Yearly Archives

2015

BENEFITS OF POWER OPTIMIZER IN A SOLAR PV SYSTEM

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Power optimizers are a module-level power electronics solution that can be installed on-site or integrated during the manufacturing of solar panel. Power optimizers offer many benefits to solar PV systems including the following.

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  • Increased energy yield: Through maximum power point tracking at panel level, power optimizers lessen the power loss caused by a number of factors including variances in module power, partial shading, soiling and/or uneven aging.
  • Real-time, module-level monitoring: Power optimizers enable module-level performance monitoring, reducing maintenance time and cost while increasing system uptime.
  • Enhanced safety: Power optimizers also provide protection for workers during PV system installation, maintenance and firefighters. Design flexibility: Through maximum power point tracking at panel level, power optimizers enable module mixing and placement of modules on different planes.

Overall, power optimizers offer immediate and long-term financial benefits from higher energy production from each module and reduced maintenance cost.

SOLAR BATTERIES – RE-EMERGING STRONGER THAN BEFORE

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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

In the mid-1990s solar PV had only one integration option that is with batteries. At that time very little support from governments, the off-grid (not connected to an electric grid) market was the dominant driver of solar business globally. Then solar PV was paired with lead-acid batteries and sold to people who had no other choice for electricity; even today this is the option for most of remote regions around the world.

California offered some of the first incentives for solar systems connected to utility grid in 1996. At that time frame, Germany and Japan also beefed up promotion laws, creating a strong burst of activity for the grid-tied solar (connected to an electric grid) market globally.

In 1997, nearly two-thirds of worldwide solar deployment was off-grid. Three years later, around 2000 grid-tied installations outpaced off-grid installations globally for the first time.

Over the last decade and a half, battery storage went from being the core enabler of solar PV to a marginal technology. Battery-based systems now only represent around one percent of yearly solar installations throughout the world.

But the industry is getting back to those roots and embracing storage once again. As lithium-ion batteries get cheaper and more abundant attention has turned back to batteries. In Germany, as feed-in tariff rates dipped below retail rates from the grid, batteries have become more popular to serve self-consumption.

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This time, interest in the technology is not coming from off-grid system designers; it is coming from Silicon Valley and savvy industry veterans who see it as the next big business opportunity.

Electric car manufacturer Tesla last week unveiled a suite of batteries for homes and businesses. It is not the only battery storage system on the market, but Tesla’s sleek-designed, wall-mounted batteries will definitely help to accelerate the use of solar batteries.

This time in addition to providing backup power when the grid is down, replacing noisy, dirty fossil fuel generators with zero-emission storage technology batteries are also coming with additional features that will reduce energy costs by using stored energy to reduce peak electricity demand.

Solar with energy storage is transforming the way electricity generated and delivered to end customers across the world. Grid will transform from primary source for electricity to back up source; with this trend we believe in the next decade, customers will decide what they want to pay the utility.

IMPORTANCE OF SOLAR MONITORING SYSTEM.

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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

At New Dawn Energy Solutions we provide solar monitoring system with each and every solar PV solutions we provide to our customers and it is included in the price we quote. So why do we do this?

Solar power systems do not make any noise hence by looking at it one cannot say whether it is working or not. If one does not have a solar monitoring system only way to check its operation is to look at the inverter display or the utility meter. It is obviously challenging for people go near these equipment and check them regularly. It is much more cost effective and convenience to have a monitoring system that can be checked from anywhere using computer, tablets or smart phones.

Solar monitoring also helps to cut costs by providing insights into a solar power system. For example monitoring system help to identify any issues with solar power system early so that system owners can act proactively and perform preventive maintenance when required otherwise may lead to financial impacts.

Monitoring system also helps to compare the electricity generation from your solar power system with your billing data from your utility.

Even if you don’t check the performance of your solar power system with solar monitoring system regularly it will email you to alert when there is an issue that needs your attention.

Solar monitoring is available at system level and panel level. System level monitoring provide insight into how a solar power system is performing as a whole unit.

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Whereas panel level monitoring provide insight into how each solar panels that make up the solar power system. A panel level monitoring system enable to pin point any issues associated with a solar power system to a single panel. Because of this feature a panel level monitoring improve the financial performance of a solar power system and reduce the cost of maintenance cost when maintenance needed.

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At New Dawn Energy Solutions we offer both system level and panel level monitoring and recommend having panel level monitoring.

