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  1. #61
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Warning to the OP. I have the Mecer / Axpert inverter. A great piece of kit, if used as a UPS. Like fluffy said, its a ups. Nothing more. There was even a video doing the rounds on this forum as how to connect the axpert to grid and it uses solar to run your home and feed extra from the grid when solar runs short, and batteries when grid is off, while charging from solar, and re-introducing grid when avaiable. BOLLOCKS. This system can not feed your home with grid and solar at the same time.

    So it can work in 2 ways, buth as a ups only.
    1. Grid connected with batteries. Batteries charge from grid. As soon as grid fails, ups changes over to batteries in an instant. No electronics even notice this, just a flourescant light in the kitchen dies for 1/2 second. When grid restores, the batteries charge and wait.

    2. Solar input with batteries. Now you are not connected to the grid. You charge and supply your home with solar and batteries combined to make up the load. If you have less load than what your panels can provide, you will charge batteries and supply power to the home. If panels are short of demand, you will get the extra power from batteries, not grid. At night you will use batteries. This means you will cycle your batteries every day, making your batteries way more expensive. You will not be connected to the grid and you need one huge setup to cover everything from batteries and solar alone.

    I got this system as back-ups to start with, and wanted to expand to solar to feed the home during the day and run on grid at night. This system does not let you do that. I am quite cheesed as I was told by many "installers" of these inverters as well as sales staff that this is possible.

    Luckily plans in life has changed, so hopefully if all pans out, i will build my home in 2 years, and do a proper off grid from the start with li-on batteries. So for now, I am happy with my ups system. Swambo works from home and I do admin at night. We were not affected by the latest round of load shedding at all. Can watch tv, work, laptops, charge phones, do washing etc as per usual. The DB was split so I dont run the stove, oven, geyser and kitchen plugs off the inverter. The rest is all ok, fridges, freezers, plugs and lights.

    Bottom line is, there is no such thing as cheap solar.

    Hope this helps. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
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  2. #62
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    What really grinds my nuts is that all this solar expenditure is purely because of incompetence and BEE...

    The same "qualified" engineers that bought trains that don't fit also designed power plants for Africa based on European coal characteristics..

    The same "please protect me from yourself" crowd have destroyed everything else they touch as well...

    Next will be sewerage plant failure on a grand scale, followed by water issues...

    Rant over... Now I have to order R40k worth of batteries!

  3. #63
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by LandyLove View Post
    Warning to the OP. I have the Mecer / Axpert inverter. A great piece of kit, if used as a UPS. Like fluffy said, its a ups. Nothing more. There was even a video doing the rounds on this forum as how to connect the axpert to grid and it uses solar to run your home and feed extra from the grid when solar runs short, and batteries when grid is off, while charging from solar, and re-introducing grid when avaiable. BOLLOCKS. This system can not feed your home with grid and solar at the same time.



    Bottom line is, there is no such thing as cheap solar.

    Hope this helps. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
    Have you not thought of adding a grid tied inverter to the Mecer/Axpert. This way solar can reduce grid use and also charge the batteries for nearly free. The added investment in the grid tied inverter will pay for itself in a short period. You then still have the back up available during load shedding.

  4. #64
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Have you not thought of adding a grid tied inverter to the Mecer/Axpert. This way solar can reduce grid use and also charge the batteries for nearly free. The added investment in the grid tied inverter will pay for itself in a short period. You then still have the back up available during load shedding.
    I will wait untill I build my home in a few years, and then do it off grid from the start.
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  5. #65
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    Cool Re: getting started on grid tied

    This solar can be confusing but you learn by asking questions. I started 4 years ago with solar totally off grid. Running my house and 3 Cottage on solar come winter summer no problems. You don't need break the bank to go off grid, but you have to adjust your lifestyle a little.
    Rustic bush escape at windpomp have been tested and I will never go back to Eskom.
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  6. #66
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by ANDRE CRONJE View Post
    This solar can be confusing but you learn by asking questions. I started 4 years ago with solar totally off grid. Running my house and 3 Cottage on solar come winter summer no problems. You don't need break the bank to go off grid, but you have to adjust your lifestyle a little.
    Rustic bush escape at windpomp have been tested and I will never go back to Eskom.
    How about a separate thread and write up of your system?
    Peet Schultz

  7. #67
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by ANDRE CRONJE View Post
    Rustic bush escape at windpomp have been tested and I will never go back to Eskom.
    I would also like to hear what the cost in todays $ would be and the actual kWh used per day and what inverters, panels and controllers if any is used.

