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Grid connect solar setup

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  1. #1
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    Default Grid connect solar setup

    Hi All,
    Tomorrow I am having a 5.44kw solar grid connect system installed onto my property. Well its actually going to take 2 days. I was going to put it in go to whoa however I thought it might get a little more attention here for the electrically minded.

    I originally was only going to get a 2.7kw installed as I could have that installed for $10k which was the interest free amount I could get through the green loan scheme. Green Loans Program - Home Page of the Australian Government Green Loans Program

    The guy installing the system is a friend of a friend and seeing as though I was getting a good price, I did some sums and decided to go the whole hog and install another 2.7kw system.

    The system specs are as follows;

    • 32 x 170w Astonergy monochrystalline panels
    • 2 x Latronics PVE2500 2.5kW grid tie inverters

    The total price out of pocket after the REC's have been claimed is $23700 which is pretty good.

    Conservative estimates show me generating 7910.40kWH over an average Brisbane year. Talking to a friend that currently has a 2.5kW system installed, I estimate that the kWH figure will be higher. (Heres hoping)

    The feed in tariffs here in QLD start at 44c per kWH NET (guaranteed for another 20 years or so by the government) however AGL and origin are competing for business. Origin offer 50c per kWH however do not allow you to go on a contract for your standard tariff as they are passing the discount to you in the solar feed in tariff. AGL offer 52c per kWH and they also allow you to contract your electricity which is a bonus. This is roughly another 5% saving.

    The reason I went with a big system is that currently our house consumes on average 29kWH per day. We have a fairly large ducted A/C so I want to cover costs on the days that the AC is on. Any other time we will be generating electricity back to the grid. Also when I was looking into it, the only way to see some returns is to install a fairly large system. The idea is to export as much power as you can during the day and then use energy early in the morning or after 6pm.

    I will be putting the first 2.7kW on the front of the house which faces north. The second lot will be either on the east or west face. Havent worked it out with the installer. He will do some sun path checks tomorrow and make a deicision. Anyway I have attached a photo of the house, hopefully will add some more photos by the weekend to show the completed result.



    Cheers
    Steve

  2. #2
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    Thanks for sharing,keep us updated.
    What rebate did you qualify for.

  3. #3
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    I didnt apply for the $8000 rebate scheme so have only been able to claim the REC's generated by the installation. They came to a total of $6873 which is better than nothing I suppose

    Cheers
    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausyuppy View Post
    I didnt apply for the $8000 rebate scheme so have only been able to claim the REC's generated by the installation. They came to a total of $6873 which is better than nothing I suppose

    Cheers
    Steve
    Unless you really can't afford to do so I would hang onto the RECs for a wee bit. They are at a relative low point now and I reckon they'll go up quite a bit. They are around $28 at the moment and have been as high as $49 and I reckon because of the solar credit scheme they will head back up in 2010.

    See: Australian REC prices

    Not offering financial advice, but worth looking at.

    And if you sell your RECs then you are selling the greenhouse gas component of your system to allow someone else to pollute. Of course that's an ethical argument not a financial one - if you are trying to help the environment overall then you keep the RECs forever. See here for the reasoning: http://www.ata.org.au/wp-content/uploads/105_recs.pdf

    BTW - you pay a considerable performance penalty for moving too far away from north and too far away from your latitude as the angle of the panels. So if you must place them on an East or West roof section use tilted panel brackets that face them to the North as far as you can. Look a bit odd, but worth it. See this article: http://www.yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs67.html . If your are wanting to match an afternoon load then NNW to West facing is best and the latitude plus 15 degrees, but to maximise annual power production (for highest feed-in tariff) then North is best and latitude less 10 degrees.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  5. #5
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    The REC's are pretty cheap at the moment.
    The rebate system is based on years, 15 years (you obviously get the biggest rebate but is a one off rebate), 5 years and 1 year. You own the REC's and sell them to REC's traders
    every 5 years or 1 year. There is a trade off between the full rebate and hoping the REC price goes up.
    Where does your installer buy the equipment from, Australia or imports them?
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post
    Unless you really can't afford to do so I would hang onto the RECs for a wee bit. They are at a relative low point now and I reckon they'll go up quite a bit. They are around $28 at the moment and have been as high as $49 and I reckon because of the solar credit scheme they will head back up in 2010.

