Category: electricity

🏡🌿 Attention Homeowners in Canada: Don’t Miss Out on the Greener Grant Home Opportunity! Act Now! 🇨🇦💚

The clock is ticking, and the opportunity to transform your home into an eco-friendly haven with the Greener Grant Home is slipping away. 🕒 As of now, a staggering 65% of the funds allocated for this incredible federal government initiative have already been snapped up. 🌟

🌞 Imagine lower energy bills, reduced carbon footprint, and increased comfort within your home. The Greener Grant Home can make this vision a reality.

💡 Here’s why you should seize this opportunity NOW:

🌱 Unparalleled Savings: With up to 65% of the funds already allocated, there’s no time to waste. The Greener Grant Home offers substantial financial incentives to make your home more energy-efficient, from insulation upgrades to efficient heating systems.

💚 Environmental Impact: Every energy-efficient upgrade you make through the Greener Grant Home reduces your carbon footprint and contributes to Canada’s commitment to sustainability and a greener future for generations to come.

🏠 Enhanced Home Value: Say goodbye to chilly winters and sweltering summers. With the Greener Grant Home, you can enjoy year-round comfort in your home, and the installation of solar panels ensures your home value goes up, contributing to a sustainable and financially sound future.

💰 Long-Term Savings: Lower energy bills are a given when you make your home more energy-efficient. These savings continue to add up over the years, making your investment in a greener home a wise financial decision.

🤝 Don’t miss out on this golden opportunity to enhance your home’s energy efficiency while saving money and reducing your environmental impact. The clock is ticking, and funds are running out!

🚀 Act NOW and take the first step toward a Greener Home. Reach out to us for a FREE assessment or visit the official Greener Grant Home website to learn more and start your application process. Your future self and the planet will thank you! 🌎🌟

#GreenerHome #EnergyEfficiency #Sustainability #GreenLiving #Canada #FederalInitiative #ActNow #EnvironmentallyFriendly #HomeImprovement

Let’s make our homes greener and our planet brighter together! 🏡🌿💡

 

Click Here For Details (PDF File)

Alberta is in a solar power gold rush — and there are lessons for the rest of Canada

People congregate in front of a solar power array in Alberta on a sunny day.

Growing up near Fort McMurray, Alta., Randall Benson started working in the oilsands like many of his family members. However, in the mid-1990s, the long hours and ecological impacts of the industry had him rethinking his occupation.

“I just found it counterintuitive to how I was raised to respect our environment, and so I made a decision to find something that was kind of the opposite,” said Benson, now 52.

The “opposite” turned out to be solar energy, which he learned about while flipping through a magazine after moving to Edmonton.

About 25 years later, Benson is pleased to see utility-scale solar projects booming — a welcome addition to the residential and community solar installations his company, Gridworks Energy, builds. Benson is working on a project commissioned by the Métis Nation of Alberta, of which he is a member, designed to generate enough power for 1,200 homes.

It’s part of a renewable energy boom in a province world-famous for its oil reserves.

There’s “almost gold rush-level activity for solar” in Alberta, said Sara Hastings-Simon, assistant professor at the University of Calgary and an expert in energy and climate policy. “The majority of solar that we have in the system in Alberta today was installed in 2021-2022. So this is a really very recent phenomenon.”

According to research by Hastings-Simon and colleagues, in 2021, renewables — solar, wind, and hydro combined — accounted for 14.3 percent of electricity on the Alberta grid, compared to less than three per cent in 2002. She expects that number to increase in 2022.

Hastings-Simon said multiple factors helped create the conditions for this growth in solar power.

Alberta and Ontario are the only Canadian provinces with deregulated wholesale energy markets. While a government with a regulated electricity market could decide to build renewables, Hastings-Simon said that a deregulated system allows for these projects to move forward because of open competition among energy suppliers and an easy route for companies to purchase renewable power directly.

The Alberta Electric System Operator is a not-for-profit organization that purchases power from an open market; the price of electricity changes hourly, set by supply and demand, Hastings-Simon said.

According to Natural Resources Canada, Alberta — in particular the south of the province — has great potential for solar power generation. Despite the vast resource and an open market, solar development was stuck in a bit of a “chicken-and-egg” situation, without anything to kick-start projects, said Hastings-Simon.

When NDP Leader Rachel Notley was premier, the province started a renewable electricity program, and while only wind projects were selected, it sent a message to corporate buyers that a renewable energy market was starting to take off in the province.

