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Ramblings of someone that just had solar installed


ggza

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Hello

First, thank you to everyone for their help, comments, criticism, and questions along this journey. As a complete amateur with all things solar, this forum has been a source of information in helping me along the journey. Also, a big thanks for Steve for all the chats and advice along the way. 

Current Install

1 x 8 KW Sunsynk Invertor

2 x Hubble AM2 5.5

10 x JA 540 East, West Tile roof

Reason for Install

I am a work from home employee and has been for the last nine years already.

I live in PMB on the border of the suburbs of Clarendon and Prestbury, and with PMB being in the current situation, we suffered outages more than 5 hours quite frequently. So not only did load shedding cause issues, but so did the lack of maintenance on the current electricity supply. To make matters worse, when the power goes out, the cell phone signal drops as well, so I cannot work at all.

Scope of Install and selecting an installer

The initial plan was to only install the invertor and batteries, but after chatting to Steve, I agreed to add panels to help me recover some of my investment at least. In terms of sizing, I knew our house uses quite a bit of electricity, so I went as big as the budget allowed in terms of batteries and invertor. The panels I decided on the JA 540's since roof space is limited.

On the selection of installer, my first port of call was calling an electrician that previously ran neutrals to my light switches. He recommended an installer that recently left a large solar install company and started his own business. He came out and quoted and seemed very keen. However, he was not an electrician, and was not a certified installer. After chatting to Steve, he recommended Hendrik from HGP electrical. Hendrik is a qualified electrician and a certified installer. Hendrik made contact, quoted me on the install, and explained all the SANS regulations that needed to be complied with to issue a COC at the end.  Hendrik quoted for the install, and I accepted. Disclaimer: HGP's quote was much higher than the quote received from the non-certified installer. However, I received a full breakdown of material and labor costs, so there was a reason for this higher quote.

 

Install Process and 1st Load Shedding

After the receiving the Invertor and batteries, arrangements were made with Hendrik to start the install. Hendrik and an assistant arrived, and the install was a go! My whole house is on essential load, except for a 24 000 BTU AC unit in my living room. Hendrik did not want to exceed 32Amps on the invertor, so we played it safe. I am however monitoring the load with Node Red, and have some automations configured to reduce load, should we get close to the invertor rated capacity. Once again, with Node Red, I power off the geyser and pool pump, should we have a loss of grid.

The first night of load shedding, and the invertor installed, was pure bliss! We had the over going, load shedding kicked in, and the house kept on running without any dips. The oven ran for 35 minutes, and after load shedding, we used about 30% of the battery capacity. Last weekend we were blessed with a 5-hour outage, and once again, no issues. To say that I am impressed, is an understatement.

With the initial install of batteries and invertor complete, and the panels still awaiting delivery, Hendrik was scheduled to complete the install this week. After about two days, the panels were fitted, and I could see some black magic happening between the sun and the panels. I am posting some screenshots below from Solar-Assistant below.  Today is raining and overcast, so the yield is iffy.

image.thumb.png.ac84d053971cb3f2c6443cda9c71165d.png

 

Future Expansion

A third battery has been ordered, and I am awaiting a quote on some additional panels. My panels are facing east and west, and I would like to decrease my reliance on the grid. Please note, I am decreasing my grid reliance without any changes on the household. I am not asking the wife to not run the tumble-dryer at 6am in the morning, nor I am scheduling the geyser on a timer.

 

Final Thoughts

I was warned that this a rabbit hole, and it's so true. The feeling of not having to be worried about the electricity supply is refreshing. At the same time, it is incredibly sad. Having to install expensive equipment for the sake of having stable electricity, should not be the norm! 

 

Ok, enough ramblings. Hopefully, someone finds this post helpful.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, ggza said:

I was warned that this a rabbit hole, and it's so true. The feeling of not having to be worried about the electricity supply is refreshing. At the same time, it is incredibly sad. Having to install expensive equipment for the sake of having stable electricity, should not be the norm! 

It's not JUST for stability, though that is a big driver in SA. A mate of mine in Belgium just went solar. He did so as a cost saving measure. In his case the savings are substantial because of local government subsidisation, but why would government subsidise? Because it takes load off their grid and because it reduces carbon footprint. So solar is a thing all over the place for reasons other than ensuring a stable supply to your home.

I know that I was thinking of stability and continuity when I got my system, but not exclusively. I could see prices escalating and was thinking about costs as I got closer to taking a pension, and I thought playing my small part in reducing emissions was a good thing. So even if Eskom manages to get itself sorted out in the next couple of years, there will still be a case for solar power.

