In need of Conext Designer software 2.0

Options
tijany
tijany Registered Users Posts: 5 ✭✭
edited February 2016 in General Solar Power Topics #1
Hi my guys, please i need your help. I am trying to build a 10KW solar power for my home to support my home needs in case of grid failure and my cisco lab for my network devices, 1 cisco router 2951. 2 cisco 3750 switch and 1 Dell Server R610 with 717W with 1 HP AC for cooling running minimum 10 hours a day. I like the Schneider equipments because of the monitoring features.

40 x Suntech STP260-24 panels, Schneider XW8548 Inverter, Conext MPPT 80 600 solar charge controller, 8 x 12V 260A AGM Batteries.

My problem is i cant download the Conert Designer software 2.0 on their website to size the solar properly for my need. I will be very grateful if someone in this forum could help upload and share the software on 4shared or dropbox or any means to download the software.

Your response will be very much appreciated. Cheers

Comments

  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,522 admin
    Options
    I am guessing you are looking for "Conext" Designer software?

    http://solar.schneider-electric.com/product/conext-designer/

    It appears to be sold by Schneider--So I am not sure you will find a "free" package floating around here...

    However, we can at least help you with the major parts of the paper design/sizing of your system, if you wish...

    For example, the 8x 12 volt 260 AH AGM battery bank seems awfully small for such a large array. That is only 520 AH @ 48 volt battery bank. For a 10,400 Watt array, our typical rule of thumb would be for a minimum of ~1,040 AH @ 48 volt battery bank.

    And, if you are from UAE (guessing), the amount of sun you will receive is (fixed array, facing south, tilted to optimum year round collection):

    http://solarelectricityhandbook.com/solar-irradiance.html

    Abu Dhabi
    Average Solar Insolation figures

    Measured in kWh/m2/day onto a solar panel set at a 66° angle from vertical:
    (For best year-round performance)

    Abu Dhabi
    Average Solar Insolation figures

    Measured in kWh/m2/day onto a solar panel set at a 66° angle from vertical:
    (For best year-round performance)
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
    5.09
     
    5.69
     
    5.57
     
    6.16
     
    6.56
     
    6.40
     
    Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    5.84
     
    5.97
     
    6.26
     
    6.24
     
    5.57
     
    4.82
     
    A 10,400 Watt array would output at least (long term average):
    • 10,400 Watt array * 0.52 typical off grid system eff * 5.09 hours (January average) per day sun = 27,527 Watt*Hours per day of 230 VAC 50 Hz power for an average January day (other months would be more).
    A typical full time off grid system would have enough stored power for 2 days and a maximum of 50% discharge. Such a battery bank would be:
    • 27,527 WH per day * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/48 volt nominal battery bank * 2 days * 1/0.50 max discharge = 2,699 AH battery bank nominal (guessing from your size of solar array.
    Another way to look at the battery bank sizing, is that 5% to 13% rate of charge is recommended for solar charging of battery bank. 5% is good for backup and weekend/seasonal usage. For a full time off grid system, 10% to 13% rate of charge is recommended.
    • 2,699 AH * 59 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.05 rate of charge = 10,340 Watt array minimum
    • 2,699 AH * 59 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.10 rate of charge = 20,681 Watt array nominal
    • 2,699 AH * 59 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.13 rate of charge = 26,885 Watt array "cost effective" maximum
    So, there are some guesses... Somewhere around a 1,000 AH to 2,700 AH @ 48 volt battery bank. And around a 10.3 kWatt to 27.0 kWatt array based on the little bit of information from what you have given so far regarding loads (working backwards).

    And is 27.5 kWH per day (January long term average) or (x30 days per month=) 825 kWH per month enough to run your loads? Computers, Air Conditioning, and even a Refrigerator consume lots of energy... Is this "enough" power (in January) to supply your needs? Other months will have more sun, but not that much more...

    Do you need 1 day of backup power, or should it be 2 days?

    How often does you power go down? You can get away with a smaller AGM battery bank, but deep cycling it will dramatically reduce its life span.