In 2018, the province put out a request for solar projects to power Alberta government facilities. This “helped to break that chicken-and-egg cycle,” said Hastings-Simon. The provincial government’s renewable energy procurement in turn sparked an “uptick in the interest of so-called non-utility procurement.”

In other words, instead of buying electricity from their utility, more companies and organizations are opting to work directly with renewable energy developers to secure electricity at a guaranteed price. This also works out well for renewable energy developers, who have to contend with variable rates when they sell power to the province.

For some companies, there was another incentive: under the federal carbon tax, solar can be used as an offset in order to comply with the cost of carbon pollution.

With the price of solar energy itself dropping, the effect was “the perfect storm” for a boom in solar development, said Hastings-Simon.

Much of the growth is happening in southern Alberta. That includes Canada’s largest solar farm to date, the Travers Solar Project in Vulcan County, which signed an agreement to sell electricity directly to Amazon.

The burst of solar activity has been welcome financially for Vulcan County. In recent years, some fossil fuel companies have walked away from properties, leaving outstanding tax bills unpaid, resulting in the county cutting its budget by 30 percent, said the county’s reeve, Jason Schneider.

According to Schneider, tax from renewable energy projects makes up 45 percent of the county’s revenue: about 25 percent of which is solar and 20 percent wind.

“It subsidizes everything,” he said. “It’s paying for libraries, it’s paying for roads, it’s paying for bridges.”

Hastings-Simon said the next hurdle the province may face will be keeping up with the capacity for solar projects to connect to the grid.

She points to Texas as an example of how to proceed. With lots of solar potentials, the state decided to “build transmission lines on the assumption that if we build it, developers will come and build renewable projects when they have that opportunity to interconnect [to the grid].”

When it comes to where public money can best be put to use to keep solar’s momentum going, she said transmission lines are “the biggest bang for the buck.”

 

Credits

When the power grid goes out, could solar and batteries power your home?

Hurricane Ian

 

Hurricane Ian’s catastrophic winds and flooding are likely to bring long-lasting power outages to large parts of Florida. The storm is the latest in a line of hurricanes and extreme heat and cold events that have knocked out power to millions of Americans in recent years for days at a time.

In many disasters- and outage-prone areas, people are starting to ask whether investing in rooftop solar and battery storage systems can keep the lights on and the air conditioner running when the power grid can’t.

When the grid goes down, most solar systems that lack a battery will also shut down. But with batteries, a home can disconnect from the grid. Each day, the sun powers the home and charges up the batteries, which provide power through the night.

Our team at Berkeley Lab explored what it would take for homes and commercial buildings to ride out long power outages, of three days or more, with solar and batteries.

 

How much can solar + storage do?
For a new report, we modeled a generic power outage for every county in the U.S., testing whether a rooftop solar system combined with a 10- or 30-kilowatt-hour battery could power critical loads, like refrigeration, lighting, internet service, and well pumps; if it could go further and also power heating and air conditioning; or if it could even power a whole home.

To put that into perspective, the most popular battery on the market, the Tesla Powerwall, has just over 13 kWh of storage.

In general, we found that even a modest system of solar plus one battery can power critical loads in a home for days at a time, practically anywhere in the country.

But our maps show that providing backup for cooling and heat can be a challenge, though not an insurmountable one. Homes in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest often have power-hogging electric resistance heaters, exceeding the capability of solar and storage during winter outages. Homes with efficient heat pumps performed better. Summer air conditioning load can be heavy in the Southwest, making it harder to meet all cooling needs with solar and storage in a summer blackout.

Larger solar and battery systems can help, but meeting demand during outages still depends on the weather, how energy efficient the home is, and other factors. For example, simple thermostat adjustments during power outages reduce heating and cooling needs and allow solar with storage to maintain backup power over longer periods.

 

The ability to power commercial buildings varies widely, depending on the building type. Schools and big-box retail stores, with sufficient roof space for solar relative to building power demand, fare much better than multistory, energy-intensive buildings like hospitals.

How solar would have handled 10 past disasters

We also looked at 10 real-world outage events from 2017 to 2020, including hurricanes, wildfires, and storms, and modeled building performance for specific locations and real weather patterns during and after the outages.

We found that in seven of the outages, most homes would have been able to maintain critical loads plus heating and cooling using solar with 30 kWh of storage, or just over two Powerwalls.

But the weather around the outage can have a big impact, especially for hurricanes. After Hurricane Florence knocked out power in North Carolina in 2018, cloudy skies hung around for three days, dimming or even stopping solar panels’ output.

