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New member - very interested in off-grid


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Hi all, 

Wow so much information here, but for me who is uneducated in this field, hope you don't mind all the questions (even the stupid ones) 

I would like to gradually install a Off-grid system to carry us through Load-shedding and even longer periods if need at a later stage. 

Will a Victron 3kva easysolar and batteries be a good start? Or am I aiming for something too expensive? 

I have a 9kva generator as backup. 

Would like to run all my power outlets and lights when loadshedding is upon us. 

Lots of led down lights, quite a few led flood lights outside, 4 fridges, 3 freezers, 5 led TV etc

Aircons, geysers, and rest like kettle, tumble dryer, ice maker and stove won't be used. 

Hope all this makes sense. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Peyper said:

Would you recommend the 5kva Easysolar

That'a a nice all-in-one unit which saves a bit on cabling and mounting space. Most of the guys who use Victron prefer a separate MPPT from the inverter, in-case either breaks the other still works.  This doesn't happen that often though. In fact, a lot of people on the forum use Axpert hybrid inverters which also has an MPPT built-in. 

Keep in mind that the Easysolar is not listed on Cape Town's list of approved inverters

At some point in time the whole country might be forced to register their solar systems and that list will probably be the defacto standard. So if you're new to the game and haven't brought anything yet, it might be worth-it to get one of the inverters on the list. There's no Victron 5KVa on the list yet. The InfiniSolar E 5.5kW is though. 

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1 minute ago, SilverNodashi said:

There's no Victron 5KVa on the list yet

The Multiplus II 5KVA is in stock and since it is the big brother of the 3KVA (that is approved) it is most likely only a matter of time before the 5KVA is also approved. Can't say when though.

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Thanks guys will keep that in mind. 

Let's say I do go for the Victron 5kva or Infinisolar 5kw

How many batteries would one look at to start with, or shall I ask how much will it cost? 😂 

Panels can come at a later stage I guess. 

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6 minutes ago, Peyper said:

How many batteries would one look at to start with, or shall I ask how much will it cost? 😂 

How long is a piece of string? 🙂

Depends entirely on the loads and how long you want backup for. But generally you're talking somewhere between 20k and 100k for a good battery bank, again depending on how much storage you need.

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17 minutes ago, plonkster said:

How long is a piece of string? 🙂

Depends entirely on the loads and how long you want backup for. But generally you're talking somewhere between 20k and 100k for a good battery bank, again depending on how much storage you need.

Roger, copy that! Eish die Eksdom kos mens net geld 😣

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31 minutes ago, plonkster said:

How long is a piece of string? 🙂

Depends entirely on the loads and how long you want backup for. But generally you're talking somewhere between 20k and 100k for a good battery bank, again depending on how much storage you need.

R20K is on the lower scale. 

 

@Peyper Look at what you need to run off batteries at night. Take only the essentials in mind. Add up the Watts. The golden rule is that every Watt cost money to run. Try and keep this as low as possible but don't sacrifice too much. i.e. don't switch off the fridge, it's not worth the rotten food. Now once you get to a figure multiply it by 19 for good measure. We basically have 5 good sun hours to use. In summer it's a bit less. Now add 20% to it and you have a Kwh figure. 

Now, as an example, the Pylontech 2.4Kwh battery has 2.4Kwh to use, which equates to 126W/hour over a 19 hour period. This will give you an idea where to start.  Chances are you want to be in the 400Whr range which means a Pylontech 7.2Kwh to Pylontech 9.6Kwh battery bank. OR something similar. 

You can start off with a small solar array and add more panels later if needed. But with batteries you should preferably get as big as you need + can afford right now. With Pylontech or similar Lithium batteries, you can add more later but bear in mind that the older ones would have fewer cycles left so the whole stack won't have as many cycles as the newest battery. 

In layman's terms, if your new battery bank has 4000 cycles now and you add two more batteries 5 years from now, the old batteries will have 1825 cycles less than the new batteries. 

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2 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

R20K is on the lower scale. 

Oh absolutely. You can go lower than that (though I would  not recommend it). You can buy 4 x 12V 200Ah high cycle jobbies from your local camping place, and you'd probably get away 10k-15k, but then you only have around 4kwh storage. Now if you only want to get through a load-shedding slot, then maybe this is fine... just remember that with three slots a day (as now), even if you treat them very nicely otherwise, they are going to be dead in 6-9 months.

2 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

don't switch off the fridge

I keep mine on as well. If you've opened it three times, it's no longer at 4°C. At around 7°C milk degradation already accelerates. The Freezer you can switch off. Nothing is going to happen to solidly frozen food in two hours. In fact, as an example, I frequently load solidly frozen meat into a car (in a box, packet with some newspaper and a blanket over it), and drive 15-18 hours from Namibia to my home in the Western Cape, and when I get home the top layer might have gone slightly soft... everything below it still solidly frozen.

On my very first system I didn't even have the lights on backup. I had only selected plugs on it. We used floor- and bed lamps in the various rooms. The reason for this was because version 1's job was to keep the computers running... cause those paid the bills.

2 hours ago, Peyper said:

Roger, copy that! Eish die Eksdom kos mens net geld 😣

Got to quote at least one item from you.... 🙂

So I have around 7kwh storage and I never use more than half of it. I need around 20% to get through a load-shedding slot. For the next 4 days I have one such slot at 8pm and another one at 4AM. The 4AM one is really lean, needs maby 200W or so, so I need around 30% to get through the night. Then the sun is up again and we run basically from the sun.

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