Solar System for Home ( yet another :)





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

    I hope to get some clarity from the experts.

    I am looking to install a solar system at home that can do the following:

    1. Run from batteries for a few hours when Eskom is down (load shedding) for essential stuff only.

    2. Save a bit on my Eskom bill by running the house (mostly) from the panels when the sun shines bright enough.

    3. Ideally, when the sun shines, the system should mostly use solar but "topup" from Eskom if required. Ie, if the load is 4kW at a point in time and the panels can provide only 3 at that moment, the system should feed the 3kW to the house from the panels but add 1kW from Eskom to provide the full 4kW.

    From reading the posts here and on the Internet it seems like a hybrid inverter can feed power from Eskom or solar to the house, but only from one of these at a time so only meeting requirements 1 and 2.

    I have seen some posts about combining Solis and Axpert inverters to accomplish requirement 3 but as I understand it, a grid tied inverter cuts out when Eskom is off so I am not sure how this would work without manual intervention when Eskom goes down.

    Isn't there an inverter that can achieve these three requirements by itself?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by jcdup View Post
    Isn't there an inverter that can achieve these three requirements by itself?
    Victron and GoodWE.
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    Victron and GoodWE.
    Yes....
    Victron is like a Defender, you add many bits and can fine tune and configure... Goodwe is like a Toyota camry, not much to configure (very unexciting actually), but gets the job done with ease and minimal configuration..

    What is your daily usage, kWhrs, where are you situated and what escom meter do you have?

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Thanks

    I am a Toyota fan so it seems like it will have to be a Goodwe

    I am in Kempton Park and have a prepaid meter.

    I have only just installed a Efergy energy meter so I am still testing but it looks like 35kWh, or so, per day

    Are all the Goodwes and Victrons able to "mix" power from Eskom and solar?

    Thanks again
    Last edited by jcdup; 2020/06/09 at 07:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Let me ask you this, what is your budget?

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Regarding budget:

    I already bought 4x Pylontech US2000B Plus 2.4kWh batteries and will add more later but for the panels, Inverter(s) and installation I would not like to spend more than R100k now





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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by NewLandy View Post
    Yes....
    ... Goodwe is like a Toyota camry, ....?
    Why a Camry?

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    I'm also beginning to hear good things about SunSynk inverters. Looks like good value.

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by jcdup View Post
    Are all the Goodwes and Victrons able to "mix" power from Eskom and solar?
    Yes. Victron I can say with 100% surety that it will re-charges batteries from solar only unless you tell it to use Eskom in case of emergency.
    It merges power from all sources.
    GoodWE's would be near exactly the same I presume, but I have no first hand experience.

    But here is the thing.
    Investigate Victron's ESS software, as that is where some very interesting software comes into play if you want to grid tie and save as much as you can from going solar.
    https://www.victronenergy.com/live/e...llation-manual

    I'm not aware of any other manufacturer doing that to the same to this extent as Victron does nor am I aware of manufacturers keeping their hardware's firmware and operating software as up to date as Victron does ... nor the ease with which to do it.

    The slightly amore costs ito acquiring Victron makes perfect sense if you don't want to be limited and want the option to expand, add, alter as you wish, like Lego.
    Then Victron is a very good option to consider.

    If you want Plug and Play / off the shelf, then GoodWE is your brand.
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    And seeing that SANS and NRS are national regulations and NOT City Of Cape Town, it is prudent to check your Munic's regulations ito SSEG.

    Ask your local Sparkie about NRS and SANS ito installing solar.
    There are more and more cases of people installing solar with no CoC ... and then there is a insurance claim and the insurer repudiates.
    So check with your insurer too, what they need.

    CoCT has produced a list of NRS approved inverters for SA's convenience: List of NRS Approved Inverters
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    Yes. Victron I can say with 100% surety that it will re-charges batteries from solar only unless you tell it to use Eskom in case of emergency.

