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Thread: Admin's Solar Installation

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    Quote Originally Posted by mi_tasol View Post
    Just checked my meter and i have exported 34,000 KWh since install - at 44c feed in tarriff that's almost $15,000 right there - me thinks that the system has paid for itself
    I take it you have had it for a while being on the PFIT ?



  • #262
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    Quote Originally Posted by oceanboy View Post
    I thought that is what you meant.

    So at an average price of 33cents per KWh, that is $16,600!

    Do i have this right?
    Geez, that is fantastic for something that is only working in premium daylight hours when the sun is out!
    It depends on how you look at it :

    A. In terms of saving money on your bills

    B. In terms of what you have been paid for electricity sent back to the grid




    A. I have saved a lot of money. My power bills were 2-3k a year from memory when I got solar. Now they are zero. I haven't changed my power use a great deal, I leave shit on all day

    B. I am on the standard feed in tariff like most people which means 10-20 cents paid for excess power sent back to the grid. The amount I have received has varied as I have chopped and changed companies over the last nearly 5 years getting the best deal. People on the premium feed in tariff (PFIT) generally have smaller systems, as the PFIT ended long ago and systems were more expensive and smaller.

    Either way, you cant really go wrong with solar at the moment particularly in Victoria where approx 6.5 kw systems are approx $2500 after subsidies.



    Quote Originally Posted by Guiseppe
    No I am not going to explain on the forum or by any other means as it could be construed as financial advice.
    I don't know who's going to prosecute you, we don't have a financial services licence or rules (not that we asked)

    Funnily enough , the said individual himself sent a text message to my mobile phone direct from Gilligan's Island after I made that post. In true stalker style, he still has my mobile number after all these years. Its probably listed next to the one hundred odd account names he has registered since being banned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guiseppe View Post

    No I am not going to explain on the forum or by any other means as it could be construed as financial advice.
    oh dear....people better not post anything for fear of being sued! Probably one of the silliest posts I've ever read on a forum.

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    I set up multiple Solar arrays shortly after moving in here. We are semi Rural with no gas and the only heating/ Cooling is AC. There are pumps that run non stop and the climate is -5 to 45 so power usage all over the area is high. Nothing for bills without solar to be from $900 to $1800 round here.

    I bought all my panels and inverters off gumtree. Got 9+ Kw on the shed, 6+ on the house and another 5 on the ground to go up on the north roof.
    Spent about $2500 all Up i'd say. Our first bill was almost $1200 so payback has been less than 3 billing quarters. I have 2 Spinny meters which the solar spins backwards and one electronic meter which spoils the party. The electronically metered phase is ONLY connected to the 3 phase AC.
    The other 2 phases I am in credit with 3/4 of the year, can't quite keep up in winter but pretty sure I will be in credit as it were this winter. I make enough power most of the year that I have to keep tabs and turn the inverters (4) of them off and run up a bit of useage to keep the power co happy. I use the grid essentially like my battery.

    With The AC phase I can't feed that back because the meter records and current any direction as a charge. To offset the significant AC useage, I installed a DPDT relay that connects to the electronically metered phase and another. When the AC is off, the relay is at rest and sends the power from the dedicated inverter back to the disk meter which spins it backwards. When the compressor of the AC is on, the relay switches and sends the power to the electronically metered, L1 phase. It's a bit under the total draw flat out but I have the inverter well over clocked with panels so if it's hot enough for the AC to be on, it's making the full power I want and offsetting about 80% of that phases consumption. At night obviously we are paying full tilt but I run the air through the day to keep the house cool and the AC need minimal.

    Making the most of what I can while I can. One day they will come to install one of those smart arse meters and the party will be over. I hope to be able to get a small approved system installed but as I have 3 phase I want to get like 3 Kw of panels with a 10 KW inverter and then hook my existing systems into that.
    I'm happy paying minimal bills but if I get lucky and can get away with that then I'll probably be able to make a good earn. I have almost 20 KW of panels not and more than enough room to put that up again as I have only used one corner of the house roof over the verandah. Still got 25x6M at the front and 7x6M at the back, east west.

    I have my hot water running off the normal supply and have a voltage monitoring relay which controls that. When the line voltage goes up sufficent'y to indicate the solar is working, the relay switches over. If the clouds come over, the unit will shut the heater off till the sun comes out again. So far only had to kick the over ride in on the meter 4 Times in teh last year. heater holds enough hot water for 3 sometimes 4 days and even if it is in for a few hours, even if not totally up to temp it keeps us going another day. I don't really need this control as it does not matter when I use the power as I'm winding the meters back and banking unused power, but as the area suffers from High grid voltage ( except in the hot weather where the supply was 220 today instead of the more usual 245-250) having the Water heater come on during the day drops the voltage and allows the inverter to stay on song.

