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Hi Everybody,

So I have been interested in Solar for a while now, and have finally started doing the required research to get going

There is so many options for inverters etc that I have no idea where to start, what would be best value for money spent etc.

What I want to accomplish is getting a 5+ kw inverter up and running connecting some PV panels and reduce my eskom account during day time use, most of my electricity usage is during day light hours.  Eventually I would like to get to a point where eskom is just a back up and that load shedding has no impact on my life

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2 hours ago, armandvdwalt said:

Hi Everybody,

So I have been interested in Solar for a while now, and have finally started doing the required research to get going

There is so many options for inverters etc that I have no idea where to start, what would be best value for money spent etc.

What I want to accomplish is getting a 5+ kw inverter up and running connecting some PV panels and reduce my eskom account during day time use, most of my electricity usage is during day light hours.  Eventually I would like to get to a point where eskom is just a back up and that load shedding has no impact on my life

So you want a hybrid system, a system that can interact with the grid and with PV. There's lots of choices there but the idea is that a properly sized hybrid system will generate enough power to run the property on a good day, can call on the grid on a bad day. OK... there is still a possibility of you having no power if Eskom are shedding and the sun ain't shining but it's greatly reduced.

Additionally (these are things that most hybrid inverters will do)  you can reserve a portion of the battery capacity. Mine is set at 40%, so when there is grid the system will never discharge past 40% and will draw from the grid if it has to, but when the grid goes down I will always have 40% of the batteries available to drive the backed up circuits. Also  I can put in time based rules so that the system will charge the batteries from the grid in the afternoon and if required, and I will always go into the evening with 100% of battery.

I've had this system about 18 months now, and load shedding is pretty much a non-issue for me. Savings... well... I am saving for sure. Whether I will pay the system off in the projected 9 years is another matter.  You don't generate 100% of the power you need unless you have a very large system, because the sun doesn't always shine brightly. In Gauteng right now most days are not clear and sunny all day.

On a good day I use a fraction of a unit from the grid. On bad days I might use 5 or 6 units - but I am protected against long outages. If the grid goes down at 4pm I can easily get through until 8 the next morning.

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2 minutes ago, Bobster said:

So you want a hybrid system, a system that can interact with the grid and with PV. There's lots of choices there but the idea is that a properly sized hybrid system will generate enough power to run the property on a good day, can call on the grid on a bad day. OK... there is still a possibility of you having no power if Eskom are shedding and the sun ain't shining but it's greatly reduced.

Additionally (these are things that most hybrid inverters will do)  you can reserve a portion of the battery capacity. Mine is set at 40%, so when there is grid the system will never discharge past 40% and will draw from the grid if it has to, but when the grid goes down I will always have 40% of the batteries available to drive the backed up circuits. Also  I can put in time based rules so that the system will charge the batteries from the grid in the afternoon and if required, and I will always go into the evening with 100% of battery.

I've had this system about 18 months now, and load shedding is pretty much a non-issue for me. Savings... well... I am saving for sure. Whether I will pay the system off in the projected 9 years is another matter.  You don't generate 100% of the power you need unless you have a very large system, because the sun doesn't always shine brightly. In Gauteng right now most days are not clear and sunny all day.

On a good day I use a fraction of a unit from the grid. On bad days I might use 5 or 6 units - but I am protected against long outages. If the grid goes down at 4pm I can easily get through until 8 the next morning.

Did you 'grow' your system to what you have now or was it planned up front?

Please provide the essential specs of your system. Tnx!

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9 minutes ago, Richard Mackay said:

Did you 'grow' your system to what you have now or was it planned up front?

Please provide the essential specs of your system. Tnx!

My system was planned, but not by me. I had a vague idea about getting "solar power". The company I bought from did a site visit, discussed my consumption and expectations, made me think about essentials and nice to haves, and then planned from there.  This must have been approximate, based on their experience and expertise, but that's fair enough  - how do they tailor a system to EXACTLY my needs?

In any event my instinct would have been to err on the side of over speccing.

I'm perhaps atypical on this forum. There are many folks here who could do the planning and the installation themselves. I can't, and so I had to rely on a supplier who specced the system, sourced the components and did the installation.

