Tiny House gets Giant Power and more

December 2016  Solar + Storage Course

The emphasis on our four day course is to blend theory and practice on a daily basis. The program starts with theory in the morning followed by practical sessions to reinforce and expand on the theory, returning to the classroom in the afternoon to explore the problems and solutions.

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Many of the systems installed by students on this course are “real” systems. Above is a 1.5kWh/day system for the “Tiny House” located near the training centre. The house is a relocatable home for one person and has been designed from the ground up for minimal energy consumption. The solar panels the students installed were Solimpeks PVT (photovolatic and thermal) collectors. These unique panels combine water heating with electricity generation. Ideal for small roof areas such at this (7m x 2.5m).

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“Beer o’clock” and system install review session! These “reviews” are part of the shared learning approach. Each team works on their own projects and come together at the end to present their experiences, likes and dislikes and problems.

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Manfred explains how the Studer-Innotec d.c. coupled system works with Sonnenschein VRLA batteries.

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Phil from Victron Energy shows the students how to program the 3kW Multiplus with 150/30 MPPT and ColorController.

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“Capt. Col” working on the “Dream Team” – SP Pro + SolarEdge + LG Chem + Neuton Power VRLA. The concept of the “Dream Team” is to combine the high efficiency lithium battery with the low cost and depth of discharge capabilities of lead-acid batteries. The SolarEdge inverter meets the daily loads first from the LG Chem battery and only when depth of discharge limit is reached or the load power is greater than the power delivery limits of the lithium battery, is the lead-acid battery “called upon” via the Selectronic SP Pro to support the loads.

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Ray carefully tensions battery terminals. Always use insulated tools when working on batteries with exposed terminals.

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Ray & Adrian installing Studer XTM4000 and VarioTrack 150/80 MPPT. This d.c. coupled system gives high reliability and “battery centric” solar charging. D.C. coupling is a more reliable way of charging batteries and avoid the “black start” problem of a.c. coupled systems.

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The “Tiny House” gets a power system.

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David with GiantPower IPS4000 (dual MPPT/UPS inverter-charger)

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Kevin, Col and Armin preparing the SolarEdge SE5000 with backup unit.

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Ray connecting the Studer MPPT.

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Jerry and Matt checking the Solar Analytics remote metering on GiantPower system.

Sunny Island with Aquion BMS

Students install new Aquion BMS to integrate with Sunny Island 8.0H

The SMA Sunny Island inverter was primarily designed to work with lead-acid and (with the latest firmware) lithium ion battery systems. Integrating a non-lithium/non lead-acid battery with the Sunny Island has proved problematic, however, Aquion have solved the problem by building the DataTap device (BMS) that “emulates” the characteristic of a lithium battery BMS while managing the coulombic charging of the Aquion aqueous hybrid ion battery using it’s own current shunt.

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Class photo with Aquion/SMA installation.

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Ian Conibeer demonstrating the FIAMM molten salt battery

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Jeff showing the Aquion BMS unit that he and Ben installed

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Paul explaining the Schneider system installed with new Neuton Power VRLA tubular gel batteries

Walk through of new Solar + Storage training room

Introducing hybrid and off-grid inverters from Glen Morris on Vimeo.

A brief introduction to: the Redback Smart Hybrid inverter; SMA Sunny Island off-grid inverter, SolaX Power Hybrid (EPS) inverter, and the SolarEdge SE3500 with Storedge device for integrating LV batteries like the Tesla Powerwall and others.

This is one of the many training rooms that students on his courses utilise to build systems. All these systems are the work of previous courses.

Battery Testing and Redback Installation

Another group of “Solar + Storage” students learning about off-grid and hybrid systems.

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Lachy load testing a set of Sonnenschein A600 Solar OPzV batteries

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Nick explaining how they setup the Redback Smart Hybrid inverter with battery pack below.

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Siva checking the Redback inverter.

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Sacred Sun batteries with “visual inspection” window.

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Load testing using three students for speed. Two taking readings and one writing down the results.

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Using an AutoHold function on the multimeter to speed up taking battery cell voltage readings.

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Safely moving heavy batteries.

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Loosing off battery terminals prior to repositioning. Always use a torque wrench when tightening though and make sure threads are clean.

