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So after much debate and conversations with people,  my CFP said he did tons of research into his solar system and gave me advise which lead to decision to go for the following:

Either the alpha smile 10.1kwh system with its inverter and 3.5kw solar array from JASolar mono panels. Or a goodwe 4.6kw with the same batteries/pylontech batteries measuring the same power storage. My query is the following:

The goodwe can't be done in parallel from what I see, so does this mean i need to replicate the system again if I need more in the future?

Are there any regulations I need to be aware of when connecting all this to a prepaid meter In joburg?

 

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I won’t go Goodwe if I could go Victron. Victron can parallel, bind earth and neutral on grid lost and has a much higher transfer rating, so while Eskom is up, you don’t need to worry about overloading the circuit. Your entire house could basically transfer through a Victron, i.e. you only really need one DB with a Victron (my understanding).

Also, Victron’s solar can come in on the AC or DC side (AC if you use a Fronius Inverter, or DC with the MPPTs). I am pretty sure Goodwe comes in on the AC side, which makes it less efficient for a system that wants to store most of its solar power in batteries for later use.

I don’t know the Alpha Smile, it seems to look real nice, but I’m not a big fan of “all in one” systems personally. You might want to expand the system in the future but then you are stuck. A more modular setup (like a Victron) would enable a much more customisable solution as your needs develop in the future.

Can’t immediately find the transfer rating of the Alpha Smile, but if you don’t want to impair your backup circuits to 20Amps even when Eskom is online, I’d think twice about something with only a 20Amp transfer rating.

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Goodwe can take a max of 6500 PV power, your 3.5kW can still be expanded to the 6500 without any changes to the system.

In JHB, with the Goodwe, and 6500W PV you can get between 20-30 kWh/day if the weather is half decent (and its often NOT)

Here are my real life results with 6000W PV.

Month Avg kWh Max Kwh
March 19 32
April 21 29
May 25 28.7
June 21.5 25.6

If you need more than that consider the Sunsync inverter, it gives the same functionality as the Victron with much easier installation and can be paralleled.

There are 2 units, 5kW and 8kW, very good units but support is sparse...

 

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I have a Goodwe. Same capacity as the one suggested to you. One restriction we have run into is that the backed up circuits can only carry 20A at any time ever, even when grid is available. Most of the time this is not a problem, but I would like people to just be able to go about their business when the sun is up and we have a municipal feed, but it is possible to momentarily overload the system, and that moment is all you need. The system always reboots itself, and of course the overload is gone because everything got turned off and most of the devices restart in standby by default. But now you don't know how far the dishwasher got (and don't want to open the door to find out).

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Just now, Bobster said:

the backed up circuits can only carry 20A at any time ever,

OK... the spec sheet says it can handle short peaks of up to 30. But short is the operative word here.

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12 hours ago, SvenA said:

Are there any regulations I need to be aware of when connecting all this to a prepaid meter In joburg?

I asked this question since I live in Jhb and already had a prepaid meter. Nobody I asked could give a definite answer, other than to say that my system must have anti-islanding (it does) and that unless I signed up for the reseller's tariff (which requires a special meter that I would have to pay for), I would get no credit for any power exported.

Now... the rest may depend on what prepaid meter you have and who actually installed it. Mine was installed by City Power and is an Itron. It never cuts out, but it clearly doesn't like the alternative power source as the hand held unit (what you use for inputting tokens) constantly shuts down and reboots.

My system is set to not export. In Goodwe parlance "no export" seems to mean "will try to zero the movement on the meter" and so a small amount is exported. What I find with the Itron meter is that it shows two totals. One is the total consumed by the property since the meter was installed (IE just like a regular meter), the other is the prepaid balance. The small exported amount seems to reduce the former but not the latter. But the discrepancy is small and any change of arrangements I make would result in flat fees each month that would be orders of magnitude more costly than that discrepancy. 

What has happened is that City Power came to my house to inspect the meter because I had gone so long without buying a token. We showed them the solar system and they said "oh, that's alright then" and haven't come back. I do use a small amount of grid power each month by the way. But really not a lot. 

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13 hours ago, SvenA said:

The goodwe can't be done in parallel from what I see, so does this mean i need to replicate the system again if I need more in the future?

make sure to distinguish whether you want to know about paralleling the inverters for greater output capability and/or maybe greater PV power ... versus adding more batteries for more storage

13 hours ago, SvenA said:

Are there any regulations I need to be aware of when connecting all this to a prepaid meter In joburg?

