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Gmax21

ProjectSolar, Solar Plants, conflicting advice

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Gmax21

Hey all,

 

Thanks for any advice you might be able to offer.

 

On Monday I'm supposed to be having an 8Kw system (PLM-330MB-66/D Series - Evoluation Ultramax with Growatt twin tracker inverter) installed with a Duracell battery (3.3kWh). This will be done by Project Solar at a cost of around £16k for the lot, 24 panels, inverter and battery.

 

I own the property, half is commercial, half is residential. Two single-phase meters, one for each. 

 

ProjectSolar claims you can install 24 panels, 8kw system on a single meter without the need for a DNO because I have two meters at the property.

 

SolarPlants also quoted for a mid-range system similar to ProjectSolar and also a premium system with LG (Neon 2 - 320) panels and SolarEdge inverter and Sonnen 5kw battery. Their Premium package with 18 panels is around the same price as ProjectSolar but obviously generating much less per year.

 

SolarPlants claim that doing this installation the way ProjectSolar plan to would not be allowed as it's over the permitted installation size without a DNO from Nothern Grid. If I continue I could be liable for costs from Northern Grid and may need to remove panels. Is this true? 

 

Furthermore, they claim that ProjectSolar is using cheap Chinese products which would be next to impossible to claim warranty on in the event of failure and Project Solar not being around. They are Chinese products, but the reviews seem ok for the company that makes them (Perlight/Jinko). They claim LG and SolarEdge are far superior products and less likely to fail, degradation rates are better, but in the event that they do have issues, it would be easier to get those companies to resolve issues under warranty should SolarPlants have ceased trading and be unable to offer repairs, that owing to the fact they're such big and reliable companies.

 

It also seems that on Companies House ProjectSolars assets recently dropped a lot as capital was shifted to the new parent company. Kind of concerns me a little too. I have solar on another property and I'm having issues with that inverter right now, the company that fitted it is now out of business and it's a pain to try and resolve. Trying to avoid the same mistake and also not to be deep water with Northern Grid.

 

I am trying to contact Northern Grid, but have to wait for someone to get back to me. The issue is the installation date being so close, so I'm hoping some smarter than I and with more experience could share their advice.

 

Thanks in advance. :)

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ProDave

The limit for G83/2 which is where you have a right to install the system and notify the DNO afterwards is actually 3.86KW. But it is normal to fit 4KW of panels with a type approved inverter that limits the output to no more than 3.68Kw.  You can fit this without asking and notify the DNO afterwards.  Since you have 2 meters, you would in fact be fitting 2 separate systems and notifying two G83/2 installations each limited to 3.68Kw

 

The one flaw I see in the proposal with such a split system (and they MUST be completely split) is you would need TWO battery packs and 2 inverter / chargers.

 

That is a lot of money you are spending. You will get the now very small FIT IF YOU ARE VERY QUICK but otherwise would be relying on self usage to pay for it. Have you done any return on investment sums?  

Edited by ProDave

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Gmax21

Thanks for the feedback.

 

Quote

The one flaw I see in the proposal with such a split system (and they MUST be completely split) is you would need TWO battery packs and 2 inverter / chargers.

1

 

I specifically asked ProjectSolar if this was a split system when I realised the DNO part might apply, they stated it was not and that it would need only the one battery pack. They said they could do it on one meter and it wouldn't be a problem as two meters supply the property. So clearly this is not the case and they're just trying to make a quick sale. :(

 

Quote

That is a lot of money you are spending. You will get the now very small FIT IF YOU ARE VERY QUICK but otherwise would be relying on self usage to pay for it. Have you done any return on investment sums?  

 

I have, but I'm actually more one of those weird part-time eco-warrior types trying to reduce mine and my companies on fossil fuels for energy production and consumption. My company is covering the cost outright.

 

Thank you for taking the time to provide this information, I appreciate it. :)

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ProDave
5 hours ago, Gmax21 said:

Thanks for the feedback.

