SOLAR ELECTRICITY HANDBOOK 2015 PDF
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[PDF] Solar Electricity Handbook - Edition: A simple, practical guide to solar energy - designing and installing solar PV systems. ( Edition) [Paperback] B00scsdvlw By Monique Dickerson PDF Solar Electricity Handbook Edition: A Simple, Practical Guide To. myavr.info Online Source Download and Free Ebook PDF Manual Reference. Solar-electricity-handbookedition-a-simple-practical-guide-to-.
As your needs grow, individual components can be replaced or added to provide increased capacity. A solar panel is capable enough to convert the heat or energy of the Sun into direct current. We are not accountants, attorneys or Code-making experts. Proven design methodologies and detailed installation diagrams are included in this practical resource.
Solar energy is the oldest form of Renewable Energy.
An adjustable frame design gives your solar panel vendor selection flexibility as well as design adaptability. He added a metal absorber plate to transmit the solar heat in the box to the water in the pipes.
SunDAT has no system size limits and models everything in 3D. It relies on a free standing, box structure, for easy mobility. This chapter only discusses the use of solar energy for the direct production of electricity photovoltaic solar energy. The information presented here represents the equipment, rules and best practices that we are aware of.
One of the major strengths of PV systems is modularity. Over the years we have received many suggestions for improving our Resource Guide.
Henry Tan Commissioner KTH Contact person Abstract Solar energy recovery has begun to take its place all over the world on the energy market due to the pureness of its electricity production. With the water pump and solar panel specifications mostly dependent on the amount of water necessary to properly irrigate the crops, it became clear that the main design driver was water needs.
The solar system was to be implemented into one of the log cabins that are available for rent to Enota visitors. Tudorache et al. More detailed information and installation instructions are provided with most of the solar system components and those instructions over-ride any component information contained in this summary guide.
Our team has been selling commercial solar projects for well over a decade, and have mastered a 'top-of-the-funnel' solution that we want to share with you.
The building's integrated structure is designed so that the sun is used to light the building, and temperature is controlled by convection. A wide variety of design solutions is suggested so as to achieve maximum efficiency. Taking advantage of the sun is not a new idea. This guide provides the information to correctly select a pump, controller, sensors, solar array, wiring, and pipe. The power is stored in an Optima 12V sealed lead acid battery.
Now, it doesn't need to be. Features and requirements for Skill Standard tests and certification procedures for solar photovoltaic Design Engineer and Technicians 3 3. Through the use of passive solutions it is possible to eliminate, or at least Solar Design Associates has been collaborating with clients on solar energy solutions since Our firm laid the groundwork for the mainstream application of solar energy systems and has earned an international reputation through our history of pioneering projects.
The most comprehensive technical free course on solar PV available on the Internet. After summarising the history of solar cells in Chapter 4. Heat Distribution — Passive solar design allows solar heat to circulate from collection and storage points to different areas of the house. Design solar systems directly on photos Most people want to see how a solar system will look like in reality. Design of Solar Pond calculation and technique in Africa www. The most visible difference in his design was a separate collector and storage tank.
Solar Power Basics for Residential Customers. National Solar Mission: The NAPCC aims to promote the development and use of solar energy for power generation and other uses with the ultimate objective of making solar competitive with fossil-based energy options. Basics of Solar Architecture architecture No matter if you design solar panels during meetings with customers or send design later, one thing is sure, with EasySolar you will impress more customers.
The design shown in Figure 1: Solar Tracking Frame, shows the base of Solar Turbines provides gas turbine packages and services for oil and gas and power generation industries, including gas compressor restage and overhaul, service parts, gas turbine overhaul, machinery management, technical training, modular solutions, and microgrid energy storage solutions.
Email: info nordicindia. The process is broken down into the following steps: STEP 1 - Determining your basic amount of water required per day. Solar irradiation data will be utilized to estimate the annual energy output as well and the cost per kWh of electricity generated from a of the design improvements discussed here have at one time been proposed and even attempted and often subsequently abandoned , this paper describes the benefit of combining a number of advancements at once and the resultant step forward in improved performance.
Systems that were completely unaffordable or impractical just two or three years. The rapidly changing world of solar energy I wrote the first edition of this book early in It is not a long time ago. I have had to rewrite significant sections of the book and significantly update the website in order to keep up with the rapid pace of change. The rapid improvement in the technology and the freefall in costs since early have transformed the industry.
