As Eskom has again gone down the load shedding route, and it looks like there won’t be much respite until Medupi et al come online, I thought I’d look at how to take my grid-tied setup to the next level, and incorporate off-grid + batteries so that we have power when the rest of the suburb does not.
I haven’t done that so far, as thats by far the most expensive part of going off-grid!
A flash file explaining a possible setup below:
Some info on what City of Cape Town has been doing regarding feeding back into the grid, for single phase users (hint, not much). As for three phase – nothing..
Info on why net generators get charged a base fee (NERSA!), why council has been dragging their feet on renewables, feeding back, and other issues (by the very helpful Brian Jones) –
Brian Jones_Challenges to get RE going in municipalities_CoCT
Latest SSEG application form Grid tied form SSEG
The system has been running nicely for the last 3 months without issue, and we’ve generated a little over 2MW so far!
We still don’t have all the panels on the roof – only the 16 ones we put up last year!
Quite impressed with the yield, and the inverter. Continue reading
Mine has been running for a week now, albeit with only half the panels mounted and installed, as I didn’t have time to mount the rest yet this visit – I’m back in Shanghai, China again now..
It finally went live on the 14th. Its working out well though, although I am getting slightly less output than I expected – panels are in theory 4800W total for 16 panels x 300w, but looks like they’re really 250w panels, as we get about 3.9x KW peak off the 16 we have mounted at the moment after inverter losses etc.
Everything survived the massive storm that hit Cape Town last weekend too, so that was a relief!
Still need to do paperwork for council approval, and arrange a new digital 4 quadrant Landis & Gyr meter so I can eventually “feed into the grid” as a SSEG (similar to Arthur), but we’re generating electricity on a separate circuit in the interim, and our power is down to pretty much zero usage daytime.
If you recall from my last update, I unpacked the Solar Panel crate, and moved the panels to the back garden. It does no good having a pile of panels in the garden, they need to be mounted!
Mounting is probably one of the lesser discussed area’s of installing Solar. Its almost an afterthought for most people, although it’s just as important as the rest of the system.
As its been a while (understatement!), I thought I’d update on the progress.
Well, I finally shipped my container of goodies all the way from China to SA, encountering a few issues on the way. A groot fok jou goes to DN Freight / Temoore Freight for being complete doos’s – Shawn Patience, Elize Werner you know exactly what I’m talking about; managing to screw up, get a charge of an extra R20k+ in Storage fee’s, *then* having the audacity to try bill another R10k on top for fee’s *already paid* in Shanghai. The sea freight pretty much turned into air freight pricing… Grrr.
They tried to cover it up too, then backtracked and changed story. Couldn’t even be bothered to show up for a meeting they booked, then literally blackmailed me into paying the charges – if you don’t pay, fee’s go up daily. I’m still considering getting lawyers involved in that.. Continue reading
I’ve been interested in going completely solar for a while now back home in South Africa, as pricing for electricity has rapidly increased past the pricing for solar; return on investment is in the 3 year range currently.
It will get close to 1 1/2 year return on investment when Eskom new pricing increases happen, so its a no brainer to install.
I’ve already replaced our geyser (hot water system) with a solar based system, plus all the lighting in the house is already LED based (yay China!), so our base load of electricity is low for the size of the house. I can still improve though by installing solar, to make the electrical costs approach zero, and at some indeterminate point in the future when Eskom allows for legalized grid tie, a profit center!