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About Ian

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  • Birthday 21/06/1964

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    I are engineer!

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  1. Howdy. Please feel free to point to the correct forum for this post - thought I'd start here. I have bought a farm with an off grid Victron based setup. The system is built with the following Victron equipment, installed early 2015: Multiplus 48/3000/35 Inverter BlueSolar 150/70 MPPT Charge controller BMV 600S Battery Monitor + 8 200Ah 12V batteries and 4.2kW of panels. I'd like to monitor the system performance and battery state while I'm away, and would like some recommendations on the best route. Via Victron it seems that the Venus GX + cables is the way to go, but I see the software can also run on a rPi? Is there anyone here that's done that? I'd also like to set up a system that can switch on borehole pumps if there is sufficient excess power, so something that can interface with a automation server (could run on an Arduino) would be great... I'm a retired engineer, so reasonably happy to DIY a solution. Any advise appreciated:) Ian
  2. I'm selling the following: 1 x ZeverSolar Evershine TLC 4000 3 phase solar inverter 1 x ZeverSolar Power Management Unit 1 x Eastron 3 phase Energy Meter https://www.zeversolar.com/products/productline-detail/productline/detail/en-evershine-tlc-solar-inverters/ https://www.zeversolar.com/products/productline-detail/productline/detail/en-zevercom/ The PMU and energy meter are set up to prevent feedback to the grid (so you can use it with a prepaid meter in Cape Town, for instance), and have been working perfectly for the past 2 years with my prepaid meter. Pic of my prepaid meter is attached as well. I'm moving, so the system is being decommissioned. Complete kit R12000 ono. Everything in perfect order. if interested, please contact me on WA, 0843165839 Ian
  3. Ian

    Installer - Southern Peninsula

    That's right. They're a division is SMA...maybe the SMA distributor has decided to rather keep supplying the expensive option. Makes good business sense as they know that if noone wants to pay for the local approval, they're safe? Perhaps as cheaper approved inverter options become available they will rethink. Cheers
  4. Ian

    Installer - Southern Peninsula

    Sure. The inverter is a Zeversolar Evershine TLC4000, controlled by a Zeversolar ZeverCom controller. The controller gets the 3P current measurements from a Eastron SDM630DC DIN meter. These 3 were supplied to me for Rk21 incl, I did the installation and setup myself. The 10 300W panels I purchased about 18 months ago for Rk18. I have a Landis & Gyr 3PH prepaid meter that was installed about a year ago when the prev unit malfunctioned. Cheers Ian
  5. Ian

    Installer - Southern Peninsula

    I hate red tape with a passion, so I'm happy to just fly under the radar on this one, esp since I have a short time horizon at this property. As an engineer, it really gets my goat that the city has an approved list - I know we in CT are a little enclave of sanity in this country - but we are all connected to the same bloody grid. Surely there should be a national list? Or an Eskom one...
  6. Ian

    Installer - Southern Peninsula

    Hi TT My conclusion was purely based on the upfront costs - Rk20 for the documentation etc, and additionally the added cost of only being able to pick an inverter of the CoCT list. The Zeversolar option cost me Rk21, the panels were Rk18, so my installed cost was about Rk43. Adding Rk25 to that due to the the above reqs seemed excessive. I don't have an issue with the SSEG tariff structure - I'd be happy to be on it, due to my consumption. Another reason for not wanting to overspend is were planning to sell and move to a farm in 12-24 months time. Cheers Ian
  7. Ian

    Installer - Southern Peninsula

    I've also noticed that - fortunately the PP meter doesn't seem to complain, although I presume the generation is seen as consumption. It's also tricky as I have 3ph, so some of the phases might be net load, while another is net generative, depending on the situation.
  8. Ian

