Can you feed back to Grid





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  1. #1
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    Default Can you feed back to Grid

    In the ideal world we would be able to sell or get credit for feeding excess power generated by solar or wind back into the grid, which would offset the power we draw from the grid at night.
    My understanding has been that our laws/ Eskom do not allow for feeding excess power back into the grid. However we had a guest stay in our guesthouse just recently, who turned out to be a fairly senior manager at Eskom. I took the opportunity to quiz him on why it is not allowed/ accommodated, and he said of course it is and that they even encourage it.
    I asked him how do we set that up - he claimed all approved installers can set it up.

    Can anyone shed any more light on this? Is anyone here doing this - i.e. feeding back into the grid?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    It would be interesting to know. We also need to make sure if you get power from Eskom or a Munic.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    Your electrical meter is only programmed to register the power that you import(use). Should you export any power it will not be registered thus you will be giving it to the supplier for free.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by desdrake View Post
    Your electrical meter is only programmed to register the power that you import(use). Should you export any power it will not be registered thus you will be giving it to the supplier for free.
    Nope.
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    I did the calculations for feeding back. You cannot generate enough in a year to cover the cost of the fees you have to pay to be able to feed back.
    Legally you can only have 3600 watts of panels, according to Athenkosi Maxengana. He works for the Energy Directorate at Bloemhof.

    Our 60 Amp street side breaker needs to be upgraded to an 80A if you want to go max at 4600 watts of panels legally, but this may not be approved for residential areas. So why put the option for the upgrade in the Solar Section of the CoCT website then.
    In my opinion, CoCT is loosing out on at 20kWh per day from me. Not much, but is enough to run my neighbour's house. If I was allowed to go 4600 watts, this should be about 35kWh they could gain.

    So, all in all not worth the effort or capital cost.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Enduroguy View Post
    In the ideal world we would be able to sell or get credit for feeding excess power generated by solar or wind back into the grid, which would offset the power we draw from the grid at night.
    My understanding has been that our laws/ Eskom do not allow for feeding excess power back into the grid. However we had a guest stay in our guesthouse just recently, who turned out to be a fairly senior manager at Eskom. I took the opportunity to quiz him on why it is not allowed/ accommodated, and he said of course it is and that they even encourage it.
    I asked him how do we set that up - he claimed all approved installers can set it up.

    Can anyone shed any more light on this? Is anyone here doing this - i.e. feeding back into the grid?
    I am grid tied and I don't feed back. I can, but the daily charge and new bi-directional meter is making the sums unattractive because after 1 year, you have to be on a Zero, i.e. Net User, because no-one is constitutionally allowed to sell power to anyone else, bar Eskom or Eskom via Munic.

    CoCT is busy with a court case around that.

    Here is what I know:
    1) The older mechanical meters will turn back if you feed back. It is illegal to do so. If you usage drops, you may get a visit to check why.
    2) PAYG meters will either trip or if they don't, they count the power sent back as power being used, so you pay for that power being fed back.
    3) Eskom has one set of rules, and Munic a 2nd subset to them.
    4) All grid tied solutions are managed by the national SANS and NRS regulations.
    5) Inverters not on the NRS list, as enforced by CoCT for Cape Town, are not allowed to be connected to a DB if there are panels involved. Rest may follow same route.

    Eskom at this point does not cater for feeding back, you are not allowed to grid tie to their network when they feed you direct, last I checked.
    Munic's can accept feedback, check your local SSEG Regulations for that.

    The SA transmission network is old and was never designed for en-mass feedback by home users.

    Cyril at the last SONA said Munic's in good financial standing can now source power from elsewhere (big surprise). CoCT is still going to court in-case they change their tune.

    CoCT says all homes that has solar does alleviated the stresses, but homeowners feeding back, it costs them a wee bit. I'm keeping my finger on that pulse for I have said to CoCT:
    I have power, they want power. So, CoCT to:
    1) Install the b-directional meter for free.
    2) No daily charge for feeding back as I keep on paying my connection fee.
    3) And I then sell back to them at wot, R0.10c (?) lower per kWH than they buy from Eskom.
    Win/Win.

