New Off Grid House using Victron, Solar, BYD Lithium & backup Generator

♪ ♪ [Narrator] Although there is mains power a few meters from this newly built house , the owner has decided to use sun, lithium and a generator for his power supply. ♪ ♪ It is located in the English countryside in Shropshire, in Stoke St Milborough. This wood-framed garden house is nearly finished and with scaffolding erected around the house, it's time to put in the roofing. Every day brings drama. Most are rather small. The craftsmen all know their craft, but don't always know how to leave the case for those who come after them. So there are always transition problems. [Narrator] The north side of the roof of the house has normal tiles and windows, but the south side will be covered with solar panels. Jim has chosen very specific panels. The lines fall within the roof tile photovoltaic cells they all look the same and there is no shiny aluminum or anything to spoil the view. They also don't stick out unsightly above the actual pans. ♪ ♪ The weather is good and so the men can continue working. # What Jim has chosen is a glass roof that provides free electricity.

He has chosen the Veridian system that comes with waterproof panels. They have their own seal that goes around it and keeps everything watertight. So, first of all, there is no cost of tiles on the roof and you produce electricity for free. And because Jim is not connected to the net , this is the network for his house. [Narrator] The team installs 22 Veridian solar panels and each panel provides 270 watts and 37 volts. The panels are waterproof for the roof. Each panel has a rubber seal all around, which we incorporate with the seal and kits that go into the gutter, at the bottom and top. Then we have a roof with frames that we finish with a few tiles on the outside. It is actually a glass roof. We have four series serial, so four panels connected together, in and out with plus and minus, running over a two-wire cable. Each cable ends up at Scott, who connects them to the controller, his Victron controller. On deck we have two sets with four cables and then two sets with five.

[Narrator] Although the house is located in the middle of a village and there are 11,000 volt electricity cables running across its land, it is not as simple as connecting to the nearest electricity post. There can be several, expensive, connections, it is possible that the connection to the network is kilometers away. In some cases, it can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. There could be issues with being allowed to go through a neighbor's property, which could slow things down, or it could be a real life choice. Today many people are inclined to the idea of having autonomous power supply and thus being independent.

In the case of Jim's property, it was a confluence of all three. He loved the idea of having his own power supply, there were problems with the supply. Often the infrastructure in the UK is very old, requiring you to modify the cabling in the ground , or add a substation which is all more expensive. In this case, and also problems with passage and routing of cables across a neighbor's property, which got a bit complicated. So it was a combination in this case. In terms of costs, the independent solution was only a fraction of the cost of connecting the grid to the property. ♪ ♪ [Narrator] Before the system can be planned, calculations must be made for the power consumption in the house.

I want a very efficient fridge and freezer, because they are always on and some of them use a lot of energy. The one I chose consumes only 115 kW/hr over a whole year. Even a normal small fridge would consume that much. This thing is very efficient. [Narrator] Cooking? We cook with induction, which is more energy efficient, but it needs a boost when you turn it on and that can take quite a bit of power. The system we use for the photovoltaic panels on the roof can handle this. I also have a… My heating is supplied by an air source heat pump. So there will be a unit outside and a fan coil as in most hotel rooms, which is very efficient. For every kW of electricity consumed, I get five kW of heating. This will not consume much energy at all. Off Grid Engineering provides independent power sources for residential and commercial properties. My co-director Scott is a qualified shipbuilding engineer. We also work in the marine industry, waterways and also the campervan and other camping vehicles. I looked at a few suppliers and Ian Hewson from Off Grid had the most knowledge and enthusiasm.

He is a real champion and it is his main business. So I was confident that everything would go well. [Narrator] During the construction of the roof with tiles on one side and especially glass on the other side, all the equipment must be installed under the roof . But first, they have to get up there. The first device to be mounted against the outer wall of the facade is a 48 KVA Quattro inverter/charger. All cables entered from the solar panels on the roof and run first through three switches and then through two Victron Energy MPPT 250/60 SmartSolar charge controllers.

Appropriate gauge cabling goes from each charge controller and the Quattro converter/charger and through the bus bars into a Lynx power. A 200 amp fuse protects the Quattro and each MPPT is protected by 125 amp fuses. On the floor of the ceiling is the latest BYD Lithium Iron Phosphate 15.36 kWh battery. The unit consists of two separate battery modules that are mounted on top of each other.

