Sol-Ark confusion

Cheap 4-life

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Bingo. I agree this will work and should be low to no cost to do.
Yes but OP might want to eventually setup an offgrid panel, then the inverter could possibly draw amps from the garage panel (pass through the inverter) which could overload the garage panel. Also the OP might want to use grid charging which could also overload the garage panel. The OP might turn off limiting. I agree with all these possibilities it would be best to subtract the SolArk AC breaker amps from the breaker that feeds the garage panel. But the OP should make sure that a 70amp breaker will supply all of his houses needs.
 
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jmzorko

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For NEC and probably local permit approval, you'll need Rapid Shutdown for your PV panels. The Sol-Ark has a RSD 12v signal which, if you wire it to the RSD module brain, will shut down the modules when the Sol-Ark is shut down. If you move the 30A Sol-Ark breaker into the garage panel you'll need to make sure the panel's main breaker and panel is sized accordingly, there are rules for downsizing the panel's breaker when you feed a Grid Tied inverter to it. Right now you have what is called a load side or supply side tap. Anyway, I personally haven't put 2 wires in a CT but my minimal google research shows it is done and works and sums all the current as long as the wires are the same phase. It's certainly easy to just do it and see if it solves your problem would would be very simple. Another possibility is to remove the 30A Sol-Ark breaker and use a tap to the mains. These are UL approved devices that clamp onto the wire and cut into it, and then run the #8 wire (or whatever is feeding the sol-ark) directly to the Sol-Ark, like a Y connector. The Sol-Ark has a 60A breaker / disconnect in it on the Grid input/output. However, simplest solution is to try the 2 wire inside 1 CT. Just turn off the main breaker and measure there is no power present before messing with stuff in there.

I tried this, and it seems to be working, but with one caveat. I wrapped each CT around 1 wire from the 100a breaker and 1 wire from the 30a breaker (one CT for the leftmost wires and the other for the rightmost). I then enabled Limited To Home and TOU, and the Sol-Ark is indeed drawing from the batteries right now and not the grid. I even tested with charging the EV for a minute, and the Sol-Ark drew from the battery up to the limit I had set, and the rest from the grid. The weird load loop didn't happen, but the Sol-Ark does seem to be drawing twice as much from the battery as is needed i.e. the home is using ~200w right now, and the Sol-Ark is drawing about 410w from the battery. The AC just came on for a bit, and the Sol-Ark drew 2.4kw from the battery when the home was only drawing 1.2kw.

Anyway, definitely a positive step, as atm at least, it seems to be working. I'll see how it's doing later tonight, as well as tomorrow morning. Many thanks for this very interesting idea!
 

jmzorko

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Also, the idea is to eventually make this system off-grid capable. My plan:

1. replace dead Delta inverter with Sol-Ark 5k
2. add batteries (4 BigBattery LAMA units in parallel)
3. use Sol-ark as a grid-tie / battery TOU system until permit for adding 3kw of additional PV (the current system installed by the previous owner is only 3kw, so I'm adding another 3kw) and critical load sub panel is approved
4. install additional 3kw / critical loads sub-panel

It looks like step 3 is working, though I'd like to address why it's drawing 2x as much as is needed. Definitely a positive step, though :)
 
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Keith Moreau

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Also, the idea is to eventually make this system off-grid capable. My plan:

1. replace dead Delta inverter with Sol-Ark 5k
2. add batteries (4 BigBattery LAMA units in parallel)
3. use Sol-ark as a grid-tie / battery TOU system until permit for adding 3kw of additional PV (I only have 3kw right now) and critical load sub panel is approved
4. install additional 3kw / critical loads sub-panel

It looks like step 3 is working, though I'd like to address why it's drawing 2x as much as is needed. Definitely a positive step, though :)
Can you post a photo of how you attached the CTs? You need to have the same phase wires in the CTs from your description it sounds like you did it right – did you do the auto detect checked under the advanced menu? just to make sure you’re don’t have CT orientation wrong
 

Keith Moreau

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Also, the idea is to eventually make this system off-grid capable. My plan:

