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And so my solar journey starts........

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Hello Everyone,

I’ve been lurking in the shadows for some time and the amount of information on this forums is incredible. It is however time for me to come out of stealth mode/uncloak. First things first, I’m a total newbie with all things Solar. I probably know just enough to be considered dangerous. I say dangerous because of some of my wants/needs and must haves. I have been given the all clear by the wifey to spend our hard earned money. The aim is to build a load shedding, Eskom kicking, electricity bill reducing system to my liking. 

The only catch as per my wife, the system must just work. She loves her dishwasher, washing machine, aircon and GHD hair straighteners (not all at the same time). She is not going to alter her habits due to my system designs. No amount of pleading on my part is going to convince my very strong-willed South African woman to change her ways.  

I’m what one would consider a DIY enthusiast and it’s against this backdrop that I decided to build my own solar system. Being based in Cape Town I suspect that at some point during this journey I will need assistance from the greater Solar community. I’m also under no illusions that I will have to pay consultancy fees to companies and individuals not if but when my talent runs out. Whilst being in an open and honest mind-set, I had my mind set on going SMA wall to wall. I tend to like the finer things in life (technology, cars, DJ gear, photography gear, electronic tools) this is often to my own detriment. All is not lost for me as this forum is the sole reason I’m now considering going Blue instead. I like the sense of community that this brand seem to have in South Africa and more specifically on this forum.

I want to speak a couple of commitments from my side into reality:

  • All feedback, comments positive or negative will be taken into account. 
  • I intend to learn from those who have gone before me. 
  • I intend to give back / pay it forward on this forum.
  • In time my household will change their relationship with power and thus embrace a more green existence.
  • I will document my solar journey extensively.(think photos here 😉 I will try to restrain my go big or go home modus operandi (key word “TRY” )

 Design choices:

  • Don’t want to push electricity back to the grid. 
  • Want to make use of LiFePO batteries straight away. 
  • Inverter must be able to take a generator input. (I have a 7kVA pure sinewave genie) If Eskom is up the creek and there is no sun then I want ability to recharge my batteries. 
  • If I have excess energy then I will use home automation to use it via Arduino (IFTTT) – (pool pump, electric geyser) 
  • Want to use good quality solar panels from the start. 
  • I have a 60Amp circuit coming into my house, my intention is/was to build a large PV system. (see satellite photo of roof) What are my options – can I request CoCT to upgrade me to a 80Amp circuit so I can run a bigger inverter? Should I rather run 2x smaller inverters to ensure that I can get legal signoff?
  • I don't want to spend all my time doing analysis on power consumption, I suspect this is ill advised but my take is to build a system and use what I have then supplement my shortfall with the grid for now. 

 Exciting times ahead, I feel quite liberated having finally declared my intention…instead of just lurking on the forum.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Welcome @Herschel best place to gather info and advise

IMO Victron Quattro (Quattro doesn't have NRS097 compliance) or Multiplus ii NRS097 compliant x 2 will do and has what you need to run genie (https://www.victronenergy.com/inverters-chargers/quattro)

It is all modular so you can expand,change as your needs change

Edited by Quat Allah As Shams
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