In every edition. Yet this issue is the sixth edition. For many more applications. Over the coming years. Solar panels available today are smaller. By For families and businesses in rural African and Asian villages. Its potential for changing the way we think about energy in the future is huge. As an easy-to-use and low-carbon energy generator. This is different to solar hot water or solar heating systems. Solar electricity and solar heating Solar electricity is produced from sunlight shining on photovoltaic solar panels.
Solar heating systems are beyond the remit of this book.
That said. For the purposes of this book. Solar electricity is often referred to as photovoltaic solar. If you are planning to use solar power to generate heat. This describes the way that electricity is generated in a solar panel. In turn. These photons have no physical mass of their own.
Some photons will carry non-visible light infrared and ultra-violet. Different photons carry different wavelengths of light. The source of solar power Deep in the centre of the sun.
Over time. It can take one million years for a photon to push out to the surface from the core. They reach earth in around eight minutes. On their journey from the sun to earth. That is why you feel warm on a sunny day: That is one of the two reasons that the sun feels so much hotter in the middle of the day.
Our atmosphere absorbs many of these photons before they reach the surface of the earth. The sun is overhead and the photons have to travel through a thinner layer of atmosphere to reach us. This is also one of the two reasons why a sunny day in winter is so.
In winter. The other reason that the sun is hotter during the middle of the day than at the end is because the intensity of photons is much higher.
When the sun is low in the sky. Two layers of a semi-conducting material are combined to create this effect. The principles of solar electricity A solar panel generates electricity using the photovoltaic effect. When exposed to sunlight. One layer has to have a depleted number of electrons. Conductive metal strips attached to the cells take the electrical current.
When a photon hit the solar cell. The semi-conducting material used to build a solar cell is silicon. The wafers are then aligned together to make a solar cell. The more photons i. It is when a photon is absorbed by the silicon that an electrical current is generated.
Solar cells generate most of their electricity from direct sunlight. Individual solar cells typically only generate tiny amounts of electrical energy.
To make useful amounts of electricity. Understanding the terminology In this book. Solar energy refers to the energy generated from solar power. Here is what I mean when I am talking about these terms: Solar power is a general term for generating power.
Solar electricity refers to. Solar heating refers to generating hot water or warm air using solar heating panels or ground-source heat pumps. Solar experts will tell you that solar electricity is normally only cost-effective where there is no other source of electricity available. Setting expectations for solar electricity Solar power is a useful way of generating modest amounts of electricity.
Some examples might include: Often solar electricity can be extremely practical and can save you money over the more traditional alternatives. Whilst this is often the case. If your requirements for solar electricity are to run a few lights. On the other hand. The more electricity you need.
As I mentioned earlier. Instead of using solar electricity to generate heat. Using electricity to generate this heat is extremely inefficient. Most households and businesses are very inefficient with their electrical usage. It is possible to power the average family home purely on solar electricity without making any cuts in your current electricity consumption. Spending some time first identifying where electricity is wasted and eliminating this waste is. It is usually a good idea to carefully evaluate your electricity usage and make savings where you can before you proceed.
In this instance.
This is especially true if you live in cooler climates. In the United Kingdom. For other applications. In this scenario. For instance.
This is far cheaper than installing a conventional electricity supply into a building. If your requirements are more modest. Low-cost solar panels are also ideal for charging up batteries in caravans and recreational vehicles or on boats. Why choose a solar electric system? There are a number of reasons to consider installing a solar electric system: For example. Cost-justifying solar Calculating the true cost of installing a solar electric system depends on various factors: To create a comparison with alternative power sources.
On all but the simplest of installations. Do not panic: It is not difficult and I cover it in detail in later chapters. We can then use this figure to put together a cost-justification on your project to compare with the alternatives. Solar power and wind power Wind turbines can be a good alternative to solar power. They must be higher than surrounding buildings and away from tall trees. If you live on. Small wind turbines do have some disadvantages. If you live in a built-up area or close to trees or main roads.
Compared to the large wind turbines used by the power companies. If you are planning to install a small wind turbine in combination with a solar electric system. These chemical reactions are far. A fuel cell works like a generator. Fuel cells Fuel cells can be a good way to supplement solar energy. It uses a fuel mixture such as methanol.
