Category: Solar Panel Company

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?

Cleaning up … but the slope of the roof alone can have a big impact on savings
Clean energy … but the slope of the roof alone can have a big impact on savings. Photograph: Simon Dack/Alamy

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.

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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.

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HOME BACKUP POWER. COMFORT. SECURITY. CONVENIENCE.


Despite Supply chain disruptions, we stock 3 different sizes and we bring them in every month or two.
Cummins Generators are preferred by 3 out of every 10 homeowners who invest in home backup power.

A home generator provides an on-demand source of power in the event of a utility grid failure. While more costly to purchase and install, a standby generator eliminates the setup and headaches associated with the use of a portable generator—such as regular refueling, running many feet of extension cords, and listening to the constant hum of the engine. These generators are also good for Off-grid setups as they will directly communicate with Inverters and chargers to turn ON/Off Automatically.

Home generators vary in type, size, watts, and fuel source (either propane or natural gas, or diesel). Based on the amount of power you need and your installation requirements, you can decide on the generator that is right for you. A portable generator is cost-effective and best for keeping essential items up and running, These larger, permanently installed generators are capable of sustaining appliances, central heating or cooling systems, lights, devices, and more. Keep in mind that standby generators should always be installed with a transfer switch to prevent back-feed that can cause harm to your home’s electrical system, the generator, or serious injury and death to utility workers.

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How Easy Is It To Put Solar Panels on Your Camper Van or RV?

Whether you’re building or buying a camper van or other RV, modern lifestyles demand it has some kind of steady power supply besides the vehicle’s battery. An on-board generator is one such option. But a cleaner and easier-to-maintain alternative is to install solar panels on your camper van or RV. And with a bit of prep-work, it’s something you can do at home or hire (us) the experts to do it for you.

What kind of solar panels do you want on your camper van or RV?

You may have seen large solar panels installed on homes or by power stations. However, those aren’t the only kind available to camper vans and RVs, Parked in Paradise reports.

rv solar panel

Panels come in a variety of sizes and arrangements. Some are small and flexible enough to lean against your windshield. Others are rigid, with enough surface area that they have to be installed on the roof. That doesn’t mean you can’t mix-and-match panels, though. For example, you can have a few small portable panels to recharge a phone, while a large fixed one helps power the rest of the RV.

How many solar panels does your camper van or RV need?

Given there’s only so much space in and around a camper van and RV, knowing how many solar panels you can install is an important concern. However, not necessarily for the reason you may think.

Your camper van’s or RV’s solar panels don’t power your lights, fridge, or other electrical devices directly, eXplorist explains. Instead, the current they generate goes into a current controller which feeds into a battery or power bank. It’s that battery/power bank that’s drained when you plug in a heater or laptop charger. As such, adding more panels doesn’t change the available power, but how quickly the power source recharges.

Solar panels are rated based on how many watts they produce. To calculate how many watts you’ll need, you first have to find out how much power your devices use in a typical day. That means either measuring it directly with a wattmeter or calculating it directly based on each device’s amp-hour (Ah) and voltage rating and turn-on time, Motorhome reports.

Once that’s done, you can estimate the bare minimum battery capacity you’ll need. And after that, you can calculate how many solar panels your camper van or RV needs based on estimated daylight duration.

For example, say I have a 12V battery with a 100-Ah capacity. That works out to 1200 Wh of power. If I can only guarantee 4 hours of usable sunshine, I’ll need a 300 W solar panel array.

What you’ll need

If you’re building your RV or camper van yourself, you’ll need a few things besides the solar panels themselves. As we’ve mentioned, you’ll need a battery and a charge controller to store the charge. Plus, if the battery/power bank supplies DC power, you’ll need an inverter to convert it to AC.

If you’re using rigid panels, you’ll also need mounts to secure them to your roof. Parked in Paradise recommends tilt mounts because they maximize how much sunshine hits the panels. You’ll also need to wire the panels together. Usually, that’s done in series, which doesn’t require fuses or expensive wiring, but some charge controllers require an in-parallel setup. Luckily, many manufacturers, like Renogy, supply camper van solar panel kits with all the necessary hardware.