    Will you have a backup generator?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • tijany
    tijany Registered Users Posts: 5 ✭✭
    Options
    BB. said:
    I am guessing you are looking for "Conext" Designer software?

    http://solar.schneider-electric.com/product/conext-designer/

    It appears to be sold by Schneider--So I am not sure you will find a "free" package floating around here...

    However, we can at least help you with the major parts of the paper design/sizing of your system, if you wish...

    For example, the 8x 12 volt 260 AH AGM battery bank seems awfully small for such a large array. That is only 520 AH @ 48 volt battery bank. For a 10,400 Watt array, our typical rule of thumb would be for a minimum of ~1,040 AH @ 48 volt battery bank.

    And, if you are from UAE (guessing), the amount of sun you will receive is (fixed array, facing south, tilted to optimum year round collection):

    http://solarelectricityhandbook.com/solar-irradiance.html

    Abu Dhabi
    Average Solar Insolation figures

    Measured in kWh/m2/day onto a solar panel set at a 66° angle from vertical:
    (For best year-round performance)

    Abu Dhabi
    Average Solar Insolation figures

    Measured in kWh/m2/day onto a solar panel set at a 66° angle from vertical:
    (For best year-round performance)
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
    5.09
     
    5.69
     
    5.57
     
    6.16
     
    6.56
     
    6.40
     
    Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    5.84
     
    5.97
     
    6.26
     
    6.24
     
    5.57
     
    4.82
     
    A 10,400 Watt array would output at least (long term average):
    • 10,400 Watt array * 0.52 typical off grid system eff * 5.09 hours (January average) per day sun = 27,527 Watt*Hours per day of 230 VAC 50 Hz power for an average January day (other months would be more).
    A typical full time off grid system would have enough stored power for 2 days and a maximum of 50% discharge. Such a battery bank would be:
    • 27,527 WH per day * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/48 volt nominal battery bank * 2 days * 1/0.50 max discharge = 2,699 AH battery bank nominal (guessing from your size of solar array.
    Another way to look at the battery bank sizing, is that 5% to 13% rate of charge is recommended for solar charging of battery bank. 5% is good for backup and weekend/seasonal usage. For a full time off grid system, 10% to 13% rate of charge is recommended.
    • 2,699 AH * 59 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.05 rate of charge = 10,340 Watt array minimum
    • 2,699 AH * 59 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.10 rate of charge = 20,681 Watt array nominal
    • 2,699 AH * 59 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings * 0.13 rate of charge = 26,885 Watt array "cost effective" maximum
    So, there are some guesses... Somewhere around a 1,000 AH to 2,700 AH @ 48 volt battery bank. And around a 10.3 kWatt to 27.0 kWatt array based on the little bit of information from what you have given so far regarding loads (working backwards).

    And is 27.5 kWH per day (January long term average) or (x30 days per month=) 825 kWH per month enough to run your loads? Computers, Air Conditioning, and even a Refrigerator consume lots of energy... Is this "enough" power (in January) to supply your needs? Other months will have more sun, but not that much more...

    Do you need 1 day of backup power, or should it be 2 days?

    How often does you power go down? You can get away with a smaller AGM battery bank, but deep cycling it will dramatically reduce its life span.

    Will you have a backup generator?

    -Bill
    Hi Bill,

    Thanks so much for this great info, your explanation had really made a whole lots of things much more easier.

    Yes, "Conext" Designer software. I tried searching everywhere but couldn't download the software, so i thought someone with any version of the software here could help and share.

    I will be planning for 2 days backup power, power goes down in this area like 2 to 4 hours a day, but not planning of using backup generator. I intend maximizing the solar energy we have in the country.

    To simplify things now as per your explanation, kindly help clarify my doubts

    1. 16x 12 volt 260 AH AGM battery bank minimum?
    2. Will this battery bank be able to power this requirement for 24 hours or just 10 hours in a day as per the 10kW we are considering?
    3. How many Conext MPPT 80 600 solar charge controller should i use and is the XW8548 Inverter okay for this requirement?
    4. Will the 40 x Suntech STP260-24 panels be enough or i should add more?
    5. With this usage and from your experience, like how many years life span will the AGM battery will use?
    6. Do i need any other conext devices to optimise my systems?

