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Sol Ark 8k a hybrid grid tied inverter that supports critical loads.

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  • Sol Ark 8k a hybrid grid tied inverter that supports critical loads.

    I want to be able to use PV during grid outages. The Sol-Ark 8k and their critical load panel looks like a pretty good solution that's "affordable". I'd start without any batteries but with a generator. Later I'll add 200AH of LIFEPO4 batteries. My solar input will be 32ea 305W panels (4 strings of 8) with Tigo rapid shutdown hardware. It appears that this choice will add about $0.40/STC watt to my cost without batteries and another $0.70 /watt for batteries. I'm pretty impressed with the Sol Ark. Has anyone here used one? Should I pay a bit more and use Tigo optimisers to get per panel monitoring?

  • Jerry Liebler
    replied
    The first "rapid shutdown" requirements required that the conductors from the PV array to the "inverter" must be shut down (for firefighter safety) but allowed high voltage to exist within the array so a single shutdown switch located very near the array was allowed. The newest code version requires that no high voltages exist in the shutdown state even within the array (this requires a shutdown "device" per panel). Tigo makes the most economical per panel shutdown hardware (TS4-R-F) without optimizer functionality and it communicates over the DC wiring, Tigo also makes optimisers that do per panel shutdown as well but these communicate by UHF "wireless" links. One cannot inter mix the Tigo solutions, a system must use either wired or wireless.

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  • mikeh19d
    replied
    Ok, well that's a new wrinkle I wasn't aware of. I'll have to take a good look at that then talk to my installer to get his opinion. Thanks for the heads up.

    Leave a comment:


  • ButchDeal
    replied
    Originally posted by mikeh19d View Post
    I'm not too sure what you mean by "Rapid Shutdown" requirements. In the event of an issue between the grid and the PV system there will be an emergency disconnect. What concerns me is if I did go with the Sol-Ark inverter I would loose the ability to monitor each panel and and if one panel had shading on it it would lower the production of the entire string. I would have to do more research into Tigo to get a better understanding and determine if their products fit my situation. As for the larger generator, my home is all electric and I'm on a well so sizing a large generator was important in the event of multiple system failures or I loose the ability to charge my batteries using the PV system.
    By Rapid Shutdown requirements particularly with respect to optimizers, people are talking about NEC 2017 rapid shutdown requirements which most states now have adopted.
    This means that if it is mounted on your home you are going to need some device that shuts down the DC voltage at the PV array quickly. This is not the same as the disconnect usually near your meter which disconnects your inverter from AC (the grid). Optimizers and micro-inverters fully meet NEC 2017 rapid shutdown requirements.
    There are some (expensive) add ons to get rapid shutdown capabilities for string inverter systems but you generally can get optimizers more cheaply which give other benefits.

    Leave a comment:


  • mikeh19d
    replied
    I'm not too sure what you mean by "Rapid Shutdown" requirements. In the event of an issue between the grid and the PV system there will be an emergency disconnect. What concerns me is if I did go with the Sol-Ark inverter I would loose the ability to monitor each panel and and if one panel had shading on it it would lower the production of the entire string. I would have to do more research into Tigo to get a better understanding and determine if their products fit my situation. As for the larger generator, my home is all electric and I'm on a well so sizing a large generator was important in the event of multiple system failures or I loose the ability to charge my batteries using the PV system.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jerry Liebler
    replied
    Originally posted by mikeh19d View Post
    Bodo...

    After watching and waiting, researching and hoping I've finally pulled the trigger on a grid-tied PV installation with battery backup and generator hookup. The meat of my current configuration is:

    34ea. Q-cell 325w Mono PV Panels
    1ea. Sol-Ark 8kW Hybrid Inverter
    8ea. PCC200 Sol-Ark Partially-Charged Carbon AGM Batteries, 12v, 200ah
    1ea. 17kW Backup generator

    I'm looking to tie all of this together so I have the ability to draw power from one source or another the grid, PV, batteries or generator. Right now, my project is in the planning phase so I have a little time to think about hardware choices. In talking to my installer I've had questions about some shading issues that may arise once the install is complete because I have some trees in the way. The trees will be taken down with in the next 6 months but until then we talked about the potential loss of production. As an alternative my installer offered to replace the Sol-Ark 8kW with a Schneider-Electric Conext SW Pro and power optimizers. I was going with the Sol-Ark because of the flexibility and performance of this inverter. The only down side to it was the Sol-Ark couldn't use the optimizers so all of the panels would have to installed in strings.

    My questions are, Do you have any shading and if so, how much has it affected your production? When it comes to monitoring production haw granular can you get with Sol-Ark? What was the learning curve like for the Sol-Ark? Do you know of any good Forums or sites that conMiketains some good information regarding Sol-Ark?

    Let's start with these and go from there.