Installation of solar should have general SSEG regulations/rules. The meter normally only gets mentioned in terms of rules when you want to "feed back" into the grid.

But as pointed out by @Bobster you can end up with two specific issues with a prepaid meter.  1) the meter "trips" when there is feedback and/or 2) the meter charges you for the electricity you produced from solar.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, SvenA said:

Either the alpha smile 10.1kwh system with its inverter and 3.5kw solar array from JASolar mono panels. Or a goodwe 4.6kw with the same batteries/pylontech batteries measuring the same power storage.

Doesn't the Alpha Smile pack a Goodwe inside anyway? Or am I thinking of something else? I do like the look of the Alpha, but I know nothing else about it.

I have only two concerns with the Goodwe. The one is the paralleling thing others have mentioned, but I think that's often overrated. In my experience few people actually add extra capacity later, once the initial itch is scratched. Most people tend to add more battery and PV later, so I would rather look at options that makes this more flexibile.

The second issue, which we discussed numerous times, is that the Goodwe does not bond earth and neutral when it islands (ie, when the grid fails and it disconnects from the grid, thereby losing the TN bond). The South African regulations seems to be such that there is no easy legal way to get this done.

Edited by plonkster

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My prepaid is a acton installed by city power. @plonksterThe alpha is a goodwe product, which is why only the goodwe inverter works with the alpha batteries outside of the alpha inverter. The only reason I am querying paralleling is incase in the future I have more appliances needing to run at the same time and the 5kw can't handle it. I don't see the need to export at this point if it just avoids issues .@Bobster suggests there is a setting to prevent this so should be good on that front. But will discuss with the installer. I use 14kwh a day roughly so don't need a 6kw array at this point, but it's good to know it's covered for that in the future. So the only real issue is to figure out what the best thing to do with the prepaid meter.

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3 hours ago, Bobster said:

One restriction we have run into is that the backed up circuits can only carry 20A at any time ever, even when grid is available

i remember that this was discussed a while ago because the latest Goodwe GW5048D-ES specification now list max 40A (9200VA) capability from grid. I am not sure If this is available on the back up output though. Looking at the relay array of the inverter it probably is.

Goodwediagram.JPG.92702656411665154bf4dd01dee7d158.JPG

2 hours ago, plonkster said:

Doesn't the Alpha Smile pack a Goodwe inside anyway?

it does. 

https://www.cleanenergyreviews.info/blog/complete-hybrid-system-built-in-battery-storage

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2 hours ago, SvenA said:

My prepaid is a acton installed by city power. @plonksterThe alpha is a goodwe product, which is why only the goodwe inverter works with the alpha batteries outside of the alpha inverter. The only reason I am querying paralleling is incase in the future I have more appliances needing to run at the same time and the 5kw can't handle it. I don't see the need to export at this point if it just avoids issues .@Bobster suggests there is a setting to prevent this so should be good on that front. But will discuss with the installer. I use 14kwh a day roughly so don't need a 6kw array at this point, but it's good to know it's covered for that in the future. So the only real issue is to figure out what the best thing to do with the prepaid meter.

I don't think in a normal household you would ever need to parallel for the backup circuit - Unless you want to go completely off grid which is a separate discussion. You might want to have a higher AC transfer while Eskom is on though. If it is true that the latest Goodwe ES can transfer 40A from grid, it is a good option, ignoring the neutral and earth issue...

A Victron Multiplus II isn't much more expensive (after adding a GX and MPPTs) than a Goodwe and it doesn't have any of the drawbacks, so I really don't see why you would go the Goodwe route, my personal opinion.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, jykenmynie said:

I don't think in a normal household you would ever need to parallel for the backup circuit - Unless you want to go completely off grid which is a separate discussion. You might want to have a higher AC transfer while Eskom is on though. If it is true that the latest Goodwe ES can transfer 40A from grid, it is a good option, ignoring the neutral and earth issue...

A Victron Multiplus II isn't much more expensive (after adding a GX and MPPTs) than a Goodwe and it doesn't have any of the drawbacks, so I really don't see why you would go the Goodwe route, my personal opinion.

