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Author Topic: Do you use solar power generation? Any RFI issues from the inverters?  (Read 30956 times)
WA2GO
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Posts: 6




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« on: September 02, 2011, 02:04:45 PM »

I am considering installing a 7.77 KW solar power generation system on my home.
The system consists of about 42 panels on the roof, and one or more inverters installed near the electric meter.

I am a DXer and contester, and my concern is around the potential for RFI.
The manufacturer of the proposed inverters (Kaco) says the following in their Class B statement in the product brochure:

"This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation."

Since they say there is "no guarantee", I am a little nervous about proceeding. What I am looking for is anybody who has direct experience or knowledge with your own solar power generating system or a very nearby neighbor's, or direct knowledge about another ham who is in a similar situation. I am wondering whether or not you experience any RFI issues from the system. (I am assuming that if there is RFI, the source would be the inverters, but someone more knowledgeable can please correct me if I'm wrong.) Please state what brand of inverters (and panels, if that is relevant) your experience is with, and describe any interference issues you experienced, if any. Please describe what bands/frequencies have the interference, how strong it is, what receive antenna(s) you are using, and how close they are to the inverter(s). Also, is the interference all day, or only when the sun is at its peak, or what is the pattern?

Thanks very much and 73,

John
W2ID
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W8JX
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Posts: 9447




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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2011, 04:21:06 PM »

Perhaps you should research actual model inverter they plan to use. It could be a real HF RFI can of worms.
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Ham since 1969....
WX7G
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Posts: 6979




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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 09:57:36 AM »

The solar panel controlers do use switching power supplies. I strongly suspect that the system will be a real RFI generator.
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WB4BYQ
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Posts: 184




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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 11:03:23 AM »

there is a amateur in my area that has a large solar panel, charge controller, and 6kw inverter.
rfi every where on the amateur and shortwave bands. 
the arrl within the last 2 years did a review of several inverters in QST with the results.  you need to reference that review.
the book on emergency power from QST has several good articles on charge controlls, the
author has a kit for a charge controller that does not cause rfi.  the charge controller does
no use pulse width modulation to charge the batteries.
just remember that you are converting dc into square waves somewhere in the inverter and some inverters are modified sine waves, and some are call pure sine wave units.
their is also a review in QST where several hams in the state of Tenn, or Kentucky built a solar power repeater power supply, had rfi from the charge controller, then changed to another
charge controll with no rfi.  each had a different way of charging the batteries.
on the rfi-contesting group e-mail exchange, another ham has reported that a neighbor about
400 feet away has install a solar power system, and now he has rfi on the bands from that neighbor during the day from the charge controller.

richard WB4BYQ
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W7VO
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Posts: 229


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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2011, 08:57:19 PM »

Well, I actually have a 4 kW solar panel system in use for almost a year now, and I have absolutely no issues with it (that I know of...). Now, the controller is in the garage of the house (near the panel and meter), and my ham shack is in my shop, about 40 feet away. The tower is about 50 feet away from my garage. The controller was professionally installed, and the box itself is well shielded and grounded. The controller turns itself off at night, so if there were any problems on the low bands from square wave or modified square wave 60 Hz harmonics they would not be seen when I am on those at night.

The controller is a Power One Aurora, Model number PVI-4.2-OUTD-S-US. A 7 kW system would require two controllers, as the 4.2 kW is the largest one they make.

My system back feeds the grid when I generate excess power, so I cannot imagine that it would put out anything other than a pretty clean sine wave. That said though, I have never checked it.... Grin

73;

Mike, W7VO
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AA4PB
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Posts: 13881




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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2011, 07:33:56 AM »

Both the charge controller for the batteries and the inverter used to create the AC power use switching regulators so there is a high probability of RFI in the HF bands. The key is what W7VO implies - physical separation between the RFI source and the ham equipment, especially the antennas.

The issue is *usually* switching regulators used within the controller rather than how clean of a sine wave is generated on the output. I've experienced crystal controlled, pure sine wave inverters (much smaller than what you are considering) that create a good deal of RFI in the HF bands. 50-100 feet of antenna separation can do wonders.

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KB6GZ
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2011, 11:47:47 AM »

When I moved into my new QTH with solar power I had S-7 noise of the 14 MHZ band. My vertical antenna is 165 feet away from the rig and the inverter is 45 feet from the transceiver. I tried everything to no avail. The manufacturer is PvPowered. They claimed they complied with FCC noise requirements.
The other bands seemed to be okay. It's a grid tied system, 2.5 KWH output.

Meanwhile I received a letter from the manufacturer of the solar panels, a different vendor, telling me to immediately turn my system off because of a connector issue with the panels that has caused two houses to catch fire. Obviously I turned the entire system off and all the noise went away!

