Planning to go off grid on electricity





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  1. #1
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    Default Planning to go off grid on electricity

    After the latest approval for ESKOM tariff increases, and the fact that I can buy solar components at installer prices, the expense is now starting to make sense.

    Not only that: Eskom is in very deep trouble and from the official decommissioning schedule, South Africa will be short of 10 GW of power by 2030 from what we have right now, and that includes the planned additions.

    (It does however exclude the latest mention of 12 GW of additions from renewables which was published last week, but with all respect even if they manage to achieve that dream - which is going to be extremely difficult because of incompetence, corruption and political interference - that still does not allow for any increase in economic growth. So, by 2030 we may at the very best end up with what we have now in terms of generating capacity.)

    As things goes, my solar geyser failed recently and I had to decide if I go electric geyser running from PV, or going solar again. My main concern was that we in any case have to top up with electric especially in winter and secondly, that

    After giving it all a lot of thought, I decided to go full PV, install a smaller element on the geyser and charge it up over 8 hours.

    One reason for doing it this way, is that if I really need some oomph electrically, I can get it from the system at the expense of some colder water that day - like when I need to have a hard Saturday of welding and grinding.

    A solar geyser instillation now costs me R 28 000 for an integrated system. A split system is even more expensive, but the problem is that with the latest revised regulations, I cannot install more than a 200 litres system on the roof without an engineering certificate that the roof structure can take more load.

    A a normal geyser costs R 11 000. That leaves a conservative R 17 000 for PV panels and you can get a lot for that.


    So, I am planning to put up about 4.5 kW of PV panels which can of course easily be expanded later. About a 1.2 kW portion of it will be 2-axis tracking. The rest will be fixed, but probably be slanted 50/50 East/West by about 30⁰ if possible to extend the solar time a little.

    For an inverter, I am looking at the Sunsynk 8 kW unit. (I can get it for quite a bit less than the price below.)

    https://renewables.herholdts.co.za/p...rter-48v-ip65/


    The reason I look at this inverter, is that it is a hybrid unit with lots of on boards configurations. It can work fully off grid, as a pure grid-tie without batteries, or a mostly off-grid system with municipal connection.

    What I likes most thought, is that it has a very potent charger which brings up the next point...


    For storage I am going the Kilowatt Labs super capacitor system.

    I have looked at this system for a very long time now and I am lucky enough to have a distributor of the product near me who is technically very competent.

    I had a demonstration last weekend where he drained a 3.55 kWh unit in 30 minutes on full load, and charged it up again in 45 minutes at 1.7C - very impressive. That battery pack does not even have ventilation holes and I could not feel any significant increase in temperature from this hammering.

    Most impressive is that the supercap can charge at a constant current from zero to full - unlike most other battery packs that starts to slow down in the end.

    The supercap system also give the ability then to handle quick fluctuations as it can help the PV when the loads spikes and quickly recovers when the load drops.


    Of course we as a family has some reorganizing to do. We will have to reschedule things like the use of the dish washer as it is not cost effective to run that from a battery bank at night.

    The geyser is easy since the Sunsynk unit can manage the dump to the geyser in the times where there is access power - a very effective battery in it's own.

    We are already cooking on gas, but the oven is electric and I will replace that with a gas oven unit. Reality is, we do cook after 17:00 and I don't think that we can easily reschedule.

    A lot of my own labour will go into this, so I will be able to recover my costs in about 3 years max - something that is not in my view possible for any person who needs to have a full system installed by others.
    1999 Discovery 1, 300 Tdi - "Tink Tanky"
    2004 Discovery 2 Td5 - "Blink Tanky"

    "Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."

    "A technician will let a system degenerate to the level of his understanding and maintain it there."

    "...it is abundantly clear that you are an arrogant C-nut." - Estee. (I was overwhelmed. It was the nicest thing someone has said to me in a week!)

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Very interesting that you are going with a super capacitor, I know very little about the technology and Kilowatt Labs brand.

    I would like to hear your thinking behind this though since it seams to be more expensive than going with lithium batteries which is tried and tested technology in grid tied and off grid applications?
    It's in pubs where the world's greatest ideas begin.