Unlike a generator. This makes them suitable for indoor use with little or no ventilation. Fuel cells are extremely quiet. Electricity can be used by other people as well as yourself. Grid-tied solar electric systems effectively create a micro power station. When the sun is shining during the day. During the evening and night. Grid-tied solar electric systems Grid-tied solar electric systems connect directly into the electricity grid.
Because a grid-tied solar electric system becomes part of the utility grid. It does this to stop any current flowing back into the grid. There is a carbon footprint associated with the manufacture of solar panels. Solar electricity and the environment Once installed. Thanks to improved manufacturing techniques and higher volumes.
You can typically offset the carbon footprint of building the solar panels by the energy generated within 2—5 years.
Grid-tied solar systems are slightly different in their environmental benefit. It is undeniably true that some people who have grid-tied solar power actually make no difference to the carbon footprint of their home. If you have grid-tie solar but sell most of your energy to the.
In colder climates. In effect. In warmer climates. In a hot area. If you live in a colder climate. Do not just assume that because you can have solar panels on the roof of your house. It does mean that you need to take a good hard look at how and when you consume electricity.
From an environmental perspective. Whilst this online calculator is no substitute for a detailed electrical usage survey and research into the exact source of the electricity supplied to you at your location. Designed specifically for grid-tie installations. You will usually find this information on your electricity bill or by contacting your electricity provider.
Then visit www. To use this online calculator. Having these terms clear in your head will help you to understand your solar system. It will also give you confidence that you are doing the right thing when it comes to designing and installing your system. To be more precise. A Brief Introduction to Electricity Before we can start playing with solar power. There are a few calculations that I show on the next few pages.
Whenever I use these calculations later on in the book. I show all my workings and. Do not worry if you do not fully grasp everything on your first read through. You will not be spending hours with a slide-rule and reams of paper working all this out by yourself.
Sun To The Earth -- And Beyond: Panel Reports
A brief introduction to electricity When you think of electricity. Do you think of a battery that is storing electricity? Do you think of giant overhead pylons transporting electricity? Do you think of power stations that are generating electricity? Or do you think of a device like a kettle or television set or electric motor that is consuming electricity? The word electricity actually covers a number of different physical effects.
In nature. It is measured in coulombs. A battery stores an electric charge An electric current is the flow of an electric charge. These effects are electric charge. The greater the electric potential volts. It is measured in volts. Current is the flow of electrons in a circuit.
A good example of this is an AA battery: How to measure electricity Voltage refers to the potential difference between two points. If you check a power supply. You will see watts advertised when buying a kettle or vacuum cleaner: Power measures the rate of energy conversion. Energy refers to the capacity for work: Resistance is the opposition to an electrical current in the material the current is flowing through.
The relationship between volts. As with power calculations. If you know volts and current. If you know volts and. It equals volts times current. A watt motor with a 4-amp current is running at 12 volts. Based on this calculation. It shows how much power is used. In electrical systems. A device that uses 50 watts of. A solar panel that can generate 50 watts of power per hour. It has been introduced to highlight the fact.
A watt-peak rating shows how much power can be generated by a solar panel at its peak rating. If you want a low-voltage system to mount to the roof of a boat. A word for nonelectricians Realistically. It does mean that you are. That does not mean that you cannot specify a solar energy system.
If you are not an electrician. Electrics can be dangerous and you do not want to get it wrong. You can do most of the design work yourself.
The Solar Electricity Handbook
The Four Configurations for Solar Power There are four different configurations you can choose from when creating a solar electricity installation. Here is a brief introduction to these different configurations: These are stand-alone sometimes referred to as off-grid. Whether it is powering a shed light. It is what solar photovoltaics were originally created for: In general. Even if you are planning on something much bigger and grander.
Learn the basics and then progress from there. Almost everyone can benefit from a stand-alone solar system for something. These are typically used for left luggage at railway stations or at airports. One of the biggest issues with electronic lockers has often been finding suitable locations to place them where a power source is.
Examples of simple standalone systems The vending machine ByBox is a manufacturer of electronic lockers. The benefit to ByBox has been twofold: When not in use. ByBox overcame this issue by building an electronic locker with a solar roof to provide permanent power to the locker.
