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  • sol-ark 5k-2p hybrid

    I set up a sma 5k grid tie system several years ago. if I wanted to have back up capabilities, could I just swap out my inverter for the sol-ark hybrid inverter, and then add a battery bank? would I have to set up an aux panel for the critical use or could I just set it up a low brow way of just clicking off the circuits I dont need in the case of an emergency?

  • #2
    In the Hybrid / battery configuration, the panel with the loads that will be powered during an outage needs to be automatically disconnected from the grid and switched to the Inverter when the grid goes down.

    For that reason, you normally create a separate Critical loads panels that is connected to the Inverter and not the grid.
    The critical loads panel normally includes only a subset of the house loads because of the limited output of the Inverter/battery during and outage.
    When the grid is UP the inverter passes the grid through to the critical loads panel, so it is powered by the grid.
    When the grid goes down, the inverter disconnects the panel from the grid, and powers it with the battery.

    Systems like the tesla Powerwall work a bit differently, by adding a gateway box above the Main panel with an Automatic Transfer Switch, so they can disconnect the whole house panel from the grid during an outage, and power it with the Battery.
    Now in that configuration, if the Powerwall is not sufficient to power everything in the house panel, you would have to be mindful of switching off these loads manually, or you would trip the Inverter / battery.

    Hopefully, we will soon have smart panels, that can do the load switching automatically, but this is still in its infancy.


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    • #3
      thanks scrambler!, so the hybrid inverter accommodates automatically for when the grid is up and down. just looking for a way to not rewire the box....theoretically, could I just kill the main switch in the event of a long outage?

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      • #4
        You have to follow whatever wiring the hybrid Inverter requires.

        For me the inverter has two connections. One to the main House panel where it receives / sends electricity from / to the grid, and one to the critical loads panels.

        When the grid goes down, the first connection allows the inverter to detect that and triggers its isolation from the grid and the activation of the second connection to the critical load panel.

        So if your hybrid inverter is designed to work with a critical loads panel, you have no choice but follow that requirement.

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        • #5
          I am trying to get my head around this. So I run a circuit into my main box and one into the critical load box. When the grid goes down it kills the circuit into the main box and then energizes the critical load panel. Won't the main panel be hot due to a "back feed" from whatever is attached to the critical panel?

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          • #6
            Please dont guess. Whatever Hybrid inverter and battery you decide to use will have installation manual describing how they must be connected.....

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            • #7
              thanks scrambler!!!, i am just one of those people that always needs to know the reasons behind the instructions. thanks again

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              • #8
                ohhhhhh, i might of just had an epiphany, the critical load box is not duplicated in the main panel?, ie well pump is just in the critical load panel?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mudhole View Post
                  ohhhhhh, i might of just had an epiphany, the critical load box is not duplicated in the main panel?, ie well pump is just in the critical load panel?
                  Yes. Any branch circuit you want powered during a grid outage is removed from the main panel entirely and installed in the critical loads panel instead. Both panels are fed from the grid normally but during an outage, The main panel is prevented from using backup power.
                  Dave W. Gilbert AZ
                  6.63kW grid-tie owner

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                  • #10
                    One difference about the Sol-Ark is the max string voltage is only 500Vdc and your existing array may be higher as all other string inverters are 600V
                    BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >3000kW installed

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                    • #11
                      so i was doing some reading, comparing sol-ark to outback, it looks like the outback might be more robust?

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