Need help with getting start in solar

Now that we on the topic of starting solar.

We just, well 2 weeks ago, installed a Fox Ess system at our office. A backup for the server ups and a couple of pc/printers. They also installed a couple of solar panels with.

Its an all in one system tower. But quite interisting, it uses a high Voltage dc setup. 200vdc. You have to serie the 4 48v batteries. Very neat setup.

One thing i notice, is that it dont like going over the rated output. It tripped at a 7000w load startup. (A couple of laser printer started at once when they tested the unit)

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I think the Chinese, are now into the market of a all in one system. Quite a few manufacturers heading in that direction. That’s great when all works, but effectively like in the above scenario when it doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work.

They are also encrypting the operation completely, so that means you cannot use the battery with another inverter, it’s a two piece unit.

87

You are challenging the wrong entity aka CoCT, missing a very huge aspect in that CoCT was forced by NERSA to enforce the regulations or “else”. No jokes. I’ve been watching this saga since 2008 when I wondered how to charge UPS batteries using solar panels.

When CoCT said they want to go “solar”, houses must go solar, long-term plans in place to secure the electrical supply in the W//Cape in order to attract more international investment, as a big city must do, the Gov was all over them.

As a result, even with all Gov has said ito going solar, I believe, stand to be corrected, that the court case is still ongoing where CoCT wants the Constitution altered that they can buy electricity from anyone, not just Eskom. This “fight” has been ongoing for years now.

Focus on NERSA/Eskom Inc, not CoCT who are merely being forced to enforce national SANS/NRS regulations, by NERSA, is my suggestion.

And keep an eye out for when other Munic’s make their moves, seeing as the ANC is ever so subtly losing full control. Put your team onto studying the new SANS/NRS regulations ito grid tying with solar panels thrown into the mix. All the regs are there, and they are NOT CoCT.

Every Sparkie should have a copy already.

I think this is the easy bit. Because to be honest, they Aussie Regs enforcers are the toughest bunch to please, like their border security :joy:. The machine must be proven safe & not grid feed when the grid is down or shed. In other words it must separate. Now the Infinisolar can do this. It is like the Sunsynk, and instead of making use of a CT coil actually employs a Modbus RS485 communication capable meter. This meter is only necessary under a specific mode to grid feed. So if you stay away from that mode it will island so to speak. But still power your essentials.

If no meter, it has no comparison to make with the grid & will island without the meter sending it info.

But yes, this whole thing is more political than anything else. But having seen the fine print on the list of the approved devices, it was quite clear that if EU/US/AUS approved certification and certificate is provided as well as a demonstration they have no choice. As an installer we have the SANS regs and the guidelines are as stated above. Safety is of paramount and this can be demonstrated. So again when they say fines can be accrued my attitude to that has to be according to their fine print. This is taken care of during a Certificate of Compliance in any case. If the inspector is worth his salt he will know the system & test it’s capabilities.

However, that is a whole other CoC discussion. Unfortunately, many Inspectors come from an AC electricity platform & Solar is a very very grey area for them. In my opinion these inspectors need some short formal training to make sense of and apply the policy accordingly. I guess I am hoping for too much here :thinking::sweat_smile:

87

Seeing as I have made all the mistakes one can make the last decade, I’m all for newbies to understand the bare bones for there is nothing so sad as to be all excited and happy, monies spent, and then someone knocks on the door and wants answers. Therefore I share what I have to try and avert that happening to newbies, knowing of the plights of some to get systems signed off, engineers who have to sign them off and won’t, of fines being issued, of forced system removals.

Today I’m of the opinion that if an installer installs a system and there is an official getting their knickers in a knot, not understanding, which is not their job, the intricacies and nuances when engineers /officials/NERSA is still thrashing some of it out, or cannot agree on whatnot, or regulations are worded for “interpretation”, yet the owner is issued with a fine, then in my view the installer should pick up that tab and sort it all out for the end-user.

