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PKay

Solar system and company recommendation for Sydney

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Hi,

 

I am looking at retiring my swimming pool solar system and replacing it with a solar system for the house (and possibly an electrical heat exchanger for the pool).  I would greatly appreciate recommendations for a reputable provider?  Also any tips? I would  rather do it well up front so I'm not looking for the cheapest option.  At this stage with battery prices where they are I won't go with that option but would like to retain the flexibility to do so in the future.

 

Thanks in advance.

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I can't offer any recommendations for installers in Sydney. I think you'd be best off talking to your local pool supplier on the heat exchanger part of the equation as we're talking about two different industries here.

 

As for the solar, you'll definitely want some sort of diversion set up so that surplus energy then activates your pool heat exchanger. This is what I am doing. With a 12kW system (without batteries) I have it setup so that once I am in surplus my EV charger activates and tops the car up, then anything beyond that while still in surplus activates the heat exchanger for the pool.

 

Regarding batteries - not sure if this applies to NSW, but in VIC I made the mistake of not doing batteries at the time of solar installation. You can only get one grant per household so to do batteries now, I can't apply for another grant. Something to consider.


I would do the pool heat exchanger first, then tell the solar company you want that integrated into the system as per above. 

 

For more advice or potentially some Sydney recommendations, try a post on my other website - https://renewable.net.au/

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On 02/09/2020 at 11:45 AM, PKay said:

Hi,

 

I am looking at retiring my swimming pool solar system and replacing it with a solar system for the house (and possibly an electrical heat exchanger for the pool).  I would greatly appreciate recommendations for a reputable provider?  Also any tips? I would  rather do it well up front so I'm not looking for the cheapest option.  At this stage with battery prices where they are I won't go with that option but would like to retain the flexibility to do so in the future.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Can offer some advice/leads.

 

If you're not too concerned on price and don't want LG panels, check out Solahart and ask for a solution incorporating the CET gateway. Rheem/Solahart is incredibly risk averse - everything is 10 year warrantied as a minimum and they test extensively. They don't distribute LG panels however (which are arguably the best you can buy) but what they sell is still quite good. I have the gateway and LG kit. You'll end up with something that at the very least can monitor your consumption at a circuit level, and will expand nicely as you add more power infrastructure. In short they have an energy management system that's quite good and used in many scenarios including your own. The gateway in question is developed in Sydney; if you don't get the response you're seeking from your local distributor let me know and I'll hit up the management team directly. 

 

Consider a blanket for your pool, will help a lot. Some state governments provide partial subsidies here.

 

If you want to go passive I'd simply ring LG and ask for your nearest dealer. There are a few checks and balances beyond usual certification to be an LG dealer. That distributorship is run out of Sydney. There are no better panels for your dollar. If you don't get love trying, PM me with a postcode and description of your property and I'll find you a dealer through the LG team. 

 

You can always add batteries later on. There are no particularly compelling hybrid inverters outside of SolarEdge's system and whilst excellent that isn't for everyone. The only reason to worry about getting one in now concerns subsidies - where they apply and are sufficient to make one viable. Making a battery work in any context beyond self-consumption involves some serious work on your switchboard which sways cost a good bit.

 

Happy to chat via PM.

 

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1 hour ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Can offer some advice/leads.

 

If you're not too concerned on price and don't want LG panels, check out Solahart and ask for a solution incorporating the CET gateway. Rheem/Solahart is incredibly risk averse - everything is 10 year warrantied as a minimum and they test extensively. They don't distribute LG panels however (which are arguably the best you can buy) but what they sell is still quite good. I have the gateway and LG kit. You'll end up with something that at the very least can monitor your consumption at a circuit level, and will expand nicely as you add more power infrastructure. In short they have an energy management system that's quite good and used in many scenarios including your own. The gateway in question is developed in Sydney; if you don't get the response you're seeking from your local distributor let me know and I'll hit up the management team directly. 

 

Consider a blanket for your pool, will help a lot. Some state governments provide partial subsidies here.

 

If you want to go passive I'd simply ring LG and ask for your nearest dealer. There are a few checks and balances beyond usual certification to be an LG dealer. That distributorship is run out of Sydney. There are no better panels for your dollar. If you don't get love trying, PM me with a postcode and description of your property and I'll find you a dealer through the LG team. 

 

You can always add batteries later on. There are no particularly compelling hybrid inverters outside of SolarEdge's system and whilst excellent that isn't for everyone. The only reason to worry about getting one in now concerns subsidies - where they apply and are sufficient to make one viable. Making a battery work in any context beyond self-consumption involves some serious work on your switchboard which sways cost a good bit.

 

Happy to chat via PM.

 

Thanks, I will call LG.  I would prefer to do it properly with the best panels first up.  I had a quick look at battery cost and just can’t see how it currently pays off.  Not sure what a CET Gateway is?
 

