Author Topic: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation  (Read 66293 times)

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Offline madires

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #150 on: June 18, 2013, 12:48:31 pm »
Since we're on the subject of breaker boxes, here's what a typical US installation looks like:

Another piece of art :-) It's amazing how the installations differ across countries.
 

Offline digsys

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #151 on: June 18, 2013, 12:57:20 pm »
I DID misread your first comment, but for clarification - There are many people still locked into the "original" FIR, which was extremely generous!
As I said, they charge up their "storage banks" during off-peak, then "sell" the same energy back at peak-time. That is illegal.
Quote from: DrGeoff
If offline storage was cheap it would make sense to pull power during off-peak (at 11c/kWh) and use it during peak times. 
Quote from: digsys
I know people who do just that (with the cheap 2nds battery banks). In some cases they are still locked in at the original FIR, so
will never pay for power. It is illegal, and IF you get caught ...

In many cases, it is also - either illegal or breach of contract to store off-peak rate energy and USE it during peak times.
Their pricing model depends on these tariffs periods. The supply companies ARE working on large scale pilots to do just that, and we'll all
pay for that as well ! I am involved with various organisations that have been investigating storage solutions. As all this is new -
there are all sorts of deals / contracts / trials going on, even in a single supply area. It's a bit of a mess.

Quote from: DrGeoff
I wasn't suggesting selling the power, but making use of the stored power during times when the peak rate is expensive. It would not be viable to sell the power anyway, since the off peak rate is still higher than the feed-in tarrif in NSW. You would end up losing money. 
As I said - that is NOT allowed in many contracts, but pressure from consumer groups and the public is driving it in all directions.
You'd be shocked at the FIRST draft of the rules and regulations when smart meters were first proposed. Unfortunately, protected by a strict NDA.
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Offline madires

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #152 on: June 18, 2013, 01:02:23 pm »
True! Reminds me of a notice in my local garage:

Our rates are:
  • €10 per hour
  • €20 per hour if you watch
  • €50 per hour if you already tried to fix it yourself and made it worse

ROTFL :-) Let me add another two (based on my personal experience :-):
  • €200 per hour if two of your employees tried to fix the problem for a week or two but haven't got any clue.
  • €500 per hour, as before, if I'm able to fix the problem within 2 hours.

 

Offline Towger

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #153 on: June 18, 2013, 01:05:47 pm »
True! Reminds me of a notice in my local garage:

Our rates are:
  • €10 per hour
  • €20 per hour if you watch
  • €50 per hour if you already tried to fix it yourself and made it worse

Were is this '€10 per hour' garage?
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #154 on: June 18, 2013, 03:59:42 pm »
Under a shade tree just outside the city limits by me. He does a roaring trade in fixing broken exhausts using only wire and old cans.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #155 on: June 18, 2013, 04:46:14 pm »
As an electrician I have to say that having the customer standing watching you work is the worst..

As a customer I have to say that watching electricians work is an absolute must. Don't get me started  ...
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duskglow

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #156 on: June 18, 2013, 04:54:43 pm »
I must confess I love watching tradespeople work.  I try my best to be unobtrusive and even helpful, but I learn so much, and I find by engaging them in conversation and being friendly they generally don't mind - or at least I avoid pissing them off to the point where they tell me to get lost.  I think they can tell the difference between genuine interest and just trying to make sure they don't screw up.

And, every now and then, you do catch a mistake.  I did once, saving a company quite a bit of money.  And, as long as you approach it in the right manner ("hey, I just noticed this, I know I'm not an expert, but are you sure this is right?") I find 99% of the time they're grateful you caught it.

It's all in how you approach it.  Treat them like a human and they'll return the favor.
 

Offline Leon

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #157 on: June 18, 2013, 05:46:28 pm »
A normal inverter will always shut down operation when the AC signal is lost. Some have an "island" mode in which they can still power the house

Ideally I would have liked that feature, but the grid rarely fails.
This is not meant for grid failure (although it could work that way), it's a feature to maximize the amount of solar energy you can use. It's a way to store the energy you generate during the day and use it in the evening/night. See fi: http://powerrouter.com/products/powerrouter-solar-battery-self-use
SMA has similar options. In countries like Germany (>23GW peak PV output) the electricity price on the spot market can be negative during the day. Meaning you actually have to pay to get rid of it. Storing the energy and using it later on can be a worthwhile action. And it's not illegal: it's your PV system, and it's your energy. You just don't sell it to your utility company for a low rate.
 

