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Sol-Ark compared to SMA

  • 1.  Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Posted 08-02-2021 07:52 AM
    I am building a solar powered net zero house and I would like advice on inverters and system management.  Does anyone have thoughts or advice on Sol-Ark vs SMA?  

    Thanks

    Albert Bell

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    Albert Bell
    Professor
    University of Michigan
    Birmingham MI
    ahbelliv@umich.eduahbelliv@umich.edu
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  • 2.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Posted 08-03-2021 09:28 AM

    I assume that you will be installing a battery backed system to store daytime energy for evening use? I don't know anything about SolArk inverters. But I have SMA battery backed system and Solar Edge Energy Hub system installed in my lab. Both have a 10 kWh LG battery.  We have only have them each for few months so can't say alot about performance. The SMA is AC coupled meaning you have 2 inverters, one is PV inverter (sunny boy or SB model) and other is battery charging (sunny boy storage or SBS model). It requires an advanced battery unit (ABU) transfer switch and grid interaction unit. My installer says the SMA SB inverters are great but the ABU and SBS are not so reliable. The customer interface for SB called Sunny Explorer or Sunny Portal are great, providing detailed control of operating parameters and feedback. You will need them to control the battery charging characteristic. SMA customer service is helpful and responsive.
    The Solar Edge Energy Hub is DC coupled so only one small inverter/charger. It also integrates the outdoor sensors (sunlight, temperature) and the EV charger. Designed to be used with module power optimizers Also has a very helpful and intuitive customer interface portal. It is designed as to be a residential microgrid. I have not had enough experience to evaluate the performance over time.

    Steve



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    Steven Hegedus
    Professor and Senior Scientist
    University of Delaware
    Newark Delaware
    ssh@udel.edu
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  • 3.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Posted 08-03-2021 10:17 AM
    Make sure your main PV inverter is D.E.R. compatible. Allot of power companies are starting to require for pilot programs or as business as usual, the behind the meter communication AND control. Not a direction I like but be sure to check out those requirements.
    I would go long term lead acid (15-20 yrs), for a battery bank if you are going with a backup power function. Way cheaper then any Li solution. Unless you live in an area where TOU or demand charging is active and the rate differences are HUGE, just use your "bank" for power outages because you will never recover the increased degradation with rate savings.
    Other than that, there are a hundred different ways to skin the PV cat....

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    william fitch
    Owner
    www.WeAreSolar.com
    fcfcfc@ptd.net
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  • 4.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Posted 08-03-2021 10:30 AM

    I would talk to Scott Hunt at Practical Preppers. He has a lot of experience with Sol Ark and from what I have seen they made some nice technical advancements over the last few years. I currently have a grid tied PV array that uses micro inverters but I think I would probably seriously consider using Sol Ark if I were just starting out with a PV system.

    Robert Mellon 



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    Robert Mellon
    nmellon@verizon.net
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  • 5.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Posted 08-03-2021 10:59 AM
    I have installed both.  Sol-Ark is what I prefer if we are adding batteries and their support is the best in the industry.  But SMA is typically much cheaper so we use them where we can use a string inverter without batteries.

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    David Hrivnak
    Sales/Engineering
    EcoLogical (part time)
    dhrivnak@chartertn.net
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  • 6.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Chapter Leader
    Posted 08-03-2021 11:18 AM
    suggest enphase micro inverters which come with free induvidual panel monitoring and house consumption at 15 m intervals

    ive had a 10 kw sys 10 years and a twelve kw five years   monitoring has been very helpful

    oversize sys 3 kw for each elec car

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    Drew Gillett
    p.e.
    Solar Engineers
    deaneg@hotmail.com
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  • 7.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Chapter Leader
    Posted 08-03-2021 01:01 PM
    replying to my own note  enphase makes the 10kwh stackable encharge storage ststem which altho not cheapest or easiest to integrate does work nicely with their inverters and monitoring

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    Drew Gillett
    p.e.
    Solar Engineers
    deaneg@hotmail.com
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  • 8.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Posted 08-03-2021 01:14 PM
    The TL series SMA inverter at my zero net energy home has worked well for many years.  This was the only grid tied inverter available at that time, which would provide electricity on a sunny day when there is a grid failure, without connected batteries.





  • 9.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Posted 08-03-2021 01:45 PM
    Edited by william fitch 08-03-2021 01:46 PM
    Isn't that the SMA line model that provide 120VAC on a "side" circuit, 1.5KW or so. But no "main" 240VAC..??.. when  the grid is down....

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    william fitch
    Owner
    www.WeAreSolar.com
    fcfcfc@ptd.net
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  • 10.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Posted 08-03-2021 02:14 PM
    Yes SMA has what is known as Secure Power and while nice has limitations.  It is basically limited to 2000 watts (1500 watts on older models), it only works when the sun is shining and you have to flip a switch to activate the one secure power outlet.  It is 120V only.  If you can get by with a simple string inverter I do like and install SMA.  But if you need rapid shutdown then we typically go with SolarEdge and if you want a battery then we have done Generac and Sol-Ark/Fortress power with Sol-Ark and Fortress being easier to work with.

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    David Hrivnak
    Sales/Engineering
    EcoLogical (part time)
    dhrivnak@chartertn.net
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  • 11.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Posted 08-03-2021 05:41 PM
    Yes, allot of choices. I am currently planning to bring an older array, approx 9KW and an SMA sb-8000-us back on line as a new array, but PPL is doing a DER pilot project with company supplied DER devices, and is requiring any new array inverters to have that communication capability, complete with an excepted inverter list. Needless to say, that inverter is not on the list, so I am looking into all the details of the PUC's settlement with them looking for a work around so perfectly good legacy equipment does not have to remain sitting on the floor inactive, along with me having to spend 3000 un-necessary dollars for a component I already have.

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    william fitch
    Owner
    www.WeAreSolar.com
    fcfcfc@ptd.net
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  • 12.  RE: Sol-Ark compared to SMA

    Chapter Leader
    Posted 08-03-2021 07:47 PM