Back to my mate in Belgium. People who are fond of the notion of privatisation should watch what is happening in the EU. Here in SA our utility tariffs are overseen and in most cases there is an annual increase. In most EU countries the utilities are privatised, and my friend in Belgium has seen his utility bill nearly double in the last two months. Which may reflect the real cost of supplying energy. If we go down what is being presented as the sensible route of a single grid, with privatised generation and supply to premises then it may be that we will find ourselves looking at a very different financial picture. 

This I know: Electricity isn't going to get cheaper any time soon. So you will get multiple benefits from your solar system.

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10 hours ago, ggza said:

Hello

First, thank you to everyone for their help, comments, criticism, and questions along this journey. As a complete amateur with all things solar, this forum has been a source of information in helping me along the journey. Also, a big thanks for Steve for all the chats and advice along the way. 

Current Install

1 x 8 KW Sunsynk Invertor

2 x Hubble AM2 5.5

10 x JA 540 East, West Tile roof

Reason for Install

I am a work from home employee and has been for the last nine years already.

I live in PMB on the border of the suburbs of Clarendon and Prestbury, and with PMB being in the current situation, we suffered outages more than 5 hours quite frequently. So not only did load shedding cause issues, but so did the lack of maintenance on the current electricity supply. To make matters worse, when the power goes out, the cell phone signal drops as well, so I cannot work at all.

Scope of Install and selecting an installer

The initial plan was to only install the invertor and batteries, but after chatting to Steve, I agreed to add panels to help me recover some of my investment at least. In terms of sizing, I knew our house uses quite a bit of electricity, so I went as big as the budget allowed in terms of batteries and invertor. The panels I decided on the JA 540's since roof space is limited.

On the selection of installer, my first port of call was calling an electrician that previously ran neutrals to my light switches. He recommended an installer that recently left a large solar install company and started his own business. He came out and quoted and seemed very keen. However, he was not an electrician, and was not a certified installer. After chatting to Steve, he recommended Hendrik from HGP electrical. Hendrik is a qualified electrician and a certified installer. Hendrik made contact, quoted me on the install, and explained all the SANS regulations that needed to be complied with to issue a COC at the end.  Hendrik quoted for the install, and I accepted. Disclaimer: HGP's quote was much higher than the quote received from the non-certified installer. However, I received a full breakdown of material and labor costs, so there was a reason for this higher quote.

 

Install Process and 1st Load Shedding

After the receiving the Invertor and batteries, arrangements were made with Hendrik to start the install. Hendrik and an assistant arrived, and the install was a go! My whole house is on essential load, except for a 24 000 BTU AC unit in my living room. Hendrik did not want to exceed 32Amps on the invertor, so we played it safe. I am however monitoring the load with Node Red, and have some automations configured to reduce load, should we get close to the invertor rated capacity. Once again, with Node Red, I power off the geyser and pool pump, should we have a loss of grid.

The first night of load shedding, and the invertor installed, was pure bliss! We had the over going, load shedding kicked in, and the house kept on running without any dips. The oven ran for 35 minutes, and after load shedding, we used about 30% of the battery capacity. Last weekend we were blessed with a 5-hour outage, and once again, no issues. To say that I am impressed, is an understatement.

With the initial install of batteries and invertor complete, and the panels still awaiting delivery, Hendrik was scheduled to complete the install this week. After about two days, the panels were fitted, and I could see some black magic happening between the sun and the panels. I am posting some screenshots below from Solar-Assistant below.  Today is raining and overcast, so the yield is iffy.

image.thumb.png.ac84d053971cb3f2c6443cda9c71165d.png

 

Future Expansion

A third battery has been ordered, and I am awaiting a quote on some additional panels. My panels are facing east and west, and I would like to decrease my reliance on the grid. Please note, I am decreasing my grid reliance without any changes on the household. I am not asking the wife to not run the tumble-dryer at 6am in the morning, nor I am scheduling the geyser on a timer.

 

Final Thoughts

I was warned that this a rabbit hole, and it's so true. The feeling of not having to be worried about the electricity supply is refreshing. At the same time, it is incredibly sad. Having to install expensive equipment for the sake of having stable electricity, should not be the norm! 

 

Ok, enough ramblings. Hopefully, someone finds this post helpful.

 

 

Interesting that you had all the monitoring and control in place before the install, this is pretty rare, the average SA citizen struggles to remember their previous months' bill in kWh. There are ways to work around this, but it's still mostly all theoretical until about 1-2 months after the install. I guess that it gave you a level of comfort knowing that what you had ordered was definitely going to work, and the data would have given both Steve and yourself solid information with which to model the system on.

Also interesting is your approach to lifestyle / usage changes, quite refreshing, and I am sure that your wife appreciates it. Some things in life are are clearly more important than others, it is good to hear that you have your priorities in the right order. 

 

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Sure you'll get great results with this system. Mine is very similar ... Would love to know how the 3rd battery pans out. W.r.t lifestyle changes I'm asking the family nicely to be considerate and move demand to sunshine hours if possible - in exchange they are allowed to use the aircons now and again. 🤣

I had Geysewise timers on my geysers before so I am now trying to optimise the heating times to use them as "batteries". The conventional 200L is fed from the 300L solar geyser, and by the look of things this one is now properly offgrid. Not a big compromise and very satisfying to watch remotely at 11am as 3kW of unused solar becomes hot water for free.

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On 2021/12/03 at 9:13 AM, ggza said:

Hello

First, thank you to everyone for their help, comments, criticism, and questions along this journey. As a complete amateur with all things solar, this forum has been a source of information in helping me along the journey. Also, a big thanks for Steve for all the chats and advice along the way. 

Current Install

1 x 8 KW Sunsynk Invertor
2 x Hubble AM2 5.5
10 x JA 540 East, West Tile roof

Reason for Install

I am a work from home employee and has been for the last nine years already.

I live in PMB on the border of the suburbs of Clarendon and Prestbury, and with PMB being in the current situation, we suffered outages more than 5 hours quite frequently. So not only did load shedding cause issues, but so did the lack of maintenance on the current electricity supply. To make matters worse, when the power goes out, the cell phone signal drops as well, so I cannot work at all.

Scope of Install and selecting an installer

The initial plan was to only install the invertor and batteries, but after chatting to Steve, I agreed to add panels to help me recover some of my investment at least. In terms of sizing, I knew our house uses quite a bit of electricity, so I went as big as the budget allowed in terms of batteries and invertor. The panels I decided on the JA 540's since roof space is limited.

On the selection of installer, my first port of call was calling an electrician that previously ran neutrals to my light switches. He recommended an installer that recently left a large solar install company and started his own business. He came out and quoted and seemed very keen. However, he was not an electrician, and was not a certified installer. After chatting to Steve, he recommended Hendrik from HGP electrical. Hendrik is a qualified electrician and a certified installer. Hendrik made contact, quoted me on the install, and explained all the SANS regulations that needed to be complied with to issue a COC at the end.  Hendrik quoted for the install, and I accepted. Disclaimer: HGP's quote was much higher than the quote received from the non-certified installer. However, I received a full breakdown of material and labor costs, so there was a reason for this higher quote.

Install Process and 1st Load Shedding

After the receiving the Inverter and batteries, arrangements were made with Hendrik to start the install. Hendrik and an assistant arrived, and the install was a go! My whole house is on essential load, except for a 24,000 BTU AC unit in my living room. Hendrik did not want to exceed 32Amps on the inverter, so we played it safe. I am however monitoring the load with Node Red, and have some automation configured to reduce load, should we get close to the inverter rated capacity. Once again, with Node Red, I power off the geyser and pool pump, should we have a loss of grid.

The first night of load shedding, and the inverter installed, was pure bliss! We had the over going, load shedding kicked in, and the house kept on running without any dips. The oven ran for 35 minutes, and after load shedding, we used about 30% of the battery capacity. Last weekend we were blessed with a 5-hour outage, and once again, no issues. To say that I am impressed, is an understatement.

With the initial install of batteries and inverter complete, and the panels still awaiting delivery, Hendrik was scheduled to complete the install this week. After about two days, the panels were fitted, and I could see some black magic happening between the sun and the panels. I am posting some screenshots below from Solar-Assistant below.  Today is raining and overcast, so the yield is iffy.

image.thumb.png.ac84d053971cb3f2c6443cda9c71165d.png

 

Future Expansion

A third battery has been ordered, and I am awaiting a quote on some additional panels. My panels are facing east and west, and I would like to decrease my reliance on the grid. Please note, I am decreasing my grid reliance without any changes on the household. I am not asking the wife to not run the tumble-dryer at 6am in the morning, nor I am scheduling the geyser on a timer.

Final Thoughts

I was warned that this a rabbit hole, and it's so true. The feeling of not having to be worried about the electricity supply is refreshing. At the same time, it is incredibly sad. Having to install expensive equipment for the sake of having stable electricity, should not be the norm!

Ok, enough ramblings. Hopefully, someone finds this post helpful.


The FIRST rule of Solar is "make sure you replace all inefficient appliances with efficient appliances"
Have a 60W incandescent globe -> replace with 7W LED
Have 50W GUD10 halogen down light -> replace with 5W LED
Have a 15 year old fridge -> replace with 2021 AAA+ model (uses 40W)
etc.
In order to implement this rule it's useful to have some measuring meters - The "Kill-A-Watt" does a good job.
The reason to replace these inefficient appliances is that you end up saving 3x on the Solar system.
Less panels
Less inverter
Less battery

You can install the 24,000 BTU AirCon on the Grid side, ensure the CT coil is after the AirCon by the metro meter and during the day, excess Solar will power the AC.

Enjoy - looks exciting,

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