This modular design can be expanded to a maximum of 983 kWh for larger systems. Before the battery can be put into operation , the Scott must connect the two 24 volt batteries in series with the supplied BYD power cables. The battery bank we chose is from BYD. Widely used today, with lithium-ion phosphate technology along with the Victron switches. BYD is an extremely large manufacturer. We have approximately 50 Off Grid installations in the UK with BYD products. We are also service partner of BYD and can provide a comprehensive 10-year warranty. With 6,000 cycles you have a battery that always has at least 60% capacity. So it is a lifelong system. [Narrator] Scott has been a Chief Electrician for many years and in 2019 was awarded the Newly Certified, Electrical Technician of the Year award from the UK Marine Electricity and Electronics Association.

Highly qualified to install Jim's system. ♪ ♪ As with our Off Grid systems , this is connected to the VRM portal. This is very important if you have a large portfolio of off-grid systems. You must be able to monitor them 24/7. The functionality of the Victron remote portal allows me to upload and download everything necessary into the system, including reprogramming the system and updating firmware without going on site. [Narrator] To make this possible , Scott hooked up a Color Control GX. This is connected to both solar charge controllers with VE.Direct, the Quattro via VE.Bus and also the BYD BMU, via VE.CAN.

Data from the BYD battery can be sent to the Color Control GX and also VRM. The data volume is increased with this latest BYD battery. As you can see in the description below , there is a link to the Victron NG website, BYD page and also a blog that accompanies this video. When you view the Color Control GX battery detail screen, you can see the lowest and highest cell voltage. In addition, the minimum and maximum cell temperature, the number of battery modules and the installed and power capacity of each.

You will also see the historical data of the batteries and the firmware versions and parameters. To send all this data to VRM online , Off Grid Engineering has installed this standalone 4G LTE wi-fi router. This box uses battery power and has a wide Ethernet RJ 45 connection to both the Color Control GX and a wide Ethernet port in the house. An external 4G antenna and a mobile network SIM card contract is used, not only to connect to the mobile network for internet access, but also to broadcast the own wi-fi network in the house.

Jim is very pleased with that. Now that the DC system has been tested and works, it's time to commission the AC side. 16 millimeter outputs from AC out-1 of the Quattro run to a master selector switch. This switch is installed so that Jim can manually switch the power from his house, or from the battery or generator, if necessary. Then there is the local domestic unit with MCBs to protect the cables both to the demand unit and from the generator. Downstairs, Scott installs a momentary switch at the end of the 16-millimeter armored cables coming from the ceiling. This will be replaced by the house installation electrician when the domestic unit is connected to the rest of the house. An earth conductor is installed outside, which leads back to the system in the ceiling. There will be times in the winter when we have long periods of low light, lots of rain, and when I need a boost, which I get from the standby generator. [Narrator] That generator is a 4.6 kW single-phase HGI HRD 060 generator. Once the scaffolding is removed, this generator will be installed in a small building at the back of the property.

As with most of our off-grid systems , less than 10%, and often less than 5%, will come from the backup generator's power consumption and 90.95%, sometimes more from the renewable energy or storage in your battery bank. [Narrator] There are two armored connections from the generator to the system in the ceiling. A 230 volt power supply to an MCB in the consumption unit, then the manual switch and to AC in one port of the Quattro. This generator can be started automatically. An armored communication cable is connected to the relay in the Victron Color Control GX. At the moment, two pre-sets in the Color Control GX have been determined. When the battery has less than 20% charge , the generator will automatically turn on and run until the battery reaches 45%. Although automatic, this can be limited according to a chosen time period, to avoid noise at night, for example. In this setting, the generator will turn on and assist the Quattro if there is an AC power request in the house of more than 5,000 watts for more than 20 seconds. As soon as the AC power load is less than 3,500 watts , the generator will shut down again.

All this data is fed to the VRM portal and with the power of knowledge Ian can monitor and take care of Jim's system remotely. Although Jim's new home is not connected to the national grid, he will have plenty of renewable energy for his home throughout the year. ♪ ♪ What will you do with any surplus? A hot tub. [Narrator] That's clear, a bubble bath. What else am I supposed to do with it? ♪ ♪ I've always wanted to do this, but never had the time. Now I do and I can finally realize a lifelong ambition . ♪ ♪ ENERGY. ALL THE TIME. EVERYWHERE.

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