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Thread: What do I need

  1. #41
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    Red face Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    If you ask for saving during day time a 1kW would be fine. As it always happens you might want to run more than the fridges and LED lights so you have a choice of 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5kW models and they only need 60V to start and 50V to run during the day. This is for the Solis mini 4G grid tied. This means 2 x 270W panels or larger. From 3kW and up you would need 120V to start and 90V to run which is 3 to 4 panels.These are approved to install on the grid.If you go for 2.5kW you can always use it for a geyser with 2kW element. The great thing with these grid tied units is that if you reach the maximum of the inverter the rest is drawn from the grid. You also don't need to worry about starting current as the peaks are supplied by the grid for the about 2 seconds.
    If you use 1 kw during the day to run your alarm, electric fence, fridge or two and lights you are on your way to a hiding if you only get the minimum inverter, panels etc. Understand one thing first....SOLAR IS A WASTE OF MONEY...and you have to minimize that loss. When you start off in the morning you get zero (0) watt from the sun and then prolly at 10 you get full power (75% of design in my experience) with well aligned panels. 2 x 270 panels will give you in the best conditions 500 W from 10 to 3 o'clock. 2,5 kw per day. If you use 500 watt during the day starting at 06h00 to 8 at night the panels will not charge your battery. If you use 250 W per hour from 18h00 to 6 in the morning that would be another 3 kW. Another catch...if you want you battery to last for 5 years or more you can only discharge it to 80% of it's capacity, So a 4 kW lead zink battery (I have Narada's) you can only use 1 kW. Lithium Ion batteries can discharge to 95% of capacity so there is a lot more from those batteries available. From a 4,2 kW battery you can use 4 kW. But it is heavy on R's. So using the numbers above you see that you need 10 kW a day to run your house. You generate maybe 3 kW on a good day from your 2 panels. It does not add up. So you need to "make" (charge the battery) 10 kW between 10 to 3. That is 2 kW an hour === so 8 x 320 watt panels ( to account for clouds or 8x 250 watt panels if you live in the Northern Cape.Now another "trick" If your 4 kW battery is now at 1 kW in the morning and your panels charges them at 2 kW and hour, they are going to full after 2 hours and then they switch off as you are not using the power. You get a cool raspberry pi computer "thingie" and control the system to start using suna agian when the system is at 80%. And then you think..."Hell I paid a lot of money for this thing and I can mos use that extra sun that does not get to my battery....you buy a bigger battery for bigger storage en there you go...you are hooked and end up at R350k and accept the fact that it is a dead loss. But you don't notice that Eksdom is down unless your battery was not fully charged at 15h00 and you start switching off stuff in the house to save power....Ben there, done that, got the T shirt. I am now going to Lithium batteries, different chargers and controller, maybe a vertical spindle wind generator to help at night - another R150k.....

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: What do I need

    I do buy from a leading electrical supplier but their LED floodlights do not last long - I have had some fail within the 12 months warranty period.

    I find there are few suppliers importing top line lights - Opple mentioned above looks interesting.


    Quote Originally Posted by JanB View Post
    Buy known brand bulbs from a local, established electrical/lighting goods supplier. They can advise you and you can go back and look them in the eyes when you have problems.
    Usual warning: Make sure your geyser temperature goes above 55 degrees regularly (say, daily) to prevent nasties from growing in the geyser.

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  4. #43
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    Default Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by DrJohn View Post
    If you use 1 kw during the day to run your alarm, electric fence, fridge or two and lights you are on your way to a hiding if you only get the minimum inverter, panels etc. Understand one thing first....SOLAR IS A WASTE OF MONEY...and you have to minimize that loss. When you start off in the morning you get zero (0) watt from the sun and then prolly at 10 you get full power (75% of design in my experience) with well aligned panels. 2 x 270 panels will give you in the best conditions 500 W from 10 to 3 o'clock. 2,5 kw per day. If you use 500 watt during the day starting at 06h00 to 8 at night the panels will not charge your battery. If you use 250 W per hour from 18h00 to 6 in the morning that would be another 3 kW. Another catch...if you want you battery to last for 5 years or more you can only discharge it to 80% of it's capacity, So a 4 kW lead zink battery (I have Narada's) you can only use 1 kW. Lithium Ion batteries can discharge to 95% of capacity so there is a lot more from those batteries available. From a 4,2 kW battery you can use 4 kW. But it is heavy on R's. So using the numbers above you see that you need 10 kW a day to run your house. You generate maybe 3 kW on a good day from your 2 panels. It does not add up. So you need to "make" (charge the battery) 10 kW between 10 to 3. That is 2 kW an hour === so 8 x 320 watt panels ( to account for clouds or 8x 250 watt panels if you live in the Northern Cape.Now another "trick" If your 4 kW battery is now at 1 kW in the morning and your panels charges them at 2 kW and hour, they are going to full after 2 hours and then they switch off as you are not using the power. You get a cool raspberry pi computer "thingie" and control the system to start using suna agian when the system is at 80%. And then you think..."Hell I paid a lot of money for this thing and I can mos use that extra sun that does not get to my battery....you buy a bigger battery for bigger storage en there you go...you are hooked and end up at R350k and accept the fact that it is a dead loss. But you don't notice that Eksdom is down unless your battery was not fully charged at 15h00 and you start switching off stuff in the house to save power....Ben there, done that, got the T shirt. I am now going to Lithium batteries, different chargers and controller, maybe a vertical spindle wind generator to help at night - another R150k.....
    Yeah, seems to me someone has been taken for a ride ... or tried to go "all in" aka off-grid ... I don't know, but it sounds fishy.

