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Loadshedding Solutions Help/Recommendations


MagicPants
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Hey Everyone,

I have been lurking here a while, but have FINALLY decided to attempt to make load shedding a bit more bearable this side. I have zero experience in any of this.

Some background. We are two people living in a three bedroom townhouse. We need lights and plugs to be on the backup. This includes a tv, 4 PC’s, printer, router and a few chargers/lamps here and there. We don’t need any of the kitchen appliances, although having the wine fridge going would be nice.

Loadshedding in my area is 4.5 hours, plus about another 2 hours for COJ to get the substation going again.

We won’t be going solar just yet – and If we do – it will only be a few panels as the roof space is limited.

This is one of the quotes so far. What do you think ? Any help would be great. 

Thanks

MP

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Sorry to say this but this is way too expensive. My system cost me around R140k with fifteen solar panels and two 5kw inverters. Luckily you are in JHB where we are spoiled for choices. Ask the guy who did the quotation for you, to only quote you on labor to do the installation and CoC, remove that commissioning charge. Go to these guys and get a quotation for all material you need, https://www.inverter-warehouse.co.za/  and https://www.solar-shop.co.za/

You can get two quotations, one from inverter warehouse and another one from the solar shop and compare. For what you want to do, I don't see you spending more than R100k with installation and everything included. Then you can use the R66k for panels in future 

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2 minutes ago, hoohloc said:

Sorry to say this but this is way too expensive. My system cost me around R140k with fifteen solar panels and two 5kw inverters. Luckily you are in JHB where we are spoiled for choices. Ask the guy who did the quotation for you, to only quote you on labor to do the installation and CoC, remove that commissioning charge. Go to these guys and get a quotation for all material you need, https://www.inverter-warehouse.co.za/  and https://www.solar-shop.co.za/

You can get two quotations, one from inverter warehouse and another one from the solar shop and compare. For what you want to do, I don't see you spending more than R100k with installation and everything included. Then you can use the R66k for panels in future 

Thanks for your response.

That quote did take me by surprise. Its almost double the figures thrown around when he was here to quote and from other people i have spoken to. The guy works for the company where the quote is from - so he only installs their hardware. 

Also, can you comment on the batteries. Do i really need two 10.1 KWh batteries ?

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1 minute ago, MagicPants said:

Thanks for your response.

That quote did take me by surprise. Its almost double the figures thrown around when he was here to quote and from other people i have spoken to. The guy works for the company where the quote is from - so he only installs their hardware. 

Also, can you comment on the batteries. Do i really need two 10.1 KWh batteries ?

You don't need that much for loadshedding and for the appliances you have chosen. I used to go longer than 8 hours with 4.8Kwh batteries. You can always add on at a later stage if you have to. The batteries are just plug and play if you go with Pylons, you can do that yourself without having to call the installer back to increase capacity. For a start, 4.8kwh will do just fine

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i have a Sunsynk 5 kW with 2 Pylontech 2.4 kWh ( total ) and I have my fridge/freezer on essentials also, the Sunsynk is about 23k and I would suggest two Pylontech 3000c, at R18,000 each )( total 7 kWh ), this should be enough for you and there are quite a few forum members using them. I talked my colleague out of a Smile inverter to a Sunsynk

Edited by Tariq
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I also would reconsider the SMILE system, I thought it was a great option it seems to be a really nice integrated solution, but after research there are better alternatives.

Contact Steve from Power forum store, he was of great help to me. I have very recently purchased an 8kW inverter, 11kWH of batteries and 5kWh of solar PV at less than your quote for only the inverter and Batt

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Reading a few of the posts here and one thing I think everyone should consider with a new install is to not get equipment from the installer. Installers who are also supplying the equipment tends to either add another markup on the products way above current market prices or pushes you to use the product that makes them the most profit and not always the best for your situation. 

Any decent installer or electrician should be able to install most inverters and panels. that the customer sources themselves. The installer can still provide a warrantee on the installation and the supplier would also have a warrantee on equipment if its installed by an electrician. 

