Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

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Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby vk4akp » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:10 pm

Hi, My dad's solar packed it in last November. (He is 83 with early dementia)

By my rough calculations he has already lost ~$1500 in Electricity Bills & Feed in $'s.

Since then I have tried to get something done about it with no luck.
Everything from electricians saying they don't have certificates to work on Solar, Solar companies only offering complete re-installs, No Show's to test, to Companies that quote on everything but what you ask for.

The existing system is ..

5Kw Panels - CSun 250-60M 's x20 [990 x 1640mm]
PowerOne (now ABB) PVI-5000-OUTD-AU (Rated 4.6Kw)
Dad is on the 55cent rebate contract with the government.

I myself believe the inverter has packed it in. It only harvests <20 Watt's per string. Yet both strings show ~300 VDC.
I have replaced the memory battery as it was flat but it didn't help.
There are references on the net to this model having been manufactured with a faulty part that eventually fails (I think it was a relay). ABB never did a recall and only repaired the issues within warranty periods. (Ours was 4 months out of warranty when it failed) :(

At present we hope to get the following.

Fronius PRIMO 5.0-1_AUS Inverter (Rated 4.6KW) - 5+5 Year Warranty.
20x 300W Panels (Or Better). Brand / Model ???
Pricing seems to be ~$5000-$5500
Existing panels, Inverter, racking, & Wiring to be removed and left with us without further damage.

Now for my questions.

1. Please someone recommend some decent installers that service our area and will actually turn up, listen to what you want and quote acordingly, & install for a reasonable price. (We are located at - Ipswich 4305).

2. Most companies have quoted on a complete re-install. Offering to up the panels to 6KW of panels on the 5KW inverter for better return. I can see the benefits to this and it does interest us.
My understanding is that as long as you don't increase your original inverters size you maintain the old 55 cent rebate? All companies bar one to date agree. However one has said that there is something coming up that will change this. Any info on this please?

3. Suggestions for Brand / Model on affordabe 300 Watt or better panels that will fit on our roof in the current 20x configuration (Our roof won't take any more). [I will try and put some Pictures up].

Any help appreciated. I would really like to get something happening soon.

Image

.-.-.
Last edited by vk4akp on Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby vk4akp » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:32 pm

I've also just found this.

https://www.qld.gov.au/housing/buying-owning-home/solar-bonus-scheme-44c

You will lose eligibility for the 44 cent feed-in tariff if you:

Point 6. "add extra capacity (i.e. panels) which exceeds the rated capacity of your system’s inverter"

So how is this decided.

When installed the inverter is rated at 4.6KW even though it's model is 5KW. (Our gov contract also reflects the 4.6KW). However the original 20x 250Watt panels is 5000Watt (5KW) anyhow!

Also I am told that 6KW of solar does not "exceed" the capacity of the Fronius inverter.
And I find the following on their website.

http://www.fronius.com/en/photovoltaics/products/all-products/inverters/fronius-primo/fronius-primo-5-0-1-aus

Max. PV generator output (Idc max) - 7,5 kWpeak

I guess it all depends on how the government perceives thing? :(
.-.-.
Last edited by vk4akp on Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:45 pm

Does the inverter display show an error message?

It looks like that tall tree might cause some shade on the array in winter.

I'm not sure if you are looking for 20 new 300W panels or want to keep the existing panels, as you list both.

>>20x 300W Panels (Or Better). Brand / Model ???
...
>>Existing panels...


roof-solar.jpg
the whole picture, click to enlarge
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Re: Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby vk4akp » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:54 pm

Shade from the tall tree is bad a couple of hours either side of midday all year round.
The tree has always been there since the house was built in 1966.
The neighbour refuses to remove it.

As my post states we need to know *if* upping the panels from 5KW to 6KW will jepodise our 55 cent feed in?
If it does then only an inverter replacement. Otherwise complete re-install.

.. Existing Panels, inverter, etc etc *To Be Removed*. I'll edit and highlight to be clearer.

