Solar System for Home ( yet another :) - Page 14





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  1. #261
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    So it boils down to a very simple yet complex cost calculation/ decision - IF one has frequent daytime Eskom failures:
    1) Solis and Axpert, yes it is cheaper than hybrid grid tied inverters BUT what would the extra batteries cost, and replacement, to power daytime loads during failures?
    2) Hybrid grid tied, smallest size of bank one could get away with seeing solar is still contributing towards the loads daytime?
    That about sums up why I'm going the route I am, TTT. In a way, I see the sun as my "daytime battery", and since one's (well mine anyways) always-on draw decreases a fair bit by sleeping time, not much battery power is required night-time.
    Last edited by plcomp; 2020/07/01 at 05:33 PM.

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  3. #262
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by plcomp View Post
    That about sums up why I'm going the route I am, TTT. In a way, I see the sun as my "daytime battery", and since one's (well mine anyways) always-on draw decreases a fair bit by sleeping time, not much battery power is required night-time.
    Exactly.

    Because you have the batteries, use them (!) at night when the house loads (not only Always On DB) have decreased, by i.e. powering the fridges, outside lights, wifi and all that, removing even more from Eskom, sun to put that draw back the next day.

    Batteries now starts to give you a ROI.

    And because you don't run them too low, you programmed the system to not go below say i.e. 50% DOD, that sweet spot where the most cycles are, you sit back and forget.

    I go one step further by reducing the inverter max watts at night to ignore one 50l geyser draw in the evenings. That can stay on Eskom, it is cheaper.

    Must say, the Cpt weather the last few weeks have seriously pushed my system and batts. Hardly enough sunlight to get things done.
    I sit on my hands to not add 5 more panels ... each day a few more minutes of sunlight more ... it is but wot, 30(?) out of 365 days of the year this happens.
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  4. #263
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    So it boils down to a very simple yet complex cost calculation/ decision - IF one has frequent daytime Eskom failures:
    1) Solis and Axpert, yes it is cheaper than hybrid grid tied inverters BUT what would the extra batteries cost, and replacement, to power daytime loads during failures?
    2) Hybrid grid tied, smallest size of bank one could get away with seeing solar is still contributing towards the loads daytime?

    This "simple cost calculation / decision" is 100% individual based on i.e. frequency of daytime Eskom failures and IF one wants to power through these daytime failures on batteries not being solar assisted.

    And less we forget this titbit: Whatever batteries one bought:
    1) Would one use them to get a ROI out of them in their lifetime?
    2) Or would one let them die of old age in a UPS, being seldom used?

    Tough costly decisions to be made the moment batteries enter the mix.

    Yes TTT - tough but one can get help with real data and do your best to calculate based on it without following herd mentality. We know we tend to see the worst at most times.

    My data is as follows:
    Past 10 months
    Total run time of 30kW genny serving 3 companies in the same complex = 37 hrs
    Nett runtime due to LS and power failures during office hours 30 - 7 hrs deducted is the actual test run time of 20min every 2nd week.
    30/10=3hrs per month actual LS and power failures.
    3/23=0.13hrs per day=7.82min per day.

    Period of cloud so little PV = quite a few and out of ones control.

    Do I need extra batteries due to no grid for 8min a day - NO. Most might disagree and quite a lot of guys might know of single power failures of more than our 30hrs a number of times in the last 10 months.

    This implies that one should not decide on things out of emotion/forum or based on the barber's wisdom. I see this in line with not trying to install solar without knowing what load is used when and what can be switched off and "eating" up the kWh.

    Lastly we need to take care of our own personality. Some would rather spend a lot on batteries as they tend to worry about the 80% of things that never happens. Each person to decide for themselves.

  5. #264
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Yes TTT - tough but one can get help with real data and do your best to calculate based on it without following herd mentality. We know we tend to see the worst at most times.

    My data is as follows:
    Past 10 months
    Total run time of 30kW genny serving 3 companies in the same complex = 37 hrs
    Nett runtime due to LS and power failures during office hours 30 - 7 hrs deducted is the actual test run time of 20min every 2nd week.
    30/10=3hrs per month actual LS and power failures.
    3/23=0.13hrs per day=7.82min per day.

    Period of cloud so little PV = quite a few and out of ones control.

    Do I need extra batteries due to no grid for 8min a day - NO. Most might disagree and quite a lot of guys might know of single power failures of more than our 30hrs a number of times in the last 10 months.

    This implies that one should not decide on things out of emotion/forum or based on the barber's wisdom. I see this in line with not trying to install solar without knowing what load is used when and what can be switched off and "eating" up the kWh.