    I am sure those interested to move to solar can use it very well instead of making costly mistakes.

  8. #68
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by LandyLove View Post
    Warning to the OP. I have the Mecer / Axpert inverter. A great piece of kit, if used as a UPS. Like fluffy said, its a ups. Nothing more.

    Bottom line is, there is no such thing as cheap solar.

    Hope this helps. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
    Solar is all system related. Some systems just drain capital by buying consumables like batteries all the time and paying big time in school fees.

    My grid tie was money well spend. A few days short of 8 months my saving has already been a bit more than 1 of my 3 panels cost me. Thus in less than 2 years my panels will be paid due to my saving. 2 years later and the inverter would have paid for itself. Bear in mind my inverter is only working at 50% of output. If I had 6 panels the pay back would be about 2.5 years if one could use the power during the day without exporting.

    This is working out just as well as my heat pump installed when we could still get the rebate years ago.

    Here are the stats as correctly reported by my inverter.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by ekkekan; 2019/12/14 at 09:33 AM.

  9. #69
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Solar is all system related. Some systems just drain capital by buying consumables like batteries all the time and paying big time in school fees.


    How does your grid tied system cope with loadshedding without expensive consumabkes like batteries?

    I guess every one has their own solar strategy. From saving electricity cost when network is up on the one hand, to adding the standby capacity in the middle, to being completely self reliant on the other extreme.

    Your solar strategy may not nean it will cater for some one else's needs?

  10. #70
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    I would also like to hear what the cost in todays $ would be and the actual kWh used per day and what inverters, panels and controllers if any is used.

    I am sure those interested to move to solar can use it very well instead of making costly mistakes.
    To me cost was immaterial. Just the pleasure not to be dependant on Eskom is payment enough.

    Built off grid system piecemeal. Just now adding four 300w panels and second MPPT.
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  11. #71
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof View Post
    To me cost was immaterial. Just the pleasure not to be dependant on Eskom is payment enough.

    Built off grid system piecemeal. Just now adding four 300w panels and second MPPT.
    Ja dit hang mos maar af van mens se prioriteit. In jou geval werk dit perfek en jy is tevrede met hoe jou stelsel uitwerk. As mens egter klein begin en leer so saam met die tyd kan baie $ gespaar word. Dis hartseer as mens leer van mense wie se groot stelsels glad nie na wense presteer nie.

    Ek is ongelukkig nie baie gepla as die krag af is nie dan gryp ek maar die gasstofie, los pure sine inverter en koppel op 'n battery wat ek in elk geval het vir my buiteligte wat al 2 jaar of meer op batterye loop en ek het ook noodliggies via klein LED in elke vertrek in die huis gesit nog lank voor die 2015 loadshedding.

    Trouens ek het in die boendoes groot geword waar ons nie krag op die plaas gehad het nie, geen teerpaaie nie en slegs op skool die gerief van krag gehad het. Baie beter om met LS die goed op te koppel as om bv elke week 20L lampolie te moet pomp in die ou Zero vrieskas wat amper 'n kwart v d kombuis in beslag geneem het.

    Quote Originally Posted by faniedup View Post
    How does your grid tied system cope with loadshedding without expensive consumabkes like batteries?
    Ek koppel maar die sine wave inverter op vir ligte en yskas. Dis waar dit gaan om gerief en mens betaal maar vir daai 1/2 battery/e maar dit dien ook hul doel as mens gaan kamp. Ek probeer net aandui dat groot stelsels met 16 batterye ens 'n lopende uitgawe is.

    LandyLove noem juis dat hy nie veel spaar op krag en dis waar die grid tied toevoeging baie handig te pas kom. Mens hoef mos nie jou back up eenkant toe te skuif nie.Sit net 'n grid tied by en gebruik van jou panele daarvoor via 'n oordrag skakelaar.
    Last edited by ekkekan; 2019/12/14 at 10:50 AM.

