My journey to renewable energy - Solar

Priapus

Executive Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
7,708
Hi all,

At the start of this year, I made the decision that it's time to get off the grid as much as possible and reduce my reliance on old un-faithful, Eskom.

I wanted a system that I could scale up and add PV panels as and when I needed. With the help of a good friend, we set out doing the research and designing of the system. Of course, no system could be designed, without finding out what the house consumed and what the requirements where.

Back in June, we installed some power monitoring into the DB of the house, that feed the data into my Home Assistant Setup and Grafana so I could have some historical data too, besides just realtime data.

I was then able to setup Home Assistant to show the houses current and daily usage - like so:
Screenshot 2020-08-07 at 11.23.17.png

It's not pretty (for now) but it is functional and gives me an idea of what loads the house experiences (average and peak)

As mentioned - in Grafana we are then able to get historical data to get peak loads and average loads: This is over a two day period.

Screenshot 2020-08-07 at 11.26.57.png

With that, we had the requirements in terms consumption and usage patterns.

The goal for the system was to meet the following requirements:

- Power the whole house, this includes every plug and every light. I don't want to have certain plugs only working when the grid is down.
- Run on PV generation through the day as much as possible
- Battery backup to last 8hrs or more with the whole house powered

To meet these goals, we will keep the stove, oven and geyser (for now) on the grid. The stove will be converted to gas later on in the year. With the heavy loads off (Except the A/C in the lounge, which will be powered by the PV / batteries) - we then had the last bit of the requirements down, and was ready to size and spec the system accordingly.

The hardware

Decided on the following hardware

Inverter:
- Kodak MKSII 5Kva off-grid inverter.


I know this model does not do blending and when the PV generation can't cope with the load, the inverter will switch to the grid. Which I am okay with, as this will only happen a few times a day, if that and in a load-shedding situation, we won't be using heavy loads at all anyway. I would have liked to have gotten the "Blue stuff" - Victron MultiPluss unit, but there wasn't 30K in the budget just for the inverter.

Panels:
12 x 410W CanadianSolar panels.


If my maths is correct, these panels should generate around 3.2Kw at peak - which is roughly 65% efficiency.
I'll be mounting them on the roof - facing just slightly off north by a few degrees. The plan is to connect them in 3 strings of 4.

Energy storage:

With that much generation, I need somewhere to store the energy for use later. One of the requirements is also to run the house without the heavy loads (Above 2Kw/h) for most of the night.

Battery: Pylontech US3000 - 75A / 48V / 3600wh. Now just one of these won't do. I'll get around 3.5h out of it at current load (800-900w constant) - the plan is to upgrade the bank to 3 of these batteries. Second battery to come at the end of the month.

Software Monitoring:

The inverter isn't fancy enough to have cool built in monitoring. However the guys over at ICC Software supply a nice kit which I can monitor the whole system remotely and tie it into my Home Assistant / Grafana setup. I'll then make a pretty dashboard for it finally too.

I took delivery of the above this week on Wednesday and to say I am excited is an understatement . I cannot wait to have the system installed next weekend!

delivery.jpeg
panels.jpeg pylontech.jpeg kodak.jpeg

I'll be following up in this thread with the install and of course more photos and details.

Thanks for reading!
 

wingnut771

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
13,709
 

Sayf777

Expert Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2013
Messages
1,990
There are threads with over 2000 posts (which I am busy with but it is taking some time), can anyone recommend any article/s I can read regarding solar/inverter/battery combinations in the SA market?
 

Priapus

Executive Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
7,708
Subs

And good luck with the install.
/subs
Good luck with the install and post as many pics as you can!

Thanks! Will be posting as much as I can. Next weekend must hurry up!

Very nice! Rclegg?

:sneaky: - Yeah

View attachment 888828

Different inverter model. According to the manual of my one, it definitely doesn't do blending.

