New Solar planning and design guidelines

The can o worms…. 🪱

So you want to go Solar, good choice. But you want to go off-grid? Why, it’s the first question, oh and there is no wrong answer here by the way. Before you even think of answering that question, this is going to be a ‘buckle up buttercup’ question laden thread. Consider this the valley of a thousand questions. So here we have the first real question for ya, why don’t you buy shoes that are half the size you normally wear? See we start easy :) Let me answer that, because you cannot use them and it will be a waste of money. Facts don’t care for feelings…. Now with that out the way, let’s get the tongue out of our cheek. (or should that be shoe 😬)

Your mind is made up, your budget cast and you have a good waf/haf (wife acceptance factor). So now is the time to hold them hosses, don’t get em cart out in front of them hosses…. Question time then, you guessed it, many many more q’s.

Why, where, when, how much budget, how much consumption, how much diversion (more on this later) and a bit on time warping. OK ok, I just want solar and be done with it already. Well maybe stop reading then and go buy some stuff as this might then not be for you. Or maybe not, Solar has no instant gratification like instant coffee but it can boil your kettle for a cuppa while you think. There is no one size unisex fits all here. Each and every one of these systems are unique to you, so the better you understand you, the better you will understand your requirements and therefore be better informed when having to make choices for better outcomes. If you too lazy to apply your mind, be my guest.

Consider firstly why do you want to install Solar PV? Are you building new or are you not connected to the Utility Grid (be that Eskom or via your Municipality) or do you want a reduced monthly energy bill? What about just being energy independent and not suffer another blackout, or even most of the above?

What does it take to go off grid? That depends, but one certainty is lots of money, frequently more than you want to spend or even can spend. That is just a fact. But lets unpack what a household would need, roughly. I will make em numbers easy so you can calculate along at home. Before we even get there, ha and you thought this was quick an easy…. What can you change to allow you not to consume so much energy? A new kettle o fish to consider as it’s less costly to not consume the energy in the first place, rather than to buy equipment to support that extra load in and off-grid system. Maybe off-grid is not viable and a compromise is needed. This is easy and maybe suitable for you.

So let’s look at the process for going Solar. We have to start by doing all the below, even though it may not be formally, it’s still done, even if only mentally and not really consciously.

  • Requirements
  • Energy assessment
  • Assessment in light of the combined above
  • Planning
  • Modelling
  • Optimisation
  • Design and more planning
  • Procurement & Logistics
  • Build (and the inevitable realisation that you did a piss poor job of planning)
  • Configuration and Programming if required
  • Testing
  • Commissioning
  • Surge & Lightning Protection
  • Tweaking (you always do this even if you don’t want to)
  • Maintenance.
  • Upgrades and additions

The biggest consumers of energy is water heating by geyser, then kettle, ironing, stove plates and ovens, microwave, underfloor heating, pool pump and spa pump and heater. During Winter it’s space heating and Summer time Airconditioning. Tumble dryer, washing machine and things like Air fryers, hair dryers and coffee machines can have quite a load but their use is less frequent. Can any of these things be reduced or changed to alternative fuels like Gas (diversion of energy sources)? For Petes sake, don’t try and get your women folk to not use the hair dryers please…. Are you willing to change appliances if they not yet working on Gas or solar water heating? That will cost money, but maybe investing here is a bit more palatable then spending the money on batteries for nighttime use. Remember, we asked what it will take to go off grid?

Do not forget about the CoC and other approvals and all the paperwork to be done. For interconnected Grid tied systems vs off-grid systems, there are differing requirements. Starting out, your electrician will most likely have to split the Distribution boards and neutral wires to accommodate the Solar install. All these things take time and money. Don’t be surprised for all the issues your sparky will uncover with the house wiring and general state of affairs, or the costs involved. Over time, your house loads may change, Murphy dictates that this will be an increase of loads. Consider this when planning your system, or later when you are faced with issues during operation. The national codes for House wiring and Solar PV systems are in place for reasons.

