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Thank you for the great forum, Safe Driving over the weekend. Sincerely Jason

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Greetings all!  It's been a long time since I've been lured out of the shadows into signing up on a new forum.  What a great place this is - hats off to all the community leaders!

While I'm new to solar energy, I'm a long time petrol generator user.  In my previous city, it was commonplace to use a generator when the grid choked.  In the land of wine and fynbos, however, I hear no generators and I'm loathe to disturb the peace - not to mention that I no longer have a dedicated generator circuit.  So, I've decided to part ways with my Honda 6.5kVA genny to pave the way for some Vicron goodness.  Things appear to be worse than they've ever been so going green and sustainable seems inevitable.

Until recently, I decided I would "settle" with Goodwe due to the integrated MPPT charge controller, cost saving and NRS approval. My first love was always a Victron though and I'm leaning more towards this brand once more.  I'm particularly sold on the rave reviews, flexibility and their app.  The VictronConnect app has to be the best there is!  I'm an IoT guy and this sorta thing is super important to me.  I don't only want to consult a small LCD screen on the wall or do battle with an app that doesn't update properly.

My casual obsession and nightly research has led me to plan a system around the Victron MP II 48/3000.  While I'd love to spring for the 48/5000, it's not possible right now.  In order to get a "foot in the door", I figured I'd start with the 3kW now and then add another 6 months later.  Good or bad idea?  

In terms of solar panels, I'm not really sold on anything right now.  Battery-wise, I started off being 100% sold on PylonTech US2000B but I'm now intrigued by the UFO 5kWh.  I don't have a ton of garage floor space but have some great wall space that is already next to a mini-DB.

Fire away, gents!
  • 11 replies

Hey guys,

Been doing a lot of reading here - some brilliant advice and posts.

I'm looking at installing a hybrid system - around 4.5kW Inverter, 3.6kWp PV and probably 2 Pylontech 3000s, largely DIY.

So here's the question - what brand inverter?

Leaning towards the Goodwe as a brilliant little all-rounder. Seems to include all function we require in one unit, good quality, easy install, and all at a pretty reasonable price.

But what would we be missing out on compared to the competition? 

Thinking specifically Victron and/or SMA - what extra features and enhancements do these offer over the Goodwe? I hear the Goodwe is a little limited in the setup / programming one can do - this'd be a serious drawback for me. Are the others worth the extra expense and complexity? (As I understand both these other systems one would need seperate modular units as opposed to Goodwe all-in-one)

 

Would really appreciate your guys' reasons for preferring one over the other...
  • 17 replies

Hi All

I would love your feedback, What items would you like to see on the online store at www.powerforum-store.co.za

All feedback welcome.

Sincerely

Jason
  • 7 replies

Hey all, 

As with everyone in this country; I am done with Eskom's BS. 

I'd like to design a system for my house to initially start out providing the house with power during load shedding periods. I'd like to then upscale the system to the point where Eskom is just a backup. I believe this is the Hybrid system (Grid-tied)?

The requirements I have for such a system is this: 

1. I All plugs in the house should be on inverter power 

2. All lights should be on inverter power (80% are LED - will be changing the remaining to LED) 

3. Should be able to run the ceiling fan / light 

Current power consumption is on average 30Kw a day (Have one ion those smart meters that gives readings; not sure on accuracy ?) 

We won't need to run the follow for the moment: Pool pump, geyser, stove A/C. Eventually the system should be able to run all that except the stove as we will move that to gas. 

I'v done some research and unfortunately I just have more questions than answers; hoping this helpful forum will be able to assist. 

1. Will a 5Kva inverter be enough? What brands should I be looking at (And staying away from) 

2. Batteries - Would it be better to go with 105ah batteries for now or use 200ah batteries - need to keep the house running for 4.5h min 

3. Do I need to have a manual change over switch by the DB? (I know the inverter will do it; but not sure on the law / regulations) 

4. Do I need a second DB according to regulations / law? (I am probably going to install one regardless, but would like to know) 

5. Do I need to have a certified installer; or can I get someone knowledgable to install and then get someone to certify the system for me? 

6. Do I need to register NERSA / COJ for the system to be 'legal' 

 

Finally, let's say I want to upscale to solar - besides the PV panels / roof mounting kit - what else would I need to add to the system?

