Taking our SOHO off grid - Page 7





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  1. #121
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Been doing some stats and numbers.

    Monthly kWh = 3000+
    100-110 kWh per day

    So we're talking around 4.5kW per hour all the time.

    Cost is well over R8k per month. In fact, since nobody has read the meter in 4 months, I'm around R9k behind once they come and check.

    So I'd say closer to R10k per month.

    Consumption seems to deviate constantly between 4kW and max 8kW during the day. I'll be more diligent tomorrow.

    Anyhoo:

    To make a dent in this, I'd need 10 x 410W panels, and ideally closer to 16. Between R25k and R40k.

    And the added complexity is to run the whole farm, I need 3 phase supply in a hybrid grid tie config.

    Victron? Fonius? Sunsynk?
    Jakes Louw
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  2. #122
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    Been doing some stats and numbers.

    Monthly kWh = 3000+
    100-110 kWh per day

    So we're talking around 4.5kW per hour all the time.

    Cost is well over R8k per month. In fact, since nobody has read the meter in 4 months, I'm around R9k behind once they come and check.

    So I'd say closer to R10k per month.

    Consumption seems to deviate constantly between 4kW and max 8kW during the day. I'll be more diligent tomorrow.

    Anyhoo:

    To make a dent in this, I'd need 10 x 410W panels, and ideally closer to 16. Between R25k and R40k.

    And the added complexity is to run the whole farm, I need 3 phase supply in a hybrid grid tie config.

    Victron? Fonius? Sunsynk?

    3x Victron Multiplus II 3KVA in a 3-phase config, or go big or go home and do 3x 5KVA in a 3 phase config.
    Obviously then with panels, MPPT controllers and Venus to match.

    This is where the loose components over the Easysolar will come in to play again, because you don't need 3x Easysolar's, you only need 3x inverters, 1x Venus and can even get away with only 1x Smartsolar MPPT controller though you'll probably end up with 2.

    You can still do this in stages and eventually end up with a 3 phase system, but you'll have to choose correct from the start, you for example can't mix and match between 3 KVA and 5KVA Multies.

    R10k on electricity per month is R120k per year, if you can lay out 1 year worth in electricity cost per stage, then you got yourself a 3 phase system in 3 - 4 years. Ok not quite since you'll still have some electricity cost, but you get the picture.

    I'm not sure what you do on your farm, but I presume most of your electricity use is during daytime, borehole pumps, workshops running etc. so we can actually take evenings when it is only your house out of the bigger picture? I'm getting at make hay while the sun shines, you'll have to maximize on solar as far as you can. Size of solar primary, size of battery secondary.

    Here comes another spanner, would it at all be possible for you to make some lifestyle changes, changes in the way you work and when you work to cut back a bit on overall electricity usage or at least shuffle things around to daytime only?

    If all else fails you can always donate a Grainfather to a loving home to get your usage down a bit.

    Edit: Come to think of it, scrap the 3KVA option, you'll need to go with 5KVA Multies due to the temp derating, otherwise you'll run the system at 10000 RPM 99% of the time.
    Last edited by bigboy529; 2020/08/11 at 05:55 PM.
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  4. #123
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    We're running a cold room and fermentation room.....
    Jakes Louw
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  5. #124
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    We're running a cold room and fermentation room.....


    Ok that thickens the plot, it means electricity draw is 24/7. This will mean bigger battery banks or back to the grid for night consumption. For load shedding I'll also keep a generator as part of the mix unless you have huge battery banks.
    It's in pubs where the world's greatest ideas begin.

  6. #125
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    What about also adding some wind turbines to the mix

  7. #126
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    Been doing some stats and numbers.

    Monthly kWh = 3000+
    100-110 kWh per day

    So we're talking around 4.5kW per hour all the time.

    Cost is well over R8k per month. In fact, since nobody has read the meter in 4 months, I'm around R9k behind once they come and check.

    So I'd say closer to R10k per month.

    Consumption seems to deviate constantly between 4kW and max 8kW during the day. I'll be more diligent tomorrow.

    Anyhoo:

    To make a dent in this, I'd need 10 x 410W panels, and ideally closer to 16. Between R25k and R40k.

    And the added complexity is to run the whole farm, I need 3 phase supply in a hybrid grid tie config.

    Victron? Fonius? Sunsynk?
    I know Solis is not on the radar. As using a hybrid seems what you want. Due to your load batteries does not seem practical and a genny might be a better call for LS periods. During the night grid seems to be the answer.

    Some details below. Just some points - up to 850V DC input could be used on the MPPT and there are 2 inputs. Warranty of 5 years and can be extended to 20 years. This means up to 20 panels in a series string to get to 850V.

    This 3 phase inverter can pay for itself in less than a year based on R2.30/kWh. Yes before the ton of bricks thrown at me panels are not included as any PV system would need panels. Also they have a 15 year life to recoup the cost.

