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This week I went solar :)

How cool new technology is... Micro-inverters are cool!

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#41 Mac Dude

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 08:57 AM

I went through the process out of interest more than anything else - it did point out how poorly insulated cheap freezers are. When I tested it I had a high/low thermometer in the freezer with an external display. If I remember correctly the temp went up by 15C!
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#42 kikz

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 08:30 PM

I've had a 5KW system (6KW of panels and a 5KW inverter) for nearly 2 years now and it's great.  Spent about $10K  and it generates around 30-33KwH per day in summer.  My bill went down from around $1300, with ducted air and a pool running 8 hours a day) to $800 after solar.  That's with me running the ducted more than I did the previous summer..  Winter is around $300 instead of $700.  

 

I'm scared about my summer bill this year though. I've pretty much left the ducted on 24/7 when we're home.



#43 g__day

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 11:29 PM

I am curious - why more panels than the inverter should handle - is it panel loose expectations or is the inverter capable of handling 6kW but your power line to the grid is only single phase so you can't go above 5 kW without spending the $1,200 to convert to three phase?

 

Yeah our next Summer will be interesting - the Solar should handle most of the Air conditioning, and with more people home we should be consuming more of what we produce - I hate seeing power go into the Grid at peak time when they charge us so much but pay us so little.

 

Really home power shifting battery technology is economical soon!  It leave me irked that the power companies can meter and bill us for time zone priced capacity, but don't offer the same courtesy when they take power for us.  I would be ecstatic at a power company that said we will sell to you at time of day rates and buy from you at say those same rates less a 5% discount.  I would also like them to say hey half the time you supplied peak power to us so we will half your grid connection service fee as that's equitable!

 

Wonder if that inflection point might happen soon - if say 30% of house had solar would the rebate structure be almost totally equitable.  So If I shift say 200 KwH in a month to the grid in peak hour and my next door neighbor consumes it - AGL pays me $16 and bills my neighbor $112; which seems a bit unfair pricing to me.  Their cost to distribute my excess energy a small distance is tiny and they are selling my excess energy at a total premium.  My producing power for them delays their need to upgrade peak production capacity.

 

I honestly ponder what will happen to Energy utilities when solar is the norm and the grid has most of the houses and businesses creating most of what they need during peak usage periods.  I read Hawaii is planning to be 100% solar by 2040 - a big change I think will be coming.

 

Peak Solar efficiency in the lab is now 47% - so almost three times more efficient then commercial cells I bought last month.  If my roof could produce 15 kWh and batteries / energy storage were affordable I pretty much very economically could go off grid for all power.  Bet the power utilities weren't counting on that happening so fast.

 

Solar efficiency has grown from a few % to almost 50% in 35 years! http://www.treehugge...s-single-chart/

 

During that period Solar has become 100 time more affordable - with the biggest fall in price per watt produced happening in the last three years http://media.treehug..._crop-scale.jpg


Edited by g__day, 20 March 2015 - 11:33 PM.

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#44 Mac Dude

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 04:16 PM

Speaking of phases(!) that was one issue I hadn't really thought about until we got close to installation. This was a little more complex because we have 3 phase power.

I went through working out what devices were on what phase and tried to match demand with production since the main benefit is for us to consume our own power, not feed it into the grid. After doing the work and putting in the application with the power company we were knocked back - it was either evenly spread production across the three phases or nothing.

I can see it makes sense from their perspective, but I was a little annoyed at the time...
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#45 g__day

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 12:22 AM

That was something I didn't know about 3 phase power.  But recent development I have heard is the next generation of the Envoy-s gateway can limit the power sent to the grid to 5 kW, so one could install a 10 kW system - use as much energy as one can, put energy into storage if you have it and it needs it and feed the grid - but just up to 5 kW - meaning you don't need 3 phase power.