The specs are in my signature. The most interesting thing, I think, is the split of the solar array - half facing north(ish) and half facing east(ish). With working from home the last few months I've been able to watch the system more closely, and the performance of the panels has surprised me. The east facing array makes a decent contribution well into the afternoon. I can still be getting 1/3 to 40% of my PV power at 3 in the afternoon. Similarly the north facing panels start earning their keep quite early in the morning. This suggests to me that an east/west arrangement could be viable.

Edited by Bobster
tidying up
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They have given you the equipment that makes them the most money or suits their expertise!

Ditch the GoodWe (I have a GoodWe, so I'm not biased here ) in favour of a Sunsync 5kW inverter and increase your panels to 6500W with the money saved.

Get Pylontech batteries as well.

The Sunsync has far more configurable options than the GoodWe and you will grow into using as many of them as you can! (Its also R7K cheaper)

Where are you based?

Also wait till Jan-Feb for specials, then you will save as well......

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26 minutes ago, FixAMess said:

They have given you the equipment that makes them the most money or suits their expertise!

I'm sure. But so would anybody else I contacted. I have to rely on these folks and their expertise, so I can't begrudge them a profit or installing equipment that they know and can manage. I'd be a fool to go to a Sunsynk vendor and insist on Victron.

They did actually offer me a choice of Victron or Goodwe. They told me that the Victron would cost more but also have more flexibility.

Quote

Ditch the GoodWe (I have a GoodWe, so I'm not biased here ) in favour of a Sunsync 5kW inverter and increase your panels to 6500W with the money saved.

The money is spent, so unless Goodwe has a really good resale value I'll be out of pocket.

Quote

Get Pylontech batteries as well.

Maybe next time. And there will be a next time. Batteries don't last forever and I'm already making provision for replacements.

Quote

The Sunsync has far more configurable options than the GoodWe and you will grow into using as many of them as you can! (Its also R7K cheaper)

Where are you based?

City of Johannesburg. 

Quote

Also wait till Jan-Feb for specials, then you will save as well......

Just to be clear, my system is already paid for and installed and I am sharing my experiences here in case that's helpful to other folks. You may be confusing me with the OP.

Edited by Bobster
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Hi Bobster, yes I am confusing you with the OP...

But the info is still good for him as well......

In 2018-2019 the GoodWe was the best (in my opinion) for the average guy and im very happy with mine but if I were to go new again, I'd go Sunsync.

Maybe I should sell my GoodWe to the OP??

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4 hours ago, armandvdwalt said:

What I want to accomplish is getting a 5+ kw inverter up and running connecting some PV panels and reduce my eskom account during day time use, most of my electricity usage is during day light hours.  Eventually I would like to get to a point where eskom is just a back up and that load shedding has no impact on my life

5KW is is a good option and is normally big enough for most homes. When i installed my system i started with only a 4KW system and only had 2 x 330W pv panels  but soon realized the two panels worked all day just to get my 4 x 120A gel batteries charged by the afternoom. I then added two more which were now four panels and that was enough to run my house off-grid during the day and have the batteries charged by afternoon, that small system kept me going for more than a year. Only than i added two more panels again as that was my original plan to add two panels per year with the money saved on my Eskom bill. Adding more panels now will be a waste as i don’t have the demand but my plan is still to add the two panels until i have something else solar that pops up where i have to spend the money on. I will eventually look at another inverter as I currently use a clone Axpert that is surprisingly performing very well and seem to have no issues. If i have to do it again i would do it exactly the same only difference is i would buy a pylontech battery instead of gel batteries from the start.

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6 hours ago, FixAMess said:

Hi Bobster, yes I am confusing you with the OP...

But the info is still good for him as well......

In 2018-2019 the GoodWe was the best (in my opinion) for the average guy and im very happy with mine but if I were to go new again, I'd go Sunsync.

Maybe I should sell my GoodWe to the OP??

