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New Solis Solar install and NO power now! Help!

  • 05-05-2021 12:34am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭ reni10


    I have had my 5kwh Solis Inverter with pylontech battery install for about a week and all going well except for tonight without warning the power is completely off in the house!

    I have gone into the attic and the yellow alarm light is flashing on the Solis Inverter.

    I have checked the fusebox and switches at the inverter for AC and DC power and they are all fine but there just is no power and when I go into the information menu on the Solis it says "No Grid"

    I would have thought that in the case of there being no grid it would just run off the batteries but the power is not out in my area but instead of having power in the event of a blackout I have no power when the electricity is actually working!

    The firefighter switch is also Green so does this mean the AC power from the ESB is switched off for some reason and this has then disabled the whole system?

    Anyone got any suggestions?

    And yes I have left a message for the installers but if there is a simple solution now that I could try as I need the power back on as asap that would be helpful.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,719 ✭✭✭ graememk


    Is the power off in your whole house?

    Check all the rcd's and mcbs.

    Sometimes they have to be pushed fully into the off (down) position before pushing them back on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,097 ✭✭✭ freddyuk


    I think the Fireman switch is there to isolate the solar array from the inverter so unlikely to isolate the ESB supply. Is there any remote monitoring device connected to the system? If there is and it requires power to work (router) then it may be "locked out" until power is restored to it.
    Can you post an image of the system diagram which should be near the inverter? This will show all the elements of the system.


  • Registered Users Posts: 116 ✭✭ Northumberland


    I hope your installer can come soon! BUT - your problem is NOT with the Solis. The power from the meter tail does not go through your Solis Hybrid inverter first before going on to the house. You can normally turn the Solis off completely and you will still have 'normal' power to the house. Your SOlis can handle - put out - about 5kW, your house is probably rated at 12kW. So, conclusion 1. you have a common cause for the absence of power in your house and the absence of power going in to the a/c grid input in to the Solis. The Solis is correctly reporting 'No Grid' Secondly, when you cut the a/c grid supply to the Solis - either because of an area wide power cut, or because you turn your power supply to the house off at the meter, IF the Solis has only one single A/C in connection, as yours most probably does, even though the Solis is connected to batteries, it will not provide any power to the house. If you want the Solis back up function to work (it will only be able to provide up to 3kW, not 5kW, even though it iis a 5kW inverter) you have to wire a separate back up circuit in to the second input socket on the base of the Solis, using the special plug which would have been supplied with the unit when it came and] which your installer should have left with you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭ reni10


    Thanks all for the advice, now that it is bright outside I went out to the meter box and there was a switch tripped in there that the installers had put in.

    Once I flipped that back the power came back but it then tripped 2 switches on my fuseboard.

    I flipped both this switches back and now thank God the power is at least back in the house!

    I will get the installers back out to check everything and need to make sure this does not happen again!

    This does bring up a point though if there is a blackout in the area I also won't have power even though I have the solar power and batteries?

    I thought the solar install would protect against blackouts too?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,719 ✭✭✭ graememk


    reni10 wrote: »
    Thanks all for the advice, now that it is bright outside I went out to the meter box and there was a switch tripped in there that the installers had put in.

    Once I flipped that back the power came back but it then tripped 2 switches on my fuseboard.

    I flipped both this switches back and now thank God the power is at least back in the house!

    I will get the installers back out to check everything and need to make sure this does not happen again!

    This does bring up a point though if there is a blackout in the area I also won't have power even though I have the solar power and batteries?

    I thought the solar install would protect against blackouts too?

    That's your main fuse that's tripped, that should never be tripping, except in emergencies. It's one step before the main ESB fuse blows

    What was running when the power went out?

    As for solar providing a backup, its not as simple as that.

    It does have an emergency power supply, but it's limited to what it can output. Usually wired to a socket that you can run an extension lead from.

    To let it power stuff in the house directly, there needs to be some sort of interlocking changeover switch, so it's impossible for it to back feed into the grid.

    Also it shouldn't be able to power the whole consumer unit, so usually essential loads are split out into a sub board and only that gets the backup power


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭ reni10


    graememk wrote: »
    That's your main fuse that's tripped, that should never be tripping, except in emergencies. It's one step before the main ESB fuse blows

    What was running when the power went out?

    As for solar providing a backup, its not as simple as that.

    It does have an emergency power supply, but it's limited to what it can output. Usually wired to a socket that you can run an extension lead from.

    To let it power stuff in the house directly, there needs to be some sort of interlocking changeover switch, so it's impossible for it to back feed into the grid.

