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Cape Town wants residents to ditch Eskom and Go Solar


Jaco De Jongh
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2 minutes ago, DeepBass9 said:

Eskom is completely doomed. 

enter the dark ages of darkest africa - so much for the 'rainbow nation' :huh:, but wait, maybe china is just coming to take over the whole lot.... chinese electricity made in south africa - i'd better get an afternoon nap, this could drive me crazy...

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Today Eskom says there is a high risk of stage 2 load shedding. I'm so used to being off grid and running on solar that while that was being announced, I was looking out of the window and thinking that solar production will be very high today as it is so sunny and clear. Crazy that Eskom still relies on these dinosaur technologies. Surely PV would be just the thing to take up the slack.

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The wind is even blowing today and my wind generator is singing nicely, so even that is merrily making power on a day when there is stage 2 load shedding.

I'm starting the believe this blackmail theory where load shedding occurs when Eskom wants a tariff increase. Does anyone remember the days of 'punitive load shedding'?

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Johan Rupert believes our country is going the wrong way.

Eskom cannot be saved even if all the municipalities pay all their debt to them.

And I won’t shed a tear if (or is it when??) Denel and SAA close down...

A friend of mine who was a senior Eskom engineer is now working overseas - with some fifteen (for now!) of his buddies. So yes, people are leaving the sinking RSA ship.

The guvament is spending money like we are all billionaires.

But the bottomless money pit is very shallow now and the sh$t will hit the fan soon.

The voters will only start making waves when food and fuel are too expensive to buy

Then the politicians will try and bs their way out of it.

Unfortunately solar is not a 24/7 solution for power requirements.

So our future is literally looking dark.....

Edited by Johandup
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1 hour ago, Johandup said:

Eskom cannot be saved even if all the municipalities pay all their debt to them.

The normal solution out of such a thing is to declare insolvency. Everyone takes some losses, everyone is a little pissed off for a while, and then you start clean. It is not that simple in this case though: Government (and therefore the tax payer) is on the hook for this. If Eskom cannot be saved, then it probably follows that the country cannot be saved.

1 hour ago, Johandup said:

And I won’t shed a tear if (or is it when??) Denel and SAA close down...

On the evening news last night, that is when I realised how terrible it's become for SAA. They lost 75% of their business. They were literally forced by their political masters to sit back and give routes to Indian airlines. The technical department... now a shambles. For SAA the right thing to do is shut it down. Well... maybe sell it to another operator and take a share in the venture (BUT LET THE OTHER GUY MANAGE IT for crying out loud), but I agree about SAA: Close it down. It's over.

Denel... well I have family in a related field also involving the manufacturing of arms an they are also offering voluntary packages at the moment to try and downsize on personnel.

That's actually a funny story, funny only in a Schadenfreude sort of way, of how our history is now coming back to bite us. In these companies you have a structure where top management isn't as experienced as the guys just one level down. The guys one level down cannot be promoted for demographic reasons and because there is simply nobody else that has the experience to do the work they do... but having all the experience they know EXACTLY what top management is doing wrong. They cannot however tell them... because of a culture problem.

Culture problems is a problem the world over. In Asian cultures, the respect mandated of your superiors normally means you cannot build quality cars, but the successful manufacturers solved that problem by changing the culture in their plants: Even a junior is allowed (obligated!) to point out mistakes. By changing the culture, car companies build better cars. In South Africa, our culture problem is additionally compounded by our history. The guys with the experience have to keep their mouths shut.

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Nobel prize winner the late Milton Friedman, a very respected economist, said "Nowhere is the gap between rich and poor wider, nowhere are the rich richer and the poor poorer, than in those countries that do not permit the free market to operate." So we in RSA are doomed. Who is there that could be a possible savior and will be allowed to lead the government and institute a free market economy. In this Socialist/Communist country, ably created over several centuries, by the by every government we have had since Van Riebeeck set foot ashore at the Cape. Such a person is not to be found in the ANC, DA or EFF, whose members would not recognise a free market economy from a whole in the ground, or any other political party for that matter.

One small encouraging point of light is the reaction of the Cape Chamber of Commerce to City  of Cape Town and their oppressive regime to discourage renewable energy installations. See https://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/news/chamber-of-commerce-slams-citys-over-the-top-stance-on-solar-panels-18300147. I am reminded of @weber 's reaction,  on another thread on this forum, to Axpert off grid inverters not being included in C of CT's approved list. Yet in Australia, a first world country by any and all standards, there is no problem.

We need much more civil action to oppose the oppressors at any level of government in our country.

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39 minutes ago, AndewJ said:

Will Cape Town give some incentives for solar power?

Depends what you mean. They give you a fifty-something cent rebate per kwh fed in, but you have to remain a netto-consumer, and there is a daily fee... so for most people it simply makes no sense. Alternatively you remain on your current tariff, fit a grid-limiting device, and then you don't have to fit the expensive smart meter.

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My personal take on this saga, as it has been discussed ad infinitum on the other thread, is to not feed back ... yet.

Too expensive. Daily charge and about R9k for the bi-directional meter. Basta that!
My proposal to CoCT is that they waive the meter and daily charges in lieu of one feeding in X amount per year free of charge, for CoCT to use as they see fit, using the grid as a battery.Then we can over oversize and be done with it.

So I say wait for them to sort the Constitution and NERSA, if ever, but go grid tied with no feeding back as the pre-paid meter charges you for that. BUT, have a device that has the option to feed back if the can change the current NERSA rules and Constitutional laws ito selling power.

That there are going to be rules to grid tie, personally I demand that. The grid is OUR national resource, not ones personal toy to play with. State capture of Eskom a prime example of people ignoring that little fact.