Hurricane Harvey, on the other hand, slammed the Texas coast in August 2017 but moved on to cause widespread damage elsewhere in Texas. The skies over Corpus Christi cleared even as it took a week or more to get power restored. Solar and storage would have been a big help in that case, providing virtually all power needs for a typical single-family home, once the skies cleared.

Line charts show power potential from storage and demand during two major storms. They start low as the storm hits but then improve quickly.
How a typical home would have done with solar and 30 kWh of storage after hurricanes Florence and Harvey. The light blue line shows the short periods of ‘unserved load,’ or shortfalls in meeting power demand, right after the storms. The state of charge shows batteries were able to stretch solar power through the night. Berkeley Labs, CC BY

Similarly, we found solar can do well in less cloudy events, like wildfire prevention shutoffs in California, or after the 2020 derecho windstorm in Iowa.

The heat source in a home is also a key factor. In a five-to-10-day outage following an ice storm in Oklahoma in 2020, we found that solar plus a 30-kWh battery could have supplied nearly all the critical power and heat needed for homes with natural gas heaters or heat pumps. But homes with electric resistance heating would have fallen short.

In Texas, over half of the homes are heated with electricity, primarily resistance heaters. Energy Star-rated heat pumps – which provide both heating and cooling – use half as much electricity per unit of heat output as electric resistance heaters and are also more efficient at cooling than the average new air conditioner. Converting older resistance heaters to new heat pumps can not only save money and reduce peak demand but also increase resilience during outages.

New forms of backup

Setting up solar and storage to provide backup power in a home or building takes extra work and it costs more – just one Powerwall can run from US$12,000 to $16,500 for a full system installation, before incentives and taxes. That’s as much as a fair-sized solar system. Nevertheless, a growing number of homeowners are installing both.

Over 90% of new solar installations in Hawaii in 2021 were paired with batteries after a regulation change. Now, these distributed power plants are helping power the grid as coal plants are retired.

California has over 1.5 million rooftop solar systems. A growing number of customers are retrofitting batteries on their systems, or adding new solar plus storage, in part because utilities have resorted to “public safety power shutoffs” to lower the risk of wildfires sparked by power lines during dry, windy days.

An electric truck parked in a garage, plugged in, while people remove storm debris from a yard
Electric trucks and cars have much more battery storage than a Powerwall and hold potential as future home batteries as well. Ford

And new forms of backup power are emerging, especially from electric cars. Ford is partnering with SunRun to combine its new F150 Lightning electric pickup truck with solar and a two-way charger that can use the truck’s battery to power a house. The standard version of the truck comes with a 98-kWh battery, the equivalent of more than seven Tesla Powerwall stationary batteries.

Critical power for critical services

A fire station in Puerto Rico offers a glimpse of what solar and storage can do. After Hurricane Maria cut power for months in 2017, over 40,000 solar systems were installed on the island, often paired with battery storage. One of those is at the fire station in the town of Guánica, which had been unable to receive emergency calls in previous outages.

When Hurricane Fiona’s wind and flooding again knocked out power to most of Puerto Rico in September 2022, the fire station was still operating.

“The solar system is working beautifully!” Sgt. Luis Saez told Canary Media the day after Fiona knocked out power. “We did not lose power all throughout the hurricane.”

Vanadium Redox Flow Battery “VRFB” 101

Vanadium Infographic 1

 

The Vanadium Redox Flow Battery

The VRFB is a type of rechargeable flow battery where rechargeability is provided by vanadium electrolyte (VE) dissolved in solution. The two tanks of Vanadium, one side containing V2+ and V3+ ions, the other side containing V4+ and V5+ ions, are separated by a thin proton exchange membrane.  VRFBs consists of two tanks of vanadium electrolyte that flow adjacent to each other past a membrane and generate a charge by moving electrons back and forth during charging and discharging. This battery offers unlimited energy capacity simply by using larger electrolyte storage tanks. It can be left completely charged for long periods without losing capacity and maintenance is much simpler than other batteries. Pumps on both sides circulate the electrolyte.

The electron differential between the two cells generates electric power. Most batteries use two chemicals that change valence (or charge or redox state) and cross-contaminate and thus degrade over time. VRFBs utilize multiple valence states of vanadium as a single element to store and release charge. The VRFB has no cross-contamination like most batteries. The electrolyte in the catholyte and the anolyte consists of 100% vanadium ions. The ion-sensitive membrane separating both sides of the electrolyte tank allows only protons to pass. VRFBs are containerized, long duration, non-flammable, compact, reusable over infinite cycles, and last more than 20 years.

