Solark owners - how did you succeed to get a permit without grid-tie agreement?

fafrd

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I just found the Solark manual: https://www.altestore.com/static/datafiles/Others/Solark_8K-install-owner-Manual-8-3-2019.pdf

Section 5 Mount Transfer Switch shows a wiring diagram with grid AC connected directly to Solark AC input without any Automatic Transfer Switch located in between (inverter in parallel with grid).

My first question of any Solark Owners who have successfully gotten a Solark build permitted is whether it was permitted without requiring any additional automatic transfer switch (exactly as shown in figure 5)?

And my second question is what batteries Forum Members have successfully gotten permitted as part of a Solark Build?

I assume DIY LiFePO4 batteries are not getting permitted, but are folks successfully getting permits with either no battery spec’s as part of the system or with Lead-Acid ‘placeholder’ batteries being used just to successfully get through the permitting / final inspection process?

Has anyone successfully gotten a Solark Install permitted with a reasonably-priced off-the-shelf LiFePO4 battery such as the GYLL batteries?
 

T-486 Ashepoo

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Hi fafrd,
The manual transfer switch prevents backfeed to the grid and the AC line shown is to provide AC power via the Sol-Ark to the circuits on the transfer switch should battery or solar not be sufficient.
I don't have a Sol-Ark, but will be moving from a backup only system to a hybrid (Phocos 5k) invert using a manual transfer switch like the diagram.

T-486
 

fafrd

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Hi fafrd,
The manual transfer switch prevents backfeed to the grid and the AC line shown is to provide AC power via the Sol-Ark to the circuits on the transfer switch should battery or solar not be sufficient.
I don't have a Sol-Ark, but will be moving from a backup only system to a hybrid (Phocos 5k) invert using a manual transfer switch like the diagram.

T-486
Yeah, I understand. The transfer switch shown in the manual is only for the Critical Loads Panel (and only needed in the case that critical loads panel main lug breaker exceeds 50A).

My question is whether owners are successfully getting plans approved with that wiring diagram or whether local building departments are also requiring an addirional transfer switch between grid and inverter AC input.

I’m not interested in power to the critical loads panel - I’m interested in the Solark’s ability to supply power out of the AC input to power (non-critical) house loads while the grid is up (‘zero-export-to-CT-sensor’ or what the manual calls ‘Limited to Home’ Grid Setting),
 

T-486 Ashepoo

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Yeah, I understand. The transfer switch shown in the manual is only for the Critical Loads Panel (and only needed in the case that critical loads panel main lug breaker exceeds 50A).

My question is whether owners are successfully getting plans approved with that wiring diagram or whether local building departments are also requiring an addirional transfer switch between grid and inverter AC input.

I’m not interested in power to the critical loads panel - I’m interested in the Solark’s ability to supply power out of the AC input to power (non-critical) house loads while the grid is up (‘zero-export-to-CT-sensor’ or what the manual calls ‘Limited to Home’ Grid Setting),
That diagram shows what you want to do. Instead of the critical loads panel, the transfer switch allows for any circuit out of your main to be powered by solar, battery, generator or grid. The 2 50amp breakers in the main power the Sol-Ark while the grid is up.

Engineer775 does videos with Sol-Ark. He may have one with just what you're looking for.

 

fafrd

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That diagram shows what you want to do. Instead of the critical loads panel, the transfer switch allows for any circuit out of your main to be powered by solar, battery, generator or grid. The 2 50amp breakers in the main power the Sol-Ark while the grid is up.
My question is to understand whether Solark owners have successfully gotten permits with no additional transfer switches at all (other than the ones integrated into the inverter itself.

I’m not interested in critical loads or the ability to have power when the grid goes down.

I’m interested in the ability to supply house load (‘zero-export-to-CT-sensor’ or ‘Limited to Home’ grid setting).

If you look at the wiring diagram in Section 5 of the manual: https://www.altestore.com/static/datafiles/Others/Solark_8K-install-owner-Manual-8-3-2019.pdf

I’m interested to understand whether Solark Owner’s are successfully getting this wiring diagram approved without the use of an additional transfer switch between grid and AC input.

Section 5 states: ‘If you are not installing a transfer switch (Off Grid or have a 50A sub-load panel), you can wire the “Load” output of the Sol-Ark 8K directly to a Main Lug breakers sub-panel rated for at least 50A.’

So that is the wiring diagram I am interested in - no transfer switch of any kind because either there is no critical loads panel (AC output of Solark is not being used) or main lug on critical loads panel is 50A or less.

“T-486 Ashepoo” said:
Engineer775 does videos with Sol-Ark. He may have one with just what you're looking for.