    My next meter reading is in a months time and I think I'll switch off the inverters next week to run down some of the power I have banked. Looked tonight and I have 178 Kw on one phase and 254 on another. I'll run up about 100 Kwh on each meter and then what I have on teh electronic phase will be plenty. Still be about a $500 bill with supply charges but better than a $2k Bill it would easily be otherwise.

    To offset the winter use I will set up another array and dedicate that to the AC Phase so I can use the other larger array with a bigger inverter and get more out of it.
    I'm building a heater for the house which will be a modified 100Kw spa heater running on oil. This should eliminate most of the AC heating needs and I'm also thinking to use this to at least pre heat the water going to the HWS further reducing consumption there. Just the colder inlet temps of the water in winter can be 3-4 Kwh over the summer inlet temps.

    I'm also going to play with another Idea i have been thinking about which is a cooling system using a chest freezer.
    The idea will be to fill it with water and have pipes submerged inside. The water will be frozen where the phase change holds magnitudes more energy than liquid even if only a few degrees apart. There will be an antifreeze solution running through the pipes and into a radiator with a fan to move the sorted cold into the house. This will offset out Nigh time cooling.

    Been reluctant to try this as a freezer isn't powerful enough to refreeze in 12 hours but thinking about it, the energy stored will be significant even in a medium size unit and it will allow at least a couple of days cooling capacity. Also going to talk to AC mate to see if it's possible to install a reversing valve so in winter I can use the thing to heat the water and have a thermal store there say for mornings before the oil heater is fired up. I want to make that thermostatically controlled so may not need to shut it down at all but nothing like having 2 strings to ones bow.

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    Thats quite interesting george65, cheers for the detailed post.

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    this may add to the post
    . Please treat people as you would like to be treated yourself.

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    Red face Off grid solar ..

    I think this is a worth while topic but I would like to see a few more people going off grid solar and/or battery based using grid in winter as a charger for their batteries at night in off peak times (cheaper than a generator) .. I have a small well insulated house in S.A. and have bought used 180 watt panels (7kw) and built a frame away from the house a little with storage in 2v batteries at 24v and a stand alone 5 kw inverter .. so far have been running it for just over 1 year and all seems to keep up with a little care in the middle of winter if I get a week straight of not enough sun to make a shadow .. I had the generator start 3 time through winter but the grid/charger will be the option for the coming winter as it is quieter than my old diesel genset .. it will still be turned on via the solar controllers the same as the genset is ..
    I'm interested in other peoples ideas or maybe I can help others with the way I have done thing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sambo2 View Post
    I think this is a worth while topic but I would like to see a few more people going off grid solar and/or battery based using grid in winter as a charger for their batteries at night in off peak times (cheaper than a generator)
    The problem here with using the grid as a charger in winter would be the $100+ per quarter Supply charge for just having the grid connected available. That's before you use any power.
    $400 buys a lot of generator Fuel and a lot of KWh from it. Alternatively I pay about $100 KWh for used panels so that would get me another 4 KW of panels that may make up the shortfall in winter. hard to say, one is chasing their tale a bit when playing with the low winter generation returns.

    I have gone a few different ways now for dealing with my winter consumption and heating. I have added more panels and intend to add a few more. As I am nearing the limit of what I can feed back through the wiring to the street on 2 phases, I am going to look at doing a pre heater for the hot water, last year we used around 10-12 Kwh day just on that. If I can knock that down to half or less it will bring me pretty close to break even on what I had solar generation wise last winter. I'm going to look at a HE from the oil fired heater to a 2nd hot water tank. I'll need another circ pump for that and more plumbing so still thinking that though. Other idea I favour atm is I have about 4 Kw of panels I can hook to another HWS direct to feed the main tank so the water will be warmed to whatever degree but the main tank will always have it right up to temp regardless of the weather. Plenty of west roof which is crap for winter but I figure something is always better than nothing.

    I'm in the process of building a large generator for back feeding the 2 phases on the analogue meters. This will allow me to run the generator to make up any shortfalls and even put myself a bit ahead as I need. Can be run through the day, maybe once a week so I get max power in the shortest time. Fueled by WVO it's running cost will be minimal.
    I will also configure this unit as a standalone when we have the expected blackouts I am predicting next summer if not the summer and several after.

    Ultimately I see myself going off grid. I'll be using a Forklift type battery for storage as these offer the best bang for the buck I can find. The panels and generator will all be useful for that application too even if need a bit of re configuring which won't be a big deal. I'm playing with a small Solar/ battery/ inverter system now and learning what I can from that.