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#46 g__day

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 02:54 PM

Small rant here, background is:

 

  1. I have been with AGL for electricity for 20+ years now
  2. I called them 6 times over the past six weeks requesting a Solar quote from them - and they never once got back to me despite promising to within 2 business days when the calls diverted elsewhere
  3. Today a solar recommendation arrives for me unsolicited from them.

I have some issue with their quote that I rang to discuss with them:

  1. It's very, very late
  2. It recommends a solution that is sized at half of what even the simplest of maths would confirm is the appropriate size
  3. It doesn't state the recommendations are indicative only - not its wording are Our Smart Solar recommendations by our Experts
  4. It recommends a solution technology that won't suit my roof shape (its not micro inverter based)
  5. It recommends a solution that it doesn't clarify is ready for energy storage when it becomes available from AGL later this year

So pretty much a fail on all accounts and a shameful example of having deep knowledge about me and failing totally to leverage their data.  The icing on the cake was telling them all of the above and asking them to feed that back to their senior management in Marketing, Sales and Customer Service.  Then I asked them about storage solutions they say AGL will only offer a storage solution if you buy their Solar solution (even though really the two technologies are not heavily interdependent as far as I understand.

 

Just a shame when your own service provider demonstrates no understanding of your requirements and totally fails to offer you what you implore them to do on a times basis!


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#47 Wallacey

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 07:38 PM

A good friend is going off the grid in the near future, here is a video of his solar pump setup.

 

 

 

No prizes for guessing :)



#48 fredzfrog

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 01:27 AM

Bump? lol.. I should drop by here more often..

 

Anyhoo, My old man got solar.. back with the 60c feedin rate.. makes money every day. not much, but enough. his main problem is trying to get his money back from the utility companys.
Another mate put the panels on his house, then brought a plug in hybrid.. so "fueling" the car costs him nothing during the day. And his next door neighbour put 20KWh on the roof of his busines to slash his energy costs.

Its looking to be a dang good investment.. a one off payment for almost free power. :D

 


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#49 Cybes

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 06:09 AM

Bump? lol.. I should drop by here more often..

 

Did...did you just intentionally select Comic Sans?  Like, on purpose?

 

You monster!


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#50 fredzfrog

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 07:47 PM

 

Bump? lol.. I should drop by here more often..

 

Did...did you just intentionally select Comic Sans?  Like, on purpose?

 

You monster!

 

MUA HA HA HA HA HA!


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#51 Mac Dude

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 03:49 PM

Not a great start to the year.

 

So far since we have been live we have been running under my estimates (Nov-97%,Dec-103%,Jan-86%,Feb-93%,Mar-90%)

 

There have been a lot of overcast days.

 

4.9 megawatt-hours in 5 months.  Still very happy though :)


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#52 g__day

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 12:36 PM

So far I am about .78 mega Watt hours in almost six weeks - so its a bit down due to poor weather, but the system produces a bit even in really poor days.  But about half of our production is feeding the grid whilst we aren't home. So on a very short average data model - it'll be saving us about $400 a quarter in Autumn and Spring - be interested to track what a full year's saving results in.

 

This saving I estimate would double if I had economical storage to re-use that 50% of power I am sending to the grid!


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#53 g__day

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 11:48 PM

I am at the half way point in our Autumn billing cycle and have noted one surprising trend. Our total consumption compared to this time last year is down about 16% since installing a Wattson and simply monitoring what we use.

 

This blew me away – the simple act of being overtly energy conscious has taken away a sixth of our consumption. So thanks to solar when I model what I am using now from the Grid it is in total 61% of what I used the same time last year (I am only consuming just under half of what I produce at present).  Better still is and my consumption from the grid is now largely off peak at their cheapest rate - being 68% by volume or 41% by value!

 

So by my calculation our next bill should be around $392 – compared to the same time last year of $917 for this quarter. So at over $520 a quarter that is quite some savings!

 

I further modeled that with 9.6 kWh of intelligent battery storage I could save an extra $200 a quarter. So for me I can see that Solar looks like it really will be a winner given this trend continues!


