EEVblog #484 – Home Solar Power System Installation

hi guys it's a rather chilly winters morning here in Sydney and but sunny which is good because I'm getting my new solar system installed if you've been following along on the forum you'll know that I've been talking about a solar system for quite some time and yes it's happening today I'm getting a three kilowatt system with um LG mano X panels and a sonny-boy inverter installed not doing it myself pains I want to do it now and take like four hours or something like that to install the twelve panels up on the roof so let's go check it out and here's some of my panels five of them to be precise and there LG there you go LG panels LG's 250 250 watt s1 see – eg three 250 Watts voltage Pig what is it thirty point seven seven volts there we go a point one three amps vo C open circuit there we go and short circuit current is eight point six two amps maximum system voltage thousand volts and maximum series fused fifteen amps under the various standard test conditions all ul listed vde it's got all the requisite qualifications on there there you go produced by LG electronics made in Korea South Korea obviously and yes I believe they do have a diode in them too what you know if one panel gets us shaded then it can bypass most of the power there's going to be some loss there but yeah it can just bypass that individual panel that's shaded and here's the front of the panel and I was just told that apparently yeah not everyone can install these LG panels you've got to be a qualified installer like you've got actually be certified by LG to install these things and there we go for those into there are solar cell construction that's what these suckers look like up close yet so it looks like they go in a configuration like this a string like this you can see the metal down in between there there it is going between there's three traces going all the way down and then it gets down to the bottom and there we go three parallel traces goes across and then it goes up and up and up and up sorry if there's motion blur here for those of you motion sick and then it jumps across there and so forth and then it just goes yeah so it goes up here down there and then across to that one and up and back and I was just I'm told that uh these panels possibly arm absorb light through the back as well because they are you probably can't see that on the camera but they are sort of a it's sort of you know a semi-transparent kind of thing so the light can actually come through these are the mano X panels by the way so these are fairly recent ones I think and there is one that has like a black backing but I'm not sure of the difference with those so there you go I am told that these are the Ducks guts are panels and they look really good too so yeah very impressed not that looks is a big deal only the neighbors overlooking our house are going to see that but because it's on the side of the house here so we don't really get to see it when we drive in and and by the way the year they're going to be on this side of the house so let me see if I can there we go it's going to be on the roof up here they're going to have to move the antenna cable and yes I've got terracotta roof tiles so they're really annoying to get into and you can see that the Sun it's wintertime here of course and the Sun is popping up over there North's about somewhere there so we could have we could have put them on either the front of the house or over here but this side of the house will get much more peak afternoon some so we decided to put it here and we're not putting the inverter on this side of the house over here even though we could put it on that wall we might want to install another air con unit but there's no either here at all and the inverter will get the full Sun in the afternoon as well so we've already got neck on unit there and they couldn't install it by regulation they're not allowed to install it here next to the fuse box because it's too close to the gas we've got gas down here there it is so what yeah it has to be like a half a meter or something away from the gas and for those interested in my fuse box here it is not very exciting at all um it the panels are being installed today but then they need somebody else to come out and install the new our smart meter tomorrow so ya won't be able to switch the thing on today but there we go there's our email made in Australia not Austria whatare meters and that's I believe that's a off-peak hot water controller but we don't have that we've got gas hot water so it's a ripple control receiver set there it is and we've got our one earth leakage circuit breaker and our two aircon circuit breakers up there and the main incoming 60 amp fuse up there yes this is only a single phase we don't have multi phase here it's all underground wiring by the way all the cabling comes in under our garden there somewhere so if we ever have to dig that up we're in serious trouble so yes we're going to have 12 panels total 250 watts we get in the three kilowatt system installed and here's the here's the connectors on them there we go can't say I've seen those before they're obviously a custom well some some sort of custom type I don't know them like their standard in the solar industry do not disconnect under load and there's our Sonny Boy SMA inverter it's already mounted on the bracket here and uh there's the LCD controller for it and there's all the inlets and we're just in the middle of getting installed we're going to have a breaker box oh that's that's that's the AC breaker box which we're going to install and there it is it's a Sunny Boy SP yeah three thousand TL – twenty one looks really good it's actually quite big go for it he's got a hammer and he's not afraid to use it alright and that's going to be a second breaker for DC excellent it'll look beautiful when it's done so I'm told we had the option to install it either inside the garage or outside but inside we would have we've got various things hanging up on the wall and stuff it was just a bit more convenient to hang it up under here and we do have eaves here so it's a little bit protected and it doesn't get the afternoon Sun so that should be a reasonably good option next to the water tank just in case it catches on fire and that's the front cover plate on the sunny boy inverter got a really nice looking gasket on there to keep all the water out