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Forum Index : Solar : Advice on new solar set up for home and workshop

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rogerdw
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Joined: 22/10/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 76
Posted: 11:09pm 13 Nov 2019
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Hi guys,

I found this forum only a few weeks ago while investigating how to get the best value from solar.

After reading lots, I’ve decided I want to build an inverter  …  and buy some used forklift batteries to use for my home. I’m happy to retain the mains as back-up.

As we have no existing solar installation, I have to decide where to start and what to aim for.

I did purchase a second hand 3kW system a couple years ago (still sitting in the shed!)  …  but understand we need a lot more.

On looking at the used market over here (in SAust)  …  I have almost reached the conclusion that I should buy a new, bare bones 6.6kW system  …  approx. $3,500 installed  …

That gets me 6.6kW of brand new panels … with associated rebate and warranty  …  installation  …  and a cheapie 5kW inverter.


…  but  …  how to design a complete system  …  and add in my inverter  ...  and the extra 3kW of panels?


I’ve included a layout of our property as there is some distance between where the panels can fit, the main fuse box and the house fuse box.

Any advice and suggestions would be most welcome. Thank you.


Cheers, Roger


Main Property Layout.pdf



 
Warpspeed
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Posted: 12:57am 14 Nov 2019
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  Quote   I have to decide where to start and what to aim for.


I suppose a  good starting point would be to first of all dig out as many old power bills as you can find, and arrive at some kind of monthly power usage estimate, especially through mid winter.

Next step might be to buy one or more of those low cost energy monitors, and do a complete power audit of every appliance you own. There are bound to be some real surprises, and its highly likely that by changing a few simple things, some very major power savings will be possible without changing any personal usage patterns or lifestyle.

Its always going to end up cheaper to spend a few dollars to reduce your power usage by some percentage, than installing a larger system to cope.
But the biggest advantage of doing all this, is to gain a much greater insight as to where all those kilowatt hours are going, and that helps to get the overall picture and size the individual components of the prospective system.
Cheers, Tony.
 
rogerdw
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Joined: 22/10/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 76
Posted: 04:06am 14 Nov 2019
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  Warpspeed said  
  Quote   I have to decide where to start and what to aim for.


I suppose a  good starting point would be to first of all dig out as many old power bills as you can find, and arrive at some kind of monthly power usage estimate, especially through mid winter.

Next step might be to buy one or more of those low cost energy monitors, and do a complete power audit of every appliance you own. There are bound to be some real surprises, and its highly likely that by changing a few simple things, some very major power savings will be possible without changing any personal usage patterns or lifestyle.

Its always going to end up cheaper to spend a few dollars to reduce your power usage by some percentage, than installing a larger system to cope.
But the biggest advantage of doing all this, is to gain a much greater insight as to where all those kilowatt hours are going, and that helps to get the overall picture and size the individual components of the prospective system.



Thanks Tony. I do have access to those power bills, but don't have to look at them to tell you our first 3mth bill when we moved here 3 and a half years ago was over $1,300 and our useage a bit over 23kWh per day.

Through a bit of care and finetuning  ...  our latest bill was down to $699  ...  at an average of 16.37kWh per day  ...  though that has highlighted the fact that our pool pumps are a major drain  ...  because we haven't had them on over winter.

12 months ago we were down to 20.76kWh per day

The fact that 2 teenage daughters left in the last 12 months probably helped in no small way either!  

I grew up in an age where I learned to shut the door, put on a jumper or an extra blanket  ...  switched off the lights etc etc  ...  in fact, I recall as a child seeing the lights over the tea table start to dim  ...  and one of us kids would have to stumble down to the engine room behind the house to flick the switches to start up the generator and charge the batteries.

My wife is 10 years younger than me  ...  and her upbringing was quite different to mine. I'm not sure I would get away with any more 'restrictions'  ...and I don't really want to either. Sunlight is free  ...  it's just the harvesting equipment that costs a few dollars  ...  and in some ways, when some 'kid' wants to "hey Boomer" me  ...  I want to be able to point out what I'm doing in the energy field to show I am making an effort.  

I do recall being amused to read a post by Madness I think it was  ...  who said he wants to live off-grid  ...  not just survive off-grid.
 
Warpspeed
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Posted: 05:09am 14 Nov 2019
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I managed to halve my power consumption, and that made a very big difference, before I even thought about sizing parts for my own system.

Probably best to tackle the pool pump question quite separately to everything else. You certainly don't want to be running a pool pump when the sky is dark and its pouring with rain and running it off precious battery power.

As previously discussed, a string of separate solar panels, a large 2.5Hp tradmill motor and a pulley drive onto your existing pool pump would be my approach to that.
No battery, no controls, just let it run when the sun shines.
Edited 2019-11-14 15:15 by Warpspeed
Cheers, Tony.
 
rogerdw
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Joined: 22/10/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 76
Posted: 01:51pm 14 Nov 2019
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  Warpspeed said  I managed to halve my power consumption, and that made a very big difference, before I even thought about sizing parts for my own system.

Probably best to tackle the pool pump question quite separately to everything else. You certainly don't want to be running a pool pump when the sky is dark and its pouring with rain and running it off precious battery power.

As previously discussed, a string of separate solar panels, a large 2.5Hp tradmill motor and a pulley drive onto your existing pool pump would be my approach to that.
No battery, no controls, just let it run when the sun shines.



I had been pleased with myself for managing to reduce it as far as I have ...  but certainly no where near half.

I've been looking forward to having solar so that we can time our useage to when the sun shines. ...  which means pool pumps, dish washer, washing machine  ...  but I also work from home  ...  so there's not really a lot to cut back on there.

Using a dc motor for the pool pump is do-able  ...  though there is also a solar pump  ...  which means 2 motors plus modifications. Filter pump is 1.5hp and solar pump 1hp.

I will try to work out the likely requirements for both these pumps. The filter pump needs to run at least 5 hours a day and the smaller solar one about 2 hours.

From your experience Tony, what do you envision would be needed as far as number of panels/wattage to cover just the pump motors  ...  without any sort of electronics as you suggested? Thanks.

Cheers,  Roger
 
renewableMark

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Joined: 09/12/2017
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Posted: 09:32pm 14 Nov 2019
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One thing to keep in mind is a grid tied array will net way more power than an off grid array.

Grid tie is pumping at full power non stop.

Off grid only supplies enough to charge the battery in the morning and keep it at float. ALL the rest of the potential energy that could have been harvested is totally wasted.

So if you are allowed to connect a 6.6kw GT array, that will provide you with a hell of a lot of power.

Having that and your 3kw array would make a hefty dent in even winter power bills, summer that should be more than enough for 99% of families.

We use around 10kwh a day, when my system was 10kw of panels it coped just fine 98% of the time.
It got added to so it could still charge ok in cloudy spells.

