AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Discussion about adding energy storage to grid-dependent inverters using OutBack Power technology
Swampdog
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AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:44 am

Grid power just up yesterday from our second, extended, "planned" wildfire safety outage by PG&E. -Grid power is now on and all components appear to be working as expected, except there is a new problem, as follows:

-During an outage, as the solar array begins producing, the SolarEdge inverter displays a fault ("2x22 AC frequency too high") and shuts down.
-Error message: fault - 2x22 AC frequency too high (allegedly realted to the country setting", which was not changed)
-Cannot charge batteries from array during an outage, but can when grid is up.
-I updated the firmware through SolarEdge (no change).
-Country setting: USA3 (I could locate no reference to that setting in SolarEdge documents).
-I resorted to recharging the batteries via a manual-connect generator, and supplementing during daylight hours.

After receiving no useful assistance from SolarEdge, both SolarEdge and my installer refer me back to Outback. My installer insists it is likely a MATE3s setting that is causing the fault. I guess I need assistance with any and all related Outback settings and/or to confirm they are correct.

Any assistance appreciated as we expect additional planned outages.

SYSTEM:
7.0 kw system
AC coupled
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Optimizers
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback 220 GH Energycell (12)
Outback MATE3s (03/2018)
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SolarEdge SE6000A-US
(ROCB relay: installer removed ROCB relay with firmware update, as per Outback support)
MATE3s firware: 1.4.2
Radian GS8048A firmware: 1.6.70
FLEXnet DC firmware: 1.1.7.1

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IanMcCluskey
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by IanMcCluskey » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:01 am

Good morning, and good info.

What was the voltage and/or state of charge of the batteries when the SolarEdge showed the AC frequency error?
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Swampdog
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My RE system: 7.0 kw system
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Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
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SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:29 am

I can look for that info, but it occurred every time I tried to reset during the day. Generator was never connected with Solaredge connected, as per Outback generator instructions. I did have a low-voltage shutdown down during the previous outage. I think the lowest was 48.8v & SOC 68%, before the grid came back on and charged to 100%/59.8v at highest point of recharge from grid. Currently remaining constant at 99%/52.5v and selling.

For settings and data: system is "Palomares".

Swampdog
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:00 pm

UPDATE: SolarEdge checked settings remotely, and country code which the fault message relates to. Claims it is a grid provider issue with power quality. That would seem possible in view of the random, extended outages they are submitting us to in the interests of "wildfire safety", except that the fault occurs only when the grid is down. Also, as all appears right now, he suggested issues may be resolved. I cannot test without disconnected grid which I am not included to do at the moment.

I will add PG&E to my network of resources I am seeking answers from. However, that gives me no answers about what to do about it, or what can be done about it, if it is a grid problem. I would still need to resolve it and am no anticipating prompt and comprehensive assistance from PG&E.

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Greg T Fordan
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Greg T Fordan » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:23 am

There is nothing wrong with grid power quality. You can eliminate that factor. When there is a substancial sunlight and grid power is available blending with OB inverter AC power and SolarEdge AC power , you are experiencing issue free operation.

What is happening here is during grid outage, the AC power left for the SolarEdge to synch with is only that of Outback (GS8048A) inverter. You claimed that from the SolarEdge indicators it is showing a (high) frequency error. Now, please get back with SolarEdge tech support and give you more specifics aside from saying it is an Outback problem. What is the actual frequency?

When you are in this situation again, ask them how much frequency is the SolarEdge sensing from Radian inverter that it is not allowing it to synchronize? Or if you have a voltmeter that can measure frequency, you can do that yourself, by measuring directly across the L1-L2 AC Out terminals. If the frequency is within the range of 59.3-60.5 HZ, these 2 inverters should synch (couple). I have measured the output of my GS8048A and it is measuring exactly at 60.00 HZ.
If the frequency output of OB inverter (radian) is within the allowable range and it is still not syncing with SolarEdge, something else other than frequency issue is at play.

By the way, good job on isolating your SolarEdge inverter while using your generator to charge the batteries.
I tried to avoid your case because of third party issues, but this is a case of Outback recommended AC Coupling configuration, so I am still in ;-)
Greg T Fordan
EngTech
Outback Power Technologies

Swampdog
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:33 am

Very helpful! I will pursue.

S/D

Swampdog
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:22 pm

Update:
Problem: SolarEdge inverter preventing charging of batteries from array during an outage. Fault: “2x22 AC Frequency too high”.

