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  1. #1
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    Default How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    With this change in the weather and no sunshine for the past few weeks (and the forecast not looking any sunnier) how are the off grid manne doing?

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Mackay View Post
    With this change in the weather and no sunshine for the past few weeks (and the forecast not looking any sunnier) how are the off grid manne doing?
    Although Jan 2021 was the worst January in 7 years the drop was not as large as one would expect. 2 figures I have is mine 15% lower and another grid tied 17% lower compared to Nov/Dec. One actually got more PV than one would have expected. Yesterday for instance one got 62% of a normal full sunshine day.

    I think the last 9 BAD days in a row are one of the worst spells of low PV in Gauteng.

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Some days are better than others.

    Today it is raining and heavily overcast. The best my panels produces at this very instance is between 800-900Watts from a 5Kw array.

    Yesterday I managed almost 2.5kw from the array - still overcast but sun spots here and there.
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    Last edited by Die SwartKat; 2021/02/03 at 01:41 PM.
    Nico Swart

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Not much difference between Dec and Jan.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Die SwartKat; 2021/02/03 at 01:42 PM.
    Nico Swart

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    I am not off grid and still have some tweaking to do, but I got a call from the madam yesterday telling me that they all all had cold showers yesterday am.

    I am still learning the system as it was all fine when no2 son and I were alone at home. Now with No1 and the wife back, and no sun it seems to be battling. I told the boys not to shower for 20mins and we will all be fine.

    On a good day I am pulling around 7Kw off the panels to pretty happy all around and if eskom is charging me an availblilty fee, they should not complain about having to be available.

    My system has only been in about 2 weeks and I have not got the inter webs app working yet, so no details logs at this stage. Production has been pretty bleak over all however the last few days.

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post

    The best my panels produces at this very instance is between 800-900Watts from a 5Kw array.

    Yesterday I managed almost 2.5kw from the array - still overcast but sun spots here and there.
    Nico I presume the 2.5kW yesterday was the actual reading at a specific time. It does vary a lot between sun and cloud.
    Do you have figures for your total yield for yesterday?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Below my battery capacity (orange line) from 20 Jan - screen shots from my phone, so no legend. Blue - kW used; Green - PV in.

    I need a min of 45% to go through the night, but it requires some fancy foot work, freezer off at 16:00 and fridge off from 18:00 untill bed time and then on again.

    Last week Thursday was one of those days. For the rest relatively normal.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Nico I presume the 2.5kW yesterday was the actual reading at a specific time. It does vary a lot between sun and cloud.
    Do you have figures for your total yield for yesterday?
    Indeed yes on both counts.

    Here is my total yield for Monday.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Die SwartKat; 2021/02/03 at 01:43 PM.
    Nico Swart

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by LdLL View Post
    Below my battery capacity (orange line) from 20 Jan - screen shots from my phone, so no legend. Blue - kW used; Green - PV in.

    I need a min of 45% to go through the night, but it requires some fancy foot work, freezer off at 16:00 and fridge off from 18:00 untill bed time and then on again.

    Last week Thursday was one of those days. For the rest relatively normal.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm with you on the fancy footwork!!!

    Fridge and freezer timers are more or less the same as yours, but when both aircons run (usually from about 21h30) I run out of power at between about 0h00 - 01h00 in the mornings.

    Sigh. One day when I'm big I'll hopefully be able to afford a proper sized lithium bank.

    For now, I take the lead acids down to 70% SOC so as to give them as long a life as possible and only when we have good weather forecasts.

    Don't want to be in a situation where there is no solar available the next day and a possible grid failure (which seem to be happening more and more these days) and charging must come from the grid. Kinda defeats the purpose of having and using the batteries.
    Last edited by Die SwartKat; 2021/02/03 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Got SOC & DOD mixed up.
    Nico Swart

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    I'm with you on the fancy footwork!!!

    Fridge and freezer timers are more or less the same as yours, but when both aircons run (usually from about 21h30) I run our of power at between about 0h00 - 01h00 in the mornings.

    Sigh. One day when I'm big I'll hopefully be able to afford a proper sized lithium bank.

    For now, I take the lead acids down to 70% DOD so as to give them as long a life as possible and only when we have good weather forecasts.

    Don't want to be in a situation where there is no solar available the next day and a possible grid failure (which seem to be happening more and more these days) and charging must come from the grid. Kinda defeats the purpose of having and using the batteries.
    As I've the T-shirt having had the same "fight" with myself over same scenario during Cpt wet winters.

    My Take:
    We can either get bigger and bigger battery banks, banks that can handle everything man and nature throws our way, individually and combined.

