Latest on solar panels, off grid storage, inverters and best places to source.

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by Curramore1, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Instead of reinventing the wheel have any of you recently done the research and hard yards and installed a solar electricity system which stores and uses the power, yet has an on-grid backup still in place? I wish to incorporate solar panels, wind generated power with a diesel backup still connected to the grid, but wishing to 99% of the time use my own power. There has to be recent advances in panels, inverters, battery technology, switching gear, wire technology and techniques etc. that are not covered in old threads here. Permies are usually ace at this sort of stuff. I'm over the ridiculous electricity prices and the pitiful 6c/kWhr offered by grid electricity providers who buy your excess solar electricity back as well as the unreliability of supply. It is not uncommon here to lose power for a full day and every time we have a storm a tree falls over the lines somewhere as they have allowed trees to grow too near the lines here all over the place and spend forever pruning little branches off instead of taking out all the trees with potential to disrupt power.
    What are the best panels, most reliable inverters and switching and control gear and the best value for money batteries for a 12-16kW system at the moment? Are there any good solar electricity blogs to follow?
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    The system at Zaytuna is as you describe. You could contact the good folk there and get the low down.
     
  3. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Thanks eco I will investigate. Cheers.
     
  4. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    I've done a little bit of research recently Curramore.


    Firstly, throw your details into this site just for an idea if you can make it cheaper in the interim. Choose something with no contract so you can leave when they start to screw you over (and they will):

    https://comparator.qca.org.au/


    Sounds like you could get away with a grid tie system, batteries charged by solar and normal power. The batteries are constantly getting better but they are very expensive and are still at that point where it almost isn't worth it. I believe, from my research, that the go-to people in Brisbane for grid tie are this mob:

    https://www.positronicsolar.com/Off_Grid_Systems.php

    They could probably get you started on an idea and you could move from there. I remember them recommended pumping water during the day to somewhere high when your solar is most abundant.


    Some retailers of panels, wire, regulators etc that I bookmarked. Marsol and Low Energy will have kits, I belive Marsol has offgrid kits that will get you started on specs:

    https://www.marsol.com.au/

    https://stores.ebay.com.au/Low-Ener...d=995019954&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1513&_pgn=1 and https://www.lowenergydevelopments.com.au/index.php?route=common/home

    https://www.fastlec.com.au/


    This "Green Tech Forum" has the most general information but it still is quite good. I'd start here by using the thread search tools with some of your general terms from above. All my links stem from here though extended reading:

    https://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum/143

    A forum about solar alone:

    https://forums.energymatters.com.au/
     
  5. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Wow! thanks S.O.P,
    I have stumbled across a few of these already and was just about to hit the web in the US and Canada to see if they are any better or cheaper to import myself. Your list is great, I'll be like a kid in a lolly shop for evenings to come now.
    I currently have a Diesel Lister 50kVA generator which I use for outage backup and to weld 3 phase which I am attached to as it has only done 120 hours and is a thing of lasting British engineering beauty. It already has DSE switching gear and auto start up electronics attached which I would like to incorporate. It uses 900 mL of diesel an hour under full 50 kVA load. This costs approx. $1.35 fuel plus 30 cents an hour maintenance costs for oil, air filters, belts etc. I also have a wind generator which I might throw in as well and could add hydro except the cabling distance would be too great, over 200 m away. I've been procrastinating for years and the latest power price hikes and future doom and gloom for grid electricity pricing motivates me to green up and get on with it.
    On with the show, I love new challenging projects. Thanks again S.O.P.
     
  6. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Post a thread on the Green Tech forum detailing your potential setup and ask for suggestions.

    All of those retailers, plus heaps of installers, have accounts there and will definitely help you.

    Keep us updated. If I had money I'd move to grid tie and most if my research was around chook netting and a big enough hit to keep predators away. At least 2 years away so I know heaps will change between then.

    I did read Morningstar are good regulators and noticed the Marsol kit includes one so perhaps their choices for materials are worth looking at.
     
  7. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Sounds like you could go full offgrid with that generator and your wind backing up your batteries. Positronic are doing LiPo batteries so put some research into those. Almost all of it is over my head but that Whirlpool forum does get technical at times so you should find what you need in making them work together. Maybe one day they might start paying a decent amount for locally-generated power again.

    I don't doubt you will sort it out. Make sure you share so we can learn from you.
     
  8. aroideana

    aroideana Junior Member

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    'on grid back-up' this little luxury will soon cost you $100/qtr ...
    not worth worrying about
     
  9. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Rain here today to soothe the soul.
    Research into the sola/wind/gen off grid has taken a few hours a night all this week. Solar panels: Why 180W or 250W? Are there any which are better than others? How to compare? Batteries- Lithium polymer are expensive but lighter, discharge deeper and seem to be the go, but wait there is a Lithium sulphur battery under development with a few bugs still. Are gel batteries more cost effective, even though they may have a shorter life, weigh more and have a lesser discharge %? There are a million wind generators out there with different blades, AC or DC output in various voltages. The list is endless of the stuff you have to include like battery controllers, inverters, .......... I wish that there was a spread sheet or program that you fill in the blanks and at the other end spits out what you need to buy and how to put it together. There are way too many variables for the average mug to sort out here. The solar sellers all plug their own brands and systems with installation costs varying over by 200% for the same system.
    Looks like I will have to outlay about $30000 initially and then about $1000.00 a year in battery and component maintenance and upgrades over a 30 year system life. After that I will be in my mid-eighties and probably enjoying the effects of senility and dementia so won't have to worry or have the ability to worry. At $2000 a year over the lifetime of the system this is still better than the $3600.00 annual grid electricity costs for our three dwellings, workshops and outbuildings cost us at current electricity prices. What will they be in 10 years? I feel better about less carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the atmosphere and the huge waste of energy in long distance electricity distribution and associated infrastructure maintenance wastage. Are there any green loans on offer out there? I would rather that than a financial deal through a solar supplier, just don't trust 'em enough. Has anyone got a separate insurance cover for their off grid system as I think lightning strikes, hailstorms etc. could cause havock. Does it change your other household insurance to go off grid?
    More questions than answers at the moment.
     

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