Skybox used for off-grid

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MartinT
Forum Junior Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2021 12:37 pm
My RE system: G8048 Radian system with Mate3

Skybox used for off-grid

Post by MartinT »

Is the Skybox able to handle off-grid use only with solar panels, Li-ion batteries and backup generator?

I have been searching the forum and see good and bad posts?
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Mike Curran
Forum Emperor
Posts: 2477
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:28 pm
My RE system: Outback - Garage roof:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one FM80 (2007/2020 - replaced MX60)
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80 (2017)
- 2 grid-tied VFXR3524A-01's series stacked, replaced GVFX's (2020)
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah (2007)
- Hub10.3, Mate3s, FNDC, RTS. Tigo ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar - Barn roof: (2012)
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied

Outback Skybox - Barn roof: (2019)
- 14 Talesun 275W in series (DC array input to SB inverter/charger)
- 3 SimpliPhi 3.8 batteries, 48V, 225Ah total
- AC coupled input from 14 Talesun 275W, Enphase M215 microinverters

Battery systems operate in grid-tied, battery backup mode
All self-designed and self-installed
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Re: Skybox used for off-grid

Post by Mike Curran »

My Skybox is grid-tied with battery backup, but when there is a grid outage it behaves exactly as if it were in an off grid application, so I don't see why not. Hopefully someone whose Skybox is full time off grid will speak up.
https://smart.tigoenergy.com/p/pZXn7SZQyO45?date=2021-04-19
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221
Ampster
Forum Guru
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 7.9 kW self installed Enphase system in application for PTO. Phase Two will include a Skybox, a heat pump water heater and two heat pump/AC systems plus more PV panels. The Skybox will be powered by a 42 kWh pack of LFP batteries and will be used in self consumption mode for load shifting and backup.
Location: Kenwood, Northern California

Re: Skybox used for off-grid

Post by Ampster »

The Skybox was designed to be grid interactive. You would be paying for features that would not be used. Outback has plenty of offerings that are designed for off grid.
Drive Tesla Model X and Model 3 which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.
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Mike Curran
Forum Emperor
Posts: 2477
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:28 pm
My RE system: Outback - Garage roof:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one FM80 (2007/2020 - replaced MX60)
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80 (2017)
- 2 grid-tied VFXR3524A-01's series stacked, replaced GVFX's (2020)
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah (2007)
- Hub10.3, Mate3s, FNDC, RTS. Tigo ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar - Barn roof: (2012)
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied

Outback Skybox - Barn roof: (2019)
- 14 Talesun 275W in series (DC array input to SB inverter/charger)
- 3 SimpliPhi 3.8 batteries, 48V, 225Ah total
- AC coupled input from 14 Talesun 275W, Enphase M215 microinverters

Battery systems operate in grid-tied, battery backup mode
All self-designed and self-installed
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Re: Skybox used for off-grid

Post by Mike Curran »

Ampster wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 8:37 pm The Skybox was designed to be grid interactive. You would be paying for features that would not be used. Outback has plenty of offerings that are designed for off grid.
True, but the hardware that's included is competitively priced if you went another route and bought all the components separately. Compare to an FM100 plus a Flexware setup, for example.
https://smart.tigoenergy.com/p/pZXn7SZQyO45?date=2021-04-19
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221
raysun
Forum Emperor
Posts: 5615
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A-01, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
SimpliPhi 48-3.8 (6 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: Skybox used for off-grid

Post by raysun »

The Outback M series inverters are the only strictly off grid inverter offerings and are intended for mobile/marine systems. The FXR, GS, and SB series are all grid interactive capable. Many folks, including myself, use FXR or GS inverters in off grid installations. I don't know about the Skybox for off grid usage, but as Mike mentioned, the "all in one" unit is certainly cost-competitive compared to an equivalent setup of discrete components.

Skybox seems to suffer from the new product syndrome - lack of comprehensive documentation and application notes for its many potential use cases. This is a marketing blurb:
In a world of changing energy needs, complex utility rates and growing grid instability, SkyBox goes beyond both simple grid-tied and off-grid designs by creating an entirely new class of renewable energy system — a True Hybrid Energy System. By combining the economic benefits of a grid-tied system with all the independence and self-sufficiency of an off-grid system, SkyBox redefines simplicity, intelligence, flexibility and control.
(Emphasis mine.)
Photon Kapture
Forum Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:54 pm
My RE system: 3.9 Kilowatt (13) Solar World sw300 Array.
Outback Skybox
(3) Simpliphi Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries (2) 3.5 and (1) 3.8KWH
Location: Schroeder, Minnesota

Re: Skybox used for off-grid

Post by Photon Kapture »

I’ve been using the Skybox off grid with Simpliphi batteries and and a generator for a couple years. It works.
The two issues I’ve had are when my well pump cycles it causes a fault that sometimes momentarily causes all loads to lose power. This resolves on its own but it is nuisance.
They other is that to charge batteries with a generator, skybox requires at least a 500 watt load on the critical loads panel.
I went with skybox only because I planned to add grid power in the future. But haven’t been in a hurry to do that as current setup has been working well.
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Greg T Fordan
OutBack Technical Service
Posts: 453
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:56 pm
My RE system: Radian, FM80, FNDC, 48V batt bank

Re: Skybox used for off-grid

Post by Greg T Fordan »

Skybox is capable of being an off-grid system, but bear in mind that if a User wants firmware updates, it requires a split-phase 120/240 VAC input, so you need a generator for that, if grid is not available.
After the firmware update, the generator does not have to be ran, unless it is needed to charge the battery.
Greg T Fordan
EngTech
Outback Power Technologies
Ampster
Forum Guru
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 7.9 kW self installed Enphase system in application for PTO. Phase Two will include a Skybox, a heat pump water heater and two heat pump/AC systems plus more PV panels. The Skybox will be powered by a 42 kWh pack of LFP batteries and will be used in self consumption mode for load shifting and backup.
Location: Kenwood, Northern California

Re: Skybox used for off-grid

Post by Ampster »

On another thread I was reminded that the surge capacity of the Skybox is more limited than the Radian in off grid mode. That may be a factor for some with well pumps with high surge current. In a grid interactive mode the grid can supply some of the surge current necessary.
Drive Tesla Model X and Model 3 which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.
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