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Victron Fronius equipment query


Noobie
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I am looking at the following products and need some advice.

I have an existing 1,5 kw PV array and a 200aH 24v battery bank.

I am looking at using the following equipment:

Multiplus 24v 3kva 70/50

Venus GX (for ESS use)

Victron single phase meter (prevent back feed)

Fronius primo 3kw OR a MPPT 150/60

These are my questions:

1) Could I use the Venus GX for ESS instead of the colour control (to save cost)

2) What are the advantages of using the Fronius inverter over using the victron MPPT 

3) What comms cables would I need get this system running? 

 

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7 hours ago, Noobie said:

1) Could I use the Venus GX for ESS instead of the colour control (to save cost)

Yes! If this isn't obvious I really must have a chat with the marketing department :-)

You can even use a Raspberry Pi for ESS. That just comes with no official support, and you have to buy all the cables separately, so kitting it out to the same level as the Venus-GX isn't going to be significantly cheaper.

The Venus-GX also comes with two wireless interfaces. The one can be used to connect to a WiFi network. The other can be used to turn the device into an Access Point that you can access from a phone or another device, to see the GUI and configure things. Sadly it cannot (yet) act as an internet gateway, but there is a feature request for this already. The biggest problem at the moment is the kernel lacks NetFilter support, so you can't even hack it into a router... but as I said... yet :-)

7 hours ago, Noobie said:

2) What are the advantages of using the Fronius inverter over using the victron MPPT 

Things have changed. I actually think going with the MPPT is now the better option. There are still some upsides to using the Fronius, they are:

1. Still the most efficient way to do it if most of the power will be used directly rather than stored for later.

2. If you can feed into the grid and get paid for it (or you don't get paid but you don't care), it's at least no worse than using an MPPT.

3. Using high voltage AC wiring to inject the power means thinner and less expensive cables.

Downsides:

1. It's less stable than using the MPPTs. There are two ways to connect the Fronius, either on the input side of the inverter -- which means it goes down if the grid goes out -- or on the output side. When you put it on the output side, and the grid fails, the Fronius will generally detect that as an islanding event and will shut down, and then reconnect after a minute or so. This means the Multiplus has to be sized to carry the whole load anyway. With the MPPTs, your PV doesn't go walkies for 60 seconds when the grid fails.

2. A Fronius inverter will cost a little more for the same capacity.

Can't really think of any more right now.

7 hours ago, Noobie said:

3) What comms cables would I need get this system running? 

Venus-GX comes with two can-bus ports (which you likely won't need), two ve-direct ports (you can use one for the BMV and another for an MPPT), and a built-in MK3 for talking to the inverter (aka VE.Bus). You will need two VE.Direct cables (not the USB ones, just the straight 4-wire ones). If there are additional MPPTs, you need a ve-direct USB cable for each of those. To link the inverter with the Venus-GX, you can use a normal ethernet cable, the wiring is the same.

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Thanks Plonky,

After your comments I will plan on using a Venus and an MPPT instead of a fronius and a colour control, this will save me a couple of Rand!

My only concern is that the victron is IP20, and might be noisy when the fans run.

My current inverter (Axpert 3kva) is mounted behind my homes DB just outside the kitchen door in the passage way between the garage and the kitchen. When it’s operating the fans are loud and can be heard in the kitchen and open plan living area. 

Are the victrons fans just as loud?

The passage where I want to install the victron has a roof over and has a paved floor but does get a bit of dust, is this an issue with the units IP20 rating and warranty claims?

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6 hours ago, Noobie said:

My only concern is that the victron is IP20, and might be noisy when the fans run.

It's IP21. Might not look like a big difference, but it makes it a little better. The first digit is for solids... it means you can't get fingers or similar-sized objects into the case. The second digit says it can handle dripping water from above. I have never found the fans to be particularly noisy, and it has exceptional speed control (but you need the later firmware, 421 was released today... just load that). The fans don't even turn on until you're at about 30% load. At full load you hear it though!

6 hours ago, Noobie said:

The passage where I want to install the victron has a roof over and has a paved floor but does get a bit of dust, is this an issue with the units IP20 rating and warranty claims?

