This depends on the type of installation you have. In a simple grid tie installation, your solar system will shut off automatically if the power goes out to protect maintenance crews that might be working to fix the problem. If you have a smart inverter and a secondary power source such as batteries or a back-up generator, the system can automatically transfer to the back-up power. This is more expensive, but worth it for the redundancy in some situations.
Not necessarily. If you live in an area with frequent blackouts, or having power is critical, batteries can be a reliable back-up to solar. Batteries do add a significant cost in materials, installation and ultimately maintenance, so you’ll want to evaluate your options carefully.
The basic concept is that your energy meter looks at the ‘total net production/consumption.’ So you will receive a credit for all the energy you produce from your solar panels that you don’t use (think during the day, solar panels are making electricity, but no one is home (and the lights are off, right?)). Then at night, when everyone is home, the lights are on, etc. you will be charged for the power you use. So you get a credit during the day, and you use that credit to offset the power that you purchase at night. That’s the basics: charged for power you use – credit for power you produce = total amount you own. And that accounting process is called “net-metering.”
It is important to clarify the rules for Net Metering in your area. Not all power providers will “pay” you or carry over any credits from month to month or year to year. If you oversize your system and generally produce more power than you consume, this may not be returned to you in the form of cash.
What are the most efficient solar panels?
All solar panels that will be offered to you work in essentially the same way: they all convert the sun’s rays directly into DC power.
There are three main types of Solar or PV (Photo Voltaic) panels:
1. Mono-Crystalline: These are the most ‘efficient’ at turning sunlight into energy. They are generally a dark blue, appearing almost black. Mono panels are also generally the most expensive.
2. Poly-Crystalline: These are slightly less efficient than Mono panels. The cells are generally a brighter blue, and may appear more ‘speckled’. These are the most widely used solar panels as they have a good blend of efficiency and affordability. They are less expensive than mono-crystalline panels.
3. Thin-film: These panels are often not made with silicon wafers, but made by applying a very, very thin layer of a special ‘paint’ of very fine particles of specific metals. Thin Film are characterized as having a higher efficiency in areas with marginal sunlight, making them an excellent choice if your installation is in an area with typically high cloud cover or has marginal shade. Generally, the cost of this type of panel is the lowest of the three main types of panel.
Solar panels do require sunlight to make energy, however with light or intermittent clouds, your system will continue to produce energy. If there are thick, dark clouds, your system may also temporarily cease producing power all together. This is why all solar installations that need 24/7 power availability should have some sort of storage to be called upon in the event of cloudy or rainy days. Off-grid installations have batteries and possibly a back up generator. On-grid installations save on the cost of batteries by using the grid as their back-up (but lose the redundancy of the batteries if the power goes out).
It’s always nice to think of a ‘the latest and greatest’ technology, or huge short-term improvement, but solar technology is actually pretty established, so big changes in the short-term are unlikely.
The cost and efficiency improvements are incremental, and mainly due to small efficiency gains and manufacturing improvements. Additionally, any really new technology should “stand the test of time” before it is considered proven. If something really revolutionary were to come out, you would probably want to wait a while before taking a chance on it.
It is important to go with a reputable installer to ensure the roof (or other installation site) is prepared properly and there is no negative impact to the structure. Once this is assured, the added equity to the home is often more than the cost of the equipment and installation itself, making it an excellent investment.
In simple terms, solar increases the value of your home and makes it more attractive to the potential buyer, possibly reducing the time necessary to sell your home.
Installing solar is replaces your expensive and volatile electricity bill with a source of stable and cheaper power. Power bills, on average, rise each year and most estimates calculate that your bill will be several times more expensive in 20-years. So solar is an investment in your future.
As an added benefit, your solar power installation is something you control. When the grid is not able to supply power due to mechanical difficulties or shortages, you will still have power to run your lighting and appliances.
With proper installation, modern solar mounting hardware and techniques should cause no more harm or risk to your roof than any other ventilation duct or roof penetration. That said, it is important that your qualified installer pay close attention to the waterproofing of the roof penetrations.
If your roof is older, you may wish to evaluate any repair or maintenance work that needs to be done as it will be more difficult to access once your panels are installed.
Most roof structures in the Philippines are suitable for solar installations. While the ideal orientation of the roof is facing due south, because we are so close to the equator, any offset will have a minimal effect and can generally be recovered by adding an extra panel or two. If your roof is not suitable, or there is not enough area for the number of panels you need, you might be able to place the solar installation elsewhere on your property.
There are many variables in determining if a roof is suitable for a solar system, but the three main ones are: orientation, shading and roof construction/condition.
Shading: While solar panels need direct sunlight for best performance, some shade during parts of the day can be accommodated.
Roof structure and condition can be hard to assess. It is important to have an experienced installer advise you on this.
There are indeed some ways that a ‘ball-park’ price can be given through an online tool, however these are often not accurate because no two homes are the same. If you answer 5-10 questions, and you’re guessing at some or all of them, then the answer you get back may be very far off the mark. We use sophisticated software, years of experience and take into account the complicated utility bill structures, your unique home and location requirements, etc. to give you a customized proposal that is specifically tailored to your situation. Visit our Solar Warehouse/Office to speak with one of our sales technicians and see how you can benefit from solar today!