    See: Australian REC prices

    Not offering financial advice, but worth looking at.

    REC's market has been flooded with the govt support for solar things this financial year and prices have plumetted from the "old standard" $50. Her's another historic source:
    www.greenmarkets.com.au/images/Certificate price weekly/23 Nov 09_large.jpg
    Prices should recover in time...

    Sure can select winning horses and share prices!

    Cheers

    Graeme

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    Hi guys,
    Apologies for not replying sooner. Ive been flat out with work and no time when I get home to get on here. The installation was delayed by a day. They installed the solar over two days. They ended up getting 20 of the panels on the north face. The other 12 are on the western side. The guy I used has a solar pathfinder. Its basically a sphere which shows objects that will shade the panels. A computer application uses data from the BOM (and I guess other statistical data) to analyse what the expected output of the panels would be. The west side was the better side to the tune of 1000kwh per year. My western side is facing 280 degrees where the east is 100 degrees.

    What I found interesting today is that the western side generated more than the northern side. Im keeping tabs on what the output is from both inverters so I can get an idea how the system performs.

    I have pulled some strings at work and hopefully will have the "smart" meter installed sometime early next week. At the moment my mechanical meter is going backwards during the day. Once the new meter is installed we will be paid the new tariff.

    Bloss,
    Unfortunately I have signed the REC's over. I did consider keeping them, but with the limited advice that I had available about the RECS it seemed riskier to hang onto them. I know the REC's have been higher and I would have liked to have received more for them, however the money is better in my pocket now. Maybe not the best choice right now, but time will tell.

    NigeC,
    I didnt get into the specifics where he gets his gear from, however I do know that he does get them from a local supplier in Brisbane. Originally he was importing his own panels from China, however his reputation was more important than getting cheaper panels, so he is now sourcing his panels from a reputable supplier that has been in the solar game for 25years. The inverters are Latronics and they are manufactured on the sunshine coast.

    Here are some photos of the install. Ive forgotten to take photos of the inverters, however will take some if there is some interest.




    Cheers
    Steve

  8. #8
    Sparkwah
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    It looks a quality installation. Keep us informed of performance please.
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

  9. #9
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    Gotta say I just love that photo...

    Solar HWS and PV panels all clearly visible with a transmission line just off to the left. Lots of ways to interpret a message being sent there...

  10. #10
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    Smurf,
    I never really thought about the message I was sending, but it could be interpreted as an F U I nearly didnt buy the house due to the transmission line, but its only 110kv and its an awesome spot where we are. I work for Energex (the distrubutor here in SE QLD) so the lines dont bother me

    Nige,
    For the past two days I have generated 25kWh per day. Im hoping to get a little more as the last two days we have had some heavy cloud cover in the late mornings. Im keeping a spreadsheet at the moment just to see what I am achieving. The meter went back 6kW over the first 24hour period and this 24hour period just gone, we consumed 10kw from the grid. Mind you the AC was running today and the boss had the oven and washing machine going. Once I get the smart meter in the next week or so the savings will start to add up.

    Below are some more photos.

    Inverters




    Meter and Inverter boxes



    Meter box. The two breakers on the right hand side are the isolation point of the inverters feeding into my switchboard.



    North Array



    West Array



    Another north array



    Cheers
    Steve

  11. #11
    Old Chippy 6K
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    Looks great - now you need to make sure you get the Qld bonus Solar Bonus Scheme and start lobbying your local QLD MP ASAP and hard to get a Gross FiT like the ACT and NSW ones!
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  12. #12
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    Hey Bloss,
    Im just waiting on the new meter now. I had most of the paperwork submitted a month ago. Now that the system is installed Im waiting on the electricians final form to work its way through the system and I will have a new meter within the next two weeks.

    Im on holidays for 2 weeks early feb, so the only thing running in the house will be a fridge, so we should be pumping a lot of excess power into the grid during that time.