But most of the time probably 50-80% of it's potential is not harnessed as the battery is at float.

The array is only oversized like that to allow for cloudy spells.(it's now 12kw)

Setting something up off grid you have to have a completely different mind set.
Poida came over one day and said he was astounded at the amount of spares I had, but that's all needed in case something goes wrong.

Setting up your pool on your off grid setup with an Auto transfer switch would be a good way to go.
When/if the off grid setup battery gets low the mains will then kick in and take over.
Cheers Caveman Mark
Off grid eastern Melb
 
rogerdw
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Joined: 22/10/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 76
Posted: 11:14pm 14 Nov 2019
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  renewableMark said  One thing to keep in mind is a grid tied array will net way more power than an off grid array.

Grid tie is pumping at full power non stop.

Off grid only supplies enough to charge the battery in the morning and keep it at float. ALL the rest of the potential energy that could have been harvested is totally wasted.

So if you are allowed to connect a 6.6kw GT array, that will provide you with a hell of a lot of power.




Thanks Mark, that is very helpful.

In SA we are limited to 5kWh feed in and are allowed to oversize our arrays  ...  so a 6.6kW array is legit.



  renewableMark said  

Having that and your 3kw array would make a hefty dent in even winter power bills, summer that should be more than enough for 99% of families.




That is how I see it too. The part I am uncertain with  ...  is how to combine the two systems.

We could have a standard grid tie system with the 6.6kW of panels running the house.

Then the 3kW setup just running the pool pumps via Tony's suggested treadmill motor idea. Though I doubt that 3kW would be enough to consistently run the two pool pumps without having to switch back and forth to mains on overcast or rainy days.


If we had the 3kW (or more) of panels charging a forklift battery and using an OzInverter or similar to run parts of the property  ...  we'd need to have two separate 240v circuits  ...  which is not all that pratical.


Our night time use is not all that high  ...  so a reasonable size battery could possibly keep the whole place going overnight without having to rely on the mains  ...  but again, how do you combine the two circuits and control the switching over?


  renewableMark said  

We use around 10kwh a day, when my system was 10kw of panels it coped just fine 98% of the time.
It got added to so it could still charge ok in cloudy spells.

But most of the time probably 50-80% of it's potential is not harnessed as the battery is at float.




That is a very important point. That is where if you have a GT system  ...  that wasted power can be taken advantage of and fed back into the grid to earn you a credit.


I suppose that is what I am trying to get my head around  ...  taking advantage of the GT system with it's ability to absorb extra generated power along with its feed-in credit  ...  as well as have a battery system that largely takes care of the night time power requirements, plus any extra heavy loads during the day when there is still time for the battery to be replenished.

An AC charger off the GT system could also kick in and help top up the battery if need be  ...  and stop that power going back into the grid unnecessarily.

I know  ...  I want my cake and eat it as well!!!  


Thanks for the input.


Cheers,  Roger
 
Warpspeed
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Posted: 11:18pm 14 Nov 2019
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Agree with everything above ^^^ one hundred percent.
I suppose there are two quite different approaches to going solar.

The first might be to reduce power bills as much as possible at the lowest overall cost. That certainly makes sense for retirees.
The motivation there being purely financial, but without an expensive battery that leaves you vulnerable to total loss of power in the event of grid blackout.
Just get a commercial grid tie system professionally installed and be done.

Going entirely off grid is going to be expensive any way you go about it, and never financially viable where grid power is available.
But it will give you complete independence and peace of mind. And it can also be fun and a great personal challenge, and that in itself can be very rewarding in a personal sense.

  Quote  From your experience Tony, what do you envision would be needed as far as number of panels/wattage to cover just the pump motors  ...  without any sort of electronics as you suggested? Thanks.


I have never done anything like this myself, I don't even have a pool, but this is how I would go about it.

Most of the larger treadmill motors are rated 2.5Hp at 180 volts dc, and typically ten amps at 4,500 rpm, all as listed on the rating sticker.
Just because it says 2.5Hp does not mean you have to load it up to that much.
The motor on the filter pump will also have a rating plate that might say 1.5Hp at 2800 rpm or thereabouts.

So my first guess for a pulley ratio would be to run both motors at their design speeds with a 1.6 pulley ratio, this may need to later be changed. Try to keep the pulley diameters reasonably large for best mechanical efficiency, and you can run a looser belt without fear of belt slip.

At 4,500 rpm and 180 volts the 2.5Hp motor is only going to be loaded with 1.5Hp, so the current will be less. Probably in the region of 1.5/2.5 x 10 amps perhaps six amps. If the max power voltage per solar panel is 30v then six panels in series would produce 180v and at only six amps loading 180 watt to 200 watt panels might be about right.

If the panels are larger say 250 watts you could probably get away with only five in series (150 volts) run the motor slower but at a higher load with a slightly lower pulley ratio.

When its all going, the trick will be to change the pulley ratio so that the solar panels are working near their peak power voltage.  The motor is plenty powerful enough to run either at a higher rpm with less current, or loaded down more at a higher current, as long as you don't try to exceed the ten amp motor rating.
Ten amps at 30v would imply three hundred watt panels. That would be possible, but smaller panels and a higher voltage (at less current) would be easier on the motor.

A bit of experimentation with the pulley ratio might be required, but in the end if you can get the original pump motor running at its rated shaft speed from solar, you have succeeded.

Centrifugal pump drive power rises cubed law with rpm, so even in cloudy weather the pump speed should not fall off in rpm as much as you might expect.
Cheers, Tony.
 
Davo99
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Posted: 11:45pm 14 Nov 2019
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Working backwards through your comments....


  rogerdw said  


I've been looking forward to having solar so that we can time our useage to when the sun shines. ...  which means pool pumps, dish washer, washing machine  ...  but I also work from home  ...  so there's not really a lot to cut back on there.


The reason I went overboard with solar is so I can do what I like and not have to worry about bills. I dont want to have to worry about when something is turned on and I don't want to have to hassel the wife and daughter for what they are using, except in winter.
:0)

Right now it's Do as you want, plenty of power, enjoy it.
That said as you described I still have it ingrained into me from a kid to turn out lights when no one is in the room and I justify that to myself that it's to save the globes wearing out for nothing.... even though they are all now LED which will probably outlast me.



  Quote  Using a dc motor for the pool pump is do-able  ...  though there is also a solar pump  ...  which means 2 motors plus modifications. Filter pump is 1.5hp and solar pump 1hp.


The way I look at things like this is to look at the cost of changing them to save money then play that off against how many running hours that cost would run what you have. Very often one may come up with a number that is questionable if the product will last that long anyway. Sometines the very cheapest thing over all is to do nothing. I would suggest putting the upgrade cost toward a solar setup where effectively EVERYTHING in your homes running cost was reduced has a good chance of being the better spend.  As you say you only/ mainly run the pumps in summer, that is perfect as it's when you have the most power to spare.