So… below are the most recent comments from the four sources I have pursued attempting to find a solution. Although there is disagreement on some issues and I do not comprehend others, I glean this:

• The issue is not with the SolarEdge inverter (although SolarEdge claims it is the wrong inverter).
• The problem likely lies with Outback inverter settings (I have changed no inverter settings except Absorb to 4 hrs. from 1 hr., as directed by Outback)

I believe both Outback and my installer have the ability to check and change settings remotely. If not, settings can at least be reviewed d so I can 1) be assured they are correct and not a source of the problem, or 2) tell me what changes to make.

Neither have done so. Anticipating additional PG&E planned, extended outages, this leaves me with a system that cannot be charged from the array during such an outage. Please assist and/or advise. Also, please keep in mind, I am a layperson and struggle to comprehend the technical responses and hesitant to mess with wiring, connections or doing internal testing.

10/28/19: SolarEdge support:
“The reason for the errors is because when the grid has no power, it won't communicate with the inverter and thus giving you the grid fault errors. I would recommend looking into our StorEdge inverters, as the kind of system you have installed in your home is not meant to store backup power in the case of an outage. If you have any more questions feel free to give us a call or chat with us for live support.”

“We do not have recommended configurations on the inverter to work with a 3rd party battery system. The inverter is flagging this error as it does not meet the required AC frequency that is being outputted from the battery, you would need to contact the battery manufacturer or your installer for additional support."

10/31/19 Greg T. Fordan, Outback forum:
“There is nothing wrong with grid power quality. You can eliminate that factor.”

11/01/19 Calvin, Outback support:
“I have attached two screen shots of the grid charging the batteries and the voltage well above what the absorb is set to ( 57.6V) This is at 9PM when there can be no sun production affecting the charging . If when the solar is active and the voltage goes 0.4 volts higher than what ever the target is ( Either float 54.4 or absorb 57.6 ) the Radian will shut down the GTI's by changing the AC frequency. Disconnect the battery temp sensor to see if it prevents the charging voltage from going over the target voltage and causing the Radian to frequency shift. I am not pointing a finger to the Solar Edge at all by the way. It looks to be doing exactly what it is supposed to do...you are however over the wattage limit for a single 8048A. Solution - the Radian inverter is limited to a maximum of 25A GTI load current at 240Vac which means a 6kVA GTI is the maximum that can be connected.”

11/01/19: Installer:
“The solaredge 6000 which is specked for the radian 8048 max output amperage is 25 amps. At 10 am on the 27th just before the inverter shut down the solar was producing 1500 watts which is 6.25 amps at 240 volts. This is well below the threshold of 25 amps. I am sure it's some setting issue within the Mate 3 that is changing the frequency kicking off the solar because it is programmed incorrectly now. The solaredge is showing the frequency error during outages 77 times between the 27th and 28th. I am sure it's some setting issue within the Mate 3 that is changing the frequency kicking off the solar because it is programmed incorrectly now. The solaredge is showing the frequency error during outages 77 times between the 27th and 28th.”

Thx for any assistance!

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IanMcCluskey
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by IanMcCluskey » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:28 am

Good morning, I will be happy to help you troubleshoot.

Your installer said the over-frequency errors occurred during the 27th and the 28th of October. Please send me a list of those errors with timestamps to imccluskey@outbackpower.com

I will look at your system data to see what those errors correlate with on the OutBack side, if anything.
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:19 pm

Grateful!!!

So I queried SolarEdge support and there is no official report or method for printing the errors. The attached is the best I can do. I reiterate the fault is: "2x22 AC frequency too high". All info I could glean indicates this is a country code or grid quality error, or firmware or connections. I did update the firmware through SE, but no change. Outback determined not a grid quality error and Outback and SolarEdge and my installer all agreed not a SolarEdge issue.

S/D
Attachments
SolarEdge faults 11-05-19.pdf
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Last edited by Swampdog on Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by IanMcCluskey » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:23 pm

Optics will not show the Solaredge inverter's errors. Where did you installer see the error messages? Maybe Solaredge's online monitoring website? If so, I imagine he should be able to download them and share them with you.

Ironically, Enphase's online monitoring is called Enlighten! But I'm not sure what Solaredge calls theirs.
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:20 pm

Expereienced two planned outages. No fault first time. The only difference during the second outage was I ran the generator to charge batteries as they were very low before array started producing in the morning. The SolarEdge was always isolated when the generator was running, as I followed Outback's connection instructions. Could it be related to charging from the generator? Once the grid came back a couple of hours later... no problem... but could not clear the fault and charge the batteries from the array. At all daylight times... the array was producing, just not sending to batteries.

