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Reviews/thoughts on Generac PWRCell for UPS with hybrid solar?

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  • Reviews/thoughts on Generac PWRCell for UPS with hybrid solar?

    My town's power grid continues to become less reliable. On average during fair weather we have several brief outages (< 30 seconds) per week, and 1 longer outage (3+ hours) per month. In winter, storm outages of 2+ hours are at least weekly, and restoration times are only getting longer. Neighbors have also reported several damaging surges that have blown out electronics & appliances.

    I have an existing 9kW solar array (SolarEdge 7600 Inverter) that's been terrific these last 5 years and provides 100% of my annual needs, already paid off in full and them some. Looking at adding batteries to provide more reliable power. I have full net metering, so this is not a financial decision to reduce my utility bill or go full off-grid or anything like that. I do have a portable generator (5000W) that can fully power my home, but I'd love to have a solution that isn't manual, as loud, or that requires frequent fuel refilling, oil changes, and so forth.

    I've got concerns with Tesla, and I've not the time/expertise to go DIY. I haven't seen many independent Pwrcell reviews, but what I've seen looks good. The Pwrcell 17 seems plenty to meet my needs for most use cases.

    Thoughts?


  • #2
    my thoughts
    Pwrcell 17 is very new, and I've not heard of failures - which is suspicious. Laptops burn up. Cell phones burn up. High energy Li burns up when mis treated.
    I'd not have it in your house just because of the infant industry failures are either too young, or are being buried in search engines.

    Keep a conventional generator for long outages. the Pwrcell 17 might be fine for 30min backup, but it's not going to run a house for long in the winter with out sun. You may need several of them to meet a 3 day need. Outages that take out neighborhood power, will impact your solar panels too. ( snow, ice, broken trees on them)


    https://www.greentechmedia.com/artic...ttery-facility
    Last edited by Mike90250; 10-20-2020, 09:43 PM.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
      my thoughts
      Pwrcell 17 is very new, and I've not heard of failures - which is suspicious. Laptops burn up. Cell phones burn up. High energy Li burns up when mis treated.
      I'd not have it in your house just because of the infant industry failures are either too young, or are being buried in search engines.

      Keep a conventional generator for long outages. the Pwrcell 17 might be fine for 30min backup, but it's not going to run a house for long in the winter with out sun. You may need several of them to meet a 3 day need. Outages that take out neighborhood power, will impact your solar panels too. ( snow, ice, broken trees on them)


      https://www.greentechmedia.com/artic...ttery-facility
      Good points, thanks. One thing I did like was that Generac are outdoor-rated, and I've got a nice fire-resistant section outside my home where the lines come down from the panels and connect to my existing inverter. There's plenty of room to add several batteries units.

      As for outages, I did the math and based on my last 5 years of usage, during extended outages my usage is a nice & lean 2kW during awake hours. I don't need power hogs like AC or laundry, only lights, refrigeration, small electronics. I'm on city water/sewer, and I heat via wood stove that does the whole house, and it has an enormous cooking surface that I use even when I do have power, LOL. So a 17kWh will definitely get me through under current needs.

      My panels are rarely affected by snow. My roof is well pitched, so snow & ice slide off on their own without me doing a thing. I've long since cleared any trees that could possibly even come close to the house. Obviously solar production will be lower during an actual snowstorm/overcast day. But I've found most of my outages don't occur during the storm itself, it's the wind damage that takes down lines/trees, and often the sun is shining brightly here during those. More than enough to top off the batteries.

      I'm definitely keeping my gas generator for the really bad ones, I'm just trying to reduce its usage, especially at night because running a loud generator at night is inconsiderate to neighbors.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well this just became academic..... Spoke to Generac to get a quote, and apparently their solution does not support existing solar systems. The only architecture their system supports requires you to remove your existing inverter, install their inverter, and do some re-wiring of your existing panels. That's a huge no-go.

        I'm shocked they would even consider that a valid go-to market solution. Looks like I'm going to have to consider Tesla PW as they support my existing setup.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Burningislove View Post
          Well this just became academic..... Spoke to Generac to get a quote, and apparently their solution does not support existing solar systems. The only architecture their system supports requires you to remove your existing inverter, install their inverter, and do some re-wiring of your existing panels. That's a huge no-go.

          I'm shocked they would even consider that a valid go-to market solution. Looks like I'm going to have to consider Tesla PW as they support my existing setup.
          That’s correct. As both a Powerwall & Generac dealer, the Generac is only suitable for new installations unless you want to totally redo your existing system.

          with Powerwalls just be careful no to overload the AC solar being feed into the Powerwalls as they will shut if the load is too low and the batteries are fully charged. One thing the Generac has going for it is the ability to shed load if the system is overloaded.

          Andy

          Comment


          • #6
            I looked at the Generac solution, and as mentioned it is a full integrated solution. It provides simplicity through vendor lock-in. I am going with a Solar Edge solution as I didn't like being locked into Generac. It does seem like their solution is maturing quite rapidly. My concern with fully integrated solutions like this is many times if you do an upgrade the entire solution has to be upgraded. Vendors offer "investment protection" until gen 2 comes out. Working in IT, I have seen that too many times. If the PWRCell (battery) could be decoupled from the inverter it is definitely an intriguing solution. When I looked at it the largest inverter size was around 7.5.

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