Budget wise; what should I be looking at to spend here for the short term (Just getting relief from load shedding) I am thinking in the 25 - 30k mark? excluding anything related to solar

 

Appreciate any feedback; I am completely new to all this and might not understand it all 100%. 
  • 68 replies

HI All,

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, but I've read some really useful forum threads here about rainwater harvesting, so here's my question:

I've got a rainwater harvesting tank and small pressure-controlled pump which is currently totally independent from my municipal supply. However I'd like to put a couple of toilets and washing machine onto rainwater, but obviously can't guarantee a year-round supply. I should be able to isolate those 3 supply points onto one line such that they can be fed by rainwater, and then switched over to municipal if I don't have any rainwater in the tank. The switch would just be at one location - I don't want to have to drill new holes into the water at all 3 places and have some kind of switch (eg: below the toilet) to manually switch over each one - that would be madness. 

What this means though, is that these fittings (2 toilets and washing machine) would be supplied via their existing copper piping downstream of the "switch over" point. I've heard a few people say that you should not use copper pipe with rainwater as it tends to be acidic and may corrode the pipe. I'll wont be drinking this water, but I don't want to have to replace the pipes after a couple of years. Does anybody have any experience with this/know much more about it? Is just a bad idea if you plan to drink the water, or will the acidity of the rainwater destroy the pipes pretty quickly?

Thanks in advance

Nick
  • 11 replies

When the lights go out what do you miss the most?
  • 104 replies

Hi all

Newbie here, found the forum by chance when reading up on Solar. Looking at converting my existing system off the grid to solar, like most of us 😁

Running a Axpert inverter charger HBS-2 Ser 9223 1412 1004 63 with two Narada 12v Batteries In series 6GFM170F. Canadian and Trina are importing great solar panels so very keen to learn from this platform. 

Kind regards,

Ewald
  • 13 replies

Howzit Everyone,

Having some idle time for a change I stumbled across the solar idea yet again, been reading topics and trying to match my equipment, checking what other guys have done, what they use etc etc.

I am in the planning stage but I have some hardware already, I have a good idea of my daily usage but not really how much hourly, so I got myself an Efergy Engage Hub  for the DB and a Sonoff Pow R2 for checking usage on individual devices.

Usage currently is between 15 -20 kwh daily, depending on washing, dishwasher use. 

I have a solar evap tube geyser (no element) and gas geyser and want to change from an Induction hob to gas one.

Solar Hardware (Not brand new):

2 X 5kW Microcare Bi Directional Inverters

1 X 60Amp SetSolar MPPT (Believe its also Microcare)

No Panels yet and no batteries yet.

I believe a 5 kW is suitable for my house and that brings me to my first question.

What would you do, sell all the Microcare kit and go Victron or sell one inverter and setup with Microcare?

I do not even know if selling everything would be enough ZAR to go Victron in the first place.

I really want to go LFP batteries and read the whole MPPT controller's PIC needs updating from Microcare threads etc etc.

What would you do??? Really do not want make mistakes and re-do this.

Cheers to an awesome forum !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  • 15 replies

Hi Everyone, I have some great stock clearance items. Let me start:

1) I have 2 x Brand New unopened PSHY 1200W 110V Wind Turbines. A company were going to build a GTI for them but that did not see the light. Personally I do not have use for the 1200W 110V kit and I will be happy to pass them on for R7500 each. Please note they do not come with any controllers.

2) I have a Primus Air 30 12V Wind Turbine that has been on a pole for 5 months but it has been on constant brake mode. Thus it has just been parked on the pole. Happy to part with it for R6500 As per picture.

3) A HAIDI  12.8V 100Ah Lithium Battery in a metal enclosure (Pole Mount). It has not been used. R5000.  (Also find its technical sheet)

Please find all the Images and technical sheets of all the above items. (Images and PDFs)

All items slightly negotiable.

Thanks all.

Sincerely

Jason









2_12V100Ah Battery Pack Specification.pdf
Pegasus HY Range.pdf
Air_Spec_Sheet_7-2013.pdf
  • 18 replies

Hi gents, seems like I am not getting much traction with my previous thread, so in order to simplify it, this is my biggest concern.

I am looking to get a 5kw hybrid inverter, with a decent battery bank and solar array.

The Goodwe ES comes highly recommended on the forum and from what I can see the installation is a lot neater than a Victron unit, mppt and gx, however I saw a Sunsynk 8kw for slightly more than the Goodwe. Quality wise are they comparable?

I am not able to get a great deal of info on the Sunsynk, so not sure if its worth the trouble. 
  • 24 replies

Yay.  All official!