HOW SNOW AFFECTS YOUR SOLAR POWER SYSTEM

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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

The top ten warmest years on record worldwide have all occurred since 1998, and the world has experienced an increase in heavy precipitation and extreme temperatures in recent years. This year winter being dramatic with record low temperatures, it’s hard to deny the rising trend of extreme weather patterns in our planet.

Due to record low temperatures, pile of snow is still on the roof covering everything including solar panels and leaving many solar power system owners wondering whether they should shovel off the snow from solar panels. So we want to provide some tips about snow and solar power system, so people can focus on more important things like staying safe and warm during extreme weather.

Don’t worry about shoveling snow off your solar panels; once the temperature is back to normal range snow will slide off the solar panel faster.

Passing through the snow some rays of sunlight always hit the dark surface of the solar panels. When this happen solar panel produces electricity and during this process some heat also generated on the surface of solar panel. This heat melts the snow closer to the solar panel surface and create hydro plane between the solar panel and snow. Hydro plane formed this way causes the snow to slide off the smooth solar panel glass surface faster. As we all know this winter temperature has been record low consequently heat generated on the solar panel surface is not enough to create a hydro plane, hence snow has been piling up on the panels. With the temperature returning closer to normal ranges, last few days we have already started seeing snow sliding off from solar panels on more inclined roof planes and soon it will propagate to solar panels on low inclined roof plane as well.

Trying to rake off snow from solar panels surface not only could harm the panels by scratching them but also could harm you, were you to slip and fall or be caught under snow and ice falling from your roof. Don’t worry about solar energy production either. Accumulated snow can cover panels and temporarily reduce the production; in general, solar power system doesn’t produce as much solar energy during the winter months due to shorter sunlight days.

After the snow clears from solar panels they may perform better due to lower temperature and additional reflected sun light solar panels receive from snow on other surfaces and on the ground. Over the years we have also observed that Mother Nature has her own balancing act and you will actually see an increase in production in coming months which will results in similar annual production as past years.

If you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments below or feel free to give us a call!

ONTARIO SOLAR MARKET UPDATE

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ONTARIO SOLAR MARKET UPDATE

Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA), the organization that coordinated province wide Micro FIT, FIT and conservation programs, plans the electricity system for the long term has merged with the Independent Electricity System Operator to form a new organization that carry the name Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). The IESO currently balances demand for electricity against available supply through the wholesale market and directs the flow of electricity across the transmission system.

The previous responsibilities of both organizations will continue after the merger, including the operation of the microFIT Program. With regard to existing microFIT contracts, the IESO will be substituted for the OPA as the counterparty to the microFIT contracts. Going forward, all new microFIT documents will be branded as the IESO to reflect the new organization.

All OPA email addresses have transitioned from the old ‘@powerauthority.on.ca’ extension to the new ‘@ieso.ca’ extension on January 1, 2015. Phone numbers will remain the same.

As we informed earlier new Micro FIT rate also came into effect as of January 01, 2015 and new FIT rate came into effect as of September 30, 2014. Table below list the current FIT and Micro FIT tariffs.

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All Micro FIT applications receive IESO’s approval after January 01, 2015 and FIT applications receive IESO’s contract after September 30, 2014 will be paid tariff listed on the table above.

IESO also expect to announce enhancement to FIT and Micro FIT programs by mid-2015. Following are the enhancements currently under consideration.

ENHANCEMENTS UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR MICRO FIT PROGRAM

Expand the Micro FIT eligible participants to include: charities, conservation authorities and businesses.

Increase the per Applicant project ownership Limit

Context: Under the current rules, Individuals and Farmers, as defined in the Eligible

Increase the project ownership limit for eligible participants to more than one project per Applicant.

Utilities to accommodate in-Series Metering in Micro FIT projects where it will be able to meet Measurement Canada’s requirements and be able to properly settle accounts with in-series metered projects.

Extend the duration to connect a Micro FIT project from the Application Approval Notice to 240 days from current 180 days.

ENHANCEMENTS UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR FIT PROGRAM

Priority points for price bid-down a bid-down allows projects with lower development costs to take advantage and bid the lower price that their project can accommodate.

Removing Project Type Priority Points – this would prevent projects with municipal, co-op or aboriginal participation to dominate the procurement and would enable cost-savings by broadening the range of potential ownership models.

Removing certain renewable fuel types from FIT program due to inactivity in those fuel types.

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