question

abrahamsolar avatar image

Quattro 120/240 selling to grid in USA: which country code? IEEE1547 compliant?

Hi from a longtime Victron reseller in Colorado. I have a solar home sales opportunity where there are no code inspections--hence little worry that Quattro has no American style UL1741 label.

AC coupling or DC coupling is still undecided but either way I need approval to "sell" excess energy into the "mains". Lawfully grid-tied Victron may be a first for this side of the pond.

The public power company wants compliance with "IEEE Standard 1547 Guide for Distributed Generation Interconnection". Here's a link:

https://standards.ieee.org/standard/1547-2018.html

but is that equivalent to any of these grid code standards in VEConfig3?

The mains engineers are more likely to approve the intertie if I can document Victron compliance with IEEE1547.

How about that Victron Energy Staff? Any thoughts or help? Thanks in advance~

ESSgridconfig
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@mvader (Victron Energy Staff), can Victron chime in on this question? Thanks in advance.

4 Answers
ee21 avatar image
ee21 answered ·

I too am interested in deploying a MultiPlus in the USA; would the "other" option work for the time being, or are other country codes similar enough to use?

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Hello from Colorado, ee21. I assume that you plan to comply with all regulations from the public power company & also from the electrical code inspector--& that's my usual advice.

If planning to "sell", ask the power company about their requirements; I've only seen IEEE1547 mandated one time which was this year. I suggest you make that phone call or find the regs which are published on the power company's website.

Two greater hurdles for code compliant US installation of Victron inverters are:

(1) The need for American style certification marks to the UL1741 standard. One model Multiplus will soon bear that mark & some Victron DC charge controllers have it already but I think that's all so far as of summer 2019. Look before you leap.

(2) The need for appropriate DC & AC switchgear, aka "integrating hardware". Without this, one would not pass American code even if the electronics are UL1741. Insulated solar wires are often shown in free air in photos, etc but that is non-code here in the States. I do have third party solutions figured out for the switchgear; other Victron distributors may also be addressing this need for their customers.

Since 2019 is the first year for a UL1741 approved Victron inverter, my usual mode in prior times has been to sell other brands whenever a system will be subject to inspection...& usually I buy the switchgear from the same inverter vendor.

The National Electrical Code is the letter of the law in most parts of the US...with bureaucrats to interpret & enforce those requirements. The final word on code compliance comes from the local electrical inspector. We call that the AHJ: "authority having jurisdiction"; some inspectors interpret & enforce the code differently from others.

I hope this will be helpful information. "You need to know your equipment vendor & your equipment vendor needs to know his stuff."

Sunny days~

Local code permits feed-in, and we have already obtained an interconnection agreement with the utility company. To be honest I don't know I even need this setting configured. My intention is not to send DC power from the batteries via the Multiplus back into the grid, only to power the AC Loads during times when the utility company charges "on-peak" rates, however still plan on implementing the ESS module for this purpose. I should mention this is my first experience with Victron Energy products, so please forgive my lack of specific product knowledge

Hello @ee21. Most times, the utility regulations only apply if you are pushing energy into their power grid.

Even if the grid people don't care what you do, there are still construction standards for any land based electrical work in almost every jurisdiction in the States. Section 690 in the NEC is specific to solar/alternate energy & all other sections of the code also apply.

Many people build battery/energy setups in stealth mode without permits or inspections--that's usually illegal & sometimes unsafe but >hey< folks are doing it.

One good thing about inspector oversight is the inspector knows much about fire prevention & the right way to do things. Insurance companies never want rogue electrical projects on the homes they insure. Some of the code requirements seem onerous but many of them are very practical & well conceived.

Be safe & have fun~

Do we have an answer? I am trying to configure ESS. It needs the grid code. I am in California. Should I select "Other"?

Hello, @Jeff C I'm the US Victron distributor who started this thread. My Victron project for "selling to grid in USA" is now on hold so I stopped pursuing "an answer". I might resume on behalf of my clients if their situation improves--but only if we can comply with applicable regulations & not go rogue.

