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Author Topic: Easterdown off grid is going ahead!  (Read 14343 times)
V
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« on: September 23, 2013, 09:47:44 PM »

We got full planning permission this morning! Two weeks early!

(So I'd better get a move on )


mount as much PV as possible,

if you have to use your generator regularly, you'll come to despise it and the cost of the fuel for it

have as large of a battery bank as possible, the less you discharge it the better,

bit more info about the house too, how big, how many bedrooms, how many floors etc. etc.

Alan :-)

We have an East-West facing barn and could fit 12  of the 235 watt Kinve panels from Navitron, per side. Possibly 15 per side.

Phase one, the cabin, (the bit to the left in the drawing) will be made from highly insulated SIPS clad in timber. We move in, then over the next months we will 'attach' the main house which will have a timber frame but also made from Porotherm monolithic clay blocks: http://www.porothermuk.co.uk  - high thermal mass, low weight, uses very little concrete. The outside will be clad in timber.

We are thinking of cooking on an Esse Wood fired Range with a hot water option (the cabin will have the 'Plus 1' for cooking and hot water).

The final footprint of the house will be approx 160 sq metres. Three bedrooms and the 'cabin' or studio. Full plans going onto the blog soon.


Perhaps a (partial) AC coupled  PV -offgrid Inverter  idea  makes sense for direct feeding the consumers from the PV

Me , personally would go this route today , a part of the PV feeding the system via Grid tie inverter and the remaining part via charge-controller

In a Situation with a grid connection with a battery backup PV , i possibly would consider those ,  but in a off grid idea ..... i would try to use the funds to have enough PV and battery to avoid generator running hours = reduce the deep cycles of the lead battery seen over the year

Sorry, can you explain this? I don't understand 'partial AC coupled' ? and can I use a Grid tie inverter without a grid tie? I know Sunny Island has 'modes' is this what you mean? Also, why Lithium Iron in a grid situation and not off grid? Is it because they are too experimental at the moment?

I switched over to 120vdc because I found that I could use a lot lighter wire and it is more efficent(debatable).
We were thinking of starting with 48 volts. Good idea?

Your welcome to come and visit us.  
Thank you so much. I hope we can take you up on this soon!

Costs,..... last time we did costing for buying everything of the shelve was Christmas 2012, with my mate Dimitri Best we could achieve for his house was £16,000 .

I read somewhere on this list a figure of 1500 pounds per kwH. Do you think this is possible?

have you tried Wayne Peters at http://www.forest-builder.com/
Hadn't found that one! Rang him this afternoon, no reply yet but thank you very much for this.

Do you realise that you can claim FITS and RHI payments even for off grid
This is one of the reasons I'm hoping to find an installer. I was hoping the FIT would pay for my diesel or LPG. Thank you so much for sharing your readings. VERY useful.



Conventional generators I suspect are too greedy on diesel,so a PMG ,low reving,linked to a small Lister,charging into the same battery bank through an ordinary wind turbine controller(with dump load facility) could be made to deliver 1kw for 3 hours on a ltr of red.I believe this could be easily achieved.

Wow, this is really interesting. a PMG off the shelf like this - http://www.pmgenerators.com? or find a used turbine and repurpose it? Love to talk more about this.

Me, I'm going for SMA as much of my gear will be 'AC coupled'

I've tried to understand what AC coupled means, is it grid tie? or  that Sunny Island takes the DC from the PV and makes it AC before the batteries see it? (have I understood this correctly?)

Vickie
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2013, 10:54:03 PM »

Hello V,
         We are delighted to hear that you got your planning through successfully.I am sure that this takes a load of your mind.The best thing to do to start with is to write down all the things you want to do,with a view to keeping the very important ones out to the front.
     48vdc would be very good and would suit quite a few readily available inverters,/UPS,s/ controllers and wind turbines.It can also be matched to the c40 and various other controllers,
    I did mentioned 120vdc but perhaps it is a bit too soon and you best stick to the 48vdc of you are happy with that.There is a wealth of off-grid info here on Navitron and all our members will be only too glad to help.
                       Best of luck,
                                                  Biff
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V
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2013, 07:48:35 AM »

Can you tell me if 'AC coupled' means 'grid tie'? or what is meant by 'partial AC coupled' ?

And am I right to guess that C40 is the Battery bank discharge to 40%?
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2013, 08:07:01 AM »


Quote from: clockmanFR on September 21, 2013, 09:47:14 AM

Your welcome to come and visit us.  