    Goodwe is the same, either solar or from Grid, whichever is available. It depends on the mode you are using, "Own use " mode only charges from Solar, other modes will charge from Grid/solar based on your time settings.

    It merges power from all sources.
    GoodWE's would be near exactly the same I presume, but I have no first hand experience.

    Yes

    But here is the thing.
    Investigate Victron's ESS software, as that is where some very interesting software comes into play if you want to grid tie and save as much as you can from going solar.
    https://www.victronenergy.com/live/e...llation-manual

    I'm not aware of any other manufacturer doing that to the same to this extent as Victron does nor am I aware of manufacturers keeping their hardware's firmware and operating software as up to date as Victron does ... nor the ease with which to do it.

    Goodwe does "over the air " firmware updates to Inverter.

    The slightly amore costs ito acquiring Victron makes perfect sense if you don't want to be limited and want the option to expand, add, alter as you wish, like Lego.
    Then Victron is a very good option to consider.

    Yes....
    Goodwe 5048 allows for a max panel power of 6500Watts. If you take that on average, you will only ever get 80% of that at peak on a good day, if your panels are perfectly aligned to the sun, then you're talking 5000Watts max. So if you require > 5000Watts peak continuous demand during the day then Goodwe is NOT the way to go (Think geyser + washing machine+tumble dryer). I think for most h/holds generating 20-30kWhrs/day (peak at 4500-5000W for 2 hrs/day) is enough for the average 3-4 person home.

    Anything more than peak continuous power of > 4500 Watts and more than 30kWhrs/day , id go victron.

    The other thing that is forgotten , beside the inverter, is the fact that the panels should be aligned to the sun to get decent power. I've noticed my average production has gone down from 28kWhr down to 20 in Winter months due to the panels not being aligned correctly.


    If you want Plug and Play / off the shelf, then GoodWE is your brand.

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  16. #12
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    Yes. Victron I can say with 100% surety that it will re-charges batteries from solar only unless you tell it to use Eskom in case of emergency.
    It merges power from all sources.
    GoodWE's would be near exactly the same I presume, but I have no first hand experience.

    But here is the thing.
    Investigate Victron's ESS software, as that is where some very interesting software comes into play if you want to grid tie and save as much as you can from going solar.
    https://www.victronenergy.com/live/e...llation-manual

    I'm not aware of any other manufacturer doing that to the same to this extent as Victron does nor am I aware of manufacturers keeping their hardware's firmware and operating software as up to date as Victron does ... nor the ease with which to do it.

    The slightly amore costs ito acquiring Victron makes perfect sense if you don't want to be limited and want the option to expand, add, alter as you wish, like Lego.
    Then Victron is a very good option to consider.

    If you want Plug and Play / off the shelf, then GoodWE is your brand.


    OT, what Victron inverters do you use, I assume you have a grid tied / hybrid system?
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Just some info to help with the big picture, my house also consumes around 30 to 35kWh/day, and I have often seen values around 6.5kW, and peaks around 8.5kW.

    If you are not splitting your DB to remove some heavy current appliances, just make sure the equipment can handle it.

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    And seeing that SANS and NRS are national regulations and NOT City Of Cape Town, it is prudent to check your Munic's regulations ito SSEG.

    Ask your local Sparkie about NRS and SANS ito installing solar.
    There are more and more cases of people installing solar with no CoC ... and then there is a insurance claim and the insurer repudiates.
    So check with your insurer too, what they need.

    CoCT has produced a list of NRS approved inverters for SA's convenience: List of NRS Approved Inverters
    I asked my installer about a CoC and he even called the equipment supplier.

    Apparently, if the solar system is not connected to the house grid (ie panels to batteries only) then no CoC is required. For insurance I arranged with our broker to cover for natural damage (hail, storm) alone at around R60 per month. I want to see the thief that will climb up two storeys to remove some panels (in our case).