Meanwhile they are paying me over $350.00 a month for the electricity I can't produce until they solve the connector problem! It's the best investment I have.

Technically speaking the inverter vendor says the solar panels, when turned on, are acting as a 14MHZ loop antenna transmitting all the noise from the switching transistors.

I purchased 6 formula 43 toroids to install on the panel leads in hopes of eliminating the RFI. I haven't tried them yet.

Rick
San Diego
Email for more details: KB6GZ@mindspring.com
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K2CMH
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Posts: 316




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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2011, 12:55:27 PM »

I have a Xantrex whole house inverter that causes S9+20 noise on 20m whether it is actually inverting or just 'floating' the battery bank. 
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KD6KWZ
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Posts: 276




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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 11:48:20 PM »

Do any of you who have RF noise from your Solar panel have your house wiring in conduits?

Also, I'm curious about which bands have the most noise from these. General electrical noise seemed to
be worse on 160-80-40 meters in my SWL days.
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N3PM
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Posts: 31




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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2011, 06:24:56 AM »

Both my Rogue 3024 controller and Xantrex SW600 generate RFI, but not objectionable more than 10 feet from either unit.
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KB9WIS
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Posts: 198




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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2015, 01:40:43 PM »

Hi, don't give up on solar.  The charge controllers and inverters are both culprits due to their switching mode technologies.  You just need to find the right companies that actually care about low RFI/EMI.  Samlex has seen high sales from their switching power supplies from ham, CB, and even commercial 2 way radios due to their low EMI/RFI emissions on radio frequencies.  They are making a Samlex PST inverter series that is rumored to have have low RFI/EMI as well. 

The inverter problem is an easy fix though, as nearly all electronics can be ran off DC anyways (especially a 12volt solar system), so if all else fails, don't use an inverter at all.  Just use DC to DC converters for those devices that don't run off 12 - 16 volts direct. 

For the charge controller doesn't have to be PWM switching type.  A company by the name of Flex Charge seems to specialize in controllers ranging from 7 amps to hundreds of amps, which claim a technology that is in ways better at charging and they don't emit any RFI or EMI..  I haven't tried one yet, but you can find them starting at only about $100.00 or so on Amazon.. May be worth the try.  If it works, can then step up to a larger version.  If it works well, please let us know..  http://www.flexcharge.com
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ZENKI
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Posts: 1238




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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2015, 02:33:44 AM »

If you want an interference free solar installation look at installing  Sunnyboy or SMA.

http://www.sma-america.com/products/solarinverters/sunny-boy-5000-us-6000-us-7000-us-8000-us.html

They are sold in the USA I believe and you wont have any interference, they have very very low emissions.
I checked out 20 installations with  a professional EMC receiver before installing my inverter and solar system.
I most operate on the low bands and have a  zero  noise and I cant detect anything from the SMA products on my RX antennas.

I
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K9RJ
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2015, 09:23:25 PM »

I am looking at using SolarEdge Optimizer P400 with a SolarEdge Single Phase SE2200 inverter system (individual solar panel inverters). Does anyone have any experience with these and know what level of RFI I might expect?
Thanks, Harris K9RJ
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K9PHT
Member

Posts: 79




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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2015, 04:17:48 AM »

Being an OFF-ROAD POPUP camper with HAM RADIO installed in the popup I have had interference from every INVERTER I have used to make 120VAC from the battery setup.  The MSW models are worse than the PSW models for me...

When I moved the Inverters away from the POPUP setup in hopes that being along way from the trailer would help I found out the 120VAC extension cords that were used radiated the RFI...   

I experimented some and found a center tapped 120VAC transformer killed the RFI interference the best.  I played games with running the center tap to ground etc...

POWER INVERTERS and HAM RADIO just doesn't live well together.   40 meters was my worse band with RFI...

The strange thing is at my radio shack at the house I have a couple of those 1500 WATT rack mount version POWERWARE 5125 UPS units with internal batteries on 24/7 that powers up almost all of my console items and some light circuits which gives me NO RFI at all on any band...  The book says these are MSW type UPS models but my O-scope shows a perfect 120VAC sine wave coming out of them...   Go figure....

Roy Ken
k9pht - King George VA

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N5RMS
Member

Posts: 50




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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2015, 02:28:38 PM »

I have a 7.5 KW solar array using ABB 250 watt microinverters on each solar panel.  My HF/vhf yagi at 40 ft. (TH11dx) is next to the array.  Not a sound of RFI/EMI anywhere in the RF spectrum.  The microinverters have a European spec. I don't remember the government agency.  I read somewhere that the European agency ENFORCES the specifications.

Allen
N5RMS
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