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Voltronic, Axpert, Gride Tie, Red Tape

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6 hours ago, Energy said:

Hope well, quick one, do these units comply with all the grid tie red tape?

I presume you taking about the COCT red tape. In that case.

Most of the Infinis do and none of the Axpert's  comply .

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Thanks Chris, regarding the COCT , the axperts are grid capable? If so how are they limmited not to sell back. 

Apologies I am not familiar with them, Would like to build my own system soon ;)

Sincerely

Jason

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The original Axperts are basically a UPS with a solar charge controller piggybacking on the inverter. So it can either function in battery/solar mode or in grid mode. It is like an appliance in this regard and has power in and power out and does not feedback.

The Infinisolar V series  which is your standard Axpert architecture on steroids the ability to feed into the grid is determined by Program 09.

I would be cautious installing an Axpert in a grid-tie situation in that the inflexibility of the Axpert (either grid or solar - not a combination of both) is really limiting. 

I would go with a Infinisolar (one of the ones on the COCT list - http://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Forms%2c notices%2c tariffs and lists/Approved Photovoltaic (PV) Inverter List.pdf).

Something to consider is a Goodwe 5048D-ES inverter. It is IP65, fanless and comes with an intergrated limiter (worth about R2.5k) and a dual MPPT. It intergrates well with both BYD and Pylontech batteries. I would go as far as to say it is the king of Chinese single phase inverters. Speak to me and I am sure I can organise a feudal lord's (forum admin) discount for you :P.

 

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6 hours ago, Chris Hobson said:

Most of the Infinis do and none of the Axpert's  comply .

This is the part in NRS097-2-1 where the distinction is made:

Selection_022.png.7c484ecb472b4df6837741b623fc7c01.png

The Axpert has to comply with 4.4.1.2, whereas the Infini (and all other hybrids) has to comply with 4.4.1.3. A lot more work.

Selection_023.png.f2c514676d346a9553750633e9a83238.png

SANS 10142-1 covers UPSes. So technically, the device just needs to comply with that part of SANS. And a qualified engineer has to sign the documentation and certify that it does.

That is how I understand it.

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On 11/18/2017 at 12:42 PM, Chris Hobson said:

The original Axperts are basically a UPS with a solar charge controller piggybacking on the inverter. So it can either function in battery/solar mode or in grid mode. It is like an appliance in this regard and has power in and power out and does not feedback.

The Infinisolar V series  which is your standard Axpert architecture on steroids the ability to feed into the grid is determined by Program 09.

I would be cautious installing an Axpert in a grid-tie situation in that the inflexibility of the Axpert (either grid or solar - not a combination of both) is really limiting. 

I would go with a Infinisolar (one of the ones on the COCT list - http://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Forms%2c notices%2c tariffs and lists/Approved Photovoltaic (PV) Inverter List.pdf).

Something to consider is a Goodwe 5048D-ES inverter. It is IP65, fanless and comes with an intergrated limiter (worth about R2.5k) and a dual MPPT. It intergrates well with both BYD and Pylontech batteries. I would go as far as to say it is the king of Chinese single phase inverters. Speak to me and I am sure I can organise a feudal lord's (forum admin) discount for you :P.

 

hi Chris....i would be very interested in this GOODWE inverter .... sitting with an mecer / axpert ...... so maybe there is a special for the goodwe inverter somewhere out there for me as well :-) 

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11 hours ago, Chris Dononion said:

hi Chris....i would be very interested in this GOODWE inverter .... sitting with an mecer / axpert ...... so maybe there is a special for the goodwe inverter somewhere out there for me as well :-) 

Hi Chris. I have just finished a Goodwe install and commissioned it. I could not get it to work without tripping the Conlog BEC23 meter. I am going to try and problem solve tomorrow. Let me just see if I can solve it before I sell any more. What meter do you have?

10 hours ago, ibiza said:

It should be some 40-50% discount for Black Friday!:P

Sjoe I will have to up my margins considerably so I can offer a BF discount :lol:

9 hours ago, plonkster said:

Today even sustainable's prices are about where they should normally be...

So a BF discount makes them competitive? What about the other 364 days of the year?

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10 hours ago, Chris Hobson said:

Hi Chris. I have just finished a Goodwe install and commissioned it. I could not get it to work without tripping the Conlog BEC23 meter. I am going to try and problem solve tomorrow. Let me just see if I can solve it before I sell any more. What meter do you have?

Sjoe I will have to up my margins considerably so I can offer a BF discount :lol:

So a BF discount makes them competitive? What about the other 364 days of the year?