Thank you to @Rautenk, @Mike, @Carl, @Jaco de Jongh, and tons of advice from the ou manne of the forum and lots of others besides.

What an interesting project - I learned a lot in the process and so far not a single shock!

On a day when we face Stage 6 shedding I feel like very clever to have  this system in the house!

Thanks,
@Elbow / Steve

 
  • 14 replies

Hey everyone! I've been a voyeur here for about 2 years but finally managed to get something done at my flat and I'd just like to thank everyone for being so helpful and open in sharing their knowledge and experiences!

 

I've installed the following:

Goodwe 5048-ES

8 x 390 watt Canadian Solar panels

6kwh of Pylontech lithiums (2.5+3.5) - and potentially another 3.5 next week.

Solar geyser

 

I have pretty decent sun and the system is generating about 15kwh a day. Even yesterday was decent with 13kwh considering all the cloud cover.

 

I do have one issue though which I can't figure out. As one does, I've been really punishing the system to test out what can/can't be done. So I've basically had Eskom turned off whenever I'm home. During the first few days I was able to use my kettle, microwave, oven, hairdryer, washing machine (on a hot wash), tumble dryer. All of this was run at night with Eskom off. I was pretty happy with everything as the biggest load according to the SEMS portal was about 2600 watts. I'm not sure what the peak load was as the app only tracks every 5 minutes. The last 2 days everything has stopped working though :( I tried using my kettle and the power tripped. I used my oven and the power tripped. I've spoken to the installer who is going to come back to test the system but I don't understand why it would just change. The other issue is that it's unpredictable now. So kettle on yesterday and it trips, kettle on today and it's fine. Luckily, during all my tests, I've had Eskom to enable me to restart the system but I'm not sure what to do if it trips when Eskom is off.

 

My theory is that the batteries are only pumping out 62 amps max and I need another battery to meet the surge load. The extra battery would give a max amps of 99 or 4.7kw which matches the inverter nicely. I'm really hoping it's not the inverter that's now unable to support the loads. I still don't understand why it worked so perfectly initially and now it's not. Pretty much the only change I made between the working days to not working days was allowing my excess PV to go back into the grid. I'm not sure if this is overworking the inverter during the day or anything so then it struggles with surge loads but I am tempted to put the inverter back into idle mode to see what happens.

 

Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated
  • 17 replies

Hi all.

So about a week ago, I got my solar system up and running. I'm running a growatt 3kv 24v inverter with inbuilt mppt. I have 2 x narada 200ah 12v batteries and I have 3 x 330w solar panels. I have a few questions that I'm hoping someone here could help me with.

Firstly, some background info. The inverter is powering 1 x plasma TV (I know I need to get an LED), 1 x small freezer (186w), and a few led lights and a few sockets used for charging phones, router etc. If I have no power after 4.30pm, I will switch off the freezer to prevent it being powered by the battery without solar energy to keep the battery charged. I've set my inverter output priority to utility first and my charging priority to solar first. My thinking behind these settings is that I want to make sure that during the day, if I have grid power available, solar is dedicated to charging my battery while the grid power is used to power the loads. On the other hand, when solar is not available in the evening, if I have grid power available, it can charge the batteries as well. Either way, I'm trying to make sure that my batteries are fully charged as often as possible considering that I experience load shedding of between 8-12 hours a day every day.

So thats the background info. Here's what I've noticed and what I require some assistance with...

1. I've noticed that if I have no grid power during the day, solar will charge my battery and supply load. The weird thing is that according to the monitoring software for the inverter, and the inverter display screen, the solar output isn't constant. It's continuously jumping from 0w to 350w and then back to 0w every 10-20 seconds. This occurs whether or not the TV or freezer are on. Is this normal? I was under the assumption that the solar output would be constant.

2. I've noticed that if I have grid power available during the day, the solar output isn't constant as explained in question 1. However, when the solar output drops from 350w to 0w, the grid power will charge the battery until the solar output kicks back in. The charge priority settings state that solar energy will be prioritized if solar is available and if it isn't available, utility power will be used. I was under the assumption that, based off the output priority settings and charge priority settings, if the grid power is available and powering the loads, solar would be dedicated to charging the battery. Are my assumptions incorrect?

I would appreciate any assistance and I am happy to provide more information if necessary. Thanks.
  • 35 replies

Dear all,

In regards to the issues I have experienced with my recent setup I would like to announce that the system is up and running with no glitches at present. May I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their most valued and much appreciated inputs in helping me solve all the issues. You guys are fantastic. A special thank you to plonkster and Jaco de Jongh. What stars!!