    I understand if an inverter is installed and connected to the house grid a CoC may be required, but not for the solar side per se.
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by faniedup View Post
    Just some info to help with the big picture, my house also consumes around 30 to 35kWh/day, and I have often seen values around 6.5kW, and peaks around 8.5kW.

    If you are not splitting your DB to remove some heavy current appliances, just make sure the equipment can handle it.
    If the system goes that high at times it can only be from the geyser and stove/oven. These units should not be via the inverter/ups system and need to be redirected as faniedup mentions. Go gas or go home . Our elect geyser is used as a standby for when the gas geyser konks and runs with our quite heavy security lights and daily aircon which are all redirected away from the inverter.

    I feel any inverter smaller than 6kW is a waste of money. They are expensive and one needs spare capacity for future. Also not healthy to run the inverter to more than 80% for long periods at a time. Similar to run a car at top speed mostly.
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    OT, what Victron inverters do you use, I assume you have a grid tied / hybrid system?
    Jip, hybrid grid tied. Had a portion of the house off-grid for years. What a waste that was ito lost power!

    Started with a 3kva Multiplus II, but due to temp derating I sold it and upgraded to a 5kva Multiplus II, hybrid grid tied yes.



    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    Goodwe 5048 allows for a max panel power of 6500Watts.
    Just a note on this.
    Because GoodWE cannot do software limiting of 3.5kw on a 63amp breaker, you have to limit the panels to 3.5kw, when you have to register the system.

    Victron does have software limiting when grid tied, so I can have any array size bigger than 3.5kw.
    Here is a titbit: With Victron, when the grid falls away, the limit one sets in the software of say i.e. 3.5kw, falls away when the grid falls away. System can then use the max inverter capacity / panels available.



    Quote Originally Posted by JohanMaree View Post
    Apparently, if the solar system is not connected to the house grid (ie panels to batteries only) then no CoC is required.
    I'm under correction or misinformed. Any electrical work in your home, grid tied or not, needs a CoC.

    The best source of information for this, is your insurer/broker. They must put such in writing i.e. that you don't need a CoC.
    Keep that on hand if ever there is a claim and the assessor asks for that CoC.

    Because if you logically think about it, even if the inverter is not grid tied, yet feeding a separate DB that has your house lights, fridges, freezers, TV etc on, why would those circuits, that DB, not need a CoC?



    Quote Originally Posted by faniedup View Post
    If you are not splitting your DB to remove some heavy current appliances, just make sure the equipment can handle it.
    Splitting a DB is also a good idea if you are grid tied, to limit the drain on the batteries by specifying the loads on that DB.

    Having been off-grid for years, please take this tibit in consideration: Being grid tied is more efficient ito panel usage, than off-grid.
    And you don't have to worry about peaks from heavy appliances either, as the grid takes care of that.
    So you can go for a smaller inverter, being grid tied, than vs going off-grid.

    Been there, done that ... T-Shirts and all of that.
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    J
    Just a note on this.
    Because GoodWE cannot do software limiting of 3.5kw on a 63amp breaker, you have to limit the panels to 3.5kw, when you have to register the system.
    I read about this. In Ekhuruleni it seems that they have not got there yet, re rules etc, but we will see if it becomes a issue. I'm sure once they wake up I may have to upgrade my breaker.

    Are they trying to limit possible feeding back into the grid to 3500Watts?

    The goodwe can be/is software limited to feed "zero" back into the grid...It always feeds back 5-20 Watts as part of its feedback loop...Ask the elec gurus how it works....

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    @jcdup , what you describing in points 1 to 3 can only be done with a proper Hybrid invertor.
    To me the Goodwe G5048D-ES sounds like 100% what you need.

    The only Victron product that comes close is the Easy Solar 48/5000/70.

