• How to design an off-grid system?
    How to design an off-grid system? Jan 05, 2024
      The photovoltaic off-grid power generation system mainly consists of six parts: solar panels, brackets, solar controllers, off-grid inverters, batteries, and distribution boxes. After the solar cell module is connected to the solar controller, it first meets the user's load, and then stores the remaining power in the battery for use at night and on rainy days. When the battery is dead, most inverters can also support commercial power input (or a diesel generator) as a supplementary energy source to power the load. The design of photovoltaic off-grid systems is different from the design of grid-connected power generation systems. It needs to consider the user's load size, daily power consumption, local climate conditions, and other factors. It is relatively complicated to choose different design solutions based on the actual needs of customers. To ensure the reliable operation of the off-grid system, it is necessary to conduct a preliminary customer demand survey. The design of photovoltaic off-grid systems mainly includes inverter selection, solar panel capacity design, and battery capacity design.   Inverter selection: Determine the inverter power according to the user load size and type The selection of inverter power is generally no less than the total power of the load. However, considering the service life and subsequent expansion of the inverter, it is recommended to reserve a certain margin for the inverter power, generally 1.2~1.5 of the load power. times. In addition, if the load includes motor inductive loads similar to refrigerators, air conditioners, water pumps, range hoods, etc. (the starting power of the motor is 3 to 5 times the rated power). The starting power of the load should be considered, that is, the starting power of the load should be less than the maximum impact power of the inverter. The following is the calculation formula for frequency converter power selection for design reference.   Determination of component capacity: Determine component capacity based on the user’s daily power consumption and light intensity Part of the electricity generated by the photovoltaic modules during the day is supplied to the load, while the remainder is used to charge the battery. At night or when there is insufficient solar radiation, the electrical energy stored in the battery will be released to the load for use. It can be seen that the electricity consumed by the load comes from the electricity generated by the photovoltaic modules during the day without commercial electricity/or diesel engines as supplementary energy. Considering that the light intensity is different in different regions and seasons, to ensure the reliable operation of the system, the capacity design of the photovoltaic panels should also meet the needs of the worst light season.   Determination of battery capacity: Determine battery capacity based on nighttime power consumption or backup time The battery of the photovoltaic off-grid sys...
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  • What is battery storage?
    What is battery storage? Jan 05, 2024
      Battery storage technologies are essential to speeding up the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy. Battery storage systems will play an increasingly pivotal role between green energy supplies and responding to electricity demands. Battery storage, or battery energy storage systems (BESS), are devices that enable energy from renewables, like solar and wind, to be stored and then released when the power is needed most. Lithium-ion batteries, which are used in mobile phones and electric cars, are currently the dominant storage technology for large scale plants to help electricity grids ensure a reliable supply of renewable energy. We’ve begun deploying this technology with heavier equipment, working with Viridi Parente – a company that makes battery storage systems for industrial, commercial and residential buildings.   Why is battery storage important and what are its benefits? Battery storage technology has a key part to play in ensuring homes and businesses can be powered by green energy, even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind has stopped blowing. For example, the UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, but the ability to capture this energy and purposefully deploy it can increase the value of this clean energy; by increasing production and potentially reducing costs. Every day engineers at National Grid and electricity grids worldwide must match supply with demand. Managing these peaks and troughs becomes more challenging when the target is to achieve net zero carbon production. Fossil-fuel fired plants have traditionally been used to manage these peaks and troughs, but battery energy storage facilities can replace a portion of these so-called peaking power generators over time. The UK government estimates technologies like battery storage systems – supporting the integration of more low-carbon power, heat and transport technologies – could save the UK energy system up to £40 billion ($48 billion) by 2050, ultimately reducing people’s energy bills.   How exactly does a battery storage system work? Battery energy storage systems are considerably more advanced than the batteries you keep in your kitchen drawer or insert in your children’s toys. A battery storage system can be charged by electricity generated from renewable energy, like wind and solar power.   Intelligent battery software uses algorithms to coordinate energy production and computerised control systems are used to decide when to store energy or to release it to the grid. Energy is released from the battery storage system during times of peak demand, keeping costs down and electricity flowing.   What renewable energy storage systems are being developed? Storage of renewable energy requires low-cost technologies that have long lives – charging and discharging thousands of times – are safe and can store enough energy cost effectively to match demand. Li...