Consider the Sunsync, its R+-21K+vat, nothing else required, no additional add-ons, and it provides the same functionality as the Victron with much easier installation;

1) Panels can be added in series (500V, 11 Amps), no combiner boxes etc required like for the Victrons, 2 MPPT's for 5kW version, 8kW version has 2 MPPT's , 4 strings.

2) Is parallelable and binds earth and neutral on grid loss.

The Goodwe is a "install and leave" inverter, no fiddling or fine tuning required. Talks seamlessly to Pylontechs and a lot more battery types as well BUT is does not compare to the Sunsync or victrons which are both more configurable.

So if you want configurable and cheaper than Goodwe, with Victron functionality, go Sunsync. PM me for the guy in CT who will sell and install the inverter for you.

 

Edited by FixAMess

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47 minutes ago, FixAMess said:

Consider the Sunsync, its R+-21K+vat, nothing else required, no additional add-ons, and it provides the same functionality as the Victron with much easier installation;

I won’t call a Victron installation complicated! Pretty much “plug and play”, just an extra, small, GX device to fit. 😌 The installation of my hardware was really quick. The most work was pulling cables, new DB etc. but that is the same for any inverter.

I don’t know the Sunsync product myself, but the spec seems good except for the limited transfer ability. So you will have to parallel another unit if you don’t want your backup circuit to be impaired when Eskom is on. For me, this was a massive upside of the Victron, because I couldn’t easily isolate a backup circuit that I would never want to plug in heaters/iron/lawnmower etc. but that is specific to a house.

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4 minutes ago, jykenmynie said:

for the limited transfer ability. So you will have to parallel another unit if you don’t want your backup circuit to be impaired when Eskom is on

Please explain. The goodwe does not have this issue (or does it?) , how did you determine that the "Essential" side is impaired?

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, FixAMess said:

Please explain. The goodwe does not have this issue (or does it?) , how did you determine that the "Essential" side is impaired?

I might be wrong, but my understanding is that the MP II 5kVA can transfer up to 50A from its AC In to its AC Outs (you might just use AC Out 1 because this is also the backup out). So, while the inverter is capped at inverting 20A from its DC sources, if Eskom is up, you don’t need to worry about having too much power usage on the circuits feeding from the MP II (as long at it is less than 50A). Technically I guess it might be up to 70A if you can get the other 20A from DC sources, but I’m just speculating here.

Happy if @plonkster tells me that I misunderstand the transfer ability, but hopefully I don’t, because I saw it as a massive advantage of the MP II 😅.

Edited by jykenmynie

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The Goodwe and the Multi is probably the same in this respect. Take a look at this picture @Fuenkli posted.

 

Selection_589.png.b54f2fc0d65255fe41f3748ae500e6f6.png

While the grid is on, the relay array top right is closed. Power from the grid flows as I rather crudely drew with the red and blue arrows. You can have as much load on the Backup side as that "relay array" can handle, usually also called the "transfer switch".

Now consider a similar stock picture of the Multi:

multi.png.b2a7dd27f4bb798394448f4f15f24946.png

Again, I marked the transfer switch with a red circle and added an arrow showing how power flows from the grid as long as the grid is around. Again, you can put as much load on the output as the transfer switch allows. For a 5kVA Multiplus-II that is 50A.

It seems on the Goodwe units this could by a 32A or 40A relay.

This gives you some freedom on reconfiguring your household wiring.

Household appliances generally come in four variants. 1) appliances permanently wired (geysers, pool pumps, stoves), 2) high power appliances that are always plugged into the same socket (air conditioners, washing machines, tumble dryers, microwave oven), 3) high power appliances that move around or are only used intermittently (vacuum cleaner, hair dryer), and 4) low power stuff including computers, entertainment, lights, and so forth.

By allowing you to exceed the inverter capacity and take the difference from the grid, it allows appliances in category 3 (on my makeshift list) to be on the backup side. During a grid outage you then simply have to remember not to use those, or to not use them all at once.

So in short, I don't think the Goodwe is at a disadvantage here, other than having a slightly smaller transfer switch.

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12 minutes ago, plonkster said:

The Goodwe and the Multi is probably the same in this respect. Take a look at this picture @Fuenkli posted.

 

Selection_589.png.b54f2fc0d65255fe41f3748ae500e6f6.png

While the grid is on, the relay array top right is closed. Power from the grid flows as I rather crudely drew with the red and blue arrows. You can have as much load on the Backup side as that "relay array" can handle, usually also called the "transfer switch".