    Thank you for your time. Mike
    Mike,
    What "rapid shutdown" requirements are there where you are? My understanding is that the Tigo optimizers can be used with the SolArk and using one on each panel would give panel level shut down. Why such a large generator?

    Leave a comment:


  • mikeh19d
    replied
    Bodo...

    After watching and waiting, researching and hoping I've finally pulled the trigger on a grid-tied PV installation with battery backup and generator hookup. The meat of my current configuration is:

    34ea. Q-cell 325w Mono PV Panels
    1ea. Sol-Ark 8kW Hybrid Inverter
    8ea. PCC200 Sol-Ark Partially-Charged Carbon AGM Batteries, 12v, 200ah
    1ea. 17kW Backup generator

    I'm looking to tie all of this together so I have the ability to draw power from one source or another the grid, PV, batteries or generator. Right now, my project is in the planning phase so I have a little time to think about hardware choices. In talking to my installer I've had questions about some shading issues that may arise once the install is complete because I have some trees in the way. The trees will be taken down with in the next 6 months but until then we talked about the potential loss of production. As an alternative my installer offered to replace the Sol-Ark 8kW with a Schneider-Electric Conext SW Pro and power optimizers. I was going with the Sol-Ark because of the flexibility and performance of this inverter. The only down side to it was the Sol-Ark couldn't use the optimizers so all of the panels would have to installed in strings.

    My questions are, Do you have any shading and if so, how much has it affected your production? When it comes to monitoring production haw granular can you get with Sol-Ark? What was the learning curve like for the Sol-Ark? Do you know of any good Forums or sites that contains some good information regarding Sol-Ark?

    Let's start with these and go from there.

    Thank you for your time. Mike

    Leave a comment:


  • Bodo
    replied
    I have a Sol-Ark 8k and it was a breeze to install and set up. I already had the generator panel they use wired. The Sol-Ark is limited to 10kW of solar right now. They've upped it through software updates recently. What do you want to know?

    Leave a comment:


  • Jerry Liebler
    replied
    Originally posted by Ampster View Post

    I have had two Outback Inverters. The Skybox was just released last Fall and I got one of the early ones. I had a Tesla Powerwall on order to supplement my existing 5.7kW grid tie solar. I got impatient with Tesla and the only vendors with SGIP funding had jacked up the prices.
    I decided to order the Skybox and cancel the Powerwall. I had about 9 to 10kW of Nissan Leaf batteries. The Skybox was disappointing when I ran it only on batteries. I couldn't get the load shifting to operate like my earlier Outback Radian. I bought some used Sunpowee panels and the Skybox did a good job on Grid Zero mode. The Skybox is limited to 5kW of solar which is not a problem for me but based on your system size it would be too small.
    I'm planning on a total pv of around 20KW. With the Sol Ark I'd have about half battery backed and the rest on a second conventional Solar Edge system. If I get it online this year I'll get grandfathered onto net metering.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ampster
    replied
    Originally posted by Jerry Liebler View Post

    The Skybox is certainly similar, in capabilities, to the Sol Ark. I believe the Sol Ark is a newer competitor to the Skybox, I'm curious what you think of it.
    I have had two Outback Inverters. The Skybox was just released last Fall and I got one of the early ones. I had a Tesla Powerwall on order to supplement my existing 5.7kW grid tie solar. I got impatient with Tesla and the only vendors with SGIP funding had jacked up the prices.
    I decided to order the Skybox and cancel the Powerwall. I had about 9 to 10kW of Nissan Leaf batteries. The Skybox was disappointing when I ran it only on batteries. I couldn't get the load shifting to operate like my earlier Outback Radian. I bought some used Sunpowee panels and the Skybox did a good job on Grid Zero mode. The Skybox is limited to 5kW of solar which is not a problem for me but based on your system size it would be too small.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jerry Liebler
    replied
    Originally posted by Ampster View Post

    I haven't used a Sol Ark, but I did buy som Tigo Optimizers to use with a Outback Skybox. The Tigos are versatile. I bought them because of potential shading and think I would have to have a different model or at least a hub for panel monitoring.
    The Skybox is certainly similar, in capabilities, to the Sol Ark. I believe the Sol Ark is a newer competitor to the Skybox, I'm curious what you think of it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ampster
    replied
    Originally posted by Jerry Liebler View Post
    .......... I'm pretty impressed with the Sol Ark. Has anyone here used one? Should I pay a bit more and use Tigo optimisers to get per panel monitoring?
    I haven't used a Sol Ark, but I did buy some Tigo Optimizers to use with a Outback Skybox. The Tigos are versatile. I bought them because of potential shading and think I would have to have a different model or at least a hub for panel monitoring.
    Last edited by Ampster; 04-19-2019, 01:53 PM.

    Leave a comment:

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