What’s to come then (likely each topic will be a post):

  1. Intros, this bit here and now
  2. Setting the scene and asking the questions
  3. Model an average household and see what a reasonable system is capable of, and if it can take you off-grid. A few panels, Inverter, Battery etc. really bare bones.
  4. Model the same household for off grid if the above does not quite make off grid and see what it takes
  5. Do some modelling as to costs and payback and savings, all them boring Financial stuffs
  6. Briefly discuss alternate fuels
  7. Look into the questions and answering all 1000
  8. What goes into planning and how to do so (Fail to plan, and you surely plan to Fail)
  9. Based on the previous, plan a system’s PV Panels
  10. Plan Inverter and battery systems
  11. Monitoring and managing the system
  12. Fallout, do the time warping thing or get your spouse and kids in line hehehe
  13. Living with Solar

How much energy do people consume monthly. Well as always it depends. To make things easy, see my promise earlier, I will use 500kWh per month apart from 3 winter months that will be 1000kWh consumption. This is so you can easily extrapolate and make it work for whatever your numbers are. For electricity kWh costs, I used a number as it varies all over the place depending on supply and where you are and pre-paid or other wise.

So more to follow, all them questions…

  1. Setting the scene and asking the questions

Introductions done, time to dive right in. This is meant to be guidelines, some items may not apply to you. We assume you want to install a Solar system then since you are still here reading about it 🤔. We also assume you do not want to do the Solar thing twice but just once. Rightly you may wonder why anything I say has any validity at all? As you should. A short bit about me then:

•40 years involvement in technology in it’s many forms

•Designed, Built and maintained TV Broadcast and Edit studios

•Been building encrypted Communications systems and IT systems since 1985

•Consulted to the likes of Telkom and Eskom as a full-time resource for more than 10 years

•Design, Build, Install and Commission Eskom OT SCADA Systems, all of them still running our Distribution Grid to this day

•Design, Engineer, Model, Optimise, Build, Install, Program, Automate and Commission and Maintain Solar systems for 2 decades. My business is in IT, Solar is done as an aid.

•Worked for one of the largest Premier international IT software companies for more than 7 years as a Solutions Architect and Engineer

•Designed build and Project managed Data centres all over Sub Sahara Africa for Mining companies, including power backup systems with Generators and Solar

Some random examples of a project I led from inception to commissioning…. No wires or patching cables on the front, all wiring at the back, just the opposite of how it’s still normally done today.

Question time starts now.

What do you want the system to do?

Be a UPS to just last you enough time to keep the lights and TV on, Internet and the fridge freezer?

Do you want to use Solar energy to run your home on, during the daytime? That means Utility grid at nighttime.

Do you want to reduce your energy bill each month?

Do you want the Air-conditioner in Summer and Space heating in Winter to be run from Solar?

Do you have a Generator, what capacity if you do?

How much space do you have for Solar panels?

Where will the panels be installed, on the ground or on a roof?

What direction would the panels be facing?

Would this be a replacement system or an upgrade to existing or new?

Do you plan on feeding generated energy back into the Utility Grid?

Find out what is involved in Grid feed in from your council, it’s lots of paperwork and costs for your pocket, if they even allow that.

General questions.

Are you prepared to change habits like when to have the Dishwasher operate, during late morning vs evenings?

Do you want to go completely off-grid and not use Utility grid power at all?

Are you on a farm with no Eskom?

Would this be for running a Lodge or a Commercial operation or a House?

How big is your family or business and what are your habits around when you use energy?

What are your monthly and daily energy consumption and peak power requirements?

What do you plan for bad weather days with little Solar generation? And for a few bad days in a row?

Do you have any electrical motors that need to run, Pool pumps or Machinery in a workshop?

Are you going to stay on the property for a period of time or may you move? Think about the investment and the RoI period.

What about upgrades later, how do you plan for those now?

