Can Skybox support main panel loads without export?

True Hybrid Energy System
Post Reply
Dforster
Forum Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2021 10:11 am
My RE system: Outback skybox

Can Skybox support main panel loads without export?

Post by Dforster »

I have been reading a little about this but I haven't found a clear answer.

I don't want to export because it is not cost effective with my electric coop as they charge $30 just to do net metering, plus I'll have to get a $1m liability policy for probably another $50/month.

Most of my circuits are in my critical loads subpanel, but altogether they only draw about 500 watts during most of the day, usually less. So my 5kw of panels are only going to supply 2-4kwh during the day. So until I get some batteries installed I will be wasting a lot of excess production unless I can supply some of the loads in my main panel.

My AC unit, electric dryer, and hot water heater are all that is in the main panel but they are most of our usage.

When I ordered the skybox the applications engineer told me I could definitely support the additional main panel loads with Skybox, but he didn't tell me I'd probably have to use CT's to set that up.

So my question is, can it be done this way, and how do I set it up? I planned on ordering the outback power CT's to set it up. I know the documentation says that if the CTs are installed you can use it for export control. "Many AC profiles allow the SkyBox to support the main panel (non-backup) loads (F to C) without selling power" But I'm not sure exactly which AC profile to use and how to set it up yet.

Thanks for any help!
gasolarenergy
Forum Junior Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2021 2:59 pm
My RE system: Skybox inverter, Kilovault HAB 7.5kw, 14 Seraphim 370 watt panels ground mount PV in 2 strings for a total of 5.18kv
Location: Sugar Valley, GA
Contact:

Re: Can Skybox support main panel loads without export?

Post by gasolarenergy »

Read about the non-export mode and see if that isn't what you are looking for. It's one of the 4 modes you set in grid (net metering with backup, self consumption, non export, maximum independence). You will need the 2 CT's on the main feed line into your main panel to measure the flow.
Dennis Gass
GA Solar Energy LLC
www.gasolarenergy.com
706-623-0009
Ampster
Forum Guru
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
28 kWh pack of LFP batteries powering a Skybox which is used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma, Northern California

Re: Can Skybox support main panel loads without export?

Post by Ampster »

My guess is that your could use any mode to accommodate your purpose of back feeding your main panel but not export to the grid. You would have to install and configure CTs between the meter and the main panel. Two modes, Non Export and Maximum Independence do not appear to export so no additional settings would be required. I have not used those modes so I do not know if their other features meet your purposes.

From my notes and experience the other two modes accommodate export, but export can be limited or set to zero. Those modes are,; Net metering with Backup and Self Consumption. From your posts on the other forum I seem to recall that you will not be using batteries so I am not sure how the Skybox will even work in those modes without batteries. Perhaps @Kim Foster can clarify. memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=14265 or you can reach out with a PM.
Drive Tesla Model X and Model 3 which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.
Dforster
Forum Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2021 10:11 am
My RE system: Outback skybox

Re: Can Skybox support main panel loads without export?

Post by Dforster »

gasolarenergy wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:10 pm Read about the non-export mode and see if that isn't what you are looking for. It's one of the 4 modes you set in grid (net metering with backup, self consumption, non export, maximum independence). You will need the 2 CT's on the main feed line into your main panel to measure the flow.
That makes sense. I expected to read something like that in the manual but it just isn't very clear. I do have the CTs on order.
Dforster
Forum Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2021 10:11 am
My RE system: Outback skybox

Re: Can Skybox support main panel loads without export?

Post by Dforster »

Ampster wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:23 pm My guess is that your could use any mode to accommodate your purpose of back feeding your main panel but not export to the grid. You would have to install and configure CTs between the meter and the main panel. Two modes, Non Export and Maximum Independence do not appear to export so no additional settings would be required. I have not used those modes so I do not know if their other features meet your purposes.