1. replace dead Delta inverter with Sol-Ark 5k
2. add batteries (4 BigBattery LAMA units in parallel)
3. use Sol-ark as a grid-tie / battery TOU system until permit for adding 3kw of additional PV (the current system installed by the previous owner is only 3kw, so I'm adding another 3kw) and critical load sub panel is approved
4. install additional 3kw / critical loads sub-panel

It looks like step 3 is working, though I'd like to address why it's drawing 2x as much as is needed. Definitely a positive step, though :)
Extra power could be: Sol Ark draws by default about 100W - You can reduce that to zero or close to zero by going into the grid /sell menu - I think I have mine set a 20W because you don’t really don’t want to backfeed the grid So this constant draw ensures that - By the way I just noticed you have the 5K - I have the 12 K so you’re a 30 amp breaker makes sense now
 

jmzorko

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Can you post a photo of how you attached the CTs? You need to have the same phase wires in the CTs from your description it sounds like you did it right – did you do the auto detect checked under the advanced menu? just to make sure you’re don’t have CT orientation wrong

Yes, I did the auto-detect when I reconnected the CTs. It's dark now, but I can post a photo tomorrow. It's not 100%, but this really is a positive step in that I'm finally actually _using_ these batteries. Many thanks again :)
 

jmzorko

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Extra power could be: Sol Ark draws by default about 100W - You can reduce that to zero or close to zero by going into the grid /sell menu - I think I have mine set a 20W because you don’t really don’t want to backfeed the grid So this constant draw ensures that - By the way I just noticed you have the 5K - I have the 12 K so you’re a 30 amp breaker makes sense now

I have mine set to 20w ("zero export power") as well, but the Sol-Ark still seems to want to draw a small amount from the grid even though there is plenty of PV and battery. It's almost always 80w or less - at night often 20w or less - and is more than offset by the extra power I'm sending to the grid after charging the batteries and feeding the house, but I do wonder why it's doing it. It's certainly not a big deal, as I'm still tbh over the moon that the batteries are finally being used, but I am curious.
 

Cheap 4-life

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I have mine set to 20w ("zero export power") as well, but the Sol-Ark still seems to want to draw a small amount from the grid even though there is plenty of PV and battery. It's almost always 80w or less - at night often 20w or less - and is more than offset by the extra power I'm sending to the grid after charging the batteries and feeding the house, but I do wonder why it's doing it. It's certainly not a big deal, as I'm still tbh over the moon that the batteries are finally being used, but I am curious.
That video might help. Explains the settings well
 

HighTechLab

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Keith Moreau

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I have mine set to 20w ("zero export power") as well, but the Sol-Ark still seems to want to draw a small amount from the grid even though there is plenty of PV and battery. It's almost always 80w or less - at night often 20w or less - and is more than offset by the extra power I'm sending to the grid after charging the batteries and feeding the house, but I do wonder why it's doing it. It's certainly not a big deal, as I'm still tbh over the moon that the batteries are finally being used, but I am curious.
I am finding that the Sol-Ark is not 100% perfect at displaying exactly what is going on with the power, I often have a situation where I know I am not drawing the load in the house as the Sol-Ark shows. I guess it’s not 100% perfect system real time but most of the time it’s fairly accurate, it is also possible that the CTs are being influenced by other wires nearby and reporting slightly off values for example if they are in the same conduit or right next to live AC wires for some distance, for that reason I ran my CT wires separate from the AC power wires. Whoever I’m really glad that you’re getting close to the TOU system that you want, when you decide to add more PV and you want it permit approved you may have to add rapid shut off as well as sizing your breakers to comply with NEC (National Electrical Code) rules.
 

jmzorko

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I am finding that the Sol-Ark is not 100% perfect at displaying exactly what is going on with the power, I often have a situation where I know I am not drawing the load in the house as the Sol-Ark shows. I guess it’s not 100% perfect system real time but most of the time it’s fairly accurate, it is also possible that the CTs are being influenced by other wires nearby and reporting slightly off values for example if they are in the same conduit or right next to live AC wires for some distance, for that reason I ran my CT wires separate from the AC power wires. Whoever I’m really glad that you’re getting close to the TOU system that you want, when you decide to add more PV and you want it permit approved you may have to add rapid shut off as well as sizing your breakers to comply with NEC (National Electrical Code) rules.