    8kW 3 phase inverter at a cost of below R18 000 if you look around. You can get it up to 20kW in size.

    These inverters are approved for use in SA.

    Ask Johan Maree how his system is doing.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by ekkekan; 2020/08/11 at 08:10 PM.

  8. #127
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Going 3 phase with Victron, from what I've learnt recently, best to get a professional installer for that.
    Issue is not the equipment, installer needs to really understand 3 phase installations, as it is the caveats one needs to be aware of or you don't show a saving.

    Caveats like:
    3 meters or one?
    Phase balancing and how it is billed if unbalanced?
    The last reading, as it takes allegedly one year to adjust based on highest load drawn.
    Rest of the info went over my head ...

    So:
    To get a 3 phase Victron system is a decision one made knowing full well the costs involved i.e. 3 x 5kva's i.e. it is what one wants.
    Sunsynk is definitely an option, assuming the marketing material and after-sales support is as advertised, Sunsynk a recent new entrant in SA.
    Maximum savings IF Eskom stays on most of the time is a 3 phase grid tied Solis.

    Batteries, the question is: What must be kept on when Eskom is off?
    (Keep in mind a grid tied like a Solis is off when Eskom is off.)
    Political Correctness
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  9. #128
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    I have only read the last page

    3 phase will only make sense if you have 3 phase loads

    3 phase installation for 1 phase loads would not be optimal

  10. #129
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    Ok that thickens the plot, it means electricity draw is 24/7. This will mean bigger battery banks or back to the grid for night consumption. For load shedding I'll also keep a generator as part of the mix unless you have huge battery banks.
    I drop the power to the cold room and fermentation room @ around 22h00 anyway, repower @ 08h00.
    So I will be running off the grid at night but without that significant load. The problem is that the cold room chiller unit needs to work twice as hard to get the temps down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorn View Post
    What about also adding some wind turbines to the mix
    No sustained wind where we are. Unless you can count flatulence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiaan Pot View Post
    I have only read the last page

    3 phase will only make sense if you have 3 phase loads

    3 phase installation for 1 phase loads would not be optimal
    We have 3 phase supply, split into 3 x 1ph with one meter on each: I can probably target these one at a time but I will obviously get a competent electrickery expert out to see how we will do this.

    Inverters and panels will be around 20m from the main DB. Running an underground armoured cable is not an issue.

    The real question will really be 3 x 1ph or 1 x 3ph inverter, and can we set up a PV array appropriate for each?

    I'm not fixated on brand, in fact best bang for buck would be the mantra.

    If I can get No Name FongKong PV panels for half the price of a Canadian Solar and they offer 85% of the performance, I'll go for the cheaper panel.
    Jakes Louw
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  11. #130
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    So usage from 16h00 yesterday to 08h00 this morning:

    16 hours : 51kWh

    So 50% of our usage is between 08h00 and 16h00.

    I'll take a reading tonight just before I kill the coldroom sub DB, and I'll be able to see exactly what that does.

    51kWh @ R2.60 = R132.60 saving per day. R48,400 saving per year.

    I can smell a decent ROI break-even point........
    Jakes Louw
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  12. #131
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    We have 3 phase supply, split into 3 x 1ph with one meter on each: I can probably target these one at a time but I will obviously get a competent electrickery expert out to see how we will do this.
    Good idea methinks.


    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    If I can get No Name FongKong PV panels for half the price of a Canadian Solar and they offer 85% of the performance, I'll go for the cheaper panel.
    Panels are not the expensive part. Batteries are.
    Panels are on the roof in the sun the whole day for +-25 years.
    And panels are what generates the savings.
    Canadian Solar panels are not expensive.

    Soon Jinko will have 610w panels in SA - I hope: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/08/...-solar-panels/
    Political Correctness
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    Saw this in a pub - no idea why the wife does not see it so:
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  13. #132
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    Good idea methinks.




    Panels are not the expensive part. Batteries are.
    Panels are on the roof in the sun the whole day for +-25 years.
    And panels are what generates the savings.
    Canadian Solar panels are not expensive.

    Soon Jinko will have 610w panels in SA - I hope: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/08/...-solar-panels/


    Yup I agree, Canadian panels are very good quality and not expensive at all, so stick with them, it is one thing which can really last 20 to 25 years with minimal maintenance.

    I also think Jelo should get a pro opinion on this, not just a home installer or normal sparky, but actually someone who has experience with bigger commercial and 3 phase grid tied installations. When it comes to 3 phase my head starts to spin.

    My thinking if going Victron was to do a 5KVA Multi, later add another 5KVA Multi in parallel and then when adding a third go 3 phase, but my thinking might be totally wrong.
    It's in pubs where the world's greatest ideas begin.