I reiterate... my installer is refusing to cooperate or perform any further diagnosis, I assume as the Outback system is out-of-warranty for him (3 years).

S/D

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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:35 pm

Attached is what I can offer on the Solaredge fault (highlighted in support document). It is agreed among sources the fault is not reflecting a SolarEege problem. No idea why a fault about country code would arise, but there it is. ANyweay, AE reviewed all settings and function and all was reported correct and functioning correctly.
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SolarEdge faults 11-05-19.pdf
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20191028_131948.jpg

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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by IanMcCluskey » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:42 pm

Hi S/d, I had not seen your 3:19 post when I made my 3:23 post, so thank you for sharing that data.

Your last message actually cuts to where I was going with my question - the generator.

Two questions
a) You say the Solaredge was isolated from the generator. How specifically is it isolated? Photo?
b) How did you eventually clear the Solaredge fault on the 28th?
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:02 pm

a) It is a manual-connect generator, connected as per the attached. I first turn-off the SolarEdge safety switch, and after the S/E zeros out (! 5 mins), open the Outback GSLC L1/L2 breakers. Finally, startup the generator. When shutting down, generator off first, S/E switch on, close L1/L2.

b) I did nothing to clear the S/E fault. It disappeared when the grid came up. I of course, had to disconnect the generator and switch the SE safety switch and the L1/L2, but then the fault was gone and all working quite fine (selling daily, batteries fully charged) since.

My fear is, this will recur with the next outage, as nothing has been changed. Further, if power issues are great enough I need to supplement with the generator... that needs to function as well... as it was intended.
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by IanMcCluskey » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:01 am

That is interesting. Your Solaredge screenshot indicates the over-frequency faults were last occurring on 10/28 around 2:00PM, but your generator was also operating during that same time.

Please send a screenshot of when the first over-frequency fault occured.
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:52 pm

Ian;

I see now that faults also occurred when the generator was still in my garage... 10/10/19.

Faults first occurred 10/10 @ 13:46, during first outage; no generator operated at all. Experienced a low-voltage shut-down.
Faults next occurred 10/27 @ 10:25, during second outage; generator operated between 10-21:00, to charge batteries.
Fault occurred again 10/28 @ 10:21, still in second outage; generator operated between 11-15:00, to charge batteries, until grid back up @ 15:00.

I don't see that OpticsRE shows explicit time. There may only have been 5-10 minutes between shutting down the generator and reconnecting the grid (SolarEdge), but I reiterate, the SolarEdge inverter was never connected while the generator was running.

S/D
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SolarEdge faults (11-06-19).pdf
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by IanMcCluskey » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:26 am

Ah, S/D, I just noticed you have an older model SE6000A-US. What year was that inverter installed? It may have been produced before Solaredge complied with UL 1741 SA

UL 1741 SA requires inverters to be capable of frequency watt shifting. Your Solaredge may not be, unfortunately.

Solaredge may be able to update that inverter to UL 1741 SA capabilities via firmware update, I am not sure.
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:18 pm

Ian;

No idea... first I have heard of that. I will try to find out.

Inverter was installed in 2016. I just updated firmware via SolarEdge to 3.2525. That update did not remedy the fault problem, at least by itself.

UPDATE: According to SolarEdge, the model SE6000A-Us is "UL1741 SA certified for CPUC Rule 21 grid compliance", as per the attached spec sheet.

S/D
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by IanMcCluskey » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:31 pm

Good, glad to hear it. Alright, I think the next step is to try to reproduce this issue in a controlled environment.

- ensure the generator is off and cannot turn on automatically
- ensure the battery bank is well below the charging target so energy from the Solaredge has somewhere to go
- ensure all of your system settings are configured according to the battery manufacturer specifications AND our AC Coupling App note: http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/d ... p_note.pdf
- Turn on datalogging on your MATE3S

Then, disconnect the grid and watch the solaredge to see if and when the fault appears. I would like to know the battery voltage at the time the fault appears.

So far, it seems like the Radian shifted frequency up to protect the batteries based on the system settings. At some point the Solaredge noticed the frequency was too high, and then disconnect. Then every time it automatically reconnected, the Radian frequency shifted up to protect the batteries again, resulting in another fault.