Do you want to finance or pay cash?

What is your budget?

Are you a hands on person or do you want the system to be plug and play and just work with no interventions on a daily basis?

Specifics around the Installation questions.

What loads are essential to you?

What loads can be left off during a blackout or failure of sorts?

How many distribution boards on your property?

Do you currently suffer from earth leakage trips where you have to reset the RCD breaker?

Do you currently have a valid CoC certificate? Can you get one pre-installation?

Do you have any Surge protection or Lightning protection rods or any other devices installed in the distribution boards for surge/lightning protection elsewhere?

When will you be able to give access to the installers?

The system must be signed off and a CoC certificate issued at the end of the day, How do you plan to ensure that?

Who will be responsible for the CoC, you or the installer? It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain a CoC.

What about logistics for delivery of equipment?

If the panels are to be mounted on a roof, what is the roof slope angle and in what direction are the roof space facing?

What type of roof do you have, flat, pitched and tiled or concrete etc?

Are there any existing installations like Solar water heaters or other items on the roof?

Do you have skylights or chimneys or antennas or other protrusions on your roof?

What about things like trees or other buildings shading the Panel area?

How will you deal with this shading? Are there alternative places to install Panels?

Caveats, and there are some….

Grid tied systems do not generate energy when there are grid failures, load shedding or blackouts.

Inverters mostly need batteries to operate. This is what allows you to do energy time warping, shifting loads to use energy after sunset.

You will most likely have to change habits by doing more energy consuming tasks during daytime, or still consume from the Utility grid or batteries after sunset.

All this stuffs are technical by nature, some understanding required to operate efficiently.

You may not have many answers to all these questions, ignore that at you peril and pocket. Find the answers first. Those answers may very well lead to many more questions, answer those too.

Next time we model the solar system for a look see at what it takes….


Model a Statistically average household and see what a small but reasonable system is capable of, and if it can take you off-grid (nope). A few panels, Inverter, Battery etc, really bare bones. (Made a number of assumptions, obviusly)

Before we get there, a general comment. The energy revolution is upon us and we are living during a time of great disruption and change. For reasons. Solar PV and batteries are getting less expensive year on year globally, by a significant amount. This is in spite of the global plandemic. Did I just misspell that, not entirely sure but I might not have.

Between the generation and storage getting less expensive, and our own little Socialtopia increasing the energy costs across the board (it’s almost the 52nd Commiefornian state), this disruption to decentralised generation is bound to happen, and soon. And YOU my “comrades” 🥸🥸 are making this happen, you are the bleeding edge of the revolution in energy, the rays of sunshine causing the change, and you should be proud!

Some general background information, ah perspective.

The bulk energy consumption below, not just electricity but all forms of energy!

Just electrical energy.

And including a more global view on Total energy….

Energy consumed by mix.

Different view, by source.

It appears that we consume on average about 20% of energy as electrical energy, the rest from other sources like LPG, Petrol/Diesel, Wood, Coal etc. Average electrical energy consumption per low income person is around 4kWh per capita (i.e. per person living in the house). For middle income people it could be around 8kWh per person and the well heeled sometimes consume around 25kWh per person per hour. For a family of 4, 20-30 kWh per day are deemed to be average for SA. Remember, this is very dependent on the individual’s choices and situation.

From the above, the utter lack of transitioning to cheaper Solar Wind Battery Storage (SWBs) by 2019 is clear, and the initiatives to build any REs, way too late. Much the same still now.

Oh almost didn’t notice but Blackouts are with us again, Eskom is shedding it’s paying customers, ironic innit, seen that many areas with non paying customers are online still 🤔🤦🏻‍♂️. 15MW of unplanned loss of generation and 5MW of planned maintenance, since yesterday. But wait, it’s buylection time again or is it briblection, but maybe I am wrong or mistaken….

