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Solar Power Cables – Ensuring Maximum Efficiency without Compromising on Safety
Dec22

Solar Power Cables – Ensuring Maximum Efficiency without Compromising on Safety

Image Source: ecopoweredsolutions.com.au Ecological concerns are catalyzing the adoption and use of solar power in a variety of environments – from rooftop solar systems to large-scale distribution plants. Eco-friendly and inexpensive, the solar energy is efficiently addressing environmental concerns by generating non-polluting electricity. The recent developments in solar technology include safe and reliable solar power cables used in the generation and transmission of power. These cabling solutions are designed for improving efficiency and reducing cost while ensuring reliable performance and durability. Solar installations and photovoltaic panels are driving innovation in solar cable technology and new standards are being established for robust and safe designing of solar power cables. Emerging Trends for Power Cables in Solar Applications Solar energy systems offer considerable benefits for the environment as compared to conventional sources of energy. However, generating solar energy from renewable sources requires a robust cabling system that is designed to maximize energy-efficiency and minimize the risk and losses. This enables optimum generation of power that can reach the respective substations for timely transmission to the grid. Cables used for solar power generation must offer a much higher voltage range as compared to the standard rating of 600V used in conventional applications. Solar power cables to be used between substations and transformers should be developed to incorporate improved resistance to UV rays and ozone while ensuring lower line loss and cooler operations. Engineered to serve a high voltage range of up to 2000V, solar power cables are subjected to long-term sunlight exposure. The end-use of solar power cables is very different from the power cables used in wind and thermal generation. In order to ensure safety, reliability, flexibility and performance even in sub-zero conditions, solar cables must be resistant to water absorption and deformation under extreme installation conditions. Keeping all these factors in mind, special solar power cables have been engineered to ensure complete reliability and safety. These cables are specifically designed to facilitate fast and easy connections in utilities and large-scale power generation plants. Cables that simplify the installation process and eliminate inconsistencies that arise in field terminations are also being designed. Feeder cables that are used for connecting inverters with combiner boxes are now available as an all-in-one solution that does not need a conduit. PV power cables also come in different color codes to facilitate easy identification of output, source, and circuits, thus eliminating the need to tag cables. Key Challenges in the Development of Solar Power Cables Despite the fact that solar technology has a promising future and given the recent developments in solar power cables, this emerging trend is not without challenges. Standards, regulations, and codes make...

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Utility Companies’ Masochistic Policies
Dec22

Utility Companies’ Masochistic Policies

2016 was a good year for solar. The year saw a five year extension of the federal solar Incentive Tax Credits (ITC), allowing homeowners to write-off up to 30% of the costs of a home solar installation. Then there was a record number of solar installations, which beat 2015 by 191% according to a SEIA and GTM Research paper. Add to this the enjoyable stat that in 2016 a handful of countries saw the price of solar drop drastically below the price of gas and coal. Taking into account all of the solar industry’s positive achievements over the year, it’s no wonder that many of America’s state sanctioned utility companies have had a knee jerk reaction, pushing to increase their “fixed charges” fees up to 80% in some states. A 50 States Solar report for 2016 shows that utilities in 18 states outlined such proposals, attempting to charge customers more for fixed charges, despite the fact many of them consumed less energy either by switching to renewables or installing energy saving appliances. These backwards and short sighted tactics to subtly and dissuade people from switching to solar might have short term financial benefits for utility companies, but harmful long term consequences. As solar technology exponentially improves, and KW per hour energy prices decline, utility companies are turning a blind eye to the global trend of switching to renewable energies. As utility companies try and pressure consumers to stay by increasing fixed costs, these companies are only hurting themselves. Building new coal plants is a 30-50 year investment costing millions and one that is likely to pay less and less dividends in a future fueled by renewable energies....

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Utility companies are slowing the advancement of first world countries
Dec15