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Spacing batteries 20mm apart to ensure good passive ventilation.

Midwinter Solar Training

Another group of passionate “Solar + Storage” students leave their mark on our training facility.

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David installs the new Victron Energy Quattro. A good choice for flexible redundant power options: Grid or Generator input; always on and grid-only outputs.

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Andy shows his fellow students how his team built the SolaX hybrid inverter system with an external ATS (automatic transfer switch) for supplying backup power during loss of grid.

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Nirvana shows the systems that he and Mitch built. Small 12V based system with Victron MPPT, battery protection device and Bluetooth configuration from iPhone or Android.

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Edwin, SolaX engineer demonstrates how to program the SolaX hybrid inverter.

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Students working in the new “Boat Shed” training room (SolaX and SMA).

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Chukwuma (from Nigeria) and Andy install SolaX hybrid.

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Rachael (4th year apprentice) getting to grips with configuring an a.c. coupled SMA SI8.0H and SB5000.

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Brad and Gavin explaining the features and configuration options of the GiantPower IPS4000.

Hybrid inverter systems and dc-dc battery retrofit solutions

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Derick Martin (left) from Outback Power assists with installation of the new Outback FP2 all-in-one dual inverter system.

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Wiring up the main battery isolator.

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Mike & Miles consider how best to protect cables and build an atheistically pleasing hybrid system using the SolaX EPS inverter.

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Anthony checking the Goodwe GW2500-BP (yellow box) d.c. to d.c. converter that can be installed on the PV array side of any conventional grid-connect inverter – thus adding battery storage to an existing installation.

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It always helps to read the manual!

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Fotakis (left) is another of our trainers assisting with the installation of an Outback FP2 dual inverter system.

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Checking the internal connections of the Redback hybrid inverter.

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Wiring up the comms cable from power meter to Redback.

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Factory visit to Selectronic at Mooroolbark (near Healesville) is a highlight of the course. Lindsay Hart explains how the Selectronic system works.

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Lindsay walking the students through the production line.

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Toroidal transformers ready for the next batch of SP Pro inverters.

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Lindsay explains some of the clever thermal management designed into the SP Pro inverter.

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Student questions.

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Greg and Brian checking the cell voltages for a 2000Ah bank of Narada EosG cells (48V) supplied by Choose Solar.

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Greg doing a “pre-flight” check.

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Anthony & Brian carefully lifting a Selectronic SP Pro (5kW unit) onto it’s mount. Aquion “salt water” batteries below.

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Jerry Robinson of The Greenhouse Effect (trainer) and Reece installing a SMA Sunny Island SI8.0H-11 and SB5000 as an a.c. coupled off-grid system.

20160602-IMG_2957Confirming connections are correct before power on and programming of SP Pro with Aquion batteries.

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Students discuss the merits of the Redback v’s the SolaX hybrid inverters.

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Ian Conibeer from Energy Connections explains how to use Victron Energy‘s VEconfig tool to setup a Victron Multiplus and MPPT in an a.c. coupled arrangement with a Fronius Galvo grid-connect inverter.

Battery system training

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Shane explains to his fellow students how to test a Sonnenschein A600 Solar 48V 520Ah battery pack using on and off-load techniques.

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Daryn demonstrates the new Aquion (saltwater batteries) combined with the Selectronic SP Pro 5kW inverter in hybrid configuration.

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Installation completed – ready for configuration and testing. These Aquion batteries can be discharged 100% under normal cycling.

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Sonnenschein A600 Solar batteries (VRLA lead acid) – with inspection window.

Aqueous Ion Batteries

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Adam Champion from Aquion explaining the performance characteristics of the new aqueous ion batteries from Aquion. Students installed six stacks to build a 48V battery bank with approximately 3000W of power and 12kWh of usable energy (100% depth-of-discharge is OK for these types of cells).

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Ian explaining how the molten salt battery from Fiamm works. 9.6kWh and 250A of peak output at 48V!

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Aquion batteries have no exposed conductive parts… great for resting your tools on.

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Daryn and Matt connecting up an SP Pro 5kW inverter to Aquion batteries.

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Good crimping action.

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Three is faster than one.