I do have a pool blanket, however as the pool is a kidney shape (it came with the house) it is a real pain to take off so we don’t use it as much as we should. 

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12 hours ago, Marc said:

I can't offer any recommendations for installers in Sydney. I think you'd be best off talking to your local pool supplier on the heat exchanger part of the equation as we're talking about two different industries here.

 

As for the solar, you'll definitely want some sort of diversion set up so that surplus energy then activates your pool heat exchanger. This is what I am doing. With a 12kW system (without batteries) I have it setup so that once I am in surplus my EV charger activates and tops the car up, then anything beyond that while still in surplus activates the heat exchanger for the pool.

 

Regarding batteries - not sure if this applies to NSW, but in VIC I made the mistake of not doing batteries at the time of solar installation. You can only get one grant per household so to do batteries now, I can't apply for another grant. Something to consider.


I would do the pool heat exchanger first, then tell the solar company you want that integrated into the system as per above. 

 

For more advice or potentially some Sydney recommendations, try a post on my other website - https://renewable.net.au/

Which panels and inverter did you go with? I’m not sure how many panels I will be able to install.  It won’t be anywhere near a 12kw system. 
 

I’m having the pool doctor come over to look at my heating and pool management. 
 

I will try and retain the flexibility to install a battery in the future as they improve and hopefully the price reduces. 

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9 hours ago, PKay said:

Thanks, I will call LG.  I would prefer to do it properly with the best panels first up.  I had a quick look at battery cost and just can’t see how it currently pays off.  Not sure what a CET Gateway is?
 

I do have a pool blanket, however as the pool is a kidney shape (it came with the house) it is a real pain to take off so we don’t use it as much as we should. 

 

Batteries pay off in very few cases, self-consumption payback isn't a metric I'd go with. If you want to hit your bills aggressively or want grid resilience then they work.

 

Even then they are the last thing you want to flex with respect to demand response - there are cheaper ways. Hot water, HVAC, thermal storage, car charging etc. To control these relative to opportunity (e.g. when the sun's out) you need either a diverter (which some inverter manufacturers offer, also some car charger manufacturers, etc -these are devices that meter your export and switch something accordingly) or a legitimate home energy management system - something that can control multiple things against complex targets. The CET gateway is such a thing. It also provides circuit-level metering. 

 

Here's some output from a house with a battery, managed hot water and HVAC. (My own home has managed hot water, HVAC and car charging.) Note the intelligent use of solar - export is minimised. You have to want it though IMHO its great, and I'd sooner go smart hot water over a batter.

 

Live view

1854642985_ScreenShot2020-09-06at8_15_26am.png.072ef4275e940ce6da1568639053d67b.png

 

All devices time history

1735173023_ScreenShot2020-09-06at8_16_43am.png.ab7ef09dbc7b73d25c0c9414a84b71a2.png

 

Hot water control

386518899_ScreenShot2020-09-06at8_17_12am.png.6d790fcde5bbdcc769729f17562e657a.png

 

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Our hot water is a gas Rinnai instantaneous system which is great. We have gas cooktop and BBQ plumbed.

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2 hours ago, PKay said:

Our hot water is a gas Rinnai instantaneous system which is great. We have gas cooktop and BBQ plumbed.

No management for you then until car charger etc. Your only real questions concern roof sharing which becomes a microgrid/hybrid microgrid/string inverter question.

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On 06/09/2020 at 12:15 PM, rmpfyf said:

No management for you then until car charger etc. Your only real questions concern roof sharing which becomes a microgrid/hybrid microgrid/string inverter question.

The process of getting quotes has begun and what a process....  Always interesting when someone starts off immediately stating that they wont be the cheapest (I'm not looking for the cheapest - just a fair price and a good product).

 

I am now looking at two alternatives both using the LG panels.

 

The back of the house is West facing.

 

 

roof top view.JPG

quote Enphase.JPG

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Option 2 is Solar Edge technology.

 

The big question for me is which is the better technology.  The solar edge guy said the Enphase choke capacity down to 300 watts so the 350 panel is being under utilised.  Also claims the tech support and backup is not anywhere near as good and they had more failures.  It is difficult to work out who to believe.

 

 

MVP roof view.JPG

MVP quote.JPG

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The simple payback is very simple and I would realistically need to double the timeframe to get my payback - which is still a good investment and a benefit to the environment.

 

@rmpfyfDo the panels increase the heat in the roof space?  This is important because my stereo room is built into the roof.

Edited by PKay

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36 minutes ago, PKay said:

The simple payback is very simple and I would realistically need to double the timeframe to get my payback - which is still a good investment and a benefit to the environment.

 

Both are good options for that layout though I'd favour SolarEdge if you want to integrate a battery or do any DR. Support experience about the same with both. Are you getting shading? Otherwise that could be done on a string inverter just fine.

