Running on sunshine

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12 years 4 months ago #410917 by Megan
Replied by Megan on topic Running on sunshine
Just a few questions, please!

Without batteries, can you use "your" power if the rest of the grid is having a power cut?

If you are producing more power than you are using, and there is a power outage, what happens to the excess power?

We have seriously considered a photovoltaic system and would like not to have a huge battery bank, but we have frequent and prolonged power outages due to the very high winds we experience.

Can you have a battery system AND be connected to the grid?

Do Meridian pay you as much for the power you supply them, as the power they supply you? (Is there any way for them to tell, other than the final balance?)

Megan

The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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12 years 4 months ago #410921 by Aria
Replied by Aria on topic Running on sunshine

Organix;407154 wrote: By importing the panels ourselves at good US$/NZ$ rates and doing most of the siteworks ourselves our 5.2kW will end up totalling up at about $5.50/W. A little over what we budgeted so our projected 10% ROR on investment may not be a reality until electricity costs rise a bit :)


I also think that energy self-sufficiency is also a form of peace of mind/insurance against market fluctuation (e.g. price spikes during shortages) as well as network failure (unfortunately power cuts are quite common for us). Hence, we consider we'd need to buy a diesel generator in future if we don't put in some form of our own generation.

So don't fret about your ROR so much as the value you've added to the property at large likely well exceeds the capital outlay.

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12 years 4 months ago #410924 by Organix
Replied by Organix on topic Running on sunshine

Megan;407184 wrote: Just a few questions, please!

Without batteries, can you use "your" power if the rest of the grid is having a power cut? No :(

If you are producing more power than you are using, and there is a power outage, what happens to the excess power? During a power outage of the grid a grid tie system must be configured so that no electricity is exported to the grid. As I understand it there is no way a grid tie system can route its generation to the property it is on (ours) during a power outage except if part of the generation is stored by batteries. "Islanding" part of your generation by this method involves substantial extra expense which would have to weighed against the advantages of having potentially continuous supply for your 'essential items'.

We have seriously considered a photovoltaic system and would like not to have a huge battery bank, but we have frequent and prolonged power outages due to the very high winds we experience.

Can you have a battery system AND be connected to the grid? As above

Do Meridian pay you as much for the power you supply them, as the power they supply you? (Is there any way for them to tell, other than the final balance?)

Meridian currently offer a 1:1 buy back rate. To my knowledge they are the only providor who does so. This is not set in stone however and the current government's plans to flog off large portions of its electricity suppliers (which includes Meridian) is a concern in this respect.

Harm Less Solutions.co.nz
NZ & AU distributor of Eco Wood Treatment stains and Bambu Dru bamboo fabrics and clothing

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12 years 4 months ago #410930 by griev
Replied by griev on topic Running on sunshine
Hi Organix, there is a 'magic box put out by Xantrix that can divert the PV power to your house if the grid does go down, A chap in Nelson does import their stuff, but you will need other boxes ie invertor and phase matcher, so it may not quite be worth the hassle for you, envious of your sys, ours is getting built on rainy days . so far only 500w of the 2kw modules made, (I am making my own from imported cells) time consuming but cheap (ie $1/watt, not counting my time, but I am down to approx 3 hrs to solder and seal a 120W module together now)

Let the sun shine on my solar panels[:)]

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12 years 4 months ago #410935 by griev
Replied by griev on topic Running on sunshine

Megan;407184 wrote: Just a few questions, please!

Without batteries, can you use "your" power if the rest of the grid is having a power cut?

If you are producing more power than you are using, and there is a power outage, what happens to the excess power?

We have seriously considered a photovoltaic system and would like not to have a huge battery bank, but we have frequent and prolonged power outages due to the very high winds we experience.

Can you have a battery system AND be connected to the grid?

Do Meridian pay you as much for the power you supply them, as the power they supply you? (Is there any way for them to tell, other than the final balance?)

Hi Megan

You can have a batt bank and export power to the grid and then use that PV power you produce in your home when the grid fails, the system is not cheap, Xantrex have these systems avail, the PV array will feed into an invertor, which charges your batts and outputs 240V to a magic grid tie sensor box which phase shifts the AC signal and feeds it to the grid,

when the grid fails, the grid tie box is disconnected and power is then fed via the invertor to your house, when power comes back on it may take a visit from meridian to reset the grid tie box (they may not like your feed coming back on line by itself)

you will need to do a lot of research to see how to configure the system and consult with meridian (or whomever) to see if you can do it with them.

