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Steepest learning curve ever! :)


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This has definitely been the steepest learning curve I've had so far! I was asked by the family to help out with a solar/ backup solution. They have been plagued by major outages where they stay due to roadworks closeby. The contractor has damaged the mains feed cable to their complex resulting in at least 5 occurrences of power outages lasting 3-6 days at a time this year (over and above the load shedding we've all experienced.

I now have around 10 quotes to choose from and am really worse off than before.... The information and ideas from this forum have given me a lot of knowledge - thank you all!

Can I please ask for some user feedback on your systems that you've installed, to get an idea of whether there is something to really look for or to stay away from:

  1. Which Inverter brand? - score and rate them for me 1-5 (5 highest = best)
    1. Sunsynk
    2. Victron
    3. Alpha-ESS
    4. FoxBox
    5. Growatt
  2. Battery brands to consider? - score and rate them for me 1-5 (5 highest = best)
    1. Hubble
    2. FreedomWon
    3. Alpha - goes with Alpha-ESS
    4. Growatt
    5. Dyeness
    6. FoxBox (goes with Fox Box)
  3. Are all solar panels the same? Do they all perform the same, or is there some tweak that makes one good or bad?
    1. Canadian Solar
    2. JA Panels
    3. Percium
    4. Vertex
  4. Is the Tesla Powerwall a good option to go for? Its expensive but appears to do everything in one box! Your ideas please?

Thank you very much for guiding a total newbie...........

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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Definitely add pylontech. 

You have to decide your price range.

 

Victron and tesla are in the same price range which is the top end.

Sunsynk and alpha are in the middle,  the Sunsynk offers everything the top end offers for middle range price.

Growatt has sph inverters which also belong in the middle range but their popular inverters are the spf range which are budget range. They do the job without any fuss.

So tesla, victron to growatt is a very wide range. You have to tell us what your budget is. They all do the job.

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6 minutes ago, Buyeye said:

Definitely add pylontech. 

You have to decide your price range.

 

Victron and tesla are in the same price range which is the top end.

Sunsynk and alpha are in the middle,  the Sunsynk offers everything the top end offers for middle range price.

Growatt has sph inverters which also belong in the middle range but their popular inverters are the spf range which are budget range. They do the job without any fuss.

So tesla, victron to growatt is a very wide range. You have to tell us what your budget is. They all do the job.

Thanks for the insight into the names and makes. Since I'm new to this, I really don't recognise the makes or brands. 

The budget is as low as will do the job! 
The solution is for a retired couple, so this is to come out of capital savings. 
It needs to be set and forget type setup without too much fiddling. They are not too tech savvy, so would expect it just to work - like a toaster! 
Thanks for the guidance.......... 
 

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Get a Sunsynk and whatever battery you like. Hubble and Pylon are quite popular here. I have an LBSA which has worked very well so far. For panels get the ones with the best price per W obviously this will depend on roof space, inverter mppt specs...

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6 hours ago, PicHopper said:

This has definitely been the steepest learning curve I've had so far! I was asked by the family to help out with a solar/ backup solution. They have been plagued by major outages where they stay due to roadworks closeby. The contractor has damaged the mains feed cable to their complex resulting in at least 5 occurrences of power outages lasting 3-6 days at a time this year (over and above the load shedding we've all experienced.

I now have around 10 quotes to choose from and am really worse off than before.... The information and ideas from this forum have given me a lot of knowledge - thank you all!

Can I please ask for some user feedback on your systems that you've installed, to get an idea of whether there is something to really look for or to stay away from:

  1. Which Inverter brand? - score and rate them for me 1-5 (5 highest = best)
    1. Sunsynk
    2. Victron
    3. Alpha-ESS
    4. FoxBox
    5. Growatt
  2. Battery brands to consider? - score and rate them for me 1-5 (5 highest = best)
    1. Hubble
    2. FreedomWon
    3. Alpha - goes with Alpha-ESS
    4. Growatt
    5. Dyeness
    6. FoxBox (goes with Fox Box)
  3. Are all solar panels the same? Do they all perform the same, or is there some tweak that makes one good or bad?
    1. Canadian Solar
    2. JA Panels
    3. Percium
    4. Vertex
  4. Is the Tesla Powerwall a good option to go for? Its expensive but appears to do everything in one box! Your ideas please?