Others are doing that already:huh:

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On ‎2017‎/‎11‎/‎24 at 9:01 AM, Chris Dononion said:

I would be cautious installing an Axpert in a grid-tie situation in that the inflexibility of the Axpert (either grid or solar - not a combination of both) is really limiting. 

 hi Chris

can you elaborate on this a bit

cheers

 

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On 11/18/2017 at 12:42 PM, Chris Hobson said:

I would be cautious installing an Axpert in a grid-tie situation in that the inflexibility of the Axpert (either grid or solar - not a combination of both) is really limiting. 

 

8 hours ago, maxomill said:

 hi Chris

can you elaborate on this a bit

cheers

 

Since I have an Axpert this may seem a weird statement to make!

Two things

  1. I have had my Axpert since 2015 and when I purchased the unit it was a clearly in a class of its own in terms of price. Since then several models have become available (or prices have dropped)  which have  changed the "inverter landscape". I would definitely look at a 4kW Infini rather than an Axpert.
  2. I run off a generator sometimes and whilst the gennie is running it makes economic sense to to use as much gennie power as possible as the large portion of the cost is the fact that the gennie is running rather than the number of kW it is generating at anyone time. So one uses the gennie power in the house charge the batteries and do whatever needs to be done that the inverter could not cope with. 

If one had access to Eskom you might be in a position where solar could provide ½ of the power and one could augment that with Eskom. An Axpert cannot do that it is either all Eskom or Solar/Battery (This does not bother me in my situation with a gennie where I want to use all the gennie power). This is not an insurmountable problem but  for a little extra in terms of initial purchase price on can get a unit that is a true hybrid and can combine utility/solar/battery.

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I wanted to reply to this last night but decided... too tired... let Chris get it :-P

Short example: You have 1kw of PV coming in but the family is running the AC and it pushes the load too high so the inverter keeps cutting back to the grid. The batteries are full already and you have no way to use the 1kw late-afternoon PV. If you had a hybrid, you could stir it into the mix and cut your consumption.

When I changed from this hard on/off model to hybrid, I immediately improved my self-consumption by 25%.

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Hi Chris,

1 hour ago, Chris Hobson said:

An Axpert cannot do that it is either all Eskom or Solar/Battery

Yes and no to the above...

My system is set to charge SOL (solar only), and if the SOC drops below 50% then ICC will switch the system to supply loads via the grid until the bank reaches 75% SOC.

The effect of this is that my home runs Off Grid almost all of the time, with the battery bank getting down somewhere between 55_65 % overnight and then charging up again via PV the next day (the battery bank is only designed to carry 1 night load).

When the dark and dingy days come around then the system will switch to grid if the bank drops below 50%, which will allow all loads to run off the grid BUT all available solar power will go to charging the batteries (my bank can accept 80amps = 4kW, it is not likely to reach this level on the dark days when this situation arises).

This system works for me in that very little of my PV production goes to waste, but note that I have ZERO interest in feeding back into the grid - if anyone out there truly believes that the feed-back model works in a domestic environment then Axpert is definitely not for them.

 

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21 minutes ago, pilotfish said:

the system will switch to grid if the bank drops below 50%, which will allow all loads to run off the grid BUT all available solar power will go to charging the batteries

That is one way to make it work. In my experience, you tend to cycle the batteries a bit deeper that way. I think what got to me most was that late afternoon bit, especially with lead acid batteries, which really want to be fully charged at least every few days. The only way to do that was to get them up to absorption voltage and hold them there for many hours, and you only do that by pushing the MPPT(s) into constant voltage mode, which means you waste PV. You either do that... or you leave the loads on for longer, switch back to battery too late, and don't get a full charge.

But I can see that there is a cost trade-off. More expensive inverter, vs perhaps oversizing the array a bit and just forgetting about "efficiency" numbers. And for off-grid use it really makes no difference anyway.

I tend to agree with Chris though. For city use, given the small price difference between the Axpert and the Infini, and also given that it complies with NRS097-2-1... for me the choice would be an easy one :-)

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57 minutes ago, pilotfish said:

Hi Chris,

Yes and no to the above...

My system is set to charge SOL (solar only), and if the SOC drops below 50% then ICC will switch the system to supply loads via the grid until the bank reaches 75% SOC.

The effect of this is that my home runs Off Grid almost all of the time, with the battery bank getting down somewhere between 55_65 % overnight and then charging up again via PV the next day (the battery bank is only designed to carry 1 night load).

When the dark and dingy days come around then the system will switch to grid if the bank drops below 50%, which will allow all loads to run off the grid BUT all available solar power will go to charging the batteries (my bank can accept 80amps = 4kW, it is not likely to reach this level on the dark days when this situation arises).

