I designed my system primarily as a backup system in case the grid goes down long term. I just happen to run it every day, weather permitting, to help lower my electric bill. When I originally started searching for “solar generator” I would mostly see portable type units. I wanted something like the compact portable units but wanted more power so it could also run my critical loads everyday, yet be fully charged by the time the sun goes down. I call it a generator for a couple reasons. It does not power the entire house, everything is compact and in the house, and it’s a little like a hybrid between the typical solar generator and the typical off grid system used everyday. I keep it 100% charged everyday by the time the sun goes down by manually regulating the loads I use acting like a human transfer switch. The batteries in many larger off grid systems are either kept full by being tied to the grid or by the use of a fuel generator.
Brent and Josh were very helpful at WholeSale Solar: http://www.wholesalesolar.com
The electrician I used to help me wire my system owns Four Ace Electric in Northern California. He was very kind and knowledgeable. He was also very reasonably priced. Ask for Leo… http://www.fouraceelectrical.com
I purchased my solar panels from Fortune Energy in Northern California. They were very reasonably priced and very helpful. http://fortuneenergy.net
I am not an electrician and just make suggestions based on personal experiences. If you are not an electrician, I suggest speaking to one regarding anything to do with electricity and your system.