Solar Power, Saving Energy and Saving $$$ around the Home - On Grid Solar power

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  • Solar Power, Saving Energy and Saving $$$ around the Home - On Grid Solar power

    Hi Guys
    Over the past 6-12 months I have been working with Solar for various tasks.
    To save $$$ & to be self sufficient.
    For one of the Projects i bit the bullet and purchased 6x 250w "1.5Kw" Solar Panels and a 5Kw inverter, including mounting hardware for the panels.
    This set me back about $1500

    I also purchased 4x 195W panels to test/compare

    I also purchased a simple energy monitor for $18 from bunnings, the power point adapter gadget sitting on the inverter.
    There a better ones on the market now, i highly recommend you get one.

    The panels are facing almost directly North, and since this photo are angled at 27deg

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    This is my report
    When purchasing solar panels you are quoted the solar panel power rating ie 6x 24V 250W panels = 1500W or 1.5Kw.
    The actual output peak power is 70%, due to inverter conversion efficiency, so during peak ideal conditions the best i have generated is 1.1Kw
    From the 1.5 kwh setup under ideal conditions, I am getting approximately 6-7 kwh of power per day.
    If could do this every day i would save $600 per year based on .27c Kwh
    This table does not take into account cloudy or winter days, how ever on a cloudy day the 1.5 Kwh panels generate aprox 300Wh
    KWH/Day $kwh 1 day 7 days 30 days 180 days 365 days
    6 $0.27 $1.64 $11.51 $49.32 $295.92 $600.06
    rough power generation through the day
    07am -09am = .300wh
    09am -10am = .900wh
    10am -11am = .999wh
    11am - 02pm = 1.100wh
    02pm - 04pm = 999wh
    04pm - 06pm = 300wh
    Cloudy/overcast = 300wh

    I find i am using approximately 20kwh per day that is for a 24hr period including night, i find i will use every Kwh I generate.
    If you intend on selling power back for $$$ you will only get 1/3rd its value
    you pay .27c Kwh the power company pays you .09c Kwh..
    the system will take at least 3 years to pay it self off.
    I will up the panels to 3kw, it will take the same amount of time

    in my next post if people are interested i will go over appliance power consumption and ways to save on power without going overboard.

    cheers

  • #2
    My new house will not have solar, it's just a big joke now day's sadly. with what's left of the scheme and there little print.

    I got in when the scheme first popped up, so far i have been through 3 inverter's at $800 a pop first two under warranty the last one out my pocket.

    If you want the best out of the panel's ( Keep em clean ) My panel's are in full sun from sunrise to sunset. But bull dust from stong wind's effect's the performance ( so i am on the roof atleast 2x a month cleaning them

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep I won't be wasting money on solar crap either, not after the pathetic results from a Solar Hart unit which didn't save SFA and cost a small fortune to install. Just another great con I reckon. Plenty of people are saying the same thing about their solar systems and what was promised and what's been delivered, very few are happy with their solar systems.
      Whacking Varmints is my passion!

      Comment


      • Guest's Avatar
        Guest commented
        Editing a comment
        Solar panels are great the problem is there is a lot of smoke and mirrors as to what you really get for your money.
        Most people who install solar did not get what they bargained for/expected.

        I started this thread to inform members what i have found to open others eyes to solar technology and energy saving.

        A lot of systems are loaded to maximum capacity or not installed correctly contributing to system failure and lower then suggested efficiency.

      • Guest's Avatar
        Guest commented
        Editing a comment
        my folks got a 2.5kw system a few years ago, they locked in a ten year contract at 47c/kw, i think its a hell of alot lower now?

        the power bill with the three of us is under $500 for the year, we are fairly power consious with the big killers like cooling and heating, my beer fridge runs off pannels and a battery instead of mains also.

    • #4
      were the inverters covered by warranty skip?
      just curious.
      coz i heard similar things from others.

      Comment


      • El-Skippo
        Skip commented
        Editing a comment
        Originally posted by Send-it" post=37460
        were the inverters covered by warranty skip?
        just curious.
        coz i heard similar things from others.
        First 2 inverter's were covered ( the last one i replaced just 6 month's ago was out of my pocket at a cost of $800 ) all were 3kw inverter's with 8x250watt pannel's pluged to it. So i am not overloading the inverter, to cause them to malfunction.

        Never had a issue with the pannel's....Just the bloody inverter's. Hence why i wont be going solar again at my new house in Vic.

