Solar parts for your solar photovoltaics (PV) system

solar partsGlobal Solar Supplyis a company based in the US that supplies solar parts for solar installers and contractors in the US and beyond. Global solar supplyspecializes in the provision of solar panels, solar batteries, solar inverters and other accessories for the construction and maintenance of renewable energy systems throughout the USA and beyond.

Global solar supply purchase solar parts in large quantities to be able to offer its customers with good prices to save them money in their individual purchases. It is a cutting edge company and specializes in the supply of solar panels, systems parts and cables and is considered as one of the largest cross-sector suppliers of solar renewable energy systems in a wide range of industries, including the finance, construction and agricultural sectors.  This blog attempts to capture some of the solar parts for a solar PV system that you can search, buy at the website of Global solar supply

Solar Panels and other solar parts 

Solar panels are the main components for a solar PV system and the most popular solar panels include the monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. Global Solar Supply has a vast variety of sizes and types from small to large, flexible to rigid with wattage ranging from 5 Watts to 360 Watts. The key attributes considered when buying solar panels are the solar panel efficiency, cost, warranty and technology type. Global Solar Supply has solar panels for on-grid and off-grid solar PV systems, including solar kits for pre-wired solar kits as well as RV and small off grid solar kits. Some of the solar panels supplied by Global Solar Supply include small solar panels with a capacity ranging between five (5) watts to 190 watts and large solar panels with a capacity of greater than 200 watts.

Solar inverters and other solar parts 

When solar power is produced by solar panels is in direct current (DC) and solar inverters convert it into alternating current (AC) that is required by homes and businesses. The most popular solar inverters include string or centralized inverters, micro-inverters and power optimizers. Global Solar Supply offers a wide range of solar inverters and accessories including micro-inverters, hybrid inverters, mobile rated inverters, inverter monitoring and hybrid inverters.

Solar batteries and other solar parts 

Energy storage or solar batteries is used to store excess solar power for your PV system for off-grid PV systems and on-grid PV systems for communities without net-metering. Net-metering allows stabilization of your PV system with the grid and can also be used as an excess storage option without the need for solar batteries. Global Solar Supply offers a wide range of solar batteries and accessories including but not limited to lithium-ion, flooded lead acid, AGM & GEL, BTS -battery temperature and sensor, cable and lugs, disconnects, battery enclosures, shunts, fuses, circuit breakers, battery chargers and battery isolators.

Solar racking and mounting solutions

Solar panels are usually not secured or attached to the roof directly but are mounted on solar racking and mounting solutions and angled to get the most sunlight exposure. Global solar supply offers solar racking and mounting solutions to help mount or secure solar panels to your structure, including but not limited to rails, end clamps, mid clamps, L brackets, mounts and flashing, Z brackets, TPM (Top of Pole Mounts), SPM (Side of Pole Mounts), grounding and bounding and cable management accessories.

Solar PV monitoring and other solar parts 

With today’s solar technology, monitoring of solar electricity is possible using metering and monitoring solar performance accessories. The performance of a solar PV system can be evaluated on a hourly, daily and yearly basis by monitoring how much solar electricity is generated by a PV system. If for instance, the solar performance of the solar panels starts to decline, this can be captured using the solar monitoring software. Monitoring software can also help to detect any defects in the PV system and can recommend repairs for the PV system. Global solar supply offers solar monitoring solutions from companies like Enphase which offer high quality, proven solar monitoring solutions alongside their inverter products.

Solar charge controllers and other solar parts 

Solar charge controllers are needed for PV systems with solar panels with a wattage of over five (5) watts to prevent overcharging of solar batteries by limiting the amount and rate of charge to your batteries. Solar charge controllers’ main function is to safely charge a solar battery at the correct charge rates protecting the battery from overcharging and they come in two basic types PWM (Pulse Wave Modulation) and MPPT (Maximum Power Point Technology). Both PWM & MPPT are widely used and have similar lifespans to preserve the life of PV batteries. Although, PWM charge controllers are an older technology and therefore cheaper compared to MPPT. Since, charge controllers can be used for several different applications, Global solar supply offer a wide selection of solar charge controllers as well as solar lighting controllers, AC chargers and other applications.

