Big Sur Solar+Battery+Generator Nano-Grid

22 September 2019

YouSolar installed a PowerBloc™ solar+batterynano-grid at an off-grid house located on one of the most spectacular sections of the Big Sur Coast, California. The home is perched on a bluff between Highway 1 and the ocean with breathtaking views. The house is part of a small cluster of houses, all of which have no utility power. The primary energy source is solar, but a small propane-powered generator seamlessly integrates for complete reliability. The system is fully automated. YouSolar delivered the system as a turn-key solution.

YouSolar STEP™ micro-converters were used to retro-fit an existing 15-year old solar array. With an expansion of the solar array, the house will source 98% of its annual electric energy from solar. STEP™ allows connecting the new solar panels directly to the legacy array.

“YouSolar installed a PowerBloc at our off-grid house in Big Sur. This fully automated nano-grid uses solar energy and a propane generator as energy sources. After years of struggling with other off-grid systems, the PowerBloc has now provided continuous power for months. YouSolar’s technical expertise and customer service are simply excellent.”

Dr. Richard Dauphine, Carmel-by-the-Sea

An ultra-silent generator will run for a few hours a week in the winter month when clouds roll in from the Pacific and shroud the cliffs of Big Sur and sunshine is down 3x from the summer.YouSolar’s EDISON™ energy management system decides on when to start the generator. EDISON makes that decision based on real-time solar radiation forecasts from YouSolar’s SPOT™ solar forecast service. YouSolar’s TRAFFIC™ controller starts the generator. The generator delivers its power to the system with the EXTEND™ rectifier.YouSolar sourced and installed the generator.

Four large and powerful LiFePO4 batteries deliver up to two days of energy to the house. This storage capacity allows to smooth out variability in solar radiation and to minimize generator use. The high-power batteries comfortably start up the water pressure pump. This pump has an inrush power that exceeds the average load by a factor of 15 x! The batteries connect to the system with the TWIN™bi-directional DC-DC converter.

The system is monitored and controlled with the DIYA™ user interface, but YouSolar also monitors the system over the house’s satellite internet connection.

The PowerBloc™ “Big Sur” comes in a red electrical cabinet. Two cabinets are used to fit the PowerBloc™ into an existing low space.

In the retrofit of an existing 15-year solar array, two solar panels are connected in series to each STEP™ micro-converter.

The PowerBloc’s operating system, TRAFFIC™, automatically starts a propane-powered generator. A wireless remote start is mounted a few meters away from the generators to avoid crossing a paved walkway.

The generator is housed inside of a weather and sound proof enclosure.

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