Offline hpnut

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #158 on: June 18, 2013, 10:30:57 pm »

This is not meant for grid failure (although it could work that way), it's a feature to maximize the amount of solar energy you can use. It's a way to store the energy you generate during the day and use it in the evening/night. See fi: http://powerrouter.com/products/powerrouter-solar-battery-self-use
SMA has similar options. In countries like Germany (>23GW peak PV output) the electricity price on the spot market can be negative during the day. Meaning you actually have to pay to get rid of it. Storing the energy and using it later on can be a worthwhile action. And it's not illegal: it's your PV system, and it's your energy. You just don't sell it to your utility company for a low rate.
[/quote]

Hello Leon,

what SMA device is this?  I am interested.

thank you.

hpnut in Malaysia
« Last Edit: June 18, 2013, 10:32:40 pm by hpnut »
 

Offline moemoe

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #159 on: June 19, 2013, 07:41:32 am »
ripple control, wth is that for?

Ripple control, such a rude word, here in germany we call that "Rundsteuertechnik", can't really think of an exact translation, but somehow like group/round control technology. I think, to be exact, ripple control is only one form of Rundsteuertechnik, but the most used here, a signal gets modulated onto the mains AC.

I also took some pictures of the power distribution here, the first is in the staircase for the two flats on this floor. The left one still has the old installation with these big clunky D fuses.
The left meter has two scales for day and night, in the middle you can see the ripple control reciever to switch between the scales together with its contactor.

(Our) right meter has only one scale, because after tracking the power usage for some time I found out that we don't use that much power at night, so we can't save any money using day/night tariff.

The following two pictures are our in flat fuse box, we only have 3 rooms and 60m², so it's quiet a lot in there. You can nicely see the color coded labels indicating the residual-current circuit breaker they are attached to. One nice detail is "F 1", this is the light in the corridor that is not RCCB protected, so you can always find your way to the fuse box :)

The two three-phase switches are for the oven in the kitchen and the storage water heater, blue is for the rooms with water (kitchen and bathroom), yellow for the dry rooms. The electricity in our flat got renewed just before we moved in here about 5 years ago.

You can also see the odd-value B13 fuses, they used to have 1,5mm² rated for 16A, but then changed the norm so that they are only allowed to carry 13A anymore, and they didn't want to rip out all old cables. But we also got some new 2,5mm² cables fused with B16s.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 07:45:15 am by moemoe »
https://github.com/maugsburger/
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Offline Rodville

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #160 on: June 19, 2013, 04:15:25 pm »
I can't find where the time lapse video is. Can someone please link me/
 

Offline Leon

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #161 on: June 19, 2013, 04:58:24 pm »
Hello Leon,

what SMA device is this?  I am interested.

thank you.

hpnut in Malaysia
It's a special version of the Sunny Island series: http://www.sma.de/produkte/batterie-wechselrichter/sunny-island-60h.html
 

Offline Alana

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #162 on: June 19, 2013, 06:16:31 pm »
How long does it take for such system like Dave has to pay for itself?

ripple control, wth is that for?

Ripple control, such a rude word, here in germany we call that "Rundsteuertechnik", can't really think of an exact translation, but somehow like group/round control technology. I think, to be exact, ripple control is only one form of Rundsteuertechnik, but the most used here, a signal gets modulated onto the mains AC.

I think its similar to what i know as SCA [sterowanie czestotliwoscia akustyczna - audio frequency control]. Basically its injecting audio frequency signal 216Hz into power lines at substation and that controls electronic switches for on-peak/off-peak rates, street lights and other things like that. I helped to build one transmitter unit back in 2000 as my job experience as electronics technician and if someone is interested i think i can still find some of my notes on the subject.
 

Offline tecman

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #163 on: June 19, 2013, 08:05:49 pm »
Dave:

You should talk to SMA down under and see if they will give you an inverter to tear down.

