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Solar Power in Industrial Quantities

Published Article feature from the Victron Energy Website

Original article available over here:  Click here – Victron energy

Solar Power in Industrial Quantities

Electronics company Bosco Printed Circuits, who are located in Johannesburg, were used to seeing production come to a halt on their shop floor as often as twice a week – caused by power cuts. Sometimes the outages were scheduled, sometimes they just happened. Every time there was an unexpected power outage the electroplating machines would freeze half way through a job, and all materials would have to be scrapped. It was time to act…

Bosco Printed Circuits was established over 60 years ago and had learned to minimize their losses – but delayed delivery times, and reputational damage was much more of an issue. Company Director Philip Verheul began to wonder if it was possible to meet the significant electricity demands from his factory, and offices using battery-stored energy and called in the expertise of Specialized Solar Systems.

Because local energy prices increase by a factor of 3 or 4 during peak periods, money could be saved by using stored electricity during peak periods, and taking power from the grid – if needed – overnight.

I say ‘if needed’ – Bosco decided to ‘go green’ and generate their own solar energy. As a result, they installed a total of 300kWp Solar Panels …which is quite a lot.

All that solar power needs to be stored in a battery bank with huge capacity …batteries which are capable of being cycled day-in, day out, for years. For this, he chose Redflow’s zinc bromine flow batteries. Each battery has a capacity of 10kWh; Bosco uses 14 of them. Redflow batteries can be worked hard every day without loss of capacity – even more reassuring for Bosco is the fact that this duty cycle is guaranteed, for ten years.

To meet the 230VAC power demands of office and shop floor, ultra-reliable high-output inverters would be required. They would also need to work seamlessly with zinc-bromine battery technology. Six Victron Quattro’s – 48V/10kVA – work in parallel to deliver the power required. Not only do they have invisible switching times when there is a power outage, but their unique Power Assist function will meet huge peak-power demands when electricity from the grid (or from a generator) cannot cope. They do this by adding the power stored in the battery to the current AC source.

Finally, a Victron CCGX acts as the communication gateway – through it, automatic switches can be programmed, and the whole installation can be remotely monitored and tweaked to ensure Bosco’s power plant is always running at its optimum performance.

Philip Verheul has been really pleased with the results of his decision. His system is programmed to take advantage of off-peak electricity and utilize the power of the sun. Power outages no longer cause downtime – helping to keep to a busy schedule – and Bosco’s reputation for innovation and sustainability is enhanced.

5kVA 24-28kWH Grid interactive hybrid solar power system installation in Barrington

5kVA 24-28kWH Grid interactive hybrid solar power system installation in Barrington

Specialized Solar Systems’ residential solar installation team completed a 5kVA 24-28kWH Grid interactive hybrid solar power system installation for a customer living close to Barrington, Western Cape South Africa.

Being a Grid interactive solar system allows for the supply of grid (Eskom) electricity whenever the demand for energy that cannot be supplied by the solar system, is necessary.

The 5.94 kWP Grid interactive hybrid solar powered system installation took 2 days complete and consisted of the following base-components:

  • 5940W Solar Panel Array (Photovoltaic)
  • 1 X Lithium Iron Phosphate Freedom Lite 400AH 11kWhrs(70% DOD)
  • 2 X MPPT
  • 1 X Victron Blue Power Color Control GX
  • 1 X 5kva Victron Multiplus Quattro Inverter

Above some pictures of the 5kVA 24-28kWh grid interactive hybrid installation

Some key advantages of Hybrid solar systems supplied and installed by Specialized Solar Systems:

  • If the power generated by PV solar arrays is inadequate to supply daytime loads as well as charge your batteries, the system can recharge your batteries from the grid when generally a lower off-peak electricity rate is applied.
  • When electricity usage goes above a certain level nationally, the grid supply may charge you at a higher rate for the increased level of demand. Hybrid systems can provide ‘peak lopping’ where some of the stored power can be drawn from the batteries to help balance power usage.
  •  If your grid connection does not have the capacity to supply a required load,  a hybrid solar system will supplement any extra power. This may allow you to avoid a costly mains upgrade to your property.

Hybrid solar systems empower you with energy security, self-sufficiency, and lock in your future cost of electricity, control when you use your solar power and provide an uninterrupted power supply.

More about Specialized Solar Systems Grid-Interactive Hybrid Solar Systems

The utility grid is a virtual battery
Electricity should be used as it is generated. However, it can be temporarily stored as other forms of energy (e.g. chemical energy in batteries).  Energy storage typically comes with significant costs.

The electric power grid is in many ways also a battery, without the need for maintenance or replacements, and with much better efficiency rates. In other words, more electricity (and more money) goes to waste with conventional battery systems.