This system works for me in that very little of my PV production goes to waste, but note that I have ZERO interest in feeding back into the grid - if anyone out there truly believes that the feed-back model works in a domestic environment then Axpert is definitely not for them.

 

I think for the extra money one spends to buy a true hybrid would be worth while on two scores 

  1. The ability to combine solar and grid when light levels are low.
  2. Not having to cycle one's batteries as they are the most expensive component to purchase. Your situation is similar to mine in that you are virtually off-grid. 

I love my Axpert and will continue with it for the foreseeable future and have purchased a second unit to parallel. However in late 2017 and with Eskom available I would definitely purchase something else.

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On 11/24/2017 at 8:29 PM, Chris Hobson said:

Hi Chris. I have just finished a Goodwe install and commissioned it. I could not get it to work without tripping the Conlog BEC23 meter. I am going to try and problem solve tomorrow. Let me just see if I can solve it before I sell any more. What meter do you have?

Sjoe I will have to up my margins considerably so I can offer a BF discount :lol:

So a BF discount makes them competitive? What about the other 364 days of the year?

I´m still with an post paid meter..... but the city of cape town is forcing me to install a prepaid meter.... :-(

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1 hour ago, Chris Dononion said:

I´m still with an post paid meter..... but the city of cape town is forcing me to install a prepaid meter.... :-(

Just make sure it is not a Conlog. From the inquiries I have made seems Goodwe works with the other prepaid meters but not a Conlog. Today I have contacted China, Conlog and the municipality to try and solve my Conlog/Goodwe predicament.

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We really need to design a simple absorber device that detects feedback lightning quick and turns on sinks it into some kind of load.

I tried to explain it in words before, but this is my very vague idea. If voltage and current is in sync, then the voltage at B always swings wider than at A. If the current is out of sync, B swings narrower than A. You could either sample this really fast with an microcontroller, or you could use a precision rectifier to turn it into a DC signal of sorts, which will essentially give you an average of some kind.

The reason for using a precision rectifier would be to avoid the diode voltage drop. Otherwise you cannot detect differences of less than whatever your forward voltage drop is (usually 0.2V at best).

Take the half-wave-rectified outputs, smooth with a very small capacitor, and now the direction can be deduced from the voltage difference.

I have no idea if this would work. It is terribly analog, but that might be what is good about it. Any experts want to have a go at this?

idea.jpg

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On ‎2017‎/‎11‎/‎18 at 12:42 PM, Chris Hobson said:

The Infinisolar V series  which is your standard Axpert architecture on steroids the ability to feed into the grid is determined by Program 09.

cheers @Chris Hobson

but it can also run in self consumption

On ‎2017‎/‎11‎/‎27 at 8:54 AM, plonkster said:

Short example: You have 1kw of PV coming in but the family is running the AC and it pushes the load too high so the inverter keeps cutting back to the grid. The batteries are full already and you have no way to use the 1kw late-afternoon PV. If you had a hybrid, you could stir it into the mix and cut your consumption.

this works for me

cheers

 

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On 11/27/2017 at 9:06 AM, pilotfish said:

Hi Chris,

Yes and no to the above...

My system is set to charge SOL (solar only), and if the SOC drops below 50% then ICC will switch the system to supply loads via the grid until the bank reaches 75% SOC.

The effect of this is that my home runs Off Grid almost all of the time, with the battery bank getting down somewhere between 55_65 % overnight and then charging up again via PV the next day (the battery bank is only designed to carry 1 night load).

When the dark and dingy days come around then the system will switch to grid if the bank drops below 50%, which will allow all loads to run off the grid BUT all available solar power will go to charging the batteries (my bank can accept 80amps = 4kW, it is not likely to reach this level on the dark days when this situation arises).

This system works for me in that very little of my PV production goes to waste, but note that I have ZERO interest in feeding back into the grid - if anyone out there truly believes that the feed-back model works in a domestic environment then Axpert is definitely not for them.

 

"Quote": then ICC will switch the system to supply loads via the grid.......

Does this mean some external device, or is this an automatic feature of the Axpert?

 

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58 minutes ago, SOLARWIND said:

Does this mean some external device, or is this an automatic feature of the Axpert?

I think what ICC does is change the mode of the inverter to one of the other modes that prioritises the grid over solar. This is effectively a bit of a hack, but it allows an external software solution to switch the inverter. As I understand it this is why ICC came into the world: On its own the inverter cannot properly determine SoC, but combine it with a Victron BMV and software switching... and you're there.

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