    AGL pays 52c per kwh here which is 8c over and above what the QLD government has mandated. They also still allow you to contract your regular tariff so I now have a 7% discount for that. Well worth a phone call.
    Cheers
    Steve

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausyuppy View Post
    Hey Bloss,
    Im just waiting on the new meter now. I had most of the paperwork submitted a month ago. Now that the system is installed Im waiting on the electricians final form to work its way through the system and I will have a new meter within the next two weeks.

    Im on holidays for 2 weeks early feb, so the only thing running in the house will be a fridge, so we should be pumping a lot of excess power into the grid during that time.

    AGL pays 52c per kwh here which is 8c over and above what the QLD government has mandated. They also still allow you to contract your regular tariff so I now have a 7% discount for that. Well worth a phone call.
    Cheers
    Steve
    That's great - I'm putting a 10kW system on shortly as the ACT has a Gross FiT of 50.5c kWh and I can buy what I use for 13c as well as get a discount!
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  14. #14
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    looks like there is plenty of roof space for more panels!!!!!!!
    I think I will do the same at some stage, It is good to see the installation techniques used. how does the solar side feed into the meter?
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post
    That's great - I'm putting a 10kW system on shortly as the ACT has a Gross FiT of 50.5c kWh and I can buy what I use for 13c as well as get a discount!
    Im jealous, here in QLD our standard tariff (tariff 11) is currently 17.13c plus gst. The distributors just got another 40% increase approved over the next five years and thats before the retailers (AGL, origin etc) get their increases approved. They have been getting 10% plus a year for the past couple.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigeC
    looks like there is plenty of roof space for more panels!!!!!!!
    I think I will do the same at some stage, It is good to see the installation techniques used. how does the solar side feed into the meter?
    As it is only net metering here in QLD the output of the inverters go through the circuit breakers on the right hand side of my meter box and into the main power circuit. Any excess is backfed through the meter. The new meter I will be getting is smart enough to count the backfed electricity separately.

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    I have had some troubles with the system today. It was a hot clear day here today. I managed to generate 29kWh today with most of that going back into the grid. My meter is now back further than what is was when the solar was put on the roof. (The boss had the ducted AC on yesterday. That thing chews about 4kWh per hour)

    I just happened to be watching our electricity monitor which I have reconnected over the output of the inverters and I noticed that the output of the inverters were dropping down to 0 kWh and then would slowly ramp up to 3.5kWh. I went out and had a look, both inverters were shutting down with the overload indicator lit. Turns out the inverters were shutting down on high temp. I left both enclosures open after this and the inverters operated for the rest of the day.

    This weekend I need to bring a clamp meter home and accurately measure the amount of current. My energy meter is only reporting 3.5kW being generated by both inverters. The max output of the inverters is 2.3kw so on a clear day with max input from the panels, I would expect to see 4.6kw being generated. The inverters output roughly 82% of incoming DC I would then expect to see with an input of 5.44kw (size of my panels) 4.46kw being outputted from the inverter.

    More investigations to be done. This solar caper is not as clear cut as one would think.

    Cheers
    Steve

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    Thanks for your honesty Steve, I'm in the process of applying for one of these systems and am interested in hearing all about them warts and all.

    I'm looking at a 1.5kW system using thin film panels (cadmium telluride).

    Matt

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post
    That's great - I'm putting a 10kW system on shortly as the ACT has a Gross FiT of 50.5c kWh and I can buy what I use for 13c as well as get a discount!

    Keep us posted, Bloss.

    Can you run an extension lead from your 13.5 cent power supply to the solar 50.5 c outfeed?

    Cheers

    Graeme

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    Its been suggested for me to run the genny into the grid, however I dont think the amount earned would cover the cost of the fuel.

    I managed to get 30.7Kwh out of the panels today. Was a 31 deg day. Yesterday it hit 36deg and the output dropped to 28kWh so the heat definately makes a difference, however not by much.

    Bloss,
    If you looking at putting 10kw in, have a look at the new feronis inverters that are coming onto the market (about April). They are transformerless and the efficiency is in the high 90% mark. Most regular inverters with trannys are around the 82% mark.

    Cheers
    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausyuppy View Post
    Its been suggested for me to run the genny into the grid, however I dont think the amount earned would cover the cost of the fuel.
    Nothing personal and a bit off topic but this is a very good example of what happens when governments interfere with markets. Burn expensive imported diesel fuel in suburban backyards to generate polluting electricity at huge cost so as to use a bit less of the (far cheaper and in fact cleaner) coal and gas at power stations. Someone will actually do it...

  21. #21
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    Burn expensive imported diesel fuel in suburban backyards to generate polluting electricity at huge cost so as to use a bit less of the (far cheaper and in fact cleaner) coal and gas at power stations. Someone will actually do it...

    Funny enough there's been power blackout sin WA due to lack of supply. Guess what Western Power does to make up the difference. At least he has some solar helping the grid at the end they need it, out in the burbs, instead of carting it to the hood from the power station. No doubt someone would be impressed with it if they found out. Really though, don't forget the wearing out of a perfectly good generator on top of the fuel. You'd only do yourself a disservice.Id be more inclined to hunt down some wind turbines to add to the system. That would add some balance to the system as well. I'm surprised there's not more of them.

    Anyone have any experience with smaller wind generators? Considering Perth is one of the windiest cities in the world.

    Love the feedback on solar. Always great to hear the on goings.
    https://www.instagram.com/perth_bricklayer_wa

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    Quote Originally Posted by autogenous View Post
    Burn expensive imported diesel fuel in suburban backyards to generate polluting electricity at huge cost so as to use a bit less of the (far cheaper and in fact cleaner) coal and gas at power stations. Someone will actually do it...

    Funny enough there's been power blackout sin WA due to lack of supply. Guess what Western Power does to make up the difference. At least he has some solar helping the grid at the end they need it, out in the burbs, instead of carting it to the hood from the power station. No doubt someone would be impressed with it if they found out. Really though, don't forget the wearing out of a perfectly good generator on top of the fuel. You'd only do yourself a disservice.Id be more inclined to hunt down some wind turbines to add to the system. That would add some balance to the system as well. I'm surprised there's not more of them.

    Anyone have any experience with smaller wind generators? Considering Perth is one of the windiest cities in the world.

    Love the feedback on solar. Always great to hear the on goings.
    I inquired recently from my solar provider about upgrading the inverter so I can
    add a wind generator later but they said the wind generator needs to be on a separate
    inverter and is easily done otherwise you need an expensive inverter to run the solar and
    wind which would make in un viable.
    Plenty of wind gens on ebay all made in China, some guy in melbourne importing them.

    Regarding the genset and fuel if you had a diesel genset and converted it to run
    on WVO (waste vegge oil) or a blend from the local chippy this might be worth
    while with nsw paying 60 cents, but Im sure you will find a catch somewhere.

  23. #23
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    I will be using German made Fronius inverters that run at >90% (I assume they are what you meant?). Important in warm climates especially to ensure good air circulation over the inverters even if they are on a shaded area. Mine will be on south wall in ACT and I still will be using an extra thermostatically switched fan in each enclosure.

    I am a bit slow sometimes, but I think ausyuppy was 'just joking joyce' re the genset as was Cookie re the extension lead. But as autogenous says that doesn't mean someone will not try!

    Wind is not all that great although Perth probably has sufficient consistency and flow to look at the numbers. Doesn't add up at all in ACT or Melbourne CBD (most CBDs have issues).

    Efficiency drops off dramatically with increased cell temperature which is why there can paradoxically a more consistent higher output in high insolation areas (eg: northern Australia and Spain) by aligning panels not quite what would be optimal in a cooler area with lower insolation.

    Biodiesel is not eligible and unlikely to be for a while as in most instances (except in some still experimental processes) the energy needed to create it is more than the energy it produces on combustion - so it adds to greenhouse gases! Waste oil might be used in co-generation plants eventually, but it is still dirty fuel.