But that never will happen. So Caveat Emptor, as we don’t want to argue with officials, as I said.

Install a NRS approved inverter, the list is there, the manufacturers on there having spent a ton of money on getting their products on that list, is my advice to all newbies, as one can avert a potential ton of stress IF it ever comes across a desk of a Munic Official near you. :wink:

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Very very valid point. Unfortunately, an installer you can call after an installation is done is hens teeth in the first place.
But we need to change perceptions. Solar is a journey, not a race & a good installer makes relationships and builds on an already good foundation with a customer.

The best advice right there!!!

If given the opportunity & soon it will present itself. We will look to get this done. Reasoning: Cape Town is not our market at all, but it does a great deal to pave the way & instill trust in a product and this is worthy battle.

I know that many people are very skeptical on Chinese made equipment. My reply to that skepticism: maybe not possible now, but visit places like Beijing or Shanghai. What you will witness will tell you everything you need to know.

They are where South Korea were a decade ago. Nobody would touch their products. Now almost everyone has a Samsung or a Kia. There was a cruel learning process to get quality in the end and it has taken time, right now I would debate that they have moved many places forward.

They are wide open for business and coupled with the right partnerships locally can thrive.

Until such time though, we in market get our local suppliers in line with that trusted strategy, we will suffer.

Great chat @TheTerribleTriplet

87

I just need to interject here. Never confuse anti-islanding with grid-limiting.

Grid-limiting has to do with avoiding the flow of energy into the grid (because you are not allowed to sell it, or have a meter that will raise a tamper signal, or similar) while the grid is ON. Anti-islanding has to do with not feeding energy into the grid when it is OFF.

All equipment must have anti-islanding (up to the NRS097 standards) to be allowed. You don’t need the ability to grid-limit though… if you have an agreement in place to sell that energy, that’s perfectly legal.

Hi 87Dream, just a heads up, there is a very big difference between anti islanding and grid limiting. Doesnt matter what mode you select on the Sunsynk, it will go into island mode whenever the grid fail.

Again, the meter is only for export limitation and has nothing to do with the unit going into islanding mode. The “Loss of mains detection” as Victron calls it will is done by internal monitoring within the Inverter that will control switching of hardware within the inverter. NRS regulations requires all this to happen within the inverter without any assistance of any “outside” equipment.

I do not agree with this, its all about the safety of people working on lines feeding your home while the power is suppose to be off.

Just for your knowledge, Sans regulation requires that any Inverter should comply to NRS standards before you can issue a COC, doesnt matter if you are in JHB or CPT.

Hey Jaco, not confusing the two, just explaining in plain language for others as well as myself to make it easier to understand. I prefer to simplify such concepts.

You have explained the difference to a good detail. Just saying how it works on a humble Voltronics machine & purely because in Gauteng nobody that I have ever installed with is willing to grid feed for obvious reasons, it’s really not worth it and it’s not in your favour. I honestly wish we did have the scheme more freely available and in favour of the producer. Would probably assist to reduce some of our energy problems. Q

The Infinisolar will do exactly the same. Will not feed at all without this meter to a set limit nor without the grid present. The internals also will not feed if the grid is not detected & it will become an off grid machine & only power the essentials. As said before, it has its certification done in some more heavily regulated parts of the world.

Once again common ground here. Ppl on the lines need safety. The certification and manufacturing process takes care of that. My political opinion, however, is slightly different to your stand point.

Hence my point, I don’t think that this task to get listed on the CofC is not a major issue to get done. I also don’t think it costs a manufacturer thousands of $$$$. There has just never been a person willing to make it possible or get tested or provide the said certificates that prove the safety thereof.

Now your point on whether a Voltronics machine complies to NRS is definitely valid. Depends on the regulator, once again. In CPT it’s more policed and regulated. In Gauteng it’s the wild west. This is already proven at manufacture and certification. My original point of view still stands if this process leads to a better confidence and safety, I am all in. I believe, the SANS code and the NRS is just mere details and guidelines. What is of utmost importance is a safety culture.

