Solar Power

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glalt
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Re: Solar Power

Post by glalt » February 26, 2018, 8:27 pm

Barney, it appears that you have covered the bases and know what you are doing. If you wouldn't mind spending the money, it may work out very well for you.

Unfortunately my friend's first mistake was to buy an off grid farm. There are people here on the forum who know him so I won't mention any details other than to mention that some bad luck with his operation caused him to become overextended.



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maaka
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Re: Solar Power

Post by maaka » February 27, 2018, 5:31 am

22yrs now on solar, on two of my three Pondarosa's, with my Thai wop wops abode yet to succumb to my panelling, but the gear is there..I will just have a dual system, some solar for music, lights, water pump, and grid for fridge, tv, and kitchen whizz
I am not a grid tie man, or a fancy solar flower man, or even a sun tracking man..I have generator backup at two properties and I Just slap the panels flat on the roof, as light is enough for the panels to fire up, you dont need direct sunlight..Mine come on before the sun have come over the horizon
One thing I have learnt of the last two decades on solar, is that there are all these contrapions out there that cost the earth, and start playing up with a year or two of purchase, and you never get your money back..my son had a $90,000 grid tie solar system in Oz, and he had moved on after two yrs to a new location and new house..
keep it simple I say...

ytrewq
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Re: Solar Power

Post by ytrewq » February 27, 2018, 9:52 am

Nearing a year, we're looking at (on average) ~250-300 baht savings per panel per month.

Anyone getting better (monthly, on average, per panel)?

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rjj04
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Re: Solar Power

Post by rjj04 » February 27, 2018, 1:15 pm

ytrewq wrote:
February 27, 2018, 9:52 am
Nearing a year, we're looking at (on average) ~250-300 baht savings per panel per month.

Anyone getting better (monthly, on average, per panel)?
Wow?!?!?! 300 THB / panel / month???
I am averaging about 3.6W/Watt Installed/Day
3.6W * 295W (one panel) * 30 (Days/month) = 31.9KWh / panel / month
32KWh * 4 THB/KWh = 128 THB / panel / month

You must have one hell of an efficient system, or my system is extremely inefficient. :-k
With a standard 300W panel, to get 300W out you need "perfect" conditions. Cell temperature
of 25C (meaning that ambient temperature needs to be far far below 25C), at solar noon,
1 atmosphere (if I recall correctly?).. meaning at equator at or near sea level. The spec of
300W nobody actually uses that figure for actual output. I have a total of 2610 W and I have
only seen my output get to that level or slightly higher two times (both cloud edge effects
on cold but sunny and windy days). Typically in the dry season I might get 1900W at noon because
the cold season here on a sunny day the cell temps still get way higher than 25C (more like +50C).

You must have 2 axis trackers, and some sort of super-cooling system installed to get that kind of
return.

300THB per month is 75KWh/month (from PEA at 4THB/W) from a single panel (300W?)
75KWh/30 days = 2.5KWh per day per panel
2.5KWh/300W (rated panel) = 8.3 Hours at 100% output (300W) every day of the year (even rainy season where typically
my out drops way down)
I must be making a math error somewhere because that just seems impossible... perhaps if the panels are on a satelitte
in orbit geosynchronous with the sun and using a laser to beam the power back to PEA :) Just kidding.

Glalt or others, can you give chime in here?

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rjj04
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Re: Solar Power

Post by rjj04 » February 27, 2018, 1:20 pm

Oh, if you are in the "solar rooftop program and getting, what was it, I believe 7 THB/KWh generated, maybe this is doable? Even then, seems unlikely.

glalt
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Re: Solar Power

Post by glalt » February 27, 2018, 10:44 pm

I posted some facts and figures and it appears that post has disappeared. What the hell has happened to my last post? I won't go to the trouble to try again. The bottom line is that saving money on my electric bill was not my goal. My goal is to eliminate the shutdowns on the pathetic grid. I have six panels at the house totaling 1,580 watts. My battery banks total 700 amp hours. Combining both systems, the watt meters say that I am no where near a huge savings. I guess my systems are very inefficient. Since I don't care about saving money I don't keep careful track. My best estimate is that my systems save maybe 400 baht per month.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by ytrewq » February 27, 2018, 11:41 pm

Faux pax on my part. The range 250-300 watt is the output per 330 watt panel.