The solar roof provides power to a set of batteries inside the locker. When a customer wishes to use the locker. Recreational vehicles Holidaying with recreational vehicles or caravans is on the increase. In the past. As recreational vehicles themselves become more. Solar is being used to provide all the comforts of home.
Feed-in tariff schemes vary around the world and are not available everywhere. This is due to the availability of grants to reduce the installation costs and the ability to earn money by selling electricity back into the electricity companies through a feed-in tariff. Where they exist. Grid-tie Grid-tie is gaining popularity in Europe and the United States. In other countries and regions.
In the evenings and at night. In a grid-tie system. Any surplus energy that you produce is then fed into the grid. The benefit of grid-tie solar installations is that they reduce your reliance on the big electricity. One disadvantage of most grid-tie systems is that if there is a power cut. Grid-tie can work especially well in hot. Grid-tie also works well where the owners use most of the power themselves. In An example of a grid-tie system Si Gelatos is a small Florida-based ice-cream manufacturer.
This in turn has made. Since installing solar power. Grid-tie with power backup grid interactive Grid-tie with power backup — also known as a grid interactive system — combines a grid-tie installation with a bank of batteries.
As with grid-tie. Unlike a standard grid-tie system. If there is a potential for main power to be lost for several days. This ensures that essential power remains available for running lights. This would allow a grid interactive system to work as a highly efficient uninterruptable power supply UPS for extended periods of time.
As with normal grid-tie systems. The cost of a grid-tie system with power backup is higher than a standard grid-tie system. An example of a grid interactive system Grid interactive systems are gaining popularity with rural farms in the United Kingdom. Farmers do not need to buy and run generators and the system is almost entirely maintenance-free. This is a.
The additional cost of installing a grid interactive system over a standard grid-tie system is more than offset by the low running costs and ease of use of the system. With a grid fallback system. Energy is taken from the battery and. For most household solar installations where solar is being installed for technical or environmental reasons. Grid fallback Grid fallback is a lesser-known system that makes a lot of sense for smaller household solar power systems.
Operationally it is effective. The solar array then recharges the batteries and the system switches back to solar power. All the power that you generate. This means that some of the grants that are available for solar installations in some countries. When the batteries run flat.
For this reason. Grid fallback systems provide most of the benefits of a grid interactive system. It also means that you cannot benefit from selling your electricity back to the electricity companies. The other significant benefit of a grid fallback system is cost: This reduces your reliance on external electricity supplies during peak load periods. In comparison. At present.
There is a crossover point where a grid-tie system works out more cost-effective than a grid fallback system. If your system generates less than 1kW of electricity per hour. Unless you are looking to invest a significant amount of money on a. Colin decided to expand his system in order to provide basic. An example of a grid fallback system Back in Colin Metcalfe installed a solar panel onto the roof of his garage. After a power cut that winter.
I have no heating at all. I liked the idea of free electricity that was generated in an environmentally friendly way. In addition. Then I added additional solar panels and batteries over the years as I could afford them. A grid failover system kicks in when there is a power failure from your main electricity supply. I have around 1. Although rare in Europe and America. The disadvantage of this configuration is that you are not using solar power for your day-to-day use.
In Africa and in many parts of Asia. The benefit of this configuration is that if you have a power cut. I am aware of two grid failover systems that have been installed in the past: Grid-tie systems tend to be larger installations.
As the electricity is required as a high-voltage supply. This is because batteries are low-voltage units and so building a stand-alone system at a low voltage is a simple. How grid-tie systems differ from stand-alone Generally. The benefit of this high voltage is efficiency. There is less power loss. This high-voltage DC power is then converted into an AC current by a suitable grid-tie inverter.
Grid-tie systems either link multiple solar panels together to produce a solar array voltage of several hundred volts before running to the inverter. For grid-tie systems where the energy is not being stored in a battery bank. For stand-alone battery-based systems. They tend to be comparatively small systems. They tend to be high-voltage systems. Components of a Solar Electric System Before I get into the detail about planning and designing solar electric systems. I deliberately do not go into much detail at this stage: Once you have read this chapter.
Solar panels or. A typical solar cell will. There are various types of solar panel and I will describe them all in detail later on. Most solar panels are made up of individual solar cells.