 

Cheap 4-life

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My 2 cents. If you are using CTs and not exporting to the grid, a permit shouldn’t be needed. If you also want to use the inverter in offgrid mode them permits shouldn’t be needed. So basically set it up for offgrid and get permitted and say nothing about feeding into the grid or powering the main panel. As far as anyone is concerned, The AC connection to the inverter is only to pass thru AC from grid to critical loads panel. Then after permit use CTs and no one is the wiser.
 

fafrd

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My 2 cents. If you are using CTs and not exporting to the grid, a permit shouldn’t be needed. If you also want to use the inverter in offgrid mode them permits shouldn’t be needed. So basically set it up for offgrid and get permitted and say nothing about feeding into the grid or powering the main panel. As far as anyone is concerned, The AC connection to the inverter is only to pass thru AC from grid to critical loads panel. Then after permit use CTs and no one is the wiser.
That’s a good suggestion, but if you are going to get it permitted as a UPS for critical loads, you really have to wire the AC output up to a critical loads panel.

At least you get some benefit from the effort (UPS to the main refrigerator, for example).

Then I suppose the next question would be whether you can get it approved as a solar-powered-only UPS inverter. You can only power your fridge when the sun is shining, but that’s enough to keep the food from spoiling during an extended PSPS…
 

Ampster

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If you are using CTs and not exporting to the grid, a permit shouldn’t be needed. If you also want to use the inverter in offgrid mode them permits shouldn’t be needed.
In California a building permit is required anytime you add a circuit. An additional circuit breaker just feeding a receptacle is considered a circuit. It is my opinion that permission from the Investor Owned Utility is not needed if you are not backfeeding.
 

Bkat

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Are you asking if you’ll have trouble keeping your (legal) residential occupancy status if and when you choose to discontinue using your residential power service? Apparently this is happening in FL and it sounds like that might be what you are asking.
 

robby

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If you look at some of Engineer775 whole house powered videos he has no transfer switch and typically ends the video by saying the house is running on PV and battery power as they are waiting for the utility company to come and do the inspection before they turn back on the utility's main breaker.
 
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Ampster

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if and when you choose to discontinue using your residential power service?
Perhaps it is important to clarify what the term "using" implies. As far as I can tell the law in California only requires a connection to an energy provider but not that one is required to purchase any energy from that provider.
 

robby

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Perhaps it is important to clarify what the term "using" implies. As far as I can tell the law in California only requires a connection to an energy provider but not that one is required to purchase any energy from that provider.
I wonder how long it will take before all power companies start to charge a hefty minimum monthly Fee.
 
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chrisw5

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In California a building permit is required anytime you add a circuit. An additional circuit breaker just feeding a receptacle is considered a circuit. It is my opinion that permission from the Investor Owned Utility is not needed if you are not backfeeding.
Wow. Glad I don't live in CA. A building permit just to add a circuit? Seems heavy handed.
 

Ampster

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Seems heavy handed
It has been that way as long as I can remember.
It all depends on where you are standing.
The point of my post was that no permission is required from the utility for a no export installation. That answered the question in the title of the thread. The only exception is the case of some some cities with their own municipal utilities which may have a particular building code that overlaps with their captive utility.. Interesting bit of triivia is that Municipal Utilities are not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.
 
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Tecnodave

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I live in California and have a grandfathered house which was built long before the county had a building department. To keep my “occupancy” I must purchase power from my utility, They charge me a meter reading fee of $5.00 per month if i use no power so i use $5.00 or so a month to power yard lights, just to keep the “wheels greased” The real system that power's my home is not connected to the grid in any way. I can “plug in“ to utility to charge my battery but if I hard wire I need a permit........what is beyond the outlet is not a part of the “electrical network” and is not subject to the code. My whole solar system is mounted on a large motorhome so that is a vehicle, not a building, therefore not subject to the “building code”, and yes, it “plugs in”..........The “motorhome“ is gutted and the “qualifying four” has been disrupted......you must have three of the following four to be a “motorhome” under state law......sink, stove, refrigerator, and bed. So they cannot snivel about a “second residence” It is now a “solar shed on wheels” ,liscensed by the state department of motor vehicles, the county building department cannot overrule a state agency.

My attitude about the government........Treat them like mushrooms....Feed them sh## and keep them in the dark..
 

Ampster

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It is now a “solar shed on wheels” ,liscensed by the state department of motor vehicles, the county building department cannot overrule a state agency.

My attitude about the government........Treat them like mushrooms....Feed them sh## and keep them in the dark..
I agree with your philosophy. I have a fully permitted GT Inverter installation and am installing a hybrid inverter according to the current code. I had considered using plugs and receptacles to connect it. The new NEC tries to include portable solar storage but I don't know where that stands in terms of adoption by California into the California code and more importantly my own County building department. The bottom line is I am not pulling a permit for the hybrid which will be non export.
 

Tecnodave

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@Ampster

Born in Alaska......nuff said. Government Agencies are out of control......The U.S. EPA the Employment Prevention Agency has run Alaska Husky Battery out of the U.S. If you want one now you need to order it from Moscow, Russia Alaska Husky Battery has moved to Moscow, Russia, now building Arctic Batteries for the Russian Military and we win??? And they kept the name “Alaska Husky Battery“ The Russians are laughing all the way to the bank.

The U.S. govt buys Russian Alaska Husky Batteries for their Antarctic stations, they are the only ones to survive -70 degrees weather found there and in the Arctic.....

Cold weather endurance is done by using small amounts extremely hot acid (1.320 normal specific gravity) with oversized plates. These batteries will not survive summer temps.
 
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