    Some really great work being done in Oz on a transition technology in a natural gas fuel cell that is combined heat and power (CHP) see: http://www.cfcl.com.au/BlueGen These are about double the efficiency of current generation gas or coal fired power stations and as they are local no distribution losses either. The produce electricity and can heat and cool too. Honda is the leader in these, http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/p.../freewatt.aspx but this little Ozzie battler has some innovative new way- one to watch.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  24. #24
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    Another connection question or two!
    Are the breakers on the switchboard just wired into the main switch like what would be normal wiring for other circuit breakers?
    With this question I am trying to get my head around the physics of how the panels can make the meter go backwards when you are using power of a less value than the solar output and how the voltage/current just doesn't rush into the inverter and make it explode
    If possible can I get a photo of the wiring or a schematic or someone to explain this white man magic to me.
    I am thinking of installing myself and don't want to do the $2000, two week course and pay the $600 provisional accreditation fee when I can just look at a professional installation and work it out from there.
    Also....are the panels or any of the system RCD protected?
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

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    Quote Originally Posted by NigeC View Post
    I am thinking of installing myself and don't want to do the $2000, two week course and pay the $600 provisional accreditation fee when I can just look at a professional installation and work it out from there.
    Kinda reminds me of guys posting in here "I am thinking of installing a new light fitting myself & don't want topay $200 for a sparky when I can just look at another one"

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    Hi Nige,
    To save the hassle of trying to explain, See the attached photo below. It is the schematic for my system. The picture shows a 2.7kW system. The way my solar PV system has been setup. They have used a double pole circuit breaker on my switchboard as I have two systems which are independant from each other. The only point they meet is on the double pole circuit breaker in the switchboard.

    The way it works is that the inverters are back feeding into the switchboard. If you are consuming more than the inverters are outputting, the remainder is pulled from the grid. From what I have seen, the output of the inverters ramp up, so you dont get a sudden influx of current into the switchboard.

    As for things exploding etc, the inverters have some protection mechanisms. The inverter has to "synchronise" with the mains supply before it will output the electricity generated. The output has to be in phase with the grid supply, as well as the same voltage and frequency (50hz). Also the inverters are designed to shut down if mains supply is lost. The electricity network is pretty convoluted. There are multiple supplies coming from lots of places. I know in SEQLD some inputs are as follows;

    • Large generators (coal / hydro)
    • Methane plants run from old dump sites
    • Rocky point - They burn mulch (apparantly eco accredited)
    • Generators (usually 415v transformed up to 11kv) We use these to supplement the grid when demand is unusually high, or maintenance is being performed

    All these inputs need to be synchronised with the grid. Quite amazing how it all ties together.

    As for installing yourself, I doubt you could do one yourself and have your electricity distributor connect you to the grid. Here in Brisbane I had to do the following;

    • Request AGL to request ENERGEX for a new meter
    • I had to sign a form with my solar PV installer stating the inverter used and this was sent to ENERGEX to start a network agreement. ENERGEX sent me a network agreeement which I had to sign and send back. Basically it outlines the terms and conditions to generate back to the grid.
    • Last the electrician connecting up the inverters to my switchboard had to subit a form 2 to ENERGEX which notifies them that my switchboard is ready for the new meter.

    I dont know whether you need to be an accredited solar PV installer to get the ball rolling for the network agreement. From what I have seen, Solar PV is not as clear cut as it seems. I know for my system there was a lot about it I didnt realise, and Im still learning.

    The system is not RCD protected, however the panels are protected by a circuit breaker on the front of the inverter. Im pretty sure the panels also have their own short circuit protection. Again probably depends on what type of panels you get. Ive heard some of the cheap chinese ones are missing some important features.

    Also something else to consider. Some solar setups run at fairly high voltages. Some are around 350v DC. You dont want to screw up with those DC voltages. Once you start a DC flashover (arc) they are extremely hard to put out. There have been reports of houses burning down due to improper installations of Solar PV. A mate of mine from the Electrical Safety Office has told me that they are investigating several fires started from dodgy Solar setups.

    Also my new meter was installed today!! Woohoo. Time to start counting the excess power Im putting back into the grid.