From my notes and experience the other two modes accommodate export, but export can be limited or set to zero. Those modes are,; Net metering with Backup and Self Consumption. From your posts on the other forum I seem to recall that you will not be using batteries so I am not sure how the Skybox will even work in those modes without batteries. Perhaps @Kim Foster can clarify. memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=14265 or you can reach out with a PM.
Thanks. I don't know where I got the idea that the skybox wasn't normally capable of feeding back to the main panel without exporting. I think it was a reply from one of the other forums that made me think that. But it makes sense that the normal modes should be able to feed the main panel or the critical loads panel.

I don't plan to use batteries right away. But after reading some of your posts over on the other forum, I did order some cells from a guy on that forum and plan to get a 14kwh battery setup as soon as I get all that stuff together. I ordered 16 of the 280ah cells. Hopefully I am going about this hybrid setup in the right way!
Ampster
Forum Guru
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
28 kWh pack of LFP batteries powering a Skybox which is used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma, Northern California

Re: Can Skybox support main panel loads without export?

Post by Ampster »

That Solarpaneltalk forum is populated with a lot of off grid people that don't really understand grid interactive stuff that well and are skeptical because a generator works for them. They probably only have one electrical panel. There are also some experienced GT solar installers as well but hybrids are a newer and growing niche. I am sure what you are trying to do is feasible. There is enough support on this forum to get you through the process. Good help on integrating your batteries is also available on diysolarforum.
Drive Tesla Model X and Model 3 which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.
Ampster
Forum Guru
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
28 kWh pack of LFP batteries powering a Skybox which is used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma, Northern California

Re: Can Skybox support main panel loads without export?

Post by Ampster »

It just occurred to me that the only limitation would be when the grid is down the main panel would not be backfed. Is your Skybox set up yet? Do you have a clamp on Amp meter? Even without batteries you could do a test on the main panel support by just putting The Skybox in one of the modes that exports and see if you can measure current. The software definitely can control export so then the only issue is whether the CT can be configured at the service panel but logically I do not know of a reason why it should not work.
Drive Tesla Model X and Model 3 which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.
SHunsader
Forum Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:54 pm
My RE system: Dual Outback Skybox System with a pair of Discovery 6.5kwh 48V batteries.

Re: Can Skybox support main panel loads without export?

Post by SHunsader »

DF,

Glad I was just browsing to see if anyone had any new information on Skybox installations. Although I'm relatively new to Skybox installations, I've taken a crash course in the setup part of the system, currently on day 17, and have had some great breakthroughs.

First, external CTs aren't a problem, unless you can't find a nice way to get back to your main panel. Mine took a decent part of a half day, 2 pairs of 70' of wire, and a fair amount of patience. BUT, once installed, it's like everything lights up.....you can instantly see how much the rest of your house is using.

As for mode, everything those above this post have said makes sense. I live in the city and have a sizeable installation (2 skyboxes, Discovery batteries, and a 25kw generator), and want to use the grid to store some of my energy, but also want to use the batteries in the evening during peak pricing.

I'm guessing that you've already seen the programming guide: https://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/ ... rg_web.pdf
Refer to AC Profiles page 28, with a nice table and description on far side (pg 29). Non Export should work just fine. If it doesn't work for you immediately, you'll need to tweak slightly. I haven't used this mode (yet), but have gotten quite familiar with the first 2 modes over the past 2 weeks (pretty much around the clock for 17 days now).

Give me a shout if you have any issues, glad to share all I've learned recently.

NOTE: Make SURE that you update the firmware once you have a network connection. V 1.5.11 didn't have the network bugs, or some of the settings worked out yet, and I struggled for a week because Outback didn't install the 'certification file' that was needed to 'allow' me to update firmware. The on system console is a dog, but once you have new firmware, you can see the EXACT console on your desktop, and it runs 10x as fast.

Oh, and if you haven't ordered the CTs from Outback yet, I might suggest you get these instead:

https://aimdynamics.com/product/JC24F-mA/

They're only $30 ea (so you'll need 2 of them), and they can get them in the mail same day, or next day if you call them later in the day.

Outback told me themselves that it might be weeks before you receive them. Aim had them in just a couple days...bought them on Monday, and installed them on Friday, very easy to install (no, I'm not a salesman, just like it when the people on the other end of the phone know what they're talking about and can make it happen in a flash)

- Steve
Post Reply