Solar Panels and Power in Adelaide
If you’re looking for reasons to switch to solar as your main source of power, then you’ve come to the right place. A large number of Australians are switching to solar panels due to the economic and environmental benefits. So much so that Australia’s quickly becoming one of the leading countries in the world that run on renewable energy source.
Many South Australian’s still hesitate to install solar panels due to the apprent high cost, and unfamiliarity with solar energy. In simple terms the efficiency of solar cells is based on the orientation and tilt, the number of daylight hours your panels will see, the intensity of the sunlight, and the number of hours of full sun, versus overcast days.
main types of residential solar power installations.
The Grid Connect System:
The grid connect system unites your solar panel installation with the main electricity grid. By feeding energy back into the grid through your meter, you create more shared power and your energy company will normally reward you for it.
The Stand-Alone System:
Unlike the grid connect system, the stand alone system if off the grid and relies on the power of solar energy to provide electricity to your home and charge a battery storage bank. Sometimes a generator is kept in reserve to ensure the battery system is backed up.
EASE Solutions are experts in the field of solar energy and solar systems, and they will be able to talk you through the most efficient system for your home or business. The friendly and professional team will find a system tailored to your energy usage and budget, and they offer the latest technology in greener energy solutions.
A common misconception about solar power is that it is very expensive and not very accessible. Due to the surge in people choosing solar power as an option for their home and business, joining the solar revolution is not as costly as you might think.
“The cost of producing and installing solar systems has dropped dramatically in the past decade. Because many people are opting to switch to solar energy, the market is becoming competitive, which is pushing prices down.”
Choosing solar is a long-term investment, which will start saving you money the moment you have it installed, and most solar systems will pay for themselves in only a few years, with the remaining financial benefits going on much longer. Solar will also increase the value of your home as more and more South Australians realise the benefits of solar panels.
Solar panels explained
How does a solar PV (photovoltaic) system work?
Certain materials can be made to produce electricity when light falls on them; this is called the photovoltaic effect. Solar panels use this effect to convert energy from sunlight into direct current (DC) electrical energy. An inverted unit then changes this into alternating current (AC) for your home’s electrical circuits. Any excess energy can be fed back to the electricity grid, for which you may be paid an agreed feed-in tariff, or it could be fed into a battery storage system so you can use the stored power later (at night, for instance).
Solar panels work best when they’re north facing, pointed directly at the sun, at an optimal angle and not blocked by trees or shading. The effectiveness of solar panels also depends on where you live and the weather.
Cells, modules, panels and arrays
Most solar cells are made of silicon. Solar panels, also called modules, are each made of several solar cells, connected together and sandwiched between protective glass and a backing plate, the whole panel usually surrounded with an aluminium frame. All the tested panels have 60 cells except the Sun power which has 96. The solar panels we’re testing weigh around 18 to 19 kg each. A typical installation includes several panels connected together in an array.
Types of Solar Panels
Panels are typically black in colour and have a reputation for higher efficiency than multi-crystalline (or polycrystalline) models, which are typically dark blue and are sometimes said to have better temperature tolerance. The differences come from the manufacturing processes of the silicon cells in each case. In practice there’s not necessarily a clear advantage either way; as with most high-tech products, solar panels are a complex assembly of many components and the overall performance depends on more than simply the type of cell.
Interdigitated back contact solar cells (IBC):
Rear contact solar cells, are a variant of standard solar cells. They can achieve higher efficiency by having all the electrical contacts on the rear of the cell (rather than at the front), so there are no metal contact strips preventing light getting to the cell surface. The Sun power panel in our test uses IBC cells.
Solar cells are made from a thin layer of photovoltaic material (such as amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride or copper-indium-gallium-selenide) on a base plate of glass, metal or other substance. This technology is evolving and while it promises more flexible applications than standard solar panels, it’s so far generally less efficient and is rare in rooftop arrays. It’s used in various large and small applications, from building-integrated PV systems to solar-powered calculators and garden lamps.
How to Maximize Your Energy Savings from your Solar Panels
Switching to renewable energy sources is a huge step. Solar panels are a great investment and help decreases your carbon footprint. A solar system may be expensive at first but the investment will pay for itself in the end. The key thing is to be informed about the solar panels that you will or have installed in your home in order to make use of them efficiently. You will not only save on electricity bills but will also help in reducing the harmful carbon emissions from fossil fuels.