I was having two different thoughts while typing. Happened prolly because watt numbers look like baht numbers.

Going by the actual generation report per the inverter screen, that equates to ~240-250 baht per panel, per month = ~3,800 baht savings monthly (dry season). Some months more or less - rainy season ~2,600 monthly savings. That jives more/less with historical usage per old bills. Of course, usage is non-linear, so there's that, too.

Our system is as efficient as possible. We keep dust off it; and although fixed position, it has a great unobstructed sun-facing angle and airflow most of the year/day.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by bluejets » February 28, 2018, 6:20 am

Have a 5kw grid tie inverter which is the maximum allowed by the supply authority here in Aus for domestic with feedback. 22x 250w panels installed just over one year ago.

Cost was $5500 by the time I fitted a new switchboard and paid fot the new meter. The original cost for panels and inverter was around $11,500 but here we currently have gov subsidy.

In Aus we have differing tarrifs for example hot water which is a little cheaper than normal usage as it has time of use relay. Removed hw and fitted to normal tarrif through a timer/relay for 9-5 operation. Reason being, hw cost 22c/unit but feed back only credited at 10c/unit.

Everything works fine, just down a little on max output as some panels face east and some face west, north being the efficient direction. Shed roof didn't allow for that without major works.

Direction, (south I believe for LOS) elevation close to latitude of your location and clear view of the sky without any shadowing of any kind at any time appears to be sufficient for good output.
We had an instance where a customer complained of low output which turned out to be an oversight by the installer. The toilet vent pipe (40mm) at certain times of the day would throw a shadow over one panel, cutting out that complete string. Usual to have 2 or more strings feeding the inverter.

glalt
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Re: Solar Power

Post by glalt » February 28, 2018, 11:48 am

Our house has many mature trees. That left the south side of the roof unsuitable. All six panels are on the north side. That meant I had to raise one end of the panel to get some tilt to the south. With the shade problem, I get full sun for about five hours a day.

Kind of a cobble job but I am a cobbler. It works.
Attachments
red cc.jpg
RED panels.jpg
red batt.jpg

glalt
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Re: Solar Power

Post by glalt » March 7, 2018, 10:17 pm

Fortunately we had enough sun today to fully charge my batteries before it started storming. The electricity was flickering on and off for a couple hours then went off altogether. It's been off now for several hours. Times like this make the investment for the solar systems worth while.

minimiglia
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Re: Solar Power

Post by minimiglia » March 7, 2018, 11:13 pm

My generator will do me and miles cheaper

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rjj04
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Re: Solar Power

Post by rjj04 » March 8, 2018, 9:29 am

minimiglia wrote:
March 7, 2018, 11:13 pm
My generator will do me and miles cheaper
Financials
-------------
Scenario

1) Primary power - Utility
Backup-power with power lost for a few seconds after PEA cut-out

Cheapest - Generator

Cons: Brown-outs in Thailand are an everyday occurrence (typically less than a few seconds) so your computers and what-not are knocked off-line often)

2) Primary power - Utility
Backup-power no power interruptions

Cheapest - Generator with Large UPS Inverter (or multiple small UPS inverters) and small battery capacity


3) Primary power - Off-grid only (no utility available or KMs away)
Backup-power is primary power

Cheapest - Solar with battery storage. At this point flooded lead-acid batteries still cheapest option in TH.