    Also it shouldn't be able to power the whole consumer unit, so usually essential loads are split out into a sub board and only that gets the backup power

    Is the extension lead solution something that you could wire in as a diyer or would it require the solar installers to do it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭ SD_DRACULA


    You just need to take the 3 wires from the extension lead and the round plug you get with the inverter and connect them to AC backup (with all the pv system switched off of course)
    Depending on what you plug into it I'd wire a 2.5mm or 4mm wire straight into a wall mounted socket and then plug the extension into that, that's what I did.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭ reni10


    SD_DRACULA wrote: »
    You just need to take the 3 wires from the extension lead and the round plug you get with the inverter and connect them to AC backup (with all the pv system switched off of course)
    Depending on what you plug into it I'd wire a 2.5mm or 4mm wire straight into a wall mounted socket and then plug the extension into that, that's what I did.

    Thanks would you happen to have a photo of what it looks like especially the connection to the inverter?


  • Registered Users Posts: 116 ✭✭ Northumberland


    I agree with the last post, and have the same set up in my place. You can actually power a lot from the backup, up to 3kW, so you could have 'critical functions' such as your router and some standby lighting plugged in to it all the time (and it will have power all the time, whether the grid is running or not).

    But be aware of two more things - 1) You need to make sure that the settings on your Solis inverter are correct to allow the back up function 2) In Ireland, assuming that your installer has followed the rules and installed the required firemans safety device in the attic somewhere, your solar panels will actually STOP sending any power to your inverter in the event of a power cut! - strange as that may seem. The firemans switch is a kind of relay that automatically isolates the solar panels from the grid, so that in the event of a fire, when the fire crew turn off the power to the house at your meter board, the DC supply from your panels will also be turned off. So you can not use your system in an 'off grid mode'. So the amount of time that your back up will run in the event of a grid power cut will be determined by the loads on it and the charge in your batteries.

    I have another Solis 5kW hybrid inverter running well in a place outside of Ireland which is plagued with regular grid power cuts. In that place I have installed a change over switch, when the grid goes down, I turn the switch manually and that isolates the grid, and then runs the entire house from the backup outlet on the Solis, but of course I also have to turn off non essential high power demands first, such as the electric oven and water heaters. In that place I also have no Firemans switch installed, and it is very sunny, so the panels can power the house in back up mode all day from the sun, and all night from the 5 Pylontech batteries I have installed.

    The back up can certainly be done DIY, but beware of the Solis "Advanced Settings" and menu system, it is hard to understand and takes a lot of getting used to, not very intuitive, and the little manual that comes with the inverter, not very well translated from the Chinese, is not a lot of use.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭ reni10


    My inverter is in the attic so I would like 1 socket maybe down in one of the bedrooms to power things like a router and lights etc. if there is a power cut.

    I also have the fireman's switch installed so with that being there does that mean I can't have the backup power as the power will be off to the inverter and therefore the backup power is not available?

    There is very little you can Google it seems for this stuff on the Solis so I am a but lost in terms of knowing what to do for what should be fairly simple things...


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭ SD_DRACULA


    You should be able to get the cable down no problem.
    You can also run it all the way to your board and connect a circuit or two there (like lights and fridge for example)
    Yes like Northumberland said, the shunt will stop all solar pv production but you will still have power to that socket or circuit from the battery as long as it has charge.
    A good question here would be, what happens to the electronics connected as the voltage drops and the battery is fully drained? I know they don't like drops in voltage and I am hoping it is a safe process.
    Can anyone with this setup give us some real world info?


  • Registered Users Posts: 116 ✭✭ Northumberland


    Reni10, see the marked up photo https://imgur.com/eLOGKEd

    sorry, not very good at attaching photos (someone explain how to me), but if you copy that link to your browser you should see my photo.

    It is just a second socket, clearly labelled 'AC-BACKUP' right next to the main AC input plug to the Solis. But beware, the socket and the plug are non standard, so you have to use the spare plug that should have come with your Solis and the installer should have handed it over to you. If you can not find it, ask the Installer for it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 116 ✭✭ Northumberland


