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Author Topic: my off grid/grid tied plan - your thoughts most welcome  (Read 3178 times)
PeterC
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« on: August 07, 2015, 11:00:12 AM »

So my hybrid off grid/on grid planning is now looking at household wiring. Be good to get some thoughts and feedback on my thinking if you wouldnt mind.

Bit of background: During the renovation works were doing Ive laid some new power cables and left some “strategic” cables in place as weve moved rooms around and made changes throughout the house. We now have a new kitchen downstairs which used to be the garage. I maintained the wiring and consumer unit in the new kitchen. I also added a new consumer unit which currently houses all the new kitchen circuits. Currently Grid comes into house and feeds via a splitter into both consumer units.

So my plan was to move a few specific circuits and re-distribute specific loads via my strategically laid new cables, onto one of the consumer units which would remain GRID TIED. The other would hold all the remaining circuits/loads which I would like to become OFF GRID.

Grid tied consumer unit would contain range cooker, washing machine, immersion coil, etc and other loads which would likely wipe out any PV battery system. My existing grid tied PV would also be on this consumer unit.

The off grid consumer unit would obviouslt be disconnected from the grid, and then hold upstairs/downstairs lighting circuits, plant room (heating pumps etc, up-stairs and downstairs ring main and I’d spec up my new Off Grid PV/inverter/battery set up to meet this network need.

Putting aside ensuring the work is carried out safely and properly – how does this sound as a project plan.

A.   Mental and mad
B.   Possible but you’ve missed some key points which are….
C.   Go for it

Im still chewing over the Gas boiler and how much power it needs and draws etc but think this needs to go onto the off grid network.
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biff
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 01:30:10 PM »

Hello Peter,
           Off-Grid, means really off grid with no mains. So you need more than one renewable energy source. You need a nice 4kw of PV and either a wind turbine or hydro turbine or both and you need to be far enough away from the neighbours as not to annoy them. And then you need a standby geni that sits ready to pull you out.
  I would assume that your new renewable energy sources are going to enter the house in AC, So your AC control system will be a meeting point for your different energy sources and will be outside. AC travels well and a few hundred ft is no problem. Your house wiring should remain the bog standard apart from a few runs to immersion heaters in dc but saying that,the big leaps forward in AC coupling means that you can even use the standard ac immersions.
              if you have the space and freedom and the wind,  No 3  GO FOR IT fingers crossed!
                                            Biff
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brackwell
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2015, 01:47:26 PM »

If one is connected to the grid what are the advantages of going off grid compared to just arranging things so that one uses as little grid leccy as poss?
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skyewright
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2015, 01:57:26 PM »

Off-Grid, means really off grid with no mains. So you need more than one renewable energy source. You need a nice 4kw of PV and either a wind turbine or hydro turbine or both and you need to be far enough away from the neighbours as not to annoy them. And then you need a standby geni that sits ready to pull you out.
But with off-grid-alongside-grid then except in a power-cut you have a further alternative source if your DoD is getting low & the Winter forecast says no sunshine for days - you flick a switch & your Quattro or whatever (other brands are available...) takes a slurp of mains...

No point in wearing more than one hair shirt...  Grin
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David
3.91kWp PV  (17 x Moser Baer 230 and Aurora PVI-3.6-OUTD-S-UK), slope 40°, WSW, Lat 57° 9' (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2015, 08:03:32 PM »

Peter this is exactly what we did in the year before going entirely off grid. We just left a few high power things on the grid via a couple of double sockets, with all lights and most small appliances on the renewables circuit.
This allowed us to properly look at our usage, see how we did in midwinter etc, and then adapt our off grid plans accordingly. A second stage was to hook everything into the 'off-grid' circuit, but add a grid connection to our Multiplus so that it could pull additional power in the event we overdid things.
After a year we pulled the grid entirely and now function entirely off grid. I still use the two circuits to split our demand into 'essential' and 'everything else', so if it comes to it we can feed the essential circuit independently using backup kit.
If you are leaving in supply cables to/from inverter/batteries to a consumer unit that isn't nearby, keep a careful eye on cable sizes, they soon get large, so never guess.
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8kw PV - 40x80w; 8x100w;13x300w Victron 150/70, 100/50, 100/30 MPPT; 3x Victron Multiplus 24/3000/70; Color Control GX Monitoring; 1000ah@24v traction batteries - 50 tube solar thermal - 3kw Bornay Inclin grid tie/ac coupled wind turbine - wood fuel cooking & heating.
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2015, 09:53:40 PM »