Thank you so much. I hope we can take you up on this soon!


Quote from: clockmanFR on September 21, 2013, 09:47:14 AM

Costs,..... last time we did costing for buying everything of the shelve was Christmas 2012, with my mate Dimitri Best we could achieve for his house was £16,000 .

I read somewhere on this list a figure of 1500 pounds per kwH. Do you think this is possible?


Depends on how much time you can invest to save costs.!!!!

Dimitri's system was for a large log cabin, (footprint about 130sqm) and for his family of 4 and included all his normal family needs, fridge, freezer, washing machine,  etc. His lighting is direct 48v dc.
Inverter would be 4 to 5Kw, (washing machine on 2kw plus...) battery bank 1200ah 48v (60Kwh), PV panels of about 6 to 9kw, (bank mounted, south facing at Equinox angle), standby generator and PMG, (a rebuilt spare 5Kw one). Plus all the Controllers, auto switching etc.

There is some ready made well tested 48v controllers out there, so 48vdc is logical. The step to 120v (as Biff) is possible but the project needs real planning and 120v is pretty deadly.

Me thinks you need to sit down and get the REAL minimal power you require, for the house. And do a separate system for the Business, (at least you can claim the capital expenses against tax?) If the Business is power hungry then its own generator is a must.

There are lots of positive aspects to power generation, but it must be managed and thought out, your battery bank must be treated with great care.  
 
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2013, 08:14:04 AM »

"AC coupled" as far as see it, is having an Inverter running that gives a good 50hz 220vac sine wave. Then use this 50Hz to run grid tie Inverters that need 220vac 50hz to function.
Others will correct me. Its a cheaper option and your inverter capacity can rise. Talk to Paul.

C40 is a Zantrex Controller, Me, I use Morningstar controllers, (have 8off different types) but I am now relising there  capabilities are lacking behind the latest PV panels voltage production, so moving to Outback Products that are the Rolls Royce of off Grid controller Stuff.
http://www.midniteforum.com/
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 08:16:30 AM by clockmanFR » Logged

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greenhouseparos
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2013, 08:17:06 AM »

This might help
    http://files.sma.de/dl/17333/SFK_OFFGRID_KCZ120311W.pdf
Although SMA is a good make their equipment is not the only make that can be used in this situation.
In off grid AC coupled has nothing to do with grid tied although it shares some components that can be used in either case.
Paul

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V
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2013, 08:54:47 AM »

We had two replies to our estimated usage http://wordpress.easterdown.co.uk/?p=56

One was:
4kWp PV system
Sunny Island + SMA inverter (SB4000TL)
Batteries to provide a 770ah capacity at C100 @ 48V = 37kWh (more like 27 in practice). This would give you about a days autonomy.

and I contacted SMA themselves who suggested:
-           1 x Sunny Island 8.0H (with SRC-20 / + RS485)
-           1 x Batfuse B.03 (bigger one for the future)
-           1 x Sunny Boy 5000TL-21 (OffGrid parameter / + RS485)
-           1 x SI-LS100-48 (load shedding contactor)
-           1 x Sunny Island Charger 50 (roundabout 2kWp)
 
-           1 x 5kVA diesel generator
-           about 7kWp pv-system
-           about 500Ah@48V, C10 battery capacity (type: OPzV, OPzS)

Not wedded to SMA, but they are the first to help us get any kind of specification. We welcome other ideas.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 09:53:08 AM by V » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2013, 01:19:50 PM »

Hi V,
     I would concentrate on getting the house built and well insulated to begin with.Thats the big important bit.If you try to do everything at the one time,it could become stressfull.If the house is well insulated with a decent boiler and heating system then you are almost there.
    It only takes approx 300 to 400watts max to run the house ticking over,fridge,circulation pump,telly/pc and small chargers.
   However,You will need plenty of power on tap when you start building and a Lister generator like Paul,s (camilltech)would do the job better than anything else so perhaps that should be your first real purchase.
  Batteries will of course have to be genuine deep cycle,like forklift cells or rolls which Paul loves so much(they must be good).
    Dont try and race into it head on,you could end up with a whole pile of gear that you dont understand,This has already happened to some members through no fault of their own."Steady she goes" is the way forward.
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2013, 01:56:40 PM »

Not wedded to SMA, but they are the first to help us get any kind of specification. We welcome other ideas.

