I am renovating a cabin including complete re-siding so I thought I would use this as an opportunity to upgrade the electrical service to 200amp (currently 100amp). Two reasons, 1) might want to add real HVAC in the future, 2) the current service is not up to code and down-right dangerous (as you can tell from the attached picture). In the picture the black box is the location of the interior (now main) panel. The red box is my proposed new meter/panel location/mast.
I was going to do this by putting in a 200amp panel outside and make the interior 100amp panel as a subpanel.
The building is on a steep hill and I need to add a handrail about 36" above the stairs and if I need to keep the meter no more than 6' above "ground" level that gives me approximately 36" for panel and meter if stacked (I need the panel above the handrail so it can open). I'm not excited about having the meter and panel side-by-side (making 4/0 Al bend around corners seems a lot of work) so I've been looking at meter/panel combos such as the Square D SC2040M200C which puts the meter roughly at 5' above "ground" level and gives me 20 spaces. Or the SC3042M200PS which is a little less deep.
I tend to shy away from "combo" things as I feel they eventually limit your flexibility however, I can't imagine 200amps in a load center with 20 spaces/40 circuits wouldn't serve me fully in the future (famous last words?).
Comments on the combo panels and this panel in particular?
I surveyed the area again this weekend and unfortunately there is a huge tree in the way of moving the utility supply any further to the right. As it is, where the service attachment is now, the service drop runs a little less than 5' feet away from the tree. I talked again with the inspector who admitted "it's best not to" have anything over the stairs but felt the meter was OK as there wasn't another good level place for a drop. He agreed to leaving the meter where it is (but lower) and running to a panel in my basement even though the clearance is only 6'3" high from floor to ceiling in the basement. I asked him about an outside disconnect and he said it wasn't required (yet) but a good idea and recommended a "combined meter base disconnect".
This leaves me in a quandary - Leave the meter where it is and put the panel inside (both of which are not 100% compliant) or something else. I could put the drop to the left (as per my updated picture); this should be an acceptable landing but puts the panel in the way of "traffic" and the mast head will be close to 24' above ground (30' maximum I believe). I also don't relish the idea of having to bore through cinder block (or should I exit the panel on the side and run my branch feed through the rim joist like my pciture?). However, this should eliminate concerns about meter location, panel location, and height of my basement).