Ideally, you would also monitor the frequency on the AC line between the Radian and Solaredge to see at what frequency the fault occurs.

Keep in mind, first priority of AC Coupling is to protect the batteries, so if the Radian thinks the Solaredge is overcharging them due to settings, it will shut her down.
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:35 am

OK. I realized I need to test to see if this still happens. From your comments, I am surmising this might be a response to low voltage conditions.

We have a well pump issue, partially resolved, that caused frequent cycling, which I believe caused the rapid discharge overnight and ultimately, a low voltage shutdown 10/11 (low point 53%/42v). The well is another problem I am attempting to resolve.

Will run the test on the weekend, so give me a couple days... hafta keep earning a living in between solar and plumbing diagnoses!

Thx!

S/D

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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by IanMcCluskey » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:10 am

S/D, sorry my message was not clear.

The Radian will raise the frequency when the voltage gets too high. This is the nature of frequency watt shifting (AKA droop speed control): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droop_speed_control
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by EMCF » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:22 am

Please explain why you are showing a link to a generator's frequency/speed control, when we are dealing with a non-mechanical inverter here? :-k
Last edited by EMCF on Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:27 am

Ian;

Well it certainly sounds like the problem is narrowing. I read the documents, but a challenge for me to digest. However, the first paragraph says "When safe charging limits are exceeded, the OutBack inverter will shift the frequency upwards from 60 Hz to as much as 64.5 Hz to make the GTI incrementally reduce its output (Freq/Watt compliant inverters) or disconnect itself from the AC coupled circuit (any IEEE 1547-compliant inverter)."

So it seems logical the potential increase in frequency response by OutBack likely triggered the S/E fault. Also described, is the time lapse and conditions required to self-resolve.

I will test the batteries first, to see if the problem returns.

I can check the settings, which appear only available through the MATE3s panel, but a number of those require judgment... judgment I don't have. If you can make recommendations for the settings described, based upon my system info, that would be extremely helpful!

Let me now if you have any diagnostic/resolution ideas other than what I describe above.

S/D

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Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by IanMcCluskey » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:08 am

Please explain why you are showing a link to a generator's frequency/speed control, when we are dealing with a non-mechanical inverter here? :-k
Same concept, but fair point. Here's a more complete piece of literature: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/68884.pdf
I can check the settings, which appear only available through the MATE3s panel, but a number of those require judgment... judgment I don't have. If you can make recommendations for the settings described, based upon my system info, that would be extremely helpful!
I will try to take a look later today or next week. To be fair, matching setting targets to battery specifications is a big part of what you paid your installer for, and has nothing to with AC coupling. As in, if you ask them to double check the voltage and current settings, they should not refuse based on the fact the system is AC Coupled. That is just basic service as an installer.
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Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: AC coupled - batteries not charging from solar array during outage

Post by Swampdog » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:54 am

1) In the document you referred me to (http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/d ... p_note.pdf) I could not locate the settings via the MATE3s panel (see attached). I believe I located all via the OpticsRE DEvice Map Radian settings, and all appear correct. Note that the Float and Sell Volatges are both set to 54.4 rather than the descibed default 52v. However, I could not locate any setting entitled or near "Freq Respnse Shift Time".

From reading this document, it seems to align with what my system expreinced, except that I did not know they were response that could be anticipated. I believe issues initiated from low voltage and a low voltage shutdown caused initially by my malfunctioing well pump. After the second outage, the grid cam up and charged the batteries, running normally ever since, so no opportunity to see if the S/E faulty recurred. I am now expecting it will not. However... I want to make sure all settings are correct before I test a grid-off, array charging scenario.

Please let me know if this makes sense to you... and if you could comment on the missing frequency settings.

2) On another note, I have been communicating via private messages with Bryce Millet, Software Engineering, regarding a lack of subscription alerts and event notification (OpticsRE Events). He commented: "Your FNDC says it has been 15.1 days since your charge parameters have been met, so you won't be seeing events for that." and "Are you positive your battery has gone through a full charging cycle recently? Based on the usage I'm seeing in the graphs your battery appears to have not been charging from the 29th until today. Which explains why no battery state change events have been logged during that time."

Is this relevant to the issues I am attempting to work through with you?

... the struggle continues...

Thx!!!

S/D
Attachments
MATE3s AC Coupled settings.pdf
(300.31 KiB) Downloaded 164 times
Pages from acc_freq_app_note(2).pdf
(107.82 KiB) Downloaded 164 times

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