Mine lives in my garage. About once a year I use the air compressor to clean out that black grimy dust we get in the Western Cape. I'm about 5km from the sea. The insides of the inverter is pretty well covered in conformal coating. I don't foresee any problems.

Perhaps just for completeness, what Fronius were you looking at, and what MPPT do you plan on replacing it with? The Fronius generally wants a pretty high PV voltage (the Galvo needs at least 120V I think, the Primo even more), while most of the MPPTs are rated below 150V (the high end ones are 250VDC). So there's going to be a slightly different configuration PV side if you do this.

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Now that I think about it, you're still going to need an mk3-usb dongle to configure the inverter, flash the new firmware, configure the ESS assistant, and all that. There are ways to get around it, but just get the mk3 dongle as well, it will make your life a lot easier.

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Really appreciate the feedback!

I will be sure to give the unit a blow out to keep it free of dust and bugs etc

I wanted to use the Fronius galvo but after reading up about ESS it didn’t recommend a Galvo, I was considering using the smallest Primo unit available.

I downloaded the victron MPPT excel spreadsheet and populated it with my PV panels data and apparently I will need a 150/70 MPPT.

I watched a webinar on YouTube today about ESS and the presenter said that using an MPPT is the most efficient way to couple PV panels to the inverter so the Fronius is definitely not going to happen.

I will need to install a victron single phase meter where the Eskom supply enters my home that will communicate with the inverter so that I can have the inverter feed power back through its AC input to loads in the house which are not connected to the inverter output (geyser, stove etc) without exporting power back to Eskom.

I was looking at the prices and I think it may be more cost effective to purchase the easy solar 24V/3000VA/70A MPPT 150V/70A Inverter/Charger with Color Control instead of buying a multiplus, MPPT, Venus etc

I am just not able to confirm if the easy solar unit will feed back power through its AC input to the house hold loads and use ESS like the multi plus can?

Basically I only want to use my batteries when there is a power failure and use PV during the day to supply the household loads that are connected to the inverters output as well as the loads that are connected before the inverter (geyser, stove etc) could the easy solar unit achieve this?

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1 hour ago, Noobie said:

I downloaded the victron MPPT excel spreadsheet and populated it with my PV panels data and apparently I will need a 150/70 MPPT.

Get the VE.Direct one. It works better with ESS (and it is cheaper). You might even consider two 150/35s.

1 hour ago, Noobie said:

I watched a webinar on YouTube today about ESS and the presenter said

I've also seen that webinar. That's Matthijs Vader, the MD of the company.

1 hour ago, Noobie said:

I will need to install a victron single phase meter where the Eskom supply enters my home

Use the ET112 model.

1 hour ago, Noobie said:

easy solar

It's a Multiplius with an MPPT in one unit. There is essentially no difference between this inverter and the separate combo, it can do anything the other one can.

Quick note: Remember that the Multiplus is only certified for NRS097-2-1 if you add a Ziehl UFR1001e between it and the grid. You can just use the UK settings and it will work just fine, it's just something to keep in mind. The 3kVA Multigrid complies with NRS097-2-1 and has the extra physical contactor required to comply.

1 hour ago, Noobie said:

I only want to use my batteries when there is a power failure and use PV during the day to supply the household loads that are connected to the inverters output

Then technically you don't need the current meter. If you only want to feed loads on the output, you can use the internal current sense inside the inverter.

The ability to keep the batteries charged and just use the excess -- you may not believe it -- that is a problem that's only just been solved and is literally in beta testing now.

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Now I’m really conflicted, the multigrid is more expensive than the multiplus but it complies with the NRS regs so you won’t have to cough up more money for the ziehl relay.

I am trying to get away from having multiple components interfacing with one another and having a one stop solution.

If the easy solar unit complied with NRS regs I would slap one in, everything would be in one neat enclosure and I’d only have to run a comms cable from the ET112 to the CCGX.

Any idea if they are planning on getting the easysolar units to conform with the NRS regs, it might be worth the wait?

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50 minutes ago, Noobie said:

the multigrid is more expensive than the multiplus

Yes, but by much less than the price of the Ziehl.

I'll send you a PM about this :-)

59 minutes ago, Noobie said:

Any idea if they are planning on getting the easysolar units to conform with the NRS regs, it might be worth the wait?

Doubt it. It costs quite a bit of time and money to get a unit certified.

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