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).

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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.

Advanced battery technologies

Students working and monitoring a range of battery technologies at SolarQuip training facility near Melbourne.

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Gary explaining to his fellow students how the GiantPower system works in various hybrid modes.

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Peter programming the Schneider XW+ and new Conext Battery Monitor system.

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Students learning about passive solar design.

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Rod Dewar from Fronius shows how the Fronius Galvo inverter can be used in manage a.c. coupling mode with the Victron Multiplus battery inverter.

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The classroom.

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Ecoult “UltraFlex” 20kW battery with three-phase Selectronic SP Pro’s and ABB solar inverters in managed a.c. coupling mode.

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Jerry crimping some 70mm cable for the Narada “carbon” lead acid sealed batteries.

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Phil from Victron explains how the Victron web portal allows for remote monitoring.

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Thermal image of SP Pro’s and Sonnenschein batteries. Note the heat from direct solar radiation onto the righthand end of batteries – not a good location. Shading needs to be fitted.

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Sonnenschein A600 Solar batteries.

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Finished enclosure with an acrylic “see-what-you-paid-for” window.

Hybrid/Off-Grid Course – December 2015

December 2015 Solar Hybrid/Off-Grid Class
December 2015 Solar Hybrid/Off-Grid Class
Glen Morris demonstrates the Ecoult UltraFlex and 3 phase SP Pro system
Glen Morris demonstrates the Ecoult UltraFlex and 3 phase SP Pro system

Glen Morris from the Australian Solar Council is running a series of “Solar + Storage” courses in 2016. Enrolments are open now at http://solarquip.com.au/product/solarstorage/

Photos from the last training course where we had many guest presenters showing some of their technology to the attendees.

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Paul Liddell from Redback Tech explaining some of the advance hybrid features of their new Redback inverter

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Fiamm molten salt battery. 7.6kWh of usable storage in a small package.

Rod installing the Studer-Innotec XTM4000 inverter
Rod installing the Studer-Innotec XTM4000 inverter

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Afternoon tea time

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Geoff Bragg (Board Member of the Australian Solar Council) – in hat – explaining how the Studer-Innotec system works.

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Ian showing us the amazing Fiamm molten salt battery

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Tom explaining how they have configured the GiantPower IPS as a quick to setup UPS or off-grid system.

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Power trailer – Plasmatronics Dingo equipped.

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Noel explaining to his fellow students how they setup the OutBack Power FM80 MPPT charge controller.

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Phil from Victron Energy showing the students their range of hybrid and off-grid inverters and MPPT charge controllers.

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Phil showing the Victron web portal.

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Andrew demonstrates the power trailer’s features.

ATA Review of SolarQuip Training Course

ReNew article on Going Hybrid

Solar PV hybrid training course (review by ATA)

by Andrew Reddaway

Earlier this year I attended the Australian Solar Council’s Solar PV Hybrid Training course. Below is a student’s perspective as a guide to others considering this course.

Four days from 9 am to 5 pm were split between classroom lessons, hands-on exercises and special activities. No prior experience was required—attending with me were a mix of solar installers broadening their service offering, utility employees, university students and specialists in renewables and energy efficiency.

Classes were comprehensive, detailing the entire workings of a solar electricity system from the photovoltaic cells to calculating how much battery capacity is required for an off-grid house, to rule-of-thumb cost estimates. Concepts were illustrated with real-life examples, including common pitfalls such as poor planning, unrealistic expectations and commercial pressures.

I found Glen Morris’s teaching style engaging and relaxed. Participant questions frequently sparked lively discussion among the whole group, giving useful insights
into broader issues such as the electricity ‘death spiral’. As a long-term off-grid solar installer, trainer and vice-president of the Australian Solar Council, Glen’s depth of knowledge is outstanding. Outside class, we had many opportunities to pick his brains about specific issues. A solar installer who lives at Moora Moora assisted Glen, and
an equipment manufacturer also gave a presentation.

Most hands-on exercises were held in a shed kitted out with solar panels, a wind turbine and a range of off-grid equipment. DC voltages were kept low, enabling all participants to join in safely. Working in a few groups, Glen assigned us tasks culminating

in a small, off-grid solar system. Just like chefs in a kitchen, competition for tools was sometimes evident! Participants with electrical qualifications were given tasks in an operational equipment room that supplies electricity at 230 V to a group

of buildings. The gear in this room was impressive—manufacturers often supply Glen with new models for testing.

Other exercises included using devices to calculate the shade cast by a tree at different times of the year. We also toured the facilities at nearby inverter manufacturer Selectronic.

The course is held at Moora Moora Cooperative, an off-grid community located on Mount Toolebewong near Healesville, 70 km from Melbourne. The community’s heart is an old farmhouse, with members living in clusters of houses scattered in the surrounding bush.

One afternoon we toured some of the houses (including Glen’s) to check out their off-grid systems. We saw a broad variety of approaches including micro-hydro, defunct wind turbines, passive solar, solar hot water and mini-grids servicing multiple houses.

Most course participants took advantage of the included accommodation: backpacker-style bunkrooms upstairs in the well-heated farmhouse. However one Melbournite stayed at a B&B in Healesville where his family was holidaying. A highlight of the week was the food; three meals plus morning and afternoon tea expertly cooked by a chef who lives in the community!

Andrew attended the course in exchange for advertising in ReNew and this course review. See www.cleanenergy.org.au/training/solar- pv-hybrid-training for course details.

Hybrid/Off-Grid Training at Moora Moora

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Neil installing a Schneider Conext RL inverter and a.c. coupling it to an XW+ inverter in hybrid mode.

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Lawrence checking the solar resource of the site using the Solar Pathfinder.

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Josh and Jerry with the newly installed Narada REXC (carbon nano tube cathode VRLA batteries).

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The classroom at Moora Moora Coop.

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One of the three training areas. This semi outdoor area is where small systems are built by students, tested and then reconfigured or removed by the next course. Students on the right are building a Giant Power IPS and IGS system that combines both grid-connect and off-grid inverters in series configuration.

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Lawrence, Neil and Mark solving a ModBus RS485 communication problem.

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Mark showing how to use a digital oscilloscope to “capture” a ModBus packet sequence and to look for poor termination or interference on the cable.

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T1 is the “hybrid” training room. Systems by Selectronic, Kaco, AERL, Studer-Innotec, Fronius, SolaX and Alpha ESS are all installed.

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Students building the PV module testing wall. Panels are put onto an IV curve generator and tested for faults.

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Site visits to one of the many off-grid homes (30+) at Moora Moora Coop gives the students an experience of what real systems look like and how they are used and managed.

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This system is a small d.c. coupled SPS system with 24V flooded wet cell batteries, Outback VFX inverter and Outback FM80 charge controller. An old Plasmatronics PL20 is left connected (after the last upgrade) as it provides a good state-of-charge monitoring system for the home.

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The view from one of the residences at Moora Moora Coop. Situated on top of Mount Toolebewong (65km from Melbourne) at an altitude of up to 800m. The temperature can get very cold in winter with occasional snow (none this course).

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Closeup of digital oscilloscope showing RS485 cable being monitored for ModBus signalling.