Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: The ideal solar setup

  1. #1
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,274
    Thanks
    60
    Thanked 103 Times in 98 Posts

    The ideal solar setup

    Now that load shedding is a thing of the past, by now you should have figured out why.

    Looking at the current (July 2024) pricing, I am glad I didnt install in late 2022 or 2023.

    All that money spent on systems just to get us through that 2 hours, see the positive side of it, job creating and it made a few billionaires.

    Now we have all these systems installed just sitting there doing nothing.

    First you need to look at how the system operates, then decide what to do with it.

    Lets start with a battery inverter type setup, do you just disconnect it and leave it ready for the next wave of load reduction?

    Its not that simple, FLA type batteries are best kept at 100 % capacity, lithium should be stored at around 50 % capacity.

    If you leave the batteries to discharge completely, you might as well just throw them away now and start saving for new ones when you might need them.

    Why dont you wan tot just leave them idling in the back round, simple because it costs money (KWH on your bill).
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,274
    Thanks
    60
    Thanked 103 Times in 98 Posts
    Now we move onto the small systems with solar connected.

    IF you still haven't figured out that charging batteries from the grid is not very smart, then best you get smart.

    The ideal small systems must charge the batteries from the solar system only and offer a little free power during the day, to run the essentials, at no point must the batteries charge from the grid.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,274
    Thanks
    60
    Thanked 103 Times in 98 Posts
    Then we move onto the bigger system.

    The domestic market is pretty dead at the moment, if you not doing commercial installs or outside our border installs, you could be out of business pretty soon.

    I suppose you could promise customers 65 % reduction on their bill, with a monthly fee that never ends, and dont warn them about zero export, meter backlogs and the fees and penalties that could be in the pipeline

    These units 8 KW and up, once again the key, never charge the batteries using the grid.

    Now we start looking at systems which can potentially restrict your grid power to an absolute minimum.

    IF you have an 8 kw with 2 batteries and lets say 6-8 panels around 550 watts(the most common setup).

    If the installer fitted the CT in the correct location, then with all the data these systems collect from the date of install, you can now start looking at ways to optimize your system.

    Besides all the dodgy COC's, locations where lithium batteries, there is another challenge we face, system parameter setups.

    If your system has been setup incorrectly you will notice your bill is still more than it was before the system was installed, then I would suggest you find someone to either teach you how to modify the settings to improve it or get someone to do it for you.

    If you have a prepaid electronic meter for example, the system has been installed for at least a year.

    You can see the reduction in solar generation between winter and summer.

    You can see your time of use profile (something that has caught a lot of people who used the bill to size the system : (), now you can adjust accordingly.

    You want the house to run from 8 pm till the morning when your panels start producing power, for some (east/ west facing) this will be a lot earlier in the morning and for the north facing sorry for you, you will only see it at around 9-10 am.

    By the time the panels start producing power, the peak power would be a lot less and this is were you need to plan correctly.

    The house load must be the priority and the batteries must be set that they charge in the back round, even if it takes most of the day..

    You must take not of the season changes.

    People call and want more panels and more panels, yet they only using 30 % of the solar capabilities during the day, more panels are not going to reduce your grip power (kwh)

    This is where understanding your time of use is the most important factor to optimizing your system.

    IF you go to work during the day and use most of the power during peak times 5-8 then installing more panels is certainly not going to be the first priority, stored battery capacity is what you need.


    If you work from home or have a home executive watching all the the soapies and doing a little washing, ironing during the day, then you need to analyze your profile and optimize to suit.

    The one thing that gets most people is the geyser, they switch on and off randomly all the time. IF your home exec like to wash the dishes, the floor sand just generally run the hot water all the time, then you need to take this into consideration.

    The geyser/s will destroy any optimization you put in place.

    I highly recommend a certain product (not going to mention the brand) to control your geyser, it is the best product for the price and they last. sorry no more free advertising for anyone.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2024
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    5
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I feel you on this one! I’m glad I didn’t rush into a solar setup back in 2022. I’m also dealing with a battery inverter system, and I’ve learned that keeping those batteries in good shape is crucial. For my lithium batteries, I aim for around 50% charge when not in use. I used to let them drain, but that just shortens their lifespan! I’m also trying to figure out how to make the most of the system without running up my electricity bill.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Port Elizabeth
    Posts
    1,321
    Thanks
    36
    Thanked 315 Times in 264 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Ghamman View Post
    I feel you on this one! I’m glad I didn’t rush into a solar setup back in 2022. I’m also dealing with a battery inverter system, and I’ve learned that keeping those batteries in good shape is crucial. For my lithium batteries, I aim for around 50% charge when not in use. I used to let them drain, but that just shortens their lifespan! I’m also trying to figure out how to make the most of the system without running up my electricity bill.
    Be careful leaving lithium batteries at 50% for extended periods as the cells do not balance - Some warranties insist on 100% daily when in use , others monthly - check warranty documents