Thank you very much for guiding a total newbie...........

Cheers!

1. For a residential install, Sunsynk is by far the best bang for buck, so it gets a "1" from me. The others aren't even close.

2. Hubble would (and has very recently again been) my first choice.

3. JA Solar, Canadian Solar, Jinko and Longi are amongst the tier-1 providers, all offering great quality and impressive warranties.

4. If coolness is a factor in your choice, then yes. Other than the badge, it's substantially overpriced when compared with other offerings.

And it doesn't do everything in one box, for starters it's a 2.3k inverter, so to get close to 5K you'll need at least two. And being a backup system, to add solar it needs additional kit.

 

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9 hours ago, YellowTapemeasure said:

1. For a residential install, Sunsynk is by far the best bang for buck, so it gets a "1" from me. The others aren't even close.

2. Hubble would (and has very recently again been) my first choice.

3. JA Solar, Canadian Solar, Jinko and Longi are amongst the tier-1 providers, all offering great quality and impressive warranties.

4. If coolness is a factor in your choice, then yes. Other than the badge, it's substantially overpriced when compared with other offerings.

And it doesn't do everything in one box, for starters it's a 2.3k inverter, so to get close to 5K you'll need at least two. And being a backup system, to add solar it needs additional kit.

 

Thank you for the recommendations........ It sounds like the right mix would be Sunsynk + Hubble + any decent Solar Panels + Decent installer! 😀 

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16 hours ago, PicHopper said:

This has definitely been the steepest learning curve I've had so far! I was asked by the family to help out with a solar/ backup solution. They have been plagued by major outages where they stay due to roadworks closeby. The contractor has damaged the mains feed cable to their complex resulting in at least 5 occurrences of power outages lasting 3-6 days at a time this year (over and above the load shedding we've all experienced.

I now have around 10 quotes to choose from and am really worse off than before.... The information and ideas from this forum have given me a lot of knowledge - thank you all!

Can I please ask for some user feedback on your systems that you've installed, to get an idea of whether there is something to really look for or to stay away from:

  1. Which Inverter brand? - score and rate them for me 1-5 (5 highest = best)
    1. Sunsynk
    2. Victron
    3. Alpha-ESS
    4. FoxBox
    5. Growatt
  2. Battery brands to consider? - score and rate them for me 1-5 (5 highest = best)
    1. Hubble
    2. FreedomWon
    3. Alpha - goes with Alpha-ESS
    4. Growatt
    5. Dyeness
    6. FoxBox (goes with Fox Box)
  3. Are all solar panels the same? Do they all perform the same, or is there some tweak that makes one good or bad?
    1. Canadian Solar
    2. JA Panels
    3. Percium
    4. Vertex
  4. Is the Tesla Powerwall a good option to go for? Its expensive but appears to do everything in one box! Your ideas please?

Thank you very much for guiding a total newbie...........

Cheers!

Put the Luxpower SNA5000 on your list of inverters too. Great value for the buck and has dual MPPT that the Growatt is lacking. Both are in the same price range.

https://shop.thesunpays.co.za/
https://vanvollenhovens.co.za/index.php/en/
https://www.solarwaysuppliers.co.za/
https://www.nextgensolar.co.za/
https://www.powerguru.co.za/

https://www.diygeek.co.za/
https://www.inverter-warehouse.co.za/collections/solar-inverters-1/
 

 

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, PicHopper said:

Battery brands to consider? - score and rate them for me 1-5 (5 highest = best)

  1. Hubble
  2. FreedomWon
  3. Alpha - goes with Alpha-ESS
  4. Growatt
  5. Dyeness
  6. FoxBox (goes with Fox Box)

 

Well check what works with what inverter. Don't assume that Brand Y batteries will work with Brand Z inverter.