 

Prices are a bit high though.

 

36 minutes ago, PKay said:

Do the panels increase the heat in the roof space?  This is important because my stereo room is built into the roof.

 

Slightly, though really depends on your roof construction. If you've got some sarking in there it'd be nor here nor there. Worry more about the effect on your AC.

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9 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Both are good options for that layout though I'd favour SolarEdge if you want to integrate a battery or do any DR. Support experience about the same with both. Are you getting shading? Otherwise that could be done on a string inverter just fine.

 

Prices are a bit high though.

 

 

Slightly, though really depends on your roof construction. If you've got some sarking in there it'd be nor here nor there. Worry more about the effect on your AC.

We may get a bit of shading from the front tree.

 

What do you mean about the effect on my AC?

 

I'm wondering whether the panels are the same quality?

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1 hour ago, PKay said:

We may get a bit of shading from the front tree.

 

What do you mean about the effect on my AC?

 

I'm wondering whether the panels are the same quality?

All LG Neon panels are 25-year warranty. New generations of panels come out at higher power, they displace older generations in price. Quality identical, power density is not. 

 

An inverter will generate AC at a small scale. The process does not make for sine waves as beautiful as what comes out of a large thermal coal plant with 500-odd tonnes of steel going around and around; broadly speaking a square wave is made and is filtered (think Class D). 

 

Enphase does a full-amplitude square wave at a small scale aggregated across multiple inverters into a big thing.

 

Solaredge HD Wave uses 8 square waves on DC offset at higher frequency then filtered. Theoretically you have cleaner mains with SolarEdge HD Wave (I have measured it so), though in audiophile speak it'll sound 'different' and you'll most likely enjoy your music most when the sun isn't shining or the solar PV is off assuming your equipment is on the same phase as your playback.

 

Various factors go into how observable these phenomena are including how much PV is in your distribution network (neighbours), line quality, earthing, etc. There is no hard and fast rule or experience.

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4 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Both are good options for that layout though I'd favour SolarEdge if you want to integrate a battery or do any DR. Support experience about the same with both. Are you getting shading? Otherwise that could be done on a string inverter just fine.

 

Prices are a bit high though.

 

 

Slightly, though really depends on your roof construction. If you've got some sarking in there it'd be nor here nor there. Worry more about the effect on your AC.

Thankfully most of my listening is at night. 

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New quote with the latest micro inverters which increase output from 295w to 350 per panel 

 

Hi Peter,
 

8.64kW - 24* LG ‘NeON 2’ 360 watt panels + Enphase IQ7A Micro Inverters - Includes GST and is after Government Rebate - STC’s) - Pre site inspection to confirm 24 panels will fit and upgrade to IQ7A + 15 yr product warranty on Enphase Microinverter..

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On 16/09/2020 at 9:52 PM, PKay said:

New quote with the latest micro inverters which increase output from 295w to 350 per panel 

 

Hi Peter,
 

8.64kW - 24* LG ‘NeON 2’ 360 watt panels + Enphase IQ7A Micro Inverters - Includes GST and is after Government Rebate - STC’s) - Pre site inspection to confirm 24 panels will fit and upgrade to IQ7A + 15 yr product warranty on Enphase Microinverter..

 

I assume the price didn't increase, as the last quote was BS given the undersized inverters :)

Only the 7A works for that panel.

 

If you really really want Enphase I'd try for a second quote with the 350W panel and a slightly smaller inverter. If they have the stock (and they might not) it'll be 5% or so less effective and more than 5% cheaper. 

 

This assumes you're building a system that won't do a battery indigenously tomorrow. Any batter you have with Enphase is AC-,coupled, and their offering is not really compelling. You'd either put something else on it's own inverter or a good AC-coupled battery (e.g. Tesla).

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2 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

 

I assume the price didn't increase, as the last quote was BS given the undersized inverters :)

Only the 7A works for that panel.

 

If you really really want Enphase I'd try for a second quote with the 350W panel and a slightly smaller inverter. If they have the stock (and they might not) it'll be 5% or so less effective and more than 5% cheaper. 

 

This assumes you're building a system that won't do a battery indigenously tomorrow. Any batter you have with Enphase is AC-,coupled, and their offering is not really compelling. You'd either put something else on it's own inverter or a good AC-coupled battery (e.g. Tesla).

The price was even more ridiculous $14k.  I am leaning towards SolarEdge technology. 

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10 minutes ago, PKay said:

The price was even more ridiculous $14k.  I am leaning towards SolarEdge technology. 

 

I have happy customers with either, though I do a good amount of work with SolarEdge. 

 

Properly installed it's a good system. If you want any special stuff (smart plugs/circuits, etc) get it done during the installation.

