Has anyone here managed to get full refunds on terrible solar system?
Hi @Maz and welcome to the community.
A terrible solar system seems like an outcome no one would want. It may help others in the community to help with feedback if
- Who and what brand is your solar PV system?
- What region of Australia I’d if installed in?
- What capacity is the system supplied?
- In which ways is the system terrible?
Have you been back to the supplier with your issues and what has their response been?
The more you can share the easier it will be for others to provide feedback and advice.
8kw sma inverters.
9kw Glc solar panels
Gnb lead gel battery.
7kw honda genset
From what I can now gather the solar panels failed and therfore the batteries did not get properly maintained and failed too.
At the time I though battery failed because installer didnt install autostart on the genset and therefore didnt operate the maintenance cycle.
Installer said we were using too much power so added extra 5kw of solar and inverter. And added autostart- but now I know my 9kw panels in 4 years only produced 20mwh
If it is an off- grid system, your panels (+generator in cloudy weather) will only produce as much output as you use, plus a bit, 10-20%, to cover the inefficiencies of Lead-acid battery chemistry. Output is not continuously at maximum, such as when exporting to the grid.
Thank you for the extra info.
From this it appears your system is an off grid setup. There are others in the community with more knowledge and experience on the technical side.
The majority of owners who install solar PV systems are totally reliant on the technical abilities of the designer/supplier/installer. You are not alone. There are owners with systems that simply work as intended and who get good support when things are not quite right. We’ve installed two grid connected PV systems now approx two years old. One has been trouble free. The other has performed Ok but has issues with the network line supply voltage.
As a consumer performance and warranty outcomes also depend on the reliability and good faith of the business you purchased the system from.
Have you discussed your concerns with the business that supplied and subsequently repaired and upgraded your system? What has been their response? Feel free to mention who they are and if they are still trading.
It may assist the discussion to clarify if the system performance is still an ongoing concern. Are you confident the system you have is operating as it should today after the upgrade?
Solar Naturally in Perth.
They added extra 5kw panels. But problems remain. Genset cant connect to system automatically and our battery is basically dead.
They offered new batteries but I dont want new batteries with the same set up.
I dont know if its inverters or solar panels. So off grid the inverters only measure what you use?
Or it could be the way it has been designed or installed. Do you know if they are experienced in installing off-grid systems or main experience is to install grid connected systems? I couldn’t get clarification from their website.
It seems that they are trying to fix the system by making it bigger/changing components, when the installation or design could be issue.
I am interested in this issue, in no way an expert, but was this system designed purposely as an off-grid solution, or one that could operate as one in case the utility power went out, or one that could store power and minimise taking power from the grid?
I would think that the design imperatives are very different in each case.
Most inverters will only measure their output. Most good quality charge controllers will measure what they output, into batteries + loads.
I take it you have 2 X 8kW SMA inverters? What model are they?
Do you have any charge controllers, or is the system AC coupled?
Do you have any system monitoring - battery voltage, state of charge, load current, battery input current etc?
Also, what is your battery capacity, (the rating when new)?
Thanks for that. They seem to have a reasonable assessment from the SolarQuotes web site.
If you are able to, responding to @gordon questions as best you can would be best. Off grid and battery storage is an area of particular interest, if you are seeking some further feedback.
There are certainly other battery options to lead acid GEL cells. Depending on your needs they may not have been the best recommendation. I’ll leave that discussion to @gordon.
It is interesting that the information from the company (first post) indicates:
and there is a question mark next to off grid solar. I wonder if they are bit more off than they can chew in relation to @maz system.
Maybe @maz should be asking Solar Naturally to commission a off grid solar specialist to look at the design and installation to check that this is not where the problem lies.
Those ticks and question marks may not be a reliable indicator of what they do, I’ve noticed that many companies do not keep their info up to date with every review site, having seen it many times over the years, in a previous job.
Can you give an idea of how much energy you were actually using per day when this was said?
Well im not very good with this stuff. But looking at limited information available available the system max production was not even 400kwh!
They sounded experienced during sales. But after 4 years and 7 visits and no resolutions I feel like they have no idea what they are doing. Very stressful
They sent their offgrid specialist to hVe a look and his solution was to disconnect genset from
System. So basically genset has to be manually turned on and off when needed now
I had an sma 5kw and 3kw inverter i stalled originally to maych 9kw of solar panels. This i have some information on as it has a display on the front of inverter and was connected to online system fir over a year but now no data uploading anymore.
Than they added extra 5kw solar and sma inveter that i have no data on as it was never logged online and has no display.
Batteries is gnb gel lead acid. I think 24x 2.4amp…but need to double check paper work.
And 8kwh battery inverter sma as well
I hope that makes sense
It really depends on how much you use per day as to whether or not 250 - 400kWh/month is good or not. In winter that range is typical for me, and I run a few more loads than most off-gridders.
Is there a kWh meter on your switchboard?
What about battery voltage monitoring - do you have a display or log of it?
A solution that disconnects the genset seems like an extremely strange one! There is an alternative way to start your genny independently and automatically, based on battery voltage, rather than any state of charge estimate triggered by the inverter, in case that is the problem. It’s called a relay driver (Morningstar RD1), one of which I use myself.
Re the battery, 24 X 2V cells means it’s probably a 48V system, although 24V is a possibility, but less ideal. The cells should have an AH rating, but it will be a lot more than 2.4. Perhaps 240AH?
If they are 240AH, then based on your generation, I suspect the battery may be too small for the job, especially with a non-functional auto-start generator.
That will be 8kW, and in addition to the 5kW and 3kW, could handle some very large loads, depending rather a lot on the battery spec.
OK, battery is 824AH, giving ~20kWh usable to 50% depth of discharge.
Based on your system max production (does that include the generator?), the battery should be sufficient for your (still unknown) energy usage, although I’m assuming the system production was meeting your loads.
If the battery was run to high depths of discharge and left there for days at a time, say in extended cloudy weather periods, its capacity could well have suffered a drastic reduction. I’m assuming that the charging voltages have been properly configured, but have heard of plenty of instances of incorrect voltage set points being used, which will reduce battery life.
Are you able to go overnight without the inverter dropping out, or do you need to run the generator?
Why do you think the PV panels have failed? Do they appear damaged at all, what voltage and current are they producing? Are they suffering any shading at all?
Do you have any massive loads that might require over 15kW of inverter output? I think they may have overdone things with 3 inverters- IMO a better option would be DC coupling- PV panels charging the battery via a charge controller. In any case, I think your battery would struggle to deliver that much power for very long.
I find that a bit confusing, since the Sunny Boy 5kW and 3kW inverters will not run standalone, that’s what the Sunny Island 8.0H inverter is required for, so it makes no sense to have that added later.