  Quote   when we moved here 3 and a half years ago was over $1,300 and our useage a bit over 23kWh per day.

Through a bit of care and finetuning  ...  our latest bill was down to $699  ...  at an average of 16.37kWh per day  ...  though that has highlighted the fact that our pool pumps are a major drain  ...  because we haven't had them on over winter.

12 months ago we were down to 20.76kWh per day


For about the last month I have been averaging about 25-28 Kwh a day and am amazed it's so low. Incoming water is warmer, AC has been used 99% on fan only.
When I look at the meters through the day the last few weeks the solar has been off the meters move so slowly but I guess it's the bigger loads like the stove, AC and hot water that really send it spinning.



  Quote   I'm not sure I would get away with any more 'restrictions'  ...and I don't really want to either.


FINALLY!
Someone who understands!

I am in the same boat. Well almost, mrs is slightly older than me so you were much smarter there but her upbringing was in a much better off family and also grew up with parents rather than Grandparents. I also have a daughter and to be honest, I don't want to be a pain in the arse and an overbearing annoyance running round complaining about every bit of power she uses and telling her to switch off every one of the endless electronics she has.

My wife is much the same, doesn't understand much and never had that " Turn the light off" mentality when she grew up. Trying to push it now as little as I do in winter just leads to stress and aggro and none of us need it. And nothing happens unless I'm there to nag them anyway. Mrs Drives me insane walking away leaving the TV on but thats another whinge and not because of the power useage.

I put panels up everywhere, gives me an interest and a hobby, the little we spent on it is paid back at least Double every year in savings and we can just lead happier lives. Even if we didn't have the solar I doubt our bils would be that much different if I did chase all the little Drains. The Bio pump would use more in one of it's many firings a day than all the wall plugs we have would in a month. Plus, there is no doubt stuff would get broken trying to reach in and turn the things on and off as the power points in this place are all a mongeral to get to even though I have about doubled the number since being here.


  Quote   Sunlight is free  ...  it's just the harvesting equipment that costs a few dollars  ...  and in some ways, when some 'kid' wants to "hey Boomer" me  ...  I want to be able to point out what I'm doing in the energy field to show I am making an effort.


My setup has cost peanuts And I couldn't give a proverbial about all the modern day green religion clap trap. The thing that makes me laugh though is even though I think it's all a con, I am doing WAY more than all the people that back it. As well as having a Minimal power consumption, I have been running my vehicle on veg oil for 17 years as of last month and use about as much petrol as most people use in their lawn Mower. And having a diesel lawn Mower I also run on veg, I beat them there too.

Really funny when someone wants to lambaste you for Running a big $WD or not buying into the green religion and then you can show them you are doing a heck of a lot more for the cause they championing than what they are.  :0)

  Quote  I do recall being amused to read a post by Madness I think it was  ...  who said he wants to live off-grid  ...  not just survive off-grid.


Its a valid Comment. A main reason I DON'T want to go off grid any sooner than I may be forced to. I like the comforts and Luxuries we have now and I am more than happy to pay the little I do for them.


  Quote  
After reading lots, I’ve decided I want to build an inverter  …  and buy some used forklift batteries to use for my home.


It seems your main goal is to save power bills. The SECOND you buy batteries, any batteries, you are going to INCREASE your Costs. You can use second hand panels, batteries inverters and other things but you WON'T over the life of the components, used or new, come out paying less per KWH with the power you get over buying it from the grid when the grid is available and connected.

By all means add solar to your grid connection, that can be a huge money saver but the second you go down the battery road at this time, you will average out at paying more for your power.

Batteries are like buying a $1000 Bucket that holds .25C worth of water.

  Quote   On looking at the used market over here (in SAust)  …  I have almost reached the conclusion that I should buy a new, bare bones 6.6kW system  …  approx. $3,500 installed  …


I think I was you whom on another thread didn't want to interfere with the mains on a DIY connection? If I have that right, then having a separate system and Inverter would mean another power system and that sounds like a HUGE pain in the arse to run.

You would be MUCH better off with a conventional system.

If you had a 6.6KW system you could expect to get 18-24KWh day out of it in winter and 30-36 Kwh day in summer. From what you are saying that would more than cover your needs and the summer excess would give you a little FIT to offset any winter costs.
Your consumption on the numbers you are giving is not high so a 6.6 System should be plenty for your needs.  

  Quote   That gets me 6.6kW of brand new panels … with associated rebate and warranty  …  installation  …  and a cheapie 5kW inverter.


And if you are concerned with approval's and legalities, you are fine there AND, the system will be up and running in a couple of days and you won't be stuffing round getting tired and frustrated and chasing problems. Your payback would be 3-4 Years and you'll be in front.  

My suggestion with a lower cost system would be to get decent but not over the top panels but spend more on the inverter. IMHO, they are the weak link.


  Quote   …  but  …  how to design a complete system  …  and add in my inverter  ...  and the extra 3kW of panels?


Get the retail system and all the metering etc set up.  When it's all approved/ inspected. Put the panels of your 3 Kw system up, wire the inverter into a power circuit and you are done. The used inverter will feed power back into the circuits behind the meter and be used by the home. any which isn't will register a credit on the smartarse meter.

The only thing you may want to look at is getting APPROVAL for a 10 KW system if you can. This way if at some time you feed 7.5KW back into the grid they won't get suspect. In reality I doubt they would anyway unless you have a Huge FIT but if you could do it that way you'd be laughing.   That is exactly what I hope to do when they take away my spinny meters.  Get approval for a 10 Kw system, get the smallest legit system I can and then hook up everything I have now back into it. I -may- be even better off than I am now if I got a fit.  I think the rule to be in front is feed back 3-4 times what you use and I'm pretty sure I could do that without much trouble.... Especially if I put up another 5KW on the north side of the roof where I have left space purposefully. I have Pulled over 80kwh a day now, another 5kw would easily give me over 100kwh. Might take some explaining how a 10 Kwh system managed that but anyway.... :0)


  Quote   I’ve included a layout of our property as there is some distance between where the panels can fit, the main fuse box and the house fuse box.


Going to be extra connection fees there for sure but it may be worth crunching the numbers and seeing what sort of Yield an east/ west system on the building where the meter box is would give you. It's probably not going to be much less than the north face over all.

Then install your 3 KW system on the north roof and just plug that into to the building it's on.  Single phase should be ok, If you have 3 phase to the shed you are laughing. You can always overclock the 3 KW system with more panels as well.
Most of mine are double panels to inverter rating and I have had no trouble at all.
They come on early, produce max power for many hours a day not just at midday and then finish late still producing good power till just before sunset.
Edited 2019-11-15 09:47 by Davo99
 
renewableMark

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If you end up with a GT system look into whether you can hook up a 48v fork battery to it.
You'll need to spend more but some inverters will allow battery input as well, that will give you an off grid ability from your GT system.

