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> Solar Off Grid System Calculations.., Not sure if my numbers are right....
gremlinsa
Posted: February 22, 2015 07:00 pm
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So lately in South Africa we having a serious POWER problem, And we've been seriously looking into getting a Solar full off grid system.. So last week i recorded all three meters (3 Phase system biggrin.gif ) and took down readings again yesturday at about the same time, so that i could get an average week's power usage..

L1 = 59.1 kwh, L2 = 48.8 kwh, L3 = 128.9 kwh, Total of 236.8 for a week.. Or 33.83 kwh a day, however i also had to factor in an ave of 2 hours worth of Load-shedding a day, so per day power was on for 22 Hours.. giving 1.538 kwh per hour.. (or ~7 Ah at 220V)..

Now one evening after 4 hours of power outage.. (Load-shedding schedule) i took a few current readings (Clamp Amp meter) and got ~ 13.5 Amps total across all three phases (4.0 , 3.2, 6.3), I also switched on 3 of the stove plates to add to the load. that gives an average peek load of ~3kw (at 220V). That covers all fridges, both geysers (I hope), stove, TV's and half the home lights..

So I got 3kw peek with 1.5kw ave.. (now if memory serves if i Calculate KWH per hour, i can use it as KW?)

Now.. Battery storage.. 36.9kwh a day, at 12V = 3075Ah and if i want to use no more than 60% of the battery storage (40% excess) that gives me 5125Ah worth of 12V battery's. (or 26 * 200Ah battery's) : or if i go down to 80%, 3844Ah (19 * 200Ah)..
Am I overlooking something with the battery storage.. I realize that daytime charging will reduce the discharge of the battery's and unless there is excessive night time load I should never reach those levels of battery discharge..

Next, Solar Panels... I'd like to rely on a ~6 hour charging cycle, (8:00 - 14:00) mostly because they are not going to be sun following panels. and the target area falls into shade after about 17:00, but gets Excellent morning sun light. So now here do i target total battery storage, or ave daily usage?

Daily total Calks: 36.9kwh, over 6 hours = 6.15kwh per hour, or 6150W and that works out to 31 * 200W panels...

Total Battery Storage Calks: 36.9kwh at 60% = 61.5 kwh, over 6 hours = 10.25 kwh per hour, or 51 * 200W panels... or for 80% 39 * 200W panels...

The Inverter is not much of a problem, I'm looking at a 5kva unit that should cover and exceed our max usage...

Now issue i have is that a separate solar to battery inverter/charger needs to match the Hourly charge rate and total panel wattage, unless i get a combined unit, which leaves me at 5kw per charge hour, with 25 * 200W panels.. That gives me about 8 hour charge rate for ave daily use... ( or 12 hours for the 60% calculated battery totals)

Am i over thinking and over engineering this.. and just go with simple minimums...
5kva Duel inverter, 15-20 * 200Ah batterys, and 20-25 * 200W solar panels...



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kellys_eye
Posted: February 22, 2015 11:52 pm
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Have you looked into power saving techniques/technologies yet?

Personally I'd be looking at propane powered electrical generators - propane tends to be readily available, easily stored and is fast becoming a very cheap source of energy.

Use a combination of systems - solar for battery charging but used only with low consumption devices and the propane genny to kick in when loads exceed a given level.

Total reliance on one system (technology) could land you in difficulties if you get faults plus the cost for batteries/solar to cover all your needs will be prohibitive.





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gremlinsa
Posted: February 23, 2015 08:04 am
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Power saving methods are fully implemented, Just about every globe in the house is energy saver (only the security spots are not), Both geysers are energy savers (150L) installed within the last year, we have a LPG mini stove (two plate), as well as a Induction stove, and plans are in line to fit a Full size LPG/Natural gas stove sometime in the future.

