What solar system should I buy and who should install it.

There is always so much confusion and differing opinions in the world of solar as to what products you should buy.

There are many good brands of solar panels and an easy way to assess their energy yield per kW and look at some history is to go to the desert knowledge australia centre website.

 

Desert knowledge Australia
Desert knowledge Australia

“The Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre (DKASC) is a demonstration facility for commercialised solar technologies operating in the arid solar conditions of Alice Springs, Central Australia.”

 

Springers use the Winaico brand solar panel and it is one of the best if not the best performing solar module at the DKASC. Some other notable performers at the test site is Q-Cells, REC, CSUN, Canadian Solar, Sunpower.

http://dkasolarcentre.com.au/locations/alice-springs

(just remember when looking at the graphs to normalise the outputs as some of the solar systems are different sizes)

 

A lot of salespeople put a great emphasis on Tier 1 modules, (Winaico are Tier 1) but the information below is reason enough to discount this.

Below is copied straight from Bloomberg New Energy Finance PV Module Maker Tiering System. Tier 1 is not necessarily a safe bet.

“TIER 1 Tier 1 module manufacturers are those which have provided own-brand, own-manufacture products to five different projects, which have been financed non-recourse by five different (nondevelopment) banks, in the past two years. This classification is purely a measure of industry acceptance, and there are many documented examples of quality issues or bankruptcy of tier 1 manufacturers.”

The next decision to research is the inverter. There are two main types of inverters, string and micro. When using a string inverter the panels are all linked together in series, these are generally run into one MPPT (maximum power point tracker) or dual MPPT to take advantage of different roofs and get the maximum yield from these different Azimuths. Some of the best string inverters on the market are Fronius, SMA & ABB. At Springers we prefer the inbuilt WIFI options on the Fronius inverter, the apps that are available, easily accessed house load consumption data via the smart meter and the 10 year warranty.

http://www.springers.com.au/product/2031/Fronius-Inverters

Envoy S metered
Envoy S metered

Micro inverters are the new way forward with solar. Micro inverters are installed behind every panel, so every panel is able to get the maximum energy yield possible. The systems are third party monitored down to a panel level and email alerts sent out if there are any issues (monitored at no cost). There are apps  and cloud based data available to you to monitor your own system and house load data can also be added to these systems. The best micro inverter brand on the market is Enphase. Other brands include APsystems, ABB and steer clear of Enecsys who have gone into administration. Micro inverters are safe AC voltage off the roof, are able to achieve a higher energy yield over life of system and they are monitored.  The only draw back is they are more expensive than string inverter systems however you will recover this extra outlay with larger reductions off your bill.

http://www.springers.com.au/product/1665/Enphase-Microinverter

When choosing an installation company look at the Clean Energy Council approved retailer list and pick someone from there. These companies have been rigorously assessed by the Clean Energy Council. To create STC’s and provide solar installations you must have Clean Energy Council accreditation and the approved retailer program is a level above this.

Three generations of Springers at Springers Solar
Three generations of Springers at Springers Solar
Clean Energy Council Approved Retailer Logo
Clean Energy Council Approved Retailer Logo

http://www.solaraccreditation.com.au/retailers/approved-solar-retailers.html

And then there is storage…….Enphase, Tesla, Selectronic, Aquion, Fronius to name a few but I will leave this for another blog.

Joe Springer in California inspecting the Tesla Powerwall
Joe Springer in California inspecting the Tesla Powerwall

Understanding reactive power for your solar inverter

While reactive power has no value in powering electrical devices, it does perform valuable functions to help power move more efficiently. An RPC setting of 0.9 lagging or lower is mandatory on all exporting inverters rated above 2kVA and up to 30kVA and connected to Ergon Energy’s main network (not SWER or isolated networks).

A lagging fixed power factor ‘absorbs’ reactive power to reduce the amount of voltage rise attributed to the power generated by the PV system. Although it operates whenever the array is generating, it will only impact the generation amount (kW) when the PV system is generating at its maximum. For example, with a 0.9 lagging setting on a 5kVA inverter, the kW capacity is only reduced when it exceeds 4.5kW.

By throttling back the kW capacity at peak PV generation times, the voltage rise to the network attachment point is reduced, thereby reducing the likelihood of the inverter’s maximum voltage trip point being reached. This in turn means the inverter will not trip off as often as it may have, which will result in more kWh being generated over a typical day, as illustrated by the green line in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Typical PV Generation profiles
Figure 1. Typical PV Generation profiles

RPC also benefits the local network and neighbouring PV systems, in that the reduced upward pressure on the network voltage will allow other PV systems sharing the transformer to operate without tripping off (other than in necessary circumstances), or at least operate for longer before tripping off. As more of your customers have RPC enabled, more inverters will operate more effectively.

A key benefit of RPC enablement is that PV applications on premises on Ergon Energy’s main network which include RPC and undergo assessment are more likely to be approved. Also, the higher proportion of inverters with RPC on a local network, the more applications we’ll be able to approve on that network. Installers are encouraged to activate RPC on existing PV systems to help address voltage-trip issues.