Once you have the hardware, you’ll need to figure out where to place the panel and how to arrange the wiring. So, before you install anything, measure your distances, or create a van mock-up to see if you have long-enough cables, Far Out Ride recommends. However, while drilling into the roof to mount your panels is the go-to method, Wayfarer Vans reports there are panel adhesives available.

If you’re buying a pre-made RV or camper van, some come with solar panels pre-installed. Others, like Airstream’s Basecamp trailer, come pre-wired for solar panels. Wayfarer’s camper van conversion kits don’t come with solar panels, but they can be ordered with a Goal Zero power station that’s ready-made for solar panels. All you need to do is buy the panels and plug them in.

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VANADIUM REDOX FLOW BATTERIES FOR CHARGING ELECTRIC VEHICLES

VRFBs have been successfully used to provide charging stations for electric vehicles, (EVs) in a variety of countries around the world. The shell of the set up can be used to provide shading for the cars whilst hosting the solar panels used to charge the battery. Often EV charging stations use the grid to provide the power, in this scenario it’s renewable energy that is charging.

ENSURE A STABLE, SECURE ENERGY SUPPLY FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS

The telecommunications industry places high demands on the reliability and security of electricity supply to their systems. This is because the services offered by the companies in this industry, such as mobile communications, must also be provided on a sustainable and continuous basis.

This must also be reflected in the power supply. VSUN Energy fulfils this requirement by integrating solar and/or diesel, with the VRFB storage system, guaranteeing a reliable and sustainable supply of power for the telecommunications industry.

The intelligent energy management system significantly reduces supply and site costs and provides environmental and economic added value compared to conventional diesel generators.

The VRFB storage system can be easily and seamlessly integrated into any system, and it is independent of climatic conditions.

As a result, green energy is available at any time, anywhere.

POTENTIAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS APPLICATIONS INCLUDE THE USE OF VANADIUM REDOX FLOW BATTERIES:

  • as a replacement for high-maintenance and environmentally hazardous battery systems and diesel generators
  • to stabilise weak, unstable power grids
  • as off-grid solution in areas without connection to the grid
  • as a suitable means of energy for all signal transmission stations
  • as a scalable solution for locations with multiple operators

THE ADVANTAGES OF USING A VRFB INCLUDE:

    • reduction in the total operating costs
    • elimination or mitigation of the effects of constant increases in diesel prices
    • ease of integration into DC telecommunications infrastructure
    • elimination of service and maintenance cost of obsolete storage solutions
    • environmentally friendly and reusable components
    • ease of integration into standard online and remote maintenance systems
    • high-temperature tolerance

USING THE VANADIUM REDOX FLOW BATTERY FOR STABLE POWER SUPPLY

The storage solutions from VSUN Energy open up new avenues in stable and cost-efficient electricity supply. Whether in combination with solar PV (photovoltaic) systems, wind power plants, diesel, gas or biogas generators, or operated in parallel to the public grid, VRFBs are the optimal backup solution to provide an uninterrupted power supply. VRFBs are ideally suited to be the central component in a microgrid.

The VRFB ensures that energy from PV and wind systems is available even when it is dark or there is no wind. It can be recharged quickly and it is immediately ready for use.

With a wide range of VRFBs offered, VSUN Energy’s solutions offer integrated systems for the energy industry. They can be used, for example, to stabilise the grid, as decentralised supply units or as interim storage for surplus energy.

Providing you with an uninterrupted power supply thanks to vanadium redox flow technology. VRFBs store energy until it is needed. Capacity ranges from kW through to multi-MWh with all products having a 100% deep discharge.

GO OFF-GRID WITH VANADIUM REDOX FLOW BATTERIES

On-site generation of electricity through decentralized systems, including diesel generators or renewable energy sources like solar PV, combined with a high-performance, scalable VRFB energy storage system, make microgrids a viable solution for your company’s energy needs.

VRFBs offer uninterruptible power and significant cost savings. VSUN Energy offers comprehensive support in developing the ideal microgrid solution for you in Australia – from semi-autonomous to autonomous. Where the power supply is unreliable or cost prohibitive, off-grid solutions from VSUN Energy are ideal.