Solar panels The heart of a solar electric system is the solar panel itself. A volt solar panel produces around 14—18 volts when put under load. Most solar panels are rated as 12volt solar panels. This allows a single solar panel to charge up a volt battery. Solar panels can be linked together to create a solar array. As soon as you connect the solar panel into a circuit. Connecting multiple panels together allows you to produce a higher current or to run at a higher voltage: If each individual panel is rated as a.
A solar array made of four solar panels connected in series. In a solar array where the panels are connected in parallel as shown in the diagram below. A solar array made of four solar panels connected in parallel. With each panel rated as a 12volt. This is because the amount of power the solar panel collects varies depending on the strength of sunlight. This makes the power source too variable for most electrical equipment to cope with. For a stand-alone or a grid. Batteries Except in a grid-tie system.
This design allows them to be heavily discharged and recharged several hundred times over. Most lead acid batteries are 6-volt or volt batteries and. These look similar to car batteries but have a different internal design. Like solar panels. Multiple batteries connected in parallel increase the capacity whilst keeping the voltage the same.
There are a few instances where a small solar electric system does not. Controller If you are using batteries. If your system overcharges the batteries. A solar controller prevents this from happening. In the majority of instances. These solar panels are too small to damage the battery when the battery is fully charged.
Electricity from the grid is high-voltage alternating current AC. Inverter The electricity generated by a solar electric system is direct current DC. If you are planning to run equipment that runs from grid-voltage electricity from your solar electric system.
Micro-inverters are connected to individual solar panels so that each individual panel provides a high-voltage alternating current. A more recent invention has been the micro inverter. For grid-tie systems.
Solar Electricity Handbook - Boxwell, Michael.pdf
Solar panels with micro-inverters are typically only used with grid-tie systems and are not suitable for systems with battery backup. Inverters are a big subject all on their own.
I will come back to describe them in much more detail later on in the book. Electrical devices The final element of your solar electric system is the devices you plan to power. This has the benefit of greater efficiency. Low-voltage devices Most off-grid solar systems run at low voltages. Unless you are planning a pure grid-tie installation.
Thanks to the caravanning and boating communities. You can also charge up most portable items such as MP3 players and mobile phones from a volt supply. High-voltage devices If running everything at low voltage is not an option. Connecting everything together A stand-alone system The simplified block diagram above shows a simple stand-alone.
Whilst the detail will vary. This design provides both low-voltage DC power for running smaller electrical devices and appliances such as laptop computers and lighting.
The controller also supplies power to the low-voltage devices. The solar panels provide the energy. A grid-tie system using a. The AC inverter takes its power directly from the battery and provides the high-voltage AC power supply.
You will usually find this information on your electricity bill or by contacting your electricity provider. Then visit www. In conclusion Solar electricity can be a great source of power where your power requirements are modest, there is no other source of electricity easily available and you have a good amount of sunshine Solar electricity is not the same as solar heating Solar panels absorb photons from sunlight to generate electricity Direct sunlight generates the most electricity.
To be more precise, we need to talk about voltage, current, resistance, power and energy. Having these terms clear in your head will help you to understand your solar system. It will also give you confidence that you are doing the right thing when it comes to designing and installing your system. Dont panic If you have not looked at electrics since you were learning physics at school, some of the principles of electricity can be a bit daunting to start with.
Do not worry if you do not fully grasp everything on your first read through. There are a few calculations that I show on the next few pages, but I am not expecting you to remember them all!
Whenever I use these calculations later on in the book, I show all my workings and, of course, you can refer back to this chapter as you gain more knowledge on solar energy. Furthermore, the website that accompanies this book includes a number of online tools that you can use to work through most of the calculations involved in designing a solar electric system. You will not be spending hours with a slide-rule and reams of paper working all this out by yourself. A brief introduction to electricity When you think of electricity, what do you think of?
Do you think of a battery that is storing electricity? Do you think of giant overhead pylons transporting electricity? Do you think of power stations that are generating electricity? Or do you think of a device like a kettle or television set or electric motor that is consuming electricity? The word electricity actually covers a number of different physical effects, all of which are related but distinct from each other. These effects are electric charge, electric current, electric potential and electromagnetism: An electric charge is a build-up of electrical energy.