    Not sure this is the place to say this, because this thread was started to tackle a very specific problem, which seems to have been largely sorted out. But several people on this thread, and elsewhere, note that their hybrid inverter (and their batteries?) are lcoated in the attic. I wonder whether their installer discussed this with them and made them aware of the advantages and disadvantages of this. I have my hybrid inverter and my batteries on the wall in my entrance foyer, where my indoor unit for the heat pump is also located. i find it incredibly useful to check what is going on directly from the useful display screen on the inveter, and I also make frequent adjusments to optimise performance, for example adjusting the amount of charge that my batteries get during the night based on a forecast of how much sunshine there will be the next day (from Solcast.com). All of this helps me to keep my own 'imported' power use down - my total costs for this last week will be less than 8 Euros, and that includes an electric car charging at night and central heating and hot water from a heat pump (mainly running at night). If I had my inverter up in the attic I simply could not do this.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,064 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    Not sure this is the place to say this, because this thread was started to tackle a very specific problem, which seems to have been largely sorted out. But several people on this thread, and elsewhere, note that their hybrid inverter (and their batteries?) are lcoated in the attic. I wonder whether their installer discussed this with them and made them aware of the advantages and disadvantages of this. I have my hybrid inverter and my batteries on the wall in my entrance foyer, where my indoor unit for the heat pump is also located. i find it incredibly useful to check what is going on directly from the useful display screen on the inveter, and I also make frequent adjusments to optimise performance, for example adjusting the amount of charge that my batteries get during the night based on a forecast of how much sunshine there will be the next day (from Solcast.com). All of this helps me to keep my own 'imported' power use down - my total costs for this last week will be less than 8 Euros, and that includes an electric car charging at night and central heating and hot water from a heat pump (mainly running at night). If I had my inverter up in the attic I simply could not do this.

    If you have the suite of MyEnergi products you have this info and ability to change settings on both hot water diverter and EV charger from the App, so can be done from literally anywhere.


  • Registered Users Posts: 184 ✭✭ ELCAT2009


    Did you find out if you can have the back up socket even if you have the firemans Switch? I'm getting 5kw Solis hybrid inverter installed as part of my solar panel set up in about 2 weeks time and it would be very handy to have a double socket in the Utility to feed the freezer and other small items eg to charge a phone in event of a power cut.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭ reni10


    Does not seem you can have both as when the grid goes down the firemans switch kicks in automatically and cuts all power from the panels.

    If you have a battery installed you may be able to run from that for a while but you can't have solar power once the grid is down unfortunately



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,788 ✭✭✭ irishchris


    You will have the full capacity of charge from your batteries if the grid goes down. The Fireman switch though will stop the panels producing power during daylight though or recharging your batteries until the grid is back.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,505 ✭✭✭ jkforde


    On a Solis inverter, what type of cable is used to connect to the AC Backup socket? And what is a 'Solis NPS switching Box'? tia!



  • Registered Users Posts: 184 ✭✭ ELCAT2009


    Thanks is there a way to override the fireman's switch. The reason I ask is that when I built my house i included a change over switch so that i could power my house from a generator if required in event of a long power outage. Ive never actually used it but it would be great if we had a power outage for a day or two if i could use the energy produced from my solar panel to keep a few small things going off the back up socket in the inverter like freezer etc. and to change phones. See attached pic of my board and change over switch if that helps!

    .



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭ reni10


    The firemans switch is a requirement to get the SEAI grant, if you are not going for that then I don't think you need the switch but obviously having it is safer so up to you what you want to do!



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,719 ✭✭✭ graememk


    As you have the Hardest bit already done, the Fireman switch could be wired into its own breaker, Not on the Solar feed as it usually is.

    The solar EPS can be wired into the changeover switch.

    Just something to bear in mind, my installer told me, that you shouldnt feed the inverter its own power. the main inverter feed should be isolated before the change over switch is engaged. If the Fireman switch (its just a relay/contactor) is on a different circuit to the inverter, you'll have no issues.



  • Registered Users Posts: 184 ✭✭ ELCAT2009


    Maybe the firemans switch is the wrong term. What i am talking about is the automatic switch that stops the inverter sending power onto the grid if a power outage or esb working on the grid. I would just like to be able go off grid if i needed too. I am going for grant so it will need to be compliant. I wouldn't want to compromise on safety either.



  • Registered Users Posts: 184 ✭✭ ELCAT2009




  • Registered Users Posts: 2,719 ✭✭✭ graememk


    Emergency Power supply, = backup power from the inverter, Its a separate output to the Main grid connection.

    The anti islanding is prob what you are thinking about. That cannot be disabled. but the backup power supply can be routed to run things in an event of a grid failure. through the likes of the changeover switch that you have.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,402 Mod ✭✭✭✭ spacetweek


    Any chance of a step-by-step on how I can buy an AC out cable and install it? My installer company were useless and didn't give me the cable and aren't answering texts.



  • Registered Users Posts: 791 ✭✭✭ reklamos


    mine was not installed either I did it myself. As long as you have connector. Mine was left plugged into inverter just follow the manual




  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,402 Mod ✭✭✭✭ spacetweek


    Any idea where I could get one of those cables? Tried searching on web



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭ SD_DRACULA


    That's a standard 3 core cable, like for your sockets. The weird adapter has to come with the inverter. Maybe it's plugged into it?



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