With you guy's input and professional advice this forum can only go from strength to strength.

Thank you and warm regards.
  • 10 replies

Dear all,

In regards to the issues I have experienced with my recent setup I would like to announce that the system is up and running with no glitches at present. May I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their most valued and much appreciated inputs in helping me solve all the issues. You guys are fantastic. A special thank you to plonkster and Jaco de Jongh. What stars!!

With you guy's input and professional advice this forum can only go from strength to strength.

Thank you and warm regards.
  • 10 replies

Hey guys!

ive build my own solar heater and I’m using an old copper low pressure geyser as the storage. It works super well- but mounting it to work on thermosyphon alone isn’t easy (still need to keep it out of view). So I want to add a tiny solar inline pump that will turn on when the sun is out and help circulate the water.  I can find a number of options at quite a price but I need the most basic system- no switches or anything. Just a pump that can connect directly to a small solar panel and circulate. 

Thanks for any advise! 

Peter 
  • 9 replies

My slim line solar tracker. X-Y for 24 solar panels.


My system was approved for pushing power into the network.
Now to get a few of these build and install +/- 100 450W panels for my inverter.

This is the basic unit and gear.  The cost is +/- R 2300 with two motors that costs R1600 for the two. As I assemble I will show more.  The gear is made from 30mm thick EN19 hour glass with a 40mm worm.  +/- 70 to 1 and very strong teeth are  8mm deep. An external gear is mounted with an additional 3:1 reduction.
The bearings is my own design with a severe reduce in cost. It is designed to fit on a standard 200mm sched 80 pipe.

It is in a permanent oil bath to fight the west coast weather. ( I live opposite the sea) . This device has a certificate (COC) for up to 18M in height.

If it is boring tell me and I won't publish more info as I do the installation etc.

 

 
  • 48 replies

I hose the dust off my solar panels every 2 months or so. The benefit today was an immediate 300W more.
  • 26 replies

Good day all, I need help in laying out the best way for a solar system for my house.

I work as an expat and therefor I am for long periods not at home. My wife and 3 pre-teen sons is alone then as well. My security systems, cameras and all as well entertainment such as playstation and, televisions and internet must be on and running.

We have a solar/gas geysers and a gas stove. So usage from the grid is minimal. I installed an Efergy Power monitor and it register an average of 11kWh per day. Never over 12kWh per day and that is when it is a school holiday and the boys are 24/7 on the games and televisions. School days, monday to thursday, there is only a few hours of television after homework and sport. A maximum of 2.5kW per hour is used when my wife is in the kitchen using the microwave, the boys are on their televisions and house cleaning is being done using vacuum cleaners, etc.

I searched the internet and found a system that I think will help us cope, at SolarAdvice and it consists of the following;

1 x 4.6kW Goodwe ES Hybrid inverter  – 2 x MPPT inputs with a Max of 6500Wp  NRS approved  (National regulation standards)
1 x Cable Pack
10 x 330W JA Solar PV modules
1 x Complete pitched roof Solar mounting kit (to be determined)
2 x BYD B-Plus 2.56kWh LV Battery 100% DOD – 5.12kwh
1 x BYD B-BOX Cabinet, (4 x 2.5) incl. BMU
1 x MC4 Connector Twin Pack ( Kit 1 )
1 x K&N Dual String DC Switch Disconnector 25A 220V
2 x K&N Single Phase AC Switch Disconnector 25A
1 x 4mm2 single-core 100m cable – Black
1 x KETO Battery Disconnector with 125A Fuses

I am also thinking of adding 2 x 1500W/48V wind turbines, after I've added the second string of  10 x 330W panels, to complete the system in the future. I've bought a stand which is high up a hill where there is wind in an abundance. I would like to utilize the wind turbines mainly for cloudy and windy times and especially through the nights instead of buying bigger battery bank.

Could you all please assist and advise me in how to go about the whole layout. I would also like to know if anybody knows about good electricians/installers that can do a certified grid tied installation.

Thank you all in advance. I LOVE THIS FORUM.
  • 108 replies

I want to put down a full plan for a Victron grid tied install using lead acid batteries, as they are a little bit more complicated.

The idea is to give someone an overview of what all goes into a setup like this, parts needed, pictures etc.
Pylontech batteries we can handle later when we have it all down for lead acid.

