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What is anti-islanding on a grid tie inverter?

Linemen who work for the utility company have a dangerous job because they are the people who are dispatched when an electrical line has gone down. Even though most linemen assume the line is live when they reach the scene to repair a broken connection, its still important to think about their safety. That is why most grid tie inverters on the market have an “anti-islanding” function built into the inverter’s software. The term “anti-islanding” refers to a feature of a grid tie inverter that senses when there is an power outage and shuts itself down and stops the production of electricity. There is a common misconception within solar panel and wind turbine consumers that if there was a blackout their grid tied system would keep them going through an outage, well this is not true because of grid tie inverter anti-islanding feature will stop the production of electricity when the gird goes down. You have to realize that when you own a grid tie system, the energy is stored in the grid, so the system is as reliable as the grid itself. When the grid goes down, the anti-islanding feature on the grid tie inverter will realize that either there was a sudden change in system frequency, voltage, rate change of frequency, increase in kW beyond normal levels, or a change in kVAR and shut down the inverter. When the inverter shuts down your system is no longer producing electricity for the safety of the people who will be working on the grid to repair it. There are grid tie inverters that are still under development such as the TerraWatt Power inverter which works during an outage because the inverter redirect the power being generated by a system back into the property without shutting down and keeps the linemen safe because the TerraWatt Power inverter does not send electricity into the grid when it senses there is an...

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AC Sun’s Solar Air Conditioner

A while back I wrote about a solar air conditioner called the Greencore Air that was a highly efficient air conditioner powered by photovoltaic (pv) panels. This week a Danish company AC-Sun, announced they are developing a unique solar air conditioner. We’re fascinated with solar air conditioners because typically these are the largest and most expensive load on homes and businesses across the world, which can make a very cost effective application of solar energy if a company can release a reliable product. The most interesting part about AC-Sun’s solar air conditioners is that instead of using solar panels to generate electricity to power an AC, it uses solar thermal technology which boils water, creates steam to drive a turbine which can cool a room. It’s using the sun’s heat to cool a room! The AC-Sun’s system is based off an already known thermal process, which includes a traditional solar thermal panel that provides energy to an expander that ends up operating a compressor. A compressor is a critical unit in air conditioning and is important in the overall process of creating cool air. Unfortunately, you can’t buy AC-Sun’s solar air conditioner today, they are still developing the product and according to the company the product will be on the market in the middle of 2010. What do you think about solar air conditioners? This is a very interesting niche of solar energy, has anyone seen other companies dabbling in this...

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Touch-screen device for tracking solar panel and home energy usage

Open Energy a company I wrote about recently, that manufactured solar roofing tiles has also announced they are working on a device that helps solar power system owners visualize their home energy usage and solar panel production. The device has a wireless Internet gateway that can show solar power production along side electricity usage. The device can also pull in gas and water usage data that can help home owners make educated decisions on the fly about their resource consumption. Open Energy’s monitoring device will be out on the market next year and will cost between $1,100 to $1,400 USD which includes other monitoring services along with the hardware. More companies are developing ways for consumers to track energy production from solar panels and compare it to a home’s energy usage. Monitoring software and devices are becoming more of a standard when purchasing a solar power system. Traditionally consumers have to rely on reading the LCD screen on an inverter to figure out the production for that day. But a device or web software the analysis of the home energy usage and solar panel production can be analyzed in greater detail. Customers want to know in real time what the system is doing, we are very used to information on demand, these devices, software and hardware help solar electric system owners really understand how their system is...

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Enjoy power while your neighbors sit in the dark.
Oct19

Enjoy power while your neighbors sit in the dark.

