Recommend SolaX X-Hybrid inverter for solar energy generation

Discussion in 'Energy' started by Ash, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Yeah Steve. I have to be thankful that there is a 5 year warranty period, though. I'd be pretty upset if they didn't stand behind their work like that.

    The data I get is mostly useful. Some of it is just the same data presented on a different page. As long as the internet connection is continuous, the data points are updated every 5 minutes. This gives me a clue as to what is happening to it. These days, particularly with battery backup systems, it is increasingly important that this data is available to the end user.
     
  2. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    I have had some discussions with the solar company who have been passing my concerns of the failing inverter to SolaX in China. With each Chinese whisper (excuse the pun) there is a loss of interest in the case. It seems no one wants to take responsibility for the inverter that drops its power generation from the panels through the day.

    First image is a snapshot of the instantaneous status of the inverter in the middle of a sunny day:
    image.png
    Very ordinary for a 5kW inverter with 6.5kW of panels. They say the panels shouldn't short out the inverter but could this be possible?

    The day chart shows more:
    image.png
    Green shows solar generation and red is consumption. At just after 9am the inverter drops its voltage and generates about a third of its capacity, thereby needing power to be fed into the house to feed the hungry hot water system kicking in just before 10am.

    Good data like this makes it easy for me to see faults. Now it's just up to the solar company to fix this problem.
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    That's a huge drop right at the time of day when it should be producing the most energy.

    I have a Chinese made inverter also but so far it has been working fine. If I were to chart my stats it generally looks like a Manhattan with higher blocks at around 4 to 5 kw from around 10 am to 2 pm.

    I'm no technical genius but on face value your stats are showing the inverter is clearly faulty and I would demand a replacement ASAP.

    At the very least the installer needs to come out and inspect the inverter then give a complete plausible explanation and if they can't then they must replace it!
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member

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    Hey Ash, might be a dumb question but is there any shade at all that hits your panels at that particular time it drops off? I only ask because I notice that mine do something similar at around 2pm and it seems due to a tree I thought wasn't shading the panels is just catching the edge. And apparently the output will drop dramatically even though the rest of the panel is in the sun. I dont know if all panels are like this but my installer was telling me that the panels are all hooked up in series which means you drop pretty much completely across the bank when one panel is shaded.

    Just a thought.

    Cheers
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    No Steve. The panels are in wide open sunlight with no trees for 50m around the shed where the panels are on.
    The panels get full sunshine in the hours the power and voltage drops in the inverter. I have had lengthy discussions with the SolaX engineer as the SAE group are just clueless but the earliest anyone can get around to do anything about it is 3rd of June. I had complained about the inverter from early April.

    Apparently there are only two SolaX engineers in Australia, and the one tasked to come over is waiting for funds to clear from China before he can buy a plane ticket to fly over to where my inverter is. The first step I am told is to update the inverter firmware. I think that will be a waste of time but SolaX are doing all they can to find a reason not to replace the inverter. I don't know what else I could do to prove to them that there's something clearly wrong - even the most primitive firmware should not make the inverter behave this way.
    1.png
    Day after day this is happening and is causing power to be drawn from the grid despite 8kWh battery backup.

    Power curve.png
    The Chinese team tried to say that it was my hot water system causing the fault but that just sounds like a poor excuse to me. Power generation should have nothing to do with consumption, they are independent - especially in this case that the inverter is connected to the main switchboard which feeds the three dwellings independently.

    PV 25-5-16.png What's more is this voltage curve. Once the power generation hits around 4kW, then the voltage plummets first in one PV array then the next. And to prove this isn't once off:
    PV voltage pattern.png
    As you can see it's happening daily, and the extra peaks in the middle of the day are when we are physically home to reset the damn inverter. All this shown to SolaX has not made them believe there is something wrong with the inverter. What else can I say or do?
     
  6. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Those last couple of charts looks like every time your consumption is more than what is being generated it shuts down. I understand it's supposed to be independent. Maybe it is the firmware or someone didn't install it correctly? Not very good after sales service though eh

    I'd try turning the hot water system off during that time and turn it back on in the arvo. If the generation is normal during the day then you'd be one step closer to figuring it out, like the consumption is having an effect on the generation?
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
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  7. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    and.. the reseller/installer is an Australian business? They should be paying for the tech to come? It's up to the seller to supply the working product?
     
  8. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Thanks Steve. I initially found the hot water and the voltage drop occurring around about the same time which made me think this. In response I delayed the onset of the hot water turning on by half an hour and this made no difference to when the voltage dropped. In the graph above, the delay from when the hot water kicks in to the voltage dropping is about 30 mins. Before I changed it, it was happening at the same time. This is what SolaX was fixated on, and despite my proving this was not the case, they were reluctant to act.

    I believe the voltage drop is occurring because the panels may be generating more than what the inverter can handle and its current software tells it to wind down the voltage to buffer the effect. I don't want to delay the hot water coming on too much later, although I can, because it will cause the system to have to draw grid power in the afternoon if it is not yet fully heated up. I might just delay it by another half hour tomorrow and see but I am skeptical it will make any difference.

    Apparently the installers don't know how to upgrade the firmware, which is why they are not getting involved and SolaX has to find someone to get the job done (the inverter wouldn't talk to a number of laptops I tried to link to it so I could do it myself). The delay in getting this done does peeve me off a little...
     