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by biltong View Post

    For storage I am going the Kilowatt Labs super capacitor system.
    I would rather not....

    There is a thread about those somewhere here....now to find

    Also YouTube videos on build quality.

    ....things might have changed though
    Robert van den Berg

    1998 Daihatsu Rocky 'The Kitty'
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    'The danger comes from hankering for normalcy again, rather than getting on with working out how to deal with whatever is ahead.' - CNN article

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof View Post
    I would rather not....

    There is a thread about those somewhere here....now to find

    Also YouTube videos on build quality.

    ....things might have changed though

    Well. I am lucky enough to have connections who were willing to show me the insides.

    Yes, the first units were pretty rough on the inside, but a lot has happened since.

    Those youtubbies are not applicable any more.
    Last edited by biltong; 2020/09/27 at 11:37 AM.
    1999 Discovery 1, 300 Tdi - "Tink Tanky"
    2004 Discovery 2 Td5 - "Blink Tanky"

    "Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."

    "A technician will let a system degenerate to the level of his understanding and maintain it there."

    "...it is abundantly clear that you are an arrogant C-nut." - Estee. (I was overwhelmed. It was the nicest thing someone has said to me in a week!)

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Thread


    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...to-power-stuff

    ...but as you say, things have improved
    Robert van den Berg

    1998 Daihatsu Rocky 'The Kitty'
    2002 Daihatsu Rocky 'The Bully'

    'The danger comes from hankering for normalcy again, rather than getting on with working out how to deal with whatever is ahead.' - CNN article

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    Very interesting that you are going with a super capacitor, I know very little about the technology and Kilowatt Labs brand.

    I would like to hear your thinking behind this though since it seams to be more expensive than going with lithium batteries which is tried and tested technology in grid tied and off grid applications?

    In terms of rands per kWh they are still more expensive than Lithium - for the only reason that the pricing became so competitive that Lithium prices had to drop.

    The big advantage of the supercap is that you can each and every time do a 100% discharge without shortening the life and secondly, the far superior charge rates they can handle compared to any other battery.

    If you take the number of cycles they can do - and it was in fact possible to test it because of the quick discharge / charge response, these sets are hard to ignore.

    Perhaps I am taking a change, but hey I am a guy for trying new things!
    1999 Discovery 1, 300 Tdi - "Tink Tanky"
    2004 Discovery 2 Td5 - "Blink Tanky"

    "Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."

    "A technician will let a system degenerate to the level of his understanding and maintain it there."

    "...it is abundantly clear that you are an arrogant C-nut." - Estee. (I was overwhelmed. It was the nicest thing someone has said to me in a week!)

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by biltong View Post
    In terms of rands per kWh they are still more expensive than Lithium - for the only reason that the pricing became so competitive that Lithium prices had to drop.

    The big advantage of the supercap is that you can each and every time do a 100% discharge without shortening the life and secondly, the far superior charge rates they can handle compared to any other battery.

    If you take the number of cycles they can do - and it was in fact possible to test it because of the quick discharge / charge response, these sets are hard to ignore.

    Perhaps I am taking a change, but hey I am a guy for trying new things!

    You are a brave man, if I spend that amount of money, I would want to go for something which is tried and tested.

    First thing which comes to mind and please understand I'm not knocking the product at all. If this technology is so good, so much better than batteries, then why don't we see it used more, why don't we see more hype around it in the solar market, the electric vehicle market?
    Lithium batteries is all the hype right now from 8Ah gate motor batteries threw to billion Dollar Tesla investment, why don't we see this hype around super caps?
    It's in pubs where the world's greatest ideas begin.

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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    First thing which comes to mind and please understand I'm not knocking the product at all. If this technology is so good, so much better than batteries, then why don't we see it used more, why don't we see more hype around it in the solar market, the electric vehicle market?