  12. #72

    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof View Post
    To me cost was immaterial. Just the pleasure not to be dependant on Eskom is payment enough. ...
    Exactly. Our system just works. And we are drawing minimal units from the grid, so there is a saving over and above the convenience factor.
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  13. #73
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Sorry back on line .. Look I am a practical guy. When we stayed in Kzn my electricity and water was about R3000/3500p/m.
    We moved to the Western Cape 4jr ago . Starting with my house 10x 310 w panels, 8 xOmni power 240 a/h battery and a Synapse 4+ inverter. Everything running very good .Olso have a Owl to make sure we not using power at the wrong time. Runnning Tv, lights (led) 2 big Fridge and freezer, one box freezer + one bar fridge . Cost about R 100 000 ..so if you times R3500 over 36 months I have paid the system klaar . NOU IS DIT VERNIET
    Cottage 1 .. 2000w p sine Inverter and 50 w charge controller... 3x 310 w panels Installed R18 000.
    Cottage 2 and 3 ... 2000w Synapse inverter ..2x 310w panels ..installed R10 000
    At home we run everything we did when we were in Kzn ..only differents is use your sun for doing washing,toaster ens. No hairdryers at night .
    Cottages 123 no hairdryers..gass for cooking and shower.
    Only Cottage 1 have a TV
    There is fringe freezer in every Cottage .
    Truth is most of the post on the forum to me about units per day ,hour and so on is over my head.In short speak to people that use solar ...there is a lot of B /Sh out there and just want to sell there products.
    We as a family desided what we need and discipline is the key.
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  14. #74
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by LandyLove View Post
    Warning to the OP. I have the Mecer / Axpert inverter. A great piece of kit, if used as a UPS. Like fluffy said, its a ups. Nothing more. There was even a video doing the rounds on this forum as how to connect the axpert to grid and it uses solar to run your home and feed extra from the grid when solar runs short, and batteries when grid is off, while charging from solar, and re-introducing grid when avaiable. BOLLOCKS. This system can not feed your home with grid and solar at the same time.

    So it can work in 2 ways, buth as a ups only.
    1. Grid connected with batteries. Batteries charge from grid. As soon as grid fails, ups changes over to batteries in an instant. No electronics even notice this, just a flourescant light in the kitchen dies for 1/2 second. When grid restores, the batteries charge and wait.

    2. Solar input with batteries. Now you are not connected to the grid. You charge and supply your home with solar and batteries combined to make up the load. If you have less load than what your panels can provide, you will charge batteries and supply power to the home. If panels are short of demand, you will get the extra power from batteries, not grid. At night you will use batteries. This means you will cycle your batteries every day, making your batteries way more expensive. You will not be connected to the grid and you need one huge setup to cover everything from batteries and solar alone.

    I got this system as back-ups to start with, and wanted to expand to solar to feed the home during the day and run on grid at night. This system does not let you do that. I am quite cheesed as I was told by many "installers" of these inverters as well as sales staff that this is possible.

    Luckily plans in life has changed, so hopefully if all pans out, i will build my home in 2 years, and do a proper off grid from the start with li-on batteries. So for now, I am happy with my ups system. Swambo works from home and I do admin at night. We were not affected by the latest round of load shedding at all. Can watch tv, work, laptops, charge phones, do washing etc as per usual. The DB was split so I dont run the stove, oven, geyser and kitchen plugs off the inverter. The rest is all ok, fridges, freezers, plugs and lights.

    Bottom line is, there is no such thing as cheap solar.

    Hope this helps. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
    Hi

    Thanks to all the experts for all the facts/info.
    1. Sooo, starting with a Grid-tied system (no power, no functionality), would not suit most applications in SA.
    2. Some sort of UPS/Axpert system would be the first step. If you already have one you could consider adding a grid tied system.
    3. If you are going to add solar, it would perhaps be best to start with a hybrid system?
    4. The genny still has a place and may be the least disruptive option, if you want good functionality for shortish periods. (and as back-up)
    5. Solar is not the cheap, or logical option, if you want to address load shedding mainly.
    6. When choosing a solar installer "Let the buyer beware".
    7. When upgrading, make sure your cabeling spec and connectors are up to the load.
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  15. #75
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Sorry for my extended absence from my own thread. Loving the constructive debate and feedback.