I leave the policy up to the regulator and inspectors and would never place any device that is unsafe in anyone’s home.

87

My humble apologies to the original poster as I think I have taken your thread in a very different path. I will abstain please accept my apologies.

87

In all these examples you still mention export, and again export has got nothing to do with safety. So explaining to CoCt that is safe because you can stop export should be a very interesting debate.

Cape town use to be like that, when the regulations were enforced installers with 100 plus installations were forced to replace inverters all over, those regulations will carry over to Gauteng and then I dont want to be the client with the non complaint inverter. I saw CoCt cut power to homes until the non complaint inverters were replaced, and this will happen in other parts of the country soon.

Just a word of caution, its been mentioned on this forum before, we will not promote or allow any non compliant inverters to be promoted on this forum. I owe it to all my members to protect them against problems in the future.

We cant allow it, for the simple fact that NRS and Sans does not allow it…

My interests go far beyond just inverters. Battery tech is also of great interest to me. I also don’t want to promote anything, I just share ideas and really enjoy the company of like minded individuals.

What happens on the Voltronics side, I will not mention again due to your disclaimer. Thank you for the clarification up front.

87

You have opened a very interesting can of worms. It does fit under this thread quite succinctly.

What does CofC stand for?
We have it as CoCT.

Those companies that certify inverter models, Co names are on the list, contact one of them for a price to get an inverter NRS certified. From a few years back, it was Euro 7000 per model.

To not mince words.
Axperts, not Infini’s, are UPS’es with an MPPT added, and have no paperwork whatsoever. I asked them.

So when people use Axpert + DB + solar panels in the same sentence, some of us have been down that route over years on another forum.

Axperts, and all the copies out there, are not NRS certified, therefore not legal to install under SANS/NRS regulations, when connected to a DB board when there are solar panels involved.

Axpert + DB with no solar panels = an awesome UPS by most standards.
Axpert + Solis grid-tied inverter = a very affordable solution.

The only Infini’s that is on the list is the InfiniSolar 10k.
The thing is, it has to be limited to the main DB circuit breaker, as per regulations.
Single-phase DB’s tend to have ±60amp breaker = max 3.5kw inverter.
So either the inverter is limited when grid-tied to 3.5kw OR the panels are limited to a max of 3.5kw.

Another tidbit.
As people claim, insurers are wising up on solar system regulations. You cannot claim if you have circumvented the regulations. And IF there is a claim, the insurer will try and recoup their losses, if someone made a mistake, like an electrician, engineer, installer.
Note: This is not insurance advice nor am I’m an insurance broker … it is common sense. :wink:

For me the simplest distinction remains this. One of them has to do with what happens when the grid is ON, the other has to do with what happens if the grid if OFF. There is no simpler way to put it.

In an AC system, the current and the voltage change direction 100 times a second, so the direction that the energy flow (aka power) isn’t as simple as it is in DC. Modern loads also don’t necessarily have a sinusiodal current draw, which makes it even harder. What the modern grid limiter has to do, quite literally, is line integration (that’s an actual mathematical thing in Calculus) over the dot product of the voltage and current vector, and it has to do this numerically through repeated sampling.

At equilibrium (when the loads and the amount fed in balances exactly), the power measurement becomes extremely “noisy”. Which makes complete sense, because there is almost no signal to work with. Hence using a Current transformer (CT) or even a shunt to do anti-islanding is a no-go. It is not going to work at the point of equilibrium, where there is no signal to work with. This area is known as the NDZ (non-detection zone)… so an inverter has to implement deliberate methods to perturb this balance (known as active measures) to prevent this from happening.

Nevertheless, I am belabouring the point. The two are not the same. You can never implement anti-islanding with only a current sensor (such as a CT or shunt). And even if you could, those are passive measures only. NRS097 mandates at least one active measure.