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  • 4 types of household energy storage systems
    4 types of household energy storage systems Dec 29, 2023
      Home energy storage products refer to energy storage systems used in home user scenarios. They are usually installed in combination with household photovoltaic systems to provide power to home users. Saving electricity bills is an important motivation for users to allocate storage. The peak electricity consumption of household users is at night, and the time of electricity generation and electricity consumption do not match. Configuring energy storage can help users store the excess electricity generated during the day for use at night; on the other hand, electricity prices are different at different times of the day, and there are peaks. At valley prices, the energy storage system can be charged through the power grid or self-used photovoltaic panels during valley hours, and discharged for load use during peak hours, thus avoiding the need to use electricity from the grid during peak hours, effectively saving electricity bills. The core of the household photovoltaic storage system is photovoltaic + battery + energy storage inverter. Household energy storage and household photovoltaics are combined to form a household photovoltaic storage system. The photovoltaic storage system mainly includes battery cells, energy storage inverters (bidirectional converters), component systems, and other parts. A typical system is generally 5KW (component + inverter) equipped with 10kWh (energy storage battery) or 10kW+10kWh. The battery core is the core of the energy storage system, accounting for about 45-50% of the cost; the energy storage converter can Control charge and discharge and convert AC to DC accounts for about 10-15% of the cost; the component system, that is, the photovoltaic system, is used for solar power generation, accounting for about 20-25% of the cost; the installation cost will rise from 10,000 to 20,000 in 2021 Around 15-20%. The following are four common household photovoltaic + energy storage system types and characteristics, which can give everyone an understanding of the common household energy storage systems on the market:   Hybrid home photovoltaic + energy storage system  Hybrid photovoltaic + energy storage systems generally consist of photovoltaic modules, lithium batteries, hybrid inverters, smart meters, CTs, power grids, grid-connected loads, and off-grid loads. This system can realize photovoltaic charging of batteries directly through DC-DC conversion, and can also realize bidirectional DC-AC conversion for charging and discharging of batteries. working logic During the day, photovoltaic power generation first supplies the load, then charges the battery, and finally, the excess power can be connected to the grid; at night, the battery is discharged to supply the load, and the grid supplements the shortfall; when the power grid fails, photovoltaic power generation and lithium batteries only supply power to off-grid loads and are connected to the grid. The end load cannot be used. In addition, the system also...
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  • Lead-Acid VS Lithium Batteries: Which Are Best For Solar?
    Lead-Acid VS Lithium Batteries: Which Are Best For Solar? Dec 20, 2023
      Lead-acid vs. Lithium Battery Comparison Lead-acid batteries cost less up front, but they have a shorter lifespan and require regular maintenance to keep them running properly. Lithium batteries are much more expensive up front, but they are maintenance-free and have a longer lifespan to match their higher price tag.  Specifically, we’re going to look at lead-acid vs. lithium-ion batteries — the two main battery types used for solar. Here’s the summary: Lead-acid is a tried-and-true technology that costs less, but requires regular maintenance and doesn’t last as long. Lithium is a premium battery technology with a longer lifespan and higher efficiency, but you’ll pay more money for the boost in performance. Let’s go over the pros and cons of each option in more detail, and explain why you might choose one over the other for your system. Lead-acid vs. Lithium Solar Batteries: The Basics When you build a solar system, you have three main battery options: Flooded Lead-Acid (FLA) The distinguishing feature of FLA batteries is that the plates are submerged in water. These must be checked regularly and refilled every 1-3 months to keep them working properly. Falling behind on upkeep can shorten the life of the batteries and void the warranty. FLA batteries also need to be installed in a ventilated enclosure to allow battery gases to escape. Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA) SLA batteries come in two types, AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) and Gel, which have many similar properties. They require little to no maintenance and are spill-proof. The key difference in AGM vs. gel batteries is that gel batteries tend to have lower charge rates and output. Gel batteries generally can’t handle as much charge current, which means they take longer to recharge and output less power. Lithium The best lithium battery chemistry for solar applications is Lithium Iron Phosphate, shorted to LiFePO4 or LFP batteries. This new technology lasts longer and can be put through deeper cycles. They also require no maintenance or venting, unlike lead-acid batteries. Lithium batteries cost more up front, but the extra efficiency means you can potentially spend less per kilowatt-hour of capacity over the lifespan of the battery. 5 Key Differences Between Lead-acid and Lithium Batteries 1. Cycle life When you discharge a battery (use it to power your appliances), then charge it back up with your panels, that is referred to as one charge cycle. We measure the lifespan of batteries not in terms of years, but rather how many cycles they can handle before they expire. Think of it like putting mileage on a car. When you evaluate the condition of a used car, mileage matters a lot more than the year it was produced. Same goes for batteries and the number of times they’ve been cycled. A sealed lead-acid battery at a vacation home may go through 100 cycles in 4 years, whereas the same battery might go through 300+ cycles in one year at a full-time r...
