If you had 90k to spend..





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  1. #1
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    Default If you had 90k to spend..

    As the title suggests my wife's employer has made funds available to install a 'Solar generator' system at our home so SWAMBO can continue working from home. We make contributions which they will match to a max of 90k (45k each).

    The funds are supposed to provide for a home office to continue working during power outages, we are currently only 2 in the house and use btw R800 and R1000 of power (pre-paid) monthly.

    I know very little on the subject and am looking for advice from any knowledgable folk who have maybe been down this road. My thoughts are to try and get a system that allows me to add capacity (panels) in the future and therefore get larger capacity Inverter and control systems now that we in effect pay half price for.

    Any advice will be welcome. I have contractors coming later in the week to look and quote, but would like to be a bit more educated before i speak with them.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Contact Richard Blackbeard on 0846556677. He is very knowledgeable regarding solar. Tel him Malcolm in Kensington referred you.
    Malcolm van Coller - retired 2013 but remained in Johannesburg (maybe will look at moving south, Robertson or Wellington type of town, once the wife retires)
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Contact Sinetech best quality and good prices.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    If you want to save on your pre-paid bill, go grid tied.
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    You can get very far with R90k if you shop right.
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Plenty of threads here on how to determine your base and peak loads.

    So if this is a home office, I assume:

    - network components?
    - desktops and / or laptops?
    - multi-function printers?
    - etc?

    Build a spreadsheet with a column for each type, a row for quantities, and rows for peak and standard power consumption. With simple Excel maths you can now determine you total peak and base loads.
    These details will either be on the power supply or the device or in its packaging.

    Disregard all aircons and kettels............if you need to, add the consumption for a fan.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    Plenty of threads here on how to determine your base and peak loads.

    So if this is a home office, I assume:

    - network components?
    - desktops and / or laptops?
    - multi-function printers?
    - etc?

    Build a spreadsheet with a column for each type, a row for quantities, and rows for peak and standard power consumption. With simple Excel maths you can now determine you total peak and base loads.
    These details will either be on the power supply or the device or in its packaging.

    Disregard all aircons and kettels............if you need to, add the consumption for a fan.
    Just as a FYI: If you go grid tied, you don't need to worry about that per se.

    Say you get a 3kva grid tied inverter, with 3.5kw array, it will offset 2.4kw - temp derating kept in mind - of your Eskom draw.
    In other words, if there is a peak of 10kw ... then 7.6kw comes from Eskom, 2.4kw from the grid tied system.
    And if the house draws say 1kw, then the full 1kw comes from the grid tied inverter.

    In the above case, you schedule the use of aircons and other high loads to fit in the 2.4kw - temp derating kept in mind - band.

    The other benefit of grid-tied, from the first watt in the mornings, to the last watt at night, it reduces the Eskom draw the entire day.

    Getting a 5kva inverter is better, due to temp derating, when going grid tied as the inverter COULD work the entire day at max wattage.
    Or one knows your average use is <2kw, ignore the peaks, then a 3kva grid tied inverter will do the job with temp derating quite nicely.

    It is all about the average draw 24/7/365. Kill that nicely and you save a ton of money.

    Then, loadshedding, the grid-tie inverter goes off when Eskom drops the ball.
    So to overcome that, one gets a hybrid grid-tied (has batteries), then you split your DB:

    - Main DB the aircons
    - Sub DB all the loads you want to keep on like lights, fridges etc.

    VS not going grid-tied: Now you need to make sure the inverter is big enough to carry all the loads you have. Now the sums get interesting.
    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2020/05/20 at 10:50 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Do yourself a favour and do try and get an quote from Eric
    083 302 8551

    Problem is his installation work is very good and therefor in high demand. But worth the effort

  8. #8
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Thank you for all the replys, i will look at them all properly when i get off site.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Following this discussion. All I can add for now is get as many quotes as possible and in the end don't choose the cheapest.

    My first thought was spend the full 90k on a decent grid tied system then add a hybrid inverter with batteries at a later stage, but I guess the number 1 condition from your wife's place of work is that she must be able to work during load shedding, so you'll have to cater for that from the start.

    So maybe start off with a reasonably sized grid tied inverter and then a hybrid inverter just to run the bare minimum, in this case the home office during load shedding. Then at a later stage you can expand on the system to be able to run more and more items during load shedding.

    If you look at inverters, be sure to look at models which can be paralleled as in you can add a second and third inverter to the system at a later stage to increase the capacity of your system. In this way you don't lose at a later stage by throwing out your inverter and buying a bigger one, you simply add another inverter to the system as a whole.
    I know most of Victron's inverters can be paralleled, but I'm sure other reputable brands also have inverters with the same functionality.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    To be able to continue working during loadshedding I would:

    1. Split the DB into plugs & Lights vs everything else.
    2. Get an Axpert 5kVA UPS inverter. R13k
    3. Get 4 x 2.4kWh Li-Ion batteries R 60k
    4. Install Change over switch R3k
    5. Consumables R8k depending on DB layout and placement of batteries etc.
    5. Get 2kVA computer UPS to run computer until you have thrown the change over switch.
    6. Get sparky to sign off installation.

    Now you can add solar panels etc later when you are ready.

    1. You do not need permission from municipality, neither get paid 10c per kWh put back into the grid (anything else is not going to be above board sometime in future anyway, even though lots of people get away with it now).
    2. You will run an office perfectly during load shedding, as well as some other stuff in your house.

    I have been running my system like that for 18 months now very successfully, probably going to have my first try at going off grid today after final battery additions and see if my sums match practice......