  14. #133
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    My thinking if going Victron was to do a 5KVA Multi, later add another 5KVA Multi in parallel and then when adding a third go 3 phase, but my thinking might be totally wrong.
    You're not wrong in your thinking.
    Jelo alluded to same, and getting in a expert.

    It all depends on the 3 phase setup, what circuits are powered, the balancing and all those engineering level maths ... and therefor we all agree, get a expert in!
    Political Correctness
    Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional illogical minority, rabidly promoted by a unscrupulous mainstream media which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd ... by the clean end!

    Saw this in a pub - no idea why the wife does not see it so:
    I'm not opinionated ... I'm just always right!

  15. #134
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    3 phases are not balanced.

    Farm is split into 3 areas, 1 phase per area.

    Area 1/Phase #1 does most of the work, Area 2/Phase #2 less, and then obviously Area 3 the least.

    Rectifying this, due to 20 year old legacy wiring and underground cables, some running for hundreds of meters and beneath concrete paving, would probably destroy the budget for one year's PV cost.

    So I reckon I'll see if we can target the low lying fruit first (Area 1) and see how things go.

    The question I have:

    If I feed back excess into the grid on Area 1/Meter 1, would this feedback follow the path of least resistance back into the grid, or follow the path of shortest distance into Meter 2 & 3?
    Jakes Louw
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  16. #135
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    I drop the power to the cold room and fermentation room @ around 22h00 anyway, repower @ 08h00.
    So I will be running off the grid at night but without that significant load. The problem is that the cold room chiller unit needs to work twice as hard to get the temps down.



    No sustained wind where we are. Unless you can count flatulence.



    We have 3 phase supply, split into 3 x 1ph with one meter on each: I can probably target these one at a time but I will obviously get a competent electrickery expert out to see how we will do this.

    Inverters and panels will be around 20m from the main DB. Running an underground armoured cable is not an issue.

    The real question will really be 3 x 1ph or 1 x 3ph inverter, and can we set up a PV array appropriate for each?

    I'm not fixated on brand, in fact best bang for buck would be the mantra.

    If I can get No Name FongKong PV panels for half the price of a Canadian Solar and they offer 85% of the performance, I'll go for the cheaper panel.
    Ek sal 3x enkel fase inverters loop. As daar iers fout gaan en jy verloor n inverter, dan is dit nie so n groot kostes om te vervang.

  17. #136
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post

    The question I have:

    If I feed back excess into the grid on Area 1/Meter 1, would this feedback follow the path of least resistance back into the grid, or follow the path of shortest distance into Meter 2 & 3?
    I seems like you have a challenge to either use grid tied based on the phase with the lowest load or else the major expense of 3 inverters instead of a 3 phase.

    My guess would be that phase one would try and feed back into the grid as phase 2 and 3 are 120 degrees out of phase with respect to phase 1 so it cannot feed that power into the other phase.

    Just bear in mind that you do get the CT clamps that MUST be used to prevent feeding into the grid that will throttle the inverter back when it senses feed into the grid. One should thus try not to reach the point where the CT tells the inverter to throttle back but rather try to manage the load.

  18. #137
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Just bear in mind that you do get the CT clamps that MUST be used to prevent feeding into the grid that will throttle the inverter back when it senses feed into the grid. One should thus try not to reach the point where the CT tells the inverter to throttle back but rather try to manage the load.
    Just a clarification: If the CT clamp sees power being fed back it means the loads have dropped, so the system must throttle back ... 100% correct as designed.

    But you make a good point, balance the loads with the paneling ... which differs in winter and summer and then there is also the case to be made to start generate earlier and later ... it is one big balancing act.
    Political Correctness
    Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional illogical minority, rabidly promoted by a unscrupulous mainstream media which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd ... by the clean end!

    Saw this in a pub - no idea why the wife does not see it so:
    I'm not opinionated ... I'm just always right!

  19. #138
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Keeping stats is showing some very interesting patterns.

    Firstly: 08h00-16h00 is indeed confirmed at just over 50kWh.

    Secondly: with some re-education of the domestic, I can probably keep the peak load under 5kW draw.

    So a 10kW inverter will do the job.

    I've started asking around at local solar installers to see who is keen to inspect and provide a quote and proposal.
    Jakes Louw
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  20. #139
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    So first quote back:

    Blue Planet Solar completely ignored the brief and offered only an off-grid option with batteries.

    So they're off the list.
    Jakes Louw
    2012 Jeep Sahara Unlimited 3.6 V6
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  21. #140
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    Default Re: Taking our SOHO off grid

    Solem Solar offers the following:

    1 x 4.6kW inverter, 12 x 365W Canadian Solar panels, including all installation: R66,500

    I've asked them for a quote on one those but with only 6 x panels.
    Jakes Louw
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