What are the advantages of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries?

  • VRFBs have a lifespan of 20+ years
  • VRFBs offer immediate energy release
  • VRFBs are suitable for grid connection or off-grid settings – ideal for renewable energy
  • VRFBs can discharge 100%, without any damage to the battery
  • VRFBs are non-flammable
  • They ensure power and energy can be scaled independently
  • Vanadium electrolyte can be re-used and does not need to be disposed of
  • The batteries can be cycled more than once per day
  • They use only one element in the electrolyte – V2O5
  • VRFB energy storage guarantees uninterrupted power supply

How does a Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRFB) work?

  • A flow battery is charged and discharged by a reversible reduction-oxidation reaction between the two liquid vanadium electrolytes of the battery
  • Unlike conventional batteries, electrolytes are stored in separated storage tanks, not in the power cell of the battery
  • During operation, these electrolytes are pumped through a stack of power cells, in which an electrochemical reaction takes place and electricity is produced

 

Solar panels: a ray of hope as UK energy prices go through the roof

Demand is growing as more of us work from home. But does the £5,000 outlay for installation pay off?

Clean energy … but the slope of the roof alone can have a big impact on savings.
Used to be a Photograph here by Simon Dack/Alamy (Removed due to copyright)

With energy bills on their way up again from April, homeowners are looking skywards to try and ease the pressure on their budgets – by installing solar panels.

The latest change to the regulator’s cap on default tariffs means, from spring, that the average annual dual-fuel bill will go up to £1,971, an increase of 54% on current levels.

And with homeowners increasingly working from home, and therefore using more energy during the day, many are looking at installing panels to cut costs, and even earn from the energy they generate.

Thomas Newby, chief executive of Leeds-based renewable energy company egg, says they received the same number of inquiries in the first nine days of this month as they did in the whole of November.

“Many consumers are still on fixed deals but which will likely come to an end shortly, so I expect we may see a further increase in demand in the coming year,” he says.

What it costs

Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity. Stronger sunlight creates more electricity, which can then either be used in your home or exported to the national grid.

But installing them comes at a cost. The average bill reaches almost £5,000 and rising labor bills and shortages of photovoltaic panels mean prices are going up.

Domestic systems are generally made up of between 10 and 15 panels, each of which generates between 200W and 350W of energy, according to the Energy Saving Trust, a charity promoting energy efficiency. The more panels on the roof, the higher the installation cost but also the potential for more energy.

The average price for an installation of a 3.5kW system is £4,800, including labor. This tends to be about 12 panels.

“This is the average size for domestic systems in the UK,” says Brian Horne, senior insight and analytics consultant at the Energy Saving Trust. “The amount you pay for installation will be influenced by the size of the system, and will also be affected by any difficulty with access to your roof.”

This price does not include the cost of a battery, which allows solar energy to be stored for use at a later time. They range between £1,200 and £6,000, according to GreenMatch, which compares green energy products.

Although prices for solar systems have come down over the last decade, the increased cost of labor as well as the shortage in panels from China recently, has sent costs on the way back up, says Newby. “That’s as a result of some increase in material prices but, more generally, it is labor. That’s a big part of the job.”

Planning and permissions

The ideal roof for solar panels is south-facing. East- or west-facing roofs yield up to 20% less energy; north-facing ones are the least productive and deemed to be impractical in the UK.

For a 3.5kW system, you need room for 15 to 20 sq meters of panels. The best results will be achieved from a roof angled at 30 degrees. Most UK roofs are between 30 and 45 degrees, according to consumer group Which?.

Solar panels are classed as permitted developments so in most cases will not require planning permission. However, if you live in a listed building or a conservation area, there may be restrictions. It is best to contact your local council to be absolutely clear.

When solar panels are to be installed, the company which brings electricity to your home – the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) – must be informed. The Energy Networks Association has an online tool that, by entering your postcode, will tell you which company operates in your area.

If a solar system is above a certain size, prior permission is needed from the DNO and can take up to three months to obtain, according to Newby. After the preparation for putting the system in place is complete, installing the panels can take one to two days.

Credit to Original Link

Different EV Charging Connector Types

Let’s start with AC. There are two types of AC plugs:

  • Type 1 is a single-phase plug and is standard for EVs from America and Asia. It allows you to charge your car at a speed of up to 7.4 kW, depending on the charging power of your car and grid capability. 
  • Type 2 plugs are triple-phase plugs because they have three additional wires to let current run through. So naturally, they can charge your car faster. At home, the highest charging power rate is 22 kW, while public charging stations can have a charging power up to 43 kW, again depending on the charging power of your car and grid capability.