The Infini ties with the grid. It must have NRS097, no two ways around it. So this inverter should not even be mentioned in the same breath as its lesser cousin, the Axpert/Mecer/Voltronic.

Now when it comes to the Voltronic, this is my personal take on the situation. The inverter does not feed in, and therefore is not subject to NRS097. But… the moment you hardwire it into an installation, it becomes subject to numerous SANS regulations (if it sits on a battery trolley it is a UPS… nobody cares). I think it has to comply with SANS 62040-1 for example.

Amen!

As much as we debate issues, we tend, kinda, to say the same thing.

Its in my best interests to do so…if it helps others then why not.

When did you make your query?

Can you clarify, how you will power the DB? Via the Eskom DB or Sub essentials DB?

I speak only for original Voltronics machines. Copies or clones are not original & hence I cannot speak for their quality nor certification prospects.

This is a massive point you make. The way it is installed makes all the difference & yes it’s considered off grid in nature for many reasons.

In the same way you stand, respect and represent a certain brand due to many reasons be they by regulation or by quality of experience, I am only trying to do the same. With that said, all I ask is the same opportunity to jump through the hoops of the regulation and codes. Because we are in an energy crisis & the more options available to the market the shorter time we will take get out of this crisis.

It may not be to your quality levels of equipment but it is none the less an option. However, too many ppl were exposed to clones and the former lack of quality. You cannot judge a product on its yesterday product today.

87

After some deep digging on the subject and with reference to multiple government standards I can tell you that Voltronics is perfectly capable of successful certification and approval with the CoCT.

I won’t bore anyone with such details and laws but, all that I can confidently say is that, Voltronics & by this I mean OEM Voltronics machines are already certified in principle. All that is required is the formal application with the CoCT and the ammunition and proof to make it happen. I have already gathered the required white papers on their existing certification standards as provided by them.

This makes reference to it’s Off grid inverters and Grid interactive inverters.

87

You are making it sound like it’s perfectly safe to install these units. There is currently no certification in place in SA to prove your claim.

Untill you obtain such certification, I urge you again to let this debate go, as it might “mislead” members to install something that might lead to problems in the future.

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I have the sunsynk, actually 2 of them in parallel. The interface is pretty straightforward and simple to use. Initially, the support from deye was lacking but I believe now they are supported by the same team both in China and locally.

I still think that all of the functionality is still there no matter which interface you use so it doesn’t make too much of a difference. I know people that are happy with the deye. That being said, the price difference isn’t that much amongst the different brands so it may just be better to go with the sunsynk as there’s a larger customer base and you will be able to find unofficial support much easier.

Regarding the batteries, the sunsynk can speak to many of the locally available battery brands and the latest sunsynk manual has a list of supported batteries. Personally, I have pylontech and have been happy with it. I know people with BSL bull batteries and many are also using Hubble. On paper, the Hubble seems good if you are getting a small battery bank as the battery c rating comes into effect. It’s important if you are getting a 5kw inverter with a single 5kw of storage. However, this entirely depends on your load and your requirements. For example, if your average load is 3kw then 5kw of storage isn’t going to get you through load shedding. In this case, you would need more than 1 battery and the c rating is pointless. This is one of the problems I have with the marketing of this brand as they claim C ratings is the major selling point but it’s not a 1 size fits all. The other issue is that in the recent months, their warranty period changed a few times on the same battery. Other issue is they are around for under 2 years I think, and their initial battery is already obsolete and no longer available. Long term support is important for me as I started of with 2 pylontechs and later added 1 and earlier this year another. I would be very unhappy if the next time I want to add a battery, I am unable to as they changed designs. At least with pylontech, the new batteries are compatible with the older.

There are lots of inverter and battery brands out there. Most are very similar from a functional point of view. What should matter the most is that you are able to get support down the road when you want to expand the system or when something goes wrong.

I’m busy helping someone install a system to deal with all the loadshedding. Decided to go with a 5kw sunsynk and 2 pylontech US5000 batteries. Will be adding solar a bit later when funds permit.