Sol-Ark support responded and said that when grid-tied, even using TOU and Grid Sell to zero the meter, the Sol-Ark will still draw a bit of power from the grid, and that this is normal. Regarding the 30a breaker, it is the appropriate size for the additional PV I'm having installed soon (additional 3kw for a total of 6.1kw). The CT wires are in a separate conduit from the other wires. Also, rapid shutoff is included in the solar plans submitted for the permit, as well as a critical loads panel for off-grid scenarios.
 

Keith Moreau

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Since you have the 5kw Sol-Ark, I think the 30A breaker for the 5K DC to AC grid output is appropriate (5000watts / 240V = 21 Amps). I have the 12K so I have a 60A as my AC disconnect breaker. However I think there are also possibilities for grid 'pass through' or other reasons why you'd want a larger breaker. I'd have to study the Sol-Ark 5K specs to see if 30A is appropriate or not. I see there is a 63A breaker in your photo on the grid, so you might want to match that and that is probably the breaker size in your permit line diagram. I think having a external breaker easily accessible by emergency personnel is good, and you have that in place. You'll also need a ton of NEC appropriate labels all over everything. My setup looks like an Indy Rally car and anybody would be afraid to step within 5 feet of it, so I guess that purpose is served.
 

jmzorko

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Extra power could be: Sol Ark draws by default about 100W - You can reduce that to zero or close to zero by going into the grid /sell menu - I think I have mine set a 20W because you don’t really don’t want to backfeed the grid So this constant draw ensures that - By the way I just noticed you have the 5K - I have the 12 K so you’re a 30 amp breaker makes sense now

This problem has been solved, and now the Sol-Ark isn't drawing 2x as many watts as it needs from the batteries to handle the house load. Sol-Ark support did have my Sol-Ark on an older firmware rev (left over from when we were trying to debug the TOU issues last week), so they updated it to the latest. However, I think the actual problem was that the CT wires were getting crossed i.e. the negative from L1 was plugged into the negative from L2 in the Sol-Ark. When the installer first installed the CTs, he ran the wires through a new conduit just for them, but the CT wires weren't quite long enough, so he ran his own. Hence, it was _really_ easy to switch them up inside the Sol-Ark, bc the new wires weren't twisted together per CT like the originals. I unplugged them all this morning and figured out each one, plugged them into the right connectors inside the Sol-Ark (so L1 + / - went to 3 & 4, and L2 + / - went to 5 & 6). Now the numbers the Sol-Ark reports make much more sense i.e. the battery draw is very close to the actual house load.

I really like this entire experience, even when it's occasionally frustrating. I'm learning _so_ much!
 

Keith Moreau

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This problem has been solved, and now the Sol-Ark isn't drawing 2x as many watts as it needs from the batteries to handle the house load. Sol-Ark support did have my Sol-Ark on an older firmware rev (left over from when we were trying to debug the TOU issues last week), so they updated it to the latest. However, I think the actual problem was that the CT wires were getting crossed i.e. the negative from L1 was plugged into the negative from L2 in the Sol-Ark. When the installer first installed the CTs, he ran the wires through a new conduit just for them, but the CT wires weren't quite long enough, so he ran his own. Hence, it was _really_ easy to switch them up inside the Sol-Ark, bc the new wires weren't twisted together per CT like the originals. I unplugged them all this morning and figured out each one, plugged them into the right connectors inside the Sol-Ark (so L1 + / - went to 3 & 4, and L2 + / - went to 5 & 6). Now the numbers the Sol-Ark reports make much more sense i.e. the battery draw is very close to the actual house load.

I really like this entire experience, even when it's occasionally frustrating. I'm learning _so_ much!
Glad you were able to figure that out. The manual could be improved a bit on the CT connections in the Solark as well. Also, even though the ‘auto detect’ feature works well for mis wired or oriented CTs, it only works with a battery connected. If you change modes to no battery, the auto detect doesn’t work and then other features won’t work as well. So is best just to wire and orient the CTs perfectly. Software update helped me as well and honestly that should always be Sol arks ‘Go to’ solution when there is weirdness. It is all fun learning about these things!
 