Since you can get the batteries at a good price that's something I'd do.

On top of that you could set up your 3kw setup with a second battery that powered the pool stuff.

If the pool stuff was on a separate circuit it wouldn't be a big deal to have it being fed by the off grid unit and have a second power input from street mains.
The power would be controlled to the pool stuff via an auto transfer switch.

These devices are great, you can set one to be the primary source and the second power input as the reserve.

So primary source would be the off grid, when battery level fell to it's setpoint then it would shut down (both nano and mad cards will do this).
At that point the ATS will switch over to mains, this happens in one cycle.

Like this

Having a setup with two batteries would also allow them to be paralleled if the need arose.

Only suggesting a two battery idea as you can get them so cheap, but that would be a ripper setup (if you wanted off grid capability).
Cheers Caveman Mark
Off grid eastern Melb
 
Murphy's friend

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Posted: 09:58am 15 Nov 2019
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  Davo99 said  
The only thing you may want to look at is getting APPROVAL for a 10 KW system if you can. This way if at some time you feed 7.5KW back into the grid they won't get suspect. In reality I doubt they would anyway unless you have a Huge FIT but if you could do it that way you'd be laughing.   That is exactly what I hope to do when they take away my spinny meters.  Get approval for a 10 Kw system, get the smallest legit system I can and then hook up everything I have now back into it. I -may- be even better off than I am now if I got a fit.  I think the rule to be in front is feed back 3-4 times what you use and I'm pretty sure I could do that without much trouble.... Especially if I put up another 5KW on the north side of the roof where I have left space purposefully. I have Pulled over 80kwh a day now, another 5kw would easily give me over 100kwh. Might take some explaining how a 10 Kwh system managed that but anyway.... :0)




Davo99, it seems to me, reading your various posts on that subject,, that you have some misunderstanding how a grid system works.
You seem to assume it works like a giant sponge that takes any power somebody wishes to backfeed into it.

Unless the grid has battery storage  or pumped hydro storage, any power that is fed into it *must* be used simultaneously by those drawing power from it.
Its basically a system that moves available power + transmission losses about from one location to another.

Stuffing more into it than there is a instantaneous demand for tends to overload transformers, etc., the grid voltage goes up and then people complain about that.

To keep that power in/ power out balanced , the grid authorities cut in or switch out their power generating equipment. But that happens in big, controlled steps.
Un authorized back feeding for financial gain throws the spanner into the works and your neighbours up the road can thank you for their excessive high grid voltage.

I have gone down the "expensive" battery storage way. Excess solar power is not used, I  let somebody else have it instead, for free . There is no law that one *has* to use all the solar power available from their panels. Take what you need only is my mantra.
 
rogerdw
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Posted: 12:21pm 15 Nov 2019
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  Warpspeed said  Agree with everything above ^^^ one hundred percent.
I suppose there are two quite different approaches to going solar.

The first might be to reduce power bills as much as possible at the lowest overall cost. That certainly makes sense for retirees.
The motivation there being purely financial, but without an expensive battery that leaves you vulnerable to total loss of power in the event of grid blackout.
Just get a commercial grid tie system professionally installed and be done.



If I lived alone, I could probably reduce my power bill by heaps more  ...  but I don't  ...  and I don't especially want to  ...  so I have to make some allowances.  

Despite what people seem to think about SA, grid blackouts are not that common and I'm not really concerned about them personally.


  Warpspeed said  

Going entirely off grid is going to be expensive any way you go about it, and never financially viable where grid power is available.
But it will give you complete independence and peace of mind. And it can also be fun and a great personal challenge, and that in itself can be very rewarding in a personal sense.




I'm not especially keen to get off the grid  ...  it has to be the ultimate back-up if something goes wrong. It's your next comment that hits the mark Tony  ...  I do see it as a personal challenge and something rewarding in a personal sense.

I have done several things in my life that looking back, give me immense personal satisfaction. I may live to regret saying this, but I do see this as possibly another one of those.  


Cheers,  Roger
 
rogerdw
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Posted: 01:22pm 15 Nov 2019
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  Davo99 said  

The reason I went overboard with solar is so I can do what I like and not have to worry about bills. I dont want to have to worry about when something is turned on and I don't want to have to hassel the wife and daughter for what they are using, except in winter.
:0)


This part I get. My wife has come around pretty well so I'm not picking on her  ...  and I don't want to spend the rest of my life being a grumpy old coot with her and our lad.  



  Davo99 said  

The way I look at things like this is to look at the cost of changing them to save money then play that off against how many running hours that cost would run what you have. Very often one may come up with a number that is questionable if the product will last that long anyway. Sometines the very cheapest thing over all is to do nothing. I would suggest putting the upgrade cost toward a solar setup where effectively EVERYTHING in your homes running cost was reduced has a good chance of being the better spend.  As you say you only/ mainly run the pumps in summer, that is perfect as it's when you have the most power to spare.




That makes sense to me. Another thing I weigh up is how many hours a job will take  ...  then think about how much I can earn doing my work for that length of time. That often has me paying someone else or doing something different.




  Quote   I'm not sure I would get away with any more 'restrictions'  ...and I don't really want to either.


  Davo99 said  

FINALLY!
Someone who understands!

I am in the same boat. Well almost, mrs is slightly older than me so you were much smarter there but her upbringing was in a much better off family and also grew up with parents rather than Grandparents. I also have a daughter and to be honest, I don't want to be a pain in the arse and an overbearing annoyance running round complaining about every bit of power she uses and telling her to switch off every one of the endless electronics she has.




Haha  ...  yeah, as above  ...  I'm tired of coming across as a grumpy old so and so. I think I've made as much headway as I'm ever going to make  ...  so from here on, I need a cheaper source of power to make up the difference.  


  Davo99 said  

The Bio pump would use more in one of it's many firings a day than all the wall plugs we have would in a month.




I hear you there. When we moved in here, we had to make changes to the septic system  ...  and a bio digester was on the cards  ...  but one of our friends mentioned the cost of the pump running  ...  plus regular maintenance  ...  so we stayed with an old fashioned soakage pit.

Another friend also had issues with his fancy electronically controlled septic  ...  and I got conned into fixing it a couple times for him  ...  so no thanks.



  Davo99 said  

My setup has cost peanuts And I couldn't give a proverbial about all the modern day green religion clap trap. The thing that makes me laugh though is even though I think it's all a con, I am doing WAY more than all the people that back it. As well as having a Minimal power consumption, I have been running my vehicle on veg oil for 17 years as of last month and use about as much petrol as most people use in their lawn Mower. And having a diesel lawn Mower I also run on veg, I beat them there too.