    The Goodwe takes it because the power meter is already included, 2 x MPPT's, rated at 550V. Support for Pylontech already included. Built-in Wifi. High IP rating and no cooling fans.
    With the Victron, you only have a single MPPT, limited to 150V, so many parallel strings, no power meter, no WiFi and low IP rating.
    The only real thing going for the Victron is the unit does allow for generator input and the flexibility of the software, but you need to also buy an extra cable for programming.The Goodwe refuses to work from a generator.

    Somebody mentioned that you limited to 5kva for your house power.
    That is utter bull.
    It all depends on how you configure your electrical system.
    If you really want to run your oven and airconditioners on backup power, rather get yourself completely off the grid then.
    The only limitation is on your backup power, but here both units is rated the same at 5kva.


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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Have a look at the Axpert VM3.

    It is classified as an off grid inverter.

    My current installation is as follows:

    6x Canadian Solar 360W panels
    1x Axpert VM3
    1x 3.5kW Pylontech battery

    The inverter is has two modes.
    Battery mode and Line mode.

    In battery mode it powers the household with solar and supplementing the shortfall with battery.
    If solar and battery can't produce the power to cover the load it changes to Line mode.

    In line mode it still uses as much solar as possible and takes the rest from eskom or a generator.
    It can't push anything back into the grid.

    At night if the battery drop below 20% it switches back to eskom and in the morning when solar is back goes back to battery while charging the battery.

    My daily Eskom usage went from around 12kWh to 1-2kWh per day.
    I changed my geyser element from a 4kW to a 2kW.
    Now when my battery is fully charged around 12h00 my geyser switches on at 12h30 and stays on for 2hours which is more than enough time to take it from 25C to 65C on solar.

    VM3 allows PV input from 125VDC to 450VDC
    Can connect a generator to the AC input just like the Goodwe.
    Bluetooth settings and logging.
    Supports Pylontech batteries.
    Really good value for money if you ask me.
    Last edited by Takashi; 2020/06/09 at 01:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by NewLandy View Post
    I read about this. In Ekhuruleni it seems that they have not got there yet, re rules etc, but we will see if it becomes a issue. I'm sure once they wake up I may have to upgrade my breaker.
    Upgrade that breaker now before they enforce the regulations.
    When GoodWE users tried that in Cpt, they Munic stopped them.

    Someone mentioned that the Victron Easysolar does not have a 250v MPPT ,no power meter, no WiFi and low IP rating.
    That is utter bull.
    https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...0-70-GX-EN.pdf

    Note: The latest model Easysolar is not on the NRS list yet ...
    Only need the extra MK3 cable to upgrade the Firmware of the inverter. With the built in VenusGX, you don't need it to program the inverter.
    And note too that Victron MPPT's and BMV's have the Bluetooth versions too, so use your phone and free VictronConnect software.

    What is the IP rating for a GoodWE? And Victron?
    Have not heard of GoodWE's being installed as a rule on yachts/ships.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wetkit View Post
    Somebody mentioned that you limited to 5kva for your house power.
    That is utter bull.
    That was me, I mentioned a limit ito grid tied. Did not say 5kva either. :-)
    3.5kw on 60 amp breaker. See pic below, as that is the main breaker limit in most homes, unless you have 3 phase, which also has limits.

    Quote Originally Posted by NewLandy View Post
    Are they trying to limit possible feeding back into the grid to 3500Watts?
    If we are talking about the same thing, I'm referring to:
    NRS 097-2-3
    SANS 10142-1-2
    https://www.sustainable.org.za/uploads/files/file49.pdf

    Most Munic's have similar docs out already, based on the national SANS and NRS regs. Caveat Emptor as they say.

    Been through this process, legally grid tying, with a CoC and Engineers signoff for my grid tied system.
    My suggestion: Follow CoCT where there is a lack of enforced regulations.

    Take cognisance of the fact that SANS and NRS are national published SA regs i.e. applicable to all in SA, not just CoCT.

    This is what I'm talking about:
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    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2020/06/09 at 01:52 PM.
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