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Thursday, August 9, 2012

More panels and a new inverter

Had a spot on the roof which was begging for some Solar Panels.
Fitted 3 more 250 Watt mono-chrystaline. Now we are full house
so to speak. Total installed Solar Capacity is now 6 kW.
At the moment we are at the end of winter so we are 20 to 30%
down on what is available in summer. Saw a maximum of
6000 Watts being generated 3 days ago. For the past two days
we had the most extreme weather ever experienced in South Africa.
We had snowfall in all 9 provinces with many roads closed and
icy conditions. No sun in sight. Still managed to get a total of 30 kWh
for these two days. Almost breaking even with consumption.
Today the weather was back to normal, beautiful blue skys with
no cloud in sight but still a bit on the cool side. Managed 35kWh.

Also ordered a new model of the Grid tied Inverter.
Also 8kVA but with 2 100 Amp MPPT (Maximum Power Trackers).
Will split the 24 Panels into 2 groups of 2x12 and feed one each to
the 2 MPPT. So that will give me some redundancy.
Will keep the old inverter as a back-up. Its only 2 years old but
it was one of the first of the 8kVA models produced by the
manufacturer and it had a problem after two months of operations
which necessitated a major repair. Been working fine since.
But you never know. So the new one is coming this week.
It's an upgraded version which carries a 5 year warranty.
Not exactly cheap at almost R70,000 ($9,000) but as I said
before, my Porsche deserves a warm garage.

An other interesting little episode happened 2 months ago when I
checked the water levels in my 1660Ah battery bank.
Was getting a bit low so I shopped around for some distilled water.
Not as easy as you would expect. Bought 5 liters from one of my
suppliers I also use for my business. He sourced some from some
shady supplier. I phoned them asking for a spec sheet for the
distilled water they are selling for as much money as I would pay
for a bottle of Whisky. Got a spec sheet but it was very cagey.
So I also bought a 25 liter container from the manufacturer of the
batteries. Should have thought of it earlier, but they are 30km
away so the first option was more convenient.
So I filled 3 little bottles with the 2 distilled waters I bought and
one more with some tap water from my tap in the kitchen.
(As a control).
Then took them to a approved Water Laboratory in Pretoria
and had them analyzed.
No surprises there. The water from the battery manufacturer
was proper distilled water. The other two were ordinary tap
water. The one from my own tap and the other that very
expensive one. These two were virtually identical!

So my supplier then demanded from the supplier of the
expensive tap water that they pay for the water analysis.
This they did to my surprise considering the cost of the analysis
was R2200 ($275). Hopefully this will teach them a lesson.

If I would have used that water to top up the batteries and they
would become contaminated with all the impurities and develop
a much reduced capacity my warranty would be invalid.
Since the batteries are the most expensive component of the
system costing R96,000 ($12,000) it pays to be careful.

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Vorna Valley Johannesburg

Vorna Valley Johannesburg
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My Life Philosophy

My Life Philosophy