Agree 100%  ...  they point the finger at us older folk  ...  yet are often amongst the most wasteful of resources of anyone I know. Hypocrites!

Kudos for doing the veggie oil thing  ...  it's also something I wanted to do but never got around to.


  Davo99 said  

It seems your main goal is to save power bills. The SECOND you buy batteries, any batteries, you are going to INCREASE your Costs. You can use second hand panels, batteries inverters and other things but you WON'T over the life of the components, used or new, come out paying less per KWH with the power you get over buying it from the grid when the grid is available and connected.

By all means add solar to your grid connection, that can be a huge money saver but the second you go down the battery road at this time, you will average out at paying more for your power.

Batteries are like buying a $1000 Bucket that holds .25C worth of water.




I hear you  ...  but how do you explain the other guys on the forum here using eg second hand fork lift batteries ... or other forms of battery.

If I can get a set of 600Ah batteries only 3 years old for 6 or $700 ...  I can replace them every few years if they don't pan out too well.


  Davo99 said  

I think I was you whom on another thread didn't want to interfere with the mains on a DIY connection? If I have that right, then having a separate system and Inverter would mean another power system and that sounds like a HUGE pain in the arse to run.




Yep, that was me  ...  and fair comment  ...  though it would not be all that hard to have a battery/inverter system run everything down at the sheds  ...  so that includes the pool pumps, rainwater pressure pump, air compressor, my workshop, lights and all my work equipment.

And then perhaps have a grid tied system that does the house. Maybe I could even add a couple of split system air cons to make life even easier for my lovely wife. :)


  Davo99 said  

You would be MUCH better off with a conventional system.

If you had a 6.6KW system you could expect to get 18-24KWh day out of it in winter and 30-36 Kwh day in summer. From what you are saying that would more than cover your needs and the summer excess would give you a little FIT to offset any winter costs.
Your consumption on the numbers you are giving is not high so a 6.6 System should be plenty for your needs.

 


Thanks for those figures, it helps a lot to understand what is possible




  Quote   That gets me 6.6kW of brand new panels … with associated rebate and warranty  …  installation  …  and a cheapie 5kW inverter.




  Davo99 said  

And if you are concerned with approval's and legalities, you are fine there AND, the system will be up and running in a couple of days and you won't be stuffing round getting tired and frustrated and chasing problems. Your payback would be 3-4 Years and you'll be in front.  

My suggestion with a lower cost system would be to get decent but not over the top panels but spend more on the inverter. IMHO, they are the weak link.




Yep, very good argument.


  Davo99 said  

Get the retail system and all the metering etc set up.  When it's all approved/ inspected. Put the panels of your 3 Kw system up, wire the inverter into a power circuit and you are done. The used inverter will feed power back into the circuits behind the meter and be used by the home. any which isn't will register a credit on the smartarse meter.

The only thing you may want to look at is getting APPROVAL for a 10 KW system if you can. This way if at some time you feed 7.5KW back into the grid they won't get suspect. In reality I doubt they would anyway unless you have a Huge FIT but if you could do it that way you'd be laughing.   That is exactly what I hope to do when they take away my spinny meters.  Get approval for a 10 Kw system, get the smallest legit system I can and then hook up everything I have now back into it. I -may- be even better off than I am now if I got a fit.  I think the rule to be in front is feed back 3-4 times what you use and I'm pretty sure I could do that without much trouble.... Especially if I put up another 5KW on the north side of the roof where I have left space purposefully. I have Pulled over 80kwh a day now, another 5kw would easily give me over 100kwh. Might take some explaining how a 10 Kwh system managed that but anyway.... :0)



Nah  ...  couldn't do that.    Besides, we are limited to 5kWh feed-in to the grid. That's why a seperate system looks a bit more attractive to me.

I certainly wouldn't be against putting up additional panels on top of the 6.6 and 3kW  ...  we do have several kW of underfloor heating I could tackle over winter. Putting up a heap of panels as a once off  ...  and building a couple of Tony's simple HWS controllers would run rings around collecting, sawing, stacking wood for our combustion heater  ...  as lovely as it is  ...  and even though we get the wood for free.  



  Davo99 said  

Going to be extra connection fees there for sure but it may be worth crunching the numbers and seeing what sort of Yield an east/ west system on the building where the meter box is would give you. It's probably not going to be much less than the north face over all.



We could use the rear of the other shed roof (east)  ...  but the west side is largely taken up by the pool solar collector  ...  and the rest shaded by some big palm trees  ...  which would affect both sides pretty well.

We are on single phase too.


Thanks for all your input and ideas  ...  the more I thrash this out, the sooner I can make some decisions and make it happen.


Cheers,  Roger
 
rogerdw
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Posted: 01:48pm 15 Nov 2019
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  renewableMark said  If you end up with a GT system look into whether you can hook up a 48v fork battery to it.
You'll need to spend more but some inverters will allow battery input as well, that will give you an off grid ability from your GT system.

Since you can get the batteries at a good price that's something I'd do.

On top of that you could set up your 3kw setup with a second battery that powered the pool stuff.

If the pool stuff was on a separate circuit it wouldn't be a big deal to have it being fed by the off grid unit and have a second power input from street mains.
The power would be controlled to the pool stuff via an auto transfer switch.

These devices are great, you can set one to be the primary source and the second power input as the reserve.

So primary source would be the off grid, when battery level fell to it's setpoint then it would shut down (both nano and mad cards will do this).
At that point the ATS will switch over to mains, this happens in one cycle.

Like this

Having a setup with two batteries would also allow them to be paralleled if the need arose.

Only suggesting a two battery idea as you can get them so cheap, but that would be a ripper setup (if you wanted off grid capability).



For a long time, until I started reading here thoroughly  ...  I believed I had to buy a hybrid inverter to do as you suggested  ...  but the added expense over a normal GTI was holding me back. Easily a thousand to two thousand dollars dearer  ...  and that was just for a cheapie type hybrid.

A number of the 'better' hybrids don't even allow for low voltage batteries either (48V)  ...  they are all designed for high voltage batteries!!!


Now if I was Davo,    I could install one of those with my forklift batteries  ...  and once it was all commissioned  ...  add my extra panels to make sure it kept up. Probably use one of Madness's charge regulators to limit the additional panels  ...  and let the hybrid inverter maintain the batteries.


Thanks for the info on the ATS  ...  that certainly helps with my understanding.

In fact I spent an hour earlier drawing out a more elaborate ATS/Interlock system that could handle two seperate AC circuits (House and W/Shop)  ...  plus running either one or both off a battery inverter or switching back to the mains  ...  and all being failsafe so there was no way the battery inverter output could feed back into the mains.