Also consider if the battery offers comms to the inverter. This means that there's a cable between the inverter and the BMS and so the BMS can tell the inverter what the state of the batteries is and what they need instead of the inverter making a best guess. Even if the best guess is quite good, data from the inverter will be more accurate.

Which brings us back to Pylontech. Just about any inverter can "talk" to Pylontechs, so those batteries or batteries that use the same protocols can be a good choice for that reason.

Ha! I just made the learning curve steeper. Sorry.
 

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2 hours ago, Bobster said:

Well check what works with what inverter. Don't assume that Brand Y batteries will work with Brand Z inverter.

Also consider if the battery offers comms to the inverter. This means that there's a cable between the inverter and the BMS and so the BMS can tell the inverter what the state of the batteries is and what they need instead of the inverter making a best guess. Even if the best guess is quite good, data from the inverter will be more accurate.

Which brings us back to Pylontech. Just about any inverter can "talk" to Pylontechs, so those batteries or batteries that use the same protocols can be a good choice for that reason.

Ha! I just made the learning curve steeper. Sorry.
 

The learning curve is getting closer to a cliff at the moment!............ 😁
I am very grateful, though for the really important tips that I am getting. I reckon that by this time next week, I'll be a GURU! 

Your comment on communications between inverter and battery is logical and really important. You don't want your inverter assuming that the battery is full if it isn't and also that its not full and tries to charge it - no sure which is worse! Probably the big bang and fireball from the second one.......... (I have a vivid imagination too! )

Many thanks - I will check to see what communications protocols are in place and how they work. Awesome! 

 

 

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On 2022/03/31 at 4:34 PM, PicHopper said:

The contractor has damaged the mains feed cable to their complex resulting in at least 5 occurrences of power outages lasting 3-6 days at a time this year (over and above the load shedding we've all experienced.

The solutions you've discussed may not give your parents uninterrupted feed, and from what I've read in your various posts it might be an idea to point that out to them. Their situation will be markedly improved, but if there's 3 or 4 overcast days that coincide with a long outage then eventually they will run out of power.

You might argue that that is long odds, and I might agree, but it's not impossible. 

So there's a thing to check: If the batteries run out and the system shuts down, will it restart automatically when there's PV? I am guessing that for almost any hybrid inverter (which is what will have to restart), the answer is yes (though not at the first ray of dawn sunlight), but just be sure. Also because you said you wanted a system that would require minimum intervention.

As I said, they will be hugely better off anyway.

The flip side of this argument is that the returns from a solar system are not just the savings on the meter - which can be quantified, but also the reduced interruption to your way of life. For me there is value in knowing that my deep freezes will stay cold, that my garage door keeps on opening, that my alarm systems stay up. I can't put a rands and cents value to this, but it has value.

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@PicHopper

One of the main things to consider to maximise your returns on solar is the moving of your heavy loads, that are not time dependent, so that they only run during the day. 

Easiest way to do this is to change the isolation switches to smart switches so that they can be switched on manually if required but will run on a schedule. 

https://www.builders.co.za/Electrical/Plugs%2C-Sockets-%26-Switches/Smart-Electrical/CBI-ASTUTE-SMART-ISOLATOR/p/000000000000751913  

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  • 1 month later...
On 2022/04/02 at 12:31 PM, Bobster said:

.....
The flip side of this argument is that the returns from a solar system are not just the savings on the meter - which can be quantified, but also the reduced interruption to your way of life. For me there is value in knowing that my deep freezes will stay cold, that my garage door keeps on opening, that my alarm systems stay up. I can't put a rands and cents value to this, but it has value.

I'm in my late 60's and the money I've spent will only pay back when the kids put me into a home (-: You have hit on the key point here, convenience and life goes on.

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