In a small proportion of cases, where there is a robust local network and few or no other PV units connected, the total kWh generated by a PV system with RPC may be a few per cent less annually than it would be without RPC. We’re confident that RPC provides holistic benefits for PV customers, the network and the PV industry. To minimise any downsides, we have allowed for dynamic RPC settings under the new (draft) Connection Standard that is currently open for feedback.

Source: Ergon Energy

Home Battery Storage

Enphase-AC-Battery_750_501_s
Enphase AC Battery

House monitoring is the key for unlocking home battery storage potential.

With Enphase Energy’s new Envoy S metered communications gateway you now have all your house and solar data needed to determine the best sized battery system for your house. The information is displayed beautifully on Enphase Enlighten monitoring and analysis software that is web based. This allows you to access your data on any device with a browser.

Envoy S metered
Envoy S metered
Enphase Consumption Monitoring
Enphase Consumption Monitoring

This meter can be installed on any house including those with existing solar systems.

Optimising your solar energy resource is the best outcome for your household. With the real time data from the Envoy you can ensure that your solar energy is optimized and stored for later use.

The goal of maximising self-consumption can only be reached with home battery storage. Look out for the latest AC battery from Enphase delivered in Winter 2016 or the Tesla Power Wall soon to be released and reserve your home storage solution now.

Joe Springer with the Tesla Powerwall in California
Joe Springer with the Tesla Powerwall in California

Tesla Powerwall release

Origin Energy has been the first company to release the Tesla Power Wall Battery system.

Tesla
Joe Springer reviewing the Tesla Powerwall in California earlier this year

According to the Financial review on Thursday Elon Musk from Tesla said that this system will be released with a package through Origin Energy. Arch rivals AGL Energy and Energy Australia is also keen on tapping into this market.

CEO Brian Springer from Springers Solar says that their company is ‘holding the line’ for a better product soon to be released from Enphase Energy. This company is America’s largest Micro inverter system manufacturer and their expertise in what is required for our market in batteries is second to none.

Enphase-AC-Battery_750_501_s
Enphase AC Battery

Enphase have already released a product called Envoy S that is an interface for ALL inverters to enable the customer to determine the right battery power wall to purchase.

An existing home owner who has a micro inverter or String inverter can now purchase this interface to establish their needs in Battery Supply.

The home owner can now monitor system production and home energy consumption from any web connected device. Installing the ‘Enphase Envoy S metered’ ahead of the Enphase AC Battery enables you to collect consumption data to determine the number of AC Batteries required.

See the ‘Envoy S Metered’ on our website plus the soon to be released Enphase AC Battery:

The history of Springers Solar

The start-up story to Springers Solar begins when Brian and Cheryl Springer with eldest son Joe started Springers Solar in 2002 to fill a gap in the market that wasn’t being met. We already had the technical skills, we had recently successfully sold a small business, and we knew how to operate, employ, and run a small business.

We were full of confidence that we could sell low voltage equipment to the caravan and camping “grey nomads” who needed car fridges, batteries, inverters and chargers. We had very few competitors and other retail outlets often struggled with the technical “know how” to put a system together and install it for customers.

At this time one of our suppliers convinced us to stock solar panels and we reluctantly agreed because in 2002 very few of our customers knew how a solar panel worked, nor did they know or understood that solar panels could generate electricity or charge batteries in a caravan. Today 99% of our customers understand solar panel technology and are following the emerging market of using batteries to store power for off grid usage.

As a start-up company in 2002 we were able to use our previous well known suppliers for our initial stock holding and we opened two retail outlets in Brisbane on the north side in Lawnton and on south side in Tingalpa. We quickly gained more and more expertise to enable us to install highly technical product such as television satellite systems and standalone solar and battery systems with battery chargers and inverters to caravans, recreational vehicles, motor homes and large buses.

Within a year solar panels were our main retail product and Brian and Joe travelled to Nimbin in NSW to become accredited solar designers and installers through the Nimbin Rainbow Power Company. This accreditation is recognised by the Clean Energy Council of Australia and today Springers Solar is a highly regarded reputable company and a founding member of the Clean Energy Council Solar Retailer Code of Conduct. With this accreditation we could install Off Grid power installations for domestic houses in remote areas of rural South East Queensland where most of our customers using solar between 2002 and 2006 were environmentalists with alternative lifestyles who were using green power as a personal choice.

At this time very few of our city customers were interested in installing solar panels on their domestic roof while remaining connected to the grid because it was such an expensive option. It was also very difficult to describe the technical features and benefits to installing solar when cost was such an obstacle. The cost of a one kilowatt system in 2006 was approximately $16,000 and although there was a $4,000 rebate attached to the installation this rebate was not taken up.

In 2006 the Federal Government doubled the rebate to $8,000 and suddenly the early adopters of this new technology became interested. After this there was a groundswell of interest and hundreds of domestic installations in Australia were completed. By 2008 many solar companies had started up business and the market was essentially saturated with competing solar businesses.