**Onto more mundane things then…

A couple of things to bear in mind. This is and AVERAGE system for a statistically average household, and is barebones. The actual equipment is not significant, just the capacity, ie. Inverter sizing, number of panels, battery storage capacity and your energy consumption. Pricing is based on retail guided price averages not tied to a specific brand, but more to indicate what people are spending. The actual equipment were selected for my convenience, it’s not a recommendation or endorsement at all, it may not even be suitable as a system. None of this has any material influence on the modelling for any of the two systems.

System one, barebones: System and costs: (I used a random address in Kempton Park as the example)

How much does the system supply? Your consumption averages per month in solid grey below. Green is how much Solar you can generate with this system.

This is the Summer time (same in this model’s case for fall and springtime) energy flows.

Export to grid is only for approved Feed in systems, otherwise this constitutes the wasted energy that could be generated or stored in a battery system.

And Winter time, as you can see the “Export” number dropped due to the higher Winter time self consumption. Also the Consumption increased.

The below shows what this system will do and how much of your monthly utility bill could be saved.

And a rough monthly breakdown. Why does the winter months not save anything? Space heating, Water heating and Cooking consumes most of the energy and that normally happens around or after sunset. With little to no battery storage, this is the end result. It’s colder normally, from sunset to a few hours after sunrise, then during most daylight hours.

Talking of budget…. This is the real way to look at your budget, what it will get you in savings. Also the energy independence you get if you have battery storage, and that is priceless 😮

Conclusion for the Bare bones system:

Yes you do save costs on a recurring basis. Yes it does take some investment. Your RoI is way more than inflation, way more than money sitting in the bank. Is this costing a lot, yes and no. If you cannot afford this, or rather think you cannot, consider what this modest investment will save you over the 20 year period it’s predicted to work for.

Can this system take you off grid, no. Can you build or expand on this system to do so, yes. It may require to charge the inverter or getting a second inverter. It will need more batteries, and maybe you will have to sell the current battery you have and get a newer or different set, more suited to off grid and more efficient when multiple batteries must be coupled.

Next time, can we go off grid now please….

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In SA, it’s a kak really really bad idea to feed back to the grid, my personal opinion and I do think that few people do feed in. Until such time as there are legislation in place allowing a separate grid from Government, it will never make sense. A few reasons why I believe it’s not a good idea.

  • You spend your capital for the system, they want the energy basically for free
  • You have to jump through arbitrary hoops to get sign off, it costs the council not a dime, you pay them via tax and your council fees, so they just spend your money
  • The money they earn from you does not go to provide services to you
  • Graft bribery and corruption is rife and these laws and rules are abused to their benefit and against you
  • Any meter, old style or new pre-paid can actually meter both ways, (most new meters are 4 Quadrant) why do you think it trips when sensing your side feeding in. Its just set that way in software to discourage you by annoying you and trip, or billing you, same thing, annoying you
  • Some meters will actually read your feed in and bill it as consumption, so yea go figure, grand theft electricity…
  • Paying for a special bi-directional meter is therefore a load of kak bs. It’s a scheme to discourage you from Solar by making it not affordable to install. It is merely a means to get you to keep on paying for the corruption and enrichment via your energy bill and not endanger the councils biggest income stream

😬accurate enough I trust, no?

No off-grid simulation models yet 😕

We do have a whole host of elephants in the room tho (I will refrain from saying bull in a china shop 😊)

  1. Bad whether days or weeks, how will your system cope during a single or multiple consecutive days of rail or cloud cover?

  2. Summer vs Winter rainfall areas and the varying amounts of sunshine and cloud for your specific location

  3. Eastern and Western regions of the country and their varying weather and cloud cover as it differs between east coast and west coast areas

  4. The number of PV panels required to cover for cloudy and rainy days vs the number you need for sunny days. This is at best a thumb suck estimate, you can gat best guess how many cloudy days will bi in the future, use this to estimate the amount of extra PV to compensate. Your Inverter’s PV capacity has some influence on that, sometimes called over dimensioning. Current over dimentioning is ok, but Voltages beyond the max input is a no no. This is compounded as you move further northwards by getting less Sun hours based on seasons, but also as you move from Summer to Winter rainfall areas you need more panels to generate more energy from less Sun due to rain or Cloud during winter months. For Summer rainfall areas, mostly the Highveld, winter days have fewer cloud cover days than other areas.

