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DB split to use solar/battery for plugs and lights


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Hi Guys,

I am now fairly happy with my system, although it's seen on here as cheap, (READ: I am paying school fees)  it seems to work well :), at least got descent panels it seems.

I now want to wire this into my DB, and split the line in from Eskom, so that I power the plugs and lights from the inverter/solar/battery.

I have all the power hungry bits on gas already. Don't even own a electric kettle. :)

I don't want to do this part DIY.

Can you direct me to someone willing and qualified that can do this part for me?

 

Cheers

 

 

 

Edited by Langman
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi there.

I am also new to this, so please forgive if I ask questions that have already been answered.

I want to do something similar to what Langman is doing. I want to install solar power initially to power only my home lighting, and so start using less and less grid power. The idea is to have a modular system that I can can upgrade over time. I have already changed all of my lights to LED's, we have a gas stove and gas geysers, but still have a few other hungry items (such as swimming pool pump and pool inverter etc). So my questions are as follows:

1) Is it legal/allowed to have both grid and solar power "operate" through the same db simultaneously (I'm in Potch in North West)?

2) If I want to go modular, what suggestions can you give, in terms of types/sizes etc of panels, batteries, controllers to start off with?

3) I am thinking of going pure sine wave inverter. Comments and ideas?

Thanks

Mike

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@MikeB

22 minutes ago, MikeB said:

1) Is it legal/allowed to have both grid and solar power "operate" through the same db simultaneously

For running the risk of having the same discussion here again :)

Have a look at this thread a long read but plenty of opinions on it 

https://powerforum.co.za/topic/1938-i-feel-this-is-unconstitutional-whats-your-thoughts/

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43 minutes ago, MikeB said:

1) Is it legal/allowed to have both grid and solar power "operate" through the same db simultaneously (I'm in Potch in North West)?

Even if it is, which I suspect would come with lots of gotchas, I would split it. You can put a surface mount next to the existing one so that it is easy to pull the wires across. For example, this is what my sparky did for mine:

db.thumb.jpg.825f95227789b01a14424631d6ef3de5.jpg

45 minutes ago, MikeB said:

3) I am thinking of going pure sine wave inverter. Comments and ideas?

There was a time we debated Pure Sine Wave vs "modified" sine wave (which is really square wave), but that was always with the proviso that the sine wave one was two or three times more expensive. This is no longer the case, so the question is WHICH sine wave inverter. That too, is beaten to death twice a week. At the moment there is some sensitivity around the grid tie regulations, one of the popular inverters on this forum is currently somewhat in question.

47 minutes ago, MikeB said:

have a modular system that I can can upgrade over time

I had the same idea in 2013. The only really modular system to this day is a micro-inverter system (small grid tied units under each panel), and I don't think any of those are legal either, and none of them have a limiting mechanism to avoid grid feed-in. Some models can be put in parallel, and that allows some modularity, but everyone's favourite (The Voltronic Axpert) starts with a 5kva model so you're already in the big leagues with just one unit. Batteries were never really extendable (not with lead acid), and now with LFP you still start with at least a 2kwh block that sets you back 15k.

I bought a small Victron Multiplus, with the idea of buying another one later and putting them in parallel. But that inverter turned out to be a hybrid and worked so well with the grid that I never did it.

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Another cheap solution is to go grid tied, with the smaller Solis inverters.

Am waiting for confirmation that I can take 2 x small ones, one per array, both connected to the same DB, being cheaper than 1 x Dual 2.5kw model.

Put another way, starts with one, say 1kw model, see how it goes.
Later get some more panels and another small one to fit the new panels.
If one likes that, it works well, some more funds come in, make the 1 small array then face west, the other east, and add larger one for midday use.

 

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4 hours ago, MikeB said:

Hi there.

I am also new to this, so please forgive if I ask questions that have already been answered.

I want to do something similar to what Langman is doing. I want to install solar power initially to power only my home lighting, and so start using less and less grid power. The idea is to have a modular system that I can can upgrade over time. I have already changed all of my lights to LED's, we have a gas stove and gas geysers, but still have a few other hungry items (such as swimming pool pump and pool inverter etc). So my questions are as follows:

1) Is it legal/allowed to have both grid and solar power "operate" through the same db simultaneously (I'm in Potch in North West)?

2) If I want to go modular, what suggestions can you give, in terms of types/sizes etc of panels, batteries, controllers to start off with?

3) I am thinking of going pure sine wave inverter. Comments and ideas?

Thanks

Mike

Welcome to the world of solar energy and freedom ;)

1) Yes, as long as the main circuit and solar few circuit is clearly split and marked properly. 

2) You're going to get a boat lof of opinions on this, but to keep it simply: Decide what you need as a minimum, and scale up to at least the next step. i.e. if you know you only need 1Kw now, chances are you'll need 2Kw in future. Chances are you would likely need 4Kw, depending on the pool / dishwasher / washing machine / etc. In terms of solar panels, they're dirt cheap, so scale up by at least 20%-30% to cater for winter loads and cloudy days. Batteries are the holy grail of solar energy. If you can afford it, go Lithium, and again, scale up a bit more than you thought you needed, for those rainy and cloudy days. 