Now consider a similar stock picture of the Multi:

multi.png.b2a7dd27f4bb798394448f4f15f24946.png

Again, I marked the transfer switch with a red circle and added an arrow showing how power flows from the grid as long as the grid is around. Again, you can put as much load on the output as the transfer switch allows. For a 5kVA Multiplus-II that is 50A.

It seems on the Goodwe units this could by a 32A or 40A relay.

This gives you some freedom on reconfiguring your household wiring.

Household appliances generally come in four variants. 1) appliances permanently wired (geysers, pool pumps, stoves), 2) high power appliances that are always plugged into the same socket (air conditioners, washing machines, tumble dryers, microwave oven), 3) high power appliances that move around or are only used intermittently (vacuum cleaner, hair dryer), and 4) low power stuff including computers, entertainment, lights, and so forth.

By allowing you to exceed the inverter capacity and take the difference from the grid, it allows appliances in category 3 (on my makeshift list) to be on the backup side. During a grid outage you then simply have to remember not to use those, or to not use them all at once.

So in short, I don't think the Goodwe is at a disadvantage here, other than having a slightly smaller transfer switch.

Ah okay, this have changed then since I considered getting a Goodwe about 1.5 years ago. It was explained to me that the Goodwe would limit everything on its backup circuit to 20A, always, regardless of whether AC is available, which to me would have been a bit dreadful, purely because of what is practical in my house.

In that case, if someone isn't concern about the potential legality of its islanding method, it is a good option.

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Thank you very much for that lesson.....I did not even know it was an issue but it makes sense....

My goodwe have never tripped, which still surprises me because last week I hit a draw of 10kW (43mps) ! This was on both the essential and non essential loads (I should probably go see what report I can draw to see what the respective loads were) so I was rather impressed and worried at the same time! I'm not sure my family has the fortitude to ever go off grid, so i'll be married to EsKom till the day I die.

Without actually opening the inverter, how can one tell from the specs what the actual usable power is on the essential side?

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7 minutes ago, FixAMess said:

Thank you very much for that lesson.....I did not even know it was an issue but it makes sense....

My goodwe have never tripped, which still surprises me because last week I hit a draw of 10kW (43mps) ! This was on both the essential and non essential loads (I should probably go see what report I can draw to see what the respective loads were) so I was rather impressed and worried at the same time! I'm not sure my family has the fortitude to ever go off grid, so i'll be married to EsKom till the day I die.

Without actually opening the inverter, how can one tell from the specs what the actual usable power is on the essential side?

Maybe see if you can download the specifications for your specific model number? For example: https://www.goodwe.com/Public/Uploads/products/spec/en/ES.pdf

Here you can see for the GW5048D-ES you have a "Max. AC Current from Utility Grid (A)" of 40A. That, I understand, is effectively what it would be able to transfer from AC In to AC Out. It is in the "AC Output Data (On-grid)" section.

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I am also still a novice myself. and don't want to argue or upset anyone, but unless there was significant changes since i got my goodwe (about a year ago) then it simply is not true that the victron is the more or less the same price as the goodwe. WIth the victron the mppt, the inverter etc all needs to be bought seperately to have the same functionality as what the goodwe offers. So if you add the two mppt's, the inverter price, the gx unit etc etc, then you are quite a bit over in terms of cost, but like i said it might have changed, but briefly looking at inverter warehouse where i bought most of my hardware back then it still seems like this is the case.

That being said, having a modular system, is always better in my opinion (i am from an engineering background) if anything where to fail, you would be in a whole lot of better shape than compared to the goodwe where everything is integrated, also if and when you want to upgrade, then modulat again trumps integrated. Ultimately i think you end up getting what you paid for. I think the goodwe really is a solid product, i haven't had any issues with mine, but so does the people feel who has the mecer or voltronic units. I have one of these i bought when i just started, hate it when compared to the goodwe, but then again, if i consider what it cost me compared to the goodwe it is fit for purpose i suppose, i will never buy one again though, it just doesn't seem or feel the part.