    Currently my plans were shot down by this latest bought of load shedding as well as estate agents taking more than I wanted to give.
    This latest round of problems saw SWAMBO get very angry and spend a half dozen panels worth of Randelas on a healthy sized Jenny Ruiter...
    So my plans are once again on hold
    But I'm still hear learning.
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  16. #76
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Its is happening anyway ...
    Oz dont have the Eskom effect but are hyper anti-fosssil-fuel power ...
    yet 1 out of 4 of their homes now have Solar power input ... ALREADY ...

    https://www.biznews.com/global-citiz...p-solar-panels
    Last edited by BushNomad; 2019/12/21 at 09:02 AM.
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  17. #77
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by LandyLove View Post
    Warning to the OP.

    I got this system as back-ups to start with, and wanted to expand to solar to feed the home during the day and run on grid at night. This system does not let you do that. I am quite cheesed as I was told by many "installers" of these inverters as well as sales staff that this is possible.
    Based on the statement above you indicate you cannot run from solar as per the picture on the left hand side?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is how it is put forward if you have batteries connected.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #78

    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Grid tied is THE most cost effective way of getting your solar "investment" back (T&C's apply).
    Unless you are on a farm paying huge connection fees before the first watt is bought, you already have a generator, then off-grid solar is a much better idea.

    Two Options - for city dwellers:

    1) Grid tied system with no batteries - caveat, system goes off when Eskom goes off - but it is THE fastest ROI ever when you adjust the times load come on.
    2) Grid tied with a hybrid (has batteries) grid tied inverter then the system powers though any and all Eskom failures - slower ROI depending on what batts you have.

    Notes:
    1) Neither system feeds back to the grid as it is not legal for Munic's to buy power from anyone bar Eskom and doing it on a NETT basis is just not making any sense financially ... yet.
    2) Some PAYG meters are going to trip, prepared for that.
    3) Before you even consider grid tied, have the tests done that CoCT wants done on their application.


    If I may jump boots and all in, if anyone wants to go grid tied, take note of the following:
    1) Check you local Municipal SSEG regulations 0 eveyr major city has them already - just not enforced like CoCT.
    2) If your electricity feed is direct from Eskom, do check that too, as they don't allow it yet.
    3) Check the latest published SANS 10142 and NRS regulation ito grid tying requirements. These are national regulations, not CoCT.
    4) Buy a inverter that is on click here --> THIS NRS LIST OF APPROVED INVERTERS - it is applicable to all of SA as it is the NRS list of approved inverters ... summarized for your convenience and enjoyment with compliments from the City of Cape Town.

    I have been through this process of registering and obtaining approval Nov last year for my hybrid grid tied system via CoCT Municipality. Was easy, no fuss at all - if you follow the rules adn regs and got the right advises.

    If you are Cape Town based, I even have the name of an Engineer that assist / visit and then sign off your system, once you have the CoC of the install in hand. (No, I don't make any commission on that.)

    Titbits:
    1) Because of the test required by CoCT, we found a horrendous fault in our earthing that has been dormant since the day the house was built.
    2) Also learnt about why surge protection plugs can cause interesting mA increases, above 30mA, on one home circuits, causing the main breaker to trip when the system syncs back with Eskom after a failure.
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  19. #79

    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    This is how it is put forward if you have batteries connected.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Axpert inverts are off-grid inverters as mention before. I have a email from Voltronic stating that.
    That means they cannot feed back into any home's DB at all, ever.
    To legally connect them to a DB, IF you have panels connected to them, the Axpert must be connected same as a DB connected generator, i.e. via a double pole changeover switch.
    Either Eskom powers the house OR the Axpert does.
    This means you cannot really use Eskom to charge the batteries, only solar, which further complicates the system (read increases costs) compared to grid-tied or hybrid grid tied.
    Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  20. #80
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    Default Re: getting started on grid tied

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    Axpert inverts are off-grid inverters as mention before. I have a email from Voltronic stating that.
    That means they cannot feed back into any home's DB at all, ever.
    To legally connect them to a DB, IF you have panels connected to them, the Axpert must be connected same as a DB connected generator, i.e. via a double pole changeover switch.
    Either Eskom powers the house OR the Axpert does.
    This means you cannot really use Eskom to charge the batteries, only solar, which further complicates the system (read increases costs) compared to grid-tied or hybrid grid tied.
    Nope.
    Cheers

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