Are you an installer or contractor looking for a Sol-Ark inverter? Contact us today!
At Practical Preppers® we have been exclusively using and recommending Sol-Ark inverters for solar installations. While we were still raving about the Sol-Ark 8k, the Sol-Ark 12k made its debut at the 2019 SPI. We made our way to Salt Lake City to have a first look at the Sol-Ark 12k and were able to get Tom Brennan, head of engineering at Sol-Ark, to give us the scoop on the new solar inverter.
We knew many of our customers would want to know what changes were made, and we’ve got to say…there were some big ones. Below you will find a quick comparison of the two sister inverters, followed by a report of the implications of these new changes, and finally our video interview with Tom Brennan.
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According to Tom, the Sol-Ark 12k was developed in response to requests for a “Sol-ark 8k but with more power”. Alt-E summarizes the Sol-Ark 12k system perfectly:
Sol-Ark Pre-Wired Inverter Systems simultaneously manage power to/from Solar, Battery, Grid, Loads, and Generator. The Sol-Ark [12k] is simple to install and can be used in Grid-tied, Off-Grid, or Battery Backup solar applications. It supports 8000 watts of continuous power for off grid production, and up to 9600 watts of continuous power for on grid. It is expandable, and can grow as your power needs grow. On grid PV to AC efficiency is 96 – 96.5% – among the top in the industry – means less solar is needed.
What’s the Same?
- all-in-one (pre-wired) hybrid
- 20 kW peak power
- optional EMP hardening
- 4 ms grid failure transfer time
- AC Coupling
- “battery agnostic”
- remote monitoring
- Indoor use
- wire knockouts
- Front-access AC breakers
- Front-access battery disconnect
- Parallel stacking
- Greater PV input
- Greater power output
- 10 year warranty
- 3 phase power
On the outside, the Sol-Ark 8k and the Sol-Ark 12k look very similar. The enclosures are identical in size and have the same wire knockouts on the bottom face. However, the first thing you will notice is that Sol-Ark 12k has added front-access points for the AC and battery breakers. This simple, user-friendly change has been a request for a long time and we think customers will appreciate Sol-Ark inverters becoming even easier to interact with.
On the inside, the changes were more drastic and gives the Sol-Ark 12k a much wider range of applications than the Sol-Ark 8k. First of all, the Sol-Ark 12k has boosted MPPT (there are 2 built-in MPPT controllers in both inverters), so it can now accept 16.5 kW of PV power versus 11 kW with the Sol-Ark 8k. Additionally, the Sol-Ark 12k has systems gains capabilities. You can stack up to 6 units to achieve 72 kW system! This makes the Sol-Ark 12k the ultimate solution for off-grid or commercial solar systems.
Both inverters are highly efficient and require minimal additional hardware. In addition to built-in MPPT controllers, Sol-Ark inverters also have AC breakers, auto generator start, PV rapid shutdown signal, battery temperature sensors, battery communication, and current sensors all included in this one-box system.
Both Sol-Ark inverters are also compatible with a very wide range of 48V battery chemistries, from lead to lithium-ion. We like to informally call this being “battery agnostic”. Most inverters are restricted to a specific battery chemistry, giving you less control over the cost and set-up of your system.
One thing we have noticed as we designed systems using the Sol-Ark 12k is that this new inverter has more complicated wiring for installations.
To download an easy-to-read comparison chart of solar inverters, including the Sol-Ark 12k and 8k, click here.
Sol-Ark continues to lead in innovation and efficiency, and while the Sol-Ark 12k is a great deal for anyone, many residences will never use the amount of power that it is capable of producing. We continue to recommend the Sol-Ark 8k for grid-tie and smaller scale solar systems. We would recommend the Sol-Ark 12k for off-grid systems, commercial solar, and anyone looking for big gains. Both are great for DIY-ers given that they are pre-wired systems.
Please let us know if this information was helpful to you in the comments!
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