these things are of course completely weatherproof so rain and everything else is not a problem and there's our DC breaker so that comes from the panel's that's ready to go in so there'll be two cable ducts I think coming down here one will be the DC of course yes this is on the opposite side of the house so they do have to run nut conduit right on the other side so there are going to be losses but as I said the other side of the house wasn't that ideal because if you get the full Sun in the afternoon even though this thing is designed you know for that but they do recommend you don't put in full Sun I believe there's a fan up in there somewhere and there's the there's the installation bracket forward it's got three huge bolts on the thing and it just Hansy not a problem and but yeah they do recommend you don't put them in full Sun which it would have been on the other side and also there was no eaves and it was too near the gas and we're gonna store maybe some still another aircon system in the future and yadda yadda yadda so we're just going to put it on the other side of the house here and we have to run you know 20 meters of conduit I don't know 15 meters of conduit 20 meters something like that so we'll just have to live with some losses there and there it is made in Germany or my German viewers are jumping for joy yes it is one of the best if not the best inverter on the market the SMA sunny voice so I'm told so I splurged a bit to get that one and it does have a Bluetooth interface so I'll be able to hook it up to my phone or hook it up to the web or I do all sorts of art weird and wonderful stuff with it hopefully – what log and extract the data from it so I hope it's worth paying the very significant extra hour for the SMA inverter that's one thing I didn't really want to skimp on is the inverter pretty much and I wanted to get a good quality one and here's our work on jute and various stuff I guess they orange and white one will be for the DC and one will be for the AC I'm not sure what that looks like that's big thumping well yeah can we get a shot of that that's some big thump and copper right there so that'd be your DC cable I'm not sure the note there's no way there's no brand on that electrical cable solar cable specific solar cable it's four square millimeters not sure yeah you probably can't see that but I can read that we've got four square millimeter cable for that and we've got some SLT brewing table here this is also four square millimetre and this is a single one which they use to wire between the individual panels and the other one of course goes over to the inverter and here's our bracket that's going to mount our panels can you tell us how it works alright so you slide one tile up yep now there'll be a tile obviously it on a sigh like that right so at the end your tile it'll sit on to your afters like that and then I'll on top of slider bar slide above it and all yeah yeah yep and there's on the rails here I'll show ya and this tips in like that yep then once that screws on and we're gonna have 24 of those total right what happens here is when you get two panels that'll sit now I've got it yeah and then it'll sit obviously on the edge of the side or pretty much sit like that right and then this on the top so when that sticks out that also clips in there yep then you just screw it down and that fantastic clamps or panels down terrific yeah and that's Chris so we're going to put on this side because it is better than the other side which I think's 41 degrees or something so this is 311 so it'll catch that peak afternoon Sun much better that's a plan anyway anyway you only have two options I got a house like this it's not like we can install it in the backyard because here is the backyard folks and well yeah we don't have a huge amount of backyard so we can't really install um it here there's a lovely backyard with all our Australian native plants and not only are they our nate is but there are some of them are local natives from our local work Creek no we didn't steal them at all from the local Creek the council actually our cultivate these things I'm got a lovely Banksia tree a classic Australian flowering tree here it's called the Banksia and they are absolutely stunning when they're out there they're called arc candles there's like a dead one and older shriveled-up dead one from last season but these ones a massive they can grow more than a foot long 30 centimetres long on this particular tree they are rather stunning um haven't got too many at the moment they're just clinging on there but when it's um comes out in full bloom I guess do you call bloom for banksy trees I'm not sure but anyway and so the inverter is going to be on that side of the house over there so it's got a run cables got a run all the way over to the other side it's probably further than it looks because this isn't a particularly big house and here's the data sheet for our mono ex panel that we've got there's our mechanical characteristics mono crystalline technology each cells one hundred and fifty six five hundred and fifty six millimeters and number of busbars three and dimensions bla bla maximum load weight seventeen point three kilos each I believe that's relatively light for one of these 250 watt panels of this size there we go three bypass diodes in the ip67 rating on the junction box on the back side of it and it's anodized aluminium with protective black coating and they're armed it's got a ten year warranty and a twenty I think it's 25-year linear power warranty um so the ego first year 97% after second year point seven percent annual degradation after that and eighty percent after twenty-five years that's what they're are warranted for this the IV characteristic curve for it and the power max that is another thing these panels do not like more solar panels unless you get those little micro ones designed for lensing systems do not like to run hot so the hala they get the less efficient so at 25 degrees C there that's what they're rated output is so if they get hotter than that which they pretty much will on anything but winter here in Sydney same summer it'll get damn hot up on there in the roof and unfortunately the power is going to drop you know they could easily get to 50 degrees or something like that so we might only get like 80 percenter power output I mean some people put install like a water sprinkling system and