There are many different ways to maximize energy savings from your solar panels. With such a big investment, you would want to get optimal result from these solar energy systems. Make sure to keep reading to be informed on how to efficiently utilise your solar panels.
Get a Professional to Install it for You:
You may be tempted to install your solar panels on your own to save more money. But by doing this, your solar panels might not receive the most amount of sunlight. Thus, these solar panels will not be able to work at their full potential. Hire professionals to install these for you as they are more than knowledgeable on how to correctly install your solar panels. It could also save you from more trouble in the future!
Maintain Your Solar Panels:
Solar Panels are generally low maintenance. They only require cleaning a few times a year however it still helps to inspect them to see if they are still properly connected. Wipe off any dust that have accumulated and trim off any tree branches that might obstruct your solar panels from receiving direct sunlight.
Since Australia is located in the southern hemisphere, your solar panels should be facing the north. Solar panels need to be tipped at a certain angle in order to receive optimal sun exposure. Make sure that there are no trees nearby that may create a shade and hinder your solar panels from working efficiently.
Information is easily available for anyone on the Internet. Before investing, research about the different type of systems available to know which one will offer the best value for your money. There are plenty of websites that provide customer reviews on these systems so you can determine which one will suit your needs the best. Talk to professionals to weigh your options if you are still not sure.
Planning your solar panel installation
How Many Solar Panels Does Your Home Need?
One of the most commonly asked questions when investing in a solar energy system is: how many solar panels will I need for my home? If you’re looking to completely switch to a more sustainable and renewable source of energy, solar panels are usually the first thing that comes to mind. But what is the first step? You might have to work with a professional and consult them about it first. It is important to know your household’s energy consumption in order to ascertain the number of solar panels that your home will require. With this being said, the number of solar panels needed differs from home to home. Here are some of the factors a solar professional will consider when installing a system for your home.
Does Your City Get a Lot of Sun?
Living in Adelaide with its mild weather makes it a good candidate for solar. Cities such as Adelaide get a lot of sunshine throughout the year so it has the perfect weather conditions for your solar panels. Living in cities that are cloudy or rainy may not reap the same benefits. Great weather conditions play an important role when installing a solar energy system for your home. If you live in a cloudy area, you might need more solar panels to compensate for the lack of sunlight.
How Much Energy Does Your Household Require?
An easy way to do this is by checking your electricity bill. If your home consumes a large amount of energy, you might want to consider switching to appliances that have a lower energy consumption rate and changing your light bulbs to LED since they need less energy than a halogen light bulb. A solar professional will help you calculate your energy consumption and will create a solar energy system for your needs.
The Lay Out of Your Roof:
You might think that your roof’s lay out is not important but its orientation is also an important factor when installing solar panels. In Adelaide’s case, solar panels should be facing the north. It should be able to accommodate the solar panels that you plan to install on your roof. You should also be able to have space to spare if you want to add more in the future.
There are various aspects that are factored in when investing in a solar energy system. This is why consulting an expert is definitely recommended in order to enjoy your solar panels at thier full potential. Investing in solar panels today will certainly decrease your carbon footprint drastically. There might be a lot of preparation and the upfront cost may be high but you will continue to reap its benefits in the years to come.
Prolong the Life of your Solar Panels
Do you know how rapidly we are exhausting our non-renewable sources of energy? Our current main source of energy are fossil fuels, gas and coal. But we are quickly running out of them. Aside from being expensive, traditional power sources affect the environment negatively. We need to find another source and this is where renewable and sustainable energy comes in. Solar energy is the most popular choice as the sun is easily accessible anywhere in the world. But the best part of it is that it’s free! If you’re planning on investing in solar panels today, you’re probably looking at the benefits to your home or commercial business. Let’s be honest, solar panels are quite expensive so it’s only prudent to do a bit of research on them before installing them in your home or commercial premises.
One of the most popular questions being asked about solar panels is: How long will they last? Most of the existing solar panels that we have right now can produce energy at least at an 80% efficiency after 20 to 25 years. But the life expectancy of these solar panels can get to over 40 years in some cases if they are maintained well. Solar panels are already pretty low-maintenance but it would still help if you take extra care of it to ensure its longevity. Here are some tips:
- Clean your solar panels during the colder time of the day
- Your solar panels are under direct sunlight so they can get really hot especially if you’re living in Adelaide during summer. It’s best to clean them early in the morning so they are not too hot.