 

 

I specifically asked ProjectSolar if this was a split system when I realised the DNO part might apply, they stated it was not and that it would need only the one battery pack. They said they could do it on one meter and it wouldn't be a problem as two meters supply the property. So clearly this is not the case and they're just trying to make a quick sale. :(

 

 

I have, but I'm actually more one of those weird part-time eco-warrior types trying to reduce mine and my companies on fossil fuels for energy production and consumption. My company is covering the cost outright.

 

Thank you for taking the time to provide this information, I appreciate it. :)

Yes THEY have got it wrong.

 

I have just registered my own system and the form specifically states no more than 3.68KW per meter.  So they cannot stick it all into one meter just because you have 2 of them.  Don't let them con you or you could have a big headache if the DNO ever find out it has been registered wrong.

 

I have taken the opposite approach, I have just installed my own 4KW system (no batteries yet) for a total cost of £1500 but it took a LOT of patience and searching ebay bargains to get it that cheap and it may not be easy to replicate that price.  All DIY installed no FIT just relying on self usage to justify the cost.  Much higher than that cost and the payback time would be too long and I would not have bothered.

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Gmax21
2 minutes ago, ProDave said:

I have taken the opposite approach, I have just installed my own 4KW system (no batteries yet) for a total cost of £1500 but it took a LOT of patience and searching ebay bargains to get it that cheap and it may not be easy to replicate that price.  All DIY installed no FIT just relying on self usage to justify the cost.  Much higher than that cost and the payback time would be too long and I would not have bothered.

2

 

Oh, wow, 4KW system for £1500. Do you mind me asking what panels and inverter you went for on that?

 

I work odd and late hours, and will soon have an electric car, so I reckon the battery will be handy for me.

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ProDave

I bought a pallet of 25 250W panels from ebay  and split that with a friend, I kept 18 and he had 7.  The 18 that I kept cost just over £1K.  These were 4 year old second hand according to the seller from a solar farm that was being upgraded.

 

I got a new 4KW Tranergy Inverter for £255 from ebay.

 

the rest of the cost was timber, unistrut and nuts and bolts to make a ground mounting frame for them  (too many trees and too much shading for them to work on the house roof)

 

Another £200 on top of that turned the space under the panels into a shed.

 

solarshed_2.jpg.712eb98bd02bb4ad79745b13

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binky

you can install more than 16A back-feed to the grid but only with permission from DNO, but it's easier to split over the 2 meters. I wouldn't take too much notice of Daves dodgy panels prices, I suspect Dave may live to regret those, but £16k is steep in my book even with  a cheap battery pack. I would have said around £10-12k for what you have been quoted.

 

1/ So couple of points, DNO count batteries as addtional to panels if not connected to a Hybrid inverter.

2/ LG / Solaredge is far superior prodcuts - I wouldnt give you the steam off my wee for Goodwe. JInko is OK.

3/ Solaredge (unless you have shading) is a waste of money

4/ Duracell battery - never seen these. I like BYD, which could be used with SMA inverter / battery charge controller. SMA are still the biggest inverter manufacturer in the world.

 

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Onoff
6 hours ago, binky said:

I wouldn't take too much notice of Daves dodgy panels prices, I suspect Dave may live to regret those

 

Can I ask why? They were in seemingly good nick. 

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ProDave
10 hours ago, Onoff said:

 

Can I ask why? They were in seemingly good nick. 

I think we were lucky and got a good batch. There is someone on the Navitron forum bought some of the same and has at least  one faulty one.

 

But for me, the point was it has to be that cheap to be viable. If I had to pay full retail prices and pay for install, the cost would be way too high to be justifiable with no FIT

Edited by ProDave

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binky
14 hours ago, Onoff said:

 

Can I ask why? They were in seemingly good nick. 

 

When they built solar farms they used lots of cheap labour from as far a field as places like Hungary and Portugal, now whilst these people may be hard wroking they are also a bit rough with the panels, which can cause latent faults, hence the need to change the panels in the first place. Now no investor will change panels unless forced to, so there is always a high chance of getting a duff panel(s), in which case it isn't a bargain. 