As mentioned above, because the workshop, pool pumps, pressure pump wiring all branch off from the main fuse box at the sheds  ...  separating it into two circuits should not be all that difficult for a sparky to do. May still be worth investigating some more.


Thanks again for the suggestions and reminders Mark.


Cheers,  Roger
 
Davo99
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Posted: 07:46am 17 Nov 2019
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  Murphy's friend said  


Davo99, it seems to me, reading your various posts on that subject,, that you have some misunderstanding how a grid system works.


Having too much time on my hands and also having an acute interest in this, I believe I am pretty well versed on how the grind works in a whole bunch of aspects.


  Quote  You seem to assume it works like a giant sponge that takes any power somebody wishes to backfeed into it.


No, But I do think that there is always going to be draw from beyond what the immediate area can supply.  A local shopping centre, the waste treatment plant down the road from me, factories and Businesses, the majority of homes that DO NOT have solar, especially round here that like me Run AC winter and summer and so it goes are ALWAYS going to be sucking more power from the power station that what is generated in the local area.

  Quote  Unless the grid has battery storage  or pumped hydro storage, any power that is fed into it *must* be used simultaneously by those drawing power from it.
Its basically a system that moves available power + transmission losses about from one location to another.


I agree. But if I an everyone else locally is generating enough power to feed the local demand, then the draw from the transmission lines and the power station solar farm or wind farm can back off which will save wear and tear, emissions if you are concerned with that BS and be more efficient. It is ludicrous to bring power from hundreds of KM away when it could be generated locally. The reason it's not done more is nothing else than sheer corporate greed.

  Quote  Stuffing more into it than there is a instantaneous demand for tends to overload transformers, etc., the grid voltage goes up and then people complain about that.


With sincere respect, and I do not meant to be rude to you, but that is not my or any other end users problem. That is a management problem for the grid operators whom well have enough data and experience now to allow for that and back their own systems down instead of expecting the individual to so they can make more revenue. If the power can come into an area then it can go back out and if it cannot, that is on the head of the power companies for having inadequate and out dated  equipment.

I have nothing but utter contempt for power co's and the way they extort the population and rort the system. Maybe you haven't looked into the whole industry as I have, No normal person would, but it is a complete and utter sham and all geared towards the profits of the power Industry which last year was $2.7 BILLION  net profit.

That's a lot more than staying in business and shows they have more than adequate funds to do what is needed to update the system to where it needs to be... which the don't come near. Still, with all that profit we can look forward in 3 of the 4 states on the national grid to have power shortages this summer and they will get worse before they get better let me tell you.

In other countries, Canada for one, people are ENCOURAGED to feed back into the grid and paid well for it. Their system has had the investment made in it so transformers don't overload or voltage goes to high.

On that one alone, I have NEVER in the 2.5 years I have been here seen the grid voltage anywhere near where it should be and I am talking 9 Pm, midnight, 3 am and every other time. Being a nutter I have a Voltage meter right here in my office where I can see it night and day.  Pretty sure when it's pitch black outside it's not the back feeding from rooftop PV causing the problem. The power cos are too damn greedy to do what they should to make the supply meet the proper standards.


Billions is paid to Companies to build unreliable BS wind and solar farms hundreds of KM away but then we hear the utter crap about the system not being able to take the input from rooftop PV. If that is the case, Why the fk are they not putting that money into the system so it can take it rather than paying investment corps billions to build solar farms? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the solar farms don't generate power at night just like my own panels don't. Only thing is, I'm not blighting the landscape and costing billions with transmission lines coming from these money pits that we don't need especially if there is too much daytime power now.


  Quote  To keep that power in/ power out balanced , the grid authorities cut in or switch out their power generating equipment. But that happens in big, controlled steps.
Un authorized back feeding for financial gain throws the spanner into the works and your neighbours up the road can thank you for their excessive high grid voltage.


So they can switch out their un needed solar and wind farms hundreds of KM from me.
Fine. As far as my back feeding causing high grid voltage, that's basically insulting. EVERYTHING the power co's do is for financial gain but it is somehow wrong for me to want to look after the interests of my family the same way the corporate entities want to make all the financial gain they can?  No, I have as much or more right to look after my financial interests as they do and I don't even come near near rorting and gaming the system like they do. What is good for the goose....

If the power companies were remotely fair, they would not be paying .6C for the power Their customers generate to sell it next door for .30C or more. and please don't tell me about wires and poles maintence. I lived in my last place 24 Years and NEVER in that time did they touch the poles or wires as far as I could see up and down the road. In any case, I pay about $100 a quarter " supply charge" to cover that.

As I said, the grid voltage here has NEVER been where it should be day or night or when my solar is turned off. I can guarantee you this, It's NOT me pushing the grid voltage up here nor in a lot of other places that have problems with the power greed based lack of maintence.

On the other hand, give it a month or so when there is a power SHORTAGE because they have blown up all the base load stations to appease their green garbage cult mentality and the power co and my neighbours will be bloody thankful of the power I'm back feeding on a hot day when everyone is running their AC because it may stop the power going off from over load.
Cant have it both ways as much as that is exactly what these greedy mongeral power companies always try to engineer and guilt trip people into.

  Quote  I have gone down the "expensive" battery storage way.


That's your choice. My choice is not wrong because it's different to your own.


  Quote  Excess solar power is not used, I  let somebody else have it instead, for free .


For Free? You mean they don't have to pay for it? You send it direct to them rather than back through the grid?
OR, do you mean you are giving it to the power co's whom are then PROFITING from it by having someone else pay for it?

If you are of a charitable disposition, then you could throw a lead over the fence and let your neighbours use it for free rather than them have to pay to what you gave the power co for free and they then onsold for the max profit they could get for it.
You are not doing anyone a favour but I'm sure the power co's thank you for adding to their outlandish profits.

I'm sorry but I will never see any merit in donating to profiteering, greedy, belligerent corporate entities.  They are NOT a charity and I have no inclination to donating to the Multi Million dollar salaries of the board members, their bonuses or that of the wealthy share holders.
If you do, again your choice and you are free to make it.


  Quote  There is no law that one *has* to use all the solar power available from their panels. Take what you need only is my mantra.


I do. I think you need to read more about the way my setup works.
There is also no law that says I can't decide what I want to do with the power -I-, not the power cos invested to be able to generate.

If I could put power back into the grid and they would credit some old pensioner of family doing it hard with the same amount of power, I'd be in and putting up more panels still. I can just Imagine the corporate spin doctoring response I'd get if I put that to them. They will say anything but when it comes to lost revenue, no way in hell will they tolerate that.  

The power co's are not going to give me nor anyone else any power or do me any favours and they are worth a lot more than I am. If it comes to the point I can make money from them, I will the same as they waste no opportunity to bleed everyone they can for every single cent they can get.