  5. See cover by month here: There are maps like this for each months average. The below is Afternoon cloud cover for July, please consult the link to prevent misinterpretation of this data.

  6. Panels do degrade between roughly 0.5 and 1.0% per year over the first 10-15 years, most of them stabilise after that. You can expect ~80% of nameplate performance for many decades after. Since the panels require no maintenance and no money to keep operating, they essentially generate energy for free after the break even period, apart from cleaning and washing them periodically that is.

  7. Damage from hailstorms or wind (wind damage is normally to the supporting structures, but if that gets damaged, the panels may suffer debris damage or impact damage from falling).

  8. Energy rights, you have none…. Have a think on that…

  9. We as citizens do have a bill of rights as part of our constitution. Consider the worth of that versus the reality of rights in SA. There is no energy rights defined, at all. The word energy is never mentioned in the Constitution and bill of rights. Currently there are only anti energy rights, Eskom as a monopoly for example and the Energy bill. Why do we have the competition commission then? There are no competition allowed in the Electrical energy domain for any practical purpose, and by definition, you do not have energy rights because of that. You as a citizen cannot sell you generated energy to anyone apart from Eskom or your Municipality, and that ain’t no freedom at all but the exact opposite.

  10. Energy is fundamental to life. You need energy to breathe. That energy comes from food. To grow food requires energy, various types of energy are needed like sunlight, water, nutrients, CO2 etc. You also need energy to prepare the food, to keep yourself warm during winter, to save your food from rotting etc. Talking about a fundamental right, energy ensures right to life.

  11. A/C and space warming. First the definitions: The terms COP (coefficient of performance) describe the cooling efficiency of air conditioners and EER (energy efficiency ratio) or HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) describe the heating efficiency. HSPF is a measure of the efficiency of a system in heating mode, not in cooling mode. The main reason for considering an A/C unit of the heat pump veriaty is that you get between 1x to 3x the heating per kWh consumed, compared to resistive type heaters where that ratio is at best 1 to 1.

Watch out for these, our Summer is in the middle. Its starts on July! The Sunny (Cloudy days in brackets) for various places, search your own for specifics.



Bloem is lacking in that data 😕

Correct. My ITron does. A clever move from CoCT to say you have to have a PAYG if you don’t want to feed back, one that charges you if you do feedback.

Well played CoCT, well played. :laughing:

I agree 100% with you. It costs a lot of upfront capital that will need replacement after years … you have to have that covered. Not forgetting the Duck Curve …

Yonks ago when CoCT was getting their bearings, the idea then was to pay people who fed back, the same rate per kWh as what they paid Eskom excl VAT, as you are a home user.

And they knew that had to have the law changed so that they can buy from anyone.

Then I got a feeling it got “derailed” when someone asked. So what about the infrastructure and maintenance? If you are selling back to the munic, you should also carry part of that cost, right?

The question I never asked back then: Is Eskom paying for maintenance on the CoCT network?

Not forgetting, they can buy all the solar power they need, but when those clouds move over Cpt … what then? How do they carry the baseload fast enough?

SA needs a new grid.

So yeah, feeding back and making money from out solar systems … not viable.

I think the reason they do that, is to deal with people who wire it backwards. This would be either a legitimate mistake by an installer (it happens), or someone who is trying to tamper with the meter (again, it happens).

Since power is only expected to go in one direction, just billing in both directions completely solves that issue.

