all for now, the next post will be either the solar install, the generator install, or testing out powering the house from my F150