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The New StorEdge from SolarEdge
May05

The New StorEdge from SolarEdge

How does StorEdge compare to existing battery solutions? Fewer components, less expensive, easier to install, better Tech Support, more mature product line. Here is a typical StorEdge installation: Features that make StorEdge better: A)  All of the StorEdge components (including the LG Chem battery) are exterior rated.  The Sonnen is interior rated only. Most people do not have room in their garage for a Sonnen cabinet, let alone in their living room as shown in their brochures. B)  The StorEdge inverter is the solar inverter.  Sonnen recharges from the grid, and requires the addition of solar equipment.  The battery bank has the same high DC voltage and low amps as a solar array, so the inverter can easily invert the DC power to AC; whether it is coming from the solar array or battery. C) StorEdge allows the homeowner to install solar now (to cut utility bills) and add the battery later.  Sonnen is grid-tie battery backup only.  Solar is NOT included. D) StorEdge has the ability to perform Zero Export (do NOT backfeed the grid, self-consumption only) which is required for homeowners in Hawaii.  Sonnen can NOT perform this function and requires the solar equipment, such as a SolarEdge install, to do it. Technical Details: Many people wanting battery storage are familiar with the traditional 48v battery banks, but the StorEdge design is very different from the traditional 48V battery storage system. Anybody with a SolarEdge 7600 that wants to add battery storage can get it with an Autoformer and a LG Chem battery. The StorEdge marketing still makes a lot of noise about Powerwall 1 and 2 being compatible (which they are) but Powerwalls are NOT available to us through our distributors, so they are off the radar for DIY installs.  The LG Chem is a very good battery made by a bankable company.  They don’t have the media hype of Tesla, but it is every bit as good.  I have seen the LG battery up-close and personal, and they did a nice job on the enclosure. Here’s what makes the StorEdge design better: 1)  The 350v of DC power coming from the Optimizers is fed DIRECTLY into the battery. Note: In a traditional 48v battery system (such as the Sonnen), there is an Inverter/Charger that reduces the 350v to 48v.  Eliminating this step simplifies the design, and is more efficient since there is no conversion loss as the Charge Controller circuits adjust the output power.  It also eliminates an expensive piece of equipment, reducing the system price-point; as well as eliminating a point of failure.  Moreover, an Inverter/Charger is generally expected to last 5+ years.  Conversely, the StorEdge inverter life expectancy is 12 years...

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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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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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Roof Mount Innovations
May19

Roof Mount Innovations

Pigeon coops, gardens, athletic facilities and power generation–over the last century, roof tops have seen a diversification of uses in addition to their job of keeping out nasty weather. When it comes to mounting solar panels on your roof, it’s important to keep in mind its original function, and make sure any new additions don’t stop it from completed its first and foremost job. Staving off the elements is no easy task–sun, rain and wind can damage even the toughest of materials over time, which is why heavy duty shingling and tar are commonly prefered for their robust qualities. Drilling holes to mount solar panels into a roof can compromise the material’s integrity and, sometimes, using the proper mounting technique is not enough. New age solar mounting technology and hardware like those made by our industry favorite, IronRidge anticipate the bad weather a system is likely to encounter and include subtle design features that make a huge difference. The IronRidge FlashFoot attachment, which holds racking mounts to a roof, uses a patented bushing that snuggly compresses into an L-foot cavity. This seal creates a dual shield with complete protection against water intrusion. This small design tweak eliminates the need for depending on caulking, which will eventually dry up, crack and cause leaks. Additionally, the 12 inch flashing support squares that support the attachment have an elevated platform to control watershed so water doesn’t pool up.     The innovation continues with the IronRidge Mounting RX system, which has a curved shape to resist the vertical and lateral pressures that panels might incur due to high winds. Previously, the industry standard was to use flush roof supports and shape the rails square at 90 degrees. Small design design changes such of as these can lead to thousands of dollars in savings on eventual roof repairs.   As the industry continues to grow and mounts become more common, no doubt even more innovations will occur helping our roofs evolve to become one of the home’s most useful...