Let the sun shine on my solar panels[:)]

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12 years 4 months ago #410939 by Organix
Replied by Organix on topic Running on sunshine

griev;407198 wrote: Hi Organix, there is a 'magic box put out by Xantrix that can divert the PV power to your house if the grid does go down, A chap in Nelson does import their stuff, but you will need other boxes ie invertor and phase matcher, so it may not quite be worth the hassle for you, envious of your sys, ours is getting built on rainy days . so far only 500w of the 2kw modules made, (I am making my own from imported cells) time consuming but cheap (ie $1/watt, not counting my time, but I am down to approx 3 hrs to solder and seal a 120W module together now)

Should that be Xantrex? Can you PM me contact details for the guy in Nelson as the power outage issue is the one thing that doesn't add up for our set-up?

All the best for your project. I thought ours was a lot of work with 28 posts (most footed) and 40m of hand dug trench but handbuilt modules is a whole other level of DIY [^]

Harm Less Solutions.co.nz
NZ & AU distributor of Eco Wood Treatment stains and Bambu Dru bamboo fabrics and clothing

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12 years 4 months ago #410949 by BRL
Replied by BRL on topic Running on sunshine

Organix;407154 wrote: our 5.2kW will end up totalling up at about $5.50/W

I'm jealous .. our bank of panels is only 1kW - but it went in back in the heady days of $10/watt

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12 years 4 months ago #410952 by griev
Replied by griev on topic Running on sunshine
ha yep it is Xantrex, I will have a hunt for his contact details and PM them to you, I know he does sell stuff on Trademe from time to time, but there are a few in Nelson that do off grid systems, and thus can get confusing, I normally pick him out if he has Xantrex items for sale.

Let the sun shine on my solar panels[:)]

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12 years 3 months ago #411791 by RhodeRed
Replied by RhodeRed on topic Running on sunshine
Holy crap thats impressive! Well done.

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12 years 3 months ago #411864 by lameredefromage
Replied by lameredefromage on topic Running on sunshine
Fantastic system Organix.
Ours is also grid tied and the power outage thing also really bothers me. It was far too expensive for us to set up at the time too.
Griev, could you also PM me if you find the details of the Xantrex guy. Thanks

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12 years 3 months ago #411909 by Belle Bosse
Replied by Belle Bosse on topic Running on sunshine
That is really neat Organix.
I hope you do get your battery bank going and be totally self reliant for those clouded and "grid down" days.
Glad to hear you're getting the electricity co. to pay you for a change!!

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12 years 3 months ago #411913 by griev
Replied by griev on topic Running on sunshine
organix
did you get my PM with the chaps details?

Let the sun shine on my solar panels[:)]

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12 years 3 months ago #411933 by Organix
Replied by Organix on topic Running on sunshine

griev;408275 wrote: organix
did you get my PM with the chaps details?

Yes thanks. I've made contact but yet to explore the details.

Harm Less Solutions.co.nz
NZ & AU distributor of Eco Wood Treatment stains and Bambu Dru bamboo fabrics and clothing

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12 years 3 months ago #412046 by griev
Replied by griev on topic Running on sunshine

lameredefromage;408220 wrote: Fantastic system Organix.
Ours is also grid tied and the power outage thing also really bothers me. It was far too expensive for us to set up at the time too.
Griev, could you also PM me if you find the details of the Xantrex guy. Thanks

Sent you a PM, the Xantrex system wasn't the one it's made by Studer!

Let the sun shine on my solar panels[:)]

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12 years 3 months ago #412153 by IceBear
Replied by IceBear on topic Running on sunshine
Organix, what gear did you install out of interest? I am running a very small system by comparison in my cabin. I have a 180w 24v panel, with a 200AHr battery, a Morningstar MPPT charge controller, and a Xantrex 1400W inverter. Works a treat for weekend usage.

Xantrex do make a combo inverter with a transfer switch but they are really not intended for what you need. They're designed for the American RV market and as I understand it they disconnect the solar when the mains is applied - they charge the batteries while on either mains or solar.

How often do you have grid connection issues? The cost of batteries to service a house will be significant, and they don't last forever and will be a 5 year cost probably. Also the inverter you would need to provide AC off your battery bank will also be expensive if you want to run the house as if you were on mains.

The 1400W model I have would be fine, but you can't run the toaster and kettle together, or an oven, etc etc... Lots to think about.

Also, what voltage do you run your panels at?

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