There is a forum devoted to just this subject

I found them very helpful and got good info


That forum has been invaluable to me. :D
 

Gielie01

Active Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Messages
72
Ill be sending you my bill, lol, you can pay my coj bill seeing as were cutting down on yours :thumbsup:
 

Priapus

Executive Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
7,708
Ill be sending you my bill, lol, you can pay my coj bill seeing as were cutting down on yours :thumbsup:

Just because I am experimenting with shifting the geyser load; doesn't mean I want to do the same with my COJ bill. :sneaky:

I'll pay your bill with beer (when we can drink again) or a constant supply of coffee. :p
 

eye_suc

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
4,017
Panels:
12 x 410W CanadianSolar panels.


If my maths is correct, these panels should generate around 3.2Kw at peak - which is roughly 65% efficiency.
I'll be mounting them on the roof - facing just slightly off north by a few degrees. The plan is to connect them in 3 strings of 4.
Not sure if this will be helpful to you, but my system was just completed today and I also have 12 x 410w CanadianSolar panels on the roof. Because I don't have a north facing roof, we split that into two arrays of 6 at 45 degrees offset to try to maximize sun hours.

We did a quick load test at approx 11:30 this morning and I was able to pull 3.2Kw from the panels before dipping into the batteries. This is with the Cape Winter sun. I'm assuming I should be able to get much better results come summer.
 

Neuk_

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2018
Messages
5,589
Not sure if this will be helpful to you, but my system was just completed today and I also have 12 x 410w CanadianSolar panels on the roof. Because I don't have a north facing roof, we split that into two arrays of 6 at 45 degrees offset to try to maximize sun hours.

We did a quick load test at approx 11:30 this morning and I was able to pull 3.2Kw from the panels before dipping into the batteries. This is with the Cape Winter sun. I'm assuming I should be able to get much better results come summer.

Can you clarify what you mean by offset at 45 degrees? We are having our 10 360w panels installed at the moment and also had an issue with North facing roof space so have gone for two strings of 5, one is East facing and the other West. I know that we won't generate as much PV power as 10 panels facing North but are hoping to still see an appreciable amount of PV generation during the day.
 

Priapus

Executive Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
7,708
Not sure if this will be helpful to you, but my system was just completed today and I also have 12 x 410w CanadianSolar panels on the roof. Because I don't have a north facing roof, we split that into two arrays of 6 at 45 degrees offset to try to maximize sun hours.

We did a quick load test at approx 11:30 this morning and I was able to pull 3.2Kw from the panels before dipping into the batteries. This is with the Cape Winter sun. I'm assuming I should be able to get much better results come summer.

Nice!
Thanks for the info, good to know.I will be happy with anything over 65% efficiency.
 

eye_suc

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
4,017
Can you clarify what you mean by offset at 45 degrees? We are having our 10 360w panels installed at the moment and also had an issue with North facing roof space so have gone for two strings of 5, one is East facing and the other West. I know that we won't generate as much PV power as 10 panels facing North but are hoping to still see an appreciable amount of PV generation during the day.
Yeah, I'm a dumbass, sorry about that. Since I don't have a north roof we doubled up doing this (the drone is pointing south):
7162427e-afa6-4692-b17f-89b12df2e695.jpg
 

AchmatK

Executive Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
7,816
Not sure if this will be helpful to you, but my system was just completed today and I also have 12 x 410w CanadianSolar panels on the roof. Because I don't have a north facing roof, we split that into two arrays of 6 at 45 degrees offset to try to maximize sun hours.

We did a quick load test at approx 11:30 this morning and I was able to pull 3.2Kw from the panels before dipping into the batteries. This is with the Cape Winter sun. I'm assuming I should be able to get much better results come summer.
Nice!
Thanks for the info, good to know.I will be happy with anything over 65% efficiency.
I'm getting about 65% efficiency out my almost flat mounted panels with the cape winter sun. Also quite happy with the outcome.

Another 23.5 kWh solar production today. Screenshot_20200807-172852_SOLARMAN%20Smart.jpg
 
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