Sweep off the leaves:
If you see any debris or leaves on your solar panels, just sweep them off and you’re good to go!
Wipe with a clean cloth and water:
If the solar panels are dirtier or dustier than usual, you only need a clean cloth and some water to wipe them down. Be careful not to use other cleaning agents as these may damage your solar system.
Refer to the manufacturer’s guide:
When in doubt, always refer to the manufacturer’s guide that comes in with the solar panels. Never take chances as this may cause faster deterioration to your solar power system.
Take safety precautions
Since solar panels are usually installed on roofs, you will be cleaning them at a dangerous height. Make sure your ladder is sturdy or if you’re not sure, you can always call in a professional to do the job for you.
Check for cracks on the surface:
You should see if there are any cracks on your solar panels since it can cause poor connectivity once water gets in. Make sure they are installed away from tree branches. Not only does it reduce the effectivity of the solar panels when they are under the shade, but the branches could fall onto it and create a crack.
It is always better to prevent damages than to repair your solar panels and even worse, to get a replacement. Remember these tips and you will enjoy the benefits of solar energy for a long time!
Storing solar energy in a battery
Most people these days are familiar with the capability of solar energy systems. They are reliable and are completely environment friendly. Most homes and businesses that have solar panels enjoy clean and renewable energy during the day but still have to rely on the grid at night time. To solve this, people have turned to solar energy batteries to completely source their electricity from the sun. Solar panels generate energy from sunlight so you could use your appliances during the day. The excess then gets saved up in the battery so your family could still enjoy its benefits even when it’s cloudy or when it’s night time. Solar batteries are also quite costly just like solar panels, but investing in this technology today will help save the Earth by reducing your carbon footprint and virtually eliminate your electricity bill!
As the technology for solar battery storage develops, we continue to see more of its capacity. There are companies such as Tesla that are committed to further improve this technology so it could be inexpensive and available to more people. Although solar panels and batteries are costly today, the benefits are surely going to be worth it in the years to come.
Questions to ask a potential installer and enegry retailer
Now that you’re informed and ready to hire a professional to install your solar energy system at your home or commercial property, let’s look at some of the questions that you should ask them.
● Will there be an additional cost to change to a new meter?
● What is the cost of the electricity you purchase from your retailer (in cents per kWh), and will you lose your off-peak rates if you install solar?
● Will you be charged a higher daily fixed charge if you connect your solar PV system?
● Do you have to pay any additional fees?
What’s next for Solar Energy?
At first look, solar energy is probably the most efficient solution to our energy needs. The sun gives out more than enough sunlight and energy to our planet to keep us going forever. So much so that the United States government estimates that the Earth receives over 173,000 terawatts of energy every year, which is more than 10,000 times what humanity needs.But this is not without challenge. The difficult task has always been collecting that energy. Although most people are aware of photovoltaic cells, solar panels have always been so expensive that people still consider them a luxury. It’s been evident that for years; solar panels have low efficiency yet have a high cost per square inch. This has made solar power economically unviable. Good thing this has now changed. In the five years between 2008 and 2013, the cost of solar panels fell by over 50 percent. Between 2015 and 2017, experts estimate the cost will fall another 40 percent. Researchers in the United Kingdom say they are surprised by how quick solar adoption is growing. They estimate that the costs will fall fast enough to allow solar to contribute 20% of our energy consumption by 2027. That benchmark would have been unimaginable a few years back. It seems the technology has caught up in terms of costs and efficiency. It’s now on the brink of mass adoption. But where can the technology go from here? What’s in store for the future of solar energy?
New Opportunities for business
Each new technology developed comes with great new opportunities for business. Solar Energy giants Tesla and Panasonic are already planning a large manufacturing factory in New York. Tesla has been a huge contributor in the solar energy market. Their Powerwall has been one of the most popular energy storage devices for homes in the entire world and everyone’s benefiting from it.
With all the development in solar power, there is likely to be a lot more demand for real estate. Now, landowners and farmers lease out their land for the construction of new solar farms. Demand for medium voltage cable could rise since solar farms will need to be freshly connected to the grid. This new opportunity will be able to drive the prices lower for solar energy systems and help the technology to grow even further.