Additional perks of being grid-tied include access to back up power from the utility grid in case extra power is required or if your solar system stops generating electricity for any reason.  At the same time, you also help to mitigate the utility’s peak load.

Customers can contact Specialized Solar Systems for more information on purchasing a Grid-Tied solar system and for expert advice when choosing the correct solar system solution for all your electrical energy needs.

To view a more detailed overview of our residential grid-interactive hybrid solar systems section in our catalog available over here.

Below are selections of our most popular and highly recommended quality residential grid-interactive hybrid solar energy systems with different sizing options designed by Specialized Solar Systems.  This selection will give our customers an overview of all the quality equipment used with detailed explanations to help assist you with your solar energy generation planning.

To view a more information about our residential off-grid solar systems please follow this link,  catalog available over here.

Below are selections of our most popular and highly recommended residential off-grid solar powered energy systems with different sizing options designed by Specialized Solar Systems.  This selection of off-grid solar systems will give our customers an overview of all the quality equipment used with explanations to help assist you with your off-grid solar energy generation planning.

Electricity: Feeding-in to the Municipal Grid information (Western Cape, South Africa)

Many municipalities across the Western Cape already have the rules and tariffs in place for feeding into the grid when installing a PV system. To view more information please view this link

Plan your move to energy liberation today with Specialized Solar Systems bestselling quality residential solar energy generation systems – we would love to hear from you.

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7.5 kW VSD system powering a 5.5kW 380V AC water pump installation in Jeffreys Bay with 10.50 kWP

Specialized Solar Systems’ Solar Agricultural installation team completed a 7.5 kW VSD system, used to power a 5.5kW 380V- AC water pump with 10.50 kWP solar array in Jeffreys Bay, Eastern Cape South Africa.

The installation was a big success and made use of 34 x 310W Solar modules (PV panels) producing a max of 10.50 kWp. The VSD (variable speed drive) was also connected with a change over switch which allows the customer to switch between Eskom and Solar when needed.  This VSD Solar Powered System was designed and supplied by Specialized Solar Systems and should make use of its maximum efficiency when pumping (5.5kWh) for 7 hours/day in summer and 5hours/day in winter.

The special operating system makes Specialized Solar Systems variable speed drive centrifugal pumps an appropriate solution in all cases where water flow rates do not ensure suitable operating pressures. A Variable Speed Drive (VSD) regulates the speed and rotational force, or torque output, of the motor.  One of the main reasons why these drives save energy is because they can change the speed of an electrical motor by controlling the power that is fed into the pump. The VSD motor also allows for a soft start and stop which reduces the violent torque , therefore extending the life of motors and functions well combined with solar generation as energy sources.

Above are some pictures of the installation in Jeffreys Bay and below is some video taken at the installation.

Background on Specialized Solar Systems VSD Water Pump Solar Powered Systems

For high amounts of water, a large AC pump is usually required. These pumps require well regulated 3 phase AC voltage and current. By using an AC variable speed controller called Variable Speed Drive 9VSD) or  a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD ) or an Adjustable Speed Drive(ASD) the pump motor will have the proper voltage and current. The trick is to supply DC from the PV array directly into the DC bus inside the VFD. The normal AC input is not used. As the sun rises and PV voltage and current increase, some VFD products will accept the input and when the power is high enough, it will start the pump. The PV array must be large enough to provide enough power to start the pump with including the head of water. The size of the PV array required for this method can be very expensive.

The first and most obvious way a VFD can save you money is through increasing the efficiency of your AC motors and decreasing electricity use. The amount of energy that a VFD can save depends on the average load of the motor and the number of hours per day it is turned on. While average energy savings vary, it’s safe to say that most AC motors do not need to be running at full capacity for most hours of their use. Furthermore, the initial cost of a motor or VFD is generally only a fraction of the cost of operating the motor over its life span. This means that a VFD system usually pays for itself in a matter of months or years.

Added advantages of VFD:

A VFD may be used for control of process temperature, pressure, or flow without the use of a separate controller. Suitable sensors and electronics are used to interface the driven equipment with the VFD.

  • Lower maintenance costs, as lower operating speeds, resulting in longer life for bearings and motors.
  • The motor does not require a starter.
  • The ability of a VFD to limit torque to a user-selected level protects driven equipment that cannot tolerate excessive torque.
  • Users can utilize multi-motor applications, such as pumps or fans, with one control unit.
  • High-speed applications for the wood-finishing industry.
  • Approx 30-40% energy is saved

How does it work?

A Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) is a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage supplied to the electric motor. Other names for a VFD are variable speed drive, adjustable speed drive, adjustable frequency drive, AC drive, microdrive, and inverter.

Please contact Specialized Solar Systems for all you solar powered water pumping solutions today 044 878 1126

Specialized Solar Systems would love to hear from you.

