Category: Solar Panel Company

Light Up 2024 with Solar Power Store’s Amazing New Bifacial Solar Panels – Double the Power, Double the Impact!

Welcome to the Future of Solar Energy with Power My Home and Energy Economics!

If you’ve been exploring new solar panels, you’re in the right place. In our pursuit of staying ahead in the game and ensuring a lifetime assurance for your purchases, we are thrilled to introduce you to our latest innovation: the Bifacial Solar Panel. As we step into the new year of 2024, let’s embark on a journey to discover the incredible potential and advantages of these cutting-edge solar panels brought to you by Power My Home and Energy Economics.

Unlocking the Power of Bifacial Solar Panels:

So, what sets apart the Bifacial Solar Panel? It’s simple—they capture sunlight from both sides, doubling their efficiency and impact. Today, let’s delve into the intricacies of these panels, exploring their effectiveness, advantages, costs, installation tips, and more.

Understanding Bifacial Solar Panels:

A Bifacial solar panel is designed with photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight from both the front and back sides, utilizing reflected light from the ground or other surfaces. Unlike traditional monofacial solar panels, which capture sunlight from only one side, Bifacial Solar Panels can achieve an efficiency boost of up to 30%. This unique feature allows them to harness additional solar energy, especially in environments with reflective surfaces like snow, water, or light-colored terrain.

Harvesting Reflected Light:

Sunlight contains the power of reflection off various substances and surfaces, including ground surfaces. Bifacial cells capture this reflected light, a phenomenon referred to as “Albedo.” This makes Bifacial Solar Panels particularly effective in environments with reflective surfaces, enhancing their efficiency in capturing sunlight.

Types of Bifacial Solar Panels:

  1. Glass-Glass: Exceptional strength and resistance to heavy loads.
  2. Glass-Transparent Back sheet: Efficient bifacial operation with a more cost-effective approach.
  3. Glass-Back sheet: A good balance between efficiency and affordability.

Advantages of Bifacial Solar Panels:

  • Generate 30% more power with dual-sided efficiency.
  • Ideal for ground installations, outperforming rooftop installations.
  • Durability in harsh weather conditions, especially double glass panels.
  • Cost-effective when used in tracking systems, cutting costs by up to 16%.
  • Versatile for various installations, including glass-covered structures.

Disadvantages of Bifacial Solar Panels:

  • Higher initial costs due to increased manufacturing materials.
  • Not suitable for shaded or non-reflective areas.
  • Heavier than regular panels, complicating handling and adjustment.

Installation Considerations:

  • Ground-mounting: Ideal for maximizing reflection from various surfaces.
  • Roof-tops mounting: Less efficient on rooftops due to shading limitations.
  • Floating: Suitable for water surfaces, enhancing overall energy generation.

Expenses of Installing Bifacial Solar Panels:

While Bifacial Solar Panels come with a slightly higher price tag compared to monofacial panels, their enhanced energy production often balances out the additional upfront cost. Generally, expect a bifacial panel to be priced approximately 10 to 20 cents per watt more than its monofacial counterpart.

Cell Structures of Bifacial Solar Panels:

Several cell structures, including PERT, PERL, PERC, IBC, and HIT, offer varying efficiencies and bifacial capabilities. Choose the one that best suits your energy needs.

Effectiveness for Rooftops:

Bifacial Solar Panels are less efficient on rooftops due to shading limitations. Optimal functionality requires substantial space to prevent shading and facilitate effective absorption of reflected light.

Mounting Procedures:

  • Ground-mounting: Offers versatility for capturing light from various angles.
  • Roof-tops mounting: Requires fine-tuning of positioning and tilt for optimal absorption.
  • Floating: Suitable for water surfaces, enhancing overall energy generation.

Installation Tips:

  • Organize spaces under bifacial panels to minimize shadowing.
  • Maintain a minimum height of 101cm above the ground, as per IEEE recommendations.
  • Ensure the strength of mounting systems for proper support.
  • Opt for vertical alignment to reduce back panel blockage and aid in snow removal.
  • Consult a solar expert for the best bifacial panel height.

As we step into 2024, let’s embrace the future of solar energy with Power My Home and Energy Economics’ Bifacial Solar Panels. Double the power, double the impact—because a brighter, sustainable future starts with innovation.