In the end you only really have four options:

  1. Bill in both directions
  2. Trip on reverse feed
  3. Credit on reverse feed
  4. Assume zero on reverse feed.

Obviously option 3 opens a whole new can of worms (different buy and sell prices), and option 4 allows for tampering by swapping wires. That really only leaves you with the first two options, and I am actually thankful for people who go with “bill both ways” as it is far less disruptive on grid-tied systems with a limiter that may not be fast enough…

Technically correct yes. Installation is not by DIY but trained staff. Mistakes will be at a low rate and easily detected and corrected. Tampering is fraud and also easily detected by statistical analysis and build into the back end. And prosecutions can happen.

Points 1 and 4 = theft, morally and ethically reprehensible.
Point 2 is annoying to say the least, as the councils set these buckets very very tight.
Point 3 is not really acceptable and I will post a it more on that.

See here:

Quoted directly from their doc (sorry for the bad formatting):
Residential customers Fig. 4, shows the selected tariffs of four municipalities which were used in the case studies. The revenue impact of customers migrating from the normal residential tariffs to the SSEG tariffs is then investigated. Fig. 5 shows the forecasted impact of these tariffs on each municipality’s revenue. The x-axis of the Fig. represents increasing percentage of customers installing solar PV while the y-axis of the Fig. shows the percentage change in revenue in that tariff category after the introduction of the SSEG tariff. From Fig. 5, it is clear that SSEG tariffs can impact a municipality’s revenue significantly. For example, under Metro 2’s current SSEG tariffs if 10% of residential customers were to install solar PV, it would result in a 7% increase in revenue from this tariff category. On the other hand, Intermediary City 2 will see a noteworthy reduction in its revenue as customers install solar PV on their current SSEG tariffs.
Metro 1 results
Metro 1 introduces a fixed charge of R245/month and an export tariff of 74 c/kWh for SSEG customers. This results in a virtually revenue-neutral SSEG tariff. Under Metro 1’s tariffs, the business case for residential customers to install solar PV is 8 to 12 years, but because the SSEG tariff is revenue-neutral for the municipality, this can be considered a fair balance between the interests of the municipality and customer. Fig. 5: Impact of SSEG tariffs on the four municipalities’ revenue from residential customers.

Metro 2 results
Metro 2’s approach has been to introduce a lower fixed charge of R160 per month and a very low export tariff of 10 c/kWh. The low export tariff of 10 c/kWh means that the metro makes a significant profit when on-selling this electricity. The customer’s business case is highly unfavourable in Metro 2, with a payback period of 20 years. The low compensation for exported electricity (10 c/kWh) gives little encouragement for customers to export electricity onto the grid. Even though the fixed charge for residential customers is relatively low, the tariff does not appear to reflect a balance of customer and municipal interests. Furthermore, the unfavourable business case may drive frustrated customers to invest in offgrid solutions or to connect their installations illegally.

Intermediary City 1 results
This municipality has taken the approach of introducing a fixed charge for SSEG customers (R380 per month), as well as shifting them onto a TOU energy charge and a TOU export tariff. Since municipalities purchase bulk energy at TOU tariffs, selling electricity at TOU tariffs and buying from SSEGs at TOU tariffs is a well-founded principle, and results in more cost-reflective tariffs. In terms of the revenue impact of Intermediary City 1’s SSEG tariffs, they are seeing a considerable increase in revenue. This is due to the high fixed charge coupled with the profit made from TOU export energy charges. The business case is poor for SSEG customers in Intermediary City 1 – upward of 15 years. However, since this municipality offers TOU energy charges and TOU export tariffs, load shifting to consume out of peak times is encouraged which is likely to improve the customer’s business case to some extent (the model only considers a static load profile before and after SSEG). While initially the SSEG tariffs therefore appear to be biased towards the interests of the municipality over those of the customer, the introduction of TOU tariffs reflects forward thinking which allows the customer to improve their returns, and is resilient into the future when storage becomes a common part of such installations.