They not only take from the citizens and other businesses, they get handouts from the gubbermint and all sorts of rorts and tax breaks. If anyone thinks they should add to their obscene profiteering, that's up to them but do not.


I encourage you to look into how the industry really works before falling for their propaganda they endlessly spin and see how they are really playing the game and everyone else.

Don't mean my rant to come off Rude to you but as can probably be seen, I have strong concerns about the way the power companies behave and their never satisfied greed.
 
Davo99
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Posted: 11:36pm 17 Nov 2019
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  rogerdw said  

If I lived alone, I could probably reduce my power bill by heaps more  ...  but I don't  ...  and I don't especially want to  ...  


My sentiment exactly.
We have had the arse out our pants for a long time when the kids were younger. We did it tough and had to watch every cent.  Stuff that for a Joke.  Now we are older, Thankfully the tide has turned and we are quite well off. We live in a desirable and Up market suburb and there are a lot of other place we could have went for less than half what this place cost if living Frugally was the goal. It was a necessity once, Now I want to enjoy the Luxuries we missed out on all those years.
I'm not so well, I doubt I'm going to live to an old age so what the hell is the point of saving money? My daughter will be well looked after when we are gone, may as well have some life now.

  Quote  Despite what people seem to think about SA, grid blackouts are not that common and I'm not really concerned about them personally.


I often see the mention of blackouts as a justification for batteries.
Unless you get daily blackouts, I'd suggest for the majority of people a $500 or less generator and a few bucks worth of fuel would be a far cheaper and wiser form of blackout protection... and, if it was a major blackout like with fires, generator would be a better longer term solution as well for one off's.


  Quote  I'm not especially keen to get off the grid  ...  it has to be the ultimate back-up if something goes wrong. It's your next comment that hits the mark Tony  ...  I do see it as a personal challenge and something rewarding in a personal sense.

I have done several things in my life that looking back, give me immense personal satisfaction. I may live to regret saying this, but I do see this as possibly another one of those.  



Exactly the way I see it.
The veg oil caper was one of those lifes smart moves for me. I got into it as a cost saving when we had the arse out our pants. I look back on it and wonder how the heck we would have got the kids to School some days without it. We could pack sandwiches and drinks and go out on weekends driving around and seeing things for nothing. Could take my son to his rep sport all over the place which we never could have done otherwise.

Even though now fuel cost is not an Issue, I still cherish the independence and self sufficiency it gives me. Im now converting a Gas fired heater to oil to heat the house for winter and looks like we are getting a spa given to us I can also heat that way and use as a thermal winter storage.

Solar has proven much the same for us. Could we afford the $1500+ bills we would get otherwise? Yes, but that does not mean I want to pay them. Much rather spend that money on other luxuries like going out for coffee and cake on the weekends or the odd dinner.  We don't lead extravagant lifestyle by any means BUT, that $1200 a quarter we save on power goes a LONG way on those little things we enjoy not are forced to pay as a living cost.

I enjoy that we have a whopping big water heater and My daughter can stay in the shower till she is like a shriveld up prune for all I care. I can run the AC without worrying in summer because even when it's flat out, I'm still exporting power.

The biggest asset of the solar is my contentment and stress reduction. I do have anxiety, especially over paying bills and the value of the solar in that respect goes well beyond the $$ value.  I really haven't done anything new or Different with Veg for 15 years. I got it to a point that it worked perfectly and as practically well as it was ever going to so thats it, Developed it as far as I want or need to.

The solar has been a replacement for that and allowed me to learn and tinker and experiment with something that doesn't cost us a thing, Like the veg proclivity it has paid back well and truly and I'm only 3 years or so into it.
Not much further I can go with it atm either practicably but there is still a lot of tinkering fun to be had. :0)

Like with the veg, family and friends dismissed me as the wack job eccentric they know well. Now, they are seeing that this too has a definite upside and I'm not all together as stupid as I seem. Never converted anyone else in the family to veg oil but so far both the inlaws have put on solar after seeing it work for me.
Father still gives me grief with the veg oil thing but he's pretty damn happy with the solar I put on for him that halved all his power bills.

Guess the next question is what's Next?
I sure would like to be able to make my own water right now!
Don't think there is any really cheap way to Drill a 150M bore as I'd have to for ground water.
 
rogerdw
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Posted: 01:41am 18 Nov 2019
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Thanks Davo, I enjoy your posts  ...  they are both entertaining and educational.

  Davo99 said  
Like with the veg, family and friends dismissed me as the wack job eccentric they know well.


Haha  ...  that's funny  ...  and I can relate to it in a way.


  Davo99 said  
We have had the arse out our pants for a long time when the kids were younger. We did it tough and had to watch every cent.  Stuff that for a Joke.  Now we are older, Thankfully the tide has turned and we are quite well off. We live in a desirable and Up market suburb and there are a lot of other place we could have went for less than half what this place cost if living Frugally was the goal. It was a necessity once, Now I want to enjoy the Luxuries we missed out on all those years.


Again, I can relate to that. I went out on my own when I was young  ...  and somehow fell on my feet. Things were fantastic for maybe 20 years  ...  then it went pretty bad for a while. I know which is easier. It has recovered somewhat  ...  but still nothing like it was.


  Davo99 said  
I often see the mention of blackouts as a justification for batteries.
Unless you get daily blackouts, I'd suggest for the majority of people a $500 or less generator and a few bucks worth of fuel would be a far cheaper and wiser form of blackout protection... and, if it was a major blackout like with fires, generator would be a better longer term solution as well for one off's.


Makes a lot of sense.

Probably 20 years ago I bought a 12v 300watt inverter from Jaycar in case we had a blackout for very long and I desperately needed to finish some jobs  ...  but in all that time, only once did I get it out and start hooking it up coz I needed power. I think the power came back on before I actually got to use it.  

We had that big blackout a couple years ago and one for a couple hours last year  ...  but other than that, virtually nothing. Only occasionally might see that it went off overnight coz the clocks are flashing  ...  but really a non-issue from my perspective.


  Davo99 said  

Exactly the way I see it.
The veg oil caper was one of those lifes smart moves for me. I got into it as a cost saving when we had the arse out our pants. I look back on it and wonder how the heck we would have got the kids to School some days without it. We could pack sandwiches and drinks and go out on weekends driving around and seeing things for nothing. Could take my son to his rep sport all over the place which we never could have done otherwise.



That's cool  ...  was obviously well worth the effort.

I guess we can either make something happen  ...  or become a victim, fall in a heap and blame everything/one else.

We get great enjoyment walking on some of the local scrub trails  ...  great fun and a real adventure for little kids. Amazing how many kms you can manage just going on a leisurely stroll  ...  it's free and it's healthy.


