EVE LF280K, UL, and NEC 480.3

Trixs

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 11, 2021
Messages
13
Good Afternoon,

Quick background: Starting ground on a new house, near Spokane Wa, on 10 Acres and I am contemplating not connecting to the grid.

Original plan was to build my own battery bank utilizing LifePO4 battery cells until I started reading the 2020 NEC. I received quotes and was ready to pull the trigger on a very large number of cells.

Reading the 2020 NEC I don't believe Article 706 implies as it is more orientated towards all in one systems similar to Tesla Power wall. Article 480 is specific towards battery banks. Unfortunately, according to Article 480 Storage batteries and battery management equipment shall be listed unless they are lead-acid batteries. I thought this was a kiss of death, pretty much everywhere in the US, for everything discussed on this forum.

Real Curiosity: A little bit of google searches shows that apparently EVE LF280K cells are UL listed. Maybe this project isn't dead before it really even began...
Listing
Certificate

The real question: Does anyone know if there batteries are "stamped" or even say the brand/model number on them? Enough to convince an inspector? What has your experience been with this issue?
@Jenny Wu Do yours and do you have the certificate?
 

Steve_S

Offgrid Cabineer, N.E. Ontario, Canada
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
5,601
Location
Rural NE Ontario Canada
Cells by themselves will not likely be listed unless specifically required for compliance for specialty gear, that also is not what would be sold to General Public and most certainly no Bulk or Brokered cells will ever meet that.

Many Codes still "hang" on to Lead and do not really address Lithium Based. Then you have some that do but only look at the worst case types like NMC or NCA which can explode whereas LFP does not but sadly too many don't understand or address the differences. It's a perfect pile of Bovine Deposits!

Short of purchasing a Commercial Product that has gone through the UL/CSA/ETL certifications (which is costly too BTW) you won't find "parts" that you can assemble & state that the "whole" is certified... the whole thing must be done.

Power-Walls / Power-Blocks "VARY" a lot and not just the chemistries within but their capabilities & functions. Some have built-in Inverter/Chargers, some only one of those and then there are Battery Packs with BMS' only that connect to AIO's (All-In-Ones) or to independent components like SCC's & Inverters & Chargers on a common DC Bus.

The Link below here will lead you to Solar Battery comparison charts
The detailed battery comparison tables are separated into the following three main types of energy storage systems primarily used for on-grid and off-grid solar and backup power applications:
* AC-Coupled battery systems
* DC-coupled battery systems
* Off-grid battery systems
NOTE:
There are several offerings for different configurations. A Large Majority have the ability to interact with Solar Charge Controllers, Inverters & AIO's (All In One Solar Units) but you must check for your specific equipment to see if they are compatible.
https://www.cleanenergyreviews.info/battery-storage-comparison-chart

Hope this helps, Good Luck
Steve

PS: It is far more helpful to describe your plan & intent and the gear you are considering... Estimated power generation, equipment to be used, how much energy storage you need & want (two things), expected loads (max Amp Draw) and such.
BTW: a general yet unwritten rule is to not exceed pulling 250A from a bank to one device, stackable inverters can be setup to work around that. 48V Battery Bank @ 250A can support 12,000W (12kW) and provide 50A @ 240VAC Split Phase (uncorrected).
 

Groscout

Knowledge Versus Understanding
Joined
May 2, 2021
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58
Location
US
Why do you need UL listing? Especially when it’s off grid and installed after your final visit from your locale building inspector. It’s going to be installed after the people you pay the bribe money to are long gone right?

I would think all you would need is a mystery “future generator” sub panel or whatnot to connect your off grid solar to after the final.

Also, if I were contemplating a system of that scale. I would consider a well insulated solar shed near my cheap used panel ground mount array. Eliminating the risk to any main structures. Ten acres is plenty of real estate for some pretty cool off grid stuff.

Happy homesteading.
 

Groscout

Knowledge Versus Understanding
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May 2, 2021
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58
Location
US
Yup a cheap solar shed shouldn’t need it, or would the insurance industry still care?
 

BuffaloTrace

Solar Enthusiast
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Dec 3, 2020
Messages
124
Most unpermitted structures such as sheds arent usually covered anyway. Look at your policy, usually only includes permitted structures as those will be code compliant, "insurance legal"
 

Groscout

Knowledge Versus Understanding
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May 2, 2021
Messages
58
Location
US
Most unpermitted structures such as sheds arent usually covered anyway. Look at your policy, usually only includes permitted structures as those will be code compliant, "insurance legal"
I didn’t think of looking at a policy. That would reveal a lot.

That and if I recall correctly Kittitas county doesn’t require building permits on structures that are 10’x12’ or smaller. I think Spokane country is the same or similar. Don’t quote me on the maximum size it might just be 10’x10’.

I’m just wondering what a Spokane based insurance company would say about an un permitted 10x12 building (solar shed) say 50’ away or whatever from any other structure. I wonder if they would deny insurance on an insurance legal structure based on that. does anybody know?
 

Trixs

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 11, 2021
Messages
13
All,

Thank you for the replies.