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Self Install Tips and Tricks
Mar31

Self Install Tips and Tricks

When it comes to do-it-yourself projects like converting your home to solar, tapping into that “handy fusion reactor in the sky called the sun” can at times seem an overwhelming project to undertake.   However, the benefits can equate to over a 50% savings in setup costs (not to mention well deserved bragging rights), which is enough to appeal to many a handy person to strap on their tool belt and give it a shot.     If you’re the type who enjoys taking on such ambitious projects, we’ve compiled a few basic tips and tricks that will hopefully save you time and frustration down the road: Divide by 4: The goal isn’t to cover every square inch of roof with as many panels as it can fit, but rather enough panels to meet your energy consumption.   A quick way to estimate how much energy you will need your panels to produce is to look at your energy bill, take your highest kilowatt usage and divide by four.   Four is the low-end estimate of average peak sunlight hours in most places on earth. Many places such as California and Arizona will get more than this, but staying conservative with your calculations of how much sunlight you expect the panels to receive is always a better call.   For example, the average U.S. household uses around 30 kw of energy a day according the US EIA and, at worst, probably gets around 4 peak sunlight hours, it would be safe to assume such a household will need enough panels to harvest around 7.5 Kws of power a day.      If you want to get specific with your calculations you can check out the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Isolation Map to see how much light your longitude and latitude can expect to receive during the year.   Aim for the equator: When determining where to point your solar panels, a good starting point is to face them towards the equator.   With this general bearing in mind, do some research to determine if there are any shade obstructions in the area from mountains, trees or neighboring structures that might merit slightly shifting the direction of the panels to the east or west in order to collect the most sunlight.   If you can’t find an area that will always be shade free during peak hours, consider installing micro-inverters or power optimizers on your panels so you don’t dampen the power output of your entire system.   Hire a professional to create a permit package: We know, you want to do this project yourself otherwise you wouldn’t be scrolling...

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#DIY | Do It Yourself Solar Installations
Mar03

#DIY | Do It Yourself Solar Installations

Solar panels are a smart investment for modern, eco-conscious homeowners, but many people feel inhibited by the cost of installation. Fortunately, materials are starting to decrease in price and installation is becoming more manageable. At Modernize, we are watching homeowners reap the rewards of solar energy while saving thousands of dollars by tackling large scope projects like this on their own. If you are relatively handy, have a Smart Phone or Internet access, and are ready to harness the sun’s abundant energy for your home, it’s time to consider DIY solar installation. Know How Are you comfortable working with wiring? Safety is always the first priority in any home improvement project. Make sure you are well-versed with the dos and don’ts of high voltage wiring before attempting this project. Determining the correct panel placement and angle to harness maximum energy is pivotal. Precision is key to making this project worth your time and money. In addition to handy know-how, you also need to be prepared to navigate compliance laws and obtain permits before beginning your project. If you have the time and resources to do your own research and legwork, you will save the cost of hiring a company paying multiple people to perform these duties. Help From The Internet If you have Internet access, you have help with your installation. There really is an app for almost anything. Search for online calculators to determine the size of the kit that you will need, based on information found on your utility bills.   Measuring Solar Energy Savings Once your solar panels are installed, you will want to see how long it takes to recoup the cost of the materials. While you will save thousands of dollars by installing your solar panels yourself, this project will still be costly up front—but it won’t be long before you break even, and possibly profit from the investment.   After installing home solar, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit, and possibly a state tax credit. Be sure to research your state’s requirements, as some do require that the installation is performed by licensed installers. If these incentives are awarded, a sizable percentage may be recouped right off the bat. Finally, the value of your home will increase substantially with the addition of solar panels. A buyer’s offer may pay for your project in full if the attractive feature of energy-saving, money-saving solar panels sparks a bidding war. Research Make sure you have all of your research done before spending a dime on this project. You want to be sure that you are capable of handling the project in its entirety....

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