    Lastly we need to take care of our own personality. Some would rather spend a lot on batteries as they tend to worry about the 80% of things that never happens. Each person to decide for themselves.
    Its a bit like the argument for and against 4x4 or mud terrain tyres. You might only need or use them 5% of the time, but boy one ten meter patch of mud in the middle of nowhere can ruin a ten thousand kilometer once in a lifetime holiday - especially if you die.

    It all comes down to:

    How important is that 7.82 minutes per day.

    How much are you prepared to pay to guarantee that 7.82 minutes.

    How much are you prepared to contribute from your it feels good, its the right - green - thing to do kitty.

    The first two points are quantifiable, and can be logically argued and debated.

    The last point, the feel good factor, has no limits. Strutting your green trophy at the Polo Club while while secretly enjoying the benefits is priceless.
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  6. #265
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    My data is as follows:
    Here is a different view, simpler, for most of us have these numbers at hand.

    Forget my off-grid system, was a hobby, DIY "solar" hobbiest UPS that ran for many many years, switching, based on SOC, between solar and Eskom to see if I can save on Eskom ... bleh - savings where crap compared.

    Eskom bill, excl connection fees, 12 month average of +-R1.9k pm = +-R22 800pa. (At Eskom rates of over 1.5 years ago.)
    Notes:

    • As the Eskom bill went up, I simply reduced our usage ... till I could no more, SWAMBO.
    • 6 person household.
    • Lifestyle and habit changes where required.
    • No fridges or other white goods where replaced, unless they broke.
    • No gas replacements either, induction plate stove cheaper.



    System grid tied cost in total: +-R98k all in.

    • Was bought over time, at times piece by piece, selling parts on, buying 2nd hand, wheeling and dealing, paying school fees.


    Eskom bill since grid tied, a 12 month average of +-R500pm = +-R6 000pa.

    At existing Eskom rates to KISS:
    From +-R 22 800pa down to +-R 6 000pa = +-R 16 800 saving per annum
    Over 5 years that is +-R84 000 savings.
    System paid cash +-R 98 000

    So in +-6 years, 5 left, and I've got all my monies back - and I KNOW the equipment will last +-6 years minimum, having a 5 year warranty on the core parts.


    The hopes are:

    • Panels last +-20 years, Canadian warranty.
    • Inverter, MPPT etc I believe will last +-10-15 years.
    • Batteries claim 6000 cycles at 50% DOD, so +-15 years.


    So IF all last +-15 years:

    • I would have paid off the 1st install in +-6 years,
    • Saving for the 2nd install in the next +-5 years,
    • And make a "profit" the last +-4 years,

    .. IF I put the +-R 16 800pa savings away each month.

    Titbit: NOTHING stops one from selling stuff "off the wall", upgrading and all that see, in the +-15 years.


    The core takeaway, difference of approach here:
    • The "7.82min per day" has become a non-issue when you make the monies spent back, with a possible "profit".
    • And think of the run on UPS'es, solar installs, batteries when Eskom gets a wobble.
    • And do take note of what Gerlach says further on, "goedkoop koop is duur koop".

    The sun does pay.
    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2020/07/02 at 09:06 AM.
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  7. #266
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Lots of wisdom here; lots of viewpoints, some very different. I like and thoroughly enjoy the honest and civil conversation.
    Not speaking for anybody else, but for me that 7.82 min per day is priceless if I can afford it - especially on my "always-on/critical" stuff [and the fridge is not even part of it]. Any savings that can be had is just a bonus.

    For less than a thumbsuck R150K a supposedly expensive Victron-based not-quite-so-modest system is possible. For what that 7.82 min per day is worth to me, it is quite the bargain - even excl the bonus. Even if I'll possibly only shave off 6 min and be forced to live with the remaining 1.82. I say this, because absolutely worst-case is no grid for days and no sun for days at the same time - very unlikely, but call it that "1.82".

    There is something else to consider: It's called "insurance". So I ask myself the question: How likely is that 7.82 min/day to become 10, 20, 30 .... min/day? I don't see myself as a doomsday-conspiracy-theory believer with a fully equipped/stocked basement bunker - but hell yes, for a measly R150K this insurance=peace of mind is well worth it.

    For other people, "their mileage may vary" as the saying goes.
    Last edited by plcomp; 2020/07/02 at 04:24 AM.

  8. #267
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    For the money I spend, I'm supper happy with my system, and there was some school fees to involve. You need to burn your fingers to learn. Rather buy proper stuff that will last you years and will out last some other stuff.