Two types of plugs exist for DC charging:

  • CHAdeMO: This quick charging system was developed in Japan, and allows for very high charging capacities as well as bidirectional charging. Currently, Asian car manufacturers are leading the way in offering electric cars that are compatible with a CHAdeMO plug. It allows charging up to 100 kW.
  • CCS: The CCS plug is an enhanced version of the Type 2 plug, with two additional power contacts for the purposes of quick charging. It supports AC and DC charging. It allows charging at a speed of up to 350 kW. 

Now, what do you do if you live in Europe and drive an Asian car like the Nissan LEAF? Well, you need a cable that connects the type 2 plug of the charging station with the type 1 outlet of your vehicle (type 2 to type 1). The maximum speed will be up to 7.4 kW.

To summarize:

Four types of plug exist, two for AC (type 1 and 2) and two for DC (CHAdeMo and CCS).
Type 1 is common for American vehicles, it’s a single-phase plug and can charge at a speed of up to 7.4 kW.
Type 2 is standard for European and Asian vehicles from 2018 onwards, it’s a triple-phase plug and can charge at a level of up to 43 kW.
CCS is a version of type 2 with two additional power contacts. It allows very fast charging.
CHAdeMO can be found in Asian cars and allows for high charging capacities as well as bidirectional charging.

WHAT ARE THE NECESSARY COMPONENTS OF A SOLAR MOBILE POWER SYSTEM?

Solar Truck camper

Mike’s Truck Camper – Photo from 2018

Solar power systems are an increasingly popular solution for both off the grid and on the grid power generation. They’re cost-effective and convenient, with solar panel kits widely available for any purpose.

With that being said, you should know that lots of different solar system components go into any system. With so many essential components, it can be helpful to understand why they’re necessary.

What Are the Main Components of Your Solar System?

Remember that you don’t just need to grab one of each of these solar system components and call it a day. You need to make sure they all work together properly. That also means finding dependable, quality brands that you can count on.

Solar Panels?

Of course, solar panels themselves are a big part of your solar electricity system. You can get panels today in a wide range of sizes, providing power in the range of 80 to 300 watts or more per panel.

The number of panels you’re going to need in Canada will vary widely depending on the size of your home and the specific region, due to how much the climate can vary. You could find yourself needing between 7,000 and 15,000 watts of capacity. How can you know how much you need? Find out with our solar panel calculator.

Make sure to go with systems designed for Canada, in particular, when setting up panels to power your home. Efficiency will rely on panel placement, which should always face south for maximum sun exposure. They should also be set up with a tilt of roughly 30 degrees. You can optimize this placement using your exact latitude.

You’ll also have to look into the options for polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar arrays. These are the two main types of panels. Monocrystalline is generally more efficient, although they can be more prone to damage.

Charge Controllers

You can’t simply plug your solar cells into a battery or the grid and hope for the best. You need a charge controller to manage electricity production.

Charge controllers prevent your batteries from taking in too much charge and becoming damaged. There are two different types: maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and pulse width modulation (PWM). Each device provides different levels of control.

The main difference to consider when choosing these solar system components is the voltage. PWM charge controllers require that panel and solar batteries match. MPPT charge controllers require the solar panel operating voltage to be about five volts higher than the battery charging voltage.

You should always check beforehand that your solar system components will work properly together.

Inverters

A primary problem when implementing a solar energy system is that solar panels put out DC power, whereas the electrical grid and your home’s electrical system run on AC power. That means you need to convert from DC to AC. To do that, you need inverters. Systems that aren’t grid-tied typically use a battery-based inverter to keep things simple.

Many solar energy systems will use string inverters. These are designed to run power that’s generated from multiple panels or a single inverter. This arrangement can be even more cost-effective with combiner boxes that connect multiple string inverters.

Running all of the panels in your solar power system can lead to efficiency issues because the weakest link will limit output. Microinverters provide a designated inverter for each panel, preventing this problem. The trade-off is that having more inverters costs more money than simply opting to go with string inverters.

Racks and Mounts

The mounting system that holds your solar panels is fundamental, especially in areas that get heavy snow. You need to make a deliberate choice that factors your region and individual needs.

The most common type of racking is roof-mounted. This keeps all of your solar system components safely out of harm’s way and should give your panels the most unobstructed sunshine possible.

