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Installer - Southern Peninsula


Ian
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Hey All

I'm looking for an installer to supply a 3-phase GT inverter, sort out the SSEG application and commission the GT system. In Noordhoek. 3kW of panels are already in place.

Any suggestions?

Cheers

Ian

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  • 7 months later...

Thought I'd resurrect this topic, for the sake of tying up loose ends:)

Firs off, thanks for the help.  I spoke to a few suppliers, but the SSEG route was economically unfeasible, due to the high upfront admin costs. So I looked around for a GT-limited solution, and was offered a 4kW Zeversolar 3-ph inverter, with a limiter and meter, at a good price and more importantly, zero cost if it didn't interface correctly with my 3-ph Prepaid meter. 

I dd the install mid August, and am happy to report that the system is working perfectly, having produced 850kWh to date. I had to set reconfigure some timers on the geyser and irrigation to optimise my general load for daytime, and max out the solar usage.  Saving me ~R750pm on my electricity bill.

Cheers

Ian

Solar.jpg

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I've also noticed that - fortunately the PP meter doesn't seem to complain, although I presume the generation is seen as consumption. It's also tricky as I have 3ph, so some of the phases might be net load, while another is net generative, depending on the situation.

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16 hours ago, Ian said:

SSEG route was economically unfeasible,

I'm curious, how did you come to this conclusion? I am inclined to agree, so I'm not arguing against you. Would just like to see the reasoning as I am myself considering SSEG at some point.

My reasoning at the moment is that except for the upfront cost (which imho is somewhat unreasonable), the running cost isn't too bad. If I read the tariff sheet correctly, what they did was restructure the block below 600kwh so that you pay R400 as a connection fee, and then R700 for the first 600kwh, for a total of R1100. If you remain on the domestic rate, you'd pay R1050 instead. So if you structure your setup so that you buy at least 600kwh from CoCT and generate the rest with solar, it looks like a no-cost option, once again ignoring the initial setup cost.

Of course this means that it makes little economic sense to attempt a reduction below R1000/month, but then, that is probably exactly what the city planners had in mind. They want to stop rich melanin-deficient guys like us from leaving the funding party :-)

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Hi TT

My conclusion was purely based on the upfront costs - Rk20 for the documentation etc, and additionally the added cost of only being able to pick an inverter of the CoCT list. 

The Zeversolar option cost me Rk21, the panels were Rk18, so my installed cost was about Rk43.

Adding Rk25 to that due to the the above reqs seemed excessive.

I don't have an issue with the SSEG tariff structure  - I'd be happy to be on it, due to my consumption.

Another reason for not wanting to overspend is were planning to sell and move to a farm in 12-24 months time.

Cheers

Ian

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Ian said:

Rk20 for the documentation etc,

Good grief! Really? I thought the bulk of that requirement was getting a registered professional engineer out to sign the little 6-point document that says your system conforms to NRS-097-2-1, and I know these guys are expensive but I can hardly imagine it costing that much.

I happen to know the guy who wrote this: http://goingsolar.co.za/solar-grid-tie-legalities-in-cape-town-south-africa/

Also, Stellenbosch and Paarl seems to be a lot more relaxed about this :-)

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1 hour ago, Ian said:

only being able to pick an inverter of the CoCT list.

After reading through their documentation and based on the things I heard from the goingsolar.co.za guy, you have to register for SSEG and your equipment must be on the list even if you don't feed back. There is some ambiguity and I think @The Terrible Triplett said some things about this in the past: But just having an off-grid inverter connected in a grid-fallback setup might already be enough to require registration.

I suppose it's possible to 1) use an approved inverter, 2) configure it not to feed back, 3) register for SSEG, and 4) not pay for the massive engineering work because of point 2.

Also, I have an inverter not on the list, but if you look right at the bottom of the list the Ziehl UFR1001e is listed there. I have that. So I'm probably okay. To be compliant, you might have to install one of those (for no reason other than the mentioned list). It's around 8k.