    This statement is just wrong on so many levels: "SOLAR IS A WASTE OF MONEY".
    A more accurate statement: "DOING SOLAR WRONG WASTES MONEY".

    Ever heard of the price tag difference between WANTS vs NEEDS vs HOBBIES?
    NEEDS are cheaper than WANTS
    WANTS are cheaper than HOBBIES ... because HOBBIES have no price tag.

    Ever heard of grid tying?
    From the 1st watt the panels can produce every morning, to the last watt when the sun sets, and every watt the panels can produce on rainy days, are watts I buy less from Eskom. Every. Single. Day.
    Just like Ekkekan and his Solis grid tied system.

    Batteries, it was either that or get a generator ... so tomAto, tOmato ... because loadshedding is an issue for some, not all.

    And BECAUSE the batteries, inverter and panels where specced correctly, the power stored in them batteries, recharged whilst powering the house loads concurrently, are used every single night to shave off some more Eskom watts, Every. Single. Day.

    And all in at half your R350k - and that was with a fit-to-size lithium bank.

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    Default Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by DrJohn View Post
    If you use 1 kw during the day to run your alarm, electric fence, fridge or two and lights you are on your way to a hiding if you only get the minimum inverter, panels etc. Understand one thing first....SOLAR IS A WASTE OF MONEY...and you have to minimize that loss. When you start off in the morning you get zero (0) watt from the sun and then prolly at 10 you get full power (75% of design in my experience) with well aligned panels. 2 x 270 panels will give you in the best conditions 500 W from 10 to 3 o'clock. 2,5 kw per day. If you use 500 watt during the day starting at 06h00 to 8 at night the panels will not charge your battery. .
    Refer to post #22 and #23. The OP wanted to save money and to have a R13 000 or R20 000 outlay and save 50% of your power without a battery system you are doing well. I did indicate I think that during the non sun periods one will be on the grid. The brief was to run 2 fridges which could draw below the 4-5kwh the system could generate per day with sun. I have real life figures for such a configuration. System can be paid off in 2 years if on the same scale as Willem01 in post #23. Batteries is the killer money wise of a solar system.

    I see a common thing that people want to ditch Eskom and run off grid. This is when you fork out a few 100 thou and at risk if something fails.

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    Default Re: What do I need

    Before installing a grid tie system and/or solar panels first check with the local municipality what are the rules and regulations with such and installation. I know that Cape Town requires that all solar (except hot water systems) be registered. Not to sure of the rest of the country.
    Is this a precursor to future possible tax as the amount of electricity sold by the munic will drop and with it loss of city income as seen by the increase of water tariffs due to the water saving program.
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    Default Re: What do I need

    Yes we should at all times get the by laws and all solar installations be approved. I would think it applies to all with panels and connected to the DB. The Solis I mentioned is on CoCT approved list.

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    Default Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by dougN View Post
    Is this a precursor to future possible tax as the amount of electricity sold by the munic will drop and with it loss of city income as seen by the increase of water tariffs due to the water saving program.
    100% correct.

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    Default Re: What do I need

    My experience was exactly the opposite.. I installed mine myself - 320l evacuated tube system, and I switch the geyser on maybe 20 or 30 times a year - if its been overcast all day 2 days in a row, or if we have a bunch of house guests who want to shower in the morning.

    I slight behaviour change is best - it makes much more sense to shower in the evenings than in the mornings... mostly the water is at 60-75 degrees...

    on long summer days you sometimes here the geyser boiling on the roof - scared the crap out of me the first time it happened...