A backup genny is also planned however we looking to get a portable 1KVA unit, for those just in case situations, however the per kwh cost of running them is almost double off the grid price.. the Solar system i'm looking at could payback within 10 years at todays grid price (and are rates are expected to increase by ~16% per year for the next 5 years)..

Locally i can only find a 8KVA LPG(Propane) genny, and at 'Full' load it consumes 5.7 l per hour, which at current prices, works out to about 6 times off the grid price...

The big issue is that in South Africa our Grid is currently at 100% capacity, Several unmaintained Gennys are now giving up, and the surplus power plants are only expected to come online in the next 10 years,(at 10X over budget)..

Also I'm looking for a Green, 24H off grid system, mostly for cost saving, because over the next 5 years the per kwh cost is expected to more than double.

I've just completed initial installation of a rain water catchment and pumping system with 10000l storage, and if need be i could install a further 10000l nearby.. My water needs are almost off grid (drinking water aside).. In the first month i've reduced my grid water usage by 40%.. but we still contemplating getting the Filter and purification system for drinking water.. this system will also pay itself within 10 years (or 7 if i install the additional 10000l) at current water prices..



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kellys_eye
Posted: February 23, 2015 02:03 pm
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Not many power generation systems will match commercial prices - economies of scale etc - so paying above the going rate is generally the accepted practise. You either HAVE power (at whatever cost) or you do without.

The LPG consumption figures are not of any real concern - firstly you will use less at lower loads and secondly you'll only be using it when you need it.

If you do a whole-life cost comparison I think you'll find there's not a lot in it..... solar installation costs, depreciation, loss of efficiency, battery replacement (every 5 years), servicing, maintenance etc etc will add considerably to the 'known' costs.

Swapping out all high consumption devices (water and heat) for LPG is a winner - I've done this for my water heating requirements and also use a wood stove for all home heating (luckily I have access to 'free' fuel for the stove).

What about solar water heating panels?

I'd still have a mix of systems though and the facility to change the supply/source to where it's needed, when it's needed.

If you have neighbours, consider cost sharing.

As for future energy costs - who knows???? The wheels may come off the green energy wagon shortly (hopefully) and the proliferation of fracking gas supplies may mean a glut therefore lower prices. Look at the market today - oil prices have 'collapsed'.

If you have a crystal ball that can tell me what prices will be like 5 years from now then I'd pay for that information! For now I'd be more concerned with actually HAVING power than worry about the cost of GETTING it.



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gremlinsa
Posted: February 23, 2015 03:33 pm
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hehehe .. 5 Year battery life... Hmm, if you go dirt cheep, and get the wrong type, this one has a 10 year life, and this beast has a 18 - 20 year life.. and if properly maintained baterys can last way beyond there life cycle.. #1 thing is not over discharging. #2 not over charging.

as for Loss of efficiency, these have a claim of ~ 80% after 25 years, which one can live with if this loss is factored in from the start... Occasional panel replacement after 15 years will still not break the ROI...

Both installed geysers are Solar heater pump compatible, and i have a designated spot for that on the roof too, Best afternoon sun right until sunset...

A big issue is also power interruptions.. (4 Last week) and when the power flips back on, Half the devices need date and time reset, because the internals only hold time for 1 hour or so, and we get cut of the grid for 4 hour blocks at a time. Rebooting servers and DVR's. And also in the last few outs the PSU for the CCTV has been giving issues, it hates coming up at the same time as everything else, and goes into protection, which means until someone resets it, my CCTV DVR's records black screen...

I'm even going as far as to plant a few good firewood tree's in the field opposite, so that i will have a small supply in the next few years(with proper cutting management)..

My target( or my big dream) is that by the time i retire(25 years from now), the bond is payed in full( might even get it done 5 -7 years early), the property is near 100% off grid, self sustainable, and i need not worry about hefty utility bills every month....

My veggie patch has been providing some excellent veg lately, Carrots, Beetroots, Green peppers, Spinage and more.. So our grocery costs are slowly coming down.

Also on the cards is a french drain, soak away for our septic tank system( costs R1500 every 3rd month to pump shit out) to supplement the irrigation of our lawn....



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kellys_eye
Posted: February 23, 2015 05:28 pm
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I'm right with you on the self-sufficiency idea thumbsup.gif as would be Tommy (Jo0ngle) if he was reading this! We have worked to pay off our mortgage (and now we've also sold our rental property we now have ZERO property debt - woo hoo!) and our house is within 5% of being off-grid self-sufficent.

Fortunately our living requirements are minimal, as is the space we need, so our place here is small enough to heat completely with the woodstove and we use just 2 bottles of LPG per year (47kg bottles) that cover our hot water and cooking needs.

Electricity is the last source to be replaced and an LPG genny is going to be the main backup. I'm still working on a micro hydro system for daily energy needs (lights, entertainment, computers etc) but still keep the commercial mains supply for heavy consumption items for now.

We too suffer regular blackouts due to the nature of the surroundings - overhead cables running through forestry and the occasional bad weather-related power outages - some of which last up to 5 days before we get reconnected. We're at 'the end of the line' as far as power is concerned so any outage whatsoever in the local area and we're ALWAYS the last to be reconnected rolleyes.gif

Still, I have not seen any solar panel actually reach the age of 25 years and very much doubt the validity of the warranty you claim is available. I can practically guarantee that the company producing them will have gone t1ts up within the next couple of years......

There are major concerns over solar panel longevity at the moment and I'd venture to state the same may apply to batteries as well. The proof is in the pudding as they say and businesses would rather go to the wall than fork out to support warranties they probably never had any intention of keeping...... read into that what you will.

My motto is to keep it simple, keep it cheap, keep it reliable and keep spares. Nothing esoteric, nothing 'cutting edge' and nothing that hasn't already got many years of proof-of-concept (i.e. Lucas alternators on the micro hydro).

As far as inverters are concerned I'm using old UPS devices - got the full schematic of them too plus all the spares it may need (mainly the MOSFETS) and never, ever running them past 65% load. In fact all the inverters are from the same manufacturer and use the same circuitry other than the extra paralleled output stages for different power levels.

Even at worst case I could revert to all-12VDC (or 24VDC) and power the place using a car!

Just a thought - what's your position regarding neighbours?

Diesel gennies of around 100kW are quite readily available (here in the UK anyway) and it may be worth your while forming a co-operative with other neighbours to purchase, run and maintain a set that's big enough to provide ALL your needs. The total running costs come down considerably as the scale of generation goes up and making the system fully automated isn't beyond the realms of possibility - nor would selling any surplus to the generating companies if it came to it.



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AwesomeMatt
Posted: February 24, 2015 06:14 am
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Keep in mind when using an inverter that inductive loads destroy them. For motor loads it's suggested to de-rate your inverter by 80-90%. For transformer loads by 50%.

I think you're better off spending money on a generator than batteries in terms of having enough safety margin. So, keep the batteries you're expected to need, but don't go much over. For the occasional times you'll not have enough power, just run the genny. The fuel cost should be minimal (because it's occasional) but meanwhile it's cheaper than having extra batteries you'll only need occasionally plus it can be used when your other power sources are out (cloudy/rainy week).

"On the grid" means using the electrical grid.
"Off the grid" means being self-sufficient and not using the grid.
You seem to have confused the two, or, at least been a bit unclear in your choice of words (i.e. getting electricity "off [off of, from] the grid").

Batteries will last a long time when not mechanically disturbed. Cars/boats shake around a lot and that leads to poor lifetimes. Car batteries used as storage batteries last 5 times as long as they do in cars. Batteries designed for deeper discharge, even better.

Your math otherwise seems to check out. You might be running rather lean in terms of decisions, but calculation-wise they made sense to me.

Lead-acids are inefficient to charge and discharge, you might be neglecting that part. The faster you try to use them, the less power makes it to the place you want it. They're less than 50% efficient at high discharge rates. Ditto for high charge rates. 6 hours to fill is probably pushing it.

QUOTE
So now here do i target total battery storage, or ave daily usage?


You need the power generated by the panels to make it into the batteries. Unless you coincidentally happen to be using it directly (at full efficiency).

If you need 37Kwh/day of energy, it has to come from somewhere. Batteries will store the excess. You have to guess how big the spread is between an average day and a worst day in terms of both power in and power out.

For example, what happens if you have an untypically dark week that is also an untypically high-energy-needing week? Do you run out?

Though as I said above, a genny can cut the necessary paranoia about this and lead to a smaller system for both storage and panels.
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gremlinsa
Posted: February 24, 2015 09:39 am
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Matt...

Thanks for that, you've given me some further issues to think about..

I dont think that there should be too many Motor/Transformer loads, I will more than likely keep my 3 Phase grid connection for the workshop, so the heavy arc welder should never be used on the inverter system.

So cut back on battery's.. go perhaps to 3000Ah, so i can meet the daily ave.. and Get a 2KVA genny, to cover any excess that may be needed..

I know the diff between "on grid" and "off grid", but did have a poor choice of words when describing the cost of on grid power.. it should read " works out to about 6 times from the grid price..." doh.gif

Also it's not going to be grid tied, although in a pinch i could switch out a wire or two and tie back into the grid (not that i really want to).

As for the batterys, they will definitely be Deep Discharge (or Marine battery as they are called in some circles), and I'll be going for the newer tech Lead/Gel or Lead Crystal mat sealed battery, although the second is dbl the price for same rating but claims twice the life...

Charge rate: AFAIK, charge rate is ~12 hours at ~ 10% of total battery capacity for a dead flat one.. so at 50% charged state = 6 hours at ~10%.. roughly working them out a 5kw solars on 3000Ah battery, is ~420Ah charge rate, or ~14% peek, and if you bleed off ~1.5kw ave usage, you now have ~ 290ah charge rate, or ~9%, so I feel that while i might be pushing the charge rate a little, it's not excessive..

My 6 Hour charge statement might have been misunderstood. The idea is that in order to have sufficient excess for "cloudy/rainy week", a bright ideal charge day should provide what i need in 6 hours.. "6 hour charge cycle" probably was wrong wording.. but looking at the numbers.. 5kW Solar, 36.9 kwh daily consumption = 7.4 hours charge time (i'd need 6kW to get 6 hour charging)

Inefficiencies and losses aside, where do you feel i'm a little lean?.. Because something i was thinking of implementing to remove the inverter->SMPS inefficiencies is to connect any 12V systems directly to the battery bank.. that includes.. CCTV system, Gate motors(*3), DVR's, Alarm system, Some Radio's (car radio/ CB radio setup in workshop), although they still need to be included into the daily power consumption, the inverter will not need to carry them..

Next trick is i need to get a ave power usage reading for middle of winter, and see what happens there... Autumn(fall) and Spring are our lowest usage times, and i've seen it in the monthly bills....

But I'm sold on the idea of a genny to supplement the system..

As for getting the neighbors in and getting a bigger genny to run several of us.. Hmmm dont think it will happen.. one's currently unemployed, three are retired, and one is still trying to save up to complete the construction of his house.. then again how do we balance the costs of running and maintaining the genny, also installation will be a bugger, Council permition to run HV lines across roads, Power meters per household... oh hell it can get complicated fast.. I rather do this alone.... and if by chance it falls flat, I'm not that neighbor that cost everyone on the street big bucks....


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kellys_eye
Posted: February 24, 2015 12:51 pm
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Co-operative power generation is precisely that 'co-operative' so if your neighbours can't/won't then it's a none starter. I only mentioned it as another option.

Out of curiosity, have you got a costing for the whole system - including all materials, installation, maintenance etc?

I'd be very surprised to see it work out (per kW) much cheaper than simply running a genny when you need to (maybe with a bank of batteries to charge whilst the genny is running and subsequently power lighting/entertainment systems only). It would certainly be less trouble!

Part of my own setup uses off-peak electricity (half the usual price, available 0100-0700hrs) to charge batteries which then provide sufficient energy to power lights/entertainment/water heater ignition for two days. System cost was zero (donated batteries from F-in-Law's boat and freebie UPS devices!) so I've effectively 'beaten the system' as far as costs are concerned.

Until the micro hydro comes on line I'd have to rely on a genny and then I'm on the wrong side of cost saving - but at least I'll have power!

Anyway, whatever system you end up using I'll be pleased to hear how you progress and all the advantages/disadvantages you come across.

Good luck thumbsup.gif


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gremlinsa
Posted: February 24, 2015 03:34 pm
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Ok here's a quick breakdown...
Power here starts at R1.15 Per kwh, and increases on a sliding scale.. More you use the more you pay per kwh per month.. near middle of this page
0-100kwh = R1.16
100-400kwh = R1.30
400-650kwh = R1.37
650+kwh = R1.46

Complete System Install Costs (including Sparky to Certify) = Just at R200 000 (R193 500 for solar; R5 000 + for sparkys etc...)
Using my nominal 36.9kwh per day, = 1107kwh per month, or 13.47Mwh a year. If no to low maintenance (Ie less than 5% of install or R10 000). after 10 years cost = R1.55 per kwh, 15 years = R1.04, 20 years = R0.78

with upto 20% part replacements cost (R40 000). after 10 years cost = R1.78 per kwh, 15 years = R1.18, 20 years = R0.89

Assuming cost stays stable the ROI is at ~15 years... however with the price doubling in the next 5 years, my ROI could be as short as 7 years..

Also the more I use the Quicker it pays for itself..


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AwesomeMatt
Posted: February 24, 2015 06:00 pm
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Also consider the time value of your money.

I.E. If you're going to spend $22,000 up front, and expect it to pay off after 10 years or whatnot, consider what taking $22,000 and investing it in some long term ultra-broad 10-year fund (or whatever) would yield after 10 years. The S&P500 averages around 7%/year (including the great recession, otherwise steadily double that) so, in 10 years you would almost exactly double your money to $44,000.

Now compare the two:

1 - $22,000 in solar. After 10 years, save $22,000 on power. Net $0 + whatever life is left on your equipment.

2 - $22,000 invested. After 10 years, have spent $22,000 on power, but money now worth $44,000. Net $22,000.

If you're having to borrow the money for the investment it gets even worse to spend it now.

Since you're planning on keeping the grid access around, you could probably just skip the genny entirely. Grid power is 1/6th the cost so, you'd only need the genny when power is both out *and* you had high use *and* weather was bad. I guess if the power situation there becomes worse you can always order a genny later.

The thing about spending money is you generally just want to copy what everyone else is doing. The reason people aren't rushing to solar is because it doesn't make sense. If it did make sense, there would be money to be made doing it and with the whole planet pursuing getting richer someone would have figured it out. Soon after other people would have seen the few people getting rich and they'd copy. Then the rest of the population would follow. So, the only time to ever buck the trend is if you think you're better than the best, which everyone likes to think they are, but generally aren't.
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gremlinsa
Posted: February 24, 2015 07:41 pm
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You do bring forward a very valid point, however our local Energy monopoly Eskom, have been pushing for a 16% increase per year.. Last year they got 12.69% Verified here, and this year it looks like they may just get the 16% they want.. Factor power increases like that and the numbers suddenly look very different...

at 12% per year.. Power cost = $40,000 after 10 years
that gives A Net +$18,000 for solar and +$4,000 for investing...

at 8.8% per year the two break even... $11,000 NET each..

so yes crunching numbers is important, and thanks, i did not not look at this side of it, glad i did now..