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4 hours ago, plonkster said:

But just having an off-grid inverter connected in a grid-fallback setup might already be enough to require registration.

Jip, the MOMENT you tie it in with your DB, it has to have a CoC and depending on where you are, probably registration with the Municipality. And that is where the costs hit you.

Way I stay legal is I have a solar powered UPS. My Eskom feed is a wall socket, inverter feeding circuits that are completely separate to the house, with CoC for them.

Lights was taken out of the DB board, connected to a double pole changeover switch, with a CoC for it, to power them from either Eskom or from inverter.

The moment I change it all and connect to the DB, I need to register.

Problem one is when they catch me, problem two, the more likely one, is when there is an insurance claim and insurer wants to check the legitimacy of the installation.

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I hate red tape with a passion, so I'm happy to just fly under the radar on this one, esp since I have a short time horizon at this property. As an engineer, it really gets my goat that the city has an approved list - I know we in CT are a little enclave of sanity in this country - but we are all connected to the same bloody grid. Surely there should be a national list? Or an Eskom one...

 

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6 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Jip, the MOMENT you tie it in with your DB, it has to have a CoC and depending on where you are, probably registration with the Municipality. And that is where the costs hit you.

It makes complete sense to me that the moment it touches the domestic wiring, then a CoC is needed. I mean, putting in new light fittings technically requires a CoC. I've heard some horror stories of people tying in cheap MSW inverters into DB boards, either blowing them up almost immediately (because the inverter cannot handle neutral bonded to earth) or doing it without the proper earthing! But a CoC is cheap compared to the costs we're talking about here.

Thing is really... this ties in with Ian's follow-up...

5 minutes ago, Ian said:

As an engineer, it really gets my goat that the city has an approved list

They have to do that until we get SABS approved inverters. Even the registration process is also a replacement for a better national process: because those things don't exist yet.

Hopefully we will get there.

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Be mindfull of insurance, as there was allegedly a hail storm in parts of SA last night and people where really stressing about their solar array. 

Not an issue I said, solar panels can take a pounding and If they do crack, it would be interesting chat on <R10 a watt panels versus >R12 a watt panels.

But don't worry, I said, it is covered, erroneously I said Household, should have said Building section of your insurance.

Make sure your panels and other parts are insured. Speak to your broker / insurer.

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Another way to circumvent the registration, would be to have a complete duplicated electrical installation in your house with a separate CoC for each installation. This might be cheaper  in the long run than having to pay ridiculous amounts of money for an engineer to sign off. In practice that would mean for example having two power sockets for each appliance which could be used alternatively as required. (one from the city and one from your renewable source). Do the same with lights. Furthermore, you can then use an inverter of your choice, as your entire second installation would be classified as an off-grid installation.

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On 10/25/2016 at 9:31 AM, plonkster said:

My reasoning at the moment is that except for the upfront cost (which imho is somewhat unreasonable), the running cost isn't too bad. If I read the tariff sheet correctly, what they did was restructure the block below 600kwh so that you pay R400 as a connection fee, and then R700 for the first 600kwh, for a total of R1100. If you remain on the domestic rate, you'd pay R1050 instead. So if you structure your setup so that you buy at least 600kwh from CoCT and generate the rest with solar, it looks like a no-cost option, once again ignoring the initial setup cost.

Of course this means that it makes little economic sense to attempt a reduction below R1000/month, but then, that is probably exactly what the city planners had in mind. They want to stop rich melanin-deficient guys like us from leaving the funding party :-)

The City of Cape Town allows you to remain on your current tariff structure if you have a grid limiting device.

(You still need all the paperwork including approved inverter, COC, Professional sign off etc.) 

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29 minutes ago, Carl said:

The City of Cape Town allows you to remain on your current tariff structure if you have a grid limiting device.

(You still need all the paperwork including approved inverter, COC, Professional sign off etc.) 

This is new. So no connection fee then? Interesting.