@plonkster and @phil.g00 - what would you add / change?

 

Equipment:
Victron Multiplus II 48/3000 with MK3-USB cable for firmware updates.
Victron BlueSolar 150/100MPPT with VE.Direct cable to VenusGX
VenusGX
BMV-712Smart and cable for midpoint monitoring

Optional:
Carlo Gavazzi with RS485 to USB cable 5m - nice to measure all the in / out of the main DB board.
Temp sense cable for VenusGX  to see the temp of the batts - nice to see the batt temps being recorded.
Battery balancers

Solar Panels:
8 x 350w Canadian Kumax panels - 3 series and 3 in parallel = 3150w - which matches the inverter.
14 pairs of MC4 connectors
20m x 10mm2 (Red & Black) - can use 4 or 6mm, but 10mm is just the least amount of losses and the price difference is not that much.
Additional 5m (Red & Black) for odds and sods connections.

Batteries:
8 x Trojan J200RE's
Optional: Watering kit for the Trojan's. In their lifetime, the kit is a awesome time saver.

Wires needed - extra lugs as spares:
From inverter to batteries: 5m x 50mm2 (Red & Black) with 8 x 50mm/10mm lugs
From MPPT to inverter: 2m x 25mm2 (Red & Black) with 4 x 25mm/10mm lugs
Between batts: 30cm x 50mm2 (Black) with 18 x 50mm/10mm lugs

Combiner Box:
1 x DB box
3 x NoArk 63A 1000VDC 6ka double pole breaker to break all 6 wires - or 2 x 4 pole NoArks.
6 x PV Fuse Holder with LED light - on all 6 wires
10 x 20amp fuses
1 x Citel Surge Protection DC/PV Type 2 1000VDC (DS50PVS-1000)

Fuse Box 1:
1 x 125amp fuse and fuse holder - see fuse below.

Fuse Box 2:
1 x 250amp fuse and fuse holder - see fuse below.

 

 

How it all fits:

 

Personally I like these 2 pole fuses, one can be a 125a and the other a 250a:


With the DC side in a box like this - and it is regulation for a CoC - warning labels and all.
One can add the above fuse direct onto the positive busbar to connect both the MPPT and the inverter onto their respective size fuse.
Or connect the MPPT direct onto the 2nd battery poles of the inverter. Then one needs another fuse.


 

What am I missing?
  • 269 replies

Hi everybody

So the time has come that I have become pretty fedup with a R2k-R3k per month electricity bills and am now seriously considering solar but would like to get as much independant advice as I possibly can. I reside in Bloemfontein. Still have electric geysers, 2 in fact. One for my main house and one for the currently unoccupied granny flat. I have a 1.1kw borehole pump which is used for about 1.5 hours per day to fill my Jojo tank. Then I have a 2kw water pump for my irrigation system which sees about 1 hours worth of usage a day. Then I also have a 750w pool pump which sees about 2-3 hours worth of usage which I know is too little, but I have become like a electricity scrooge so save as much as I can where I can. Stove is gas, but oven is electrical. All lights in the house are LED. Still have a plasma TV in the lounge which almost never gets used, and then an LED in the bedroom which sees almost constant usage while we are home. I also have quite a monster PC, but prefer PS4 just because its lighter on electricity. 

I use anywhere from 30kwh-50kwh per day. 

The two suppliers in Bloem I am looking at for quotations are these two:

Unilec

Olivia

and I am considering the 15KVA systems from both. I know the pages I linked to are not very specific, but I would just like to know if the prices are ballpark more or less OK?
  • 52 replies

My name is Christo

I'm from Vanderbijlpark. And I'm planning on going to solar. I don't know all our clever stuff. I just want to run the equipment you really need. Like Fridge, Freezer, Computers, Alarm system and Television. And my gate {Centurion} motor and garage motor. But you use them say twice a day. So I don't think they will have a big impact. I'm sending a photo taken of an amp meter while most of my electronic equipment is running including deep fryer and oven. In the second photo the deep fryer then the oven was turned of. That reading is my amps I'll be running in a normal day. I don't have an electric geyser or stove (Hob) they are gas. And all the lights in my house is 12V running from a battery with a trickle charger for now on it. 

What I would like to know is.:

How many solar panels will I need? And what watts?

How many batteries will I need (I was thinking of 200a/h)

What size solar charge controller?

What size Inverter?

I'm new at solar! So please keep it english 😃    
  • 11 replies

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