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Author Topic: Solar Panel (Grid-tied) System and EMI / RFI  (Read 15745 times)
W6SDW
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Posts: 5




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« on: September 30, 2013, 12:58:13 PM »

I have been considering going solar, primarily to end up with known fixed monthly electric bill.  Soon to be "fixed income" individual, I'm looking into whatever I can do to fix costs.  As an amateur radio operator, I have real concerns regarding radiated emissions from inverter modules, buck/boost assemblies, etc. that are being used. (live in the SoCal area)

I've contacted several different companies offering solar, (Grid-tied systems) but I get a "deer-in-the-headlights" stare when I pose any EMI related questions.

I have done a little research - Compliance with Part 15 means virtually nada, zero, zip. Chinese assemblies (virtually) have little / no creditable radiated EMI info available -  assemblies vary widely.  Several European manufactured assemblies only reference the "Euro" compliances - whose technical documents seem to only be available at significant expense.

Are there some (any) of you out who have installed systems (5-7 KW) in the past 2 years that have proven to be (relatively) free of wide-band interference in the HF spectrum? 
If so, (besides being contained within a metal enclosure) what brand of inverter/charge components were used…

Your info / thoughts / experiences are welcome.     Regards,  Steve - W6SDW
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WX7G
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Posts: 6322




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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2013, 02:27:12 PM »

Other hams have reported solar system EMI. I have recommended certain off-the-shelf EMI filters but have received no feedback.

   WX7G, NARTE Certified EMC Engineer (and Military EMC consultant)
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WB4SPT
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 09:30:55 AM »

Several European manufactured assemblies only reference the "Euro" compliances - whose technical documents seem to only be available at significant expense.



I have all the euro LVD and CE mark specs for electrical gear.  Short of the military sector, the CE mark is your best bet on EMC compliance.  The FCC mark means far less overall, but about the same for "unintentional radiators". 
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W7VO
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 11:51:25 AM »

While not quite 5kW, I have a fairly new 4.2 kW grid tied PV system on my house (18 panels in a dual 9 panel array), and have not had any noise issues with it.

The inverter is a Power One Aurora PVI-4.2TL. I will put in a caveat here that the inverter is located in my garage, on an inside wall that is underground compared to where my outside shack (built in my shop about 25 feet away), and antennas are.  The AC wiring between the house and my shop are in metal conduit and are underground also, which may attenuate the common mode noise a bit.

73;

Mike, W7VO
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WX7G
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 02:28:52 PM »

Several European manufactured assemblies only reference the "Euro" compliances - whose technical documents seem to only be available at significant expense.



I have all the euro LVD and CE mark specs for electrical gear.  Short of the military sector, the CE mark is your best bet on EMC compliance.  The FCC mark means far less overall, but about the same for "unintentional radiators". 

The CE conducted noise limits can result in S-9+ noise on the HF bands. And connected to an antenna consisting of solar panels it gets even better.
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G4AON
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 01:35:10 AM »

See my older thread: http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,91118.0.html

I e-mailed the Chinese inverter manufacturer without success, the owner of the installation paid up front for a company to install the kit so there isn't really anything I can realistically expect him to do... An I expect the installers are just following the leaflet from the manufacturer.

Personally I wouldn't bother with a solar installation at all... The UK equivalent of the FCC (our OFCOM) aren't intested either.

73 Dave
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KO7I
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Posts: 106




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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 05:59:23 AM »

I manage an accredited EMC Test Lab. Across it's entire product line - Xantrex is the cleanest I have seen.

There are some installation techniques/tricks that will help you significantly.  A good rule of thumb is that any ground longer than 1/20th of a wavelength is not a ground. Do everything possible to mount the converter very close to the main panel and ground of your connecting it ground directly to the ground rod, not daisy chained via the panel ground connection to ground rod.

Good luck & 73. Don KO7i
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KO7I
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 06:01:57 AM »

I have all the euro LVD and CE mark specs for electrical gear.  Short of the military sector, the CE mark is your best bet on EMC compliance.  The FCC mark means far less overall, but about the same for "unintentional radiators". 

The CE conducted noise limits can result in S-9+ noise on the HF bands. And connected to an antenna consisting of solar panels it gets even better.

[/quote]

Ditto! I agree completely. 73, Don Ko7i
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WX7G
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Posts: 6322




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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 07:52:33 AM »

Don, I bet you work at Northwest EMC. When I worked I Micron I took several pieces of in-house test equipment to the Oregon NW EMC for testing.