 

What is holding me back still is the professional sign off mostly averaging R10k and new meter is R2500.

So now because of that cost and no turning back of the meter / Eskom as battery for the evening, radical changes will be needed to save on evenings electricity costs. The numbers for me got very complicated and risky.

 

9 hours ago, SOLARWIND said:

Another way ..., would be to have a complete duplicated electrical installation in your house with a separate CoC for each installation.

This is what I did when it all was still up in the air and no-one knew for sure.

Then I learned recently that if the Ekom power for the separate circuits are provided from a plug point in the house, it makes it ever simpler for now it is seen as a UPS.

Now I am sitting thinking, I wonder waht if:
I disconnect Eskom from the DB. Inverter powers the DB, powers the House DB.
The Eskom feed is then reconnected to a new DB, lets call it Eskom DB.
Eskom DB has all the breaker installed as per regulations, feeding just on say 60a plug point.
The inverter gets its power from this one Eskom DB plug point. :D:D:D

 

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14 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

This is new. So no connection fee then? Interesting.

Yup. But if you use at least 600kwh (as I do), then the connection fee doesn't matter. Your total cost for the first 600kwh remains almost exactly the same. The main reason to stay on your old tariff would merely be to avoid the cost of the new meter.

18 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Now I am sitting thinking, I wonder waht if:
I disconnect Eskom from the DB. Inverter powers the DB, powers the House DB.
The Eskom feed is then reconnected to a new DB, lets call it Eskom DB.
Eskom DB has all the breaker installed as per regulations, feeding just on say 60a plug point.
The inverter gets its power from this one Eskom DB plug point. :D:D:D

You'd need a CoC for the inverter connection to the one DB, and one for the grid connection to the other DB. Also, I believe there are regulations as to what kind of current must be hard-wired, so "one 60A plug" is likely out of the realm of possibilities here. The regulations will require that the inverter be hardwired into the DB. Just working backwards from air conditioners, I believe anything above 12000BTU needs to be hardwired and cannot run off a plug point, so the same thing will likely get you here.

The only thing that would get you off the hook would be a split DB (or two DBs) where one is purely powered by solar and the other purely powered by the grid, and there is no automatic changeover. The solar system is completely off-grid. You are allowed a manual change-over switch.

(in other words, it seems they are scared of automatic changeover switches :-) ).

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1 hour ago, Carl said:

(You still need all the paperwork including approved inverter, COC, Professional sign off etc.) 

According to my local solar installer contact here in Somerset West, there is absolutely no cost from the CoCT side (other than the cost of the meter, if you go that route). The "professional sign-off" is the only costly item. In his case, he does all the documentation as part of the installation, and he then only requires a registered professional engineer to tick off the last 6 items (see attached image). He was looking for a goto guy who would do this for a fixed fee, someone he could have a relationship with who would sign off all his installs for a fee. He's still looking for one.

He tells me me there's 28 official SSEG participants in Cape Town...

nrs-097-2.png

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@shanghailoz I laughed and laughed at that video you have of Tina Jou-ma-Pettersson.

Malema will never stop the fire, she said.

But when a fire burns, it rains, the earth gets wet ... ??? (facepalm) 

Stupid me, I though rain and wet earth stops fire.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 25/10/2016 at 11:20 AM, Ian said:

Hi TT

My conclusion was purely based on the upfront costs - Rk20 for the documentation etc, and additionally the added cost of only being able to pick an inverter of the CoCT list. 

The Zeversolar option cost me Rk21, the panels were Rk18, so my installed cost was about Rk43.

Adding Rk25 to that due to the the above reqs seemed excessive.

I don't have an issue with the SSEG tariff structure  - I'd be happy to be on it, due to my consumption.

Another reason for not wanting to overspend is were planning to sell and move to a farm in 12-24 months time.

Cheers

Ian

 

 

Hi Ian

More details about 4kW Zeversolar 3-ph inverter system please. Interested to understand how you have done it so cost effectively.

regards

ignatius

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