    Sorry for my funny questions as am still a beginner unlike you expert.

    Thank you in anticipation of your response.

    Warm regards


  • vtmaps
    vtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,741 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    tijany said:
    With this usage and from your experience, like how many years life span will the AGM battery will use?
    If you use 16 12volt batteries in a 48 volt configuration, you will have 4 parallel strings of batteries. 

    Generally speaking, that is extremely poor design for a system that cycles frequently.   The problem with parallel batteries is the current does not tend to divide equally among the parallel strings when they are being charged.  AGM batteries are particularly prone to the problem because of their low internal resistance.... the resistance in the wiring is 'magnified' by their lower resistance. 

    Parallel batteries work OK in standby systems where they spend their lives floating and seldom get cycled. 

    Each string of batteries will need its own fuse.  That adds connections (more potential points of failure) to the system.  Fuse size is tricky... if one string develops high resistance all of its current will pass through the other strings... if one of those fuses blows, the current will be divided among only two strings and their fuses will blow in a cascade of dollars spent.

    The entire battery bank is only as good as its worst cell.  When you have 4 times as many cells, you have 4 times the chance of getting a bad cell that takes down the entire bank.   If you have a shorted cell somewhere, you may have overheating and thermal runaway in that string.  Hopefully its fuse will blow.  Or better yet, you got lucky and attached your temperature sensor to the overheated string which lowered the charging voltage enough to avoid thermal runaway, but left the remainder of the bank undercharged.

    It is a good idea to frequently monitor the current in the battery strings for imbalances... as the imbalances get greater you may have some strings discharging into other strings at the end of the charging day.  One bad cell can take down the entire bank before you notice there is a problem... when the lights go out, you've already missed the signs of impending failure.

    If you can possibly build your battery bank from a single string of flooded batteries, I suggest that you do so.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • tijany
    tijany Registered Users Posts: 5 ✭✭
    Options
    If you use 16 12volt batteries in a 48 volt configuration, you will have 4 parallel strings of batteries.  
    .

    It is a good idea to frequently monitor the current in the battery strings for imbalances... as the imbalances get greater you may have some strings discharging into other strings at the end of the charging day.  One bad cell can take down the entire bank before you notice there is a problem... when the lights go out, you've already missed the signs of impending failure.

    If you can possibly build your battery bank from a single string of flooded batteries, I suggest that you do so.
    Thanks for the hints.

    Please what configurations should i use to achieve the required battery bank if not using the parallel strings?

    From what have read i may be wrong, seems i like the AGM or the Gel type batteries more than the flooded batteries due to maintainance issues. However i will look into this though.

    Kindly help me answer my remaining questions i listed above.

    Cheers
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,522 admin
    Options
    tijany said:

    I will be planning for 2 days backup power, power goes down in this area like 2 to 4 hours a day, but not planning of using backup generator. I intend maximizing the solar energy we have in the country.
    • There are three major points when designing a battery bank. One is simply how much energy you use in 2 hours, 10 hours, 24 hours (depending on your backup requirements). The second is based on surge energy (starting heavy loads like a water pump), and third, how deeply you discharge the battery bank. Generally for lead acid, you don't want to discharge much below 50% state of charge (for longer battery life).
    • AGM have very good surge capability (you can pull a lot of energy out of them very fast/high current levels) vs Flooded Cell type deep cycle batteries.
    To simplify things now as per your explanation, kindly help clarify my doubts