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  • Solar Panel Monitoring: How It Works & Best Monitors
    Solar Panel Monitoring: How It Works & Best Monitors Dec 14, 2023
      Solar panel monitoring systems are a great way to measure the solar panel efficiency and energy production of your solar array. They can even help you pinpoint particular problem areas in your system should they arise. Solar monitoring systems measure information about your system’s energy production, usually from solar inverters or a charge controller. The DC current is converted from the solar array into AC energy for use in your home.  There are numerous ways by which this data can be accessed and stored; some systems offer internet connectivity through Wi-Fi and/or ethernet, and some include cellular functionality so that you can access system monitoring during internet outages. Methods and systems for solar panel monitoring vary between manufacturers and can be included with your equipment or sold as an add-on. We’ve listed some of our recommendations for monitoring solutions by system type and brand in the following sections. Grid-Tie Solar Panel Monitoring Systems The purpose of a grid-tied solar system is to generate energy from the sun for storage in a utility grid. This allows you to access energy whenever it’s needed.  Grid-tie solar offers a number of benefits if you already have access to a utility grid. It has a lower upfront cost since there’s no need to purchase batteries to store generated power. The utility grid is your storage unit.  Grid-tie monitoring helps support your entire solar system to operate efficiently, transmitting data to monitor and regulate solar panel output. The following products offer superior grid-tie support.
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  • How to Add Battery Backup to an Existing Grid-Tied Solar System?
    How to Add Battery Backup to an Existing Grid-Tied Solar System? Dec 07, 2023
      • AC Coupling: Splice your AC wiring to add a storage-ready inverter and batteries • DC Coupling: Splice your DC wiring to add a storage-ready inverter and batteries • Inverter Replacement: Replace existing inverter with a storage-ready inverter We’ve noticed a surge of calls lately from people looking to add battery backup to their existing on grid solar system.  Many of these calls come from our home state of California, where PG&E has announced rolling blackouts to limit the impact of wildfires. With the prospect of scheduled blackouts looming, solar owners have been pushing to add battery backup to their systems to keep the lights on during grid outages. Unfortunately, this process isn’t as easy as simply hooking up a new battery bank. On grid inverters are designed to convert DC (direct current) from solar panels, but they are not designed to integrate with a battery bank. You’ll typically need to add new components to make your inverter work with your batteries. It’s also not cheap. Batteries are the most expensive part of a solar system. Between an appropriately-sized battery bank and a battery-based inverter like the Outback Radian, you’re looking at something like 10 grand minimum to add batteries to an average-sized grid-tied system. (We wanted to make this really clear upfront, since people who call us often get sticker shock when we tell them the backup power package can cost more than the system itself!) If you are concerned about recent blackouts and want the most cost-effective solution, your best bet may be a gas generator. It’s going to cost less upfront, and it may be easier to pair it with your existing system because there are less restrictions on system sizing. A gas generator is usually large enough to back up most or all of your household, where an inverter and battery bank is usually sized to power only the essential appliances, because large battery systems can get expensive quickly. Gas generators have their own downsides: they are noisy, less environmentally friendly, require maintenance and a fuel source. But there is no question they are the most cost-effective option upfront. Batteries have higher upfront cost, but are maintenance-free and much more versatile. The main appeal is storing and managing energy produced by your panels so you can recharge with solar during a long-term power outage. Another benefit of using batteries is that they can turn on and provide power to your home almost instantly, usually under 1 second and without any interruption to your appliances. A gas generator will take a few minutes to start the engine, warm up and begin providing power. If you do decide that battery backup is the way to go for you, this article covers the 3 approaches you can take to get it done: 1.AC Coupling 2.DC Coupling 3.Replace grid-tie inverter with storage-ready inverter Method #1: AC Coupling Grid-tied inverters need the power grid to operate&mdash...