Also just suddenly thought of something: Master Card Adverts:..

Backup Generator $4,000...

Solar Energy system $22,000...


Look on your neighbors face when the power grid goes out, Priceless....



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kellys_eye
Posted: February 24, 2015 08:57 pm
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Backup genny $4000 huh.gif

We can get a (new) LPG powered 3.75kW genny for $1000 here and we're considered an 'expensive' economy.....

http://www.seddondirect.co.uk/Generators/p...p?productID=600

All said and done the actual costs really are irrelevant as the main reason for doing this is (surely) to have power when you need it and not be inconvenienced by outages.

Still too many unknowns to make an accurate future forecast though. Just look at the way oil prices have gone recently and the potential for shale gas production across the world would make many oil-based investments pretty risky at the moment.





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gremlinsa
Posted: February 25, 2015 07:45 am
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QUOTE (kellys_eye @ February 24, 2015 09:57 pm)
All said and done the actual costs really are irrelevant as the main reason for doing this is (surely) to have power when you need it and not be inconvenienced by outages.

thumbsup.gif Exactly..

However at the cost of outlay it is well worth investigating the financial implications.. The system cost is 1/3 of what I paid for the house, and bottom line is if i had to sell up, could i expect any sort of return on that investment... I've already spent about 1/2 of cost on other renovations around the house..

It will be all too soon that i've spent the same as cost of the house, and have no idea if I've managed to double the value of the property.. Many say that i've manged to more than double it already, but that's not the Market reporting...

QUOTE (kellys_eye @ February 24, 2015 09:57 pm)
Backup genny $4000  huh.gif

for Master card advert i was thinking more like this...
user posted image
than
user posted image

and for solar something like this.
user posted image


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kellys_eye
Posted: February 25, 2015 09:42 am
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thumbsup.gif on the genny! However for the 'occasional' use I'm happy to stick with a open framed unit (albeit I'd box-it-in somewhere outdoors).

Not sure how you'd service a roof with that many solar panels on it? How would you get to (say) a dud panel in the middle of that lot?

I'm just jealous of the fact you have reliable sunlight to make such a system workable laugh.gif

Then again I do have access to a useable water source tongue.gif


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gremlinsa
Posted: February 25, 2015 11:29 am
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QUOTE (kellys_eye @ February 25, 2015 10:42 am)
I'm just jealous of the fact you have reliable sunlight to make such a system workable  laugh.gif

Then again I do have access to a useable water source  tongue.gif

laugh.gif

For water i have to do rain catchment, and i've now worked out that about the first 2mm of rain is a total loss.. Evaporated and absorbed by the tiles, and only there after do i get runoff into the tank.. and if its a heavy rain, I've not measured yet but calculated, over 2mm per minute the pipes overflow..
---EDIT--- Hit submit instead of preview doh.gif ...

Also thinking about borehole for more water, but a running stream or river is tooo far from us for any use.. sad.gif


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kellys_eye
Posted: February 25, 2015 08:18 pm
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2mm laugh.gif

Over winter we sometimes get an average of 30 inches per month...... laugh.gif


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gremlinsa
Posted: February 25, 2015 09:32 pm
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winter are our 'DRY' months... we get summer storms, with piss rain between..
this month so far we've had 10 rain days with ave 2mm per rainfall.. and one with 8mm.. However in Jan we had a storm that dumped 45mm in less than 10 min, and for Jan total rainfall was 146mm (~6 in), highest for the season..

About 75% of the time the rainfall is less than 5mm, and the times that it's not, it dumps heavy for a short time.. And somewhere in Nov we have a '7 Day Rain' where it's wet for 6 - 7 days solid, but it's more of a constant light misty rain, (1-2 mm per hour)

Last year Feb we had a midday storm that dumped loads on us (unfortunately i was not measuring at that time).. check out the dam in our back yard
- First Pic -
- Second pic -
at the wall the water was over 200 mm deep..