I think you sold me on a sunsync 😂

 

question then becomes do you get a 5kw now and add another later of needed or just get a 8kw from the get go? At what is a good price

 

Also I don’t think it is worth it to worry about how long it takes for it to pay for itself, no idea how long I will stay in the house I am currently in, already starting to think I need a bigger house, so will probably only be in this house another year or two, selling price of house can always cover part or most of the solar installation 

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48 minutes ago, armandvdwalt said:

I think you sold me on a sunsync 😂

 

question then becomes do you get a 5kw now and add another later of needed or just get a 8kw from the get go? At what is a good price

 

Also I don’t think it is worth it to worry about how long it takes for it to pay for itself, no idea how long I will stay in the house I am currently in, already starting to think I need a bigger house, so will probably only be in this house another year or two, selling price of house can always cover part or most of the solar installation 

I decided to go with the 8kw sunsynk. Mainly because I wanted the biggest inverter I could afford and the 8kw sunsynk ticked all the boxes. 

Solar will add value and batteries are portable so you could take them with you. Batteries are also the most costly part of the install. 

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29 minutes ago, armandvdwalt said:

Another thing I just thought about, without batteries, when the grid dies during the day does the inverter die with it or will it use solar to power itself?

I have batteries with mine but if you don't have batteries it will basically be a grid tied inverter so during load shedding you will have no power. I tested it without batteries and it would not work if the grid is down. 

Even 1 pylontech battery should be enough to stay off with. You can always add more batteries as you expand the system. 

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11 hours ago, armandvdwalt said:

how

 

11 hours ago, armandvdwalt said:

Also I don’t think it is worth it to worry about how long it takes for it to pay for itself, no idea how long I will stay in the house I am currently in, already starting to think I need a bigger house, so will probably only be in this house another year or two, selling price of house can always cover part or most of the solar installation 

Selling your house will require a COC and normally if the COC is older than two years the bank will ask for a new one. It might be worth getting the electrician that is going to do the solar COC to check the rest of the installation to make sure that all is in order especially if you might be selling soon. In some cases changes need to be made on the DB board to split circuits depending on your inverter and needs.

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10 hours ago, armandvdwalt said:

Another thing I want to do is also hook up a generator for when things go really bad 

I have a cheap 7.5KVA portable petrol generator hooked up to my 5.5K Sunsynk AUX port. It's a last resort, if/when I have a 3 week spell of bad solar coupled with a municipal transformer blowing. I had my electrician make up two 2.5mm leads with 16A plugs into this 32A connector. Worked well during a test, acid test will be when such a disaster actually happens.  

image.png.99873cc6678b99b43bca4c9d659998af.png

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2 hours ago, Gerrie said:

 

Selling your house will require a COC and normally if the COC is older than two years the bank will ask for a new one. It might be worth getting the electrician that is going to do the solar COC to check the rest of the installation to make sure that all is in order especially if you might be selling soon. In some cases changes need to be made on the DB board to split circuits depending on your inverter and needs.

ALWAYS get a COC done with the installation. If you don't and the worst happens and insurers or anybody else send out an inspector to see what happened and they find that the house's wiring has been modified without the modifications being certified then all bets are off.

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12 hours ago, Achmat said:

if you don't have batteries it will basically be a grid tied inverter so during load shedding you will have no power. I tested it without batteries and it would not work if the grid is down

This is interesting. Is this because the system needs A/C to synchronise with? Even if that AC is inverted DC power from batteries?

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I was told that one requires batteries to generate power when the grid is down even if he sun is out, but I do know of one installation where there are no batteries and the inverter still works when the sun is up.

What I have noticed however is that when the grid is down and there's no sun, if you restart the inverter (GoodWe which was working from batteries before) it will not restart until the sun comes out, even the PV is providing only a few Watts.

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1 hour ago, Vassen said:

Is this with a proper hybrid inverter?

This is normally blocked as a protection mechanism. Grid tie / hybrid inverters with no batteries require the grid to sync with otherwise there is the possibility that you can feedback into the grid even when the grid is off. If the grid goes down due to some maintenance activity and then someone thinks the power is off and tries working on the line, they get a bit of a shock. Therefore approved inverters should not do this. 
 

My hoymiles microinverter is the same. If it’s not connected to grid, or in my case the sunsynk gen output, it will not output any power. 

 

Yes, hybrid inverter....I even got a video to prove it does work because I did not believe the guy....

I'm not sure the elec setup is good though.

BUT, the Goodwe does give you an option to install without any batteries....When next Im back in SA I will turn the batteries off and disconnect the grid and see what it does..

Edited by FixAMess
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