        I only use 10-12 unit's of power a day.... My solar dose do us good. power bill's are quite low last one was $30 ( But coz we got in when this scheme started ) we are locked in a contract . Now day's, as Ranger below has pointed out. getting solar is next to pointless. As the feed in tariff and rebate's are pitiful, the scheme should change to the name "scam".

        It's just a joke now.....it's only going to get worse as time goes on.

    • #5
      I'm probably one of the lucky ones.

      I got in early, so I get 0.58c per kw, and I installed a 4.3kw system.

      I've had no issues whatsoever, I no longer get power bills, and my excess rebate is generally also enough to cover the cost of my gas bills....electricity and gas all covered in one hit.

      The issue I'd foreseen from the very beginning, is that with more and more people installing solar, the cost of electricity would begin to rise to cover that deficit for shareholders, and it would get to the stage where solar is no longer enough to cover the exorbitant cost of power, while those without solar would be in dire straights.............alas, that's exactly what we are now beginning to witness.

      It's a sad state of affairs when the disadvantaged and the battlers in our community cant even afford basic utilities such as electricity!

      Comment


      • #6
        Rangers positon mirror mine as close as can be.
        Now theres more to this though and as one poster said its a rip off for those with out to subsidize those with true enough too.
        On the cost I di my home work and over 5 yrs my consumpiton was averaging 22 kw per day all through the year.
        I use more heating than cooling a moot point as each one costs the same in rough figures.

        The real cost which then was triple todays but with money taken from super investments [some lost all ] its still a moot point whether it was more profitable or cost saving.
        The real saving is in no power bills at all for the life of the 30 yr contract.
        The danger is if the contract is not honoured or the rising costs of supplying a service rise and eat into the profits.
        In SA it was a 9.99 % under 10 KW system before it was classed as a taxable income stream.

        TRhe other Doozy that got people all fired up is the green house gas etc mantra which appears on your annual statement as being you have saved XXXX heres your medal !. In real terms it means Jack Schidt as the real cost of components and manufacture far outweigh any green house gass savings --they might save some coal fire gas some where but when we take the plastics and all the electronics into account its a furphy

        The major benefit is no poer bill ever again and for a retiree it was a good deal with a system life expectancy of around 30 yrs.
        For anyone building a home today it offers some independence but only if it has battery backup and a gen set as well and thats big bucks and not all that good for town or city people.
        Yeah I like my system and it over generates by about 15% from expectations and was over engineered by 25 % just in case.
        My view is there are good and bad amongst the equipment and installers and it pays to have the best of both.
        Crystaline panels are not as good as some I believe so efficiency rating is based on the panels and possibly the brand of inverter as well --keep it cool and inthe sahde all those sort of heat things.

        On a side note I insulated my hot water system as water was always a cost that no matter what we did never went down.
        The hot out pipe needs to be insulated as well or you are effectivelyy running an exposed heater element 24 /7 /365 days a year even in summer.
        Double insulate the p***ss poor things they sell as insulated hot water systems and watch your power consumption drop by half.
        Easy job to do just build a frame around and over it and fillit with rock wool or styrene sheets will do it too / cool room panels anything to keep a layer of air from moving and pissing off with your heat and $$$.
        Make sure to cap it as well as that where most is lost.
        Put a bend DOWN as close as you can inthe hot weater delivery pipe as heat will not travel down a copper tube.
        Put it up and it will radiate all day every day.

        Interesting topic ; My next project is to reverse engineer my credit card so every time I use it ti puts money in my bank and ribs the corporate shops wollorhtlesses and others blind.

        [center]
        Don’t poke the snake, walk around it and come back later with a double-barrelled shotgun and blow its [email protected]#!ing head off!.

        Australia in future, the outcome is the same, a bloody dictatorship run on the whims of a very few ego-centric pathological elitists.

        Comment


        • #7
          Are you guys also running battery banks with your panels or feeding straight in?

          I've been wanting a solar setup for years and now looking at possibly building a house I'm considering my options. I'm not really after making money on it or even running the whole house from it. I'd be happy with a system that lets me power 2x fridge/freezer units, laptop, modem and some lights independent of the grid.
          Ideally if there was an extended power outage it would let me carrying on for the most part unaffected.

          Any idea how much power the average size family fridge uses per 24hrs?
          “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing” - Edmund Burke

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          • Guest's Avatar
            Guest commented
            Editing a comment
            Originally posted by Morgo" post=37552
            Are you guys also running battery banks with your panels or feeding straight in?