Also no error messages on the inverter other then flat memory battery originally (Now replaced)

.-.-.
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Re: Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:04 pm

I think if you want to be certain about what panels and inverter changes you can make without losing the FiT, then you need to speak to the relevant Qld govt dept, and make sure you get it in writing/email.
https://www.qld.gov.au/contact-us

Replacing a 4.6kW inverter with the nearest capacity due to an inverter failure shouldn't be a problem, but I doubt that leeway would extend to installing a larger array because the new inverter can accept it.
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Re: Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby vk4akp » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:23 pm

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:I think if you want to be certain about what panels and inverter changes you can make without losing the FiT, then you need to speak to the relevant Qld govt dept, and make sure you get it in writing/email.
https://www.qld.gov.au/contact-us

Replacing a 4.6kW inverter with the nearest capacity due to an inverter failure shouldn't be a problem, but I doubt that leeway would extend to installing a larger array because the new inverter can accept it.


Just rang them on that number. They didn't really have a clue. The lady went off to ask someone else several times and kept coming back with conflicting information.

In the end she said that any panelling over the 4.6Kw would void the 44 cent feed in.

When I pointed out that the original install was 5Kw of panels (which most if not all would have been, they never directly match the 4.6KW) she reckoned that it has never been legal then in the first place.
I then went on to tell her that back when it was installed that we were told the limit was on the inverter not the panels. And that other family members opted for 2x extra panels back in the day taking the original install to 5.5Kw.

She then re-enforced that all these system would be deamed to break the contract from day one.

So I then asked for it in writing via email. *IF* I get it I will post it here. :(
.-.-.
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Re: Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:57 pm

Hmmm, sometimes you do wonder about the validity of info from individuals in government departments. I don't know the Qld rule details, but I'm sure some states had inverter as the limit and you could add as many panels as you wanted within reason and inverter limits. Of course the CEC now says 1.33 X the inverter rating, although most inverters would happily function with minimal clipping, and produce a lot more output with ~2X the number of panels if the arrays were properly arranged as a virtual tracker.

Maybe attempt to use the email contact address and see if you get a different response.
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Re: Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby vk4akp » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:29 pm

Ken xxxx called to advise will be replaceing fathers solar system and advised that did not want to loose the tarriff, have advised as per terms and conditions it must be like for like system to keep tariff, Ken requested email with info to be forwarded to him outlining these conditions.

For your future reference quote Call ID = 1501xxx


As expected very ambigious and useless information. I specifically asked for clarification on 6KW's of panels to replace the existing 5KW of Panels. Inverter size to stay the same.

Useless :(

.-.-.
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Re: Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby Privatteer » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:11 pm

At the age of your father, and with panels that are only around 10years old why replace them?
They should be good for another 10 to 20 years if they were reasonable quality. Probably better things to spend money on.

There is two ratings for most solar inverters. A DC maximum power (connected solar panels) and the AC maximum output. Its common for the DC rating to be higher.
While different states had different rules here (WA) its always been based on the inverter AC output as far as I know. My system on last house was entered as 1700w but actually had 2000w of panels.
Fresh slate - recently moved.
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Re: Help an Old age Pensioner get back online

Postby jaahn » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:01 pm

Hi Ken :)
Looks to me like you want to ask till you get someone to say yes you can, but no one will. The answer seems clear, you cannot put more panels on :roll:

Looking at the output specs on the inverter;
AC nominal output (Pac,r) ------------ --4600 W
Max. output power (Pac max) -----------5000 VA
AC output current (Iac nom)------------- 21,7 A
voltage range (Umin - Umax)------------180 - 270 V
Power factor (cos φac,r)------------------0,85 - 1 ind./cap.

I believe the differences you think you can see are actually misreading the combinations of the variations of the paramenters that may occur in these specs. The only fixed one is the output current at 21.7 A. That is unambigious. If you have too many panels you will get too high a current.
The nominal power is the Amps multiplied by the grid voltage being matched. eg allowable 180--270V which give a wide power spread around the nominal 4600W.
But if the power factor is low, allowable 0,85 - 1, then the VA may be up to 5000VA. That is not Watts.
Hmmm think on that a bit !!
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