Three simple sustainable options for small businesses

sustainable optionsIt is always advisable to conduct a comprehensive audit to understand what sustainable options that would have high impact for your triple-bottom-line, however sometimes you just want to get started to enjoy the benefits of implementing sustainable options. To start with, you can consider doing projects that have a high probability of success or focus your efforts on projects that make good business sense i.e. good for the sustainability and profits of the company. This blog attempts to capture a few low hanging fruit sustainable options, especially for small & medium-size businesses that may be interested in implementing low-cost sustainable options to save money or time and material resources such as energy:

  1. Plan an energy efficiency project. Small businesses may not have the finances to conduct a comprehensive energy audit that requires capital intensive modifications but could start with a walk-through audit to visually inspect each of the energy-using systems. Ideally, a walk-through energy-audit will perform a preliminary analysis of energy use or consumption to obtain the energy trends and patterns while benchmarking with other similar facilities. Small businesses can also consider performing a benchmarking audit which is faster because of the use of online tools such as the EPA ENERGY STAR portfolio manager. This online tool which is created by the EPA is a great tool that can be used to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. This tool is free to use and it is recommended for users to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings in a secure onlineenvironment. It is easy to use and it can be used to manage the energy use of any building.
  2. Implement solar photovoltaics (PV) project: Most solar projects especially commercial solar projects can be capital intensive, but in most cases, companies don’t have to own the PV system using flexible financing mechanisms such as the power purchase agreement (PPAs) and leasing financing models that allow companies to buy solar power at slightly lower rates compared to utility rates. EnergySage which is an online solar marketplace is a great starting point that online users can be used to estimate their solar potential, savings and get financing for their solar energy projects. At EnergySageyou will also have access to multiple solar quotes from your local solar installers.
  3. Consider using recycled paper for your office:Buying recycled paper may not have a direct impact on your bottom-line, but the indirect benefit this practice has on sustainability can be considered a high impact. Green America has made estimates for the sustainability impact of how recycled paper can have on environment and climate. According to Green America, recycled paper use saves resources and reduces the paper industry’s impact on the planet. For instance, using 100 % recycled copy paper instead of 100% virgin fiber paper saves: 100% of the trees, 31% of the energy, 53% of the water, and produces 39% less solid waste. In case, you consider, recycled paper, Amazon sells several brands of recycled paper. For instance, this example of 100% post-consumer recycled printer and copier paper for everyday use is made in the USA from recycled food and beverage containers and other paper-based printed materials.

These are just a few examples of low hanging fruit sustainable options that can be implemented by small or medium-sized businesses. Learn more about greening your business here for more details. To learn more for instance about energy audits and the concept of sustainable business or sustainability, check out the following books on Amazon.

  • Handbook of Energy Audits 9th Editionto learn more about energy auditing in buildings and industry. Topics include energy assessment and computer software, etc.
  • A circular economy handbook to learn more how engaged businesses are now increasingly re-thinking product design, material choices, business models and supply chains, and adopting the principles of the circular economy.

Steps to install renewable energy systems for your facility

renewable energyUnlike non-renewable forms of energy such as fossil fuels, renewable energy systems utilize unlimited resources that are replenished time after time. Most countries are endowed with renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, small hydro, etc. Depending on what renewable energy resources are available in your location, it is important to determine their technical and economic potential before tapping the resource to produce energy such as heat, or electrical energy. This blog attempts to capture the steps to renewable energy for your home or business facility.

Steps to renewable energy systems

  1. Determine your renewable energy potential
  2. Assess the different renewable energy resources available to you based on location and site-specific parameters. For instance, biogas production is best suited for farms that regularly collect liquid, slurry, or semi-solid manure with little or no bedding.

    Any site with water drops and flows; natural waterfalls, small weirs/dams, and industrial flows can be potential sites for small hydropower that can be obtained from the flowing water on your site. To get the renewable energy potential for small hydro, you can start by determining the head (the vertical distance the waterfalls) and the flow rate i.e. the quantity of water falling. To do this you can consult a small hydro specialist in your local area. We have captured below details on how to obtain a list of these renewable energy installers whether biogas or any other renewable energy installer.

    When it comes to solar power, determining the potential to install solar panels is much easier than for bioenergy or small hydro because of the easy access to online solar calculators that make it much faster to calculate your site-specific solar potential. EnergySage has a platform where online users can just plug in the address of their home or business in the USA to obtain their solar potential instantly. To learn more about how you can obtain your solar potential despite your location, check this article. Also, you can get in touch with a local solar professional to schedule a solar assessment.

    2. Energy efficiency first before installing renewable energy options Most countries have a good solar energy potential and hence solar power can be harnessed in almost every location on earth unlike wind, small-hydro or geothermal which are largely site-specific. However, before considering adopting a renewable energy system, it is advisable to perform an energy assessment of your home or business facility to understand your energy consumption profile. An energy audit will help to identify energy efficiency measures that can be implemented to reduce or eliminate any energy wastage. For instance, lighting system upgrades & controls (including LEDs) and buying or upgrading your home appliances to Energy Star appliances can result in huge significant savings for your home or business. Learn more here about energy efficiency.

    3. Identify renewable energy installers, renewable energy rebates, and incentives for your local area USA residents interested in going solar can consider the EnergySage to obtain multiple solar quotes from pre-screened solar installers. SunPower has some of the best solar panels in the world and has expanded operations to Europe, Asia, Asia Pacific, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East. Also, solar Business Hub provides a directory with a list of solar installers around the world.