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binky
6 hours ago, ProDave said:

I think we were lucky and got a good batch. There is someone on the Navitron forum bought some of the same and has at least  one faulty one.

 

But for me, the point was it has to be that cheap to be viable. If I had to pay full retail prices and pay for install, the cost would be way too high to be justifiable with no FIT

 Fair enough, have you tested the panels like I think I suggested? Simple enough, turn them over, fill frame with a bit of soapy water add a little washing up liquid) and test for insulation to rpove back sheet is ok, and there is no damage between frame seal and back sheet. Also worth looking for 'snail trails' in the silicone cells which would be visible from the front -  a sign of mis-handling and stressing the panels. There's no real conclusion on how bad snail trails are to the life of the panel, they still seem to work, but the question is how long for?

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Gmax21
21 hours ago, binky said:

you can install more than 16A back-feed to the grid but only with permission from DNO, but it's easier to split over the 2 meters. I wouldn't take too much notice of Daves dodgy panels prices, I suspect Dave may live to regret those, but £16k is steep in my book even with  a cheap battery pack. I would have said around £10-12k for what you have been quoted.

 

1/ So couple of points, DNO count batteries as addtional to panels if not connected to a Hybrid inverter.

2/ LG / Solaredge is far superior prodcuts - I wouldnt give you the steam off my wee for Goodwe. JInko is OK.

3/ Solaredge (unless you have shading) is a waste of money

4/ Duracell battery - never seen these. I like BYD, which could be used with SMA inverter / battery charge controller. SMA are still the biggest inverter manufacturer in the world.

 

9

 

SolarPlants quoted around that figure for the Perlight/Jinko panels with inverter and a cheaper battery.

 

LG320, SolarEdge, Sonnen 5kw batter: https://monosnap.com/file/oKuele8ixGrnmEGetzdbOgX8vgWuIg - £16, 468.40

 

JA295, SolarEdge, It says no batter, but it included one they said: https://monosnap.com/file/HyTVmEaoz7cMj9n3GhpEfu1sgR2WdO - £14,575.37 - I think they didn't use the correct battery on this because they said it would be around £12k when we were talking.

 

I don't even know what they're quoting for here, apparently, it was some cheap battery. The guy said he wouldn't even recommend having these things installed and they would not have as a good warranty. They apparently offer them for people on a tight budet: https://monosnap.com/file/RGxP79qYtPVnlwLckMJnjwCOr17EiE - £8,156.97

 

This is now a 18 panel (4kw) install quotes vs ProjectSolar at 24 (8kw). ^^

When I did the math on "premium" package, it didn't seem so bad. Admittedly I didn't do lots of shopping around for prices, but I got these:

 

LG230 239.50*18 = £4,311 - https://www.cclcomponents.com/lg-electronics-320w-neon2-mono-solar-module-60-cell-all-black

SolarEdge £3300 - eco7energy.co.uk

Sonnen 5kw -  £5,806.95 - https://www.cclcomponents.com/sonnen-batterie-eco-9-43-5-5kw-battery-storage-system-with-2x-2-5kw-battery-module-white

 

£13,417.95 total. I'm sure there are some things I'm not counting for other materials, and they probably get better prices than that. But once you factor in labour too.... Is that really that bad?

I basically went looking for companies with awesome reviews which led me to those originally.

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binky

your top spec quote inclusive of a 7kW LG battery would be around £14.5 k from me

 

very hard to comment on the cheaper packages due to lack of info on the battery, but a 4kW system with 3.6kW BYD battery would be around £7k.

 

I have very low overheads so beating bigger company prices is easy. What you have been quoted isn't far from the mark for most companies.

 

Solaredge is a waste of money unless you have shading, you're just adding potential failure points to the roof.  LG panels are beutiful but expensive, JA give a very good balance on price / good performance. Jinko are OK,  but 270W panels are very much 'old hat' , they do a new panel with MPPTs built in, which looks very interesting as it gives the benefits of optimisers without the cost.

 

Might be worth contacting a few other local suppliers, but it is close to the deadline

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