What exactly is a commissioning charge? I've seen it on a few quotes now. Is this to switch it on and change a few settings? 

Steps I would recommend. 

1. Determine your budget 

2. Do an energy audit 

3. Determine the inverter size and backup run time based on energy audit and what you want to run. 

4. Identify inverter options. Off grid, hybrid, grid tie and if you want to be able to expand. 

5. Get quotes from suppliers that sell solar equipment. Sustainable, solar shop, power forum store, etc. 

6. Find installer. Get recommendation either here or from family, friends and colleagues who have used the installer. 

On my phone so this must is not comprehensive and others can add and improve on it. 

Personally I sourced all my equipment directly from 2 suppliers and found an electrician on FB. I knew what needed to be done so I basically project managed the electrician. I installed the panels myself with the help of my brother. My setup is running 6 months now without any issues. 

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Just do the "common sense thing" and get Jaco to quote you on a Sunsync with 2 pylontech batteries + installation. Then later on its easy to add panels etc...

Don't be "that" guy, like most of us first time solar people were/are and buy twice...Been there done that!!

What is your budget? I'd try squeeze a few panels in as well.

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Just now, FixAMess said:

Just do the "common sense thing" and get Jaco to quote you on a Sunsync with 2 pylontech batteries + installation. Then later on its easy to add panels etc...

Don't be "that" guy, like most of us first time solar people were/are and buy twice...Been there done that!!

What is your budget? I'd try squeeze a few panels in as well.

Can concur on not wanting to be that guy. I think I was reading up on solar for 3 years before eventually jumping in. I couldn't afford it then but prices have come down since then (panels were at R10/w at the time) and didn't want to spend on a system that I had to rip out when I wanted to expand. 

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2 hours ago, Vassen said:

Hi

So it doesn’t really matter how many pc and devices you have on. What matters is how much of power they consume. This will define how much capacity you need and what you should get. 
 

for example, there’s 2 people in the house but 4 pc need to be on wouldn’t make sense to me, unless they have some specific use. 
 

I agree with @Achmatand do an audit. Go buy a cheap energy monitor (very cheap in reference to your quote) from for example Ellie’s and monitor how much those devices use over a period of time. Or if you have a smart meter, you could also determine this. Just keep the geyser off during this time. 
 

I suggest to include the fridges as they don’t consume that much energy anyway if kept closed and it’s one of the newer types. 
 

Also bear in mind that I’ve read that eskom is going to limit outages to 2 hours going forward. Not sure if the same will apply to coj. 
 

In all honesty, load shedding does not happen that often to warrant spending 100k plus on a pure backup solution unless of course cost is no matter to you. If you are including solar, then it’s an entirely different story as then you would be able to  actually reduce your monthly electricity bill. 
 

I was expecting to read about a small trolley solution you were thinking about. That would be sufficient for your needs but still depends on the actual power consumption. 
 

Without the facts, everybody here including yourself is just going to be guessing what you need and suppliers and installers are going to love you. 
 

As mentioned, get the energy monitor. It costs around R1500 from Ellie’s and you will then be able to make an informed decision as to what you need to get. 

Thank you for your detailed response.

The PC's are a mixture or media/office/gaming. Its not unusual for 3 to be powered on at the same time. 

So far, Eskom Direct customers will have reduced load shedding durations - for the time being this does not apply to City Power customers. Load shedding does not happen often, but considering the amount of time we spent at home working, the frustration had built to a point where we want to through money at it to make it go away. Also, our load shedding is never just 4 hours considering the state of the local substation.

2 hours ago, FixAMess said:

Just do the "common sense thing" and get Jaco to quote you on a Sunsync with 2 pylontech batteries + installation. Then later on its easy to add panels etc...

Don't be "that" guy, like most of us first time solar people were/are and buy twice...Been there done that!!

What is your budget? I'd try squeeze a few panels in as well.

R80k would be the sweet spot - but - we can push that up to R100k if we must.

