First post and it may be a bit unusual...........

MarkBorgen

New Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2023
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1
Location
Oregon and Sweden
I have a very unique need for solar panels, inverter(s) and batteries. They will most likely not be coming in the 'normal' sequence. This will be a longer initial post than most, so I will beg your indulgences in advance.

I've been designing and building handcrafted log homes for over 50 years and I just bought a farm in Sweden. I'm in the process of moving and I am working on a hybrid Swedish/American power system. A bit of background is needed so you can 'feel my pain.' US and Swedish (also most of Europe) power systems are different. The US power system at most homes and farms is basically 2 phase (120 v./120 v.) 60 Hz. power. We refer to things as 120 and 240 volt items and most house are set up this way. You can think of it as 1 Ph. and 2 Ph. power. In the US you would not need 3 Ph. until you approach a light industrial situation where some things are best run on 3 Ph. would you need any more than the two legs of 120/60 Hz. power. The Swedish system is different in that 99.9% of all homes and business have 3 Ph. (120 v./120 v./120 v.) but it is 50 Hz. Only the items with a very small current draw such as lamps, clocks, computers, televisions and such use one leg of the three available. In Sweden, most larger items such as microwaves, refrigerators, hair dryers and almost every smaller shop tool I own, which is a lot, are all run on 240 volt/50 Hz. All the heavy equipment that I own is 3 phase/60 Hz. These are things like my large air compressor, table saws, bandsaw, sand blasting booth and molding machine. These will all run on the Swedish 3Ph/50 Hz., but the RPM may vary a bit and I can adapt these. These are also easy to repower with Swedish motors over time if it is a problem.

My major need is for a system to cover me with 120/60 Hz. power for my shop. I have 50-60 tools and small equipment that require 120/60 Hz. US current. What I came up with first was taking a US solar inverter system with me and setting up a battery bank. I plan to use solar in the future, but I need the 120/60 Hz. immediately. For now I can charge the batteries with a 240/50 Hz. Swedish trickle charger and then convert it to 120/60 Hz. with the US inverter. The sense of dread has gone. I now know I can do this without having to sell all my 'well trained tools' for a dime on the dollar and then buying all new tools when I get to Sweden. I have better things to spend my money on.

Here is where I could use the help from the forum. I want to design the system so that I can get up and running quickly. I then want to add solar panels in the future as the time and money arrive. I do have a great solar site and several ways to mount a panel system and keep all parts in a fairly close area. There are at least two other considerations. We do have a fairly long winter and we do get some sub zero temperatures. The farm is located at 62.00700001068774°, 16.94538484907364° north latitude, west longitude. If you're familiar with Alaska, I would be about 10 miles south of Talkeetna on the way to Fairbanks. That makes for long days in the summer with the sun high and short days with the sun low in the winter. My site is a bit blessed with a climate that is more like north eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. I've attached a .pdf file showing the layout of the farmstead to give you an idea of where I am located.

So there it is. If you made it this far, I am interested in suggestions of building a suitable battery bank that I can get going quickly while designing it so that I am not wasting time and money to add solar panels later. I can also send excess power back into the grid. I look forward to getting a conversation rolling to see where it goes. Thanks/Tack så mycket, Mark.

Exterior 090706_03.JPGExterior 090706_04.JPG
 

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But from what I can scan , you're going to want a hybrid inverter , thats capable of grid tie & battery operation


If you're grid tie'ing in Sweden I think you're going to come up against a boat load of rules & regs , Id imagine you're going to need someone qualified to do the install
 
The Swedish system is different in that 99.9% of all homes and business have 3 Ph. (120 v./120 v./120 v.) but it is 50 Hz. Only the items with a very small current draw such as lamps, clocks, computers, televisions and such use one leg of the three available.
Are you sure? I would have expected 230V usually single phase like UK and most of Europe. :unsure:

Edited to add: I suspect homes may have 3 phase 230V (=400V) nominal, but not aware of any 120V across Europe.
 
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Lots of eu countries are going 3 phase for residential , not sure why exactly but it is happening
It is happening to power bigger loads, especially fast(er) charging for EVs.

But I think the OP is incorrect with regard to 120V. No doubt others on here who live there can confirm ;)
 
How much of your equipment excluding stationary equipment really requires 120V/60Hz? I doubt it is nearly as much as you think. Almost everything today without a motor is universal voltage/frequency, 100-250V, 50/60Hz.

Strongly advise against a mixed power supply in Europe. It makes sense in some countries with less reliable grids but not Sweden.
 