    Lithium batteries is all the hype right now from 8Ah gate motor batteries threw to billion Dollar Tesla investment, why don't we see this hype around super caps?
    1. It is more of a development product. I am quite willing to invest it at the current state of refinement.
    2. They still have limited manufacturing capacity, hence the less hype.
    3. Yet they have just about everything sold by the time it leaves the factory. Demand outstrips supply.


    If you think this technology is not well tested, you are very wrong. This very country of ours, was the main test bed for it.

    Biggest advantage of this system is: If is gets stolen, it is near useless. It can do a self discharge and simply won't start up without the PIN.
    1999 Discovery 1, 300 Tdi - "Tink Tanky"
    2004 Discovery 2 Td5 - "Blink Tanky"

    "Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."

    "A technician will let a system degenerate to the level of his understanding and maintain it there."

    "...it is abundantly clear that you are an arrogant C-nut." - Estee. (I was overwhelmed. It was the nicest thing someone has said to me in a week!)

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    At least your grandchildren will still be using them when they're old

    1 000 000 cycles.....2 739yrs

    https://assets.ctfassets.net/9tvgxmv...G-v102019d.pdf
    Robert van den Berg

    1998 Daihatsu Rocky 'The Kitty'
    2002 Daihatsu Rocky 'The Bully'

    'The danger comes from hankering for normalcy again, rather than getting on with working out how to deal with whatever is ahead.' - CNN article

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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof View Post
    At least your grandchildren will still be using them when they're old

    1 000 000 cycles.....2 739yrs

    https://assets.ctfassets.net/9tvgxmv...G-v102019d.pdf
    I think if 25 years. I will be happy.
    1999 Discovery 1, 300 Tdi - "Tink Tanky"
    2004 Discovery 2 Td5 - "Blink Tanky"

    "Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."

    "A technician will let a system degenerate to the level of his understanding and maintain it there."

    "...it is abundantly clear that you are an arrogant C-nut." - Estee. (I was overwhelmed. It was the nicest thing someone has said to me in a week!)

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by biltong View Post
    I think if 25 years. I will be happy.
    Looking forward to your feedback on this unit. At least you have 1st hand knowledge of these units

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    threw to billion Dollar Tesla investment, why don't we see this hype around super caps?
    Fun fact , Tesla aquired maxwell last year.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell_Technologies

    Maxwell is one of the bigger manufacturers when it comes to super capacitors. They call them ultra capacitors and have been making them for a long time.

    Probably the reason why there is no hype is because they call a spade a spade. Where as kilowatt labs is using a buzzword and the the confusion between a battery and supercapacitor to their advantage.

    Im all for new technology , and you will probably find they have done allot of research and who knows maybe by now they have a good product. Still dodgy and something off about it.

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by SBSP View Post
    Where as kilowatt labs is using a buzzword and the the confusion between a battery and supercapacitor to their advantage.

    Im all for new technology , and you will probably find they have done allot of research and who knows maybe by now they have a good product. Still dodgy and something off about it.

    When there is a new product on the market in my line of work, I often wait a few years and check out the performance before I commit to the brand.

    I have seen the very first units from Kilowatt labs about 2 years ago and I was like usual skeptical of the claims.

    However, by now there are a couple of installations running well for some time.

    From a technical point IMO, the device does what it says. I was pretty satisfied with the real world demonstration I had seen.

    Unlike a lithium or a lead acid battery pack, this thing has potential to be fully repairable - if it does not blow up of course.

    And BTW, the photos of the set that did went up in flames ain't too fair. It is not as if that never happened to other battery sets. All have had catastrophic failures.


    Batteries are a gamble. Lithium, lead acid, supercaps what ever. If something goes wrong with charge or discharge, the set can be ruined with nauseating ease. I have first hand experience of losing a R 1 million lithium bank due to a technical problem with charging. And that installation was done by highly competent oaks.
    Last edited by biltong; 2020/09/28 at 03:46 AM.
    1999 Discovery 1, 300 Tdi - "Tink Tanky"
    2004 Discovery 2 Td5 - "Blink Tanky"

    "Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."

    "A technician will let a system degenerate to the level of his understanding and maintain it there."