    To give good example, my MLT 8.0H powerstar Bi-direction hybrid is 10years old and it still going, running the newest bridge software and got all the stuff inside all the new stuff is only coming out now. I can pick up the fone and call them if there is a probleme and they send someone out. It was on the NSR list and was remove on the 2017 COCT list. I just installed my 2nd lifepo4 bank this week and I'm smiling all the way.

    The thing with expensive inverter and mppts, you need back-up, if something go's wrong you don't want hhhmmmmm and aaaaaaaaa from suppliers. You need a brand that will say, bring it in and we will check and replace. So keep that in mind.

  9. #268
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    I think everyone has its own reasons for doing the solar thing. Some people want to save electricity costs, some people don't want to be effected by loadshedding etc etc.

    My system started out for a need to have uninterrupted power to my 3d printer, and PC. A pc ups only helps to save your stuff before shutting down.

    If you have a crash analysis running on a pc that has been going for 18 hours already, and still have a day to go, and a deadline on the report, you don't need loadshedding or a substation trip in your life. Neither a half printed 3d print that has to be redone.

  10. #269
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    So it boils down to a very simple yet complex cost calculation/ decision - IF one has frequent daytime Eskom failures:
    1) Solis and Axpert, yes it is cheaper than hybrid grid tied inverters BUT what would the extra batteries cost, and replacement, to power daytime loads during failures?
    2) Hybrid grid tied, smallest size of bank one could get away with seeing solar is still contributing towards the loads daytime?
    This will only work if your municipality support grid-feedback. If you have a smart meter or pre-paid that does not support it you would not use the grid-tied.

    Maybe a single inverter that support a blend of PV and Grid/Battery would be enough. ROI is longer if any as a lot of PV is lost that is not immediately consumed or push to batteries if there is empty capacity.

    Day time vs Night time usage management is key with that.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. Bill Cosby

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  11. #270
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rudi.Oost View Post
    This will only work if your municipality support grid-feedback. If you have a smart meter or pre-paid that does not support it you would not use the grid-tied.
    My view has always been that until the law is changed, feedback is a waste of time and effort.
    Have heard of some Munic's givien R0.10c per kw, if THEY pay for the bi-directional meter, do it, makes no difference.
    Munic's cannot really stop us from grid tying, as long as we follow SANS and NRS regulations, with paperwork to prove it.

    Conlog PAYG meters are reported to trip yes, they are set too sensitive.
    • Maybe someone knows how to open them, adjust with Conlog's support, then seal the meter again?

    Or add a high load draw between inverter and grid?
    • Like in the UK they heat their geysers with the surplus power before it is fed back into the grid.
    • Maybe add a cheap heater element that will "absorb" surplus power before it gets to the PAYG meter?

    Anyone maybe having a solution for that, as it is a big'ish problem for some areas?


    Quote Originally Posted by Rudi.Oost View Post
    Maybe a single inverter that support a blend of PV and Grid/Battery would be enough.
    ROI is longer if any as a lot of PV is lost that is not immediately consumed or push to batteries if there is empty capacity.
    Blend, is that not a hybrid grid tie inverter?
    If you cannot use the power daytime, geysers, poolpump, home office etc ... then it is a total absolute waste of monies yes.
    Get a UPS if Eskom failures are a bit of a bother.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rudi.Oost View Post
    Day time vs Night time usage management is key with that.
    Daytime use - ALL the power your panels can generate - read between the lines - Do not go too big too fast. :-)
    Evening use - set your system to not drain the batts below a pre-set SOC, use them! That is not only optimal use of batts every day, but also the next day's solar recharging.
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  12. #271
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    My view has always been that until the law is changed, feedback is a waste of time and effort.
    Have heard of some Munic's givien R0.10c per kw, if THEY pay for the bi-directional meter, do it, makes no difference.
    Munic's cannot really stop us from grid tying, as long as we follow SANS and NRS regulations, with paperwork to prove it.

    Conlog PAYG meters are reported to trip yes, they are set too sensitive.
    • Maybe someone knows how to open them, adjust with Conlog's support, then seal the meter again?

    Or add a high load draw between inverter and grid?
    • Like in the UK they heat their geysers with the surplus power before it is fed back into the grid.
    • Maybe add a cheap heater element that will "absorb" surplus power before it gets to the PAYG meter?

    Anyone maybe having a solution for that, as it is a big'ish problem for some areas?
    Got to agree 100% here.

    Have logged many tickets with Goodwe regarding this issue.
    They just say they working on a fix and it should be ready soon.

    At least with the Infini and Victron you can set your max feedback to a negative value, which can help with the Conlog metering issues.


