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Solar in a blackout

2

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 172 ✭✭ harderthanf


    Well, there are loads out there - but a lot seem to be out of stock , especially the batteries. Here is a few items I've used over the years (for pack builds and/or shed/small office setups). They're on the cheaper side so add +- 50% if you want to increase capacity and/or brand name!

    You will also need some sundries like MC4 connectors, 12v cable and fuses/busbar. All of the below comes in at around €460. Also, if you have large-ish car and can get to the wholesalers you can pick up a single 300W panel for around €100 +VAT - they tend not to deliver single panels (or at least charge for pallet size) as they're too big for the standard couriers.


    B Class Lesiure Battery, walk in off the shelf

    https://www.halfords.ie/camping-and-leisure/caravan-and-motorhomes/halfords-leisure-battery-hlb700-682063.html

    MPPT Charge controller

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/EPEVER-Controller-Automatically-Identifying-Voltage/dp/B0721QNDQD/ref=sr_1_5?crid=3PPDDZRE8MTVC&dchild=1&keywords=epever%2Bmppt%2Bcharge%2Bcontroller&qid=1633685337&sprefix=epever%2Caps%2C143&sr=8-5&th=1

    1000W (2000W peak) Inverter

    https://de.eco-worthy.com/collections/solar-wechselrichter/products/1000w-12v-solar-wechselrichter-dc-12v-ac-220v

    Example of usb charge you can use from the battery

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charge-Charger-Aluminum-Voltmeter-Motorcycle/dp/B07NV7579D/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=fast+charge+12v+usb&qid=1633685463&sr=8-10

    100W Panel

    https://de.eco-worthy.com/collections/solar-module/products/100w-12v-monokristallines-solarpanel

    300W Panel

    https://midsummer.ie/buy/Clearance/qcell-325w-mono



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,612 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    You make it seem so easy! Many thanks for those links. When I searched leisure battery I was getting random things over €1000. Halfords makes more sense.

    I am sure I will have a ton more questions, including how to get this past the other half, but very interesting.

    Edit: First question! Somebody, possibly bullit_dodger in the solar pv quotes thread, suggested some ideas for garden mounting, and one option would be on a vertical wall. I know, not ideal from a capture stand point, but possibly the only place I could do it. Is there anything specific I would need or could I just grab the cheapest roof mounting rails and use those? Would be looking at mounting to concrete fence pillars.



  • Registered Users Posts: 172 ✭✭ harderthanf


    I've mounted a good few panels over the years to vertical walls. Take a look at these images. It's crude but works very well. The panels are on hinges so I can change the elevation with the lower arm over the year.




  • Registered Users Posts: 4,239 ✭✭✭ Furze99


    Depends where you live I guess. In an urban area, unlikely to be lengthy power cuts as even in storms, faults in such areas get fixed first. Living rural you could be waiting days, standard generator is the way to go to get water into the house and charge devices. After that, rechargeable lanterns and solid fuel stove.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,612 ✭✭✭ randomname2005



    Nice, seems doable. Thanks again

    I live on the outskirts of a small town in Galway, defined as urban for electricity prices, but probably have more cows in a 100m radius around the house than people! In the event of a grid supply issue, being able to have a few things running for a few hours would be nice. Same in the event of a fault on the grid. If I do go down this line, part of this would be to satisfy the geek in me, part to have some power in the event of an electricity outage.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,621 ✭✭✭ bullit_dodger



    Mentioned previously (sorry can't remember who to give credit), but most inverters or the batteries themselves have an 'emergency' outlet so if you have a battery in your solar installation a cheap-n-cheerful solution would be to run an 20m extension cable from that outlet to the living room and plug in the telly and or router (assuming your load network hub has power but that's another problem for another day)

    Depends on how accessible your installation is of course. But might be a lot easier than building an off grid solution? (but it's a lot of more fun to come up with an off-grid solution to be fair)



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,612 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    No battery, don't think my standard Solis inverter will have a plug. Looking at pics online it doesn't appear so.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,975 ✭✭✭ graememk


    Only a hybrid inverter will have an eps output



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,612 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    Figured as much, but always nice to get it confirmed by more knowledgeable people.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,612 ✭✭✭ randomname2005




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  • Registered Users Posts: 172 ✭✭ harderthanf


    I've had a lot of setups over the years, so running alsorts really. Even now, and although I've just under 7kwh of an array feeding the house, my garage is on its own circuit. That has a fridge, lights, laptop and a couple of power tools - chop saw etc. All from battery and inverter



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,612 ✭✭✭ randomname2005




  • Registered Users Posts: 1,612 ✭✭✭ randomname2005


    Circling around this in my head still. How many panels do you have connected to your garage grid, and what size batteries to run that stuff in the garage?



  • Registered Users Posts: 108 ✭✭ prosaic


    What if I make a pretend grid supply?

    Turn of grid at meter box. Have a small battery plus inverter to generate 220V (or could it be lower like 210V) that you can switch into the primary output of the solar inverter. Turn off any heavy power using equipment. The solar inverter and fireman's switch would think that the grid is up and running so the solar would work away. What are the issues with this approach?

    Does the solar inverter need to sense the flow on the CT clamp in order to work right?



