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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Gas fridges are inefficient and will cost more to run than standard AC fridges.
    Iíd rather suggest getting a new A/A+ rated Fridge if the current one is older.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto Betta View Post
    To add to what Jelo said, fridges and freezers are also power eaters and theyíre on 24/7 unlike toasters, kettels etc. Iíd say if you have a separate chest freezer and even a bar fridge switch it off, use it when you need to or even sell it and keep your primary fridge/freezer full and donít open the door every five minutes. Iíve already got rid of my kettle, trying to figure out how to toast bread on gas now and next will be a gas fridge/freezer which will be a difficult one. Electric lawnmowers are also a problem.

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  3. #62
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto Betta View Post
    Electric lawnmowers are also a problem.
    electrical lawnmowers are a crap idea to start with, for so many reasons
    just sell the thing and buy a cheap petrol mower with a decent 4-stroke engine
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  5. #63
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by SAND View Post
    Gas fridges are inefficient and will cost more to run than standard AC fridges.
    Iíd rather suggest getting a new A/A+ rated Fridge if the current one is older.
    To add to this an inverter washing machine uses 35% less power than the same one running a normal motor.

    The other day I read feedback on a new jouse type fridge using less power than a normal camping fridge when using 12V input to an inverter. That is the huge difference the start current can make on consumption on a inverter supplied fridge. The same is the case on using an inverter start type aircon.

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  7. #64
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Ek het n defy combo yskas model c385 en hy gebuik sowat 128w konstant.

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  9. #65
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    I made the decision last year to take my office off the grid and recently my home too. My office is running on an InfiniSolar 10kw 3 Phase with 2 x 2.4kw Pylontech batteries (I will be adding another 2 soon) and 32 x 300W panels. At home, I have the 5kw Infinisolar Hybrid Inverter with a 3.5kw Pylontech battery, no panels for now but will add them in a month or two. We don't even know when the power goes off, the only indication is the beeping sound from the inverter to let you know you are discharging the batteries. I don't have a day's problem with the setup and can recommend it. Once power is off at home, I limit my load to about 550Wh, and the 3.5kw Pylontech battery still has about 60% left after a 4hour powerless stint. On rainy days at the office, we still generate about 1300W per hour with our system. We are a media/advertising company, and we mostly run computers, but about three years ago I saw a gap in the renewable energy market and started my education and now reaping the rewards. If any of you need some advice, I am here to help. We do supply most top brands of inverters, panels and batteries.

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  11. #66
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    If one was aiming at a moderately priced system say 5KW for home only what would you recommend inverter wise. Looking for a brand which is reliable not necessarily the top dollar. Would you go for grid-tied/hybrid?

    Have you had any inverters fail during the 5 year warranty period - can they be repaired and is any brand offering good back-up service?
    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2019/03/25 at 08:56 AM.

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  12. #67
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by lazlo View Post
    I made the decision last year to take my office off the grid and recently my home too. My office is running on an InfiniSolar 10kw 3 Phase with 2 x 2.4kw Pylontech batteries (I will be adding another 2 soon) and 32 x 300W panels. At home, I have the 5kw Infinisolar Hybrid Inverter with a 3.5kw Pylontech battery, no panels for now but will add them in a month or two. We don't even know when the power goes off, the only indication is the beeping sound from the inverter to let you know you are discharging the batteries. I don't have a day's problem with the setup and can recommend it. Once power is off at home, I limit my load to about 550Wh, and the 3.5kw Pylontech battery still has about 60% left after a 4hour powerless stint. On rainy days at the office, we still generate about 1300W per hour with our system. We are a media/advertising company, and we mostly run computers, but about three years ago I saw a gap in the renewable energy market and started my education and now reaping the rewards. If any of you need some advice, I am here to help. We do supply most top brands of inverters, panels and batteries.
    Please explain how your house is "Off Grid" but you have no solar panels installed?
    Perhaps your house is just backed up by battery power.

    Office setup sounds nice. Costs?


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  13. #68
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto Betta View Post
    ...........trying to figure out how to toast bread on gas ..........
    My wife is an expert on that
    1998 Daihatsu Rocky 'The Kitty'
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  14. #69
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    One thing I learnt when I went (mostly) off grid a few years ago from a cost perspective:

    The key is to buy a reasonably sized pure Sine wave converter which you want to use longterm (ie residential = 5000W) at the beginning - do not compromise on quality there - and that is unfortunately pricey. But after that..

    Your panels and batteries can be "upsized" over time(3 years) .... it wil only mean you have to make some relative easy changes to your power usage lifestyle - for example:

    1) do not use your "1600W+" items (washing machine, tumble dryer, iron, etc) at the same time, and
    2) use "1600W+" items at different time intervals between 10h00 (by that time the sun is usually "full on" on your solar panels) and 14h00 (after which you need to let the panels load your batteries for the fridge, tv and lights through the night.


