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Issues on LADWP grid - 6.6kW Enphase microinverter

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  • Issues on LADWP grid - 6.6kW Enphase microinverter

    I have a 20 panel, 6.6kW panasonic + enphase microinverter iq7 system installed less than a year ago in Los Angeles on the LADWP grid. For the past few weeks I've been having production issues with several days of no production or very reduced (<50%) production. This time has corresponded with heatwaves and forest fires though I haven't had any interruption in electrical service. When speaking with my servicer they will vaguely refer to problems with the LADWP grid saying things like "LADWP might be pushing too much energy into the grid". I have no idea what this means, but does this make sense? I know that obvious the system won't work during blackouts/brownouts but I haven't experienced this, and I know that production decreases during high heat but these are full days with just about zero or extremely little production.

    Have people experienced this before? Anyone with LADWP?

  • #2
    I'm not LADWP and don't have first hand knowledge of the situation. What follows is just conjecture.

    The IQ7 will shut down if the mains voltage is too high or too low. "Pushing too much into the grid" may be their way of saying overvoltage. But they shouldn't go that far over voltage, and the installer should set the overvoltage points to reasonable levels. The IQ7 is fully programmable for that.

    A cheap multimeter can tell you whether your outlets are putting out 115V, 120V, 125V, or something worse.

    Someone else commented that his Envoy was giving him incorrect results due to issues at the Enphase servers. That's another possibility. In other words, it could be that your Enphase Envoy reporting is telling you that the system isn't putting out anything but it may really be putting out a lot.

    My house has a "netmeter" that indicates when I'm producing more than I'm using and vice versa with a little bar display. If you have a netmeter, it may be a good sanity check to see whether the Envoy is lieing to you. Look midday when the panels should be putting out a lot.

    If the Envoy is accurate, I assume that you have a warranty from the installer that the system will work. If so, in my opinion, they should come out and get it to work. "Should" doesn't mean that they will.
    7kW Roof PV, APsystems QS1 micros, Nissan Leaf EV


    • #3
      It may also be a frequency issue that is knocking some of the IQ-7s offline. I looked briefly but could not find anywhere that frequency is displayed on the Envoy. My other inverters give me frequency.

      Here is a link to the other post suggesting it might beca hardware flaw:
      Last edited by Ampster; 09-14-2020, 06:47 PM.


      • #4
        Without knowing any of the particulars about your application, and adding/reinforcing to what Ampster and bon-n write, besides an ~ 15 -20 % drop in insolation that would cause an approx. equal % drop in PV production, the grid changes/fluctuations in line voltage and frequency may be causing inverters to cut out/act strangely. Some types/designs are more sensitive than others.

        I'm w/ SDG & E. My incoming line voltage has fluctuated between ~ 236 V and 242 V for the last couple of weeks w/the lower readings in the late afternoon.


        • #5
          I'll share my story,

          I am in SoCal near Pomona, about 3 weeks ago I had cleaned my solar panels and my output increased from about 36kWh to 45kWh production. The wild fires started and my output is around 20-30kWh per day. Their is a good amount of ash in the air blocking the sun and quite a bit of ash is on the panels. I am waiting for the air quality to get a bit better before I go back up and clean them again.

          Also right now our electric grid was having a hard time keeping up with our heat waves, fires and people working from home. We have been having rolling outages. What I am getting to is when the electric grid is stressed and generation has a hard time with supply power quality is harder to keep up so I expect voltage fluctuations can happen. When people are using a lot of AC since this is an induction load it tends to lower the power factor which usually makes the voltage get out of whack.

          The best way to know what's going on is reach out to your installer and ask for some detailed information out of enphase enlightened manager to see what the inverters are seeing with voltage, power factor and panel voltage and current.


          • #6
            For whatever it's worth, I live in N. county San Diego and for the past week I have been producing approximately 20% less than the week before due to the haze attributed to the fires.


            • #7
              For a couple weeks here in northern IL, we had cloud cover so heavy my inverters
              would barely turn on, and accumulated more than half a foot of rain. The clouds
              went away a couple days ago, but nice blue skies did not return. My inverters often
              jumped to full power shortly after the panels are unshaded, but now they are very slow
              creeping up, and mostly below full power. On a day I might have expected 130 KWH
              from the weather, I am lucky to hit 100 KWH. The smoke is here. Bruce Roe


              • #8
                Originally posted by PugPower View Post
                For whatever it's worth, I live in N. county San Diego and for the past week I have been producing approximately 20% less than the week before due to the haze attributed to the fires.
                FWIW, I can agree with that.
                From 09/07/2020 through 09/14/20, in N county San Diego (Zip 92026) I lost about 16% or so production vs. what a clear sky on the same dates would produce. The Global Horizontal Insolation (GHI) for the same period was about 17 % less than what a clear sky would have produced on the same dates.

                Things seemed to be better or at least less hazy/smoky today.
                The measured GHI at my location for today, 09/15/2020 measured out at 5.90 kWh/m^2. The model I use to estimate clear sky GHI says the clear sky GHI total for this day would be 6.565 kW/m^2.

                5.90/6.565 = 0.90.

                The array's total production today was 27.96 kWh or 5.34 kWh/installed STC kW which is actually a bit higher than the array's prior 6 yr. average daily output for that date which is 24.87 kWh/day or 4.75 kWh/installed STC kW.
                The modeled max. array output for 09/15 using very clear sky insolation and TMY weather is 32.00 kWh/day or 6.12 kWh/installed STC kW, so today's output was approx. 27.96/32.00 = ~ 0.874 of a clear day's output.