For a wide range of scenarios, including weak infrastructure, hotel facilities, or even entire islands, VRFB energy storage systems combined with diesel/gas generators can reduce costs by over 50% while ensuring an uninterrupted power supply.

VANADIUM REDOX FLOW BATTERIES AND SOLAR PV (PHOTOVOLTAIC) SYSTEMS

Our energy solutions installed either with a partner solar provider, or directly with our customer, fit perfectly with solar park project solutions – from planning to system implementation to operations. This includes the precise assessment of customer needs, a detailed installation plan, GPS-assisted measurement of solar PV (photovoltaic) tracking systems and minimisation of potential power loss caused by shading.

The photovoltaic systems are installed and put into operation in cooperation with certified partner companies and organised in accordance with a pre-defined project plan.

FLOW BATTERY INSTALLATIONS AND SOLAR POWER

Most flow battery installations used in large megawatt installations are combined with a solar panel system. This makes perfect sense as you need a cheap source to generate electric energy. Whilst large in size, these powerful flow batteries can be transported to any location within Australia.

Australia lies in the perfect geographical location to provide sufficient solar energy for the solar panels to charge VRFBs. The systems can hold hours of electric power which can be used during peak times to avoid penalty tariffs and save a small fortune.

If your business is located in an area where power failures occur, these solar panel/VRFB combinations can be a real saviour. The solar and battery backup system can easily get you through a few hours of total power failure and potentially avoid costly loss of production.

VRFBs offer an uninterruptible supply of power. They are available with power ratings from 10 kW and a scalable energy capacity into the MWh range. Base load coverage, power peak limiting and safeguarding of sensitive areas can be guaranteed at all times.

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Integrating Home Generator Into Your Power Systems: Everything You Need To Know

If you live in an area where you get frequent power outages, a portable generator is a great investment. A portable generator allows you to run your most essential appliances – like air conditioners, hot water heaters, stoves, refrigerators, and more – even when the power goes out.

But manually connecting all of your appliances to your generator can be time-consuming and difficult, particularly if the weather outside is bad, which is common during power outages.

What’s the solution? A transfer switch! Transfer switches allow you to safely integrate just about any generator into your home’s electrical systems. In this article, we’ll take a look at the basics about transfer switches, and how they should be used to integrate your generator with our home’s power systems.

The Benefits Of Integrating Your Generator Into The Power System Of Your Home

Using a transfer switch to integrate your generator into your home’s power systems has a number of benefits.

 

Seamlessly integrates with your existing circuits – A transfer switch seamlessly switches the power source of your home from the municipal power grid to a generator. It can integrate with your existing power circuits, so you don’t have to worry about connecting your generator to the proper appliances.

 

 

No more unplugging and plugging in appliances – When the power goes out, you’ll need to plug your appliances into your generator. When it turns back on, you’ll need to do the reverse – and plug them back into your home’s electrical grid.

This is time-consuming, and requires you to use a number of properly-rated extension cords throughout your home. A transfer switch eliminates this completely – only one cord is required to connect your generator directly to your home.

 

 

You can choose which circuits and outlets are powered – You can choose which individual circuits get power, and change which ones are powered at any time. This helps you maximize efficiency, and makes your life more convenient.

 

 

Your circuit breakers will still protect your appliances – Because your transfer switch integrates with your home electrical system, the circuit breaker will function, even while the generator is in use. This protects sensitive electronics from power fluctuations.

 

There are many other reasons to consider a transfer switch, but these are the biggest benefits.

Understanding The Transfer Switch Installation Process

You should not try to install a transfer switch on your own. You risk damaging or destroying your home’s electrical wiring. You should hire a licensed electrician to install the transfer switch into your home.

The transfer switch consists of a switching unit, as well as a heavy-duty power socket, to which your generator will be attached. It will have a main breaker, which is responsible for connecting to your home’s power grid, and switching from utility power to generator power.

It also contains a number of different circuits, which can be toggled on and off. The number of circuits you’ll need will depend on your home, the appliances you want to run, and the size of your generator.

During installation, you will choose which circuits are assigned to which appliances and outlets in your home. For example, you could choose to power your furnace, air conditioner, refrigerator and freezer, and your lights, and choose a circuit for each one. Each circuit could also be used to power a particular room. Consult with your electrician to determine what’s right for you.