When I say" off-grid means off grid",
                                       I mean that you don,t really get serious about it until you are faced with a power shortage. I remember having to pay 64 euros standing charge every 2 months. Living off-grid means that you get your act together quicker. You learn just how much juice will leave your battery bank if you are wasteful. You get interested in all kinds of energy saving gadgets a lot quicker.
  If you are working along side the grid, You will be reluctant to let it go. Instead of investing in a diesel generator that would only use a few ltrs to get you past the very high power items, you pay rent on a line that cancels out your saving in renewables.
  It is something that one should think very seriously about and be well prepared for all eventualities. I doubt if it is possible to get it all right in the first couple of years. It is a learning curve.
  Yet it has never been easier to go off -grid than it is at the moment with the price of PV and all the new controllers and micro panel inverter.
  It is a very good feeling having all the power that you need while the local power is down and you don,t get any bills coming in.
                                                                                    Biff
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2015, 08:56:45 AM »

.... if one gets a bidirectional -off-grid- inverter/charger  like  victron multiplus, sunny island, outback ,  studer xtender .... then just hook the whole house to it  and the grid on the ac in , that  will then only assist if necessary ...

the only problem i would see is  , when cooking with electricity ,  half gas half electic would be my  Joice today


Quote
If one is connected to the grid what are the advantages of going off grid compared to just arranging things so that one uses as little grid leccy as poss?

still , with a battery , one can significantly  increase self consumption of pv and independence  of imported nuclear , coal or oil power ......, that fact alone ith worth while a thought

with a battery  one can easy find some  pv panels  for a penny and integrate them   without al the paperwork , i would say 9 moth of the year one  can live without any import ....

the rest of the year a chp  generator would help  ..... there are plenty of  second hand  gas powered chp   Senertec Dachs- a famous  houshold chp unit- units for sale  on ebay germany  or one bults a bio-vegie-oil battery charger ...

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Senertec-Dachs-BHKW-Blockheizkraftwerk-Heizung-/252032384627?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_77&hash=item3aae4cfe73

pretty easy to   show the dirty grid network , how it could work  whistlie
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2015, 06:53:15 PM »

64 euros standing charge every 2 months
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If I have the exchange rate even close, per annum that standing charge works out more than our whole domestic[1] elecricity bill including the standing charge! Wow!



[1] Elecrtric heating is on a separate bill.
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David
3.91kWp PV  (17 x Moser Baer 230 and Aurora PVI-3.6-OUTD-S-UK), slope 40°, WSW, Lat 57° 9' (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2015, 09:41:55 PM »

 Electricity is obviously a lot more expensive here, 180euros per 2 months Is the average  bill every 2 months around here.
       If you decide to go work out foreign and ask the esb to disconnect you. You get a 40euros charge for that. Then you get a lecture on the cost of reconnecting, If you leave it up to 6 months you get a sizable reconnection charge, If you leave it over 2 years they will want 2,500 euros up front to put the fuse back in place + you wait for 12 weeks, get an electricians cert, ect,
 The cost was 1800euros back in 2010 but it has gone up a lot since then. They charge what they like and give a massive 9 cents per unit for renewable energy after you jumps through hoops of over 1,000euros worth of fees.
                                                                      Biff
  NB, Funny enough, I got a quote back in 2002 for the power to be installed in the house here, 1138euros all in, including a pole. I never bothered with it. I am really glad I declined.
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woodi
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2015, 10:47:19 PM »

Same problem up here Biff. NIE have a monopoly on infrastructure and love to remind you about it. We were quoted £7000 to move the 11kv pole outside our window, which was the final straw, and pushed us to go off grid. At some point in the (somewhat heated) debate about the cost, some bright spark mentioned in an email that the supply could be removed at no cost, and so we had them. The guys who came and took it out were very good about giving us all the stays, pole, bits and pieces etc, many of which got used when the new wind turbine went up Smiley  Got the same lecture about the terrifying cost of reinstatement, but all the engineers who were here reckoned we were doing the best thing.
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8kw PV - 40x80w; 8x100w;13x300w Victron 150/70, 100/50, 100/30 MPPT; 3x Victron Multiplus 24/3000/70; Color Control GX Monitoring; 1000ah@24v traction batteries - 50 tube solar thermal - 3kw Bornay Inclin grid tie/ac coupled wind turbine - wood fuel cooking & heating.
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2015, 12:13:37 AM »

Putting aside ensuring the work is carried out safely and properly – how does this sound as a project plan.