    Cheers
    Steve


  27. #27
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    Worth noting that most subsidy program require installation by 'Approved Installers' and what that means can vary. But it generally means that the system cannot be installed by simply a licensed electrician. So check that out before DIYing. But there might be a bit of work that you can do if you talk to the installer - just don't expect warranty . . .
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post
    Worth noting that most subsidy program require installation by 'Approved Installers' and what that means can vary. But it generally means that the system cannot be installed by simply a licensed electrician. So check that out before DIYing. But there might be a bit of work that you can do if you talk to the installer - just don't expect warranty . . .
    There goes my genset run on free waste oil from the chippy, connected to the grid.

  29. #29
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    Thanks Steve for the info.
    How are you going with the heat issues and the shutting down of the inverter? perhaps installing vents (rittal makes them) might help. I would probably go with bigger control panels if this continues to be a problem. I have had similar problems with VSD's until I cooled the enclosure with vents and internal fans.
    Is there an optimum operating ambient temperature for the inverter?
    I think the panels would be plugged in last to save yourself from getting zapped on a sunny day!

    Bloss,
    In Melbourne (vic) any electrical contractor can install the solar sgu (small generation unit) but as I posted before only the "accredited" guys (who have done the design and install course $2000 - 10 day course, and paid the accreditation fee $600 per year) can sell the REC's for the 15 year term (hence getting the biggest rebate) I can only sell the REC's for 1 year or 5 years at a time (which means I carry alot more of the short term cost). I do wonder however how this "accreditation" effects the $10,000 government grant, that is my next question to solve so thanks for idea!

    Looking at the schematic it is a simple installation, looking at your photos makes it even easier.
    Oh yeah, front page of the paper today was how wholesale power price is going to rise during peak times so retail will too, I wonder if solar feed in tariff will rise accordingly.....any takers!
    Last edited by NigeC; 21st Jan 2010 at 10:24 PM. Reason: added "ambient"
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

  30. #30
    Sparkwah
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    Quote Originally Posted by commodorenut View Post
    Kinda reminds me of guys posting in here "I am thinking of installing a new light fitting myself & don't want topay $200 for a sparky when I can just look at another one"
    DIY solar to the grid attempt!!!
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by NigeC View Post
    Thanks Steve for the info.
    How are you going with the heat issues and the shutting down of the inverter?
    Hi Nige,
    I missed this question all those months ago. My installer ended up putting 100mm holes under the fan intake of the inverter and this solved the issues. I also had Latronics out to have a look and he mentioned that they had some enclosures where their supplier used the wrong sized tool to create the vents. They caught it early enough, however some did get out in the market place.


    An update on solar output. I have had to live with my output. Turns I get some shading early in the morning and late in the afternoon, hence why my output is down a little. Also if I wanted slightly better output, I would have to change my inverters to transformerless models and its not worth the outlay.

    To date, from when I had the ENERGEX bi-directional meter installed on the 20th of Jan I have imported from the grid 1233kwh. I have exported 1053kwh to the grid. The values of these are;
    1233 x 17.5c = $215.76
    1053 x 52c = $547.56
    Total = $331.80 in credit. (This does not include the power I have used from the panels)

    The panels have generated the following amount of power;

    North panels - 1064.45 kwh
    West panels - 977.34 kwh
    Total generation - 2041.79kwh

    So if you subtract what I exported from my total generation;
    2041.79
    - 1053
    = 988.79 kwh

    This is the solar power used by the house. If I was to buy this power from AGL it would have cost me $173.04.

    Total money generated and saved;
    $547.56 fed back to grid
    + $173.04
    = $720.60

    As you can see, $720.60 in 3 months is pretty good as far as im concerned. If my household consumption was lower during the day, the savings would be greater, however having 3 kids 4 and under, this isnt practical at the moment.

    I highly recommend installing a decent system if you can afford it as it will allow you to live cost free (depending on your power usage) once the initial outlay is paid.

    Cheers
    Steve

  32. #32
    Sparkwah
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    excellent. thanks for the data
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

  33. #33
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    Great Story Ausyuppy - keep us posted.
    $720.60 is good - do you have to declare this and pay tax?

    Considering intial outlay was say $25K....Return on Investment is around 11.5%. 3months financing charge on this is somewhere in the range of $440 (@7%pa) and $750 (@12%pa). Dont know what the annual maintenance cost would be - keep us updated. But you're ahead up to a point.

