Environmental extreme heat test in progress

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pss
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Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:58 am

There have been many posts about high ambient temperatures resulting in systems suddenly displaying 0 watts PV during the daytime and drawing from grid or batteries, then after a couple of minutes, the PV output returns and the system appears normal, only to go through this cyclic procedure for 2-4 hours in the hottest parts of the daytime. This can result in as much as a 25-33% decrease in harvested PV for the day. We also know that the Radian and I assume other Outback inverters degrade their outputs under temperatures in excess of 77 degrees.
In my system, the components are in my garage at ambient temperatures. In the past, including this year, temperatures above 94 result in this decreased output behavior. Recently, I have tried using a plain fan blowing on the components, but this was of no value. I also have purchased a small window style AC unit, 5000 BTU, about 4-5 amps with compressor running at 120 volts. Today, our weather forecast is for an extreme heat day. At 10:45 AM it is already 102 degrees. At 9 AM I set up the air conditioner to have cool air blowing directly into the input vents of the Radian 8048a and slightly less onto my charge controllers. the batteries will be ambient temperature, with the temperature sensor reporting 86 degrees for the battery bank. Temperature compensated charging is enabled. The inverter left XFMR is 134.8 and the right is 132.8. The inverter is set to balance output. The left cap temperature is 89.6 and the right is 96.8. The left FET is 100.4 and the right is 105.8. All of these temps are well within normal operating parameters. Currently PV is 5150 watts, SOC 92%, chargers in bulk and system in grid tie sell. Load is 5100 watts with an offset from the inverter of 3400 watts and a grid contribution of 1700 watts.

As is the usual, in about 2 hours I should begin to observe whether or not the PV cycles to 0 and then back on and off again due to the heat affecting some of the components. I will have the temperatures of the inverter and battery bank as well as an accurate SOC and the ambient temperature. I will up date the post in about 2 hours 15 minutes.

Any comments and help with experiment appreciated.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by provo » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:23 am

You just need a raised floor with the A/C underneath, and ducting as needed :lol: .....

Datacenter_de_ARSAT.jpg

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:26 am

That's my wish, but wife won't go along. Wants new kitchen.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by raysun » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:34 am

provo wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:23 am
You just need a raised floor with the A/C underneath, and ducting as needed :lol: .....


Datacenter_de_ARSAT.jpg
So where's the PV power system that provides the cooling for PV power system that's being cooled? Are the systems providing cooling for each other? Does there need to be a third system to provide backup cooling for the other two? How is it cooled?
Screenshot_20200731-083204_Chrome.jpg
M.C. Escher in his early days. Drawing the Gantt chart for environmental cooling of PV systems.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by raysun » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:37 am

We will be very interested in the results. Makes me glad I live in Hawaii, but we are not immune to the effects you are observing.

Aloha!

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:10 pm

It's 1:55 PM and the ambient temp is 103 degrees. Batteries 91.4 degrees. SOC 100%. Bright sunshine, PV output ZERO to 5700 watts (note that panel ratings are 8300 watts, so you easily see the effect of ambient heat on PV production. Load is 5800 watts. Left module XFMR is 129.2, right is 134.6, left cap is 87.8 and right cap is 96.8, left FET is 100.4 and right FET is 109.4. Float set to 54.8, battery voltage reported at 53.5. Got off the phone with Trojan tech support and they tell me there is nothing in their FLA batteries that would account for the drops in PV to as low as zero. So that leaves the charge controller, FNDC, Mate 3S, Hub 10 and the battery temp sensor as being complicit in this mystery.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:23 pm

are the battery in absorb or float? try to see if you have changes in load at that time. might be that the CCs are trying to measure for current needed to go back to absorb or float when load changes.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:03 pm

All three charge controllers are cycling bulk/absorb/sleeping every couple minutes. Charge controller fans are on.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:07 am

I have all my equipment at 75-77F and when is reaching absorb voltage I do get a lot absorb-bulk and bulk-absorb messages on CCs and I see my solar going down to 0 for a short moment.