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kellys_eye
Posted: February 26, 2015 01:26 am
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laugh.gif I find it funny how peoples opinions vary over what they consider 'issues'. That 'flood' is pretty much what a lot of my back garden can look like most days of the week recently!

Fortunately the ground here drains away rapidly - but most of the land around me is a soakaway for rainwater and the various gullys that form, all leading to the loch at the bottom of our garden, are perfect for micro hydro schemes (providing you keep quiet about it.... wink.gif ).

The one I'm planning to use is less than 50m from home, has a fall of 100ft and, during rain, can chuck 1-10 gallons/sec down the slope. Even when it's not raining there's a constant flow of 0.5 gallon/sec due to the large area of collection.

I've estimated/designed for a generating capacity of ~1kWhr (two 65A 12V Lucas alternators) but theoretically could get 7kWhr at peak times if I was prepared to spend that much money on the equipment. Even 1kWhr is over and above our full daily need and some of it would have to be directed into static loads (storage heaters).

In the height of summer this can drop to 1 gallon/min but I'm not that bothered for power loss during weather that dry!

It's been a long time in the planning but things have recently fallen into place to allow me to move forward - this year should see our place (should we so wish) be fully off grid.







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gremlinsa
Posted: February 26, 2015 08:34 am
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QUOTE (kellys_eye @ February 26, 2015 02:26 am)
The one I'm planning to use is less than 50m from home, has a fall of 100ft and, during rain, can chuck 1-10 gallons/sec down the slope.  Even when it's not raining there's a constant flow of 0.5 gallon/sec due to the large area of collection.

user posted image

QUOTE (kellys_eye @ February 26, 2015 02:26 am)
I find it funny how peoples opinions vary over what they consider 'issues'. That 'flood' is pretty much what a lot of my back garden can look like most days of the week recently!

doh.gif In the two years we've been here, our yard looked like this twice.. it's the lowest area on the property, and other side of that wall the ground is about 300mm higher, so i have no place to run off this water, but the ground soaks up pretty well, 1 foot down and we find evidence that this area must have had a river flowing through.. 1-2 inch sized rounded pebbles, another foot down we get the bigger 5-10 inch water washed rounded rocks. not dug much deeper than that yet... however will be doing a 2 meter deep hole in the middle of this area for the septic tank soakaway, so i will soon know exactly what the ground is like down there...

QUOTE (kellys_eye @ February 26, 2015 02:26 am)
It's been a long time in the planning but things have recently fallen into place to allow me to move forward - this year should see our place (should we so wish) be fully off grid.
thumbsup.gif thumbsup.gif The less reliant you are to the grid, the better... 100ft drop is excelent for hydro generating.. that's ~3 bar ( or 40psi) of pressure at the bottom, Harnessing it is the tricky one.. What sort of idea's, plans do you have for it...


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gremlinsa
Posted: February 26, 2015 12:28 pm
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To come back to topic...

Loadshedding has started up again, and we are at stage 2.. (ie 2 000MW shortage of power generation) or 5% of the ~ 40 000MW capable system.. Normally~30 000MW is "Online", and there are Gas turbine genny's and hydroelectric pumped-storage stations that normally take the slack in peek demand, or maintenance times.. and here the lovely kicker... The Gas turbine gennys (diesel powered) occasionally run for a 3 hour period during afternoon peek, but have lately been used for 14 to 16 hours a day, everyday, while there was a sufficient stockpile of Diesel to run. (which required special import of additional fuel to maintain)..

The local generating capacity is failing, mostly due to NON Maintenance of old infrastructure, and shoddy workmanship on any new infrastructure. Coal conveyers seizing up (or flaming up) after months of screaming bearing noises, Coal silo collapsing after its inspection passed,even with visible cracks(visible crack at time of inspection is claimed not proven yet), and 3 or 4 more cilo's shut down now also due to Visible cracks....