Light up your world with Power My Home and Energy Economics! Visit www.powermyhome.ca

‘Go hard and go big’: How Australia got solar panels onto one in every three houses

For a brief period over several weekends this spring, the state of South Australia, which has a population of 1.8 million, did something no other place of similar size can claim: generate enough energy from solar panels on the roofs of houses to meet virtually all its electricity needs.

This is a new phenomenon, but it has been coming for a while – since solar photovoltaic cells started to be installed at a rapid pace across Australia in the early 2010s. Roughly one in three Australian households, more than 3.6m homes, now generate electricity domestically. In South Australia, the most advanced state for rooftop solar, the proportion is nearly 50%.

No other country comes close to installing small solar systems on a per capita basis. “It’s absolutely extraordinary by world standards,” said Dr Dylan McConnell, an energy systems analyst at the University of New South Wales. “We’re streets ahead.”

There was no overarching plan that made Australia the world leader in household solar PV. Analysts mostly agreed that it was a happy accident, the result of a range of uncoordinated policies across tiers of government. Many were subsidy schemes that were derided as too generous and gradually scaled back, but the most important – an easy-to-access, upfront national rebate available to everyone – endured. It has helped make panels cost-effective and easy to install.

Cost was a big consideration for the Jamiesons – Sean, Deb, and their 19-year-old daughter, Molly – when they installed a system on the four-bedroom house in a beachside suburb in South Australia’s capital, Adelaide, a decade ago. They upgraded to a larger 8kW system during a home renovation five years later, and have installed two batteries, the first subsidized as part of a state government scheme trialing household energy storage systems to help stabilize a power grid that increasingly runs on variable solar and wind power.

Sean Jamieson, a pilot with the airline Jetstar, said the setup had been “incredibly beneficial”, in part because his family uses a range of energy-hungry equipment, including a pool and hot tub. They first opted for solar after watching the price of grid electricity rise sharply, mainly due to the cost of rebuilding electricity transmission poles and wires. He said it has continued to make sense.

“I’m looking at paying it off [through savings on what annual power bills would otherwise have been] in three or four years, so it’s been a great investment,” he said of the household energy system. “Generally, solar is just a no-brainer in South Australia. We’ve got a lot of sunshine and the most expensive electricity in Australia, and in the beginning, it was heavily subsidized.”

Dr Gabrielle Kuiper, an independent energy and climate change strategist, noted Australia was not the first country out of the gate on rooftop solar – that was Germany, which introduced the first subsidy scheme, and “none of us would be here without them” – but said it was one of the first to capitalize on the German model. It began with a natural advantage: more sun than nearly any other wealthy country. Even the southern island state of Tasmania is at a latitude that would place it level with Spain and California if it were in the northern hemisphere.

Kuiper said Australia had succeeded at solar for reasons beyond geography. Incentives were a big part of it, but the technology’s rise was accelerated by ordinary people embracing it to have some control over their power bills and, in some cases, play a small part in tackling the climate crisis by reducing the country’s reliance on coal.

The subsidies initially included a national rebate of A$8,000 for a small 1kW array – more than the sticker price in parts of the country. It was complemented by state government feed-in tariff schemes that paid households for the energy they fed back into the power grid and, in some cases, for all the electricity they generated.

There was little planning in how the various incentives fit together and critics attacked it as an expensive and inefficient way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But it kickstarted an industry of installers, sales people, trainers and inspectors, and quickly made solar a viable option for people beyond the country’s wealthiest suburbs.

Today, the feed-in-tariffs have been cut, but the national rebate scheme survives, with bipartisan support despite deep divisions over other responses to the climate crisis. Analysts and industry players have praised its elegant design. The rebate is processed by and paid to the installer. The buyer may not even know it exists. It is reduced by about 8% each year, a rate that roughly keeps pace with the continuing fall in the cost of having panels installed.

The fall in cost has been significant. The sums vary depending on geography, but the SolarQuotes comparison site suggests many Australians can get a 6kW solar system for about A$6,000 (£3,100). The panels are likely to have paid for themselves within five years.

The influx of solar has brought challenges, including how to manage the flood of near-free energy in the middle of the day that risks making inflexible coal generators unviable before the country is ready for them to be turned off. Some states have responded by curtailing how much can be accepted into the grid, but Kuiper says this can be addressed through increasingly creative management. Answers include improving incentives for household batteries and fostering a two-way energy exchange between the grid and a growing electric vehicle fleet.