    With regards to solar pricing and waiting for it to reduce - There is never a good time and it is the reason there is a word " hindsight" - I installed panels in 2014 when we were paying R20/watt vs the R5/watt today depending on panels
    My return has still paid off , just took a bit longer but if I was still waiting I would still be paying full price for electricity vs the R300.month that I paid all the years - I went from lead acid batteries to Tesla 4 years ago which is now also basically paid for itself and given me the luxury , maybe wrong word as I needed it , to be able to continue operating my office during power outages and load shedding - Some of those outage have been in excess of 12hrs

    Basically , the only good time to install solar is now .

  6. Thanks given for this post:

    Derlyn (05-Jul-24)

  7. #6
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,274
    Thanks
    60
    Thanked 103 Times in 98 Posts
    You should never leave anything for extended periods, be it batteries, diesel or Petrol generators, even shoes in a cupboard.

    The batteries should be topped back up to 100% for FLA and 50 % for lithium, if they are not in use. Should you cycle your batteries to 80 or 100% when cycling them, this has been another one of those topics. We cycle them from 100% down to 50 or the lowest 40 % just in case there is a power outage.

    The generators are started every 3 months and run for an hour, to clear out the carbs, pipes etc and just to make sure they will start.

    Shoes are taken out the cupboard once a month and lef tin the sun for the day, otherwise the soles go brittle and fall off.

    The only thing you can leave standing for years is a V8 engine. I seen people take them out a field after years of just sitting there, spray stuff in the carb and bingo they start
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  8. #7
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Totally agree, timing is everything with solar setups! I held off too and it worked out better for me. Keeping those batteries in good shape is key—don't let them drain too much or you’ll be replacing them sooner. If you’re not using the system, try to balance the charge to save on maintenance costs.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member Derlyn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    East london
    Posts
    1,604
    Thanks
    114
    Thanked 151 Times in 143 Posts
    The ideal solar setup.

    There is no one size fits all.

    I installed a 5Kw inverter with 2 of 5Kw batteries and 10 panels for someone who doesn't have either municipal or eskom power. A medium to large house in an affluent area Bonza Bay.

    About a month ago we went with zero sun for 4 days. With clever load management, he managed to get the batteries to last 3,5 days. He was without power from 4am on the 4th day when the sun came out briefly from behind the clouds and by 11am the batteries were fully charged, ready for another 3 days.

    He is now investing in another battery which should give him an extra 1,5 days in the event of 5 solid days with no sun.

    So his 5Kw setup is ideal for his needs, but will be totally inadequate for someone else.

  10. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I get where youíre coming from! I helped a friend set up a 5kW system with 2 batteries and 10 panels for his big house in Bonza Bay. We had a 4-day stretch of zero sun, and with some careful load management, he stretched the batteries to 3.5 days. On the 4th day, he ran out of juice until the sun came back. Now heís adding another battery to cover up to 5 days of no sun. Itís been great for his situation, but it wonít work for everyone. Your setup needs to match your own energy needs and local weather.

  11. #10
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    22,697
    Thanks
    3,315
    Thanked 2,682 Times in 2,262 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Aumy View Post
    I get where you’re coming from! I helped a friend set up a 5kW system with 2 batteries and 10 panels for his big house in Bonza Bay. We had a 4-day stretch of zero sun, and with some careful load management, he stretched the batteries to 3.5 days. On the 4th day, he ran out of juice until the sun came back. Now he’s adding another battery to cover up to 5 days of no sun. It’s been great for his situation, but it won’t work for everyone. Your setup needs to match your own energy needs and local weather.
    AI speak?

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [Article] Seeking Insights on Solar Deity: A Reliable Choice for Solar Solutions in South Africa?
    By Michael 830 in forum Energy and Resource Conservation Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 30-Sep-23, 09:48 AM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-Nov-15, 07:12 AM
  3. The ideal workshop!
    By pmbguy in forum General Chat Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-Sep-13, 07:12 AM
  4. IDEAL ENGINEERING BANK DETAILS
    By Hane in forum Scam Alert Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 25-Aug-10, 12:19 PM
  5. Finding The Ideal Accounting Firm For Your Business
    By sgafc in forum Entrepreneurship and Business Management Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-May-09, 08:07 PM

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •