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My planned PV System


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Hi Guys


I got directed to the forum by Mike. So I will start my thread here as I'm on the mission to get a PV system up.


My house currently has solar panel on the roof for heating the pool as well a vacuum tube solar hot water system with a geyser wise controller. 


Solar hot water:

The geyser sits inside and has a circulation pump which switches on when the tube temp is 7 deg higher that the geyser temp.

Currently in summer it's not needed to switch the geyser on at all, except for when we get guests... but for now all is good. I might consider enlarging the tube array towards the winter to get a bit more from the sun.


Pool system:

The pool has a standard four panel pool heater system on the roof, the ones with the dozens of small pipes and uses the pool pump for circulation. 

This is porbably not really energy saving as I wouldn't have had an electric pool heater anyway, but still it's a nice to have to prolong the swimming months/days...


Planned PV system:

My plan is to run a grid-tied zero export setup in order to skip the pathetic SSEG tariffs that CITY propose...


As always finances is a bit of a problem only having R50k cash to start off with at the moment, it does however increase month after month. I can however steal a bit additional funding from the bond if needed...


The choice of inverter is a tough one as there's a great variety on the market, and the big problem is that I always had a weak point for quality products with great features even if they don't alway make sense financially...

That weak point is driving me towards a SMA sunny boy 5000TL 21 inverter. Although not cheap it doesn't look like a bad product. With the option of the external energy meter and a home manager system zero export will be one of many funtions possible. Although I might purchase the inverter locally for warrantee issues with SMA SA the other parts I will most likely source straight from Europe.


My plan is to start off with 1.5 - 2 kw of panels and then grow it to about 4 kw over the next 2 years. 


My roof is a sloped (I think 30 - 35 deg) rile rood facing north or almost, and has some space left for the PV panels. 


The next tough choice is what brand and size of panels to use... (please help or make suggestions)


I'm open to any suggestions on the setup and will appreciate any feedback.



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I also purchased a Current Cost Envir monitor to start with reducing my running electricity before even installing PV. 


I am however hugely disappointed in the data and software of the product. It's only my own fault not researching the probuct good enough and will use it for what it's worth.

I does a lot at least to make you aware of energy use and it sense and for the future to make the kids aware aswell it's probably worth it if you compare it to the costs of other monitoring systems.


If anyone is interested in the data that comes from the monitor then I'll post the txt file with the data in. 


You can get this monitor from a company in the waterfront with south african currency symbol on.


My one downfall with energy usage is the fact that there is 3 fridges/freezers running which together with the pool pump chows energy during summer months... on fridge/freezer will be switched of soon after the meat in the freezer is all consumed... Then it's only the chest freezer filled with karoo beef and the normal fridge/freezer that will have to run.


On my list to do before installing PV is to change all the remaining high energy bulbs to energy savers or LED. 

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Will do.


I found out this morning that it will be cheaper for me to fly to germany or the UK, buy my inverter and accessories there and fly back. after everything(including flight tickets) I will still save R5 000 - R12 000...

Quite ridiculous what we pay here for products. 

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Will do.


I found out this morning that it will be cheaper for me to fly to germany or the UK, buy my inverter and accessories there and fly back. after everything(including flight tickets) I will still save R5 000 - R12 000...

Quite ridiculous what we pay here for products. 

i cannot agree with you enough. i got quoted on goods here   3 x the price, so i went and got prices overseas.... they were great, then came airfreight, and that killed it

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Apparently SMA will soon be registered in order to sell directly to the public without the need for 2 - 4 middle mans... but then again they will probably ask the suggested retail price... With the financial trouble SMA is in they will not give anything away for free, but I guess at the same time they will want to get more competitive price wise with the rest of the industry so who knows...


Wonder why SMA can't put some inverters on Kalahari or bidorbuy or something at affordable low prices... In germany I can get a 5000TL 21 for  1 140 EUROS and here I have to pay R35 000 +... where is all that money going between the reseller in Germany and the reseller here??? Added that's not even from SMA that's from a reseller so there's allready a middle man... ;-(

In SA I can't even get a quote on a SMA inverter in a weeks time except from sustainalbe.co.za who has got the prices online... Sounds like a free trip to Europe coming up for a weekend... everything I want should fit into a normal bag with some over weight baggage fees... :D


Sometimes I really do realize that we live in a 3rd world country... still an amazing country, just a bit frustrating every now and then...



Any suggestions on panels that I can use that's good panels at reasonable prices??

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@Willem, if you like cost and features, please have a look at the MLT Powerstar.

With it's integrated remote monitoring system, 2 x AC inputs and 2 x AC outputs it is a clear winner for me.

Also locally made!!!


Next would be MicoCare, also local, but they still a bit lacking in remote monitoring software.

Lastly, Victron. Looking at them they seem very simple, but once you start programming them with software, it gets way better. Problem here is cost and then extra added cost for remote monitoring.


Yes, it is possable to import directly from overseas, but who carries the warrently and support for you then? If you happy to accept the risk then by al means, go for it.


For myself I planned big first, then divided it up in smaller chunks. Working on the smaller chunks now.

My first step was to run the pool pump directly from solar.

Now I can expand as money become available or I have the time.


Good luck!!!

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Thanks Wetkit


I'm busy checking out MLT now, looks like they supply SMA as well also at reasonable prices compared to sustainable.co.za which was the only site that I could find prices on for SMA in SA...

If I can get it for the prices or around the prices in MLTs price list then I'll buy it locally if I decide to go with SMA at all. You always have risk when importing yourself so you'll have to decide if the risk is worth the money you're saving...


At some point I need to also realize that although nice features will be nice, the probability is high that after a while you will set it and leave it and then you paid a lot for features that was nice to play with in the beginning but doesn't get used later on... 

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