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Old 11th August 2017, 6:38 PM   #1
Matthew kane Thread Starter
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Default VIC: Solar inverter question

Got a question, so my inverter needs to be replaced and I've got in contact with the sparky guy that installed it in the first place, he has the new replacement but has told me today that since the job will be essentially a new install, a new electrician certificate will be issued for the job.

Since this will be a new install, as of recent, his supplier has informed him that a new wifi/alarm extension box (whatever it is) will need to be fitted alongside with the new inverter and it is mandatory based off some local regulation.

He says it is about $200-250, essentially a monitoring system on the go, you can view your power generation for that day on mobile, has alarm trip system to shut-off/cut-off inverter in event of a problem.

True or false?
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Old 11th August 2017, 8:29 PM   #2
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I actually haven't heard about a wifi/alarm extension box being required.

What I do know:

new regulations for solar generation installations since 2015.

Changes are articulated here and here.

Changes around wiring, earthing and isolation of circuits. Mainly due to newer style transformerless inverters becoming more popular e.g. they don't really make transformer inverters anymore.

Transformer inverters by design had isolation between AC and DC circuits, transformerless ones do not.

If you install a new inverter now, it is essentially treated as a new install in order to comply with the new requirements "and" if you currently have a premium feed-in-tarrif, you may lose it if you increase the amount of generation.

Solar quotes is another great place to find information.

I was lucky (sort of) as I had one of the notoriously sh!t Aerosharp inverters (transformer type) and it faulted at the end of last year. Luckily through True Value solar the inverter had a 10 year warranty and it was replaced with a same capacity transformerless one under warranty including the wiring upgrade.

I got a new Goodwe inverter (not the most reputable) but it has wireless built in and I can monitor it via an app on my phone.

In the first link there is a picture of the new isolators required by the new installation standards. I didn't have that before, but do now.

So in terms of what the sparky is telling you, maybe there has been a misunderstanding.

According to solar quotes, inverters must have:

A DC isolation switch isolates the inverter from the solar panels. This prevents damage to the inverter or household appliances if there is a fault with the solar panels.

An AC isolation switch isolates the inverter from the grid to protect the inverter in case of a fault in the grid.

A safety switch that will turn off the inverter and isolate it from the grid in case of a blackout. If this did not happen your Solar System could send electricity into the grid. This, in turn would be a danger to any mains grid technicians that come to check the grid.

Perhaps the sparky was saying adding those isolators that are shown in the first link will cost an extra $200??

I think there is a mix up between the new wifi capability and the requirement to have an isolator. Most new inverters already come with wifi, it's pretty standard.

Perhaps as a few more questions now you now more?

What about warranty??
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Old 11th August 2017, 9:09 PM   #3
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Those things I'm already aware as we've had a solar inverter installed, upgraded and replaced twice past 6 years, so the new inverter will be a replacement over our current one till the installer mentioned the wifi box thing. So was wondering if he was bs'ing (he said his supplier told him this) or is true. I can't find a thing on such a regulation via google.
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Old 11th August 2017, 10:26 PM   #4
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Could be to permit for a DRED on your inverter. Actual use of the DRM modes that's in a lot of fixed devices has been relatively rare but more interest has gone into it lately due to renewable penetration percentages going up.
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Old 11th August 2017, 11:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtma View Post
Could be to permit for a DRED on your inverter. Actual use of the DRM modes that's in a lot of fixed devices has been relatively rare but more interest has gone into it lately due to renewable penetration percentages going up.
Dred? The inverter is a bog standard 5kw Growatt.
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Old 12th August 2017, 12:44 PM   #6
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To update this thread, my installer came out and installed the new inverter and what turned out to be a wifi module was just a monitoring system for the inverter. No charge was made.
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Old 12th August 2017, 1:03 PM   #7
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Monitoring how??

A separate add-on or in-built. Just curious.

Was the inverter replaced under warranty? Is there a reason they keep faulting? Is it positioned in direct sunlight (afternoon sun).

Curious. Mine was on the west wall in direct afternoon sun. I was amazed it lasted that long. When they replaced it, it was moved to the east wall where it get morning sun, but no afternoon sun. The difference in efficiency is amazing. I have actually exceeded the theoretical panel capacity in the right conditions (for short periods).
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Old 12th August 2017, 1:41 PM   #8
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DRED : Demand Response Enabling Device

This link is for A/C's but explains it relatively plainly:
http://www.temperzone.biz/AU-Home/Te.../What-is-DRED/

At present AS4777.2 2015 requires inverters to support DRM0 which shuts the inverter down. For feed-in inverters, there are also modes permitting the throttling of feed in but support is optional. (For air conditioners, heaters, battery inverters and other devices, there are modes to permit limitation of power consumption)

The fact that the box was free and supposedly required due to local regulations kind of suggests that the Growatt might need it to support interface with a DRED, and the power company wants these to be installed in your area, although I'm speculating here because I didn't see anything on a brief dig on details of your inverter.

TLDR: power company wants to throttle your power.
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Old 12th August 2017, 1:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtma View Post
TLDR: power company wants to throttle your power.
By power company you mean the DNSP and not your Retailer. And to avoid misconceptions, they aren't throttling your power just because they can, but to ensure quality of supply.
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Old 12th August 2017, 4:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willo View Post
Monitoring how??

A separate add-on or in-built. Just curious.

Was the inverter replaced under warranty? Is there a reason they keep faulting? Is it positioned in direct sunlight (afternoon sun).

Curious. Mine was on the west wall in direct afternoon sun. I was amazed it lasted that long. When they replaced it, it was moved to the east wall where it get morning sun, but no afternoon sun. The difference in efficiency is amazing. I have actually exceeded the theoretical panel capacity in the right conditions (for short periods).
It's part of the inverter package and its connected to the wifi for me to monitor via laptop or the mobile through the provided program.

Replaced and upgraded under warranty (not a cent from us), the existing Growatt we had wasn't faulty functionally but we felt the readings with power generation wasn't correct.

With our inverter, the sun is the strongest in the morning up until 2pm in the afternoon. I scraped the internals of the old Effekta that blew up and used half the case as a shade for new inverters installed after it. Works pretty well.

Our ownership of inverter in following order: Elektra (blew up, literally), Growatt x2, JFY, SMA and now a Sungrow.
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Last edited by Matthew kane; 12th August 2017 at 4:38 PM.
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Old 13th August 2017, 12:35 PM   #11
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It sounds like he's trying to upsell an addon for the Inverter.

I didn't need the wifi addon for my Xantrex. There should be an ethernet port for remote monitoring. The wifi addons are basically a branded wifi bridge that plugs into the ethernet socket afaik.

Ask him for details on the regulation and who is requiring it.
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Old 13th August 2017, 3:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMaus View Post
It sounds like he's trying to upsell an addon for the Inverter.

I didn't need the wifi addon for my Xantrex. There should be an ethernet port for remote monitoring. The wifi addons are basically a branded wifi bridge that plugs into the ethernet socket afaik.

Ask him for details on the regulation and who is requiring it.
Nah turned out his supplier was talking shit and trying to sell some add on modules which he thought the monitoring system in the separate box was as he picked it up day before installation. When he came and we went through the boxes turns out it was same package.

So it was all good.
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