It is measured in coulombs. In nature, you can witness an electric charge in static electricity or in a lightning strike. A battery stores an electric charge An electric current is the flow of an electric charge, such as the flow of electricity through a cable. It is measured in amps An electric potential refers to the potential difference in electrical energy between two points, such as between the positive tip and the negative tip of a battery.
It is measured in volts. The greater the electric potential volts , the greater capacity for work the electricity has Electromagnetism is the relationship between electricity and magnetism, which enables electrical energy to be generated from mechanical energy such as in a generator and enables mechanical energy to be generated from electrical energy such as in an electric motor How to measure electricity Voltage refers to the potential difference between two points.
A good example of this is an AA battery: the voltage is the difference between the positive tip and the negative end of the battery. Voltage is measured in volts and has the symbol V. Current is the flow of electrons in a circuit. Current is measured in amps A and has the symbol I.
Solar Electricity Handbook - Boxwell, Michael.pdf
If you check a power supply, it will typically show the current on the supply itself. Resistance is the opposition to an electrical current in the material the current is flowing through. Resistance is measured in ohms and has the symbol R. Power measures the rate of energy conversion. It is measured in watts W and has the symbol P. You will see watts advertised when buying a kettle or vacuum cleaner: the higher the wattage, the more power the device consumes and the faster hopefully it does its job.
Energy refers to the capacity for work: power multiplied by time. Energy has the symbol E. This calculation is known as Ohms Law.
As with power calculations, you can express this calculation in different ways. If you know volts and current, you can calculate resistance. It equals volts times current. It shows how much power is used, or generated, by a device, typically over a period of an hour. In electrical systems, it is measured in watt-hours Wh and kilowatt-hours kWh. A device that uses 50 watts of power, has an energy demand of 50Wh per hour. A solar panel that can generate 50 watts of power per hour, has an energy creation potential of 50Wh per hour.
However, because solar energy generation is so variable, based on temperature, weather conditions, the time of day and so on, a new figure is now often shown specifically for solar systems: a watt-peak Wp rating. A watt-peak rating shows how much power can be generated by a solar panel at its peak rating.
It has been introduced to highlight the fact that the amount of energy a solar panel can generate is variable and to remind consumers that a solar panel rated at 50 watts is not going to be producing 50 watt-hours of energy every single hour of every single day.
A word for nonelectricians Realistically, if you are new to electrical systems, you should not be planning to install a big solar energy system yourself. If you want a low-voltage system to mount to the roof of a boat, garden shed or barn, or if you want to play with the technology and have some fun, then great: this book will tell you everything you need to know. However, if the limit of your electrical knowledge is wiring a plug or replacing a fuse, you should not be thinking of physically wiring and installing a solar energy system yourself without learning more about electrical systems and electrical safety first.
Furthermore, if you are planning to install a solar energy system to the roof of a house, be aware that in many parts of the world you need to have electrical qualifications in order to carry out even simple household wiring. That does not mean that you cannot specify a solar energy system, calculate the size you need and buy the necessary hardware for a big project. It does mean that you are going to need to employ a specialist to check your design and carry out the installation.
In conclusion Understanding the basic rules of electricity makes it much easier to put together a solar electric system As with many things in life, a bit of theory makes a lot more sense when you start applying it in practice If this is your first introduction to electricity, you may find it useful to run through it a couple of times You may also find it useful to bookmark this section and refer back to it as you read on You will also find that, once you have learned a bit more about solar electric systems, some of the terms and calculations will start to make a bit more sense.
If you are not an electrician, be realistic in what you can achieve. Electrics can be dangerous and you do not want to get it wrong. You can do most of the design work yourself, but you are going to need to get a specialist in to check your design and carry out the installation.
The Four Configurations for Solar Power There are four different configurations you can choose from when creating a solar electricity installation. These are stand-alone sometimes referred to as off-grid , grid-tie, grid-tie with power backup also known as grid interactive and grid fallback. It is what solar photovoltaics were originally created for: to provide power at a location where there is no other source easily available.
Whether it is powering a shed light, providing power for a pocket calculator or powering a complete off-grid home, stand-alone systems fundamentally all work in the same way: the solar panel generates power, the energy is stored in a battery and then used as required. In general, stand-alone systems are comparatively small systems, typically with a peak power generation of under one kilowatt. Almost everyone can benefit from a stand-alone solar system for something, even if it is something as mundane as providing an outside light somewhere.