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@rmpfyfIt is difficult to know who to believe.  The SolarEdge guys tell me that they are designed for hotter climates like ours and that Enphase won't work as well or last as long.
 
Then you get the companies using Enphase.
 
 
Hello Peter,


Thanks for your email, I think this will open your eyes the DC optermizers vs Microinverters..
 

Here's a great video that explains the difference between the two products - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfbyNQUFN5Y - Please also note that in the US they no longer install high voltage string inverter systems, but instead only install Module-level power electronics (MLPE) devices, like Enphase.

 

The key difference between the two options is Enphase is a genuine ‘modular’ solution where each panel performs to its optimal output whereas Optimisers are simply paired with a string inverter for string level optimisation. Due to this ‘all panels operate independently’ functionality, your level of daily, monthly and yearly energy production is increased with Enphase.

 

There is also no ‘central point of failure’ with Enphase, so if one panel/inverter fails it will not stop the system from operating. An Optimiser system still has a single inverter doing all the DC-AC conversation so when it fails, your entire system shuts down until it is repaired/replaced. If this were to happen at Christmas time, you could be without any solar production for 4-6 weeks.

 

Another key benefit is the fact that Enphase will fire up independently (like popcorn in the microwave) means you’re not having to wait for a single inverter (like an Optimiser system) to hit it’s ‘trigger voltage’ to start (and continue) operating. This means that on less than ideal weather days, Enphase will outperform and generate more savings than an optimiser option.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Edited by PKay

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3 minutes ago, PKay said:
@rmpfyfIt is difficult to know who to believe.  The SolarEdge guys tell me that they are designed for hotter climates like ours and that Enphase won't work as well or last as long.
 
Then you get the companies using Enphase.
 
 
Hello Peter,


Thanks for your email, I think this will open your eyes the DC optermizers vs Microinverters..
 

Here's a great video that explains the difference between the two products - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfbyNQUFN5Y - Please also note that in the US they no longer install high voltage string inverter systems, but instead only install Module-level power electronics (MLPE) devices, like Enphase.

 

The key difference between the two options is Enphase is a genuine ‘modular’ solution where each panel performs to its optimal output whereas Optimisers are simply paired with a string inverter for string level optimisation. Due to this ‘all panels operate independently’ functionality, your level of daily, monthly and yearly energy production is increased with Enphase.

 

There is also no ‘central point of failure’ with Enphase, so if one panel/inverter fails it will not stop the system from operating. An Optimiser system still has a single inverter doing all the DC-AC conversation so when it fails, your entire system shuts down until it is repaired/replaced. If this were to happen at Christmas time, you could be without any solar production for 4-6 weeks.

 

Another key benefit is the fact that Enphase will fire up independently (like popcorn in the microwave) means you’re not having to wait for a single inverter (like an Optimiser system) to hit it’s ‘trigger voltage’ to start (and continue) operating. This means that on less than ideal weather days, Enphase will outperform and generate more savings than an optimiser option.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

Peter, the solar industry is not exactly a high-margin place to be and is quite full of s**t talkers. 

 

SolarEdge does fine in the US. SolarEdge and Enphase run around 80% of the residential solar market in the US (both are classed as MLPE). SolarEdge has recently lost some share to Enphase, though still outsells them 2:1. This is expected; Enphase nearly failed as a company and has recently recovered - sales were going to improve. 

 

Inasmuch as decoupling an individual panel's performance from a string, true microinverters are the only solution to do it absolutely though properly installed a hybrid micro (optimiser) solution is very nearly as good. It is not correct to term a SolarEdge system a string inverter with optimisation; it is possible to buy optimisers for string inverters and these are quite different things. 

 

The turnaround time for any genuine inverter failure replacement depends on the company you buy your system from. Your agreement is with them, not the inverter manufacturer.

 

The minimum voltage on a SolarEdge system is practically so low as not to make any significant difference in performance. 

 

If you were to install a battery on an Enphase system, the conversion losses through mains back to DC would (more than) nullify any system performance advantages of SolarEdge.

 

They are both very good systems with different weak points. 

 

Enphase tends to be sold with very top-end panels, you might find a better deal with a 350W panel and a slightly lesser microinverter (as suited to the panel). 'Latest' panels always cost more $/W. This only holds up if you find a dealer with stock, or access to it through their distributor. 

 

Was actually just on the phone with the GM of solar at LG (he's a friend). PM me if you've any questions and we can chat offline.

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On 18/09/2020 at 9:22 AM, rmpfyf said:

Enphase tends to be sold with very top-end panels, you might find a better deal with a 350W panel and a slightly lesser microinverter (as suited to the panel).

Yeah, slightly odd to pair 360W panels with 350W (366W peak) inverters.

 

Or is "overclocking" no longer in vogue?

 

On 16/09/2020 at 9:52 PM, PKay said:

 

Edited by ArthurDent

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