            I've been wanting a solar setup for years and now looking at possibly building a house I'm considering my options. I'm not really after making money on it or even running the whole house from it. I'd be happy with a system that lets me power 2x fridge/freezer units, laptop, modem and some lights independent of the grid.
            Ideally if there was an extended power outage it would let me carrying on for the most part unaffected.

            Any idea how much power the average size family fridge uses per 24hrs?
            Hi Morgo
            If you live in suburbia you would be wasting your money getting a off grid setup using batteries.
            On grid inverters are much cheaper then off grid.
            you would be looking at a 3-5 Kw setup, I would go for the 5 Kw, it should cost you aprox $2500 installed.

            2.5hp Inverter Air Con uses upto 2 kWh at peak
            Avarage family fridge about .250 kWh
            50" plasma .120 kWh
            non gaming PC about .070 kWh
            1x 4ft fluro tube .041 kWh

            hope that helps, i will be going into appliance consumption a bit later.

        • #8
          Druids on the money with a system similar to what I have.
          Oddly too they seem to rely on a certain amount of UV and indirect light as well and will charge on high UV days even with light cloud cover.
          Facing due north is another furphy as maximum exposure at the highest angle is what your after, prefereably in summer when the sun angle is best and hottest you make your power into the grid and the output drops in the mid winter months.
          On average we get around eight good charging months [ excess of our average daily use] per year and four rotten ones with the peak being four months mid summer.
          We pay no bills and get an income stream as well but beware as pointed out do NOT change anything or you gone... it breaks the original contractr terms.
          I found this when a storm blew down some big trees that were blocking only light to the panels and never giving them any shade.
          After the trees were gone and the place got more light the whole setup increased its output by around a few % .
          It was noticeable enough to be a winner though I forget the % off hand
          Beware some systems will shut down a five panel array if one panel gets shaded the whole array goes down.
          Others will allow some shade on one panel and the rest of the array will keep charging all be it less output
          [center]
          Don’t poke the snake, walk around it and come back later with a double-barrelled shotgun and blow its [email protected]#!ing head off!.

          Australia in future, the outcome is the same, a bloody dictatorship run on the whims of a very few ego-centric pathological elitists.

          Comment


          • zorba
            zorba commented
            Editing a comment
            Originally posted by DeCoY" post=37533
            Originally posted by zorba" post=37513
            im getting 28 panels put on this thursday. my quarterly bill averages around $1000. this should get it to zero. (3 adults and 3 kids under one roof)
            Is it a 5 or 7Kw system 28x 190w panels gets you 5Kw
            and 25x 250w panels gets you 7kw
            actually they are 250w panels for a 7kw system. and its not being done by one of the "big" companies that say they have their own brands etc. its being done by a local company with the resources to back up what they have sold me.
            (note, its the same guy that did druid01's setup with the same hardware (tho bigger inverter), so output will be on par percentage wise as his)

        • #9
          You know I'm interested in solar, but only in off grid situations. on-grid, i don't see the point. on-grid with batteries? not worth the $$$. to store 5+kwh in batteries is a crazy amount of money. especially when most AGM/SLA batteries can only be discharged to a max of 50% before you damage them (sometimes only 30%).

          So let's do some maths!

          a 150Ah @ 12v Battery provides 1.8kwh's of power at a 100% discharge, so only 0.9Kwh's at a 50% discharge.
          that means in order to provide for a 5kwh system you need to have 6x 150Ah batteries. this would provide a 10kwh 100% discharge but really if you want your batteries to last, a 5.4kwh discharge for 50%

          the average price for 6x 150Ah 12v batteries? $3.6k

          add panels, inverter, mounting hardware, wire, misc equipment, you are easily looking at over $10k.

          it's a much cheaper option just getting a Grid-Tie inverter and powering stuff straight off that and you might knock off a few $$ from your bill each month.

          off grid is a totally different story, and that's the shit I'm into i have a dream of buying some land and getting a total off grid shed knocked up :P ahhh, one day my friends, one day.

          Show us those appliance specs DeCoY!

          Cheers,

          Nuzo

          Comment


          • #10
            correct Nuzzo.
            On grid with feed in tariff was good and still is for the early birds just don`t change anything later on or you will not be as well off if you void your contract.
            Yes it was expensive then but the same money lost on investments would have been lost forever so yes and no depends.
            Cons : It won`t work if the grid id down so your still power out then.

