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grid tie inverters have software

Think of a grid tie inverter as the brain of your solar electric system, without a grid inverter solar panels alone would be not be able to interface with the grid. Just like your computer, a grid tie inverter has a processor that allows software to run which makes the concept of connecting a solar power system to the grid possible. The software on inverters control the power stage which makes the power produced sine wave, the signal that’s compatible with the grid and required by most appliances. Inverter software is responsible for the MPPT (maximum power point tracking), a standard feature on most grid tie inverters which keeps the dc voltage and current at optimal levels to squeeze more efficiency out of your system. The software turns the inverter on in the morning and shuts it off at night. Now that you have realized that software on the inverter a critical element, its important the inverter you purchase has reliable software to keep your solar panels in tune with the...

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the point of grid interconnection

Weather you’re connecting a solar electric system or a wind turbine to the grid you will require a point of interconnection. The NEC (National Electric Code) allows a grid tie inverters to be connected on the load side of your electrical service disconnecting means. Each grid tie inverter must be connected by its own dedicated circuit breaker or fuse. There was a change in the 2008 NEC that allows the sum of the supply breakers to be 120% of the busbar ratings for both commercial and residential solar pv installations. This change in the NEC rules allows small solar pv systems to be interconnected without having to upgrade the service panel. Grid interconnection is quite complex, it’s not as easy as simply wiring your grid tie inverter into the service panel. This information is good to know weather your the person conducting the installation or intend to hire a professional to grid tie your solar electric system, you must make sure your installation is up to NEC...

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what’s low voltage disconnect?

If your shopping for a charge controller for your solar panels, then you may have crossed a term called Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD), ever wonder why the prices of charge controllers that have LVD are higher than controllers that don’t have the LVD feature? Obviously people who buy charge controllers for their solar electric systems have battery based systems and the purpose of standard charge controllers are to keep the solar panels from overcharging the batteries (which can permanently damage batteries). A charge controller with an LVD feature, not only keeps the solar panels from being overcharged but also prevents batteries from becoming over discharged. If the solar array does not provide sufficient charge to offset the daily load requirements you are at risk of damaging your battery bank. If more than 80% of full charge is discharged from lead acid batteries and the battery is left in a discharged state for weeks or months, the batteries will be damaged permanently, which will cost you a lot of money to replace. LVD monitors the state of charge (SOC) and automatically disconnects the loads from batteries if a certain discharge threshold has been reached thus protecting your batteries from being over discharged. Typically an alarm system notifies you that the battery bank needs attention before the loads are cut off. A charge controller with LVD gives you both overcharging and over discharging protection in one single...

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simple calculation for solar pv payback

Too many people call us everyday and ask how the figure out the payback period of an investment in a solar pv system. Today, I wanted to focus on showing you how to simply calculate how long it will take you to break even on a solar electric system you maybe considering for a home or business. (Total system cost after incentives) + (Maintenance costs x Equipment lifetime)—————————————————————————————————-(Annual system kWh production) x (Your electric rate cost per kWh) Maintenance costs = $0.02/Annual system kWh productionEquipment lifetime = 25 – 30 years You can forecast annual system kWh production using PVWatts Check your electric bill for your cost per kWh, if you can’t figure out what your average cost for every unit of electricity you consume, then it’s going to be impossible to forecast a payback period for your investment in a solar electric system. Get to know your electric...

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what’s the solar path finder all about?

If you want the best performing solar electric system, you need to identify your optimal solar window. The solar pathfinder is a non-electric device that you can use to find out the entire year’s solar potential for your project site. This simple tool will help you find the optimal location to install your solar array. Site analysis is important because the path of the sun changes through out the year and what may not be a shading issue today may become one as the seasons change. Using the pathfinder assistant gives you the ability to combine the power of your computer to generate great solar access reports. Check out the video, what do you think about the solar path...

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smarter solar pv combiner boxes

Monitoring a solar array’s performance on a string by string basis was typically only common on utility scale solar panel farms. Although thanks to PV Powered’s IntelliString combiner boxes now most solar arrays on commercial buildings have an affordable and simple method to deploy string monitoring that can become a standard option for commercial solar photovoltaic systems. The IntelliString combiner boxes are offered in 8-string and 16-string versions and has an integrated Obvius DC Solar Current Monitor, which is robust and easy to use. Since central inverters are dependent on a string of solar panels as an input, most installations the combiner box lacks the ability to monitor each string. Typically most solar electric systems that have performance monitoring shows the output of the entire solar array. Without the ability to monitor each string you can only get a broad overview of the performance of your overall solar electric system. People who want to be able to monitor their residential solar electric systems on a string by string basis they’re out of luck until there is an affordable method to deliver more detailed performance data even on the solar electric systems with central inverters. Do you think its important to monitor a solar electric systems performance down to the string...

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