I'm very happy with the Sunny Island, but I think it's a waste of money to swallow the rest of the SMA coolaid.  You'd save a packet and have a more efficient system if you just used a DC charge controller like the Outback or Midnite classic 80A controllers.  They work perfectly fine with the Sunny Island, all you'll need is an additional 30 quid shunt to keep the internal battery monitor working.

With regards to battery size vs generator there's some trade off between the two.  Bigger battery means less generator runtime, so you don't need as high specced generator.  Smaller battery means more gen runtime, so you need a quality reliable and fuel efficient genny.  IMO, bigger battery is the ticket, e.g. at least 2 days autonomy.

The SI8 is a 6kW inverter, are you really every going to be drawing 6kW instantaneously?  The SI6.0H is a 4.5kW unit, might be more suitable given your loads.
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V
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« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2013, 03:07:16 PM »

 However,You will need plenty of power on tap when you start building and a Lister generator like Paul,s (camilltech)would do the job better than anything else so perhaps that should be your first real purchase.
  Batteries will of course have to be genuine deep cycle,like forklift cells or rolls which Paul loves so much(they must be good).
"Steady she goes" is the way forward.
Never lived off of a generator, I suspect it doesn't just 'start up' as soon as I flick a switch, or does it?


I'm very happy with the Sunny Island, but I think it's a waste of money to swallow the rest of the SMA coolaid. 
...
The SI8 is a 6kW inverter, are you really every going to be drawing 6kW instantaneously?  The SI6.0H is a 4.5kW unit, might be more suitable given your loads.

Would it make sense to have a battery bank, a Sunny Island and a generator to start off with?
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2013, 03:09:50 PM »

Would it make sense to have a battery bank, a Sunny Island and a generator to start off with?

Yes!  In fact that's what we did for our house build.  Generator runs for a good few hours to charge the batteries, then turn it off and use the batteries down to 50% DoD.  Rinse repeat.  A generator with 2 wire remote start would be ideal, so the sunny island would start and stop it automatically as needed.
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V
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2013, 03:23:14 PM »

I know everyone keeps saying, use the BEST batteries, but as an amateur - (likely to blow up our first battery bank!) would it make sense to go with something like this @ 90.50 including VAT :
====================
http://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/product/DC27/print/

Alphaline
Product Specification:
Specification
Manufacture Alphaline
Volt 12
AH 105
Cold Cranking N/A
Warranty 4 Years
=====================
or is it impossible to later add 2nd day of autonomy with great Batteries like 'Rolls'
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2013, 04:24:19 PM »

I know everyone keeps saying, use the BEST batteries, but as an amateur - (likely to blow up our first battery bank!) would it make sense to go with something like this @ 90.50 including VAT :
====================
http://www.batterymegastore.co.uk/product/DC27/print/

Alphaline
Product Specification:
Specification
Manufacture Alphaline
Volt 12
AH 105
Cold Cranking N/A
Warranty 4 Years
=====================
or is it impossible to later add 2nd day of autonomy with great Batteries like 'Rolls'

Battery Type    Sealed Calcium 

Why calcium?!?
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2013, 04:46:21 PM »

Sorry, didn't notice that. But is there a cheaper battery that might last but I won't cry too much if I make a mess of it, seeing its my first go?

Plus, any thoughts on size of generator?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 04:51:23 PM by V » Logged

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hobbit-express
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2013, 04:50:11 PM »

Hello V

How many of those batteries would you be looking at? Personally I would recommend you by a decent sized bank from the off and learn to look after it properly.
If you were to use 4 of those 12V batteries then you would have 48x105 = 5040Wh and at 50% DOD you would have a working energy capacity of 2.5Kwh's (2520Wh) of energy. This isn't very much energy to play with and you may find that you would kill this bank before you either finished the build or leant how to look after the future battery bank.
With these types of systems the most important thing is to spend the time up-front accurately estimating your energy requirements. This can be a number of ways but the more time you spend now working it out the easier it will be to ensure you have the correct kit further down the line. Your energy usage is critical for sizing your battery bank and your peak load( i.e everything you ca think you be working at the same time) is used to size the inverter and the generator. From the energy requirement you can start sizing the PV array as previously posted by others you may find it cost effective now to oversize the PV array to minimise your generator run time.  

Regards
Hobbit Express
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