Rooftops provided 11% of the country’s electricity over the past year, part of a 38% total renewable energy share. The Australian government has set a challenging national goal of 82% of all electricity coming from renewables by 2030.

Simon Holmes à Court, a longtime clean energy advocate and convener of the political fundraising body Climate 200, said it was clear rooftop solar was playing a bigger part in reaching that than many people expected. “Not long ago renewables skeptics laughed at rooftop solar’s ‘tiny’ contribution. These days there’s no question solar is playing a major role in pushing coal out of our grid,” he said.

Tristan Edis, an analyst with the consultants Green Energy Markets, said the lesson for those watching on was pretty simple: the generous early subsidies worked. “It really was this fortuitous accident that happened,” he said. “The message from it is pretty clear: go hard and go big, or don’t bother.”

Link Reference: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/nov/01/how-generous-subsidies-helped-australia-to-become-a-leader-in-solar-power

Households have continued to use state help that was first created more than a decade ago by Adam Morton

Copy Rights Reserved For www.theguardian.com

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.”

How to Calculate Energy Per Acre for Solar Panels

The angle at which a solar panel faces the sun determines how much energy it will receive.

The sun provides a huge amount of energy as its rays touch the Earth’s surface. But the quantity of energy that you can harness is another matter. The efficiency of solar cells, their arrangement, and the amount of sunlight they receive all affect their output. Before deciding whether solar panels are a good choice to save you money, determine if you can fully power your home with solar panel electricity.

Step 1

Determine your solar panels’ efficiency rate. The amount of energy that can be taken in and converted into electrical energy per solar panel is its efficiency. For photovoltaic solar cells, efficiency can reach about 19 percent. But for concentrated photovoltaic cell panels or CPV panels, the efficiency can exceed 40 percent. Whether you are creating your own panels or purchasing pre-made panels, determine the efficiency per cell of the panels you plan to install. Keep in mind when choosing what type of panels to use that CPV panels usually require more work to set up, and more land, as they are designed to concentrate sunlight on a specific panel.

Step 2

Size the area for your solar panels. Determine how many panels can fit on your designated area while taking into account the terrain, local construction laws, and other spacing issues. Solar panels come in several types and dimensions but, as an example, 100-200W solar panels usually measure 1 square meter in size.

Step 3

Calculate the energy per acre. On average, 1 square meter of solar panels directly exposed to sunlight will receive about 1-kilowatt hour (kW/h) of energy per hour for the six hours it is exposed to effective sunlight, or 6-kilowatt hours of solar energy a day. One acre is approximately 4,046 square meters, so if you have an acre’s worth of solar cells, then you will receive about 4,046 kilowatt hours of electricity each hour, or 24,276-kilowatt hours a day.

Step 4

Multiply the energy you receive by the efficiency of your solar panels to discover how much usable electricity you can yield. If your solar panels are 19 percent efficient and you receive 24,276 kilowatt hours a day of solar energy, then you will receive about 4,612-kilowatt hours of usable electricity through solar energy.

Step 5

Subtract your maximum potential energy needs from the amount of energy being produced. You can find out how much energy you use by looking at a past electric bill or calling up the company that services your electricity directly. But for a general idea, the average American family uses about 920-kilowatt hours of electricity per month. So if you produced approximately 4,612-kilowatt hours of usable electricity per day, you would produce enough energy in a day to run four average households for a month.

References

What Are the Best Solar Panels for Low Light?

The standard formula for rating solar panels looks at the amount of power the unit produces in full sunlight at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. However, many homeowners in northern latitudes might only reach that optimal standard for solar collection a few days per year. Suppose you live in an area where sunlight is weakened by such factors as inclement weather and the earth’s tilt, yet wish to take as full advantage of solar power as possible. In that case, you need solar panels that are optimized for better efficiency under substandard conditions.

Monocrystalline Panels

Of the three basic solar panel types–monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous–monocrystalline is the most efficient in collecting solar energy and therefore somewhat more effective in regions with low sunlight. As the name suggests, they are made from a single large silicon crystal cut from an ingot. Polycrystalline panels use many small crystals to form the collection surface, while amorphous, or thin film, solar panels consist of silicon particles applied to the surface of large plates. Monocrystalline panels, while more efficient, are only slightly so. They are also the most expensive of the three types.