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Plan your move to energy liberation today with Specialized Solar Systems bestselling quality residential off-grid solar systems

Below are selections of our most popular and highly recommended residential off-grid solar powered energy systems with different sizing options designed by Specialized Solar Systems.  This selection of off-grid solar systems will give our customers an overview of all the quality equipment used with explanations to help assist you with your off-grid solar energy generation planning.

Other Solar Powered Systems:  Specialized Solar Systems Grid-Interactive Hybrid Solar Systems

Feeding-in to the Municipal Grid (Western Cape, South Africa)

Many municipalities across the Western Cape already have the rules and tariffs in place for feeding into the grid when installing a PV system. To view more information please view this link

Specialized Solar Systems Grid-Interactive Hybrid Solar Systems: The utility grid is a virtual battery
Electricity should be used as it is generated. However, it can be temporarily stored as other forms of energy (e.g. chemical energy in batteries).  Energy storage typically comes with significant costs.

The electric power grid is in many ways also a battery, without the need for maintenance or replacements, and with much better efficiency rates. In other words, more electricity (and more money) goes to waste with conventional battery systems.

Additional perks of being grid-tied include access to back up power from the utility grid in case extra power is required or if your solar system stops generating electricity for any reason.  At the same time, you also help to mitigate the utility’s peak load.

Customers can contact Specialized Solar Systems for more information on purchasing a Grid-Tied solar system and for expert advice when choosing the correct solar system solution for all your electrical energy needs.

To view a more detailed overview of our residential grid-interactive hybrid solar systems section in our catalogue available over here.

Below are selections of our most popular and highly recommended residential grid-interactive hybrid solar energy systems with different sizing options designed by Specialized Solar Systems.  This selection ofwill give our customers an overview of all the quality equipment used with explanations to help assist you with your off-grid solar energy generation planning.

200kVA Grid-tied Solar – Tembalethu Square Shopping Mall George Installation

200kVA Grid-tied Solar/1 MegaWatt – Tembalethu Square Shopping Mall George installation generate an average 1 megawatt of daily renewable energy

Thembalethu Square shopping mall is taking the lead for businesses in The Garden Route and South Africa by actively going green with the installation of 200kVA grid-tied solar energy system that will generate an average 1 megawatt of daily renewable energy.

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19.5 kWp 30kVA 87kWhrs Off-grid solar system installation in George

19.5 kWp 30kVA 87kWhrs Off-grid solar system installation in George

Specialized Solar Systems’ commercial installation team did a 30kVA 87kWhrs per day off-grid solar installation on a newly constructed commercial building in George, Western Cape. The off grid solar power system was also designed and supplied by Specialized Solar Systems commercial solar team.

The 19.5 kWp 30kVA 87kWhrs Off-grid solar system installation consisted of the following hardware components and related information:

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3kVA 9-12kWhrs Small residential off-grid solar power system Swellendam installation

3kVA 9-12kWhrs Small residential off-grid solar power system Swellendam installation

Specialized Solar Systems residential solar power systems installation team completed an installation of a small 3kVA 9-12kWhrs residential off-grid solar power system for a customer located on a picturesque small holding just outside Swellendam, the Western Cape South Africa.

The 3kVA 9-12kWhrs off-grid solar power system installation took 2 days to complete and made use of the following solar energy hardware components:

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25kWp Grid-tied solar system installation - roof panels

25kWp 3-Phase Grid-Tie Solar System Installation – Leading Edge

25kWp 3-Phase Grid Tie Solar System Stellenbosch Installation for Leading Edge

Specialized Solar Systems commercial team installed a 3-phase grid tie solar powered system for a local business, Leading Edge in Stellenbosch, Western Cape South Africa. It is a direct rooftop Grid-tie solar powered system and is approved for feedback by Stellenbosch Municipality.

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2.058 kWp Grid-Tie solar system installation

2.058 kWp Grid-Tie solar system installation

2.058 kWp Kraaifontein Grid-Tie solar powered system installation

Specialized Solar Systems residential solar team recently installed a 2.058kWp Grid-Tie solar powered system in Kraaifontein, the Western Cape South Africa.  The solar-powered system was designed and supplied by Specialized Solar System and the installation process took only 3 days to complete.

The 2.058 kWp Kraaifontein Grid-Tie solar powered system consists of:

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solar powered streetlight installation

80 x Solar powered street lights installation at the Steelpoort Bauba mining community

80 x Solar-powered street lights installation at the Steelpoort Bauba mining community.

The Bauba mining community’s solar-powered street lights are being used for much-needed night lighting, added security and to light up the local school.

The solar-powered street light installation took place over a 2-week period and in keeping to Specialized Solar Systems mandate, made use of local community members for the installation.  Training included basic solar power operations and correct solar power installation procedures.  The community members will also be involved in general system maintenance and reporting

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