    "...it is abundantly clear that you are an arrogant C-nut." - Estee. (I was overwhelmed. It was the nicest thing someone has said to me in a week!)

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  19. #14
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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by biltong View Post
    ............I have first hand experience of losing a R 1 million lithium bank due to a technical problem with charging. And that installation was done by highly competent oaks.
    This is why its important that when people buy a Inverter battery pair, they make sure the inverter talks properly to BMS or batteries (no BMS) correctly.

    So the buy decision is not just about the inverter,its also about the synergy between the chosen inverter and the battery bank.

    In the log term the inverter vendors will certify their inverters with a battery brand,make, capacity etc...

    PS: is it "oaks" or "okes"?
    Padraic Berry

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by biltong View Post
    ............. so I will be able to recover my costs in about 3 years max - something that is not in my view possible for any person who needs to have a full system installed by others.
    I think you're being a little optimistic. The extra R25K that an installer charges is minimal when compared to batteries and inverter and, and, and...

    4.5kW panels will give you probably 16kWh - 22kWh per day depending on the season, no rain, clouds....

    How big a battery bank you planning on getting?
    Padraic Berry

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by NewLandy View Post
    I think you're being a little optimistic. The extra R25K that an installer charges is minimal when compared to batteries and inverter and, and, and...

    4.5kW panels will give you probably 16kWh - 22kWh per day depending on the season, no rain, clouds....

    How big a battery bank you planning on getting?

    Sir. I am doing solar calculations, energy budgets, pricing, designing and building for the past 20 years.

    I can assure you with some attention to details you will get quite a bit more than 22 kWh from 4.5 kW panels - especially since a portion will be a tracker.

    It is however not the kind of detail work you can do for a customer if you take a mere R 25 000 of cost on a system. You will run out of time.

    So, a portion of this design and playing if of course for my personal experimentation.

    I will be doing the final exam for my PV Green Card hopefully this year. If it was not for lockdown, we would have had it by now.
    1999 Discovery 1, 300 Tdi - "Tink Tanky"
    2004 Discovery 2 Td5 - "Blink Tanky"

    "Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."

    "A technician will let a system degenerate to the level of his understanding and maintain it there."

    "...it is abundantly clear that you are an arrogant C-nut." - Estee. (I was overwhelmed. It was the nicest thing someone has said to me in a week!)

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by biltong View Post
    Sir. I am doing solar calculations, energy budgets, pricing, designing and building for the past 20 years.

    I can assure you with some attention to details you will get quite a bit more than 22 kWh from 4.5 kW panels - especially since a portion will be a tracker.

    It is however not the kind of detail work you can do for a customer if you take a mere R 25 000 of cost on a system. You will run out of time.

    So, a portion of this design and playing if of course for my personal experimentation.

    I will be doing the final exam for my PV Green Card hopefully this year. If it was not for lockdown, we would have had it by now.
    OK, when its up and running let us know, maybe your tracker will make the difference...
    Padraic Berry

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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Koos, so bietjie OT.

    Have you looked at these guys? I have heard very good things. Maybe not fully inline with what you have in mind, but still worth looking at perhaps.
    https://battlebornbatteries.com/
    We can't change the wind but we can set our sails

  24. #19
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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by NewLandy View Post
    PS: is it "oaks" or "okes"?
    It's okes, oaks is akkerbome
    We can't change the wind but we can set our sails

  25. #20
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    Default Re: Planning to go off grid on electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by NewLandy View Post
    OK, when its up and running let us know, maybe your tracker will make the difference...
    I got an easy 9 kWh per day from a 1.1 kW tracker.

    It is not all about peak load. Stretching the hours with panel slant can help quite a bit as too high a peak capacity often leads in waste.
    1999 Discovery 1, 300 Tdi - "Tink Tanky"
    2004 Discovery 2 Td5 - "Blink Tanky"

    "Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."

    "A technician will let a system degenerate to the level of his understanding and maintain it there."

    "...it is abundantly clear that you are an arrogant C-nut." - Estee. (I was overwhelmed. It was the nicest thing someone has said to me in a week!)

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