    Or we can see the weather is bringing good rains, knowing full well Eskom is problematic, and set the systems to "Keep Charged" during the much needed rain times.
    So we don't "win" at night with the stored capacity BUT we have protection against Eskom.
    For once nature has moved to a new cycle, then we can use the stored capacity again and smile.

    Because what I looked at was:
    1) the costs of Eskom for the few days we cannot use the stored capacity
    Versus ...
    2) the cost of a bigger bank.

    Eskom is simply cheaper. Cents to the rand compared to a bigger larger bank.
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  13. #11
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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Agree wholeheartedly with you TTT. During these weather spells I stick to the "Keep Charged" setting.

    What we lose in the straights, we'll make up in the corners.
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  15. #12
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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    For now, I take the lead acids down to 70% DOD so as to give them as long a life as possible and only when we have good weather forecasts.

    .
    Do you really take your lead acids to 70% DOD every day?
    Beware as they might not last too well.
    Last edited by ekkekan; 2021/02/03 at 01:31 PM.

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Do you really take your lead acids to 70% DOD every day?
    Beware as they might not last too well.
    Not everyday, but most of the time.

    I may be wrong here, but everything above 50% is still ok for me.

    Do you think 80% would be safer then?
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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Do you really take your lead acids to 70% DOD every day?
    Beware as they might not last too well.
    I think he means only 30% usage?
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  18. #15
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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLK View Post
    I think he means only 30% usage?
    Oh ok.

    Yes I use only 30% of the capacity. So 70% remains.

    This is still acceptable in my experience.
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  20. #16
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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Do you really take your lead acids to 70% DOD every day?
    Beware as they might not last too well.
    The ideal is 80% where most lead acid banks have their sweet spot ito max cycles.

    I've run lead acids for years on a DOD of 20% (SOC 80%) with the banks lasting their claimed cycles at a minimum.
    Like i.e. Trojan batteries claim 4000 cycles at 20% DOD (SOC 80%) and 1600 at 50% DOD (SOC 50%).
    ... I also keep in mind that the chemical reaction in lead acid batteries cannot last indefinitely, so I don't "bargain" on 10 years. (4000 / 365 days)

    70% SOC / 30% DOD is a couple of cycles less in the end IF the batteries last that long.

    The two WORST things one can do:
    1) Take them to 50% DOD repeatedly - 10 to 1 because the bank is too small or no accurate SOC.
    2) Not using at least 20% of them every day - so they die of old age, yet still looking good.

    Use batteries! ... at the very least 20% every day.

    How do you accurately determine the SOC? That is up for debate.
    Me, I have been trusting in BMV's for the last, wot 10 (?) years, and they have not failed me with incorrect SOC "estimates" yet.
    Even with a lithium bank, my BMS having a built in shunt, the BMV is still more "accurate" when charging.

    Left is BMV SOC, right is BMS SOC, and this is after months so the BMS had time to "settle".
    Not a train smash per se but I run everything on SOC, so I need it "accurate".
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    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2021/02/03 at 06:04 PM.
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  21. #17
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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    The ideal is 80% where most lead acid banks have their sweet spot ito max cycles.

    I've run lead acids for years on a SOC of 20% with the banks lasting their claimed cycles at a minimum.
    Like i.e. Trojan batteries claim 4000 cycles at 20% DOD and 1600 at 50% DOD.
    ... I also keep in mind that the chemical reaction in lead acid batteries cannot last indefinitely, so I don't "bargain" on 10 years. (4000 / 365 days)

    70% SOC / 30% DOD is a couple of cycles less in the end IF the batteries last that long.

    [.
    Are you sure some figures don't have the DOD and SOC mixed up.

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  23. #18
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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Thanks Ekke, seems I also mixed mine up.

    Fixed it now.
    Nico Swart

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    My generation:
    184KW for Jan
    200KW for Dec

    This is on a 2KW array and 3.5KW Lithium battery. My only issue during daylight hours is when its raining and its dark enough inside to need lights, otherwise clouds dont limit the generation as much.
    I think one day so far it switched to Grid during daylight due to washing machine running and heavy rain.

    I do have to put a bit more thought into running appliances at different times though.
    Dont take anything I say as actual advice or fact. I dont.

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    Default Re: How are all you Vaalies who are off grid doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by PsyPhin View Post
    My generation:
    184KW for Jan
    200KW for Dec

    This is on a 2KW array and 3.5KW Lithium battery. My only issue during daylight hours is when its raining and its dark enough inside to need lights, otherwise clouds dont limit the generation as much.
    I think one day so far it switched to Grid during daylight due to washing machine running and heavy rain.

    I do have to put a bit more thought into running appliances at different times though.
    Those are excellent figures in my book from a 2Kw array.

    Could you give some details as to how your panels are positioned? Different facing strings?

    Is shading a problem at certain times of the day etc?
    Nico Swart

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