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N00b - getting ready for home installation


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Hi,

having watched how well our office has been working for the last two years with a solar installation, we've bitten the bullet and started purchasing components for our home installation.

Monthly consumption for a house of 3 is about 400kWh, resistive geyser, gas stove. Roof is well insulated.

We've order the following:

  • Sunsynk 8kW inverter
  • Sunsunk 5.32kWh battery
  • 12 x JA 460W panels

All the bits and pieces should arrive by the middle of June.

One question - I want to be able to heat the geyser while the sun shines (5.5kWp should charge the battery pretty quickly) - is it preferable to use the auxiliary output on the inverter, or put it on the main inverter supply and use a timer (I have a CBI Astute) to switch it on? We use most of our hot water in the evening so I'm hoping to cut our mains use for the geyser to practically 0.

the plan is to monitor the system for a few months and then decide whether more panels or more batteries are the most important first upgrade

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1 hour ago, Peter le Roux said:

Hi,

having watched how well our office has been working for the last two years with a solar installation, we've bitten the bullet and started purchasing components for our home installation.

Monthly consumption for a house of 3 is about 400kWh, resistive geyser, gas stove. Roof is well insulated.

We've order the following:

  • Sunsynk 8kW inverter
  • Sunsunk 5.32kWh battery
  • 12 x JA 460W panels

All the bits and pieces should arrive by the middle of June.

One question - I want to be able to heat the geyser while the sun shines (5.5kWp should charge the battery pretty quickly) - is it preferable to use the auxiliary output on the inverter, or put it on the main inverter supply and use a timer (I have a CBI Astute) to switch it on? We use most of our hot water in the evening so I'm hoping to cut our mains use for the geyser to practically 0.

the plan is to monitor the system for a few months and then decide whether more panels or more batteries are the most important first upgrade

Your monthly consumption is fairly low. I suspect you'll find that batteries will be needed first, while you already have arguably too many panels.

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You seem to have a low usage, so put everything on essential, and like you suggested, use a CBI Astute to control the geyser with its timer and real-time control on the app.

Welcome to the forum, and hope you enjoy your new power system. :)

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@Peter le Roux having a similar setup, you would want another battery. With current load shedding, I found that a single battery is not giving me any headroom to use battery power outside of load shedding blocks.

I experimented in my second week with setting up my inverter to use battery power and I saw a massive saving in Eskom power used, but I also nearly depleted the battery when a four-hour load shedding hit me during the early evening on an overcast day. I then restored the settings to not use the battery outside of load-shedding.

My electricity usage is only down from 700 units to 500 units. My wife's happiness is up from 0 to 10 so worth it :) 

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19 minutes ago, cbrunsdon said:

@Peter le Roux having a similar setup, you would want another battery. With current load shedding, I found that a single battery is not giving me any headroom to use battery power outside of load shedding blocks.

I experimented in my second week with setting up my inverter to use battery power and I saw a massive saving in Eskom power used, but I also nearly depleted the battery when a four-hour load shedding hit me during the early evening on an overcast day. I then restored the settings to not use the battery outside of load-shedding.

My electricity usage is only down from 700 units to 500 units. My wife's happiness is up from 0 to 10 so worth it :) 

more peace at home, i take it, you doubled to 10kw, i am considering 7.5 or 8kwh

Edited by Magetsi
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Here is my experience and lessons learnt through my journey thus far.

I will say first where I want to end up as an end goal, and then the route I took, thus far in getting there.

End goal:

1. 6000w solar solution (Bar off course gloomy days), but having on a reasonable day be able to draw 3000w from solar.

2. Inverter that can match at least 4kw drawn at any given time, but be able to go lightly higher when required, but not more than 6kw.

3. Batteries that can sustain my house for at least two days without any grid or solar coming in.

 

Journey:

Step 1 was just to cover me for loadshedding, so I got 100ah 48V system, inverter, 8kva 6000W, and gel batteries, these did what I initially wanted, but the gel was a bad call, unfortunately, budget didnt allow for LSP straight off the bat, so I was okay with that.