    Quote Originally Posted by DrJohn View Post
    I have a tube type solar geyser. Piece of crap as nobody knows how to install it properly. Did an Eksdom project with my lassie on solar heating and the advantages. Saved about R350 rand a month in summer and R50 a month in winter (using Sasol engineering help with the calcs!) Then got a heat pump...man that thing was great! Cost R18k, saved electricity immediately and broke, moer toe, after three years. Took it out as an element was easier to maintain. All the savings gone...kaput. Had to have it serviced yearly, nobody tells you that. I would guess that gas is better but the geyser also costs R18k and probably only last 5 years?I have a nice engineered solar system, R300k worth for a 4 kilowatt system. Can share a ###### lot about that.

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    Default Re: What do I need

    Agreed, I did the sums about 3/4 years ago and gas & electricity were almost the same per unit energy.. I suspect gas has gone up a bit more than electricity so is probably now a little pricier.
    Having started cooking on gas though, I would hate to go back to electricity - you have so much better control over the temperatures.
    AND, I can drink my tea ANYTIME I WANT


    Quote Originally Posted by rodneykdc View Post
    A friend of mine is very impressed with himself because of the money he saves on electricity. He then goes on to tell me what his monthly gas bill is.
    Gas is a great convenience during load shedding, it's definitely not a money saver

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    Default Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by dougN View Post
    Before installing a grid tie system and/or solar panels first check with the local municipality what are the rules and regulations with such and installation.
    All in the latest South African SANS and NRS regulations that all sparkies have access to.
    How a Munic enforces that, THAT is a whole new ballgame.

    Couple of years ago a minister tried to move forward onto "taxing the sun" ... it blew up in his face. We need to keep a close watch however.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daen View Post
    ... and I switch the geyser on maybe 20 or 30 times a year - if its been overcast all day 2 days in a row, or if we have a bunch of house guests who want to shower in the morning.
    Same ito +-20-30 times a year Eskom needed to be used.
    My EV tube system lasted 9.5 years, then geyser started leaking, pump was whining and some tubes lost their vacuum ... so I added more PV panels. ;-)
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    Default Re: What do I need

    I am currently looking at fitting solar Geyser as first step

    Problem the place I live in has tiny 100L Geyser at the moment
    If someone takes a bath then the hot water is already all gone
    And because of this the temperature on the geyser has been increased so that you can use it with lots of water from the cold tap for showering and taking a bath

    But my electricity bill is reflecting that
    So what I am currently looking at is fitting either 100L solar or 150L solar on the roof
    But then leaving the 100l geyser in place and then having a 220v pump circulate the water between the 2 geysers
    So it is similar to just having the solar panels except I will have full geyser on top

    Opinions?
    I am based in Randburg
    Last edited by Veneficus; 2021/03/01 at 11:13 AM.

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    Default Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by Veneficus View Post
    I am currently looking at fitting solar Geyser as first step

    Problem the place I live in has tiny 100L Geyser at the moment
    If someone takes a bath then the hot water is already all gone
    And because of this the temperature on the geyser has been increased so that you can use it with lots of water from the cold tap for showering and taking a bath

    But my electricity bill is reflecting that
    So what I am currently looking at is fitting either 100L solar or 150L solar on the roof
    But then leaving the 100l geyser in place and then having a 220v pump circulate the water between the 2 geysers
    So it is similar to just having the solar panels except I will have full geyser on top

    Opinions?
    I am based in Randburg
    I read on here, I think from TTT, that you should just connect your geyser to your solar generation and forget about the fancy and super expensive solar geysers?

    I have done that, and I am seeing around 4k/month savings in my first month of operation. I would consider the cost of panels, vs a solar geyser and see which makes more sense. A normal geyser is much, much cheaper than a solar geyser and you could probably spend the difference on panels which can power a bunch of other things.

    Thats my setup in any event, and I can easily run two geysers once the sun is up.

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    Default Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    I read on here, I think from TTT, that you should just connect your geyser to your solar generation and forget about the fancy and super expensive solar geysers?

    I have done that, and I am seeing around 4k/month savings in my first month of operation. I would consider the cost of panels, vs a solar geyser and see which makes more sense. A normal geyser is much, much cheaper than a solar geyser and you could probably spend the difference on panels which can power a bunch of other things.

