So after years of gradually building up our renewable system, we’ve definitely got to the point where its perfectly capable of supplying us with enough power, but the thing about building a system as you go along is that its a learning process, and sometimes you use what’s available rather than what’s ideal. The result was a system that was losing a significant portion of the energy coming in, through inefficient wiring and components, some of which weren’t properly fused.

Out with the old – on the right the rectifier, turning 50-500v ‘wild’ 3 phase AC into DC, and on the left the inverter, turning it back into 240V AC. We’ll keep this as a backup

and in with the new – this is a giant MPPT (maximum power point tracking) controller, that will take up to 6000W apparently, and puts out 24v. 30kg and its very lovely

So we’ve tidied up all the solar controllers, top right, and put in the biggest cables they’ll take. We now have two Victron 24/3000 multiplus units, the new Bornay, and 2000Ah of batteries. Finally I think I’m happy with the installation

The wind turbine was the worst culprit. It was a grid tied wind turbine, with an inverter approaching ten years old. The main problem was that the turbine produces AC, which was then rectified to DC, fed into the inverter, turned back into AC, which then ran through the inverter/chargers back into DC and into the batteries, losing some power at each stage. Also the turbine produced little in a low wind, and a lot of the time was spinning pointlessly. Fortunately Bornay are the sort of company that continually improves its products, and so they’ve now produced new MPPT controllers that rectify the AC from the turbine into DC and feed it direct to the batteries.

The results are startling – its like having a new wind turbine. It produces power almost as soon as the wind gets it turning, and now we can monitor it remotely using Bornay‘s own software. We’ve an anemometer coming too, which will help improve performance further, as well as allow Bornay to improve the curve data that makes sure the turbine produces as much as it can all the time. The turbine controller also uses Modbus, a language that our Victron kit can understand (in theory), so we should be able to integrate it all.

The display from the Bornay monitoring system

I’m going to keep the old Aurora and rectifier on the wall as a backup, but took out one of our inverter-chargers to help pay for the changes, and the power wall has had a tidy up. I’ve replaced the old exposed bus bars with a new Victron Lynx power in unit which means that all the consumers in the system – inverters, controllers, etc are all properly fused, and there’s no chance of accidentally putting a spanner between the old metal bus bars, which would be exciting.

I like Bornay as a company – they’re based in Castalla in Spain, and are a socially responsible, environmentally conscious organisation, founded in the 1970’s by Juan Bornay. That I can phone them up and get support in their second language says a lot, and because they’ve been refining their product for 50 years now, its tried, tested and well supported. They focus mainly on southern europe, but they deserve to be more widely recognised up here in Ireland and the UK.