Using groups in habpanel widget as a Setting

I’m having trouble with adding an openhab group item to settings in a template

I have the following group defined

Group items_id_gClimates
String climate0 "[%s]" (items_id_gClimates) { ecobee="<[000000000000#program.climates[0].climateRef]" }
String climate1 "[%s]" (items_id_gClimates) { ecobee="<[000000000000#program.climates[1].climateRef]" }
String climate2 "[%s]" (items_id_gClimates) { ecobee="<[000000000000#program.climates[2].climateRef]" }

Then i have a widget where i defined a setting
Type: Item
ID: habpanel_id_climates
Default value: items_id_gClimates

My code

        <li>Using Setting length = {{(itemsInGroup('config.habpanel_id_climates')).length}}</li>
        <li>Using item directly = {{(itemsInGroup('items_id_gClimates')).length}}</li>

The result i get is :
Using Setting length = 0
Using item directly = 3

I’m expecting both to be 3

I have tested with non-group-item settings and those I can get to work, what am I doing wrong?

I found my problem, it was very basic

When referencing an item in an *.items file you have to pass in a string literal (ie with quoted ‘item_name’)
When using an item defined as a setting its a string obect and has to be passed by reference (ie no quotes config.item)