Here is what my Fronius looks like with its cloths off.  There is a DC-DC stage to stabilize the DC into the inverter stage for optimization.  There are three inverter sections which are switched on as a function of power delivered.  They rotate which inverter section comes on to wear level them.

paul
« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 08:18:55 pm by tecman »
 

Offline mickpah

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #164 on: June 20, 2013, 11:36:47 am »
Hi Dave,
I know I'm falling for TI markieting, but this was just so tempting to play with.
An MPS430 launch pad and a CC3000 wifi booster pack for $40 USD delivered. Fedex included in the price and here for me to play with in  3 days !.

https://estore.ti.com/msp-exp430g2-cc3000boost.aspx

Just the thing to send your generated power reading up to the sever without burning up all your sun powered goodness  :)
 

Offline WattSekunde

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #165 on: June 20, 2013, 11:34:31 pm »
Hi Dave,
back in 2008 we installed 7.35 kWp with 42 modules (175 W Schüco SPV 175 SMC-1) and two SMA 4000TL (Schüco branded) wired with 6mm^2. The whole system works fine since end of 2008 here in Germany.
From december 2008 to now ;-) we selling a total of 33273 kWh.
We decided to install 4 strings 2x(10+11) divided to both 4000TL. Now we are able to compare both SMAs and the 10 and 11 strings against each other.
WR1: 16672 kWh
WR2: 16601 kWh

Little 4000TL teardown in my attachments:
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 11:43:32 pm by WattSekunde »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #166 on: June 20, 2013, 11:45:19 pm »
Huge array, very nice!  :-+
I'm a tight arse, so only got a $5K 3kW system. But realistically, 3kW is pretty much all we needed to offset our daytime use. At 6 cents FIT I didn't think it was worth installing a bigger system.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 11:46:58 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline WattSekunde

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #167 on: June 20, 2013, 11:54:45 pm »
Thanks  :)

We build a "Passivhaus" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_house). That means we need around 7000kWh / year at all. That includes heating and hot water. We don't need gas or oil. Only electricity and water ;-). So our solar power system delivers nearly the same we need. The power net is our buffer. Maybe in future we need to add batteries ;).
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 12:01:19 am by WattSekunde »
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #168 on: June 21, 2013, 12:24:42 am »
Maybe in future we need to add batteries ;).

You my friend are hard core, a feat I hope to someday achieve.

Offline GeoffS

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #169 on: June 21, 2013, 01:36:21 am »
It would be interesting to see how much power you generate today, it being the shortest day of the year.
 

Offline hpnut

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #170 on: June 21, 2013, 01:48:26 am »
Huge array, very nice!  :-+
I'm a tight arse, so only got a $5K 3kW system. But realistically, 3kW is pretty much all we needed to offset our daytime use. At 6 cents FIT I didn't think it was worth installing a bigger system.

Dave, my 2.5kW system costs AUD11,000 equivalent but the Malaysian FiT payment is more generous at 42 cents.  I get two sets of bills every month: consumption bill which I have to pay my utility provider and also a generation advice which the same utility provider credits to my account.

hpnut in Malaysia
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #171 on: June 21, 2013, 01:54:38 am »
It would be interesting to see how much power you generate today, it being the shortest day of the year.

It's also overcast.
Based on two good days so far, it is clear that minimum the 3KW system will deliver on a good clear clear winters day is over 9kWh.
A heavily overcast day still seems to give at least 6kWh.
I expected a fair bit less, so am quite happy with that.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 01:56:57 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline Eight8

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #172 on: June 21, 2013, 05:02:05 am »
Huge array, very nice!  :-+
I'm a tight arse, so only got a $5K 3kW system. But realistically, 3kW is pretty much all we needed to offset our daytime use. At 6 cents FIT I didn't think it was worth installing a bigger system.

I was able to secure the 0.44c FIT in QLD. Consequently we installed the maximum size inverter allowed, a Xantrex 5kW. We added to that 6kW of solar panels. Most of the time we never hit the inverters maximum, however on a cool sunny day we can hit the limit. To get the most from the panels you need full sun and a cool breeze to prevent them derating due to temperature.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #173 on: June 21, 2013, 08:21:59 am »
It would be interesting to see how much power you generate today, it being the shortest day of the year.

It is the longest day of the year, you just have to be on the right half of the earth :)
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Offline WattSekunde

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Re: EEVblog #484 - Home Solar Power System Installation
« Reply #174 on: June 22, 2013, 11:57:32 am »
Maybe in future we need to add batteries ;).

You my friend are hard core, a feat I hope to someday achieve.

Thanks. We try our best.  :-DMM
 


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