Researchers have experimented with biological material in solar cells for a while now. Bacteria (specifically cyanobacteria) can eventually make it easier to power wireless devices. The efficiency of these bio-solar cells is nowhere close to conventional PV cells, but there is hope the technology will gradually catch up. One of the researchers at the Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, Seokheun ‘Sean’ Choi, believes bio-cells would be useful for remote areas where replacing batteries frequently isn’t an option.
Better Conversion to Electricity
Researchers from Israel and Germany partnered up to study if there was a better way to convert sunlight into electricity. They found out that the most efficient way is photosynthesis, which is also the most common way. The study confirmed that using biomass as fuel could eventually allow us to create artificial photosynthesis machines. This will be able to convert sunlight into energy. It will also be able to store the excess energy for later use in a more natural way.
Not all countries have the space for solar farms. A great way to solve this problem is floating solar farms. French energy company Ciel & Terre International has been continually working on a large scale, floating, solar solution since 2011. They have successfully installed a trial farm off the coast of the UK. Now, they are trying to achieve a similar output in India, France and Japan.
Wireless Power from Space
JAXA, a Japanese Space Agency believes that the best way to collect more power and increase the solar energy efficiency is to get closer to the sun. The team’s Space Solar Power Systems or SSPS project is trying to send solar panels to near-Earth orbit. The power harnessed from space will then be sent back to base station via microwaves. If this technology pushes through, it could change the solar energy industry.
Energy Harvesting Trees
Meanwhile, in Finland, a team of researchers are trying to create a tress that stores solar energy in its leaves. These leaves after which could be used to power small appliances at homes and even mobile phone. The trees are made using biomaterials that would mimic organic wood and most likely are made using a 3D printer. The leaves could also harness kinetic energy from the wind if the sun is hiding behind the clouds. The trees are not only designed for outdoors but could also survive indoors as well. The project is currently in the prototype phase at the VTT research center in Finland.
Better Efficiency for Solar Panels
Efficiency is the biggest challenge at the moment to better solar power. Today, more than 80% of all solar panels have an energy efficiency of less than 15%. Because most of the solar panels installed are stationary, they tend to miss out on direct sunlight. In order to increase the efficiency of these solar panels, researchers and scientists need to develop better design, chemistry and make use of sunlight-absorbing nanoparticles.
Infrared rays are a spectrum of invisible light that could help boost energy efficiency by 30% in solar panels. But right now, these rays only pass right through the panels and are not harvested by the solar panels thus; they are wasted. But some researchers have developed a way to capture this invisible spectrum of light in order to make solar panels more efficient.
On the other hand, IBM is trying to create individual PV cells smaller so that more of them could be squeezed into tighter spaces. IBM believes that they could pack ten times more PV cells into the same space in the future.
The future is definitely bright for solar energy. We have only scratched the surface of the sun’s true potential. The sun has been giving life and energy on Earth for millions of years and will continue to do so. It gives us more energy than what we use every year. The cost of solar panels might have lessened over the years but the technology didn’t change much. This is why researchers all over the world are working relentlessly to make our solar energy systems more efficient in order to collect more sun rays to convert into energy.
Solar energy will soon be able to supply the major part of the world’s energy needs. Researchers are working persistently in order to further develop the technology that will be able to achieve that. They are also looking to develop better and more efficient devices that would not only run using the sun’s energy but is able to store energy so it could keep working for a long period of time. If they become successful in this, it would change our lives forever.
the bottom line
In the end, researchers and scientists are working hand in hand to continue on all the technologies mainly focusing on increasing conversion efficiency, decrease in materials use and reducing the manufacturing intricacy and cost. Such technology still doesn’t exist today and predicting how each of the three will evolve over time is difficult to tell. For example, if emerging technologies start being used in mobile phone displays or windows or curtains, meeting that demand could help manufacturers work through production issues, perhaps enabling lower-cost, larger-scale production in the future. The researchers also emphasized on the time needed to get a new technology developed and to market. “Today’s emerging technologies are improving far faster than currently deployed technologies improved in their early years,” says Bulović. “But the road to market and large-scale deployment is invariably long.” In addition, PV deployment may be limited or influenced by unforeseeable technical, economic, and political factors. Given the urgency of the climate change problem, says Brown, “We need to be deploying and improving today’s technology and at the same time setting the groundwork for emerging technologies that we might discover in the lab. It’s critical that we push forward on both fronts.”
Get In Touch with the team at EASE Solutions today to talk about your transition to solar power and enjoying a brighter future with clean, cheaper, more sustainable energy.