    Solar panels have "halved" in price since I bought and it will become cheaper - but I strongly suggest you start now with the minimum investment and then grow it over time.

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  16. #70
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    [QUOTE=Tsaals;4112506]...[QUOTE]

    As he said...some lifestyle changes goes hand in hand with going off grid.
    Last edited by Prof; 2019/03/25 at 10:13 AM.
    1998 Daihatsu Rocky 'The Kitty'
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  18. #71
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Wetkit View Post
    Please explain how your house is "Off Grid" but you have no solar panels installed?
    Perhaps your house is just backed up by battery power.

    Office setup sounds nice. Costs?
    Yes, apologies. My house will be off-grid soon. I only have the back-up function running at this stage but I did spec the whole set-up to be off-grid once the panels are in place. I decided on the Jinko 300w Eagle Mono PERC MAXIM panels as I have two different azimuth locations and these modules have built-in optimisers, which really helps with areas that get partial shading.

  19. #72
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    [QUOTE=Prof;4112511][QUOTE=Tsaals;4112506]...

    As he said...some lifestyle changes goes hand in hand with going off grid.
    True

  20. #73
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Since 2012 off grid. Since end of 2018 grid tied:
    Victron MultiPlus II Inverter 48/3000 with MK3-USB for firmware upgrades
    Victron BlueSolar MPPT regulator max 150/100 with VE.Direct to USB cable for MPPT (1.8m)
    VenusGX for ESS
    Carlo Gavazzi for measuring what goes in and out of DB with RS485 to USB - 5m
    +- R34 000

    Panels: 350w Canadian Solar - 6 of them at +-R1950 each = R 11 700
    Mounting of panels: +-R8k of which about R1750 is labour for one day, rest is wire and frames.
    CoC about +-R3k
    Engineering report: +-R2.5k
    Have Trojan T105RE's for the last 4.5 years. They may least another 4 years - seldom used below SOC (State of Charge) of 80% / DoD of 20%.
    Use a BMV battery monitor if you have lead acid based batteries.
    Next level is Pylontech batteries +-R15k per bank - muich cheaper tahn any lead acid base and comparable to Eskom cost per kwh

    So +- R90k for the above, grid tied and nearly legally connected.

    Can later, if the data says so, get (illegally) a 2nd Multigrid as we are limited in inverter size to the main breaker of the home.
    Add more panels if I want.
    Add more Pylontech batteries when I want.
    IF THE DATA SAYS SO.

    There is this NEED vs WANT
    thing where NEEDS cost less than WANTS in solar.
    Daytime the panels drive the loads, not the batteries, and evenings I fit my loads to the batteries, not the batteries to the loads.
    And loads like kettle / geyser / pool pump, you stagger them with times to not overload the inverter.
    Or use Sonof switches using the data the system generates to optimally use the power available.

    For these are the rules for going solar:
    First Rule of Solar: Reducing consumption even more is in your future. (from a fortune cookie)
    Second Rule of solar: Behavioral changes you are going to make. (in Yoda's voice)
    Third Rule of Solar: SWAMBO and her little ones are going to get upset with you. (just trust me on this one)
    Fourth Rule of Solar: You are going to upgrade. (you'll see)


    After having lived 1-3 above in real life we can call ourselves novice solar experts, for the journey has now begun with rule 4 the next level.
    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2019/03/25 at 12:07 PM.

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  22. #74
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    My home brew system is in effect a large UPS. When mains is available the whole house runs on mains which also charges the batteries. When mains goes off most of the house runs on batteries.

    When I got a set of ten year old 12 x 2v, 280A/hour Willard cells for scrap value I bought a 24volt 3kw Microcare inverter/charger. Installed about 2014. This means that in theory the batteries have about 3Kw/hrs of power available which so far has been sufficient to see me through all the load shedding and line repairs, sometimes for up to 8 hours. The circuits for the gas stove with electric oven, solar geyser with electric backup, one plug circuit that runs kettle, mini oven and toaster are wired into the DB before the inverter.

    If I was starting over I would definitely go for a bigger set of batteries. I would probably go for a set of forklift batteries and maybe a 5kw inverter/charger. The 3kw inverter runs the top loader washing machine with no problems. Rest of the load is a fridge, chest freezer, 3G wifi internet modem, laptop, TV, DSTV, Vodacom booster. What it does not like is the 12 000Btu aircon. Sometimes the inverter trips on overload when the compressor starts up after the unit has been running for a while. An inverter aircon will be cheaper than a bigger power inverter.

    The small box just under the inverter is a so called battery de-sulphater. I was sceptical when i bought it two years ago and remain so.