2 hours ago, Speedster said:

You'd probably save quite a stack by cutting down on the battery. 20kwh of lithium is enough to run my whole house for a day and a half.

20kwh did sound like overkill to me.

Thanks for reaching out, everyone.

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For R80k you can still get a decent system that will definitely do what you are looking for. I'm a fan of Growatt inverters and for less than R14k you can get 5Kw one that will do the job. I find them to be good value for money but technical support is poor. Good thing is that they have 5 year warranty if I remember correctly which is much better than the 12 months warranty that comes with some of the inverters 

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20 kw/h?

You must have a rough idea of what you use in a day when the grid is up and the whole house is running. If that figure is approaching 20 kw/h then this guy is proposing to back up your whole property for a whole day. Which sounds like more than you need.

The recommendation is already in this thread: Do an audit. Figure out what you use, figure out how much the circuits you want to backup use, then you can answer the questions that @Achmat proposes.

For a reference, before I had my current system I had a box with 4 lead/acic batteries in it. I would think that was about 400 w/h. We could keep wifi, a TV, some laps, decoder and one fridge running easily through a Joburg load shed and charge our phones. We once did 18 hours, but the batteries were never the same after.

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1 minute ago, Bobster said:

20 kw/h?

You must have a rough idea of what you use in a day when the grid is up and the whole house is running. If that figure is approaching 20 kw/h then this guy is proposing to back up your whole property for a whole day. Which sounds like more than you need.

The recommendation is already in this thread: Do an audit. Figure out what you use, figure out how much the circuits you want to backup use, then you can answer the questions that @Achmat proposes.

For a reference, before I had my current system I had a box with 4 lead/acic batteries in it. I would think that was about 400 w/h. We could keep wifi, a TV, some laps, decoder and one fridge running easily through a Joburg load shed and charge our phones. We once did 18 hours, but the batteries were never the same after.

The only info I have at the moment is my electricity bills. I had a look at my bills for the past 12 months. Highest was 1004 units. Lowest was 419. Average per month over the 12 month period was 703.75. This includes the geyser, poolpump, garage door motors that we don't plan on putting on the backup circuit. I will try and get a meter to get a more accurate figure.  

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3 minutes ago, Vassen said:

The other quick way to figure out the power you need is to look at the power requirements of all the devices / lights you want on and just add them up. It’s not as accurate as the meter since for example a PC may have a 1000w power supply but only use 300w. 
 

I suggest your change all lights to energy savers or led if not done already. 
 

once you have the total power draw, let’s say 1000w for simplicity, it would mean you would need 1kwh of storage for every hour you want to cater for. Multiply by 6, gives us 6kwh. Add another 20% as you don’t want to deplete the batteries fully even if the are lithium. So that takes us to around 7.2kw. 2x pylontech us3000c should be sufficient.  

There are a few batteries in the market now. Pylontech is a good brand that is very easy to plug and play. You don’t need an electrician to add on. The new one also allows you to discharge them down to 5% and still gives you 6000 cycles.  They are around 18k each. 

In terms of inverters, there are a few but sunsynk seems to be very popular at present and you would be able to get a lot of assistance in this forum for it. A 5kw sunsynk inverter is around 20-23k depending on where you get it from. 
 

Then you would need some sundry items like changeover switches and some circuit breakers, cables for another 4-5k. Have no idea about installation as I do that by myself but others can probably recommend some decent installers. 

Just for reference, My average load on my backup circuits are sound 600w. That includes 2 fridges, a few laptops, PC, 4 screens, 5 access points plus router/switches and general light. 
 

Just 1 last thing, whatever you do choose, get brands that have decent support locally and batteries that work easily with the inverter brand you choose.  

Thank you! This helps a lot.

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4 hours ago, Bobster said:

20 kw/h?

You must have a rough idea of what you use in a day when the grid is up and the whole house is running. If that figure is approaching 20 kw/h then this guy is proposing to back up your whole property for a whole day. Which sounds like more than you need.