    1. 16x 12 volt 260 AH AGM battery bank minimum?
    • As vtMaps said--Large numbers of parallel strings can make battery maintenance/bank stability/wiring issues more of a problem.
    • You can get large AH capacity 2 volt cells (from some battery vendors) and make a string of 2 volt batteries. Here is a 2 volt @ 1215 AH battery PVX-12150HT as an example.
    • You can also get very large "fork lift" flooded cell batteries (a group of large AH 2 volt batteries) in 12 or 24 volt modules (or "battery"--which is, in English, a group of 2 volt cells). However, these are HEAVY and you need a good way to move them around (forklift, crane, pallet jack and concrete floor, etc.). Here is an example Crown Industrial Battery - 24 Volts, 1250 Amp-hours (1,900 lbs).
    2. Will this battery bank be able to power this requirement for 24 hours or just 10 hours in a day as per the 10kW we are considering?
    • Depends on your average loads... A 1,000 AH @ 24 volt battery bank over 10 hours would support:
    • 1,000 AH * 48 volts * 0.85 inverter eff * 1/2 days of storage * 0.50 maximum discharge = 10,200 WH per day
    • 10,200 WH per day / 10 hours of operating per day = 1,020 Watt load (10 hours per day)
    • Then you have to look at your loads--A computer will draw relatively constant power over 10 hours, an Air Conditioning pump may run 50% to 100% duty cycle (depending on temperature, etc.) and could easily average more than 2,000 Watts average load by itself (very rough guess, I am not an AC engineer).
    3. How many Conext MPPT 80 600 solar charge controller should i use and is the XW8548 Inverter okay for this requirement?
    • A single 80 Amp Conext charge controller can manage an Array capacity of:
    • 80 Amps * 59 volts charging * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings = 6,130 Watt array maximum recommended per controller
    4. Will the 40 x Suntech STP260-24 panels be enough or i should add more?
    • Depends on your loads (Watt*Hours per day) and amount of sun (and size of battery bank). Computers and A/C systems draw a lot of energy. Also if you run the loads during the day time, the panels need to both charge the batteries and run the loads at the same time, so solar panels should be a bit larger.
    • In your case, if you have "afternoon" loss of utility power--Then you can always use AC mains to recharge the battery bank if the solar array is not enough--That becomes your choice (you could even install battery bank+Inverter-Charger first, and install solar panels later--A typical UPS type system).
    5. With this usage and from your experience, like how many years life span will the AGM battery will use?
    • Most likely, you would be buying European batteries (or possibly local source). And I am US based--So I cannot give you a good answer. A good quality US brand of AGM may last you 5-7 years or as little as 3 years (if lots of deep cycles). A quality "fork lift" flooded cell deep cycle battery may last you 15-20 years.
    • Remember, it is very easy to "murder" a battery bank (over/under discharging, take a battery bank "dead" once, don't keep up on maintenance/adding distilled water, running batteries too hot, etc.). Just one "mistake", and the battery bank could be dead (you leave the system on, and go on trip--Then get a 24 hour power outage that takes your bank dead--For example).
    • With Flooded Cell batteries, it is very easy to measure the specific gravity of each cell with a hydrometer. AGM are sealed batteries and you can only estimate state of charge/health of battery bank by monitoring Amps*Hours in/out of the battery bank and the voltage of each battery/cell. In general, flooded cell batteries are more rugged and forgiving of small mistakes vs AGM. And flooded cell tend to be much less expensive.
    • Almost everyone "murders" their first bank or two as they get their system design, maintenance, and usage under control. It can be very frustrating (and expensive) to replace your first bank after 1 year when you where expecting 5-10+ years from the batteries. And for a first time off grid/battery system experience, getting a cheaper "training" bank can make sense. Unfortunately, a large system like this--Batteries are going to be expensive no matter what.
    • An alternative is a smaller system and use a generator for prime/backup power while you use the small system just to power (for example) your computers only (rest of house A/C and appliances from genset) until you get experience.
    6. Do i need any other Conext devices to optimize my systems?
    • I do not sell solar power equipment. And there are a lot of details to address in designing/building a system. But some sort of integrated system/battery management device can be nice. And there is a very nice (networked) Contex management device.
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,829 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Options
    I would look at what is available locally and supported especially with the batteries.  The rest can be imported and maybe duty free?
    You have some math and numbers to run on what you really need and and making sense financially.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,522 admin
    Options
    In the US, stay away from GEL batteries for off grid/solar power systems. One major drawback is that (US) GEL batteries have around 5% maximum rate of charge. Above that, gas pockets can form in the GEL and permanently reduce battery capacity. For a true off grid power system operating daily, a 10% rate of charge is usually required to fully/quickly recharge the battery bank in the limited amount of time available (or a 2x larger AH battery bank--which has its own costs/maintenance issues). If you have AC mains/genset available--GEL may be OK.