And in the budget speech yesturday.. Income tax increased by 1%, Sin tax up between 1 and 5% on Cigarettes and alcohol, Fuel Levy increase of ~8%, and as a bonus, power rate increase of 1-2% for during the Energy crisis... So the bottom line is, Less salary and pay more for everything....



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kellys_eye
Posted: February 26, 2015 04:19 pm
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Is your energy system (national) hamstrung by any 'green' committments such as wind turbines?

Despite being a 1st world country (allegedly) our energy infrastructure is set to fail due to short-sightedness, blinkered attitudes to a non-event and, specifically, politically-motivated environmental activists (probably funded by Russia).

There's an increasing recognition of potential failure of Government/infrastructure and more people addressing the issue on a self-help basis than ever before so I've always had an interest in how others tackle their own individual needs.

As for pictures, sure I can post an image of the water source and the hill it runs down to, even the loch it's aimed for..... but that's about all you'll see for now. The rest is a pipe (buried, when I get around to it), a filter/collection box and a simple framework for holding the alternators and turbine (the part I haven't got yet). KISS is the name of the game and the calculator I used for power output even gives the size of nozzle required for the pipe (18mm nozzle on a 3" feed pipe).

I'll get the pics anyway so you can get the gist of what's being done.

Difficult not to get 'political' about your own situation though as it's not exactly surprising the existing Government can't keep a handle on things. Still, that's democracy for you.


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gremlinsa
Posted: February 28, 2015 08:38 pm
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QUOTE (kellys_eye @ February 26, 2015 05:19 pm)
Is your energy system (national) hamstrung by any 'green' committments such as wind turbines?
There is a Pilot wind farm in the Western Cape (in an area well known for constant winds).. but not much is coming out of it..

QUOTE (kellys_eye @ February 26, 2015 05:19 pm)
Despite being a 1st world country (allegedly) our energy infrastructure is set to fail due to short-sightedness, blinkered attitudes to a non-event and, specifically, politically-motivated environmental activists (probably funded by Russia).

Same problems here, even the 'Funding from Russia', who supposedly are tendering to build a nuclear power plant...

On a lighter note... we had just over 10mm of rain today, and that topped up the tank, So now i got 5000l of free water, and it's already come in handy, last week we had a municipal pipe burst and we sat with 0 water pressure for 2 days while they fixed it, and then a few days of 'RED' water while the system had to flush out.. Which was not too much of a problem for us.. Cleanish water for toilet's, washing, etc.. and we always got a few 5l bottles of drinking water spare. So we managed to get through without problems, or rushing to the store for 'Water'.. And there's nothing worse than using a bought bottle of drinking water to flush the loo...

So the Solar system, is just looking like a good choice..

I'm still working the numbers, and the budget, but hope to do at least part of it by the end of the year...




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gremlinsa
Posted: May 06, 2015 10:13 am
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Not to revive this thread, but we done the sums, quotes, and all that, and we decided to rather get a 5.5KVA backup genny to run during the "Grid down" times..

With the estimated 2 more years or regular power outages, the prices of solar are slowly starting to increase (low supply, high demand), and one guy said we might have to wait upto 4 months for installation, because he's waiting for some of the parts. (and quote only valid for 30 days), so he could double the price at time of install, so not taking any chances...

We found the genny for R7 500 at the local hardware, and it looks to be a reasonable one, so now i also need to work out some contactors to keep the genny and Grid isolated but allow switching over only certain circuits when necessary.. (also gona setup auto shutdown for when the grid comes back on line), but not setup the autostart, rather leave that as manual, so it does not kick in while nobody's at home, and the power is not needed (just a waste of fuel)..



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kellys_eye
Posted: May 06, 2015 12:32 pm
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Look at the dual-fuel options too (propane and regular gasoline/diesel). Always wise to keep your fuel source options open.



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