I suppose an immediate solution would be to install something like a Victron autotransformer to supply 120v where you need it.

Design the rest of your system to whatever standards are required to meet local codes.
 
Just to confirm, in summary you are looking at building two power systems in Sweden.
1) USA 240v split phase 60 hz
2) Whatever Sweden has 3 phase, 400v(?), 50 hz.

You want USA 240v ASAP to run your tools.
Want to sell excess PV to the grid.

Thoughts on immediate USA 240v system:
Any off-grid inverter, batteries.
Something like a chargeverter to charge the batteries from the grid.

Alternative to chargeverter: Sweden inverter to charge batteries. Just hook it up to grid, and have it keep the batteries topped up.

The USA portion will NOT be able to backfeed the grid. So, if you add PV to that, do a minimal amount.

Batteries are the tricky part. You might be able to hook up the batteries to both inverters. The trick is to make sure you do not overload the batteries with both systems drawing at the same time. If only one system is charging the batteries (Sweden inverter), then charging too fast is not a problem.

If you do need separate battery banks, then use the chargeverter to charge the USA bank.

Note: the battery charger does not have to be able to handle peak loads. It can charge 24/7, A chargeverter can deliver 4kW on a continuous basis, so can deliver 90kWh per day to the batteries.
 
Are you sure? I would have expected 230V usually single phase like UK and most of Europe. :unsure:

Edited to add: I suspect homes may have 3 phase 230V (=400V) nominal, but not aware of any 120V across Europe.
Definitely 230V per phase here in sweden, so 400V across two phases.

In my house, 90% of appliances use just one phase (230V 50Hz), but “big” energy users such as ground source heat pump and combined cooker with induction hob make use of all three phases. Some older washing machines were three phase, but that’s a bit outdated now.

I wish I could get my heatpump running on single phase 230v, because then I could run it on solar, but that’s another story.
 
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...

My major need is for a system to cover me with 120/60 Hz. power for my shop. I have 50-60 tools and small equipment that require 120/60 Hz. US current. What I came up with first was taking a US solar inverter system with me and setting up a battery bank. I plan to use solar in the future, but I need the 120/60 Hz. immediately. For now I can charge the batteries with a 240/50 Hz. Swedish trickle charger and then convert it to 120/60 Hz. with the US inverter. The sense of dread has gone. I now know I can do this without having to sell all my 'well trained tools' for a dime on the dollar and then buying all new tools when I get to Sweden. I have better things to spend my money on.

....
It sounds more like your needs could be handled by a US standard gas or diesel driven generator. Whichever fuel type that is cheaper/easier to come by in Sweden.
 
Your house on grid supply will have 3 phase 230 volts 50 hz input at the main distribution panel. ( 230 volts to neutral, 415 phase to phase). This will be distributed, phase to neutral 230 volts, to outlets through the dwelling via a suitable breaker, MCB. Most small appiances are 230 volts rated up to around 12 to 15 amps, 3kw. Some circuits may be rated higher , still single phase, such as electric showers, cookers, or 415 rated, operating between 2 phases
The phases are distributed to various parts of the dwelling to give a approximate equal load on the 3 phase Input. Some high power appliances, furnace, underfloor hearing, for example, may be connected as three phase units.
Your single phase US tools will work happily on 50 Hz via a 230 to 110 isolation transformer. In fact most site construction tools, as apposed to DIY tools, by law have to operate at 110 volts via a isolation transformer in the EU.
As for your 3 phase equipment it should operate on 50 hz with a slightly lower power, serious issues could be resolver by replacing induction motors with 50 hz units .
Local regulations may require professional Installion of approved electrical equipment and test/Inspection on completion
 
I understand what you are trying to do and I can see some caveats with the "how" portion of your project.
While it looks easier to use an AIO (All In One) which has it own Solar Controller/Inverter/Charger all in one unit but in your case I feel this would be a mistake. Not only would that lock you into the equipment it would take you out of step with everything else. I would suggest that if you are going the AIO route then build the system to Swedish Spec and use a Transformer to provide your shop with 240VAC/60Hz Split-Phase. There really is no point in "Handicapping" the future potential of what you can do.

In a remote situation like you have, (I'm also Northern near Algonquin Park Ontario Canada) system flexibility is more important because "stuff happens" (IE I can be snowbound for days, longest so far 5 days not being able to get out to road). A Component System that uses a separate SCC (Solar Charge Controller) and combined Inverter/Charger allows a lot more flexibility but also allows you to shut down components if not required. High-Quality component-based setups can also be far more energy efficient because Inverters are available that are up to 97% Efficient with very low standby power consumption. If this is well planned from the start you can add Solar Controllers in parallel to maximize your solar arrays and again you can parallel Inverter systems (some allow interlinked and some don't, check product specs) to increase your available power.