Edited by g__day, 14 April 2015 - 01:51 PM.

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#54 g__day

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 11:45 AM

Small update as I close in on my first Mega Watt production.  I have been modelling solar data a fair bit now, and this has improved my already decent Excel skills.  My spreadsheet now punches out to the web in real time to get current production and works out where in the day I am relative to sunrise and sunset to better calculate and forecast real time consumption versus production. 

 

For Excel - I'd never used the =now() function before or tried to strip a number out of text =SUMPRODUCT(MID(0&U14,LARGE(INDEX(ISNUMBER(--MID(U14,ROW($1:$25),1))* ROW($1:$25),0),ROW($1:$25))+1,1)*10^ROW($1:$25)/10) nor called a web page (the local IP address of the envoy gateway's Production page) to allow that earlier function (I got from the web) to strip of the current day's production figure in real time.

 

But the point to this is I have recalculated how much energy I could save on average if I stored all excess power into batteries to work out what price per kilo Watt hour the batteries would have to be to give a 5 or 10 year payback.  Answer is a 1.2 kWh (Enphase proposed) battery would have to cost no more than $450 to have a 5 year ROI or $900 for a 10 year ROI.  So thorough modeling for this time of the year shows batteries would save me a further $184 a quarter by load displacement - meaning I would really only pay for off peak usage.

 

The next thing to review is Power Shop - which allows one access to possibly 30% cheaper rates than AGL - so long as you monthly buy power in advance from them and get your forecast correct!

 

http://www.powershop...h-does-it-cost/

 

 

 

So the question now is will Enphase's calculators be as sharp as mine when it comes to pricing their technology for the Australian launch later this year.  Fingers crossed


Edited by g__day, 25 April 2015 - 11:48 AM.

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#55 Mac Dude

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 12:14 PM

Enphase launch?


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#56 g__day

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 02:04 PM

Enphase say they will launch its Energy Storage and Management system in Australia in the second half of this year

 

http://enphase.com/w...-Brochure-1.pdf

 

They promise solar installers they will have a calculator to demonstrate to folks the potential savings.  So for me I model that each day on average for Autumn - I

 

1. Feed 9.3 kWh into the grid during the day for 8 cents a day

2. Consume 3.5 kWh in peak for 56 cents per kWh

3. Consumer 3.7 kWh in shoulder for 21 cents per day

4. Consume 14.8 kWh in off peak at 11 cents per day

 

So each day with batteries I could cover my peak, shoulder and a small amount of my off peak saving almost $2 extra per day.  Do the sums and for a say an intelligent 9.6 kWh storage system I can see what the launch price would have to be.  If Enphase's to be released storage energy calculator doesn't realistically model potential savings - then they might over estimate the price point they can try and sell this at!


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#57 .:Cyb3rGlitch:.

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 04:35 PM

Tesla's got your back.

http://www.teslamoto...kit/teslaenergy


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#58 g__day

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 10:45 PM

AGL just jumped into the act too.  http://reneweconomy....h-battery-40348

 

 

But I think I will wait a few months and see what Enphase do first.  A completely integrated, intelligent solar and storage management system that is web based is kinda desirable - so long as its keenly priced!


Edited by g__day, 01 May 2015 - 10:45 PM.

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#59 Mac Dude

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 05:21 PM

price will be interesting.

 

I've just requested my Smart Meter info for the past year so I can get a better idea of my consumption patterns.  I think it depends on your provider and state, but here in Vic you can request the 30 minute interval data that the Smart Meter sends to the provider.  Based on that I'll get a better idea of usage patterns, especially overnight, and I'll be able to calculate how big a battery makes sense. 


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#60 aliali

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 06:03 PM

 

Ye was reading this this morning. Storage is getting more and more promising for solar.

Probably going to be overpriced here due to the "Australia" tax, but definitely worth keeping an eye on.


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