            Pretty much useless in any urban neighbor hood as you have building compliance codes /visual impacts/ noise pollution if you have a gen set/ disposal of old batteries will come in to it one day -- unless your an avid fisher and make a lot of sinkers --then there`s still the chemicals from lead acid batteries and the plastic itself.
            They are big heavy buggers too not you average car battery most are ??? xxxx volt cells banked up to a set to make 240 Volt.
            Pros : no matter the cost as long as the thing works you will have free power in the immediate sense though perhaps its like paying up front -- unforeseen things can change.
            Battery backups ? : too expensive to be worth any thing in real terms too many unknowns to justify the expense now when there may be some thing new a few years around the corner and you investment becomes redundant in money terms though it might work --what if some legislation disallows it ? will you get compensated for your loss plus estimated lost earnings -- highly unlikely.
            Battery backups ? LOL yep you charge them by day using some of your feed tariff and discharge them by night doesn't stack up in $$$ or efficiency terms

            Total off grid you are talking big dollars / a gen set / batteries / solar combination.
            A week of no sunshine and you will need to run your generator anyway > cost of diesel.
            A special shed for housing all this too.

            I grew up with 12 volt home made and then 32 volt DC plants and wind generators and they worked well enough, then rectifiers came in and we could run 240 volt appliances but hell not for as long.
            Later a lot of properties got single wire earth return 240 volt and today many still run on them.
            YMMV.
            Indeed the power companies know when there on a good thing and there not letting go easily either

            The most eficient thing is to find the power gobblers in your home and make them efficient first.
            Insulation / environmental direction of your house to make the most of your weather patterns / rooms strategically placed to be a heat or cool efficient.
            A glass walk way 20 meters long in the garden with a duct into your house and an old air con fan will warm it all day for nothing in winter.
            A concrete slab that gets lots of sheltered direct sun from north facing windows makes a heat bank for a lounge room floor at night.
            Parabolic dishes with a copper coil focused or tracking the sun can heat water in a pre feed into your HWS
            Its straying off topic but study energy efficient building first -- you will be surprised how easy it is with good planning.
            A house is only a box any way its how you shape it and which parts you use and at what time of day that make the diff :P
            [center]
            Don’t poke the snake, walk around it and come back later with a double-barrelled shotgun and blow its [email protected]#!ing head off!.

            Australia in future, the outcome is the same, a bloody dictatorship run on the whims of a very few ego-centric pathological elitists.

            Comment


            • druid01
              druid01 commented
              Editing a comment
              Originally posted by NoFerals" post=37597
              correct Nuzzo.
              On grid with feed in tariff was good and still is for the early birds just don`t change anything later on or you will not be as well off if you void your contract.
              Yes it was expensive then but the same money lost on investments would have been lost forever so yes and no depends.
              Cons : It won`t work if the grid id down so your still power out then.

              Pretty much useless in any urban neighbor hood as you have building compliance codes /visuall impacts/ noise pollution if you have a gen set/ disposal of old batteries will come in to it one day -- unlees your an avid fisher and make a lot of sinkers --then there`s still the chemicals from lead acid batteries and the plastic itself.
              They are big heavy buggers too not you average car battery most are ??? xxxx volt cells banked up to a set to make 240 Volt.
              Pros : no matter the cost as long as the thing works you will have free power in the immediate sense though perhaps its like paying up front -- unforeseen things can change
              Battery backups ? : too expensive to be worth any thing in real terms too many unknowns to justify the expense now when there may be some thing new a few years around the corner and you investment becomes redundant in money terms though it might work --what if some legislation disallows it ? will you get compensated for your loss plus estimated lost earnings -- highly unlikely.

              Total off grid you are talking big dollars / a gen set / batteries / solar combination.
              A week of no sunshine and you will need to run your generator anyway > cost of diesel.
              A special shed for housing all this too.

              I grew up with 12 volt home made and then 32 volt DC plants and wind generators and they worked well enough, then rectifiers came in and we could run 240 volt appliances but hell not for as long.
              Later a lot of properties got single wire earth return 240 volt and today many still run on them.
              YMMV.
              Indeed the power companies know when there on a good thing and there not letting go easily either

              your spot on there m8, its a massive expenditure, one solar forum i visited did the sums and worked out it was partially cheaper to run a diesel generator for off grid power than it was to setup and maintain batt cells and solar arrays etc.

            • Guest's Avatar
              Guest commented
              Editing a comment
              Note that this is not standard practice/use, and at no point bypass the Island Protection on any grid connected inverter.

              you can use an on grid inverter, off grid, use a smaller inverter like a 300w 600w or larger inverter to power 1 or 2 basic apliances like a fridge and TV then during the day the smaller sine wave inverter will excite the island protection for 5Kw on grid setup during the day to run Air Cons, washing machines etc..

