MediaRelease: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup





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  1. #1

    Default Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    We've been mulling over power solution for our office for the past long while. Generator vs Solar, and I'm really at the final stages of opting for solar, being in Jo'burg and sun being plenty.

    CONCLUSION:
    Best setup would be solar, no battery bank, Eskom as back-up.

    We've been monitoring our office hour consumption, and we peak at 3.2kw once a week (no air-cons or boilers or microwaves in this part of the office/DB.

    Ellies (don't crucify me) has quoted around R80k for a 3.6kW setup, using Hoymiles Grid Tie Microinverter. I most likely can "pump back" into the line with the agreement from landlord so I can access any excess for nighttime passive running of office equipments. Our electricity bill is currently around R5k a month (1.5mWh), so will pay system off in 2-3 years which is a good return on investment for an NPO.

    Would appreciate the minds of experts and hobbiest alike.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Instinct says R80k is a bit high if you don’t have batteries. You can buy a Goodwe 4.6kW controller/inverter for R30k, add panels at about R1100 / 160W, comes to about R50k. R30k for fitment and consumables seems a bit steep, even building in for added panels due to losses.

    Maybe not radically out of the ballpark but do shop around. Try sustainable.co.za - good quality and pricing
    Last edited by Gungets Tuft; 2019/07/16 at 10:32 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Can't say much on the price....

    Ellies are the agents for this micro inverter.

    Power forum thread has this to say.....
    https://powerforum.co.za/topic/3291-...nverter-1200w/

    And some explain on how it works
    https://www.ellies.co.za/hoymiles/
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Grid-tied means it will go down when Eskom goes down. If that is ok with you, then so be it.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Is Grid tied allowed in JHB?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    My Solis 3.6kwh system cost me R 40k excluding install. R 80k installed might just be over the edge.
    I would like to see R 70k installed, including the upgrade of the DB to accommodate another double pole isolator for the invertor.

    Nerd
    Last edited by Nerd; 2019/07/17 at 08:11 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    The Solis 4.6kW inverter cost only R11 000. It can accept 2 strings of 11A each. Panels can be as low as R1 500 per 300W.

    It is perhaps fair for the 2 systems shown by Ellies but one need not put all your panels in series as per their example and have a high DC voltage. The Solis can operate from as low as 120V for the 3kW and above. The lower power Solis can start at 60V. A 5 panel string can have a voltage below 200V and not the 800V they show in their picture.

    Panels and inverter is below R35 000. Extra cost to export is where it becomes a problem. Some munics have their rules about 2 quad meters as well as the max you are allowed to export. So far I have not really seen the positive of export as you get about nothing for exported power. May be a better option just to prevent export and save during the day time.

    My own stats shows about 20% less power generated during winter but lately I get the same constant output every day. In summer the peak generation is much higher but a number of rainy days the output can be as low as 30% of the summer max.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by phuma View Post
    Grid-tied means it will go down when Eskom goes down. If that is ok with you, then so be it.
    Wait...my understanding is if my demand is within the supply of the solar panels, if eskom goes down, will keep lights and computers on thanks to the sun.
    Also it mean when the sun sets, I simply carry on as usual thanks to CityPower.

    Am I not understanding "grid tied" correctly?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd View Post
    My Solis 3.6kwh system cost me R 40k excluding install. R 80k installed might just be over the edge.
    I would like to see R 70k installed, including the upgrade of the DB to accommodate another double pole isolator for the invertor.

    Nerd
    See pic.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Thanks for providing the quote details. The Micro inverter seems to be well priced and a low cost item. As we have seen before the installation we tend to not factor in is a big chunk.

    I notice the specs for the Hoymiles indicate a maximum input voltage of 60V. It does seem a bit misleading to show 2 panels per inverter as on the Ellies web page. Am I missing something?

    Can someone please indicate how would you connect 4 x 330W panels to each Hoymiles inverter. Also the max current for each inverter is only 10.5A so you cannot use 330W panels in ||.
    Last edited by ekkekan; 2019/07/18 at 11:10 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Can only be "grid interactive".
    Nowhere in SA, except PE I think, is "grid tied" possible.

    It semantics that will determine how your inverter is setup, if it is capable of both scenarios.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Hi Swakop

    The Micro invertor has 4 x individual panel inputs. So easy one for that.
    I did some research and the debate between micro invertor and the larger units are to involved for me. I stuck with a methodology I understand.

    @Hloni
    The prising is fair, but!!!

    1. The rails are Unistrat. At SolarSolved they are 6 meters at R 378.00. For 12 panels you need four lengths. Takes me about ten minutes to undo one panel. Very secure already and I drilled some non-removable bolts through so you cannot undo it easily.
    https://www.solarsolved.co.za/index....trut-6m-detail

    2. I don't see the purpose of the frame? With these clips the panels are connected to the unistrat directly. Four per panel.
    https://www.solarsolved.co.za/index....-clip-1-detail

    3. The Unistrat is secured to the roof with brackets, either IBR, Tiles, etc.
    https://www.solarsolved.co.za/index....ing-structures

    You could save thousands on these three line alone.