It's best to never buy any hardware until one is sure the installation is likely to pass electrical code inspection while also meeting any additional requirements that the public power company has.

When selecting country code "Other" in VEConfig, the warning is clear:

The reason for such a stern warning is that nobody wants liability for any mishaps or injuries. Therefore, my own answer to your "should I select "Other"? question is: "Only if external certified equipment is installed that satisfies your public power company & only if the installation otherwise passes code inspection." I am name-checking @Rich Shea (Victron Energy Staff) who is US based & could probably improve upon my answer.

Also, here is another thread on the Community that may prove helpful:

https://community.victronenergy.com/questions/19839/us-certification-for-victron-inverters.html Sunny days~

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Thanks! I am a bit surprised multiplus is not certified for USA. I wonder if it is underway. The other thread doesn't sound encouraging.

I am not so much interested in selling back to grid. My primary purpose is UPS. However, I am adding a small solar power (1kwh) to charge the battery in case extended grid outage or direct the extra solar power to house. For that I thought I need ESS. Maybe for directing the extra solar power to house doesn't need ESS; solar power is simply subtracted from the grid input. The solar overage will be somehow wasted instead of feeding back to the grid.

Hi, Jeff & All~ If you don't plan to sell into the grid, you need not ask the utility anything about that...and my thread about "selling to grid in USA" seems not the best place for your question. Perhaps you would be content to merely "buy less from the grid" rather than to "sell to the grid".

You might want to search the Community for discussions about blending solar watt-hours with purchased watt-hours. OR: start your own thread on that subject to learn more. I'm not sure if the Victron platform can do that or not. For many years, any brand of inverter/charger/transfer switch could not "buy less" from the grid & that made it difficult for a solar charge controller to lower the power bill.

There are now some "buy less" solutions in the industry & I don't know how well those solutions work or if they're bad for the battery health, etc. Many on the Victron community are discussing load diversion methods to beneficially use solar watt-hours when the batteries are full & the other household loads are smaller than what the solar array is doing.

Have fun & be safe.

abrahamsolar avatar image
abrahamsolar answered ·

Hello & thanks again, @mvader .

I've done several AC coupled power projects using non-Victron electronics & I'm enjoying my Victron homework on this subject. I didn't realize that setting Fronius for "microgrid 60" would alter their IEEE1547 compliance, so your thorough explanations are very helpful.

The clients for whom I'm doing this planning work are "preppers" who are preparing for long term grid failures. They only want me to install solar arrays which continue working during a blackout. I've encouraged the clients to also "sell" because otherwise the solar arrays loiter while waiting for a blackout.

The "community" provides valuable access to the top minds in & around Victron. I'm completely self taught & going on 35 years in the biz, but I'm still refining my craft. Sincere appreciation.

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There might be a work-around:

-have the PV inverter on a switch (could be a contacter) to switch from the input side of the Quattro to the output side, the output side only to be used when grid is disconnected. This could be automated (external circuitry or via assistants).

-no ESS / grid code in the Quattro, only the PV-assistant (and maybe assistants to switch the PV system to the output side)

Hello, @Boekel Sorry for my delayed response to your helpful suggestion. I've been trying to reach Fronius Austria for their views. Unlike Victron, one cannot easily reach the top minds @ Fronius.

While waiting I've been chewing on this...instead of sleeping. Responding to Boekel's suggestion:

Even with mechanical switching to move the Fronius AC connections back & forth from Quattro AC IN 1 to AC OUT, the Fronius country code & associated software behavior cannot be automatically changed. Setting up Fronius for "Microgrid 60 hz" (https://www.victronenergy.com/live/ac_coupling:fronius ) handles the battery protection but if the grid voltage is running >60 hz the Fronius won't sell at its full wattage capability.

I still need to confirm that Fronius anti-islanding functions & other safety behaviors will still function the same so my quest continues.