    Thats my setup in any event, and I can easily run two geysers once the sun is up.
    Reason I am doing it this way is because to just add the heating system would could work
    But my water in my geyser which is too little at the moment would be same amount

    So it would in any case cost me allot to move the Geyser to solar and I would still have a unit that is way too small

    Where I can add another 100L geyser for R17200 with pump and geyser fitted (150L is just over R20k)
    And then I would have 200L (250) heated water


    Just going directly solar can work but it does nothing to add water capacity
    But yes I Guess I can add a normal bigger Geyser but cost on that?
    So the next stage would be to get battery system with proper inverter and then adding solar panels to charge that

    150L geyser is at least R3000 and then you also have to pay to have it fitted
    Then you have to get a system big enough to provide enough power for the 150L geyser and pump

    If I was doing everything now then yes
    but initial layout seems high
    Or am I wrong here?
    Last edited by Veneficus; 2021/03/01 at 04:17 PM.
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    Default Re: What do I need

    Fatbike,

    For an immediate savings:

    You can get a single induction plate if your current stove is not induction. This can serve both during cooking and boiling the kettle, especially if you are regular hot beverage drinkers. The reason why induction is cheaper is because unlike a regular element, it only heats the area directly under the pot/ kettle so the heat loss is less. It is also quite responsive and heats much faster than the older solid plates (if you still have that kind of stove.)

    Light bulbs as many said. You may want to ease into this with a few a month, as it can add up. Some of the claims of the marvelous new light bulbs I have found to be empty promises, so don't over invest. I don't always believe the guys at the lighting shops anymore after a few experiences. Rather buy a few and try them until you find what you can live with, then swop over on a larger scale.

    You will also find a lot of hidden small consumers hiding in your house. A charger cable left in with a little light etc. It's worth going through the house and getting rid of these little thieves if they are long term passive irritants.

    And for the winter, the extremely efficient little gas heater I have, which is much cheaper to run in winter than any electrical version I have tried. It costs me between R60 and R70 to refill, which even during cold front week is only once a week. I would stay away from this if you have small children and pets though as it uses the oxygen close to the floor first.

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    Default Re: What do I need

    Thinking about it that might work
    But layout would be bit difficult because I was not planning on getting enough batteries to supply power for the Geyser (in this case 2)

    So I would need to get enough panels to power Geyser and storage
    But connect the normal power on Geysers to city power feed for backup

    The power I was going to take over initially was basically enough to run the house's LED lights
    2 TV's, a PC and Laptop
    Plus fibre connection and 2 router with occasional Evaporative cooler (200W normal) running when load shedding
    Last edited by Veneficus; 2021/03/01 at 04:30 PM.
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  18. #56
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    Default Re: What do I need

    The better inverters have a main and emergency feed.

    So geysers etc are connected to main, solar is used to heat/charge/run whatever on that circuit when the sun shines PLUS everything on the emergency circuit. If you are short, eskom covers the balance.

    When we have loadshedding, the main circuit goes off, and only the emergency circuit remains on from the batteries/solar. So you don't need a HUGE system to cover the basics for that 2 hours.

    You don't need a geyser to run during loadshedding.
    Last edited by Quiksilver; 2021/03/01 at 04:39 PM.
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    Default Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by Quiksilver View Post
    The better inverters have a main and emergency feed.

    So geysers etc are connected to main, solar is used to heat/charge/run whatever on that circuit when the sun shines PLUS everything on the emergency circuit. If you are short, eskom covers the balance.

    When we have loadshedding, the main circuit goes off, and only the emergency circuit remains on from the batteries/solar. So you don't need a HUGE system to cover the basics for that 2 hours.

    You don't need a geyser to run during loadshedding.
    Do you have example of inverters that have that functionality?
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    Default Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by Veneficus View Post
    Do you have example of inverters that have that functionality?
    I use Victron ... there are other brands too, others can comment.
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    Default Re: What do I need

    Quote Originally Posted by Veneficus View Post
    Do you have example of inverters that have that functionality?

    Sunsync/Fusion/Deye is one brand/copy brand that is often recommended

    GoodWe is apparently very good

    Sofar does it too

    Ive found this site to be very informative. Others say they are optimistic with their returns and sizing. Fine, like vehicle economy figures, take with a pinch of salt.
    Last edited by Quiksilver; 2021/03/01 at 10:35 PM.
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    Default Re: What do I need

    Very interesting to see the variation in possible solutions.
    I have a IT'S heat pump for over 8 years and pleased to be able to heat water at 33 to 50% electricity used than a grid element. As the 4.7kw unit heating power uses about 1.2-1.5kW we have hot water 24/7. No change in lifestyle to use little hot water after sunset.
    As we bath late in the evening and need geyser to re-heat water for the morning pure solar geysers would not work for us.
    The mentioned heat pump is also priced at about R17 000. Also due to the low electricity use this unit can also run with sun power if a hybrid inverter with panels are used. This way heating during the day is close to free.
    Based on some comments the Sunsynk inverters seems to be a good choice from a value for money point.

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