    Nerd
    Last edited by Nerd; 2019/07/18 at 11:56 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    My friend in the pic.

    Took us two hours to install 8 panels after a beer or two. Your install with the Micro Invertors might be a bit more difficult.
    Unless you are doing a ground install, then I don't know


    Click image for larger version. 

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Thanks a lot for explaining. I did not pick up that the inverter has 4 inputs. Only saw in the specs the max input is 60V and 10.5A with no reference that you have 4 inputs to the panel.

    Thanks to this topic we are exposed to the Microinverter which I did not know is available.

    Great to have such a great forum and source of information.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Having just dealt with these people to buy something small maybe have a look at what they offer. they also have inverters which can grid tie and work off batteries etc.
    Their panel prices are also very good.
    https://artsolar.net/pv-modules/
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd View Post
    Hi Swakop

    The Micro invertor has 4 x individual panel inputs. So easy one for that.
    I did some research and the debate between micro invertor and the larger units are to involved for me. I stuck with a methodology I understand.

    @Hloni
    The prising is fair, but!!!

    1. The rails are Unistrat. At SolarSolved they are 6 meters at R 378.00. For 12 panels you need four lengths. Takes me about ten minutes to undo one panel. Very secure already and I drilled some non-removable bolts through so you cannot undo it easily.
    https://www.solarsolved.co.za/index....trut-6m-detail

    2. I don't see the purpose of the frame? With these clips the panels are connected to the unistrat directly. Four per panel.
    https://www.solarsolved.co.za/index....-clip-1-detail

    3. The Unistrat is secured to the roof with brackets, either IBR, Tiles, etc.
    https://www.solarsolved.co.za/index....ing-structures

    You could save thousands on these three line alone.

    Nerd
    Thank Nerd and everyone for your input. As you will see in the pic below, we are in a high rise building in downtown Jo'burg. Blessed to have sunrays from 8amish late afternoon in the winter (I took the pic today @ 16:55), and the summer I have the some shinning into our ground floor office until after 16h00.
    We will be building a frame, mounting on the wall at the correct angle (some say 10° whilst other say 30°), so the frame was for pricing reference as wed actually need to custom build one maybe using a 25x38mm tubing.

    Is there a "sun monitor" one can purchase and mount in place where we want to mount the panels and maybe just ensure we getting enough rays, especially at 8am when we start the day?



    Been using this efergy system for about 6 months to monitor usage, thus hope we close to the money with the monitoring. Last thing I want is to underspec the setup!
    Last edited by Hloni; 2019/07/18 at 06:08 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    This is priced at R75k, so maybe Ellies have allowed for a good ballpark figure for me to work from.
    https://artsolar.net/product/off-gri...ab-description

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Hloni View Post
    Thank Nerd and everyone for your input. As you will see in the pic below, we are in a high rise building in downtown Jo'burg. Blessed to have sunrays from 8amish late afternoon in the winter (I took the pic today @ 16:55), and the summer I have the some shinning into our ground floor office until after 16h00.
    We will be building a frame, mounting on the wall at the correct angle (some say 10° whilst other say 30°), so the frame was for pricing reference as wed actually need to custom build one maybe using a 25x38mm tubing.

    Is there a "sun monitor" one can purchase and mount in place where we want to mount the panels and maybe just ensure we getting enough rays, especially at 8am when we start the day?



    Been using this efergy system for about 6 months to monitor usage, thus hope we close to the money with the monitoring. Last thing I want is to underspec the setup!
    Okay. now I understand why a small system is so expensive. That install is a bit hectic. Would love to see the final result.

    Nerd
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Hloni View Post
    We will be building a frame, mounting on the wall at the correct angle (some say 10° whilst other say 30°), so the frame was for pricing reference as wed actually need to custom build one maybe using a 25x38mm tubing.

    Is there a "sun monitor" one can purchase and mount in place where we want to mount the panels and maybe just ensure we getting enough rays, especially at 8am when we start the day?
    Normally the angle is latitude. If one wants to adjust you add 15 degrees for winter and subtract 15 degrees in summer.

    Real output of my panels on a grid tie at a latitude angle with no shade in the morning. A treetop shade on 1 panel in the afternoon. Don't count on much at 08h00.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  20. #20

    Default Re: Grid Tie Office Solar Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Normally the angle is latitude. If one wants to adjust you add 15 degrees for winter and subtract 15 degrees in summer.

    Real output of my panels on a grid tie at a latitude angle with no shade in the morning. A treetop shade on 1 panel in the afternoon. Don't count on much at 08h00.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ekkekan, are you able to share more data, perhaps looking at summer and winter? Maybe a week graph of each season?
    Which part of our land are you in (wondering if the sun in Kuruman is different to the sun in Harrismith).

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