Hybrid Panels

Some manufacturers, including industry leader Sanyo technologies, have combined monocrystalline and amorphous thin film to produce a hybrid panel that Sanyo has dubbed Heterojunction with an Intrinsic Thin Layer (HIT). According to Sanyo’s marketing literature, these hybrid panels “boast high conversion efficiency ranging from 15.3 to 16.4, excellent temperature characteristics, and considerable output under diffuse and low light conditions.” Sanyo’s 190-watt photovoltaic (PV) module has earned a 17.4 percent efficiency rating, well above the industry average of 12 percent.

High-Powered Panels

Industry experts consider solar panels with a collection capacity of greater than 100 watts to be high-powered. The wattage of a panel describes the amount of power the panel can produce in full sunlight at 77 F. The selection of high-powered panels compatible with the typical household 12-volt system dwindles as the wattage soars upward because the highest powered panels are designed for grid-tie systems rather than stand-alone systems, which deposit the power in a battery storage bank. You must also keep in mind that two panels with lower wattage will add up to the same collection capacity and be less expensive. In the case of solar panels, bigger does not automatically equate to better.

More Options

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Efficiency & Renewable Energy Program (EERE), established to develop innovations in the solar panel field, is working to optimize solar collector efficiency. One example is an experiment using a MicroDish composed of a concentration of Spectrolab solar cells–ultra-high-efficiency cells–in which EERE tested the use of mirrors designed to multiply the sun’s power. This application is intended “to substantially increase the viability of PV for cost-competitive applications.”

 

Detail of pattern of solar panels

Image Credit: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Article Link

Cool Your Home with Solar Panels!

Do Solar Panels Cool Your Home?

On these hot summer days, the sun shines directly on your roof and has a heating effect that permeates into your home. Is it true that solar panels can cool your home? Absolutely!

A study conducted by the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering completed tests with various solar panel layouts and tested roof temperatures with thermal imaging.

Thermal Imaging

Solar Installation in Vancouver. Roof Thermal Imaging & Cooling effect!

Researchers discovered that exterior roof temperatures were 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler with solar panels, as the panels blocked direct sunlight from hitting the roof. Also, the solar panels contributed to lowering roof temperatures because the panels themselves were reflecting the sun’s heat away from the building. Overall, the solar panels “reduced the amount of heat reaching the roof by about 38%!”

 

In addition to cooling your home during the Summer, solar panels also add an insulation value in the Winter by helping to keep warm air inside your home. How great is that? These factors alone make your home more energy-efficient and are estimated to provide a 5% payback of the solar panel system cost!

To learn more, visit our page for more information.

Do you have more questions about solar panels? Contact us today as we’re happy to answer your questions and even provide you with a Free Estimate!

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.

String Inverters, Microinverters & Power Optimizers, What’s the difference?

Inverters are a key component of any solar panel system: while solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, inverters ensure that you can use the electricity they produce in your Home, RV, Boat, or cabin.

There are three primary inverter setups: string invertersinverters + power optimizers, and microinverters. String inverters are the oldest, original technology: they are a proven, durable, and cost-effective option that has been installed for decades throughout the world. That said, microinverters and power optimizers are newer (but not new!) technologies and have been increasing in popularity over the last decade, especially in the residential market. In this article, we focus specifically on the capabilities of microinverters and compare that to the capabilities of adding power optimizers to a string inverter.

A note about power optimizers


Microinverters and power optimizers are comparable technologies – so comparable that some companies describe them as interchangeable (Never to do!) Both are collectively referred to as “Module-Level Power Electronics,” or MLPEs, but there are important differences between these setups that may make them more or less suitable for your installation.

Microinverters vs. power optimizers: compare and contrast

Microinverters and power optimizers are comparable technologies – so comparable that some companies describe them as interchangeable (but we would never!) Both are collectively referred to as “Module-Level Power Electronics,” or MLPEs, but there are important differences between these setups that may make them more or less suitable for your installation.

MicroInverters VS Optimizers

Similarities between microinverters and power optimizers

Let’s start off with the similarities between microinverters and power optimizers:

  • Microinverters and power optimizers help improve performance for solar panels on complicated roofs, or roofs that experience marginal shading during the day.
  • Both microinverters and power optimizers can monitor the performance of individual solar panels, meaning you can assess the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) one solar panel in your array produces versus another.
  • Typically, solar companies install one MLPE (i.e. microinverter or power optimizer) on the back of each individual solar panel. So, if your system has 20 solar panels, that often means 20 microinverters or 20 power optimizers.