A.   Mental and mad
B.   Possible but you’ve missed some key points which are….
C.   Go for it

Im still chewing over the Gas boiler and how much power it needs and draws etc but think this needs to go onto the off grid network.

I think somewhere between "B" and "C".

I am both on and off grid, I have two consumer units in a similar way to what you are suggesting. One consumer unit powers my lower power devices such as TVs, Internet, Computers, Lights, Fridges and Gas Boiler. My on grid powers the heavy devices like cooker, dishwasher, washing machine, kettle, toaster and all other ringmain devices.

The heavy device consumer unit is permenantly on grid and the lower power consumer unit switches between on and off grid depending on time of day and state of charge of my batteries on the off grid system. Some of the lower power circuits are manually switched between consumer units on a seasonal basis. i.e. between April and all low power circuits are powered by the low power consumner unit but in Dec/Jan only the lights and Gas Boiler are connected to the low power consumer unit. The intermediate months have other regimes.

I also have two immersun type devices, one for on grid and one for off grid, these power hot water, storage heaters and a convector heater (the off grid needs a dummy load to maximise FITs). fingers crossed!

Today has been one of those epic solar days, over 50 kWh's generated (£15+ in FITs), batteries full by 10am, hot water hot by 11am, storage heaters keeping lounge at 29 degrees at midnight (Thats a bit warm for most but my Brazilian other half approves). chocolateteapot

Total import today, about 2 kWh's elecy and 5kWh's gas, looking back to before solar, an average Aug day would have been 14kWh's elecy and 15kWh's in gas. ralph
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 12:25:03 AM by nowty » Logged

11kW+ of PV installed and 54+ MWh generated.
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Hot water storage of 15+ kWh.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh.
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2015, 09:43:47 AM »

I have to admit,
            That if you can work it like Nowty,then you have the very best of 2 worlds. There is no doubt about it.  You come out miles ahead.
                                          Biff
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2015, 10:25:07 AM »

Quote
Total import today, about 2 kWh's elecy and 5kWh's gas, looking back to before solar, an average Aug day would have been 14kWh's elecy and 15kWh's in gas. ralph

   
 Smiley     satisfying , isn't it    ........  when we bought our place 9 years back .... i said  no powerlines and no phonelines ....  , my system was designed to be grid connected  ,  but i am still waiting for a structure here in ireland to feed the grid  with my surplus of sun, water, wind power ...., but madness  for not having some sort of fit scheme here . sad realy
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2015, 11:03:40 AM »

 I agree billi,
           The present power suppliers have to satisfy the troika shareholders. (Thats what I believe) and they screw the Irish public for every cent that they can. They discourage any kind of self power generation with fees for a power generation licence and fees for inspections. Very strange to have your renewable energy inspected by someone who has never seen one before. That was the case locally about 4 years ago. 300euros and a cup of tea per inspection which took 10 minutes. Things may have changed by now. It is all down to GREED,  sheer GREED.! They are afraid that if they encourage the locals to generate their own power that they will not be able to pay their own big fat paypackets and shareholders divies.  "Sad really " Is right.
   However, there is this quite strong underground movement who are connecting their PV to the grid without any kind of paperwork. They use some kind of Chinese Grid tied inverter that is specially for the job. I have only been told about them by people who use them and they are quite pleased with the results. Now I have no idea how they will explain their drop in power consumption to the power suppliers.
    There should be some kind of Government help instead of keeping quiet and allowing the public to be constantly ripped off.
                                                                 Biff
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2015, 02:04:23 PM »

The heavy device consumer unit is permenantly on grid and the lower power consumer unit switches between on and off grid depending on time of day and state of charge of my batteries on the off grid system. Some of the lower power circuits are manually switched between consumer units on a seasonal basis. i.e. between April and all low power circuits are powered by the low power consumner unit but in Dec/Jan only the lights and Gas Boiler are connected to the low power consumer unit. The intermediate months have other regimes.
What sort of devices/arrangement  do you use for switching the low power consumer unit on-grid/off-grid, and for switching low power circuits between CUs?
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 02:08:01 PM by skyewright » Logged

Regards
David
3.91kWp PV  (17 x Moser Baer 230 and Aurora PVI-3.6-OUTD-S-UK), slope 40°, WSW, Lat 57° 9' (Isle of Skye)
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