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On this topic... anyone has an example application? Eg, am I correct to assume you don't have to fill in Application for a New or Modified Electricity Supply Service form if you're not replacing the prepaid meter? Type of Prime Mover is obviously "Photo voltaic", Type of energy conversion is "Inverter", everything up to the top half of page 4, then it gets interesting. Are these details (MVAr, inertia constant, etc) even applicable to inverters? Seems to me these are all "not applicable" up to lower half of page 5, then there are a few things that make sense and then some weirdness on page 6 again, and then a list of applicable regulations where I suspect only two or three applies.

@The Terrible Triplett, did you apply yet? Anyone?

I'd like to get my application in before year end if possible.

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I'm in much the same position - I started filling in this document a while back and then put it aside after getting part of the way through page 4.

The "Electrical parameters of embedded generation 3" at end of page 4. I put Rated Voltage as 187-265 VAC (from Victron Multigrid-II datasheet). I am guessing that the "Maximum Peak Short circuit current" should be the same as the rating of the MCB on the output of the Inverter (in my case this is 40A). I put N/A for all of the remaining items at the very bottom of Page 4 .

The "Protection Details section (Page 5)". 

  • Method of synchronising: - I was considering entering something like "Automatic - internal electronic synchronisation. Inverter on NRS 097-2-1 approved list.
  • Method of anti-islanding: "Double anti-islanding relay protection. Inverter on NRS 097-2-1 approved list."
  •  I have put N/A for the remaining 3 items on page 6.

I am also unsure of how to fill in the "List of regulatory approvals, requirements and normative references". If one ticks something that is not applicable, will they ask to you to prove compliance? If you do not tick a required box, will they then reject your application? Tricky, tricky...!

 

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Just now, Jaco de Jongh said:

please tell me I wont need one

Relax.... :-)

I was quoting the general requirement that some sort of grid limiting device/feature must be installed, and in almost all cases this takes the form of a modbus power meter installed where the supply enters the premises (eg Fronius with a smart meter). The Multi can however use its own internal AC sensor to do this, so you don't need an additional power meter. The only time you need a grid meter is when you have loads on the input side that you want to feed (ie, not all your loads are on the output). And this is where the second output comes in... those are dropped when the grid comes down, but are still sensed by the sensor on the input side and can benefit from ESS/Assist technologies.

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5 minutes ago, plonkster said:

... did you apply yet?

So let me put it on record, as it has been alluded that I have done it all illegally, me pushing so hard for legal grid connections all these years, that my "cheap install" ... which WAS OFF-GRID (no rules) yet with all the protections in place ... and mounted in such a way that was unacceptable to the connoisseur installer - it WAS for MY convenience and it kept the controllers and inverter quite cool - that WINDOW mount. I miss that.

Early October I sent it all in after Sparkie and I filled the form in during Sept, with the final DB board test not done.
Contacted them a few times, all emails got lost. 
End of Nov I contacted a connection given to me by Erastus and walla, application was picked up, I now have my number.
They are checking why the mails got misplaced.

In all this time, whilst waiting on them to check what they need to check:
1) MG was Sparky installed and connected to main DB with its own DB for Ac-Out1 feeds, after shuffling the DB board a tiny bit to fir the breaker for the MG and Carlo.
2) New 2.1kw array has been professionally mounted last week by a professional installer, using the right panel wires and array is now earthed. It is a must.
3) New solar DB board, pos and neg fuses on the wires, double pole NoArk breaker and a manual disconnect  in case of lightning, if someone is around.

Once the new ABB breaker arrives and the tripping problem is gone, then the house DB board tests can commence as per the form.
Did not want to do that before, as it is a rather big test, but this is scheduled for Dec 2018 come hell or high water. Then I can have my CoC.

Then the Engineer can come and give his report, on the DC side, as soon as he can. Now on 2.1kw ... so wot, R2500 I hope.

If CoCT takes a while, all the papers will be in hand hopefully by end of Dec, middle Jan ... insurance and all that.
And if they say no for whatever reason, I go off-grid. Have a plan how to do that, by splitting the main DB board, which is going to cost a lot!

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6 minutes ago, plonkster said:

... those are dropped when the grid comes down

The Carlo works like a dream ... had two power failure already. Only knew about them when the MG DB baord tripped ... best the ABB breaker arrives - 6 Dec they said stock will arrive. :-) 

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10 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

Then I hope Quattro can as well?

Rule of thumb... when we speak of a Multi we mean all the derivatives as well, so that includes the Quattro and the Multigrid and the new Multiplus-II. It excludes the inverter-only Phoenix models. The Quattro is a step up from the Multi... :-)

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17 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Sparkie and I filled the form in during Sept

So be a dear, scan them in and blur the sensitive info... and upload it somewhere as an example? I just want to get the application in for now. I doubt my sparkie will be able to answer all those questions... he's just a regular AC guy, good at what he does, but it pretty much ends this side of the prepaid meter :-)

Edit: Basically I need to know if I need to hire someone with an earth loop tester to conduct all those tests... surely for a small 3.5kva on a TN-S earthed setup some of that stuff is just not necessary :-)

Edited by plonkster
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6 minutes ago, plonkster said:

... and upload it somewhere as an example?

You have mail ... :-)
Obviously it is confidential - I trust you.

Apparently they must check the transformer / other plans in the area / applications for the area, all done behind the scenes, when they get ones form.

Checks done, and all is go, then one gets the go-ahead to install.

But with the form, you are not allowed to install shiite until you have completed the paperwork and been given the go-ahead.
You cannot get a CoC if you don't have the equipment installed.
Cannot get the engineer in as you have no panels on yet.

So I though, all is in already, here you go ... and see where the cookie crumbles. :-) 

But as I said, with or without them, I'm gonna get the tests done, CoC and Engineers report in hand in any case, for my records / insurance purposes.

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