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top 4 solar photovoltaic grid tie inverter features

Most grid tie inverters that are included in a solar electric system are over 90% percent efficient and include the following features: Weather Proof Enclosure – most grid tie inverters from Kaco Solar, Fronius, SMA, Xantrex, Enphase Energy and other major manufacturers are designed to be installed outdoors because they have weatherproof enclosures. AC/DC Disconnects – Newer grid tie inverters have built in AC/DC disconnects for safety and could have an over current protection feature. Some people like to add additional disconnects around the inverter to remove the inverter if it needs to be serviced. Ground Fault Protection – The National Electric Code (NEC) requires that roof mounted solar electric systems must be grounded. Most grid tie inverters have built in ground fault protection built into the inverter. Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) – tracking the peak power point of a solar panel array is important to maximizing your energy harvest. Solar grid tie inverters on the market today take advantage of MPPT technology. Are there any other features of a solar grid tie inverter that you think is important, that we missed on this...

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The disadvantages of grid tie solar with battery backup

Many people, for some reason want to add a battery backup to their grid tie solar power systems in the USA even though in most areas we have a very reliable gird. The security of having a little power for critical loads during a black out comes with significant disadvantages which include: you will have to install more components compared to simple grid tie system Batteries will require maintenance and will add significantly to the final cost of the system. efficiency loss will occur due to charging batteries. up to 15% loss in performance. your not going to be able to power your entire home or business off a solar power grid tie backup system. I live in Los Angeles, we don’t have many power outages here, so its really not worth a battery backup unless I am worried about the next big earthquake in our area. For disaster purposes it maybe better to have a separate backup generator that is not connected to the solar power system but only used when the power goes out for a long period of time. What do you think? Are batteries worth the...

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Increase the performance of a solar array 25% to 30%

Solar panels are typically mounted stationary although on larger solar array installations it makes sense to add a system that tracks the sun across the sky to increase the overall performance of the system significantly. Unfortunately, the majority of residential solar power systems are not on trackers because they increase the upfront cost of the solar power system and require maintenance costs because of the moving parts. There are two major type of solar photovoltaic trackers: single axis – follows the sun’s azimuth but not its altitude dual axis – follows the sun’s azimuth and altitude Typically trackers are used in large utility scale or commercial solar panel installation, although I have heard of home very savvy homeowners who built their own tracking systems, but I have no idea how much performance they increased and the ease of operation of a home built tracking systems. When most people ask me if a tracking system is good for their home solar power system, I let people know that current tracking technology is not at a point in which it makes sense for smaller solar array installations. The graph above shows the performance of the RayTracker by EI Innovations over a conventional fixed mount solar array. The company claims that there is no scheduled maintenance associated with their tracking system, that’s pretty impressive. Wouldn’t you say...

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The importance of ground fault protection

Don’t want to get electrocuted by your solar power system? Make sure you have ground fault protection in check. Most grid tie inverters such as the Xantrex GT Series have built in ground fault protection. According to NEC (National Electric Code) for solar photovoltaics states all roof mount solar photovoltaic arrays must have ground fault protection. What ground fault protection does is grounds the inverter itself through a grounding rod which prevents you from being shocked when touching the inverter. The picture above is the Xantrex GT series PV Ground Fault Breakers that disconnects the solar photovoltaic array if a ground fault occurs in the wiring. Grounding your system also limits voltages due to line surges, lightning, or accidental contact with higher voltage lines. In addition grounding stabilizes voltages because the earth is a common reference point for the system. If there are over current devices on the system grounding provides a path for these devices to operate. Does this make sense? Without being too technical, its important that your system is grounded for obvious reasons, and since most grid tie inverters come with ground fault protection you have no excuse not to ground your solar photovoltaic...

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top 5 tips to size a solar power system that fits your budget.

My day consists of helping many people size their solar power system to fit their budgets. If your considering a solar power system for your home or small business, I would consider the following 7 tips to help you size you solar power system: 1. Figure out what is the maximum you are willing to spend on a complete solar power system. Are you going to install yourself or hire a professional? The answer to this question will have an impact on your budget. 2. How much space do you have to install solar panels? If your in the northern hemisphere of the world, which includes the USA. Then the best location to point your panels is south. In the southern hemisphere of the world you would point your panels north to maximize on the peak sun. 3. How much of your electric bill do you want to offset using solar panels? Remember solar power systems are expandable so you can add more capacity in the future. 4. Investigate tax credits, rebates from utility companies, government incentives, and other incentives that you qualify for. call your utility company and ask if they have a solar power rebate program. If your in the USA, ask your tax consultant about the federal tax credit for renewable energy systems. 5. Popular ways to finance a solar power system include for your home are home equity loans, loans from your 401k, lines of credit, and unsecured credit. For small businesses, equipment leases and power purchasing agreements are popular. what do you think is the most difficult aspect of getting started with solar? Is it difficult to figure out how many solar panels you...

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hot weather, bad for solar panels, is that right?

You would think that during the scorching summer, you would produce to most electricity out of your solar panels, but most likely you won’t. I will tell you how you can produce more electricity out of solar panels during the hottest days, but first we have to understand why solar panels do not perform well in hot weather. Heat in the case of photovoltaic solar panels is a electrical resistance to the flow of electrons. During hot conditions, not only does a solar panel become less efficient but the voltage decreases thus meaning you will produce less kWh (kilowatt-hours) on days 75 degrees and above. You have to remember, the temperature on the roof is higher then inside your home. Airflow on all sides of solar panels is critical to the overall performance of your solar power system. Some solar panels, such as the Sanyo Solar Panels are specifically designed to have a better temperature coefficient which perform better then standard solar panels in high heat conditions. So when comparing multiple solar panels you should always look into the temperature coefficient and make sure your panel will perform well when the weather gets...

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