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  • Helping Consumers Understand the Payback Period for Solar Panels
    Helping Consumers Understand the Payback Period for Solar Panels Dec 01, 2023
      Payback. We all want it at some point in our lives. Whether it’s for a neighbor not scooping up after their dog who consistently goes in your yard or a semi-truck cutting you off on the interstate. This could be just as riveting as a shoot’em-up revenge film…a gripping conversation about the payback period for solar panels. Turns out solar panels aren’t seeking revenge, like Dirty Harry. They’re real givers by giving a return on your home buyers’ investment. And with more buyers hungry for energy independence, our friend solar power has become a real crowd-pleaser. However, it comes with a hefty price tag. While many people understand the reduced carbon footprint and long-term savings solar serves up, most stop in their tracks when they see the cost of adding solar panels to their homes.  Savvy consumers don’t want to be stuck paying this off forever. They want to know when they’ll start to see a return on investment.  Covering the payback period for solar panels with your buyers will give them the information they need to make informed decisions and explore how they can expand their system down the road. What Is the Payback Period for Solar Panels? To keep it simple, the payback period is the time it takes for the consumer’s savings to offset their solar system costs.  It’s this break-even point that marks the beginning of financial gain for your buyer.  Surprisingly, expenses other than hardware account for an increasing percentage of overall system costs. These include: • Permitting • Financing • Installation (the biggest cost) Also, the payback period can vary significantly from project to project, based on home features and your buyer. Why Is the Payback Period for Solar Panels Important to Consumers? Purchasing a solar system is a big deal. The high initial cost can turn consumers away from solar power, like garlic breath on a first date. It doesn’t matter if they realize that this alternative energy source is their perfect mate and will save them money in the long run. Knowing the break-even point will help their decision-making.  Once they understand how to calculate the solar panel ROI, your buyer may even feel comfortable making a serious commitment and extending that period by adding more features, or they may want to minimize their investment from the get-go. What Else Should the Consumer Consider? A solar system is a long-term investment that allows buyers to offset the cost of personal electricity consumption. But there are other pluses: • Renewable Energy. Solar systems are a completely renewable energy source that reduces dependence on fossil fuels. For some consumers, green living and a light carbon footprint are reasons enough to go solar. • Increased Resale Value. Having a solar system on a home increases its resale value by 4.1% per home. While considering the length of time they intend to remain in their...
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  • How to Size a Solar System: Step-by-Step
    How to Size a Solar System: Step-by-Step Dec 01, 2023
      Investing in a solar system is a smart solution for homeowners. The latest solar panels and photovoltaic (PV) systems are easy to install, maintain, and operate, with long-term performance and energy savings. To make the most of your grid-tie solar system, you’ll want to know how to correctly size the system to cover your energy use patterns without over-sizing your PV array. Follow these steps to learn how to get a sizing estimate, calculate your solar needs, and select the right panels to get the most benefit out of your solar installation. Getting Started with Solar System Sizing Before you begin to size a solar system, you’ll want to figure out the main constraints on the project and use those restrictions as the starting point for the design. You can approach the project from one of three angles: • Budget constraints: Build a system within your target budget. • Space constraints: Build a system that is as space-efficient as possible. • Energy offset: Build a system that offsets a certain percentage of your energy usage. Take into consideration other sizing factors and common stumbling blocks that may impact how to size a solar system: • Local levels of sun exposure • Orientation of the array (tilt angle) • Plans for future expansion • Product efficiency ratings • Natural degradation of performance over the life of the warranty Once you’ve assessed your solar needs and established your approach to design, follow these steps to size a grid-tied solar system. Estimating of Your Energy Usage Before you begin to size a solar system, follow these steps to determine your home’s average electricity consumption and PV needs: 1. Calculate Your kWh Usage 1.Gather the kilowatt-hours (kWh) usage from your electric bill. You’ll want to have full 12 months of usage to be able to look at peaks and valleys in usage over a year. Energy consumption spikes in the summer and winter with heavy use of your A/C and heating units.  2.Determine your average monthly kWh usage. Add up your kWh usage for 12 months and divide by 12 to figure out your average monthly consumption. Your grid-tied system will tend to overproduce in the summer with peak sun exposure. 3.Figure your daily kWh usage. Divide by 30 to determine your daily kWh usage. To determine your home’s energy usage more accurately, use our home appliances power consumption table to find out how many kWh your appliances would use per month. If your utility provides a favorable net metering policy, the energy your system generates can be banked with the utility as a credit that can be used later. Not all utility companies give you credit; check with your local provider. 2. Look Up Your Peak Sun Hours Average peak sun hours vary greatly depending on your location and local climate. You’ll want to determine how may peak hours of sunlight you’ll get so you can make the most of the solar power: 1.Look up your peak su...
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