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  • Adding to existing Sunpower system

    Hi everyone, new member here and i have a question for you all. My new home(in 2017) came with a 2kW, 6 panel Sunpower system which consists of their 335 X-series panels with the Sunpower branded microinverters. Like many others, Sunpower has come out and replaced the microinverters in all of the panels to their newest(before switching to enphase) rev (mi-c-320-us208/240-10) due to some of the original ones going bad.

    My question is, if i buy some second hand Sunpower panels along with the same P/N microinverters to add on to my system, do the new inverters need to be comissioned or the system layout updated by logging into my PVS5x which i don't have the password to do? Or will everything just work when i plug them in?

    I've been in the public access part of the PVS5x where it shows basic info but i cannot configure anything without actually logging in.

    I've searched high and low on the internet and also searched through some of the pages here to see if i could find anything but i didn't. Forgive me if this info is elsewhere on this site.


    thanks!!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Rsmith2597 View Post
    ............
    My question is, if i buy some second hand Sunpower panels along with the same P/N microinverters to add on to my system, do the new inverters need to be comissioned or the system layout updated by logging into my PVS5x which i don't have the password to do? Or will everything just work when i plug them in?
    ........
    There are a couple of issues that I can see from your post.
    Your existing NEM agreement may limit the amount of additional solar that you can add without asking permission of your power provider.
    The second issue is about the service arrangement you may have or have inherited from the company that installed your system and may still be obligated under a warranty. They may be able to answer your question about whether they will allow a self installed micro inverter to be commissioned and/or updated to the system layout and monitored by their account.

    If you find out that your NEM agreement allows you to add some capacity but the original installer does not want to give you access to their system there are some workarounds. Most micro inverters will boot up on their own without being configured. I did that recently with four Enphase IQ-7s that I installed. Other brands may be different. I did connect them to a separate circuit so there would be no confusion with an existing Solaredge system. I initially tracked their production with a simple current clamp that I put on that circuit. Later I upgraded to an Enphase Envoy which purchased and obtained a monitoring account from Enphase. I then commisioned them so I could see them in the layout. I did that with a building permit and the assumption for any recommendation above is that it be done in compliance with the building code in your area.
    Last edited by Ampster; 08-12-2020, 02:01 PM.
    9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

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    • #3
      Thanks for your response Ampster. I posted a longer post in the new member section but nobody has responded yet so i posted an abbreviated version here. Here's the rest of my original post, i've already relocated the Sunpower system myself and i'm already operating at Tier 2 with my power company. I'll say that Sunpower doesn't seem to care a lick about me since i didn't purchase the system myself, it was part of the builder incentive.


      From other post:

      i'll try to answer some questions up front that you may ask:

      I'm an electrical engineer by trade and am very familiar with PV solar systems. In my last home I added on to its series string/central inverter system which was easy.

      This Sunpower system has already been relocated by me to my lanai roof to make room for a 40 panel, 13kW system with a Solar Edge inverter with optimizers(not installed by me) with 2 Tesla Powerwalls(which are amazing BTW)

      I'm already authorized/certified to be operating at Tier 2 levels with my utility so that detail is completely kosher

      I know i can only add 6 more panels for a total of 12 for that branch per the microinverter specs

      The panels i'm looking at purchasing to add to the system are Sunpower 305W that i can get for a really good deal from a local wholesaler, and their specs match up perfectly with the mi-c-320-us208/240-10 specs

      I live in Orlando, FL and would follow all requirements(probably go a little beyond) to ensure i'm meeting the rail mounting wind requirements

      We have a 4000sf home with a pool heated by an electric heat pump(don't use in summer) and like to keep the AC at 68 at night when we sleep so before the large solar system was installed we averaged 80-ish kWh/day. We are set in our ways and the AC settings are non negotiable so please don't say just raise the temp to save on power

      I'm so close to having no electric bill(minus the connection fee and taxes) and the additional 6 panels should just put me over the top.
      Last edited by Rsmith2597; 08-12-2020, 02:33 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Rsmith2597 View Post
        Thanks for your response Ampster. I posted a longer post in the new member section but nobody has responded yet so i posted an abbreviated version here.
        If you haven't already found it, the teslamotorsclub.com forum is an invaluable resource for tricks and insights into getting the most out of your Powerwalls. I have been a member there since I purchased my first EV which was not a Tesla but had a Tesla drive train. The Tesla Energy subforum is a great resource.
        I live in the wine country of California and we have had a lot of safety power outages during fire season and Tesla sent a regional update to Powewall users to temporarily charge their Powerwalls from the grid so that they would begin the power shutoffs with full batteries. I love that kind of software adapability.

        .....
        The panels i'm looking at purchasing to add to the system are Sunpower 305W that i can get for a really good deal from a local wholesaler, and their specs match up perfectly with the mi-c-320-us208/240-10 specs
        ..........
        Thanks for the background. I didn't mean to insult your intelligence and I threw in the building code reference to satisfy the moderators who are paranoid about getting sued for advice on this forum that might be interpreted as supporting non code compliant alterations. It does make it clear to other readers.
        Incidentally I purchased similar Sunpower panels used a couple of years ago. Mine were 96 cell panels and I used the recommended IQ-7 plus 96 micros but I have never seen more than 250 Watts. They are not oriented optimally and I am happy because that brought me in at just the 1kW limit of my existing NEM agreement.
        On another property I have a Sunpower system but it is a rental and I don't interact with it much at all. Therefore I don't know much about the software. Did you say that they upgraded to Enphase micros? If they are IQ models another work around would be to buy an Envoy, register it with Enphase and commission all your micros under that Envoy and forget the Sunpower monitoring. As you may already know the powerline communication works best if the Envoy is connected to the same panel as the micros.

        There is another concurrent thread on this forum discussing monitoring issues with Sunpower.
        Last edited by Ampster; 08-12-2020, 03:09 PM.
        9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

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        • #5
          I'll have to check that out for the Powerwalls, thanks for the tip!!!

          Please don't think i was insulted by your questions, quite the opposite, i appreciate your input, i was merely trying to give the backstory

          the microinverters in the panels are the Sunpower branded ones before they switched over to using Enphase. I just have no idea if new ones added to the system will just work by plugging them in - if they need to be configured in a portal i cannot log into then i may just need to buy some enphase micros instead, i just would prefer to keep daisy chaining onto the existing Sunpower micros if i can.

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          • #6
            I wish I knew the answer. I did not understand that the panels already had Sunpower microinverters.
            9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

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            • #7
              Ampster, would you mind sending me an email at rsmith2597 MUNG gmaiL ? Thanks!
              Last edited by Mike90250; 08-17-2020, 03:36 PM. Reason: muged the email address to prevent harvesting. Moderator. Common munging operations include removing punctuation or HTML tags, data parsing, filtering, and transformation

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rsmith2597 View Post
                Ampster, would you mind sending me an email at rsmith2597 MUNG gmaiL ? Thanks!
                Sent you an email at your handle at gmail dot com. Assuming I interpreted the munging correctly.
                It hasn't bounced back as undeliverable.
                9 kW solar. Driving EVs since 2012

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