Making your own Li-on battery packs is getting more plausible every day...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwhqn4BmC2I

Of course, if you get written permission (not verbal permission like mine was... honour and all that you know ;) to grid-tie.. that is the cheapest "Primary Power" (approx. 60-70% cheaper at today's panel and PEA prices)

glalt
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Re: Solar Power

Post by glalt » March 8, 2018, 12:35 pm

minimiglia wrote:
March 7, 2018, 11:13 pm
My generator will do me and miles cheaper
I still have my generator. The last time it was used was by my wife's brother in law. It took him an hour to get the little beast started. I've been hoping someone would borrow it again.

My solar system doesn't need to be started especially when it is raining. I don't have to worry about it running out of benzine and I don't have to put up with the noise. I also don't have to change the oil. My surveillance camera system runs 24/7 as does my router without grid power.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by ytrewq » March 8, 2018, 10:28 pm

Done! We are 100% accepted into the residential solar program. PEA also switched us to a 10(100) digital meter...it does not go backwards.

So, some things to note based on feedback from the 8 PEA people who showed up for the occasion:

- [ ] It is officially still a pilot program.
- [ ] Nobody knows when PEA will start paying participants. Maybe 1 or 2 years from now. Or maybe sometime after that. Go figure.
- [ ] Nobody knows the rate PEA will pay participants, but the rate is somehow tied to the market price of solar panels. The cheaper the price of panels, the lower the rate shall be. That is consistent with old reports of 7 baht, newer reports of 4 baht, and recent reports of 2+ baht. Yes, go figure...
- [ ] PEA presumes perpetual laboratory environmental conditions. So, participants may not have a system that on paper exceeds equipment nominal (NOT maximum) capacities under perfect laboratory conditions. That said, PEA hinted that if there are no problems, they would not return for any follow-up or periodic inspections.
- [ ] The person reading the digital meters each month is a different person from the person who reads the legacy (analog) meters. Go figure.
- [ ] Digital meters are MANUALLY read on the 1st of the month. It was installed higher and encased inside a locked opaque box. So, the new meter person will have to climb up there somehow, open the box, and write down the numbers. There is no PEA car/truck that rides by and collects the info as per what has been the norm back in the world for decades already. Go figure.
- [ ] Presumably, until such time they start paying participants, PEA will be collecting and analyzing data related to the excess energy they are stealing (oops) observing being produced by our system. I won't be surprised if we are not compensated retroactively because TIT.
- [ ] Where the panels are installed matters. Installing solar panels on the ground mandates a completely different PEA program. Go figure.
- [ ] Information, program funding, and training are not flowing down to the employees who actually deal with PEA customers. That is a known problem and shared frustration of the PEA people who showed up.
- [ ] Mid-level PEA management have been attending trainings (presumably junkets) in the USA and other countries.

I reiterated and stressed the need for would-be participants to expect a program that makes financial sense, including being compensated for the excess energy produced such as when not at home. Hopefully, they will relay the concept to higher ups...not holding my breath, though.

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rjj04
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Re: Solar Power

Post by rjj04 » March 9, 2018, 7:50 am

Interesting update...thx

So, you are essentially in the same boat I am in, correct? That is, any excess power going out to the grid, is stolen/appropriated by PEA and sold to other customers making PEA a pure profit of 4THB/KWh... by doing
NOTHING!!!

Seems that is not something to be all too happy about. There is always the hope that one day they will stop stealing your power and compensate you... when the elites sell their shares of PEA perhaps :) Seeing the grip they have on things around here I would not hold my breath.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by ytrewq » March 9, 2018, 8:12 am

Yes, in the same row boat, but seated in first class, I'd reckon. :lol:

I specifically confirmed with the Mrs. from the outset that we would not be, but, well, meh...

:sad:

glalt
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Re: Solar Power

Post by glalt » March 9, 2018, 11:44 am

So, after jumping through all the hoops to get approved, your meter will not run backwards and all you have accomplished is to give the PEA free power. Obviously grid tied is not the answer, at least here in Thailand. The PEA sees my solar panels and changed my meter to make sure the meter cannot run backwards.