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  12. #11
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Quote Originally Posted by faniedup View Post
    To be able to continue working during loadshedding I would:

    1. Split the DB into plugs & Lights vs everything else.
    2. Get an Axpert 5kVA UPS inverter. R13k
    3. Get 4 x 2.4kWh Li-Ion batteries R 60k
    4. Install Change over switch R3k
    5. Consumables R8k depending on DB layout and placement of batteries etc.
    5. Get 2kVA computer UPS to run computer until you have thrown the change over switch.
    6. Get sparky to sign off installation.

    Now you can add solar panels etc later when you are ready.

    1. You do not need permission from municipality, neither get paid 10c per kWh put back into the grid (anything else is not going to be above board sometime in future anyway, even though lots of people get away with it now).
    2. You will run an office perfectly during load shedding, as well as some other stuff in your house.

    I have been running my system like that for 18 months now very successfully, probably going to have my first try at going off grid today after final battery additions and see if my sums match practice......
    As stated, split the DB. Very important. Run Red Sockets where you need them.

    Just bear in mind that when you add panels to the Axpert, the only time you run your load from the panels are when your load is less than the power the panel can provide, including battery charge. Unless this has changed?
    My system installed is a Solis Grid-tied with 3600w of panels and an Axpert 3000VA Invertor. The Axpert is running essentially in UPS mode. So, when the sun comes up I start saving Eskom power. The UPS provide backup when needed.
    My electricity bill dropped 28% average over the year.

    The complete system was way below R70k, but I did install everything myself, so that could add at least R 25k I would imagine.
    Those Li-Ion batteries is great, but damn they are expensive. I hope to afford them in 4 years when I need to replace my batteries.
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  13. #12
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Quote Originally Posted by faniedup View Post
    To be able to continue working during loadshedding I would:

    1. Split the DB into plugs & Lights vs everything else.
    2. Get an Axpert 5kVA UPS inverter. R13k
    3. Get 4 x 2.4kWh Li-Ion batteries R 60k
    4. Install Change over switch R3k
    5. Consumables R8k depending on DB layout and placement of batteries etc.
    5. Get 2kVA computer UPS to run computer until you have thrown the change over switch.
    6. Get sparky to sign off installation.

    Now you can add solar panels etc later when you are ready.

    1. You do not need permission from municipality, neither get paid 10c per kWh put back into the grid (anything else is not going to be above board sometime in future anyway, even though lots of people get away with it now).
    2. You will run an office perfectly during load shedding, as well as some other stuff in your house.

    I have been running my system like that for 18 months now very successfully, probably going to have my first try at going off grid today after final battery additions and see if my sums match practice......
    Cape Town is a bit different. Here you need permission to start installing

    Just bear in mind that when you add panels to the Axpert, the only time you run your load from the panels are when your load is less than the power the panels can provide, including battery charge. Unless this has changed to a hybrid way of working?
    My system installed is a Solis Grid-tied with 3600w of panels and an Axpert 3000VA Invertor. The Axpert is running essentially in UPS mode. So, when the sun comes up I start saving Eskom power. The UPS provide backup when needed.
    As stated, split the DB. Very important. Run Red Sockets where you need them.
    My electricity bill dropped 28% average over the year.

    The complete system was way below R70k, but I did install everything myself, so that could add at least R 25k I would imagine. Btw, panels at more than R5/watt is expensive. Solis 4.2 around R13k? Check https://www.solarsolved.co.za/
    Those Li-Ion batteries is great, but damn they are expensive. I hope to afford them in 4 years when I need to replace my batteries.
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  14. #13
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    There are much better inverters out there than Axperts today. I will find it very hard to recommend it to anyone now. 5 Years ago they were pretty cheap and filled a nice gap in the market. Today not so much. Saying that I personally still have 5 kVA Axpert wroking perfectly but wount replace it with an Axpert should it fail.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiaan Pot View Post
    There are much better inverters out there than Axperts today. I will find it very hard to recommend it to anyone now. 5 Years ago they were pretty cheap and filled a nice gap in the market. Today not so much. Saying that I personally still have 5 kVA Axpert wroking perfectly but wount replace it with an Axpert should it fail.
    Please list them here, most of us are on a learning curve.

    I need to get one for load shedding backup on my router machine at work, and running Axperts at home that is what I would have used again, but would look at better options if available.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    This is indeed a very difficult thing to explain to people out there.
    Are you just looking for a backup solution or looking to reduce your power bill or both?

    If you looking just for backup power, using an Axpert UPS type inverter with Gel batteries is the way to go.
    Please use proper batteries, not the 105AH leisure batteries.
    There is no need to add solar panels as it will not save you money or reduce your bill.

    If you looking to reduce your monthly power bill, then go for a Grid Tie solution.
    In certain area's there is municipal laws that needs to be followed.
    These types of systems is not really suited for home owners, but rather large consumers like shopping centers.

    If you looking for a combination of the above, rather go with a proper Hybrid inverter and do not combine the above two systems.
    Victron fanboys used to love doing combination systems. They work ok, but is normally way overpriced and extremely complex to configure correctly.
    A proper Hybrid can use any combination of solar, mains and battery power, all at the same time!!!
    Make sure you understand the inverter specifications.

    Again, gel batteries is very cost effective if you only use them for backup power.
    If you set-up the system to reduce your consumption, then rather go with lithium batteries, as they can be cycled on a daily basis.


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  18. #16
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    Default Re: If you had 90k to spend..

    As one would be working from home you want to save some power during the day. I would take a good look at the system Nerd in post 12 has.

    Save with the grid tied 335 days a year and use the back up UPS for the 30 days of load shedding.

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