My initial off grid system thoughts included the following:
1. Pallet of 30 Panels - 395W (ish)
2. Growatt 12000T 12KW
3. 48 LF280K (3 banks of 16) - 43Kw storage

It is going to cost me approximately $10K to have electric ran to the property not including trenching. I figured I could set up a fairly robust solar system for around $15K and then get the 26% tax rebate bringing the total to $11,000(ish). As I need to spend the cash to either run electric or install solar the pay off period for solar is extremely short and is an easy decision.

At the end of the day the numbers rely on my ability to utilize a well priced storage system. Purchasing a similar sized system of 48 Battleborn batteries would cost $34,000 just for the storage system. That amount makes the payback period not worth the investment and time.

Sooo... Goes back to the wonderfully written 2020 NEC and its new stipulations. I think section 480.3 Equipment. is to the point,
"Equipment. Storage batteries and battery management equipment shall be listed. This requirement shall not apply to lead acid batteries."

Ok, so all of the LiFePO4 battery banks on this forum should technically fail an inspection unless they are "listed."... But what does that mean?

Listed. Equipment, materials, or services included in a list published by an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with evaluation of products..... Informational Note: The means for identifying listed equipment may vary for each organization concerned with product evaluation.

So basically goes back to the original questions regarding the UL certification status of EVE batteries. From what I found they technically ARE listed but I don't know how an inspector would view that.

If think its worthwhile to mention I come from a military background and tend to take written instructions quite literally. Maybe I am reading too much into it. But at the end of the day I am really curious how others have recently done this. I was planning on utilizing a solar shed of some sort. Is there a place in the NEC that essentially says its not part of the residence and therefore not part of the inspection?

Also, it is an interesting idea to simply not install a battery bank until after the final inspection. Or just install 4 12V lead acid batteries and swap them out after passed ;-)
 

BuffaloTrace

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
124
If you end up going the route of getting everything to pass and than adding better energy storage at a later date, I strongly recommend going above and beyond for safety. Metal battery bank containment boxes along with an adequate automatic fire suppression system. Perhaps a recording security type camera on the system. Small cost for an overkill of safety if anything were to happen. Basically adding much more margin of safety for a system that was changed after the approval by going above and beyond what is required by code. I think that would go a long way and give peace of mind in the whole process.
 

Bvillebob

Solar Addict
Joined
Oct 21, 2021
Messages
147
I constantly hear on this site that insurance companies won't pay if there's something that's not UL certified. I'd sure like hear an actual experience along those lines.

I've only had one house fire in my life, which was caused by a faulty appliance timer, but it did about $50K of damage. There was never any suggestions from the adjuster about whether or not anything was certified. Heck, I'd done all the wiring and there was no inspection of it, never any questions asked, he just asked me to make a list of my losses and promised a check in a week, which he delivered, cound't have been easier or more pleasant.

Not saying it's never happened, but I do think it's not the big deal it's made out to be, unless you're in some particularly authoritarian area, like California or New York...
 

CavemanDS

New Member
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Nov 30, 2021
Messages
11
These are all good points to consider. It just so happens my brother-in-law is a residential/commercial insurance inspector for Travelers Insurance. I'll ask him all these questions and let you know what he says!
 

michael d

off-grid solar pilgrim
Joined
Dec 15, 2019
Messages
413
I suggest you go off-grid, build your structure, skip the insurance altogether. put the lifepo4 batteries and inverter and solar charge controller in the off-grid solar shed. make it as safe as you can. insurance is an over-priced monopoly and not always needed.

I am self-insured on anything that does not have a government-backed bank loan. I figure I save about 5000 dollars every year by skipping the insurance monopoly.

you do not want the noisy inverter in your living quarters anyway, the batteries are safe in a locked off-grid solar shed and no one's business.

LiFePO4 is a safe battery technology but you still need common-sense safety to DIY.
Cheers!

the battery connections are critical to getting them properly snugged down. keep positive and negative separate as needed, cover up all terminals, and use heat shrink on cables, electrical tape etc, go slow and be careful.
 

CavemanDS

New Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
11
Following up with the whole insurance question.

TLDR; Unless DIY solar is listed as a SPECIFIC exclusion in your insurance policy, you'll likely be covered.

Slightly longer version:


Brother-in-law says he has never (in 20 years) denied any claims based on the UL listing/diy/stupidity of any client. They have covered all claims involving solar unless there is a specific exclusion for it within the policy or in the odd case the owner admitted to setting the fire/etc on purpose. The only question they would have regarding any solar (DIY or otherwise) is whether it's considered part of the structure (main policy) or part of an external structure (sheds etc). If you have a policy covering additional structures, it'll be covered up to the policy limit if your shed gets smoked. I think it's also worth mentioning most of his claims involving solar happen in California where they have VERY strict codes and rules governing solar and construction in general and even in those cases they covered the DIY.

He did ask me to ask you guys for specific instances or experiences you have had that differ from this. Obviously you need to read your policy and/or call your own insurance company to determine if you'd be covered but his guidance was that most of these fears are unfounded.
 
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