Next was Solar, but once again budget was an issue and here my biggest lesson, I went with lesser panels, full power, rather than better panels half power, with expansion later. If I could do it over again I would have gotten top notch panels with output only 3kw rather than lesser panels 5kw, cause now the panels are absolutely crap. With my initial budget I could have easily gotten 5 panels of the best money could buy, water under the bridge now. Lesson learnt, I wanted it all and got nothing. So rather look at your budget and get the proper stuff even if it means less of it, for now, you can add later and never feel sorry. Also going with the proper stuff means you will find it later in order to expand.

I recently swopped the gel out for 5kw LSP, great change, fortunately the gel initiatially wasnt that expensive, 6k wasted but not totally and I will explain in a bit.

Next step on the right path:

1. Get another battery, pushing the backup up to 10kw - Half way

2. Swop out the panels for the right ones - Following the above approach - This time doing it right, if I dont have enough for 10 panels dont get 10, get 8, and add two more later, but for heaven sake dont get 10 lesser brand, this donkey wont stump its toe again

3. Add two more batteries and add panels if #2 above wasnt the full requirement met

4. Done

In Rand this is where I am at:

1. Inverter and original Gel battery solution - R17k

2. Solar panels - R 25k

3. New LSP - R 24k

4. Installations etc - R 5k

 

What is left:

1. New Solar - R45k

2. Added Batteries - R 72k

 

Ending up with 6000w Solar, 8kva 6000W inverter, and 21kw battery backup

Total cost for final solution:

12k + 96k + 45k + 5k = 158k

 

Now what I am doing with my current solar and gel batteries?

I have an external DB that feeds the outside of my house, Gates, Swimming pool and external lights. Max draw 800w, with pump running. Im going to get a small 1000w inverter and add this 1kw inverter to it. It already has the AC feed from internal DB, so this will feed into the new inverter, on that I will mount the old solar to my car port roof and then use my old gels as the battery backup (all these will do is keep the gates active and outside lights in time of loadshedding, well lights (10w) and the gates never work during the night anyway, so this way at least I utilize the old "mistakes", and also take some load away from my internal solution.

The other option is to maybe just give it to the church or such, as a good deed.

In a nutshell:

Dont go with less than what your end goal is, and if you dont have the funds, rather wait, but dont go with less and be sorry later.

 

Edited by Eurard
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8 hours ago, Eurard said:

Also going with the proper stuff means you will find it later in order to expand.

Just be careful with panels, what you get today, you will not get tomorrow. Panels are changing all the time with new spec panels coming out almost every day. You will be lucky to get the same panels in 6 months, never mind 2 years or longer down the line.

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9 hours ago, Eurard said:

 

In a nutshell:

Dont go with less than what your end goal is, and if you dont have the funds, rather wait, but dont go with less and be sorry later.

 

In the current climate a journey might end up in frustration. 

Just look around and see how many households are still hoping for things to improve after 15yrs of LS. 

Once we get to stage 8 on a regular basis I see a lot more scrambling to get inverters, panels and batteries. 

Just do it now than to wait until you can get the heart of your end state. 

In order to get a good working scalable system does not mean you have to always be in fashion. Older panels of the needed rating can work just as well. Yes you might need more. 

A friend mentioned the other day that below 455W panels are not in fashion. I just keep quiet with my 270W panels performing very well for my needs although some are 4 yrs old. 

I can go and get similar panels in stock at sellers. Not in fashion 🤔🤔

Edited by Scorp007
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On 2023/05/16 at 10:42 AM, Magetsi said:

more peace at home, i take it, you doubled to 10kw, i am considering 7.5 or 8kwh


Once the budget allows, going 10kw (5,4KW peak delivery) - shortage of Dyness BX51100 is resulting in price gouging now. Do have a generator that I will tie into the inverter until then.

The hardest part is knowing upfront how much you need and I was off quiet a bit.

Today is clear but freezing in Somerset West. The green line is the rough current output of my system for that time. Only got solar power from 9:30 am as it is cold today. A second battery might not have protected me against the morning spike but that was just my house being lazy with kettles, coffee machine and instant pot. Thank goodness no load shedding till this evening.
image.thumb.png.e29ec0898d3a2fe560cb52fd467b507f.png

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