Solar panels are based on a high-tech but remarkably simple technology that converts sunlight directly into electricity. Solar panels are made up of cells in two layers of semi-conductor material with opposite charges, positive and negative. Sunlight hitting the surface of a cell knocks electrons loose, which then travel through a circuit from one layer to the other, providing a flow of electricity called Direct current or DC.
High yield solar panels
Solar panel technology is continuously improving the efficiency of the panels to produce more electricity. Solar panels that use new technologies are able to produce more watts per panel without increasing the panel size.
An innovation by “Canadian Solar” which has introduced the Ku Max Solar panel which has a lower BoS (Balance-of-System refers to the components and equipment that move DC energy produced by solar panels through the conversion system which in turn produces AC electricity) with higher efficiency and increased savings through:
- Better shading performance (soiling)
- Better shading performance (shadows)
- Lower operating temperature
- Lower LID than standard panels (Light Induced Degradation is a loss of performances arising in the very first hours of exposition to the sun)
- Hot spot temperature reduced
- Poly-wafer texturing technology improves the cell light-trapping improving performance
How does a Solar system convert DC power into AC power?
Solar panels produce DC power and it then goes through a solar charge controller into a solar inverter which converts the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), which can then be utilised to power electrical equipment in homes and businesses.
What method is utilised to size a solar system?
The first phase of sizing a solar system is to understand and create a power usage profile. This can be done by using power meter data to graph the electricity usage during the day (taking into consideration the hours of operation) or should no meter data be available the next best way is utilising the electricity bill.
Once the baseline electricity usage, has been established the size of solar system can be calculated taking into consideration the following:
- The amount of roof space available facing north, east, and west
- When the most electricity is utilised (morning vs afternoon)
- All solar systems incur losses so it is standard practice to install a higher DC to AC ratio to accommodate for the losses, this is referred to as the “Over-panelling ratio” and is the number of solar panels “kWp” DC to inverter capacity kW AC. A kWp is the kilowatt 'peak' of a system. This is a standardised test for panels across all manufacturers to ensure that the values listed are capable of comparison
- Available budget. Solar systems will save a percentage of your current energy usage costs, but in order to reap these savings the solar system that is installed needs to be installed by professional installers using high quality components. Certain finance options exist which allow for the system to be leased, using an Eskom initiative that helps pay for the system through the energy savings that the solar system provides. Green Wave Energy will calculate your energy savings and Financing options and will put together a proposal for you.
- Green Wave Energy’s professional design and installation consultants will assist with the correct sizing of your solar system, considering energy usage, available space and budget that will result in significant savings for your home or business. All our systems are modular so can grow according to your energy requirements.