    Installer - Southern Peninsula

    Thought I'd resurrect this topic, for the sake of tying up loose ends:) Firs off, thanks for the help. I spoke to a few suppliers, but the SSEG route was economically unfeasible, due to the high upfront admin costs. So I looked around for a GT-limited solution, and was offered a 4kW Zeversolar 3-ph inverter, with a limiter and meter, at a good price and more importantly, zero cost if it didn't interface correctly with my 3-ph Prepaid meter. I dd the install mid August, and am happy to report that the system is working perfectly, having produced 850kWh to date. I had to set reconfigure some timers on the geyser and irrigation to optimise my general load for daytime, and max out the solar usage. Saving me ~R750pm on my electricity bill. Cheers Ian
  9. Hey All I'm looking for an installer to supply a 3-phase GT inverter, sort out the SSEG application and commission the GT system. In Noordhoek. 3kW of panels are already in place. Any suggestions? Cheers Ian
  10. Hey All I'm looking for an installer to supply a 3-phase GT inverter, sort out the SSEG application and commission the GT system. In Noordhoek. 3kW of panels are already in place. Any suggestions? Cheers Ian
  11. Ian

    Solar install - advice needed

    Worth a try...thanks for the suggestion! Ian
  12. Ian

    Solar install - advice needed

    Hi Superdiy Unfortunately I never picked it up either - and both the German and local agents were unaware of the issue when I raised it. However, when I got back to the manufacturer, they confirmed the requirement. Any yes, I tried single string - and even got 2 extra panels to up the voltage to >500V, no dice. I'll probably pop the casing off, and have a look at the circuitry to try understand what they're doing. Cheers Ian
  13. Hi everyone. New to the board, but hope to have lots of positive interaction:) I was wondering whether anyone on the board would like to engage in a conversation about my setup, and the choices I face. Here's some background: we own a largish house & grounds in Noordhoek. I've refitted with LED lighting, gas cooking and EVT water panels for the 2 geysers over the years, and we currently have daily consumption of 60kWh, or 1800kWh pm. We have a prepaid three phase supply, although its just the borehole and irrigation pumps that are 3ph parts. I had been eyeing a PV setup for some time, waiting for the pricing and admin setup to make sense. Earlier this year I was able to get 10 Renesola 300W panels @ R6/w and decided to pull the trigger. I have 42m^2 flat roof available for convenient panel installation, any more will be much trickier. I decided to go the grid-tie route, as we have adjusted to the load shedding without too much disruption. After looking at what was available locally, and the pricing, I imported a German Platinum 7000 R3-MDX 3phase GT inverter, for significantly less than the local pricing. I chose a bigger unit than what was required as I saw myself adding extra PV at a later stage, as well as moving to the SSEG tariff. I installed the panels on a self-made aly tube frame, with everything riveted together with SS rivets. The easy part, and so far withstood several NW storms. However, one of the 'features' of the inverter I had overlooked was that it requires 2 identical strings to operate (part of some switching circuitry before the MPPT for higher efficiency at low voltages). This gives the inverter 98% euro efficiency over the whole MPPT range. But the MPPT voltage range is 350V to 720V, much higher than my 2x1.5kW of strings can produce. I have contacted the manufacturer, and confirmed that I'm stuck. I now have 2 choices: 1) Keep the inverter and get more panels (essentially another 3kW), along with the mounting complications. Then arrange SSEG changeover, as the 6kW will definitely result in some feed-in and my meter complaining... The inverter isn't on the COCT list, not sure what that implies, as it's supplied locally. 2) Get another inverter. This is where I'm headed at the moment. In the interim, we've also bought a smallholding near Tessellaarsdal, where we plan to build an off-grid retirement home, ready in ~3 years. I'd like to migrate the installation there before we sell up here in Noordhoek, and foresee a 6kW capacity requirement. So, option 2 now becomes: 2a) Get a Fronius 3ph 3.7kW GT inverter. Approved by COCT, so SSEG no issue. Can't take it with me to the farm. 2b) Get a Infini 3kW+. Batteries can help with load-shedding. But DB wiring will have to be modified. Can move to farm, but will have to be supplemented, which might be tricky. 2c) Get a Infini 10kW. will cover both bases, but pricey:( Also overkill for farm. 2d) Get a hybrid, non GT inverter. What would you guys recommend? Sorry for the wall of text, but it helps to explain my dilemma. Any suggestions appreciated:) Cheers Ian