You always want to make sure that a roof-mounted system is properly installed to prevent damage to your roof like leaks.

When roof mounting isn’t possible, some homeowners choose to go with ground mount for their solar electric systems. With this setup, racking is arranged at the appropriate angle to support the panels on the ground. This makes reaching them for cleaning and maintenance easy but can also leave them open to any potential hazards at ground level.

Finding an area without trees or other objects to obstruct ground-level sun exposure can also be hard and in some cases, impossible.

When neither of these options is possible (or for some specific applications), pole-mounted solar panels could be the way to go. These panels are installed on poles, which means that they’ll be high up and get excellent sun exposure but don’t require installation on your roof.

Every situation is unique, so it’s up to you to decide which type of mounting system is suitable for your home and region.

Solar Batteries

It wouldn’t do you much good to only have electricity when the sun is shining at its peak! That’s why batteries are integral solar system components. They give you storage capacity, which means that your solar power system can deliver electricity even after the sun goes down. They’re vital when you want to get the most out of your solar panels.

Your battery bank will be one of the most expensive components of your solar power system, so you need to make sure that you’re getting just what you need. There are two primary choices for solar system batteries: AGM and lithium.

AGM batteries use the same lead-acid chemistry that traditional car batteries do, but with a major upgrade. The absorbed glass mat that gives them their name prevents hydrogen gas release, a major problem for the safety and longevity of traditional lead-acid batteries.

These new batteries provide great storage capacity, safety, and reliability. They’re also relatively inexpensive.

Lithium batteries are also available for solar power systems (think electric vehicles). The main issue is that they’re much more expensive than AGM batteries and they don’t like cold weather.

With that being said, in every other category, they pull ahead. Lithium batteries can handle more charge cycles. They’re also safer and easier to maintain, and they last longer than AGM batteries.

Lithium batteries present a significant price trade-off, so both options are still worth considering.

A Backup Power Source for Your Solar Energy System

You should never rely on a solar energy system without having a backup power source available. When damaged or failed solar system components bring down your system, you don’t want to go without electricity until you can repair or replace them. Installing a backup power source ensures that you’ll always have reliable access to electricity.

For many homeowners, their backup power source is simply the existing electrical grid. Grid-tied systems are standard for installing solar energy systems anywhere other than the most remote locations. This arrangement is simple and convenient but isn’t always the right choice for everyone.

If you look at any kind of facility that can’t go without electricity for even a moment, they’ll have standby diesel generators. They’re incredibly reliable, relatively easy to store the fuel for, and less expensive than some other options. However, if your reason for going solar is environmental, you will likely shy away from the idea of a diesel generator.

Depending on your location, you might investigate wind turbines or even water wheels for backup power. However, these two are subject to many conditions. For real emergencies, even the most environmentally conscious families should have a portable gasoline generator to ensure they don’t go without the absolute necessities. (Please go ahead and share your comments and thoughts below)

System Maintenance:

Taking proper care of your solar power system is essential to the system’s longevity and efficiency.

Almost anywhere in Canada will get more than enough rainfall to keep panels clean. If you do notice them getting dusty during a particularly dry spell or otherwise covered in debris, you can simply spray your panels down with a household hose.

During the winter, you’ll have to keep them clear of snow for them to work. There are extendable tools designed for this task that make clearing snow a breeze. Whatever you do, never try to defrost panels with hot water. The temperature difference will crack the panels right away.

Learn more about Solar:

It’s easy to make sure that you get everything you need and that it’s all compatible and high-quality when you go with solar power components from Power My Home.

Read More

What are the advantages of a 48VDC over a 12VDC system?

In the dynamic realm of solar energy, the choice between a 48V and a 12V system can significantly impact the efficiency, safety, and scalability of your power setup. Let’s delve into the advantages that make the 48V system stand out and why it might be the key to unlocking a more robust and future-ready energy solution.

Understanding the 48V System:

Before we explore the advantages, let’s grasp the essence of a 48V system. While 12V systems have been prevalent in the past, the 48V system offers a leap in technological advancement, providing a more versatile and powerful alternative.

Advantages of a 48V System:

**1. Higher Efficiency:

  • Direct Power for High-Voltage Appliances: 48V systems deliver full power to high-voltage appliances, ensuring they operate at peak efficiency. This is particularly beneficial for energy-intensive devices.

**2. Safety:

  • Operates Appliances Safely: Running at a higher efficiency while using fewer amps, 48V systems can operate appliances more safely than their lower voltage counterparts. This reduces the risk of electrical hazards.