Since the grid here is up and down like a yo-yo, I feel good that although my panels produce more power than I need during sunny days, I am not giving anything away, and I'm off the grid. Having more panels than needed puts out enough during cloudy days to at least keep my batteries fully charged. You have to be careful to be able to keep the batteries fully charged because if you don't the batteries will become sulfated and the life seriously shortened.

I have had my first equipment failure, my 2,500 watt inverter put out white smoke and died. An oil filled capacitor bulged up and split. I took it all apart, unsoldered the capacitor and ordered a new one from AliExpress. The replacement cost about two dollars. I'll solder in the replacement and if it works, fine, if not, I'm not out much. I am using my spare inverter and have ordered a new 1,500 watt inverter. It was worthwhile to keep a spare. The new inverter is 24 volt so it is supposed to be more efficient. The charge controller adjusts automatically from 12 to 24 volts. The smaller system is still 12 volts so my 12 volt things will still run off that system.

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Re: Solar Power

Post by bluejets » March 12, 2018, 5:34 am

I had mentioned it earlier and thought it might be a good idea to go over it again for some as it may be a consideration.
An alternative to battery storage systems in association with grid connected solar, at least for me, was to use an existing storage type hot water system.
Thailand does not seem to use hot water storage systems a great deal as far as I have seen and this could be down to the initial cost and the simplicity of installation of the rather power demanding instantaneous system.
I wired my storage system to run off standard power tariff and to be controlled by a timer which operates a relay during daylight hours of 9 to 4 each day, pretty simple really.
It could be modified to also include minimum light level control for rainy days but I have not bothered with that for now.
I know some will jump in here and say, “what about when it’s raining, no advantage”.
Well yes, to a point. I covered that to a degree by using a 250 litre system and there is just my wife and myself for washing up and for showers. Other than that, the system reverts back to the grid for re-heating at the times when the sun don’t shine which is really not that often here in Aus at least.
Other advantage would include (as mentioned) no requirement for the rather large power consuming instantaneous system. These are mostly around 30 amp and create unwanted voltage drop on (mostly) undersized mains and poor PEA distribution systems, whereas one can fit as little as 1.8kw element (7.5amp) to the storage unit as it has (on most days) around 6 hours of re-heat time. It does really all depend on the size of your solar install and how much of it one uses each day. However, if you are concerned about feeding back power to the grid for free, this may be one way to eliminate the supply authority getting free feedback.
There are of course no-feedback-relays one can use but they are, (for some reason) expensive and no advantage to the consumer.
Also have a link here for how solar in Aus is tracking as it seems some advancements are happening and may be worth reading.
Cheers Jorgo (contractor lecky)

https://mcelectrical.com.au/blog/queens ... -politics/

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Re: Solar Power

Post by bluejets » March 12, 2018, 6:11 am

Another interesting link describes different battery types and their expected life span.
What I find a bit conflicting is this life span expectancy compared to the cycle number.
One would expect one cycle ( charge-discharge) to occur one per day which pretty much blows these batteries out of the water compared to the old lead acid which I believe most of you use in Thailand.

Some may want to take heed of the warnings associated with lead acid use.

https://www.qld.gov.au/housing/buying-o ... gy-storage

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Re: Solar Power

Post by glalt » March 12, 2018, 11:07 am

My original battery bank was four 65 AH AGM batteries. AGM because they were in the house. After four and a half years I could see them starting to weaken. At the farm I was using two flooded 125 AH deep cycle batteries. Since the farm system is lightly used, I swapped the batteries. Now I have the flooded batteries at the house sitting outside. They are also more than four years old but were lightly used. So far they are working very well. Regardless of the battery type, I don't discharge them more than 50 percent. The cost of the lithium batteries will have to come down a lot before I give up on the flooded deep cycle batteries. The AGM batteries that are now at the farm are lightly used so I am hoping for them to last a while yet. IMHO, I don't think the premium cost for AGM is worth the extra cost. As far as maintenance, I check the electrolyte level maybe once a month or six weeks and rarely have to add any water. Even then, the level is no where near the top of the plates. The no maintenance batteries is of very little advantage.

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