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  14. #272
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Wetkit View Post
    ... Victron you can set your max feedback to a negative value, which can help with the Conlog metering issues.
    Teach me!

    We know we can set the grid set point.

    Setting the "max feedback to a negative value" ... are you by any chance referring to the new update on the Venus, the one in the picture below?
    Or not?
    Attached Images Attached Images  
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    I think the Victron interface looks different for each unit, but I think the export setting I was reffering to is actually done on the Color Control GX where you can limit the output power to the grid.
    The ideal is the have around 100w from the grid and never goto Zero like some of the others like Goodwe try to do.
    The Conlog meters is just too fast and the inverter controllers just too slow.

    With the Infini the value below can be made negative, and that will ensure constant power use from the grid.
    With the Goodwe the only allow 0 to 3.5kw, but that is export power, not import.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #274
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    Post Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Thank you for a very interesting and informative thread. Apologies if it has been mentioned, but what type of meters (brands) am I looking at if I want to start collecting data to see what my load profile looks like. I am interested in my total consumption and the profile as it changes during the day. Is there a cost effective way to do this?

    I have no experience with solar power and would appreciate any assistance. Currently I am interested in a grid tied inverter, no batteries, the main reason I want to do this is to absorb some of my consumption but before I go that route I want to start collecting data. I prefer a plug and play solution and not trying to fiddle with the setup every now and then, as long as I can view the data as and when I want to.
    A while back I decided to get one of the kill a watt (pictures attached) meters,
    for some reason I don't trust the ratings on the labels of appliances.
    I also wanted to know exactly what my loadshedding loads would draw from the battery bank so that I could have a better guestimate for a 50% DOD so I don't damage the batteries. I currently have a small loadshedding solution to power the lights, tv wifi. It is a 3000W, 24V inverter with 2 x 100Ah batteries.

    The Kill a watt is limited to 3 600 watts but it helped me to identify the power saving settings from my tv that made a difference between it consuming 180W to consuming 100W during loadshedding. From the information on here I see it is best to start gathering data for 6 - 12months and then make the decision on which way to go. It gets a bit tricky with the kill a watt as I have to plug every appliance into it one by one.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #275
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Life View Post
    ..., but what type of meters (brands) am I looking at if I want to start collecting data to see what my load profile looks like. I am interested in my total consumption and the profile as it changes during the day. Is there a cost effective way to do this?
    I used a Efergy meter for a while to see what goes on. Not that accurate but over time, it becomes pretty indicative of what is going on.

    Here are a few: https://www.google.com/search?client...4dUDCAs&uact=5
    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2020/07/07 at 09:49 AM.
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  20. #276
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    I used a Efergy meter for a while to see what goes on. Not that accurate but over time, it becomes pretty indicative of what is going on.

    Here are a few: https://www.google.com/search?client...4dUDCAs&uact=5
    How does it compare with Sonof smart kit? Maybe there is somone using this kit and share their experience in terms of ease.of use?
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    I used a Efergy meter for a while to see what goes on. Not that accurate but over time, it becomes pretty indicative of what is going on.

    Here are a few: https://www.google.com/search?client...4dUDCAs&uact=5
    thanks for the response,

    I see that the E2 classic can be downloaded to Excel which is exactly what I am looking for.
    Last edited by Life; 2020/07/07 at 10:49 AM.

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  23. #278
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
    How does it compare with Sonof smart kit? Maybe there is somone using this kit and share their experience in terms of ease.of use?
    Sonof's are wireless relays, to switch devices on/off cleverly. Not energy meters, as far as I'm aware. I could also be mistaken.
    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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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Life View Post
    thanks for the response,

    I see that the E2 classic can be downloaded to Excel which is exactly what I am looking for.
    Indeed. I used the same feature.

    Just a thought I want to put out there:
    Because energy meter are not cheap, and won't be used after one has gone grid tied, if someone knows they want to go say i.e. Victron, I suggest they get a Carlo Gavazzi ET112 and a Venus as their first purchases on the road of going grid tied with Victron setup, to start recording the DB board data.

    Titbit: Efergy is not very accurate on the spot, give you a damn good idea thought. More accurate over time when you see the data in Excel.
    Has to do with the VA it measures. More technical people can explain that in more detail.
    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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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Sonoff got a controller that shows power but it's for if you run something on that unit. I'm using a Shelly EM in my DB. You can check my post no #8 here. https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...16#post4402816

    What nice about is, you planning to gridtie and exporting, it can show you your importing and exporting to the grid use. It can read both ways.

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