have water dripping down over the and they you know these sprinklers going all the time to try and cool the things down so we're obviously not going that far and we've got some temperature coefficients of the short-circuit current is si there and V open circuit and electrical properties as we saw printed on the back before and LG Electronics here in Australia is just over at Eastern Creek like barely 10 minutes from my place so if they did design and build them here I would have seen if I can get a tour of the factory but unfortunately it's probably just a distribution and office complex and then we have our mains cable as well there it is four square millimeter as well so that's pretty beefy stuff and that of course is a three core you've got your earth in the center there and there Sagan he's helping out and if you're curious to see what's inside a solar installers kit bag here we go check it out there we go lots of electrical tape measuring tape a some allen keys cutters lots of cable tires gotta have cable ties and your requisite screwdrivers and that looks like a multimeter ah it's a start seonhwa there we go let's have a look there you go it's a seonhwa CD 800 a 4000 count and haven't seen one of those before but I can trading cat 3 600 volts nothing special there you go but does come in a nice hard case which you can just of course throw in your toolkit there's my time-lapse camera hopefully we'll get a time-lapse of that and see what happens that's my V roll camera that's my other Canon and that's a neat way to pull the cable just put it in a little crate there you don't need one of those little stands with the reel so that's a yeah Paul Mainzer cable pulling it stand I guess just a milk crate beauty okay we're gonna have 12 panels installed right along there there's the brackets there they just install on the beams underneath and then just pop out under the tiles so there's no one issue with water getting in and stuff like that we don't have to penetrate any of the tiles so that is really easy and apparently my roof is are bowed I didn't know that I hadn't really noticed it before but yeah you can see it with the sea with the railing for some reason due to the framework inside I guess it's a just bows a bit not a problem for right installing the panel's though there we go there's got little jointer pieces in there and that's how what keeps the rails joined and there's our AC breaker installed and of course that just goes into the sonny-boy into the line neutral and oh they're easy and here we go the panels are looking good there we go that's where it's a kind of popped through into the kanjou they have to put conduit all the way through the roof it's the regulation so that's our DC cable and that's just going to hook up the wires actually go through the railing down there I actually in the back of the railing down in there they put the put the wire in and there's the brackets and it looks so looks pretty darn good whoo-hoo solar system and we're going to install one of the clips so that just joins both the panels together and it slides down I'd better get out of the way otherwise there and there we go so that just holds the panel's together like that too easy and let's screw me awesome this is the fun part there we are and we got four more left and that's it takes up most of the roof as a although we think we have room for another hour three kilowatts if we really wanted to we can move them a bit there you can move them a bit higher but so there we go there's a bit of a close-up of one of the cells tomorrow that's it no we have to do is join the cables up and tada there it is there's the complete three kilowatt 12 panel array with the LG mano X panels you should be able to see that the roof isn't exactly flat should be able to see a wave in those panels I think hopefully so yeah oops but anyway you can't do anything about that most rooms have I'm told that most Ruza have some sort of um undulation like that so but tada that looks impressive Shane we're not going to see it the house next door is going to see it but we won't and our DC cable has been pulled through there that'll be the DC breaker so we'll be able to just switch that off of course the front plate will go on there with a key switch on it I presume and the cable will enter up in there somewhere and tada there it is my Sonny Boy inverter fully installed very nice very professional I like it there we go that's a lacy breaker and now DC breaker and we're just doing an initial startup test here it's a go through an initialization procedure it's a temporarily hooked up and we're just checking it out and 456 volts open circuit and seven amps short-circuit current no touchy so there you go it's actually producing just over 2 kilowatts and of course where it's only 1 o'clock on in that June the middle of June so why it's middle of winter here so you know this is probably one of the best figures we can expect for our winter but this is our 3 kilowatt array currently producing almost 2.1 kilowatts there and the shade just came over then a second ago it just dropped down to like 800 and then 500 but even when it was shady it was still quite you know the clouds came over it was still producing you know 500 watts or so so not bad at all is producing since switched over to the second channel there now there's actually two channels on this thing so we've only got one array there it is 345 volts so that's what the array is producing at 6.6 amps and of course we're getting the outer 8.4 amps there into the grid that's what it's claiming at 252 volts is our light is our grid line voltage all right it's the next day now and well the day after actually and we've had somebody come around the energy company install the meter in the box so now it's officially on the grid and producing all legal and signed off fantastic it's are currently overcast here and it's producing six hundred and sixty watts at the moment I very common to produce you know very overcast kind of sky the Sun is not directly on it um the wife reported this morning she came out about 12 o'clock it's currently about 1:30 or there abouts and she said it was up to 2.5 kilowatts which is um absolutely amazing because those living in the northern hemisphere may not know it's actually winter here in Sydney at the moment almost the middle of winter so um yeah ah it's basically are going to be as low as it gets for us so for