    Might take a while to pay down the principal and interest though - Loan calculator for $25K says about 13.5yrs at $240/mnth and 7%pa or 28yrs at 11%pa.

    Of course the larger the array and the smaller the family/usage - like me (=2) returns would be greater.
    Solar trackers I think would be adding far too much complexity/maintenance costs.
    I have 72m2 facing north with no shading after 9AM. So am thinking of a 50m2 array and at a roughie 100W/m2 = about 5kW similar to yours, but in Sydney.

    I guess risks are continuance of subsidy relative to retail cost and hail storms - particularly in SE-QLD.

    b22b

  34. #34
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    Hi Billy,
    $10k of the system was used from the now cancelled Green Loan scheme from the federal government which is interest free. The rest was financed off my home loan. With all the latest increases, its now at 6.24%. Im hoping to have the system paid off before 8 years. Will see how it goes. Definately as interest rates go up, the payout period increases. On the other side, as electricity prices increase, so does my return

    I just did some sums, the system is now up to $822.97. $635.96 back to the grid and $187.01 consumed by us. As of today, our electricity bill this quarter will be $215 in credit and we still have 2 1/2 weeks until our next meter read.

    In QLD the solar feed in tariff is guaranteed for 20 years from 2008. The rate is currently 44c+. AGL currently pay 52c. I dont know whether this will go up with CPI however I doubt it. As the cost of electricity goes up, my electricity bills will increase, however the savings that the solar makes will also increase. Then again with our Labor government, any changes can be expected at short notice

    Im not sure about declaring the credits I am receiving. I have heard recently that Centrelink count this as income and it is affecting pensioners payments. Im not too sure how it will affect me as of yet.

    Maintenance costs SHOULD be minimal. Tree trimming can be done by me. Hail storms are covered by insurance, however after the Melbourne storms earlier in the year I didnt see any reports of damaged panels. I believe that the impact testing of the solar panels include a 25cm hail hitting the panel at terminal velocity. They must pass this to be an accredited panel. The roof tiles will be shattered before the panel is.

    Cheers
    Steve

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausyuppy View Post
    Im not sure about declaring the credits I am receiving. I have heard recently that Centrelink count this as income and it is affecting pensioners payments. Im not too sure how it will affect me as of yet.
    non-commercial PV power generation is NOT treated as income by the ATO. at least not YET. see Private Ruling Number 92788 for the ruling.

    Centrelink is not ATO. they have different definitions.
    the Centrelink definition of 'income' is for if you are receiving Centrelink benefits.

    i'm not (yet <grin>) at the stage of needing to consider that any time soon.

  36. #36
    Old Chippy 6K
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    Centrelink has some bizarre approaches to 'deemed' income and they result in 'effective taxation' rates way above the maximum ordinary tax rates because they commonly reduce pensions dollar for dollar - and then can have flow on if that 'deemed income' then takes the pensioner below the cut-off for other benefits such as the health card.

    I haven't seen the details of this Centrelink story but I can't see the government allowing that ruling to stay if it has been made. The political reason is that they have already taken a beating on the 'green programs' and they wouldn't want more.

    The more pragmatic reason is that it makes no logical sense. Even if the ATO decided to tax rebates then a number of things flow from that - just like most other income they would only tax the 'profit' ie: to determine if it was 'taxable income' they would have to allow you to discount/ deduct expenditure made to 'earn' the income.

    That means the capital amount (not a direct deduction if buying an asset depending on the value, but you are allowed to depreciate the asset - having the same effect) , any interest on that capital (or forgone interest if you didn't borrow), any maintenance costs for the system and depreciation too given the systems are presumed to have a 20-25 year life. So no tax would become payable until those costs have been offset by any income' received - ie: until the full payback period is ended.

    That is in the case of a gross feed-in tariff. With a net tariff that will take much much longer as you will be getting paid only for the difference between what you produce and what you consume (although at different prices to what you buy electricity for from your retailer.

    So I reckon these will be tax free for a while at least and the Centrelink ruling will be quashed (this Budget week I'd think).
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

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