AmpLee

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I haven't had a chance to go through this entire thread, so am not sure if the answer has been figured out, but I had some CT issues that took me some guess and checking to figure out.

So.... I've had the 61v Sol-Ark 12k and recently the 63v outdoor rated 12k. My first model did okay with the CTs (I had a little trouble that resolved with switching the polarity). The newer version Sol-Ark 12k has a menu option in the advanced tab called "CT Ratio" or something in that vein. Mine was set to 2000 and no matter what I did, my readings were wonky in my Sol-Ark. I tried going to the max in that setting and things got more wonky. So I went to the minimum, which was 200 and everything looked good thereafter. So your mileage may vary, but that setting was the difference for me.

The other thing I'd try is to make sure you give your Sol-Ark lots of time to initialize the auto-detect feature. I'm not sure if this was a problem or not, but it seemed my auto-detect wasn't working well then I went to bed and came back to numbers looking less batshit insane.
 

jmzorko

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I haven't had a chance to go through this entire thread, so am not sure if the answer has been figured out, but I had some CT issues that took me some guess and checking to figure out.

So.... I've had the 61v Sol-Ark 12k and recently the 63v outdoor rated 12k. My first model did okay with the CTs (I had a little trouble that resolved with switching the polarity). The newer version Sol-Ark 12k has a menu option in the advanced tab called "CT Ratio" or something in that vein. Mine was set to 2000 and no matter what I did, my readings were wonky in my Sol-Ark. I tried going to the max in that setting and things got more wonky. So I went to the minimum, which was 200 and everything looked good thereafter. So your mileage may vary, but that setting was the difference for me.

The other thing I'd try is to make sure you give your Sol-Ark lots of time to initialize the auto-detect feature. I'm not sure if this was a problem or not, but it seemed my auto-detect wasn't working well then I went to bed and came back to numbers looking less batshit insane.

Yes, the majority of the issues I experienced were due to either misplaced or miswired CTs. Now, the Sol-Ark is performing really well in a grid-tied TOU context, and these batteries I purchased are finally being used. As soon as the permit is approved, the next phase will occur - that being adding an additional 3kw of PV, as well as making the existing garage panel into a critical loads sub panel for off-grid scenarios.
 

Sanwizard

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... even stranger. Very early this morning (around 3am or so) I looked at the Powerview app. It indicated that:

1. my home was apparently drawing 0w (??)
2. the Sol-Ark was _still_ feeding the grid. In the dark. (????)

I went into the garage, and the Sol-Ark itself showed the same. As a test, I plugged in the charger for my EV and started charging it, bc if it really _was_ feeding the grid from the batteries, I wanted to draw a lot of current to see the battery amp indicators. However, this is not what I found.

The "chargingEV" image shows what the Sol-Ark was displaying as my EV was charging. It seems to indicate that the Sol-Ark was _feeding_ the grid 8.18kw. However, it was dark outside (and my current PV array is only 3kw) and the batteries didn't show any large amp readings, which shows that the 8.18kw wasn't being drawn from the batteries ("batteryReadingsWhileCharging" image). The third image shows the grid settings on the Sol-Ark, and that I don't even have Grid Sell turned on.

The installer finally did install the CTs yesterday. Did he install them incorrectly? Are they upside-down?

So, questions:

1. Why is the Sol-Ark drawing power from my batteries to feed the grid at night instead of drawing from the batteries to feed my home?
2. Why is the Sol-Ark confusing sending power _to_ the grid when I obviously was drawing power _from_ the grid (charging the EV)?
3. Why is the Sol-Ark continuing to send power to the grid even though I have "Grid Sell" turned off, and "Limited Power to Home" turned on?
Sounds like the CT needs to be reversed.
 

fisherus

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Nov 16, 2019
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I was looking at sol ark 12k for $6200 new to upgrade my current inverter. What was price on 5kw sol ark??
I'll sell you one I have that has never been removed from its box for $5995 plus shipping. It's a Sol-Ark 12K 59V
 
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