Utility companies are slowing the advancement of first world countries

Much in the same way many third world countries such as India and Africa leapfrogged building a landline infrastructure and switched straight to mobile phones, Bloomberg Technology recently reported that the same trends are now starting to happen with solar and other renewable energies. The difference? Landlines didn’t have powerful companies fighting tooth and nail to stop first world nations from advancing. When it comes to the majority of established utility companies in the US, most of these entities are doing their best to deter customers from pulling the plug and declaring their independence from fossil fuels. Take Florida’s anti-solar ballot, for instance, which utility companies misleadingly tried to advertise as “pro-solar” until grass-root movements of actual pro-solar advocates exposed the misinformation campaign. Luckily, such actions led for the ballot to be overwhelmingly defeated, opening the state’s flood gates to solar competitors to provide people with clean, affordable energy. Other states like Nevada, however, weren’t so fortunate. There, utility companies successfully won a court decision to repeal promised state incentives to people who had already switched to solar–effectively stunting the industry’s growth there for years to come. The result of such aggressive efforts by gas and coal-fed utility companies throughout the US and other first world nations has slowed the spread of solar energy enough to the point where, for the first time ever, second and third world countries have surpassed their first world counterparts for capital spent on emerging energy markets. A report entitled “Climatescope” by Bloomberg Technology shows the emerging markets of China, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa, and India outspent wealthier countries on renewable energy growth by nearly half a billion dollars! This is due to the fact that oil pipelines and power plants aren’t as predominant in less industrialized countries, making the costs more expensive and volatile than the steadily declining costs of PV solar. Such countries didn’t install solar because they were trying to do good by way of the environment, but because the cost per a KW hour was, in some cases, nearly half as cheap. One can’t help imagining what it might have been like 20 years ago had there been powerful landline companies trying to restrain Americans from switching to mobile phones while the rest of the world advanced ahead. When it comes to renewable energy, however, that seems to be the case, and their motivation is no mystery: If everyone in the world suddenly became energy dependent, they’d be out of a...

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Utah residents rush to install solar before prices increase
Dec09

Utah residents rush to install solar before prices increase

“Utah homeowners install solar in the dead of winter as they rush to lock in better net-metering rates before they increase on Dec 9. Photo courtesy of The Salt Lake Tribune Chris Detrick” A new net metering rate for Utah solar homeowners sparked a explosion of last minute customers rushing to sign up for Rocky Mountain Power’s program in the month leading up its Dec 9 cutoff. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the utility company had received more than 2,000 residential solar applications in the last month since the proposed rate change was announced. Previously it had averaged just 1,300 applications a month. “Applications are definitely up,” Ryan Evans, president of the Utah Solar Energy Association said, pointing out that some residents even submitted net metering applications before committing to purchase solar installations so that they might “get in line” before the deadline. Under the proposed rate change, Utah customers switching to solar after Dec 9 could see up to a 35 percent increase on their monthly bill due to increaed “sevice charges” and a new “demand charge” It comes as no surprise Utah’s solar proponents have opposed the utilities rate hikes. Dim hopes that the state’s Public Service Commission would delay or reject the cutoff line before Dec 9 looked less likely as the day drew to a close. Other states experiencing similar push backs from utility companies to increase monthly rates for new solar homeowners has been the norm in 2016 and is only expected to get worse during the following years under a Trump presidency. If you want to know whether you’re home is in an area that still has healthy incentives and rebates, which haven’t yet been curtailed by anti-solar policies, contact GoGreenSolar.com or call (888)...

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Everything You Need to Know: DIY Solar Installation
Dec09

Everything You Need to Know: DIY Solar Installation

Solar power is becoming a more and more popular option for energy. This is the age of going green with hybrid cars, e-books, and, you guessed it, solar power. It may seem like a major expense, but it’s one that eventually pays for itself in savings. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know, consider and do to install it yourself. What You Should Know Before Installation Be sure to do tons of research before starting this project. Use the internet for its wealth of knowledge and search for instructional videos to see how exactly it’s done. It’s important to acquire some wiring and voltage knowledge. Read up on each before beginning. Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations of your town for projects like this. Learn the process for obtaining any permits you need to start and complete the solar power installation. Decide whether you are doing an “on the grid” or “off the grid” power source. In most cases, it is best to do on the grid. This means you stay connected to your utility company. If you don’t generate enough power for your needs you’re covered by the utility company. What You Need to Start Your supply list should include: solar modules, a power inverter, PV disconnect, your breaker box, and a net meter. The solar modules are the panels you’ll be installing. These are what collect energy from the sun. A power inverter is needed to turn the energy current collected by the panels into a current your house can use. PV disconnects allow you to cut the power so no one is electrocuted while working on the system. The collected solar energy connects to your home through your breaker box. Finally, a net meter measures how much energy you give or take from the power grid. Calculate Your Energy Calculating your energy is important in determining the kit you’ll purchase and the layout you’ll install. There are calculator apps you can use right on your phone to calculate your energy uses. All you need is your electric bills. Your electric bill will tell you how much energy you consume. You’ll also need to find out the peak sun hours of your location. This is a number of hours your area gets sunlight. Take the energy amount you use in a day and divide it by the number of daily peak sun hours and that amount is the kW you’ll need in panels. What Kind of Panels Will You Need Crystalline and thin-film are the two basic types of panels. Crystalline panels are the more commonly used option. They have a 40-year lifespan...

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