Even if you are planning on something much bigger and grander, it is often a good idea to start with a very small and simple stand-alone system first.
Learn the basics and then progress from there. Examples of simple standalone systems The vending machine ByBox is a manufacturer of electronic lockers. These are typically used for left luggage at railway stations or at airports, or situated at shopping malls or fuel stations and used as part of a delivery service for people to collect internet deliveries, so they do not need to wait at home.
One of the biggest issues with electronic lockers has often been finding suitable locations to place them where a power source is available. ByBox overcame this issue by building an electronic locker with a solar roof to provide permanent power to the locker. The solar roof provides power to a set of batteries inside the locker.
When not in use, the locker itself is in standby mode, thereby consuming minimal power. The benefit to ByBox has been twofold: they can install a locker bank in any location, without any dependence on a power supply. Secondly, the cost of the solar panels and controllers is often less than the cost of installing a separate electricity supply, even if there is one nearby.
Recreational vehicles Holidaying with recreational vehicles or caravans is on the increase, and solar energy is changing the way people are going on holiday. In the past, most RV owners elected to stay on larger sites, which provided access to electricity and other facilities. As recreational vehicles themselves become more luxurious, however, people are now choosing to travel to more remote locations and live entirely offgrid, using solar energy to provide electricity wherever they happen to be.
Solar is being used to provide all the comforts of home, whilst offering holidaymakers the freedom to stay wherever they want. Grid-tie Grid-tie is gaining popularity in Europe and the United States. This is due to the availability of grants to reduce the installation costs and the ability to earn money by selling electricity back into the electricity companies through a feed-in tariff.
Feed-in tariff schemes vary around the world and are not available everywhere. Where they exist, your local electricity company buys electricity from solar producers at an agreed rate per kilowatt-hour. In some countries, this price has been set at an inflated rate by government in order to encourage people to install solar.
In other countries and regions, the price is agreed by the electricity companies themselves. In a grid-tie system, your home runs on solar power during the day. Any surplus energy that you produce is then fed into the grid. In the evenings and at night, when your solar energy system is not producing electricity, you then buy your power from the electricity companies in the usual way.
The benefit of grid-tie solar installations is that they reduce your reliance on the big electricity companies and ensure that more of your electricity is produced in an environmentally efficient way. One disadvantage of most grid-tie systems is that if there is a power cut, power from your solar array is also cut.
Grid-tie can work especially well in hot, sunny climates, where peak demand for electricity from the grid often coincides with the sun shining, thanks to the high power demand of air conditioning units. Grid-tie also works well where the owners use most of the power themselves. An example of a grid-tie system Si Gelatos is a small Florida-based ice-cream manufacturer.
In , they installed solar panels on the roof of their factory to provide power and offset some of the energy used in running their cold storage facility. Running industrial freezers is extremely expensive and consumes a lot of power, explains Dan Foster of Si Gelatos.
Realistically, we could not hope to generate all of the power from solar, but we felt it was important to reduce our overall power demand and solar allowed us to do that.
Cold storage facilities consume most of their power during the day in the summer, when solar is running at its peak. Solar has done three things for our business, says Dan. Firstly, it is a very visible sign for our staff that we are serious about the environment.
This in turn has made our employees more aware that they need to do their bit by making sure lights and equipment are switched off when they are not needed.
Secondly, it shows our customers that we care for the environment, which has definitely been good for goodwill and sales. Thirdly, and most importantly, were genuinely making a real contribution to the environment, by reducing our electricity demand at the time of day when everyone elses demand for electricity is high as well.
Grid-tie with power backup grid interactive Grid-tie with power backup also known as a grid interactive system combines a grid-tie installation with a bank of batteries. As with grid-tie, the concept is that you use power from your solar array when the sun shines and sell the surplus to the power companies.
Unlike a standard grid-tie system, however, a battery bank provides contingency for power cuts so that you can continue to use power from your system. Typically, you would set up protected circuits within your building that will continue to receive power during a power outage.
This ensures that essential power remains available for running lights, refrigeration and heating controllers, for example, whilst backup power is not wasted on inessential items such as televisions and radios.