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  9. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Sounds plausible, have you got the specs on what the inverter can take vs the panel output?

    You'd think there'd be a few people around that could do it.
     
  10. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    I discussed that with the engineers as well. 6.5kW panels hooked up to a 5kW inverter. I questioned whether there would come a time when the harsh summer sun would max out the panels and overload the inverter but apparently the inverter is rated to be able to accept about 7.5kW before it causes problems so apparently it "can't" be that. Perhaps it's just a faulty inverter.

    That's what I'm a little peeved about. SAE group are apologetic but apparently aren't able to help. They deferred the situation to SolaX whose engineers are few and far between. If I'd known their warranty was passed onto the manufacturer rather than the solar company itself, I might have thought twice about buying through them. 6 months of sub-standard performance and the problem is not close to being fixed is not good enough.
     
  11. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    It might be good if you could manually control the output of the panels to check, for example, disconnect half the panels and see if the inverter can cope with a lower input for the period of a week.

    of course you wouldn't need to problem solve yourself if they just turned up hey!
     
  12. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Yes Steve, switching one array of the panels does reset the voltage load on the other array, and switching the array back on does being the unit back to full production... for about a minute in full sun, then voltage wanes from over 400V to under 150V. All this experimenting doesn't help me get the most out of the system, because it simply doesn't do what it should and needs to be fixed. I am not going to tamper with anything else or even my very ordinary warranty may be void...
     
  13. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Oh bummer Ash, this is enormously disappointing. :(
    It seems that many of the solar power companies are very keen to win accounts, but aren't really set up to manage the accounts long term. Maybe a problem of the industry growing so quickly and a bunch of people jumping on the bandwagon to supply, without fully understanding the technology or limitations of the stuff they were flogging.
    We're not overly delighted with our system either. This winter we've had issues with our hot water (ie no hot water) - even though it's meant to have an on-grid booster to prevent the water cooling off during periods of low/no sun. We deliberately went with a well know company that'd been in solar water for years (solarhart) and still they don't seem to be able to get it right!
    It just seems to me that the only way to take these guys on is to know more about it than they do...and why should you? Isn't that what you're paying them for? (A bit of expertise?) sorry for the rant!! Just very frustrating.
     
  14. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    It's been a two months from the last update. Any new news Ash? Any improvements?
     
  15. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for your interest Steve. It's been a busy winter.
    People are sick all over the place with influenza A at the moment that has escaped the quadrivalent flu vaccine this year.
    On the SolaX system, it is finally up and running right after the SolaX engineer, nice fellow, finally got a chance to come around and work through an upgrade specifically designed for my system from the Chinese company. It now produces the correct amount of electricity and is not dropping off in voltage. It took over 2 months for this fix to occur. The company were not apologetic but at least it is done.

    I then swapped my traditional electric hot water system with a heat pump system - great German made one, a little loud but does the job well. Much more energy efficient (normal element hot water system takes up over 4kW of energy, making us feed into the grid too much). This has helped keep the batteries charged for 24 hours now.

    Next step for me is to get some feed in cash back from Ergon, who have rejected two applications in the past from me. Now I am looking at getting a reduced feed in set by the inverter (lagging 0.8) so as to not overload their lines. This will hopefully offset the costs of having the Ergon infrastructure in place - over $140 per quarter for having it even if I use zero electricity from the grid.
     
  16. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    You're right, I suppose it's just like with any other tradie. Make sure all the documentation adds up and you have a decent warranty. Then it's up to them to make the system work. Any problems then take the matter up with the ombudsman (which I had to do, and it probably helped a little).
     
  17. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Ash, you're back!
    You guys have an influenza A strain that's not covered by this year's vaccine? Hmmm bummer. Last year we got whacked with the Brisbane strain because it wasn't in the Govt trivalent...but we were hoping they'd get it a bit more right this year...apparently not!

    Glad to hear you FINALLY got the power sorted - so annoying that it takes a call to the ombudsman to scare some businesses into action. Do you have the option where you are to change power supplier?
     
  18. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Hey Oskar. The government gets the blame but it's probably someone who decided to escape the Aussie winter, went to the UK or US where there may be a rogue strain of flu A floating around, picked it up, brought it back after their holiday there and spread it to Aussie friends and family. Now we all have it!

    As for our energy retailer, we only have Ergon supplying our region. So we're stuck with them. I'm in the process of negotiating a feed in arrangement to get the measly 6c/kWh rebate they want to take my generated electricity for. I'll bet it will not even cover half of the charges they slug onto me for having their infrastructure set up at our place.
     
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  19. AtLaguna

    AtLaguna Member Premium Member

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    Hi Ash,
    I have been following your progress with interest. This week my solax system has developed a similar fault to yours, although it seems to scale back its power without any load at all (we were on holidays when the fault first appeared). Do you have any advice on how or who to contact. My system is a 6kw panel Solax Hybrid with 4kwhr lithium cells installed by SAE.
     
  20. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    AtLaguna, sorry that I haven't responded to you but I never saw your message! SAE installed my set up too, pretty much the same as yours and I added a couple more battery modules myself thereafter. The fault needs to be drilled into the SAE group first, the electrician who was responsible for my setup was the first port of call. Definitely contact that electrician. He will then likely palm you off to the single SolaX engineer who goes around servicing the products - I've gone through the ringer with them all, and woe to go it took me 3 months to get the problem sorted. Keep persisting
     

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