The SkyBox: a solar battery game changer

(Last modified on January 26th, 2022.)

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OutBack SkyBox inverter with balance of systems and backup power.

Earlier this year, OutBack Power launched the SkyBox, a game changer for the solar industry.

The SkyBox has many unique features and most in the solar industry can agree it’s one of the most exciting technology developments in some time. Here’s why.

SkyBox Features

First, the SkyBox is both an inverter and a charge controller, making it the only equipment to house both balance of systems components in one enclosure. This makes it much easier to install, cutting down on installation time and costs for battery backup systems.

The second most exciting feature is that the OutBack SkyBox is compatible with batteries in a way that no other product is. It can be installed on grid-tied systems or systems with battery backup. OR it can be installed in anticipation of batteries being added in the future! You can also change your mind on the battery chemistry since the SkyBox is intelligent enough to work with current and future energy storage technologies. This gives customers the flexibility of not having to commit to a battery backup system or battery type while still moving forward with a solar installation. This makes the SkyBox a unique product in the solar industry.

The SkyBox also has a five port system allowing the import or export of 5kw of power at each of these locations (though not all at the same time). These ports hook up to the solar array, grid, house load, battery and generator. (Yes, it can support both backup options simultaneously.) Alternatively, you can use the generator port for an EV charger. This allows for incredible flexibility of the solar power you’re producing.

The SkyBox also encloses a communication box with several useful features.

  • First, it has built in remote monitoring for your solar system. This means you don’t need to install a separate piece of equipment and monitoring is at your fingertips.
  • Second, you can look at the historic production data for any of the input/outputs (pv, generator, batteries, grid).
  • Third, you can program regular exercises for your generator all through the Skybox interface.
  • Fourth, Renewable Energy Credit (REC) monitoring for added revenue from participating utilities.

Backup Power Capability

The SkyBox can be programmed to function for various battery applications. As discussed above, it can serve as a grid-tied or battery backup system. However, within the battery backup option, you can choose various levels of programmed sophistication. It can be applied towards off-grid purposes (daily battery cycling), emergency battery backup, or energy management options.

The latter is the most complex of these operations and gives you the best option to reduce your total energy costs. Instead of just using your solar during the day and your batteries at night, the SkyBox allows you to program your batteries to power your home during the times of day the utility charges the most for electricity. This programming also allows for you to leave some battery available for backup needs.

SkyBox Specifications

The SkyBox is a drop in replacement for all grid-tied string inverters with a 600 Volt input. Whereas other inverters would require the old existing system to be rewired to 150 or 300 volts to fit the maximum voltage input for a charge controller, the SkyBox can simply be dropped in.

The SkyBox is 94% efficient, and has a 5 year warranty with a 10 year extended warranty available. It can be stacked, is compatible with a wide range of batteries, and can be installed outdoors. The SkyBox’s high PV input also allows for it to be implemented with long strings of solar.

The SkyBox package (inverter, battery hookup, monitoring, etc.) is more expensive than your average string inverter but does a lot more too. Additionally, the simplicity in its wiring eliminates the extra installation costs that normal battery backup installations incur (which would more than make up the price difference). The SkyBox truly offers unprecedented flexibility in solar power use from a single device.

3 thoughts on “The SkyBox: a solar battery game changer

  1. Wow, superb blog format! How long have you ever been running a blog for?
    you make running a blog look easy. The total look of
    your website is great, let alone the content!

  2. We have one in a grid tied system with battery back-up. We’ve had it for a half year now and it has yet to work correctly. We have tried to work with Outback multiple times with our installer (great people) and it still doesn’t work. Won’t shift to batteries when the power goes out, overcharges the batteries, flicks on and off — it’s a disaster. Looking to replace with an alternative that works.

    1. Hi Mark, finding replacement equipment wholly depends on what you already have installed and what it could be compatible with. Given the SkyBox’s unique capabilities, it also depends on how you’re using the product and whether another product could give you the same capabilities that made you initially select this over a more simple grid-tied inverter. If the fancy features are not being used or are now a lower priority, your search will probably be simplified.

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