This year in the USA, there have been countless natural disasters that have had many Americas sitting in the dark for weeks without access to the energy resources we don’t even appreciate everyday, until they are gone. From the flooding in the Midwest to the hurricanes in Florida and Texas many people that had gas generators thought they would be safe but found themselves paying ridiculous prices at the pump or found it hard to fill up their gas tanks due to the availability of gas during a natural disaster. A solar powered generator can provide reliable electricity for emergencies without the need to refuel. A solar powered generator can recharge itself through the sunlight and can be a tremendous source of electricity for your most critical loads when you most need it. Many customers just don’t like the fumes that traditional gas generators and rather switch to a clean solar powered backup generator to just avoid noxious fumes. Based on customer feedback, we have created a new kit to help people get started with a solar power generator. Our 80W Solar Electric Backup Generator Kit is affordable, easy to setup and includes a high quality battery, inverter, Sharp Solar Panel and charge controller to keep your home or business going through a blackout. Obviously this generator does not have the capacity to power your air conditioner or your entire home for long but its great to keep the lights on, have access to a computer and a cold refrigerator when the electric gird is gone. During an extended blackout, its best to conserve energy and make temporary lifestyle changes until the power is restored. The solar powered backup generator will keep you prepared for the worst case scenarios and being prepared will pay off when your home is the only one on the block that has it’s lights...

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Open Energy’s SolarSave Roofing Tiles

Open Energy Corporation , a company focused on building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) for the residential, commercial and industrial markets showcased a product called the SolarSave Tiles. These tiles have photovoltaic cells embedded within them that create clean energy while maintaining the natural look of your roof. The materials and electric power has a warranty of 25 years and can easily be installed by roofers without any demolition. Unlike traditional solar panels you do not need racking or structural reinforcement for the SolarSave Tiles. The tiles are weather resistant, fire rated, and virtually require no maintenance. There are not that many solar tile products out on the market, although the SolarSave tiles claim to have the highest watts per square foot. Similar to traditional solar panels solar tiles can are scalable, since the product is modular you can grow the system by adding more SolarSave Tiles as your budget increases in the future, the product is easily expandable. The SolarSave Tiles come in black, red and brown colors. What do you think about...

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Day Three: Solar Power International 2008 Exhibits

Solar Power International 2008 has been a blast, what an exciting conference it has been! Today, is the last day the exhibit hall will be open and the crowd is dwindling down and the exhibitors are ready to pack up and go home. Before they close out here and kick us out of the exhibit hall lets take a look at some very exciting products in the rapidly growing solar power industry.Sanyo HIT Double A two faced solar panel, collects energy from the front to the back of the panel! The back face of a HIT Double panel generates electricity from ambient light reflected off surrounding surfaces, and combines with power from the front face of the panel. Depending upon system design and site albedo, this results in up to 30% higher power generation (more kWh) per square foot. These panels are great when mounted on parking and patio covers. Konarka Thin Film Solar Ultra Flexible, lightweight thin film solar cells made out of organic plastics versus silicon. This thin film solution can be integrated into products such as solar backpacks, flexible cell phone battery chargers, the possibilities are endless of where this thin film product can be implemented. As you can see from the picture, indoors in low light level conditions, the flexible thin film roll is producing 4.23 volts. Sharp Solar OnEnergy solar power system includes Sharp Solar Panels, plus a low profile racking system that can be installed on asphalt-shingle, flat-concrete tile and even curved high-profile “Spanish” tile roofs without compromising the integrity of the roof. OnEnergy system is UL listed as a complete system and can be easily retrofitted on existing roofs or installed during new home construction. Sharp also displayed a “thin film” solar panel which are less efficient than traditional silicon based panels but on the flip side cost less per watt. Typically thin film solar panels make most sense when you have a lot of surface area to play with. BP Solar Mounting Systems The Integra Flush and Alternative Mounting systems resembles Sharp’s OnEnergy system. These systems are supposed to look attractive on the roof and are designed to be very streamlined to save the installer time, money and avoid critical mistakes during the process of mounting solar panels to residential roofs. Schott Solar Poly Schott Solar showed off their Poly 225 series which will be manufactured right here in the good ole USA, specifically in New Mexico. The company did not have a spec sheet or to much information on the solar panel since its not out on the market yet, although its been great to see more panels that are...

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