              If you are looking at of grid inverters to use when the power cuts out, they are referd to as a UPS, the same as a computer UPS or uninterrupted power supply.
              but they have provision for solar or Wind generator input.

          • #11
            I can see where individuals are coming from regarding a bloke down the road being subsidised to install a power saving device that will save him money, but cost the poorer guy more to implement that guys saving.


            Always look at the bigger picture I say. The guy down the road is making a good choice.


            As a business in the Top End, I will be ripping close to $130,000.00 out of the taxpayer, as I upgrade my business cooling systems to inverter technology. That's right, by using less power overall, the gummint will reward me out of the taxpayers pocket by paying for over 50% of the upgrade. And I am one of the VERY VERY SMALL clients of this government program.

            If you want to get into nitty gritty 'why should I pay for his savings'? types of arguments, look at some of the biggest consumers first.

            Most mining companies are paying for power at 1980's prices, with no increase allowed in their contract. They don't generate a lot of jobs (in fact they generate bugger all in the scheme of things, have a listen to Allan Jones and SFP's Robert Borsak.....mining creates 256K Jobs......one of the poorest employers. Manufacturing=1M, Contruction =over 1M, Retail 1.6M etc...)

            It gets wayyyy worse. Your taxes were paid in lieu of Ford Australia forwarding $0.5bn in taxes to keep that 1950's technology 250 crossflow motor in operation until today (what with its shithouse twin cam setup that 'only' guzzles >10l/100)

            Same with Holden......nearly $1bn in tax cuts.

            So....



            Don't blame the guy down the road. He's costing less than you'd notice on a normal Power invoice.
            Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

            Comment


            • #12
              Decoy, thanks for getting this topic started. When I was shopping for solar systems it was bloody hard to get any honest advice from people. The sales people just wanted to lie and sell (as expected) and then I found it hard to find anyone who would tell me exactly what their system generates. Plenty of them had opinions good and bad but few with the opinions could tell me the kw/hrs they were generating which suggested they know bugger all about how their system is working. So now I share as often as I can.

              We installed a 3.2kw system for just shy of $5k about 4 months ago and so far haven't looked back. We chose a local company that's been in business a fair while and we chose a system bigger than we need now because we want the system to bring in enough power to run air cons in the house once day when we can afford them. Our system today generated over 17kw/hrs and most of that went back to the grid. Yes, we only get nine cents for every kw/hr we send back to the grid, but our system was substantially cheaper than the same size bought 5 years ago. And it's fine because it's all income, regardless of size and that will help the system pay for itself eventually. During daylight hours we never need the grid power, even on days where it's flogging down with rain. During the day we use our dishwasher and washing machine etc so at night it's just the TV, laptop and fridge running on expensive grid power. The last three months have averaged 400kw/hrs per month which is pretty impressive.

              If anyone wants to see what we generate here's our chart. Those days of about 5kw/hrs it was flogging down with rain for the entire day but we still did ok. All in all we can only rate our system on the electricity prices today . . . but given the 20% increase in the past few years imagine how much better our decision will be when we're looking back in 15 years time . . .

              Click image for larger version

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              • #13
                Getting solar is one of the best things I have ever done. I had a 1.5kw system out on my townhouse about 2 years ago. I haven't paid a cent since and I have received about 1k in profit so far.

                Comment


                • #14
                  Solar power - someone pays

                  Starting with government subsidies $ on the installation, then making up the difference between feed-in tariff and on-sell tariff, then paying feed-in tariff for 78% of solar generation which is lost because it can't be used by the network :S Add to this the cost to keep power stations on 24/7 standby because it would otherwise take a long time to run-up to generation speed.

                  Look at your bill and see "supply charges" meaning each household pays, rising soon $1.28 per day (almost $500 / yr) just to have network wires connected and that includes all solar installations. This money pays for the difference between solar and network prices as well as maintaining poles and wires.

                  Someone forgot that solar doesn't work very much during the morning and evening peaks so the network needs to be of a size that can feed into every solar installation (except those with stand alone battery backup)

                  Solar power, the most expensive gummint cock-up scheme ever perpitrated on the general public just to make a few feel greenies feel good!
                  Hold still varmint, whilst I plugs ya!

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Just to let youse know the sunnyroo inverter shown at the start of the thread is the worst available, i have 2 dead ones and both died within 2 years. Importing company also went bust so no warrenty. They are garenteed to die but apparently u can make Em last a bit longer if you have a fan on em to keep cooler.

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