**3. Cost-Effectiveness:

  • Less Expensive Wiring and Batteries: The 48V system requires less frequent increases in current to appliances, resulting in lower backup power requirements. This, in turn, leads to cost savings on batteries and cabling.

**4. Scalability:

  • Ease of Scaling: Scaling up a 48V system is more straightforward than attempting to scale a 12V system to meet increased power demands. The scalability of 48V systems is a crucial advantage, especially for larger setups.

Why 48V is the Future of Solar:

As technology continues to evolve, more devices are transitioning to electrical or hybrid models. The 48V system aligns perfectly with this trajectory, providing the energy needed for modern devices without compromising on safety, efficiency, or design.

Renogy, a pioneer in solar solutions, is actively contributing to this future with innovative projects. Keep an eye out for the upcoming 48V LiFePo battery bank and the 48V to 12V converter, promising enhanced adaptability and efficiency.

Conclusion:

Choosing between a 48V and a 12V system is not just about the present; it’s an investment in the future of your energy needs. The advantages of a 48V system, from higher efficiency to scalability, position it as a compelling choice for those seeking a cutting-edge and reliable solar energy solution.

Embark on the journey towards a more empowered and efficient space by embracing the advantages of a 48V system. Your future self will thank you for the upgrade.

  • Free Quotes: Click here for a free quote.
  • Cutting-Edge Solutions: Stay tuned for Royer Batteries 48V LiFePo battery bank and 48V to 12V converter.
  • Customer Service Excellence: Enjoy prioritized customer service and free shipping on qualifying orders.

Power up your space with the efficiency and innovation of the 48V solar system.

Read More

Best Deep Cycle Battery For Cold Weather

A deep cycle battery is imperative in a lot of situations but using them in extreme conditions can mean that they don’t function as you would expect them to.

That said, there are some deep cycle batteries that will perform even when placed under the duress of cold temperatures so if you live in a cooler climate or are heading off on a cold-weather expedition, it is important to choose the right battery.

In this guide, we will be explaining the impact that cold temperatures can have on your deep cycle battery, what to do about it, and the best options to avoid problems.

Deep cycle batteries are one of the most effective ways of storing energy and they are also incredibly cost-effective.

However, while their very design makes this so, it also has a negative side in that these batteries are not as effective when they are exposed to cold temperatures.

In short, when the deep cycle battery is exposed to cold weather, the charge and discharge cycle is slowed.

Most experts would recommend that you protect your batteries by addressing this issue during maintenance checks.

If you have ever used your deep cycle batteries in both summer and winter, you will probably have noticed one key difference; during the summer the batteries tend to charge far more quickly.
This is because warm temperatures speed up the charge and discharge cycle. That said, it also means that the battery will drain much more quickly than normal too.

However, when you use your batteries in the winter, this process is slowed down meaning that it may take the battery much longer to charge than one might expect.

If you research deep cycle batteries, you will notice that almost all manufacturers place the same temperature recommendations on their equipment with 27ºc/80ºf being the norm.

It is at this temperature that these batteries are known to operate most efficiently.

Flooded Deep Cycle Batteries And Cold Weather
When you are using a flooded deep cycle battery, it is critical to perform regular specific gravity readings using a hydrometer.

This way, you will get a very clear idea of whether the battery is charged enough when you are in colder conditions.

Once you have your readings, you will be able to compare these to the manufacturer’s specs to ensure that you are getting the most out of the battery.

When you are taking the readings, you must subtract 0.004 from every ten degrees that the temperature falls below 80ºf.
The baseline reading for the electrolytes in these flooded batteries sits usually at 1.265 when it is fully charged.

Let’s say, for example, that you have a fully charged battery at a temperature of 50ºf, you would need to subtract 0.004 x 3 from 1.265 which would give you a corrected reading of 1.253 which means that your battery would only be operated at between 92% and 95% of its usual capacity.

Essentially, the colder the weather, the less capacity your flooded battery will have.

Another problem faced by people using a flooded deep cycle battery in cold weather is the possibility of freezing.

 

When we talk about freezing in relation to these batteries we are not talking about the operable temperatures but rather the freezing point of the electrolyte.

In a flooded deep cycle battery that is fully charged, it would take temperatures as low as -80ºf/-62ºc but when the battery starts to discharge, this freezing temperature rises, and a fully discharged flooded battery might freeze once it hits 20ºf/-7ºc.

For this reason, it is advisable to avoid allowing exposure to these kinds of temperatures.