Many wonder about this ‘new solar technology’, but while there have been some improvements, the actual technology was developed in the 1950’s. NASA was the primary motivation behind the early development of solar technology, so the fundamentals are strong enough to support satellites and astronauts.
Solar panels in general consumer use today are tested in labs and real life to withstand rain, snow, hail, wind and of course the sun. The predecessors of modern solar panels made in the 1970’s are still producing power. Today’s panels also benefit from 60+ years of development and improvement! You can expect that all panels have a life expectancy of up to 25-years.
This is the question, but it’s the same as asking “how much do cars cost”? What kind of system do you want? What is your primary reason for wanting solar (Redundancy from the grid, Power savings, no power infrastructure in my area…). How much reserve capacity do you need? How much do you want to save?
There are numerous factors that go into the cost of a solar array for your home, including the area you live in, the size of your electricity bill, the direction your roof faces (South vs. North), whether you need to be independent of the grid and so on.
There are many “generic” solar calculators on the web, but they have limited value because every additional factor that gets added in the calculator can dramatically change its accuracy. For this reason, our technical staff are standing by, ready to help you calculate your needs.
Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds. Rain actually helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust or dirt. We size our systems to take the average cloud cover in your area into account to achieve 3 – 4 rainy day reserve capacity.
It can be used as a component with separate solar charge controller, ATS or simply as a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).
It is microprocessor controlled which allows you to program it for both on grid and off grid use. Also can be monitored online using smartphone or computer.
Grid Tied Inverter
Used for net metering and it has no off grid capability
Off Grid w/ ATS
Off grid inverter that solar charges batteries and uses the grid as a backup power with an ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) during the raining season.
Off Grid Inverter
It is for remote locations, operates by charging batteries and converting to AC power for your appliances.
Battery amp hour capacity depends on the number of days reserve needed. If three or four rainy days reserve is required then the price can become as much as the cost of the entire system. Using the grid for backup power with an ATS can allow for as little as one rainy reserve day in your battery bank. One of our project managers can calculate the appropriate size for you.
We have a load form we can help you fill up showing the wattage and hours used of each appliance in the house, Once it’s complete one of our project managers will calculate the size needed and make a proposal. If you would like to meet with a project manager first, you can either call us at the numbers below, or visit our warehouse office.
There are two kinds, On Grid charge controller that regulates the voltage to match the grid’s voltage and Off Grid charge controller that regulates voltage for charging batteries. It also controls the power from the battery to the load, there are some protections features that keep the battery from getting over discharged which basically means it will turn off the load (lights, fans, inverter…) if the battery gets low.
Flood lights will spread even lighting across an area with no shadows. This is useful for factories, office buildings and public spaces that want to “blanket” an area with light.
A flood light is different from a spot light in that a spotlight usually has a reflector and lens assembly that concentrates the light to a narrow spot whereas a flood light spreads light everywhere.
Flood lighting is used for general lighting of a large area and spot lights are used for accenting specific points of interest.
In smaller installations, the solar panels send power directly to the SCC (Solar Charge Controller). In larger installations where it is not practical to have wires from many panels making the long run to the Charge Controller, you would use a Combiner Box under the solar array to combine everything into one single pair of wires that runs to the Solar Charge Controller. Not only does the Combiner Box combine wires, but it also has circuit breakers and lightning protection to further protect your system. You can also use the circuit breakers to disconnect the panels at the roof.
Depending on the size and not including any poured concrete foundation, it usually takes just a few hours.
For the our Street and Flood light sizes up to 30w, we can provide precast, interlocking concrete bases and two section poles designed to fit in an 8″ truck bed. These lights can be set up using scaffolding and no special equipment in just a matter of hours. If a concrete foundation is poured in place, it will usually take about a week to cure before the light and battery can be mounted.
Solar panels have a metal frame that, if installed correctly, will have a ground wire attached with adequate size to drain off any electrical charge from nearby or possibly even a direct lightening strike. Since the PV wafers and conductors can become charged from the lightening EMF, there should also be a lightening protector in the circuit, usually in the combiner box. This will prevent any errant voltages from the surging into the controller or inverter operating in the system. If the PV array is not properly grounded, or if there isn’t adequate lightening protection, there is a chance of damage to the equipment and possible injury to people.
A Solar Water Pump is designed to power a water pump directly from the solar panel without the need of a battery or grid power. This is cost effective because it does not require a battery or additional wiring or installation to connect to grid power. This the most efficient use of power because there is no loss of power going through a battery. When the sun shines on the solar panel, the pump automatically runs and the flow is either continuous, or it is controlled by a float switch in the case of use with a tank. When a cloud passes over, it will reduce the amount of flow from the pump as it is directly powered from the solar panel.
RGB, in reference to LED lighting refers to Red, Green, Blue lighting. The RGB lights combine these three colors to produce varying hues or color combinations of light. Looking closely at the chip in an RGB LED flood light, you will see three rows of diodes and looking even closer, you may be able to see that each row represents one of these colors. When you mix these colors with varying intensities, you can create all the colors of the rainbow.
The solar cells are made of silicon that has been combined with other materials in such a way that there are extra electrons in one part of the cell and missing electrons in another part of the cell.
When the sunlight strikes the cell, photons in the light knock some of the extra electrons loose from the silicon, and they flow to the part of the cell that is missing electrons. This flow produces an electrical current that eventually reaches the inverter, where it gets converted into usable electricity.