You likely will not be able to power all of these circuits at once, unless you have a very large generator, so each one can be toggled on and off easily. For example, if it’s hot outside, you could shut off power to the hot water heater, and use this power from your generator to run the air conditioner.

Why Are Transfer Switches Necessary?

Transfer switches are mandatory, and required by the National Electric Code in order to connect any power source to your home. They are the only safe way to do so – for more about this, read the next section about “backfeeding”.

A transfer switch also makes it more convenient to power your home during a power outage, as noted in previous sections. Not only that, it allows you to power appliances which do not connect with a standard wall outlet – such as sump pumps and furnaces – which otherwise could not be connected to a generator.

Transfer switches also make it easier to manage the power of your generator. You can simply flip a switch to change the powered circuits, rather than moving, plugging, and unplugging extension cords.

The Dangers Of Backfeeding With A Generator – NEVER Do This In Your Home!

The main reason that transfer switches are mandatory is that they are the only way to power your home safely, without “backfeeding.”

Backfeeding is the act of taking a generator, and simply plugging it into a standard wall outlet, using a heavy-duty power cord. This practice is known as “backfeeding”, because it’s the reverse of standard electrical flow – the power flows from a wall unit, into the main electrical panel, and then out the main breaker into the transformer.

When it reaches the transformer, the unit will try to “step up” the voltage, and distribute the power throughout the rest of the neighborhood’s power lines.

For obvious reasons, this is incredibly dangerous. It’s also completely illegal. If you are caught backfeeding, you could face a serious fine, or even jail time.

Backfeeding can damage your generator and your home’s power systems, and it also has the potential to cause a fire. It could also destroy the delicate electronics and other appliances connected to your home’s power grid.

It also puts additional stress on your generator because it’s less efficient. You’ll only be able to get about half of the power at which your generator is rated, because the 240-volt supply is split into two, 120-volt lines.

Finally, and most importantly, backfeed can kill technicians working on power lines. As mentioned, backfeeding will cause the power lines running to the transformer to become energized – and workers who are working on repairing de-energized power lines could be unexpectedly shocked by this voltage, and seriously injured or killed.

Do not backfeed. Doing so will destroy your generator and your home’s power systems over time. It’s illegal, and it could kill or injure any technicians who are attempting to restore power to your neighborhood.

Manual Vs. Automatic Transfer Switches – Understanding Your Options

There are two main types of transfer switches – manual and automatic. Both are great options, and have different pros and cons.

The most common type of switch is a manual transfer switch. With this type of switch, you’re responsible for manually choosing which circuits are energized, and you must manually switch from utility power to generator power, and vice-versa. They’re inexpensive, so they’re the best choice if you’re on a budget.

Automatic transfer switches are different. They are programmable, so you can choose which appliances and circuits have priority, and allow the transfer switch to activate and deactivate these circuits automatically. Automatic transfer switches also can be programmed to switch between generator and utility power. However, because of these advanced features, automatic transfer switches are usually quite a bit more expensive than manual switches.

Both automatic and manual transfer switches can be great options, depending on your budget, the appliances you need to run, and the power rating of your generator.

Using Your Transfer Switch And Running Your Electrical Systems With Your Generator

If you have an automatic transfer switch, and it’s configured properly, you don’t need to do anything, except start your generator, and connect it to the transfer switch. Your transfer switch will detect the generator, and begin powering the appropriate circuits.

Using your manual switch is a bit different. Here’s what you’ll need to do when the power goes out.

Connect the main generator power cord to the transfer switch

Turn off all circuit breakers in the transfer switch

Start the generator safely, and let it warm up for several minutes

Switch your main breakers to the “Generator” position in the transfer switch

Turn on all of the circuits you wish to power, one at a time, waiting a few seconds between each one to prevent the generator from overloading

When the power turns back on, simply:

Switch the main breakers in the transfer switch back to Utility Power

Turn on all of the circuits that were previously off

Switch off your generator

Disconnect the power cord

NOTE: the procedure for your switch may differ slightly, based on the manufacturer. Always consult your user guide to understand how to safely use your transfer switch.