  • Registered Users Posts: 857 ✭✭✭ tails_naf


    Some inverters have a backup output. So I guess if you either connect critical loads to this, or else isolate the main output and connect the backup output via a two pole switch, in theory you can have this drive the house. You need to isolate any path out to the grid also though. Ideally wed have a smartet fireman switch setup, that allowed the house to run in the absence of the grid, but still be disabled by a switch in the meter box.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10 mswomex



    I have a Solis inverter (2.4Kwp) with a Pylontec battery installed a year ago. If I knew then what I know now and how the setup is configured to operate under various circumstances I would not have invested in a battery at all as I do not believe that they are a great bang for your buck. The Pylontec (2.4kwh) was €3k + vat. You would think that for that money you would be able to run your house for a decent amount of time. What I have found is that it will run the house from maybe 6pm onwards for the rest of the day on a full charge. However, turn on one of the big drainers ( oven, dishwasher, washing m/c etc.) and it wouldn't pull the socks off a deadman! So for me at the moment it feels like a bit of an expensive ornament 😁.

    Which, leads me to the reason for my post. I have a long extension lead connected to the backup outlet of the inverter. Reading previous posts I see now that during a blackout I will not have supply from the panels available ( it's all in the small print isnt it 😕) and would be solely reliant on whatever SOC is available via battery. I have been trying to configure the solis not to discharge the battery so that at least I have maximum charge available for an outage ( at least configure it this way during winter period when conditions would not be generating really any excess charge to battery anyway). I have not had any success though. I have tried to configure the discharge time to a few mins a day but Solis seems to ignore that setting. If there is any charge there it will feed it to the load regardless. Can I just turn off the battery when fully charged and turn it on again when there is a blackout during winter? Or am I stuck with the expensive ornament!😁

    Post edited by mswomex on


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,534 ✭✭✭ jkforde


    how about go on a Day\Night tariff and fill it at night so you can minimise Day rate usage until some solar surplus starts to refill it (Nov, Dec, Jan notwithstanding). you can turn it off but then you really do have an expensive ornament for 99% of the time, I mean, how many power cuts do we get? maybe 2 a year, where we are anyhows

    btw, let us know if you're thinking of selling the 2.4 Pylontech



  • Registered Users Posts: 10 mswomex


    @jkforde It is already configured to charge off grid by installer (00:00-01:00) but come 8AM has drained to its discharge SOC. I'd still be at the mercy of good timing of a blackout and having sufficient charge built up.

    There has to be a better solution.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,534 ✭✭✭ jkforde


    so why not set to charge from grid at the end of the night rate window (0000 - 0900, 2300-0800)? so for example 0600-0800?



  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 7,497 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Jonathan


    You can set a battery reserve mode on the Solis. This means that during normal operation, the battery will not discharge down below a configured SOC, to keep a reserve for use with the backup socket.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 10 mswomex


    @jkforde come 5pm & a blackout there will be hardly no charge in the battery as solis is set up to draw from panels, battery & grid in that order.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10 mswomex


    @Jonathan I cant see that setting on screens available to me.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10 mswomex


    Two blackouts in two weeks. Today's lasted two hours. I plugged a lamp into the backup outlet. Not a flicker! When power was restored there was 43% charge on the battery. Really frustrating I could not use it during outage. 😡😕



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,426 ✭✭✭ Ubbquittious



    It would be interesting to see how well this would work but I'd imagine not very well. When the sun shines the solar inverter will keep increasing its output voltage till it reaches whatever cut off point and then it will stop inverting for a while. Or else you'll have something heavy running and the sun will duck behind a cloud leaving the small battery inverter to carry all the load which it won't.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,975 ✭✭✭ graememk


    Is the backup outlet turned on? (Enabled in the inverter)



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,487 ✭✭✭ con747


    I have had 6 power cuts since install in February and have the batteries, 2 PureDrive set to keep 23% in reserve and it's invaluable for me where I live. No mobile signal and a dodgy copper wire fed landline that goes in a small breeze, but they won't upgrade it because of the fibre rollout in 2026 for me 🙄. I have used a kettle and toaster no problem with my small essential base load I situated all together in advance of install.

    I just plug the extension lead in and 12ft away from my eps socket I have 2 plugs to switch over with router, cctv, and a few other low loads all work perfectly. I would have been lost without it. I will be upping the reserve to about 30% for the bad months because luckily I have built up a good amount of backward spinning meter units on my old meter so I need to catch back up a bit.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10 mswomex


    @graememk It looks like that configuration is not available to me. Is that possible that some configuration options are only available to installers?



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,439 ✭✭✭ Ha Long Bay


    This video shows how to enable it. Password for advanced settings is 0010

    Go to advanced settings -> Storage Energy Set -> Parameters then set backup supply to enabled.




  • Registered Users Posts: 10 mswomex


    Thanks @Ha Long Bay its now enabled under 'Control Parameters'. I bumped up Discharge SOC to 40% so that there will always be sufficient charge for backup. I'll test tomorrow.

    Appreciate all the inputs @All. 👍



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  • Registered Users Posts: 10 mswomex


    Tested today and it worked. I was surprised that I did not need to cut mains power for it to kick in!



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