Victron Energy

Victron Energy has been manufacturing power conversion equipment since 1975.  They have became well known around the world for producing reliable off-grid battery inverter/chargers and a wide range of quality/affordable solar controllers. Victron Energy has possibly the widest variety of solar products of any manufacturer.  They also have an unlimited combination of add-ons and accessories to create everything from simple battery monitors to remote AC or DC coupled off-grid power systems.

Main products manufactured by Victron Energy

  • Battery inverter
  • Inverter/chargers
  • Grid-Interactive inverters/chargers
  • Battery chargers
  • Solar charge controllers (PWM & MPPT)
  • Battery monitors
  • Remote control/system monitors
  • Battery balancers & accessories
  • Batteries: Lead-acid & Lithium-ion

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Solar Controllers vs. Solar Inverters

Solar Charge Controllers (Solar Regulators) were once the only option for off-grid power systems and are used to create what is known as a DC coupled system.  DC coupled systems use solar controllers to charge a battery directly from the panels which is extremely efficient, while a battery inverter supplies AC power to the home appliances.

AC (alternating current)
coupled solar

AC coupled systems use a string solar inverter coupled with an advanced multi-mode inverter or inverter/charger to manage the battery and grid/generator. Although relatively simple to setup and very powerful, they are slightly less efficient (90-94%) at charging a battery compared to DC coupled systems (98%). However, these systems are very efficient at powering high AC loads during the day and some can be expanded with multiple solar inverters to form micro-grids.

Advantages

  • Higher efficiency when used to power AC appliances during the day such as air-conditioning, pool pumps, and hot water systems (up to 96%)
  • Generally lower installation cost for larger systems above 5kW
  • Can use multiple string solar inverters in multiple locations (AC couple micro-grids)
  • Most string solar inverters above 3kW have dual MPPT inputs, so strings of panels can be installed at different orientations and tilt angles
  • Advanced AC coupled systems can use a combination of AC and DC coupling. (Note: this is not possible with some lithium batteries)

Disadvantages

  • Lower efficiency when charging a battery system (approx. 92%)
  • Quality solar inverters can be expensive for small systems
  • Lower efficiency when powering direct DC loads during the day

DC (direct current)
coupled solar

DC coupled systems have been used for decades in off-grid solar installations and small capacity automotive/boating power systems. The most common DC coupled systems use solar charge controllers (also known as solar regulators) to charge a battery directly from solar, plus a battery inverter to supply AC power to the household appliances.

Advantages

  • Very high efficiency
  • Great low cost setup for smaller scale off-grid systems up to 5kW
  • Ideal for small systems requiring only 1-2 solar panels
  • Modular (additional panels & controllers can be easily added if required)
  • Very efficient for powering DC appliances and loads
  • If an electricity service provider restricts or limits the capacity of grid-tie solar allowed, additional solar may be added by DC coupling a battery system

Disadvantages

  • More complex to setup systems above 5kW as often multiple strings are required in parallel, plus string fusing
  • Can become expensive for systems above 5kW as multiple higher voltage solar charge controllers are required
  • Slightly lower efficiency is powering large AC loads during the day due to the conversion from DC(PV) to DC(batt) to AC
  • Many solar controllers are not compatible with managed lithium battery systems such as the LG Chem RESU or BYD B-Box

Victron MultiPlus

The Multiplus is a combined inverter and charger in one package. Its many features include a true sine wave inverter, adaptive charging, hybrid PowerAssist technology, plus multiple system integration features.

The Multiplus will prevent overload of a limited AC source, such as a generator or shore power connection. First, battery charging will automatically be reduced when otherwise an overload would occur. The second level will boost the output of a generator of shore side supply with power taken from the battery.

In the event of a grid failure, or when shore or generator power is disconnected, the inverter within the Multi is automatically activated and takes over the supply to the connected loads. This happens so fast (less than 20 milliseconds) that computers and other electronic equipment will continue to operate without disruption.

As soon as energy is collected by the solar panels, it is inverted to AC by the PV inverter. The generator supplies its alternating current directly to the MultiPlus inverter/charger. The MultiPlus will automatically start and stop the generator while maximizing the use of solar power.


Learn More at Victron Energy

Here are some considerations why you should add a Multi inverter/charger to a system with ac-power.

  • Silent ac-power
  • Fuel savings
  • Cost and time savings as a result of reduced maintenance
  • Extended generator life
  • 24/7 availability of ac power
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PowerAssist : boosting the capacity of grid or generator power

This unique Victron feature allows the MultiPlus to supplement the capacity of the grid or generator power. Where peak power is so often required only for a limited period, the MultiPlus will make sure that insufficient grid or generator power is immediately compensated with power from the battery. When the load reduces, the spare power is used to recharge the battery bank.

Color Control GX

The Color Control GX (CCGX) is the communication center of your installation. At a single touch, it can provide an instant overview of your system: battery state of charge, present power consumption, power harvest from PV and power provision from mains/generator.

Victron Remote Management (VRM)
Provides you with full access to the very extensive controls and settings of all system-components which are connected to either your CCGX or Venus GX. It allows remote user and installer login from anywhere and anytime. This powerful application also provides for hassle-free diagnostic checks and analysis of archived information.

Automatic Generator
The Color Control GX can be programmed to auto start your generator: triggered by low-voltage, high-demand or battery state of charge. It can be further tailored to delay ignition until the end of 'quiet' periods, avoiding accidental nuisance during the night.

Data Logging
When connected to the internet, all data is sent to the VRM Portal. When there is no internet connection available, the CCGX will store the data internally, up to 48 hours. By inserting a micro SD card or USB stick, more data can be stored. These files can then be uploaded to the VRM Portal, or offline converted with the Victron Connect app, for analysis.

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