a three kilowatt system to be producing 2.5 kilowatts on a nice sunny winter's day is that absolutely fantastic anyway um the graph we've got here is today's graph so it obviously died off there this morning and there's a comeback so that's an hourly I think that's an hourly interval our bar graph and that shows today's response and it's produced a total today of six point almost six point five kilowatts fantastic some of that we've used are some we're going to feed back into the grid I'll show you that in a minute total produced 0.11 megawatts since we have installed it a couple of days ago so awesome and well since we're since we turned it on it's been tracking so one and what we can do here is we can actually tap this okay if we go tap we'll see the back light comes on first tap it again and this changed to an e so the bar graph has changed and now it's producing a daily total so each one of those bars there is a daily total so you'll be able to once we get more data in there we'll be able to AH see that so that's really quite nice and if you tap it twice quickly apparently it's hello there we go pops up with the firmware version there it is I'm not sure if I have the latest stuff firmware or not I'm assuming so so straight out of the box and comes up with a serial number and the net ID and Australian standard I guess it is for triple seven point three no idea what that is and English language so there you go I haven't been able to connect bluetooth with this thing yet I tried it can see it but I haven't been able to connect so a few issues but anyway let's go around and take a look at the meter box and here we go tada so yeah it's some really kind of overcast now at the moment but the fact is we're producing still producing enough energy um for it to be useful now here are ow ah well these aren't actually just smart meters I was under the impression that they'll going to install smart meters but they haven't is actually two of these identical ones and they're armed I Tron brand never heard of them before but I on ice 1000s M oh and I've looked up the datasheet for these things and these are not smart meters they're just bomber the range dumb ones with the old electromechanical you know tumblers they're for the reading now what we've got is one that's labeled Dom this top one I assume that stands for domestic supply and that meter are tracks how much energy we're using from the grid so that's energy that we're going to pay for and since it's been installed I've used 16 just over 16 kilowatt hours there I think we average home here we average what last quarter we averaged our 12 kilowatt hours per day so if you is that 16 since it was installed and this one down here is the solar one there it is and this is the amount of energy which we're exported back to the grid so this meter up here is the energy we pay for and this meter down here is the energy we get paid for so at the in new so files at the moment used to be 60 cents feed-in-tariff per kilowatt out was massive the government went crazy on that and that they've stopped that now I'm only going to be getting 6 cents per kilowatt hour feed-in tariff so there you go we haven't earned much at all feeding just over six kilowatt hours back into the grid since it's been installed yesterday so on and you can see that it's producer there's 800 impulses of that lead per kilowatt hour and as that what the sun's just come out you can see it and so now that LED should blink faster because we're using the same energy inside so yeah there we go and that should tick over quicker we're exporting and I have verified that this domestic one up here um does go Berko at night because we're not producing any energy from the panel so we're extracting it all from the grid and but during the day it practically stops and since I checked this morning it's only moved and at the tiny smidgen there because we're getting all of our energy from our panel so this one down here for the solar one let's say the solar panels producing one kilowatt hour while in the kilowatt of energy and our home is using precisely one kilowatt of energy then this thing would not take over at all because there's no excess to go back into the grid so the whole idea is that that you use as much energy during the day as you can while the solar panels are producing it because you don't get paid much for it going back in see in my case it's a with origin energy it's six cents per kilowatt hour endeavor energy is the bigger group which own origin energy or something like that I don't know anyway I don't own these things that the property of endeavor energy and yeah so it's better to use that energy during the day when otherwise if you feed it back here you get paid for it but not as much as it cost you during the night when you're using up here so this is like I think we're currently about 26 cents per kilowatt hour plus a green our tariff or something like that don't quote me and we only get paid this one down here I'm six cents per kilowatt hour so during the day we're going to change our way you should you see jerk habits a bit things like arm you know the dishwasher the washing machine and some stand out so you know we'll heat up the house during the day and stuff like that keep it warm while the sun's actually producing energy so well it should um really give us a good benefit but yeah um you know you do have to change your usage habits a bit to get the most benefit out of this thing during the day because this is a net metering system it's not a growth grouse our tariff system so yeah we get paid for the energy the excess energy only the excess that we export not the whole lot so there you go we're still going to order me or one of our old meters in here but that doesn't work at all that's for our off-peak electricity which is there's the off-peak electricity controller as we saw but we have our guests hot water we don't have off-peak is my guess hot water tank so there you go um that is my new soul system I hope you liked the video if you want to discuss it jump on over to the AV blog forum this place to do it and hopefully once I get all the that's I'm connected to my Sonny Boy inverter hopefully I will export that data or art live to the web or at least start daily and then you can track how much via the web my panels are producing fantastic catch you next time you you

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