This might be when my water pump kicks in.

this is the log on my secondary system:
events.jpg

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:12 am

this is what i get on my main system:
events2.jpg

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:56 am

Okay, so I decided on Saturday to cover up my Radian and charge controllers with a thick canvas drop cloth and have the small AC units blowing on the components all day long. It was hot, the components stayed cool but I produced even less PV using the drop cloth cover than not! Hmm?
My event log just shows the charge controllers going from sleeping to absorb to float to sleeping over and over.

Right now, I don't get it, but it is the heat.

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System 2:
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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:54 am

unless there is something wrong with your panels or wiring, there should be a diminished output as the panels get hotter but not complete drops. You should watch your mate display while this drops are happening to see if the inverter loads are changing. that is the only thing i find on my system that create the absorb/float/bulk/ not charging events. are the events happening before you reach absorb voltage for the day? if is cloudy, then is normal to have the events.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:10 pm

I think I have the answer and I think it is because of the research done by Mike Curran. Kudos to Mike!
I did some searching through the forum and came upon this link from one of Mike's old posts:

http://outbackpower.com/downloads/docum ... p_note.pdf

Just before this post, I observed my system with the PV output continuously dropping from 5kw to zero over a matter of a couple of minutes. All the while the grid was making up the load difference, even though I am in grid tie sell. I even lowered the sell voltage to 52. My charge controllers all say Float or Silent. I noticed there was no selling to the grid. The air temperature is 95 and the battery temps 89.6 XMFR 132 to 141, CAP 105, FET 120. Not too bad.

So I decided that since I usually drop the grid at local 4PM time when rates go up, I would drop it at 1:45 PM since there was no selling to the grid anyways. Grid voltage was showing 245 V and 59.9 Hz. SOC 100%. My load is about 4.7 kW.
As soon as i dropped the grid input, the charge controllers came back on from silent to FLOAT, my battery voltage is maintaining 54.0 while float set to 54.8 and battery SOC is 100% while all load coming from inverter via batteries via PV.

After reading Mike's Outback Power note in the link, it clearly states that as an inverter gets hot, in an effort to cool down the inverter whose performance is degraded by heat and resistance to current flow into the AC grid, and to keep powering the loads, the inverter signals back to the charge controllers to progressively drop their PV harvest, all the way down to zero to help cool the inverter. In so doing, the inverter also drops it's output to keep cool.

I have now been 25 minutes with Grid Tie disconnected and the charge controllers and inverter are functioning well. My grid is reported at 246 V and 59.9 Hz.

So unless there is some adjustment to grid tie sell in the installer menu that I have overlooked, I have come to the conclusion that in high ambient temperatures, my inverter is not willing to sell to the grid to keep cool and uses a software component to signal the charge controllers to shut down and power loads from the grid. Simply by disconnecting from the grid, I have remedied this situation and restored my PV harvest.

Comments appreciated.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:48 pm

I have no experience with selling to grid, that could be it then. But I was wandering why it didn't worked when you cooled the with the AC?

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:51 pm

My guess is that the note mentions "grid resistance" whatever that is.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by Mike Curran » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:55 pm

I think grid impedance is related to inductive loads such as air conditioners. Somehow their effect makes it harder to inject electrical energy into the grid - higher current is needed, and utilities typically must load up their generators to meet air-conditioning demand.
http://www.tigoenergy.com/site.php?95b2dca2-ca6c
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:03 pm

I tried some high quality Google research about grid resistance and grid impedance. Didn't come up with much except the hotter it is, the greater the resistance of current flow into the grid. And thinking about it, I send single phase 240 volts into grid where it goes to transformer and has to become like 1200 volts 3 phase. This sounds like a difficult task.

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54 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, 2 x VFX3648,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
1 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
Location: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Isl.

Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:23 pm

double post ...
Last edited by EA6LE-ONE on Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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1 x FLEXnet DC, 4 x FLEXware ICS Plus,
54 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, 2 x VFX3648,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
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1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:24 pm

What about too much solar power being pumped into grid and not enough consumers to use it? Up to what voltage can the grid go up safely? What if the power company is raising the voltage to stop the solar inverters to pump in to the grid?

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:29 pm

I saw a story about this in Australia. But how exactly does a 3 phase 1200 volt power line use a transformer to downgrade to 240 volts 1 phase and then what is the source of that voltage change, is it in the 1200 volt lines?

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by provo » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:03 pm

pss wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:29 pm
But how exactly does a 3 phase 1200 volt power line use a transformer to downgrade to 240 volts 1 phase and then what is the source of that voltage change, is it in the 1200 volt lines?
In my rural area anyway, the three phases A,B, and C are assigned two at a time to various neighborhoods. My area, say, gets A & B coming to everybody's transformer. A few miles north, they're all getting A & C, and a few miles south they get B & C. When you look at any two of the three 60Hz phases, the difference across them is just a single phase (a single 60Hz sine wave) at a reduced voltage. The final transformers are sized to step that resultant single phase down to 240VAC, with a center tap included to make it "split phase".

So anybody selling back 240VAC is only feeding two of the three phases, but they have it spread around enough that all the distributed generation sources over a large enough area end up feeding all three phases about the same.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:08 am

Okay, so I understand the concept of selling back from the phase and wiring point of view. Now, if the big grid is 3 phase 1200 volts and tons of amperage and I am a little old 240 volts and 10 amps trying to push back against the big grid river flow, is this where the "grid impedance or grid resistance" concept is coming from? Is this what is generating more heat in my inverter, this so called "pushback" on hotter days when my inverter is dehydrated so to speak and the grid is hyper amped to supply all the AC in town?

provo
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Hub 10
Mate3s
FNDC and Trimetric
Location: Sierra foothills

Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by provo » Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:35 am

pss wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:08 am
Now, if the big grid is 3 phase 1200 volts and tons of amperage and I am a little old 240 volts and 10 amps trying to push back against the big grid river flow, is this where the "grid impedance or grid resistance" concept is coming from? Is this what is generating more heat in my inverter, this so called "pushback" on hotter days when my inverter is dehydrated so to speak and the grid is hyper amped to supply all the AC in town?
My guess is that the grid has a pretty low impedance all the time. In order to push your excess power onto the grid, your inverter increases its output voltage (above the voltage on the grid where you are) as much as it needs to push the current you can generate. I don't think the grid throttles back much on the power everybody is trying to sell at the time. That's why the utilities are moving to limit the size of new net-metered arrays to a power level closer to what can be used on-site.

I don't sell back and I'm also a bit surprised this summer how weak my panels are compared to what I remember previous years. Maybe it's OpticsRE that lets me obsess about it more, maybe it's the wildfire smoke, or just the heat.

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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by pss » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:51 am

So we are back to trying to understand if the inverter is signaling the charge controllers to reduce their PV output, then essentially going down to zero PV and sleeping for a short period then going back into float/sleep or absorb/float/sleep cycle repeatedly in the day. And are there any configurable parameters in the Radian that can minimize this behavior. And is there any logs of the communications between the Radian and the charge controller?

In other words, what gives?

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Hyundai 355 watt panels (6 - 3 strings of 2 in series)
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Re: Environmental extreme heat test in progress

Post by raysun » Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:26 pm

pss wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:51 am
So we are back to trying to understand if the inverter is signaling the charge controllers to reduce their PV output, then essentially going down to zero PV and sleeping for a short period then going back into float/sleep or absorb/float/sleep cycle repeatedly in the day. And are there any configurable parameters in the Radian that can minimize this behavior. And is there any logs of the communications between the Radian and the charge controller?

In other words, what gives?
It would be sort of a "crash test" but it might be illuminating to see what would happen if the Inverter is shut down during one of the charge controller sleep cycle.

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