    Sorry the picture is sideways

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by tonydovey; 2019/03/25 at 12:44 PM.

  23. #75
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Been living off-grid for couple of years now. 40k ltr water storage under garage.
    Electrikity
    16 x 250 watt solar panels.
    Victron MPPT controller
    2 x 8kw Victron Quattro inverters duty standby
    Victron COLOR control GX + Victron BMV-700 to monitor the lot and provide real life data via web and app
    48V 82kw +- 1700ah battery bank
    Standby 30Kva dedicated single phase Deutz generator in-case with long run tank. (should have gotten the acoustic enclosure tho..)

    We wash, iron and hoover at our hearts content (family of 4 - two teenage boys).... however the solar array is sufficient in size to allow for washing and or drying and charging the batteries at the same time. That is very important to do. At night time we consume about 350-550watts for say 5 to 6 hours purely on the batteries and the level only drops to say 97% over night so when the solar panels kick in, it tops it right back up and and can float/absorb charge for 8 - 10 hours during the day. Not hammering the batteries will in crease the overall life span.

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    304AMC CJ-7.... The economical version
    5.0 V8 600Cfm Holley, Custom pipes, Edelbrock inlet mani.
    Land Rover 101Forward Control Axles.
    4" Suspension Lift, 2" Body Lift
    On 35's...but not for long..

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  25. #76
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Farway View Post
    Been living off-grid for couple of years now. 40k ltr water storage under garage.
    Electrikity
    16 x 250 watt solar panels.
    Victron MPPT controller
    2 x 8kw Victron Quattro inverters duty standby
    Victron COLOR control GX + Victron BMV-700 to monitor the lot and provide real life data via web and app
    48V 82kw +- 1700ah battery bank
    Standby 30Kva dedicated single phase Deutz generator in-case with long run tank. (should have gotten the acoustic enclosure tho..)

    We wash, iron and hoover at our hearts content (family of 4 - two teenage boys).... however the solar array is sufficient in size to allow for washing and or drying and charging the batteries at the same time. That is very important to do. At night time we consume about 350-550watts for say 5 to 6 hours purely on the batteries and the level only drops to say 97% over night so when the solar panels kick in, it tops it right back up and and can float/absorb charge for 8 - 10 hours during the day. Not hammering the batteries will in crease the overall life span.

    Attachment 523534Attachment 523535Attachment 523536Attachment 523537Attachment 523538Attachment 523539Attachment 523540
    Can you please post a photo of the structure of your solar panels from the back?

  26. #77
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    I put some cross braces on the back of the frames as-well linking the lot together. They have been spec'd for 160km/h winds and sit on several tonnes on concrete to hold the lot down. I used a combiner box on the frame reduce the amount of strings to the mppt. Click image for larger version. 

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    304AMC CJ-7.... The economical version
    5.0 V8 600Cfm Holley, Custom pipes, Edelbrock inlet mani.
    Land Rover 101Forward Control Axles.
    4" Suspension Lift, 2" Body Lift
    On 35's...but not for long..

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  28. #78
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by LdLL View Post
    Can you please post a photo of the structure of your solar panels from the back?
    His thread...

    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...rid-setup-home
    1998 Daihatsu Rocky 'The Kitty'
    2002 Daihatsu Rocky 'The Bully'

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  30. #79
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof View Post
    .......dankie logies is geheue so betroubaar so eskom krag.......
    304AMC CJ-7.... The economical version
    5.0 V8 600Cfm Holley, Custom pipes, Edelbrock inlet mani.
    Land Rover 101Forward Control Axles.
    4" Suspension Lift, 2" Body Lift
    On 35's...but not for long..

  31. #80
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    Default Re: Going off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Farway View Post
    Been living off-grid for couple of years now. 40k ltr water storage under garage.
    Electrikity
    16 x 250 watt solar panels.
    Victron MPPT controller
    2 x 8kw Victron Quattro inverters duty standby
    Victron COLOR control GX + Victron BMV-700 to monitor the lot and provide real life data via web and app
    48V 82kw +- 1700ah battery bank
    Standby 30Kva dedicated single phase Deutz generator in-case with long run tank. (should have gotten the acoustic enclosure tho..)

    We wash, iron and hoover at our hearts content (family of 4 - two teenage boys).... however the solar array is sufficient in size to allow for washing and or drying and charging the batteries at the same time. That is very important to do. At night time we consume about 350-550watts for say 5 to 6 hours purely on the batteries and the level only drops to say 97% over night so when the solar panels kick in, it tops it right back up and and can float/absorb charge for 8 - 10 hours during the day. Not hammering the batteries will in crease the overall life span.

    Attachment 523534Attachment 523535Attachment 523536Attachment 523537Attachment 523538Attachment 523539Attachment 523540
    A pretty cool set-up you have there.

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