Today there are still a large number of solar companies with domestic solar installed on 25% of all domestic premises and most customers install solar to reduce their electricity bills. Today each salesman is selling to a much more sophisticated and savvy customer. We are now looking forward to further technology changes which include new battery technology and other advancements in solar technology and in this changing market we expect the next big surge will be in commercial installations.

PROJECTA INTELLICHARGE 25A 3 STAGE DCDC AND SOLAR BATTERY CHARGER IDC25 NOW IN STOCK

New from Projecta, the Intelli-Charge IDC25 is the toughest and most advanced dual battery management system available on the market today. Allowing you to charge your 12V second/auxiliary deep cycle battery on the go, the IDC25 is shock, vibration and dust proof. The unit is also water resistant, making it suitable for both in-vehicle and under-bonnet installation.

Installed in a 4WD

Able to charge simultaneously from both solar and alternator (9–32V) inputs, IDC25 can also function as an MPPT solar controller and features dual charging modes for compatibility with both smart and conventional alternators. Loaded with a host of safeguard features, the easy to install unit includes over/under voltage, anti-sparking, reverse connection and over temperature protection systems to ensure peace of mind.

The IDC25 sets a new benchmark for DC-DC battery management.

Intelli-Charge IDC25 is the toughest and most advanced dual battery management system available on the market today

 

 

Pre-wired cabling, labeled for ease of installation

For more information: Projecta DCDC IDC25

Going off grid…is it a good idea?

Joe Springer in California inspecting the Tesla Powerwall
Joe Springer in California inspecting the Tesla Powerwall

Going off grid with battery storage. There is very active discussion advising clients that once battery technology is cheap enough then taking your house off the grid is viable.

Springers Solar do not recommend this even with the anticipated reduction in battery pricing from the likes of Tesla and others. The situation is different if you have no access to the power grid.

Peak power and inclement weather needs to be taken into consideration when designing off grid systems. As well as many other variables.

Springers Solar install many off grid power systems that require auto start generators to allow the user to have consistent and constant power during times of rain and high power consumption.  To allow the user to eliminate the generator requires huge investment in batteries that is not economical and would still become a problem during rainy weather and high power usage.

If a battery hybrid system is installed in the city then the power grid becomes your back up for a cost of approximately $400 per year (grid service / supply charges) This is a lot cheaper than installing a large generator as back up and the required maintenance not to mention noise, fuel, fumes etc..!

Springers solar have an excellent battery systems fully tested by our suppliers and at the right price.  This will enable you to store sunlight energy during the day to be used at night.  However coming in the next 6 to 12 months will be a range of new Li-ion solar hybrid batteries from Tesla, Enphase and Selectronic.

If you want to register for our monthly email newsletter then do so on our website.

http://www.springers.com.au/subscribe

Bloomberg New Energy Finance classifies WINAICO as a Tier 1 module maker

Winaico

WINAICO secures Tier 1 module manufacturer status in the latest edition of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s bankability list

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) classifies WINAICO as a Tier 1 manufacturer of crystalline photovoltaic modules in their latest edition of PV Market Outlook. Bankability is the key criterion within the classification system, because banks are extremely stringent in verifying the quality of the components used in solar installations. To meet BNEF’s Tier 1 criteria, WINAICO has supplied own-brand products to large projects financed non-recourse by five non-development banks tracked in the BNEF database in the past two years. The methodology is described here. This does not constitute a recommendation for the product and should not replace due diligence in product selection.

In addition to the recognition in bankability, WINAICO continues to offer a unique 10-year, 3-in-1 insurance package in selected regions, to provide cover to the whole installation against losses due to material damage, interruption of service and possible reduced yield.

“Since the inception of WINAICO, we have been primarily recognised as a quality module manufacturer for Residential and Commercial installations. We are extremely proud to achieve the Tier 1 module maker status from Bloomberg, enabling our partners more confidence in developing large scale Utility projects”, said Sascha Rossmann, Vice President of Global Sales of WINAICO. “In addition to the industry-leading insurance coverage attached to our modules, our customers can feel secure in knowing that each WINAICO solar investment is fully protected throughout its lifetime.”

WINAICO Australia Pty Ltd
As a global PV brand based in Taiwan, WINAICO manufactures and distributes crystalline high performance modules worldwide. Its Australian subsidiary WINAICO Australia Pty Ltd services the market directly from its Head Office in Sydney Australia with warehouses across Australia and New Zealand.

Target customers include solar specialists, solar technologists, installation specialists and project developers. Installation specialists profit here from the superior product quality of products manufactured in Taiwan in accordance with the highest quality standards, as well as from the comprehensive consultation, planning and maintenance services from WINAICO. Generous stock levels ensure the rapid availability of WINAICO products.

Press contact:

WINAICO Australia Pty Ltd.
Blair Pester, Sales Director ASIA Pacific