Top 4 differences between microinverters vs. power optimizers

While microinverters and power optimizers provide many of the same benefits, the two technologies also have many differences, as explored in greater detail below:

1. Where direct current (DC) converts to alternating current (AC)

Microinverters convert DC energy into AC energy right at the panel site. While power optimizers are also located behind a solar panel, they don’t convert the electricity on their own; instead, optimizers “condition” the DC energy and send it to a central inverter that finishes the conversion process. The conditioning process fixes the voltage of the DC energy so that the centralized inverter can more efficiently convert it to AC energy.

2. Warranty

Both microinverters and power optimizers come with 25-year warranties. However, while optimizers are warrantied for 25 years, the centralized inverter that they pair with may have a shorter warranty. Installers often offer an extended warranty on the central inverter, either as part of their package deal or at an additional price.

Additionally, it’s important to take a close look at what’s included–and what’s not–in a company’s warranty terms. Does the company cover installation labor, replacement and the shipping of parts? And what is the claim process like for getting a warranty processed? All of these are important considerations when choosing the type of inverter to install on your property.

3. Maintenance

Over the lifetime of microinverters and power optimizer systems, you need to consider if and how many times they’ll fail, as well as the impact of an unlikely failure on the production of your solar panel system. In the event that an individual inverter fails, it will likely cost more to replace a microinverter or a power optimizer located on a roof than it will replace a string inverter on a wall at ground level, given the labor required to access and work on your roof.

However, that’s only part of the calculus around lifetime maintenance costs. The leading microinverters are warrantied for 25 years, whereas many string inverters are only warrantied for 12 years, implying that you might have to replace your inverter mid-way through the lifetime of your solar panels.

4. Battery options

Both microinverters and power optimizers are compatible with battery storage. However, depending upon whether you want a DC or AC coupled battery solution, you may need to use a particular type of inverter. If you’re considering battery storage, it’s a good idea to talk to your installer or electrician about which inverters work best with your battery of choice.

 

Micro-Inverter-Optimizer-String

Microinverters vs. power optimizers: choosing the right option for your system

Microinverters and power optimizer systems have very similar efficiencies, are good for monitoring individual panel performance, and can help maximize energy production on slightly shaded or complicated roofs. But your preferences will ultimately determine which option is best for your home.

It’s important to keep in mind that microinverters and optimizers certainly aren’t the only options available – if you’re looking for the most economic option and have a south-facing roof with little shade, string inverters are the way to go.

String Inverters

String inverters are significantly larger than their aptly named counterpart.  String inverters are roughly 3′ tall x 1.5′ wide x 1′ deep or approximately the same size as a water cooler.  String inverters are typically mounted next to the electrical panel or can also be mounted outside.  The major downside to string inverters is that shading on one solar panel can negatively impact the entire array (or string within the array).

Key Advantages:

  • Most cost-effective inverter system
  • Scalability for large/commercial solar arrays

String inverters should be used when:

  • solar modules are mounted at the same pitch/azimuth
  • a large-scale project is desired
  • an unobstructed ground-mounted solar array is desired

Compare your inverter options to find the best match

As a consumer–and a shopper on EnergySage–you have the power to explore both your microinverter and power optimizer options. Start by reviewing the different manufacturers offering the two types of technologies, and then Contact Us – our team would be happy to provide you with no-obligation quotes that you can easily compare side-by-side to find the best solar panel system to fit your needs.

The Cost

String inverters are the most cost-effective but are only applicable in select circumstances.  Because of string inverters’ selectivity, microinverters and DC optimizer systems are gaining market share.

Both microinverters and DC optimizers are fairly comparable in cost.  If there is no room in your home or building for a string inverter, then micro may be more applicable.  Similarly, if you are planning a large installation, DC optimizers’ scalability may give them the edge.  Deciding a clear-cut winner between optimizers and micro inverts is a difficult task and one that can only be evaluated as the technology develops and inevitable corporate feuds ensue.

Additionally, the cost of various inverters’ may be impacted by CE Code rule changes and international trade issues (such as tariffs on one country or technology type).

Part of what we do at Power My Home is regularly evaluating what inverter systems are of the best quality and value for the given conditions. It is in everyone’s best interest to make sure you have the best product options at the lowest prices.

 

Reference Article I

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.