    Off grid is nice to talk about from a standpoint of shoving it to the power co's etc and being independent but it is still the cheapest power especially when offset with solar. I still rather pay $2-300 a quarter than 5-10K lump sum to go it alone. If I want to pull 40A of power for something, on the grid I can no worries. Off grid I'll be limited and have to watch the draw and state of charge on the batteries. So far it's been hard enough getting the rest of the tribe to understand Winter, please be careful with what you use, Summer, go for it.

    I want to stay on the grid long as I can but once the party is over and they come with the smartarse meters, I can see a big heavy battery arriving.

    BTW, are you the sambo with the YT channel on your solar setups?

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    This is what I have done .. Large batteries 1800 amps at 24 volt & 7kw panels all up .. As for my hot water I have changed the element to a 1800 watt so as to leave me room for other things while heating the water in summer and in winter it is heated with a wet back in my wood stove/heater .. it heats plenty for 2 of us and I turn off the timer for the solar heater .. also yes The other bonus of keeping the grid as a charger is you can run a welder or something of heavy use and the old meter and a small solar system can turn the meter backwards after use (keep a close eye on the numbers) .. I also have 2 different meters at my location .. 1 is on a pump shed that is not used much and that has the new meter and Legal solar on it and it gives me more than enough credit each 1/4 to cover the cost of the 2 supply charges and any little bit left on meter 2.. my generator hardly gets any use unless I need power out in the paddocks.. PS I also have a good supply of wood .

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    guys , if you end up going off grid , how are you going to "fool" the solar inverters into switching on and supplying power? The two inverters i have here wont even start working unless they see 240v

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    Quote Originally Posted by VroomVroom View Post
    guys , if you end up going off grid , how are you going to "fool" the solar inverters into switching on and supplying power? The two inverters i have here wont even start working unless they see 240v
    you would start with a sunny island

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    Quote Originally Posted by VroomVroom View Post
    guys , if you end up going off grid , how are you going to "fool" the solar inverters into switching on and supplying power? The two inverters i have here wont even start working unless they see 240v
    Get rid of them both and get a stand alone inverter not grid tie .. I use a Victron 5000 watt

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    Quote Originally Posted by VroomVroom View Post
    guys , if you end up going off grid , how are you going to "fool" the solar inverters into switching on and supplying power? The two inverters i have here wont even start working unless they see 240v
    I believe there are several ways.

    Certain types of inverters, the ones WITH transformers can be modded fairly easily, I believe to give 240V output direct.


    I have also read and looked up using a generator to provide the signals the GTI Inverters want to see and using them, carefully, to get the inverters to sync up.
    If I understand correctly, the procedure would be to say use a 6Kw genny and have it driving say a 5Kw load. You then connect an inverter, say 5 Kw or less than the load and it will sync up and push back what it is generating powering the load and taking whatever it is producing off the demand on the generator, BUT... The load must be big enough to absorb the output from the inverter as you CANNOT have the inverter trying to push power back through the generator.

    I believe the generator must run pretty much for the same reasons you have to have generators and base syc on the grid, to give it a reference to work to.
    One would also have to be careful that the load did not turn off because then the inverter would be trying to power the generator and that would not be good.

    The other way would be simply take the Panel wiring from Series to parallel and use DC solar Controllers to keep the batteries charged and use an inverter to produce the 240.
    I have a couple of cheap PWM controllers that are programmable and I have been VERY happy with. i would look at getting a bunch of those, run all the power from the panels through bus bars, connect the controllers to those on the DC side and have another bus bar connected to the output side keeping the battery bank charged.

    I would move the panels I could from the north orientation they mainly are now to an east west aspect. This would give a more even output over the course of the day and start producing meaningful generation earlier in the mornings and later in the afternoons. the idea with batteries is not to get the highest output but the most steady and constant as you want power over the longest time not the most power you can get.

    As Backup I would have a couple of 24V Leece Alternators hooked to external Controllers. These Controllers allow the alt to be MUCH more efficient compared to the inbuilt regs these vehicle alts have and be on par with anything else. They also are programmable and allow step charging which is faster while still being safe for the battery.

    Given the amount of panels I have, I don't think I would need the generator very often but it would provide extra power if using a heavy load so as to minimize battery Discharge.
    Not hard to get 2Kw out of these alternators or a lot more with the bigger ones. With the solar and the generator the load would effectively be running direct off the input and using the batteries more as a ballast rather than drawing much off them at all.

    There are also " hybrid" inverters coming onto the market right now that are designed to provide power direct from panels. They -may- need a small battery pack for ballast but I am not sure. Wouldn't matter either way as long as the battery packs don't have to be mains voltage or above then again, wouldn't cost much to make a small pack up of the higher voltage if they do.

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  • #274
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    My mother in law recently had to replace her (standalone) solar. Here's a pic, thought it might be of interest given the change in discussion....








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    yes that's the same brand as mine .. main difference is my stuff is older , larger and not as neatly installed (I did mine)

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