As a rule though, i like superior quality products, and with solar, when considering the panels etc etc expected life or service life, then the voltronice do not compare, the sma, victron and to a lesser degree the goodwe are in a different category, but again it depends on what you want to achieve. I do think the goodwe however is easier and less complicated to install if you are a novice, when and if compared to the victron, but if you aren't planning on doing the installation yourself then this is really not even a point to consider....

to Fixamess's point... i use between 30-40 kwh per day, a have a lot of heavy current drawing equipment around my house i have been using since day one of my inverter installation and have never had it trip or have a reboot while i have been using it... that includes poolpumps, aircons, heatpump, tumbledryer all the regular culprits, so to max the goodwe in a "NORMAL" residential enviroment i foresee will be fairly challenging... currently i am about 95% off grid like bobster mentioned, i use about R300 worth of prepaid a month... or that is what i buy to keep the local munc thinking i still use their power....

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1 hour ago, Saint said:

then it simply is not true that the victron is the more or less the same price as the goodwe.

https://www.sustainable.co.za/goodwe-gw5048-es-4-6kva-hybrid-inverter.html

Sustainable seems to have the ES for R40k. 

My MP II 5kVA was R26.5k, Venus GX R4.7k and two MPPTs (don’t have these yet) at R14k (note this will give roughly solar capacity that the Goodwe). This is pretty much the same as the Goodwe R5 extra on a system that will cost you more than R120k before installation cost etc (batteries, panels etc.)?

Maybe Sustainable’s price isn’t realistic though?

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11 hours ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

They are pretty expensive. Can do better than that, let me know what you need. 

Go look at solaradvice.co.za, R30K incl.

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I Bought and paid for a ES last week R31 475 incl... so don't think the sustainable is realistic no... but again, as i mentioned, i did not want to get involved in a keyboard battle with anyone since i mentioned that it was MY experience, which might be dated already, this was just my experience. 

However when comparing the prices of blue vs goodwe from the company where i bought it from there was a significant difference in price if everything was totalled. I also did mention however that i think either one is great products, and that it might be possible to get Victron at the same price point as the goodwe, this has just not been my own experience, and to be quite honest, that is mostly the consensus when these two are compared, namely that the goodwe normally is slightly cheaper.

However, if this is not the case anymore, then i will most def be of the personal opinion that the victron setup might be superior to the goodwe one, but it will again depend on what considerations is made.... (there are many... not even mentioned in my previous post....) like for instance, i did an installation at my parents place over the weekend, my dad is more advanced in his years, and obviously technology more challenged, for his installation, the victron was never an option due to the slightly more complex install and setup, if anything where to go wrong there is no way i can remotely fault find and hope to solve the issue (since there is more components etc to check, more settings to fine tune etc, but again, might just be my lack of knowledge on the victron systems).

The goodwe is simple and straight forward, he can do everything from his phone (or i can remotely log onto his phone and check myself, and make changes where necassary etc), if it is not something he can solve or fault find himself, or with my help over the phone, then it means that it is something hardware related and not just settings etc, but again, that being said, my experience is biased towards goodwe since i have had more experience with them, and less with victron and the likes... ( i had a or still have a Schneider inverter before i got my goodwe, GREAT machine, typical german design, however not for the novice user, and not necessarily user friendly, it was pedantic and finicky with its settings and requirements and if not tweaked 100% etc etc will not work the way it was supposed and intended... comparing that to the goodwe, it makes the goodwe feel like a tank, just add diesel and it will go)

I have it working on the farm now (the schneider), perfectly, but after a lot of issues and work and hours spent on getting the settings right, upgrading firmware etc, all things that the normal user will NOT be able to do, but since i am from a strong technical and IT based background i was able to do it with tons of research and assistance from the guys in germany, the local support for schneider was or is non existent however, with Victron they have guys like @plonkster and @jaco de jongh who is invaluable and should be paid a retainer by victron for the service and support they render... 🙂 they are hero's imo... this is perhaps another aspect where the victron is superior to the goodwe, and that is on after sales support.... goodwe is supported by segensolar, or atleast used to be, which had much to learn in my opinion, my limited interaction with them was worst than pulling teeth, i ended up getting what i needed (firmware upgrades etc) straight out of china, and the chinese support was great, but local not so lekker..... this also might have changed since my experience... for the goodwe though there is also quite a good knowledge base on the forum here which also helps i think....

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I checked the Sunsync "Max Continuous AC Passthrough (A)" = 42A...Not too shabby either.

I will be replacing my Goodwe with a sunsync. Its a straight swap, same wiring, but victron like configuration and 15% cheaper

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