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Author Topic: Opinions on SMA's Sunny Island system  (Read 9788 times)
stephend
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« on: April 17, 2008, 10:23:47 AM »

The sunny island range of inverters is unique because it lets you effectively create your own mini electrical grid.  If you want to add more power sources, simply connect them to the AC side of the grid.  This potentially simplifies design and minimizes power losses through cables.  The downside is that you might need more inverters for any generating equipment which produces DC.
I'm leaning towards this solution for our planned off-grid home as I like the potential for future expansion - are there other downsides which I'm missing?

http://www.sma-america.com/solar-technology/products/island-grids/battery-inverters/other-info/ac-coupled-systems/index.html
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billi
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2008, 07:59:31 PM »

Hello

i did study  in Kassel Gemany about 5 miles away where SMA (Sunny, windyboy comes from)
actually i drove  past their place last week and man how big they are now .... In front of their "workshop "

lots of poles with PV-trackers and gridtie inverters , class i think from a small backyard company 15 years ago..... to a market leader....

Back to the point 
Quote
The sunny island range of inverters is unique because it lets you effectively create your own mini electrical grid
That is not unique   ...... mine is doing the same  Grin (not a SMA) connect the units in parallel to achieve a 3 phase system, transfer pv power direct to the house when battery is full , connect a AC generator to charge the battery, powerassist with the AC source your inverted power from the battery to get instead of 6 kw  then 10 kw .....

But does it all help ? what we read  in the brochures ?

can we have an offgrid system  easy ?  But whom to call when things go wrong (not the electricity board i think)

I am still happy with my inverter combi solution , but did mistakes with batteries ....

and i am glad to have a system i can connect to the grid one day , when ireland needs my power  Tongue Grin

But saying this i coulnot find  enough details for the sunny island idea ( in relation to inverted power and price) so its hard to compare....

all the best billi

actually , i did not activate the program jet to supply the PV power direct to the house , because i like my new battery beeing fully charged from time to time ..... will see how the sommer goes .....
« Last Edit: April 17, 2008, 10:18:16 PM by billi » Logged

1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
Ivan
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2008, 09:17:30 PM »

I think the SMA island system also incorporates load-shedding (or dumping) in the form of great big resistors, to allow frequency/voltage stability even when batteries are full and of course, allowing AC inputs as well as DC inputs.

The main problem I can see is one of expense.
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stephend
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2008, 10:11:00 AM »

I think the unique feature about the Sunny Island is that it allows you to make all the connections on the AC side (well that's what I understand from their literature anyway! Smiley )
Of course it could also be an extremely clever business move: now that everything connects on the AC side, you need to buy more inverters so that you can connect your DC power sources!

What are the advantages to having a 3 phase system?  Does it complicate the system at all?  Would your average electrician be able to troubleshoot the system?
Some prices for the SMA kit can be found at:
http://shop.fotovoltaikshop.de/nav_3_21_59_nav_power-inverters_sma_sunny-island.html
And more details about the product itself:
http://www2.sma.de/en/solar-technology/products/island-grids/sunny-island/products/sunny-island-5048/overview/index.html
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billi
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2008, 10:38:17 AM »

Stephend

When you connect the PV via a sunny boy to the sunny island on the AC side
will the sunny island charge the battery as well ?


I understand the point of direct inverting/using the PV output when the battery is full
But how is the battery then charged ?

billi
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
stephend
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2008, 12:58:18 PM »

It has a charger built in and apparently it charges the battery when there is surplus energy on the AC side. 
Some more explanation and a video here:
http://www2.sma.de/en/solar-technology/products/specials/energy-supply-for-power-grid-distant-areas/index.html

So in a typical off-grid PV system, I think it would be something like:
- Panels connected to battery charge controller (pick your favourite) which is connected to the batteries
- Batteries connected to sunny island on DC side
- Connect AC consumers on the sunny island AC side
- Connect Genset on sunny island AC side
- Connect windyboy on AC side
- If you later add another PV array, and don't want to connect it to the batteries using a charge controller, then you could connect it using a sunny boy to the AC side.

(All the above I gleaned from their marketing docs!  So I may have it wrong)

« Last Edit: April 18, 2008, 01:23:37 PM by stephend » Logged

billi
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2008, 02:26:21 PM »

Sounds clever
 

is just a bid more costly then other ideas  Huh (the smallest version of the sunny island and the sunnyboy to achieve the direct ac usage of the pv panel then costs about 800 Watts worth of solarpanels  more then other systems  Huh)

But ....


billi

 But still clever and expandable 
« Last Edit: April 18, 2008, 02:39:58 PM by billi » Logged

1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
martin
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2008, 02:31:35 PM »

Billi-  a slight digression - how come so many German companies use the word "boy" - in their product names - "Sunnyboy" for instance - lots of Grundig Radios are similarly encumbered - is it some strange predeliction? Grin
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billi
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2008, 03:07:00 PM »

Martin

dont know and hope it has not the same meaning  like many irish people get upset when they are called boy  Sad



Stephend

you brought up a great idea for my system ..... to connect an additional inverted ac source (pv or wind , hydro) to my ac side of the inverter  so i donot need to touch the battery so often during the day or night

have to find a reasonable priced windyboy  Grin

 billi
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
Ivan
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2008, 04:52:45 PM »

A lot of countries like a good english-sounding name or catch phrase. I've seen it a lot in Italy and Japan as well.

Also in China.

My favourite was a 6' high illuminated sign on top of a hotel in China - 'xxxxxxxxx [name of chinese town]. You won't be satisifed until you come in it. Visit China'
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billi
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2008, 04:56:09 PM »

ivan

i guess as well it was the intention of sma when they started to get famous in english spoken countries as well and that the average english speaking german (like me  Grin ) can understand the meaning

billi
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
stephend
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2008, 08:55:11 AM »

In another thread, Alan has had some issues with the build quality of the windy boy inverter (http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3028.msg29792/topicseen.html#msg29792)
Does anyone have any more information on the quality of the SMA kit in general?
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Ivan
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« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2008, 05:15:55 PM »

It is generally regarded as the best in the industry, although rather over-priced.

The main criticisms I've heard are not in relation to reliability, rather the problem that SMA never designed the GT inverters for wind use, and the adaption was never really up to the mark. SMA are bringing out some new equipment in the next week or so which should address the most critical things.
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stephend
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2008, 05:50:07 PM »

What do you think about the "connect everything on the AC side" solution?  It seems to me that for an off-grid system it would be more efficient to charge the batteries on the DC side with PV, rather than convert the DC from the PV to AC, then convert it back to DC to charge the batteries.
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billi
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2008, 08:01:28 PM »

Stephend

perhaps it would be a good idea to tell ,what you want to set up and how much power you will need ?

and again charging batteries from the ac side with an inverter/combi  is a normal feature.....

Billi
« Last Edit: April 22, 2008, 08:09:14 PM by billi » Logged

1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
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