The recommendation is already in this thread: Do an audit. Figure out what you use, figure out how much the circuits you want to backup use, then you can answer the questions that @Achmat proposes.

For a reference, before I had my current system I had a box with 4 lead/acic batteries in it. I would think that was about 400 w/h. We could keep wifi, a TV, some laps, decoder and one fridge running easily through a Joburg load shed and charge our phones. We once did 18 hours, but the batteries were never the same after.

Methinks your units of measurement are out of whack.

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17 hours ago, Vassen said:

Just 1 last thing, whatever you do choose, get brands that have decent support locally and batteries that work easily with the inverter brand you choose.  

This......+1 million. 

For R80K..

Inverter R23K ...Sunsync (You will not find an inverter with the same functionality as this one at the same price point - FYI I have a Goodwe)

Batteries R36K....2* Pylontechs 7kW (I have an average house and use max 600W/hr from 10pm to 6 am.)

5 Panels R10K ...2kW ?? (or as many as you can afford, even 2 will be a good start, can add later)

And then see what the install will cost you...

The good thing is you can always add panels, batteries as budget allows....

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Good morning everyone.

So while I'm waiting for my energy meter to arrive & replies on a few enquiries , Ive been playing around on the websites of the suppliers mentioned above to see what's on offer within my budget. Solar Advice has a decent website with customizable kits.

For under the R100k mark, I can get 5 panels, 2 Dyness 3.6 batteries and a Sofar 6kW Hybrid inverter. All inclusive and installed.

What's the thoughts on the inverter ? I haven't seen Sofar mentioned on here. Anything major that sets the SunSynk apart from the Sofar? Also, If I go the panel route - anything specific I should look out for  ?

Thank, again.

Edited by MagicPants
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There are better/ more capable inverters out there than Sunsynk, but at two and half times the price, so for the money, the Sunsynk does everything I need it to do, very happy  with it so far, coming up on my first MWh of power generated😀😀

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18 hours ago, Speedster said:

Methinks your units of measurement are out of whack.

Yes.... looking at what I typed I now think so too. I don't have the box any more, but I recall that it did have four lead acid batteries. Looking through the catalog of the store who replaced the batteries for me, I can't get to more than 1.2 kw/h.

But my point is that somebody is trying to sell MagicPants a lot more than he needs and I wanted to give an actual example of that. A box like the one I had goes for about 16 or 17 grand now. 

Edited by Bobster
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1 hour ago, Tariq said:

There are better/ more capable inverters out there than Sunsynk, but at two and half times the price, so for the money, the Sunsynk does everything I need it to do, very happy  with it so far, coming up on my first MWh of power generated😀😀

Wow..... That's impressive.

So far the Sunsynk/Fusion-branded ones are getting recommended all over the place. So it will most likely be it. 

 

2 hours ago, Vassen said:

Hi. 
 

Sorry, can’t provide any feedback about the  Sofar. Haven’t actually seen anyone use / recommend them on this forum. 
 

with regards to the battery, I would rather go for the pylons us3000c as they can be discharged down to 5%. The dyness is similar to the normal us3000 pylons and can only go down to 20%. 

In terms of batteries, bull batteries are also pretty decent and I know a few people that have them and are happy  

I would contact the power forum store for the major components, like panels, battery and inverter. I got good prices/service from them previously. You can still shop around afterwards but be aware there are lots of suspect places as well. 

Thanks for pointing out the 5% vs 20%. Didn't know that.

Speaking of suspect places, I've seen one or two sites using pics from around the Internet and showing it off as "their projects".

Got my energy meter - will start measuring today. If I don't return - something blew up.

Edited by MagicPants
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17 minutes ago, Vassen said:

🤣 you just measuring power. Not meant to increase the consumption by blowing things up. 

 

Unless a place comes highly recommended or I can physically drive there, load the stuff in my bakkie and pay for it, I stay away. Everybody is out to make a quick buck.... even read about a paster robbing someone on this forum. 

:D Anything is possible. 

Edited by MagicPants
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