    There are European GEL batteries that say they can charge higher than 5% (C/20) rate of charge--Assuming the brands/models you can get locally are spec'ed that way--Perhaps they would be OK.

    Remember that large Sealed Batteries (GEL, AGM) have a catalyst inside the battery cap/top of the battery which recombines the Hydrogen+Oxygen gases from charging back into water--And the catalyst (palladium or similar) do have a limited life. And once the catalyst fails, the batteries themselves quickly fail after that (vent gases/electrolyte, dry out and fail). You may be able to get new catalyst caps--But the would be expensive and you have to replace before batteries lose much of their "water".

    Size your system (battery bank) first--The battery bank is really the "heart" of your system. Once you have the system (and loads) sized, then you can start looking at hardware to support those loads.

    Remember too, electronics typically have a 10+ year life--Then need to be replaced due to failure.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • zoneblue
    zoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2016 #9
    Options
    This is not an uncommon kind of plan people present here with. You have all the compnents mapped out, but have not said anyhing about your kWh/d load requirements. Thats putting the cart before the horse.

    Secondly, you specify a very large number of solar panels, but dont say anything about the cost/quality of your grid supply service. If the overall grid energy is ok, just is unreliable, then, actually solar is not even indicated as being needed. All you need is an inverter, some batteries and a charger. Or, a UPS, and a genset, Both solutions will be considerably cheaper to build. Unless your grid power costs in excess off USD0.50/kWh, you can never hope compete on cost.

    However, assuming, you really cant reduce your critical loads, and, that you really have it as your lifes dream to own and manage a solar system, then in this situation, lead acid is the worst battery you can choose. With their much higher charge and discharge rates lithium iron phosphate cells will allow you to use a much smaller bank. EV (lithium nickel mangenese) type batterys can also be used if you know what you are doing, allowing an even smaller battery again.

    And last but not least, you just hate your power company, you hate the idea of it, or they quoted you 500K to connect, then, you can go to a full off grid design, in which case lead acid is still a good cost effective choice, and flooded cells are preferable, because they last longer. And, then, as before demand side conservation is the key to there being some change from 50K for the install.

    You may have a hot climate with lots of sun, but PV is not now the expensive part of RE systems. Batterys are, and they dont much like heat. The hotter it is the shorter they last. Regular battery replacement is a fact of life in this business.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • tijany
    tijany Registered Users Posts: 5 ✭✭
    Options
    BB. said:
    1. 16x 12 volt 260 AH AGM battery bank minimum?
    • You can get large AH capacity 2 volt cells (from some battery vendors) and make a string of 2 volt batteries. Here is a 2 volt @ 1215 AH battery PVX-12150HT as an example.
    -Bill
    Hi Bill,

    Thank you once again, you have just answered all my questions and cleared my doubts. Your technical analysis and simplified approach to explaining issues is legendary. Please keep it up.

    I will review all you said and look closely into adjusting all my load and hardware to get the best out of my solar.

    I would look at what is available locally and supported especially with the batteries.  The rest can be imported and maybe duty free?
    You have some math and numbers to run on what you really need and and making sense financially.
    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your opinion. Noted.
    zoneblue said:
    This is not an uncommon kind of plan people present here with. You have all the compnents mapped out, but have not said anyhing about your kWh/d load requirements. Thats putting the cart before the horse.

    Thanks for your help, i am still a beginner but with your help i am more informed now and will do the needful to get the best solar system.

  • tijany
    tijany Registered Users Posts: 5 ✭✭
    Options
    Hi Guys,

    After lots of digging around, i was able to download the software from their official website.


    Thanks guys for your help and support. Really appreciates
  • Jido94
    Jido94 Registered Users Posts: 1
    Options
    Hi everyone,

    I need some help. i have the conext designer but don't think I can use it that well.
    I want to add more than 1 MPPT to my design but I don't know how. Also, how do I add custom details to my design like me inputting the specifications of my panels (Vmmp, Imp and such)

    Thanks in advance for the help guys