If there is a potential for main power to be lost for several days, it is also possible to design a system to incorporate other power generators into a grid interactive system, such as a generator. This would allow a grid interactive system to work as a highly efficient uninterruptable power supply UPS for extended periods of time. The cost of a grid-tie system with power backup is higher than a standard grid-tie system, because of the additional cost of batteries and battery controllers.
As with normal grid-tie systems, it is possible to sell surplus power back to the utility companies in some countries, allowing you to earn an income from your solar energy system. An example of a grid interactive system Grid interactive systems are gaining popularity with rural farms in the United Kingdom, where even short power blackouts can cause significant disruption. Traditionally, farms have countered this by using generators to provide light and power.
However, between and , when the UK Government were offering large incentives for installing solar power, many farmers fitted grid interactive systems onto their buildings, providing themselves with an income by selling electricity to the electricity utility companies and giving themselves backup power in case of a power blackout.
The additional cost of installing a grid interactive system over a standard grid-tie system is more than offset by the low running costs and ease of use of the system. Farmers do not need to buy and run generators and the system is almost entirely maintenance-free. This is a big contrast with generator systems, which need to be tested and run regularly in order to ensure they are working effectively. Grid fallback Grid fallback is a lesser-known system that makes a lot of sense for smaller household solar power systems.
For most household solar installations where solar is being installed for technical or environmental reasons, grid fallback is my preferred solution. Operationally it is effective, it is cost-effective and it is environmentally extremely efficient. With a grid fallback system, the solar array generates power, which in turn charges a battery bank. Energy is taken from the battery and run through an inverter to power one or more circuits from the distribution panel in the house.
When the batteries run flat, the system automatically switches back to the grid power supply. The solar array then recharges the batteries and the system switches back to solar power. With a grid fallback system, you do not sell electricity back to the electricity companies.
All the power that you generate, you use yourself. This means that some of the grants that are available for solar installations in some countries may not be available to you.
It also means that you cannot benefit from selling your electricity back to the electricity companies. For this reason, grid fallback makes more sense in countries where there is no feed-in tariff available, such as India, or in countries like Australia that have financial incentives available for both gridtied and off-grid systems. Grid fallback systems provide most of the benefits of a grid interactive system, with the additional benefit that you use your own power when you need it, rather than when the sun is shining.
This reduces your reliance on external electricity supplies during peak load periods, which ensures that your system has an overall environmental benefit. The other significant benefit of a grid fallback system is cost: you can genuinely build a useful grid fallback system to power one or more circuits within a house for a very small investment and expand it as budget allows.
In comparison, even a very modest grid-tie system costs several thousands of pounds. There is a crossover point where a grid-tie system works out more cost-effective than a grid fallback system. At present, that crossover point is around the 1kWh mark: if your system is capable of generating more than 1kW of electricity per hour, a grid-tie system may be more cost-effective.
If your system generates less than 1kW of electricity per hour, a grid fallback system is almost certainly cheaper. Unless you are looking to invest a significant amount of money on a larger grid-tie system in order to produce more than 1 kW of power per hour, or if you want to take advantage of feed-in tariffs, a grid fallback solution is certainly worth investigating as an alternative.
An example of a grid fallback system Back in , Colin Metcalfe installed a solar panel onto the roof of his garage, in order to charge an old car battery, which in turn powered a single light and a small inverter. After a power cut that winter, Colin decided to expand his system in order to provide basic power to his house.
I wanted to ensure I always had enough power in my home to power lights and to ensure my heating system would work, explained Colin. I have gas heating, but the controllers are all electric, which means that if there is a power cut, I have no heating at all.In the Northern Hemisphere. Inevitably a ladder is required if you are planning to mount the solar array on a roof. Micro-inverters are connected to individual solar panels so that each individual panel provides a high-voltage alternating current.
However, between and , when the UK Government were offering large incentives for installing solar power, many farmers fitted grid interactive systems onto their buildings, providing themselves with an income by selling electricity to the electricity utility companies and giving themselves backup power in case of a power blackout.
Even if only a very small amount of your solar array is in shade.
We are using batteries. Then increase your wattage requirements by the percentage loss shown in the temperature coefficient of power. This tool will produce a complete project scope. In this scenario.
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