>>Edit by Mick @ 2300 hours UTC on 5-8-19. I deleted some words above that I now feel are in error. Fronius info about "special purpose utility interactive" mode states that country code MG60 disables anti-islanding & cancels IEEE 1547 compliance. Drat, but I'm not quitting yet :-)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

If Victron could signal Fronius to modulate wattage by way of the local area network (or another method) instead of by frequency shift...that seems an elegant solution to this problem.

@mvader (Victron Energy Staff) if this is on the horizon however distant, kindly advise here or ask one of your technicians to contact me off list.

Thanks & Jolliness, community folk.


Hi @abrahamsolar
I don't think you need the microgrid setting, or at least it's not mentioned here:

https://www.victronenergy.com/live/ccgx:ccgx_fronius

So you can probably just use a couple of contacters to switch from input to output side.

I think I see where the mind of @Boekel is going. I'll work on this outside the community for now.

If I'm slow to respond to further replies on this thread it's not for lack of interest; I'll need some percolation time plus info from better brains than mine.

Thanks & Jolliness~

abrahamsolar avatar image
abrahamsolar answered ·

Acknowledged & appreciated @mvader (Victron Energy Staff).

Since Fronius does have IEEE1547 & the Fronius AC will merely pass thru the Quattros during normal times--& if the mains provider agrees that the pass thru doesn't affect Fronius "anti-islanding" or other 1547 functions--

Will things work properly if I don't select a "country/grid code standard" (& no ESS) but merely select assistant (0172) PV Inverter Support to curtail the Fronius wattage as needed during a blackout on the mains?

If we go all AC coupled that should help my efforts to persuade. The project would involve two 10k Quattro @ 120/240v AC & one Fronius 10k Primo @ 240v AC. Batteries will be LiFePO4 with no need for BMS communication to Victron. This part of the US power grid can accept unlimited sell back.

My clients are eager to leverage the assistants & other Victron benefits not available from my other inverter suppliers. I think I can get a letter from Fronius US to confirm that their 1547 functions aren't affected by the pass-thru.

Thanks again for the crash course on advanced Victron set ups~

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mvader (Victron Energy) avatar image
mvader (Victron Energy) answered ·

Hi @abrahamsolar. Sorry to say that we do not comply to that requirement, yet. Once we do, it will be mentioned in the product certificates.

I don’t know when we will. Impossible to give any dates at this time.

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Acknowledged & appreciated @mvader (Victron Energy Staff).

Since Fronius does have IEEE1547 & the Fronius AC will merely pass thru the Quattros during normal times--& if the mains provider agrees that the pass thru doesn't affect Fronius "anti-islanding" or other 1547 functions--

Will things work properly if I don't select a "country/grid code standard" (& no ESS) but merely select assistant (0172) PV Inverter Support to curtail the Fronius wattage as needed during a blackout on the mains?

If we go all AC coupled that should help my efforts to persuade. The project would involve two 10k Quattro @ 120/240v AC & one Fronius 10k Primo @ 240v AC. Batteries will be LiFePO4 with no need for BMS communication to Victron. This part of the US power grid can accept unlimited sell back.

My clients are eager to leverage the assistants & other Victron benefits not available from my other inverter suppliers. I think I can get a letter from Fronius US to confirm that their 1547 functions aren't affected by the pass-thru.

Thanks again for the crash course on advanced Victron set ups~

Hi AbrahamS,

You can install the PV Inverter in to places: after the inverter/charger, ie. in series with it.

On on its input: in parallel.

Installing it in series is done when you want to have the PV Inverter operational even during a grid failure. Then the inverter/charger will be the ‘grid forming device’. To make the Fronius accept the grid thats made by the inverter/carger, you’ll need to set it to a special country code (MG60). And then it no longer complies to the standard you mentioned.

So instead, why not connect the Fronius to in parallel, ie on the input? And then the inverter/charger has a simple backup purpose.