Invest In A Transfer Switch – Enjoy Comfort, Convenience, And Efficiency

If you rarely have power outages, or you only use your generator to power a few things like lights, a refrigerator, and some other basic essentials, a transfer switch may not be worth it.

But if you regularly have power outages that last for days at a time, a transfer switch helps you run your generator more efficiently, and makes it much more convenient to choose which appliances are powered.

So think about your own particular needs, and whether investing in a transfer switch is the right choice for you!

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GAIN ENERGY INDEPENDENCE WITH A SOLAR + BATTERY SOLUTION

The United States is currently home to more than 2 million solar panel installations, a number that’s expected to double by 2023. And with the promise of clean, green energy that helps protect the environment and reduce utility bills, that’s no surprise. But solar batteries are experiencing a recent surge in popularity, too. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility of natural disasters has encouraged many homeowners not only to embrace solar power at home but also to add backup power to gain more energy independence.

Keep reading for the lowdown on how a system of residential solar power and batteries will keep you safe and self-sufficient in the event of an emergency.

 

What Are the Benefits of Using Solar Batteries?

First things first. If you’re planning to install solar panels on your roof, then why do you need batteries, too?

When you incorporate a solar battery as part of your home solar energy system, it takes all the extra energy your solar panels produce and stores it right there at your home, rather than sending it back into the electricity grid. As a result, you can maximize your ability to use the power generated by your panels on a daily basis. During times when you need more electricity than your panels can actually produce — such as at night or on cloudy days — you can tap back into that stored energy.

The three main benefits of adding solar batteries to your setup include:

Energy independence

Emergency backup power

Energy bill savings (in some cases)

 

Where Does Disaster Relief Come In?

Traditional energy providers feed electricity into homes primarily via coal and natural gas plants, which operate much differently than solar panels during disaster scenarios. Often, they’re immediately shut down when a disaster warning occurs, which means homes that rely solely on their utility can lose their power entirely. Additionally, if a power plant is somehow damaged during a disaster, the shutdown could last for days to account for the cleaning and rebuilding process. And that’s not to mention the power lines that bring that electricity to your home. These power lines are often the first thing to come down during high winds and natural disasters.

Put simply, traditional electricity producers aren’t able to guarantee service during a disaster. But residential solar power with backup batteries is much more reliable with fewer risk factors.

 

Why Is It So Important to Be Prepared for a Disaster?

You never know when disaster will strike. It’s easy to dismiss disaster planning as prepping for a worst-case scenario that most likely won’t occur, but if the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we never know just how quickly our daily lives can change overnight.

Being situated along the Gulf coastline, Texas in particular is prone to plenty of natural disasters, including flooding, tornadoes, and especially hurricanes. In fact, as of this writing, 64 hurricanes have struck the Texas coast since 1851. That amounts to one hurricane every three years — and it’s been three years since Hurricane Harvey devastated our coastline with catastrophic flooding and many deaths. It’s never too early to be prepared for a natural disaster, especially when you live in an area that’s prone to such types of weather.

 

How Can Solar Power Help Me Prepare for Disaster?

Unlike a power plant that burns fossil fuels, the sun is a limitless resource and requires no human power to operate. With batteries to store the excess power generated by your home’s solar energy system, you can be prepared for even complete power outages. This means you can maintain food storage, prevent spoilage, and keep any necessary medical equipment running during an emergency.

For many, the allure of solar power is sustainability, allowing a home to remain energy independent and cost-efficient. But sustainability is also about ensuring our own safety, maintaining our standard of living, and empowering ourselves to manage unforeseen circumstances.

 

Looking for Texas Solar Installers?

If you’re ready to start harnessing the power of the sun for a lifetime of green energy and peace of mind, we want to help. As the largest residential solar installer in Texas, Freedom Solar has outfitted thousands of homes and even commercial businesses like Whole Foods and Office Depot with solar solutions that meet their needs.

Our socially distanced installations mean we can set up your residential solar power system without ever needing to come inside your home. From consultation to installation, Freedom Solar can bring solar energy to you while keeping everyone safe. Contact us today for a free consultation, and join us in the solar revolution!