Intermediary City 2 results
Intermediary City 2 already charges normal residential customers a fixed charge (R402 per month). This fixed charge is kept constant for SSEG customers. So when customers migrate from normal residential tariffs to SSEG tariffs, only an export tariff is introduced. This export tariff is equal to the energy charge – 154 c/kWh – i.e. net metering (meaning that customers get compensated for their exports to the same value as what they pay for electricity). This situation means that the municipality can purchase electricity from Eskom for much cheaper than what they are compensating SSEG customers. Considering the lack of additional revenue from introducing a fixed charge specifically for SSEG customers (it is already in place for normal customers) and the high compensation for exported energy, Intermediary City 2 sees considerable revenue loss when customers install solar PV. The business case for customers to install solar PV is very favourable – payback periods are in the order of 2 to 4 years. It appears that the balance of interests between the municipality and customer is biased towards the customer, although the resulting economic stimulus can be a sound reason for such an approach. docs


If you have not seen this treasure trove, here it is: SSEGs in SA Munics It is a rabbit hole, but please indulge :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :wink:

The Small-Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) website houses documents and resources relevant to SSEG in South African municipalities. The site provides municipal officials, residents, business owners, and other relevant stakeholders with guidance regarding municipal SSEG regulations, processes, tariffs and application processes. Read more about the partners involved.





From the same SSEG doc above:

Emphasis mine: Rapid small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) uptake provides potential benefits for municipalities via cheaper electricity and reduction of technical losses, but many municipalities have valid concerns around how these systems will impact their networks/technical operations and electricity-related revenue.

The crux of the matter, seen that it is most important revenue stream…


It should not be, and at least in Cape Town it isn’t. In Cape Town property taxes are the largest and most important revenue stream. But I know many smaller municipalities rely heavily on the income from electricity sales, but then they are also often so badly managed that the fail to pay Eskom their share of it… they use the entire income for themselves, causing their customers even more heartache. So I’m definitely not dismissing this out of hand.

(Also, just wanted to say that I pretty much skimmed most of what you wrote since I don’t have the brain capacity right now to read in depth… :wink: ).

@plonkster, all good man, and all in good time. Anyhoo, these are just my opinions, and that is free so I guess it’s also worth about as much :cry: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


Okay, @Sarel.Wagner who are you and why do you have so much time? [edit: Okay should have read a bit! Got my answer]

Give us the TL;DR version :wink:

Well done for sharing this, one can definitely learn from this. The quick skim reads shows a lot of pretty graphs and pictures!

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You missed one Gremlin… Inverters only live around 10years, with some others ones 15 to 20years.
Even the large scale projects have the inverter replacement plan in place for after 10years and any residential system should also consider that.

Hahaha this was all work done over a period of time in the past few months and the Pandemic period. I do not have much time, that being said, I try and use what I have to contribute some hopefully useful info.


True dat, with some only lasting, or sometimes not, their very short warranty period….


Some really cool posts here. Well done!

I’ve done most of the homework and am starting to do a DIY install. I figure I can mount the panels, run trunking, pull cabling etc myself and then get a qualified guy to do the municipal hookup, CoC etc.

As a potential future post, a basic rundown of the layout of a system would be helpful.

Look in the showcase. There are a few nice builds in there.
Here is my basic one I did for a blue system

That’s pretty sweet.

I think my questions relate to the accessories. I.e. what is a combiner box and when is it needed? How to size a battery fuse? What DC disconnect switch is needed etc.

These are what is known as school fees.
Are some things unnecessary, are some things critically exact, can you get by with something at a quarter of the price? - All valid data.
Either pay someone who will help you avoid the pitfalls, or spend hours and hours researching, trying your own thing and learning the hard way.
Sit back, absorb knowledge, enjoy the journey.
In other words, welcome to the forum and please feel free to share your learning curve.
Hopefully, someone ahead of you will save you some money and in turn, you’ll save someone behind you.
The biggest lesson I can preach with this caper is: Buying something twice is more expensive than buying something once.

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