3) Yes, anything bigger than 2Kw'ish is pure sine wave in anycase. But, for simplicity's sake, and if you're on a budget, LED lights and modern TV's run fine on modified / square sinewave inverters, but motors (fridge / dishwasher / pump / etc) often don't like it. And many cheaper power supplies in TV's, sound systems, computers, etc, sometimes also don't like it. 

 

Which brand to take? This will depend on your budget, but here's some pointers. Make sure it's on the Cape Town approved inverter list (thought it would likely changes after February 2019). My first choice would be grid tied, even if you don't want to / can't feed back to the grid, it works better than an off-grid inverter 

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1 hour ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Am waiting for confirmation that I can take 2 x small ones, one per array, both connected to the same DB, being cheaper than 1 x Dual 2.5kw model.

Once you get it, I really want to poke around in its modbus innards. I want to know if it supports sunspec and what models it implements.

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1 hour ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Another cheap solution is to go grid tied, with the smaller Solis inverters.

Am waiting for confirmation that I can take 2 x small ones, one per array, both connected to the same DB, being cheaper than 1 x Dual 2.5kw model.

Put another way, starts with one, say 1kw model, see how it goes.
Later get some more panels and another small one to fit the new panels.
If one likes that, it works well, some more funds come in, make the 1 small array then face west, the other east, and add larger one for midday use.

 

Onthou, "goedkoop koop is duur koop". The solis doesn't have battery backup, so when the grid fails (i.e. loadshedding), so does your mini grid. 

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1 hour ago, SilverNodashi said:

Onthou, "goedkoop koop is duur koop". The solis doesn't have battery backup, so when the grid fails (i.e. loadshedding), so does your mini grid. 

I'm hoping that it has sufficient sunspec support or at least frequency shift support so they can be tied to the output of a Multi. Then you have an upgrade path: You can add battery storage later. Solis is a member of the sunspec alliance. The only issue (or perhaps advantage, depending on how you look at it) with sunspec is that you don't have to implement the whole stack. You can implement only the bare basics (which is what SolarEdge does), and that closes some doors. What I want is model 123. Model 123 has a field called WMaxPct, a percentage value of the maximum power, which allows implementing a grid limiter (SolarEdge uses its own implementation with a wattnode meter).

 

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1 hour ago, SilverNodashi said:

Onthou, "goedkoop koop is duur koop". The solis doesn't have battery backup, so when the grid fails (i.e. loadshedding), so does your mini grid. 

Bleh ... have you seen the specs at the price. It kicks a Axpert to the side faster than you can blink. :D

Powerfailures ... what is that. Have not had one in yonks. Bring it on!

As I do have a UPS, I really do, a Victron UPS ... it stays. :P

No seriously.
On "The List" with no expiry date - TICK!
Price - tick
5 year warranty - tick - can buy 10 or even 20 years
Manufacturer has all the paperwork on website - tick
Manufacturer produces readable English manuals - tick
Can get to the data - tick - via Wifi or data box you can buy extra - and it is cheap.
Segen Solar the SA importer with backup - tick
Member of the Sunspec alliance - tick - and I got Plonkster interest. ;-)

What more can I ask for?
One more thing (evil grin): Have emailed the manufacturer asking a question, let see if they reply. http://www.ginlong.com/

So apples for apples, on par with my experiences coming from a much more expensive product, after having briefly dipped in the quest for information, into the other brand here on the site.

What Axpert did for bringing Vitron prices down, Solis may do for grid tied inverters. 

O ... you do get one with battery backup: http://www.ginlong.com/en/Energy_Storage.html

Ps. And if @plonkster can see the insides, and it can be made as he wishes for, then that opens a whole new door for Victron.
Plonk - I'll be the test site. Book a Multigrid / Multiplus so long for the testing. :D

Edited by Guest
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9 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

Onthou, "goedkoop koop is duur koop". The solis doesn't have battery backup, so when the grid fails (i.e. loadshedding), so does your mini grid. 

They do have this unit http://www.ginlong.com/en/Energy_Storage.html
Just not sure if it's here in SA yet

Edited by viper_za
changed URL to same as TTT
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7 minutes ago, viper_za said:

They do have this unit http://www.solisinverters.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=81&Itemid=28
Just not sure if it's here in SA yet

I'm in contact with the local Solis supplier, I will ask.

 

ps... that url failed, Bad Gateway

Edited by Antony
just an update on previous post
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54 minutes ago, Antony said:

I'm in contact with the local Solis supplier, I will ask.

SegenSolar does not have them yet.

Will wait for it to appear on The List.

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1 hour ago, viper_za said:

Just not sure if it's here in SA yet

Early next year SegenSolar will bring them in if it is on the list.

They too are watching The List. 

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54 minutes ago, SilverNodashi said:

I will take the Goodwe over the Solis any day. 

I will take a Victron over a Axpert any day. :D

Ok, seriously, why Goodwe over Solis?

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