While I am not as far North as you are, my solar panel angle is set to 45 Degrees for the best average angle and even at that angle I have to go out and clear snow off them... Boy THAT is always an adventure. Luckily as a Ground Mount set 4' off the ground. Attached is a Solar Angle Tool output for Stockholm Sweden and as you can see, the panel angle has to be pretty "Radical" and pretty much negates a Roof Solar system and pretty much requires a Ground Mount Array.

Something to note...
My personal observation is that Separate SCC's are better suited and more efficient than those included with AIO's. For example I run with 2 Midnite Solar Classic SCC's, a Classic-200 with 2080W of Panel (4s2p) that provides me with up to 78A Charge & a Classic-150 with 2370W of Panel (2s3p)to provide me another 92A, so with these two "small" arrays I am getting 170A Charge power. Midnite, Victron and other Tier-1 producers make very efficient SCC's which do not require massive arrays and most these are linkable in parallel. TBH, If I was building today I would use VICTRON Components (they were not available in Canada when I went Solar).

I am also pinging @upnorthandpersonal who is another Northern Solar Resident in Finland and quite well acquainted with all the issues & solutions.


1681908305391.pngLook at the Spring/Autumn (Mar & Sep) for optimal "fixed" annual angle. 31 Degrees is pretty steep.

Solar Calculator for this:

Hope it helps, Good Luck.
 
Just to confirm, in summary you are looking at building two power systems in Sweden.
1) USA 240v split phase 60 hz
2) Whatever Sweden has 3 phase, 400v(?), 50 hz.

You want USA 240v ASAP to run your tools.
Want to sell excess PV to the grid.

Thoughts on immediate USA 240v system:
Any off-grid inverter, batteries.
Something like a chargeverter to charge the batteries from the grid.

Alternative to chargeverter: Sweden inverter to charge batteries. Just hook it up to grid, and have it keep the batteries topped up.

The USA portion will NOT be able to backfeed the grid. So, if you add PV to that, do a minimal amount.

Batteries are the tricky part. You might be able to hook up the batteries to both inverters. The trick is to make sure you do not overload the batteries with both systems drawing at the same time. If only one system is charging the batteries (Sweden inverter), then charging too fast is not a problem.

If you do need separate battery banks, then use the chargeverter to charge the USA bank.

Note: the battery charger does not have to be able to handle peak loads. It can charge 24/7, A chargeverter can deliver 4kW on a continuous basis, so can deliver 90kWh per day to the batteries.
Ditto



Well, that was easy.
for me. lol
 
What @DIYrich said.

And yes, 230V per phase, 400V between phases (technically, between 380 and 415).

And you could build your own charger - see:
I got a used 3kW R48-3000e3 for under 100€ shipping included.
 
Don't know if you are planning to go "all in" on Sweden and power, but I'd just have both systems. Swedish grid power, etc. and a separate US power system for the shop (inverter/battery-bank to start). It's (I hope) becoming more easy/convenient to have multiple power systems vs one big one, with more of a single point of failure approach.

With the right conversion gear (if available), the swedish grid can be tapped to recharge the US system battery-bank, so If no other solar gear present or required, this gives you flexibility to continue the US tools, and possibly gives you a fallback if Sweden grid occasionally falls out (for US tools/appliances). Possibly some nostalgia value for 120/240v and tools/devices?

Hope this helps ...
 
What tools do you have that are 120 volt and REQUIRE 60 Hz?

There is an article/post on the FineWoodworking website discussing using 120v/60Hz equipment in the UK. They used a transformer to convert the 240v down to 120v. Didn't worry about the difference in frequency. Said everything was running fine for seven years (except for the tools they dropped on the floor and smashed)

My company just purchased about a million dollars of machinery from Switzerland. Of course its set up for 240/415 Y 50 Hz three phase. All we needed to do was to have the manufacturer provide us with 277/480Y to 240/415Y transformers for each machine. No need to convert frequency.
 
possibly for EV chargers?

I considered upgrading the 3 phase for our EV charging but learned that AC charging at low amperage was 100% fine

From what I've read , faster charging actually degrades EV batteries

We charge ours on a wall plug in 'granny charger' , 6-8amp/240v - and only when the sun's shining on the grid tie panels !
 
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