  Davo99 said  

Even though now fuel cost is not an Issue, I still cherish the independence and self sufficiency it gives me. Im now converting a Gas fired heater to oil to heat the house for winter and looks like we are getting a spa given to us I can also heat that way and use as a thermal winter storage.



For some reason, independence and self sufficiency appeals to me too  ...  and just the ability to do stuff differently. Must be a 'wack job eccentric' too.  

Our place is great over winter with the combustion heater/oven  ...  but even though we get the wood for free  ...  it's a lot of work.

I did look at building a biogas unit and converting an old gas heater  ...  but as we have mostly tiled floors with electric under floor heating  ...  I'm hoping to put up a heap of s/h panels to run them exclusively, for as long as possible each day during winter.

The previous owners installed the heating when they redid the floors  ...  not realising they didn't have sufficient power to run them  ...  so they've never been used. (long distance underground power run already at its limit)


  Davo99 said  

I enjoy that we have a whopping big water heater and My daughter can stay in the shower till she is like a shriveld up prune for all I care. I can run the AC without worrying in summer because even when it's flat out, I'm still exporting power.



Looking forward to that  ...  though we're on rainwater  ...  so long showers are still not a good idea for us.


  Davo99 said  

The biggest asset of the solar is my contentment and stress reduction. I do have anxiety, especially over paying bills and the value of the solar in that respect goes well beyond the $$ value.



Can relate to that too. Bit hard to be footloose and fancy free when you gotta find non existant money to pay the bills.


  Davo99 said  

Guess the next question is what's Next?
I sure would like to be able to make my own water right now!
Don't think there is any really cheap way to Drill a 150M bore as I'd have to for ground water.


What sort of rainwater storage do you have? Maybe to stay consistent with your self proclaimed title of 'wack job eccentric'  ...  you could start digging an underground tank for storage.

We had a massive one at home on the farm and never recall running out of water ever.


  Davo99 said  
 I really haven't done anything new or Different with Veg for 15 years. I got it to a point that it worked perfectly and as practically well as it was ever going to so thats it, Developed it as far as I want or need to.


Sounds very interesting. Once I've got all my solar sorted out, I might have to ask more questions. One thing at a time though.  


  Davo99 said  
The solar has been a replacement for that and allowed me to learn and tinker and experiment with something that doesn't cost us a thing, Like the veg proclivity it has paid back well and truly and I'm only 3 years or so into it.
Not much further I can go with it atm either practicably but there is still a lot of tinkering fun to be had. :0)

Like with the veg, family and friends dismissed me as the wack job eccentric they know well. Now, they are seeing that this too has a definite upside and I'm not all together as stupid as I seem. Never converted anyone else in the family to veg oil but so far both the inlaws have put on solar after seeing it work for me.
Father still gives me grief with the veg oil thing but he's pretty damn happy with the solar I put on for him that halved all his power bills.



Well done  ...  always good to come out the other side with a sense of achievement, despite what others are saying or thinking about us as we go through it.
 
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Joined: 08/11/2016
Location: Australia
Posts: 807
Posted: 06:07am 19 Nov 2019
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I've finally sold my house so the new place is going ahead after christmas...
It will be offgrid, purely because of the cost of the grid connection- I was quoted $42000 for the house and shed!!!!

For that much, I can get one hell of a solar setup!!!!
(and no bills to boot)

Grid connections may be affordable in town, but a large rural property, meh, not so much so...
(they very generously pay for the first power pole and a single phase 80A transformer, and its 6 poles required in total, so I have to pay for 5 ($7k each)plus the other assorted costs (metering etc etc)

Bit over $2500 of 250w panels gives me 15kw of panels ($45 each second hand), I'm putting them up 3kw north, 6kw east, 6kw west
(I was dubious at first about the east west split, but after living with the gridtie here with the 3kw east, 3kw west split system, I'm convinced it actually works better than the 'ideal north' systems- we got two identical systems here, ours is the east west split, the neighbours is north, both identical systems, same company, installed two weeks apart, we regularly exceed the north facer by 2kwhrs a day! His gets a higher peak, but ours starts earlier and finishes later... (we hit 1kw less than an hour after sunrise, his a couple of hours later!)

Going for trevs batteries, 48v, 400ahr is $12g, but at the nightly discharge rate, I would be well under their 20yr life expectancy rating... (l/a are cheaper, but they won't last 20 years... and probably longer!)

Be 5 independent banks of 3kw each on separate mppt controllers (60A each) and the inverters are a nice little 48v 5kw unit, that can be paralleled as many as you need to get the output power you need

I have one of the Warpspeed units built up, but no transformer for it yet (well I got 1 but it's a tiny little thing, and I will need more than that transformer can output), plus I will need power pretty quick as I will be moving my old van into the shed to live in while I build the house LOL
So that will be my house and shed system...

(shed will be the thirstiest by far, but mostly day use- I finally get to get all my toys out of the storage... I miss having them all...) The mill is by far the thirstiest, needing nearly 5kw by itself!!! Lathe is nearly 3.5kw... the welders, and now I got space, I want to build a CNC mill...
boys and their toys...
 
Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 301
Posted: 06:40am 19 Nov 2019
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What do you estimate the cost of your off grid setup to be?  I'm sure you will have a LOT of change from $42K.

That seems to be a common number. I remember someone I spoke to a while ago quoting that same figure. Turned out for her there was some clause in the original documenting of the property that power would be supplied by the utility to the first Building. The block had sat untouched for almost 20 years and it took bit of a fight but she eventually got the power hooked up for the same price as a suburban block and she was 450M from the road.

Are you also intending to install a generator and if so what type and output are you thinking of?
 
Boppa
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Joined: 08/11/2016
Location: Australia
Posts: 807
Posted: 06:59am 19 Nov 2019
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I expect change out of $18k, don't need a genny as I already have a selection to choose from LOL (2 petrol, 1 diesel, 3kva to 9kva) but even with the sheds thirst for power, I expect that it will very rarely be needed with 15kw of solar to play with...

(plus as the shed is only partially for work, mostly it's my playhouse lol, if I did start to run low, I have the option of simply not using the more powerhungry devices for a few days...)
That will leave the house well and truly over powered- my current consumption in this house is around 7kwhrs a day, I will have 17kwhrs of storage, so 2 days with no input at all, and I found that the panels I want to use (250w Trina's) are quite high output in this split system, we had a day with full heavy overcast and heavy rain at times- when the rain was heavy enough to need the wipers at full speed and the streetlights came on, we were still up at almost a kw of output, from the 6kw of panels...

(I suspect that they far outperform the north facers in bad conditions like that, as they effectively have 'full sky' visibility and so can make use of the scattered light regardless of direction, where the north facers effectively lose sight of almost half the sky...)
 
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