    Because sums where done on another forum and with the daily feedback charges and meter costs, that does not make it easily viable yet.

    Until Munic's can buy power from anywhere, i.e. the law has changed, sit back and don't feed back. Grid tie though .. that does makes sense - just don't feed back.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd View Post
    Legally you can only have 3600 watts of panels, according to Athenkosi Maxengana. He works for the Energy Directorate at Bloemhof.
    Our 60 Amp street side breaker needs to be upgraded to an 80A if you want to go max at 4600 watts of panels legally, but this may not be approved for residential areas. So why put the option for the upgrade in the Solar Section of the CoCT website then.
    NRS SANS says the kw limit per breaker size is on the inverter, not the panels.

    Can be done two ways:
    1) Inverter can be software limited to a max of 3.5kw when grid tied.
    2) And if inverter cannot be limited via software, then you must limit the max of the array to never exceed 3.5kw - you can get a engineers report to prove that your +-4.5kw array can never exceed 3.5kw based on location, angle and other factors.
    3) Upgrading to a 80amp breaker ... do that before you even HINT on wanting to go grid tied. People have tried that and was shot down.

    FWIW: Going grid tied makes sense on 3kva hybrid grid tied setup ... as peaks are on Eskom, not the inverter.
    All depends on loads and temps the inverter will run at.
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  8. #7
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd View Post
    I did the calculations for feeding back. You cannot generate enough in a year to cover the cost of the fees you have to pay to be able to feed back.
    Legally you can only have 3600 watts of panels, according to Athenkosi Maxengana. He works for the Energy Directorate at Bloemhof.

    Our 60 Amp street side breaker needs to be upgraded to an 80A if you want to go max at 4600 watts of panels legally, but this may not be approved for residential areas. So why put the option for the upgrade in the Solar Section of the CoCT website then.
    In my opinion, CoCT is loosing out on at 20kWh per day from me. Not much, but is enough to run my neighbour's house. If I was allowed to go 4600 watts, this should be about 35kWh they could gain.

    So, all in all not worth the effort or capital cost.
    Did the same calculations and agree 100% with you.

    The increase in base/monitoring costs offsets the amount you will be paid back for the power you export from a legal installation of max 4600 W.
    In summer with 4600 W of panels you may be a net exporter or breakeven, but in winter you will most likely be a nett importer of power and loose money on the deal.

    It's like they designed the deal so that you loose or at best breakeven, probably to discourage people from doing it.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by desdrake View Post
    Your electrical meter is only programmed to register the power that you import(use). Should you export any power it will not be registered thus you will be giving it to the supplier for free.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Nope.
    Nope indeed.

    Some meters measure the power you import and the power you export separately - these are special directional meters that can tell in which direction the power vector is heading.
    Some meters only see the total power passing through them and cannot tell the direction in which power vector is heading, so you will be charged for imported + exported power as if it was all imported.
    Some meters can even turn backwards or slow down or stall and will read only the nett power passing through them.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    The correct naming for an energy meter that can also measure directional power flow is called a " Four Quadrant Energy Meter"

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    Thanks everyone for the valuable information and input.

    What a ridiculous situation - the government are unable to provide enough power and can't afford to keep the lights on, their citizens are prepared to contribute to providing much needed power, but they won't accommodate the help offered unless they make money out of said help!!! Such moronic stupidity is almost an achievement!

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Can you feed back to Grid

    For us Tshwane people this is the only info I could yet lay my hands on, dated 2017. I think they are too busy playing party politics at the moment to do any productive work, so it may be hanging in the air some more years.

    *A Bidirectional meter will cost you R7500 for single phase 60 Amp use.
    *They will buy energy back at R0.10c/kWh (Nersa Approved in 2017)
    *Applications to be handled on a first come, first served basis, so if the network is limited ito reverse energy flow they may not approve your installation.
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    Last edited by faniedup; 2020/03/02 at 11:02 AM. Reason: spelling

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