Moreover, if the electrolyte freezes, then it is very likely that the battery will forever be rendered useless.

Other Types Of Deep Cycle Batteries And Cold Weather
There are several other types of deep cycle batteries that, while slightly different, do have a lot in common. These are the absorbed gas mat or AGM battery, gel cell batteries, and sealed lead acid or SLA batteries.

It may come as a surprise that, despite their popularity, there is not a lot of current information on the impact of cold weather on any of these batteries.

However, it is suggested that they will lose a seriously significant amount of charge when exposed to the cold. One study found that this could be as much as 76% when exposed to freezing temperatures.

However, unlike flooded deep cycle batteries, at this temperature, these types of batteries will regain their full potential once they are warmed back up.
The only exception to this is if the batteries become physically frozen but this doesn’t happen until the temperature drops very significantly. You’d need to get down to about -75ºf for this to happen.

If you are using this type of battery, most manufacturers would recommend that you avoid allowing it to be exposed to anything lower than 32ºf and certainly do not charge it if it falls below this.

However, if you live somewhere that cold weather like this is commonplace, you may need to use the battery in any case. In this instance, you will simply need to be willing to replace the battery more frequently than usual.

This could be as often as every year, but the good news is that these batteries are not expensive.

What Are The Best Deep Cycle Batteries For Cold Weather?
There isn’t any type of deep cycle battery that will function perfectly when exposed to cold temperatures.
However, lithium-ion batteries do tend to fare far better than other types.

They will perform a lot better in many aspects and since they are so readily available, they are certainly worth considering if you live in or will be spending time in a colder climate.

That said, you must expect to lose a little capacity when the mercury drops but compared to others, this is minimal. When exposed to temperatures as low as 32ºf/0ºc, a lithium-ion deep cycle battery will only lose around 17%.

You could push it even further and take the temperature as low as -4ºf/-20ºc and still expect to have at least 70% of the original capacity.

If you need something more reliable, there is no doubt that lithium-ion is the way to go.
But it isn’t only the way that these batteries perform in extreme conditions that make them a cut above the rest.

The lithium-ion battery is far more lightweight.

If you’re traveling in an RV in cold weather or are out in the middle of nowhere enjoying time on your boat, or anything else, the chances are that you will already have a lot of equipment and the last thing you need is a cumbersome battery weighing you down.

These modern deep cycle batteries also benefit from the ability to charge far more quickly even when the temperature is lower which is something that other batteries cannot lay claim to.

Moreover, they are much more versatile and can be mounted in any way, including upside down.

They’re great if you are looking for something long-lasting. Compared to other types of deep cycle batteries, a lithium-ion may last up to five times longer.

They are a little more expensive, but when you consider that you won’t need to invest as frequently even when you are using them in cold weather, this is an investment worth making.

It is also worth keeping in mind that these batteries require no maintenance which when compared to the work you would need to put into a flooded deep cycle battery in the cold, is a massive plus point.

As a general rule, these lithium-ion batteries will safely charge and discharge in temperatures that range between -40ºf and 60ºf although it is worth checking with the manufacturer as there may be exceptions to this rule.

Where Can I Buy Lithium Ion Deep Cycle Batteries?
The first lithium-ion battery prototype was made in the mid-1980s making them one of the newer types of batteries. However, thanks to their superior performance, these batteries have become very popular, very popular.

You will find various types of lithium-ion batteries in a whole array of devices and deep cycles LIs are seemingly everywhere.

This means that getting your hands on one isn’t difficult and there are a lot of manufacturers vying for your attention.

One of the most notable producers of this type of battery is Dakota whose products are being used in locations like the Arctic Circle where the average summer temperature is just 50ºf/10ºc and in winter, this plummets down to -22ºf to -31ºf.

If the batteries prove successful in these temperatures, then that is convincing enough for us.

That said, as with most other modern purchases, lithium-ion deep cycle batteries can be purchased from us (Power My Home) there are a plethora of choices here.

Whether you are looking for something that can face thousands of cycles like this one from TalentCell or accessories to go with your battery, you’ll find everything you need on websites like this.

Conclusion
If you have ever tried to use your deep cycle battery in cold weather they ou will have noticed that it just doesn’t perform as well as when you use it at the ‘sweet spot’ temperature of 80ºf.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use a deep cycle battery in extreme conditions, it simply means that you’ll need to choose one that is better designed to handle the stress.

While some batteries will really struggle when the temperature drops, lithium-ion deep cycle batteries will keep on performing.

They will lose a little capacity but compared to other types, this is incredibly low.