After doing commercial EMC at Micron Technology for a number of years I did Military EMC for five years. I now do consulting and my specialty is EMC filter design. I'll be installing solar panels on my RV next year and look forward to taming the expected EMI issues.
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K7KY
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2013, 10:16:49 AM »

I have an OutBack FlexMax60 controller within 25' of five radios w/o RFI. It has normal system grounding.   I also have a Chinese MPPT controller in the garage for the 12v radio system that has to be wrapped in tinfoil to reduce the RFI.  That controller mostly effects the VHF radios.  The Outback costs around $550 and the Chinese controller, $85.
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KH2G
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Posts: 341




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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2013, 06:28:54 PM »

Depends on what solar program your going on. In Phoenix for example, your system has no inverters etc and your interfaced to the local power company grid. You use the generated power and they buy any excess so you have a fixed rate. My only problem came up in the program itself - If you buy the system no problem but if you lease/buy it and want to sell your house before the lease is up you will have to find a buyer to take over the lease or pay it off. Much depends on the system and the equipment but it doesn't have to be noisy.
Regards,
Dick KH2G
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2013, 09:15:00 PM »

Depends on what solar program your going on. In Phoenix for example, your system has no inverters etc and your interfaced to the local power company grid. You use the generated power and they buy any excess so you have a fixed rate.

Any specs you can share on those solar panels that generate 60Hz AC? 

Believe me, there is an inverter in that system.  You are able to put power into the grid because your inverter output voltage is slightly higher than the grid voltage.  We used this trick to provide loads for turbine generators we were endurance testing.
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KH2G
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Posts: 341




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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2013, 10:06:22 AM »

Of course the panels themselves don't generate AC The power company installs there box which I assume converts it for there use and I use whatever and they pay me for the excess. No batteries etc involved. A solar panel is similar to a diode and will not generate AC. I suppose you could come up with a system to keep reversing the leads or make break the output but not much point in it. For what it's worth, I designed and built a large number  of solar system for Pacific island groups which they use primarily for government services etc.  Normal generation systems cost is not possible for the small villages.  Often less than a couple hundred people. PS I don't argue the inverter but it is on their end so I guess I wasn't as explicit as I should have been.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 989




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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2013, 09:39:19 PM »

If you are considering installing solar, buy SMA Sunny Boy equipment. It produces no QRM and is built to the highest German STandards.

Anything from  China both mainland and Taiwan is crap and will destroy the HF bands.

I have a totally solar powered holiday home with a remote station in it and there is no qrm on the 4 squares, yagis or wires.
I built a special screened room which was a waste of money. I can place a Wellbrooke loop near the equipment and no noise inside or outside

You pays for what you get!

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KG7BGZ
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2013, 10:19:00 PM »

Steve,

My experience is that I have no interference issues with my system. In full disclosure I am completely off-grid. But, my equipment is designed to easily inter-tie if I choose to do so (which may be soon). Perhaps if I hook up to APS (Arizona) power I'd see that all change since it's been my experience that grid power is dirty and runs anywhere between 55-65hz and 95-130vac. At least that's what I measured when I was a PG&E and SoCal Edison subscriber.

I have 2kw in PV's, a Bergey Excel 1 wind turbine (which always seems to be spinning), running into an Outback Flexpower 1 power panel which includes the MX3524 inverter, the Mate 3, the MX-80 charge controller, the Hub-10 and a few other pieces of equipment. The equipment and battery are located in steel connex box. I realize you asked about a larger installation, but even if I were to build my system to the size you asked about, all I'd be doing is "stacking" (doubling or tripling up) on the inverter and charge controllers (daisy chaining). So it's not like it would be different equipment that could possibly cause problems. Honestly, if I ever have any interference, I'll probably suspect the wind turbine first -- it generates 240vac 3-phase with an alternator and rectifies it in the nacelle. But, it hasn't caused a problem yet and like I mentioned, I live in a windy area so I'd notice it.

Being grid tied, you won't have half the electronics equipment I do, so I would expect that you'd have even less possibility of generating interference. But again, who knows, grid power never seems to run at a perfect 60hz like my power system does.

Of course I'm only speaking from personal experience, living off-grid. Others may have problems that I don't. And I live in an area where there are literally thousands of people living off-grid and I know several other Hams and none of them have ever mentioned problems related to their power system.

Joshua
KG7BGZ
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