    Renewable Energy Hub provides a platform for online users in the UK and USA for most renewable energy installers. For instance, Renewable Energy Hub USA enables people, communities, businesses, and institutions across America to connect with trusted, reliable advisers, and installers. Using this platform, you can learn all about current renewable energy technologies, energy-saving products, services, grants, federal and state incentives.

    Find out from relevant government authorities about renewable energy incentives or grants that you can benefit from to help reduce the cost of your renewable energy system even more. The initial capital investment required for your renewable energy install can often be perceived as somewhat daunting, there are various ways to reduce it using tax incentives and rebates. However, every renewable energy project is different, find more about how to reduce for instance the cost of your solar panels. Learn more here.

Steps to going solar

An online solar panel calculator is one of the most common tools nowadays for consumers looking to go solar. Online solar tools have become mainstream in countries like the USA, Australia, UK, etc. enabling many online users to make online decisions to go solar. For instance, EnergySage has one of the most popular online solar calculators in the States, and millions of people use this platform each year to research and shop for solar through their network of pre-screened, local installers.

However, not all consumers have access to online tools to help them make online solar decisions because such tools require a lot of investment to create them. For instance, most of these tools have been developed or informed from solar mapping research conducted using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology. These tools can determine the specific solar potential for rooftop solar for both residential and commercial places. The cost for LIDAR remains high and it will perhaps take time before it can be reduced.

Many solar consumers in countries without site-specific solar data can still determine their solar potential manually by performing a few calculations although it can be time-consuming and tedious. As such, this blog attempts to capture the process or steps for how to determine whether solar is right for your house or business, manually without the use of online solar tools which we promote here.

1. Determine the electrical load for your household or business
A very straight forward way to determine the electrical load for your household or business is from your monthly utility bills. You can pick out the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity consumed in your household on a yearly basis and then get the average by dividing by 12 to get the monthly electricity consumption and then divide that figure by 30 to get the daily kWh usage.

To be more specific, you can list all your heavy electrical appliances such as your refrigerator, washing machine, etc. Determine their wattage and how many hours are used by them to determine the number of watt-hours.

Once you complete this step, this will give you a general estimate of your energy consumption. At this point, you can decide whether you need to do something with regards to lowering your energy consumption by implementing energy efficiency measures. For instance, one of the low hanging fruits can be changing all your incandescent bulbs to LEDs. LED bulbs use more than 75% less energy than incandescent lighting which means you can save a huge significant of energy by just switching to LEDs if you are currently using incandescent bulbs.

2. Solar Insolation
Solar insolation is the incident solar radiation onto some object or specifically the measure of the solar energy that is incident on a specified area over a set period. Solar insolation
can be expressed in two ways, that is:

  • Kilowatt-hours per square meter (kWh/m2) per day which represents the average amount of energy hitting an area each day.
  • Watts per square meter (W/m2) which represents the average amount of power hitting an area over an entire year.

The importance of knowing the values of solar insolation at certain positions on the Earth is to help determine the size and output of your Solar PV system. As such, based on the solar insolation of your location, these values will help to determine the expected output for your solar panels and determine whether your specific location will be good for solar power. There are other factors such as obstructions to your rooftop like trees or building design that will affect solar insolation for your PV system.

There are various ways to determine solar insolation for your building ranging from weather databases in your area. As early mentioned on this blog, today there are various tools that use the LIDAR technology that has simplified this process. However, these tools are country-specific, but some tools like Google Project Sunroof are aiming to have global coverage to have online users just plug their address into the tool to determine solar potential. Google Project Sunroof in addition to providing with your solar insolation calculates how much money a user can expect to save yearly by making use of solar power

Until, we have a resource that can provide online users with specific rooftop solar insolation like the Google Project Sunroof, online users without this specific information can use for instance the Global Solar Atlas
which was developed by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support the scale-up of solar power around the world. The primary aim of this Global solar Atlas is to provide quick and easy access to solar resource and photovoltaic power potential data globally, at a click of a mouse.

The methodology for the Global Solar Atlas is location-specific that involves three main different models i.e. solar radiation model, air temperature model, and PV power simulation model. Solar radiation and air temperature modeling result in a series of pre-calculated data layers that can be retrieved at (almost) any location on the map. Additional information about a possible PV system type and configuration are used for the PV power simulation, which is calculated on-demand using Solargis internal algorithms and databases. For more information, see the details of the methodology of the Global Solar Atlas.

However, like every online tool, the Global Solar Atlas can only provide solar estimates and the figures you get are preliminary to provide you with an estimation about your solar potential. It is always advisable to obtain the final word of a licensed and experienced solar installer to make an actual assessment for your solar PV system. Online materials suggested on this platform only provide estimates. For instance, the objective of the Global Solar Atlas is to provide reliable introductory-level data to help policymakers, researchers, and commercial solar companies take better decisions. For project-specific analysis of large -power plants, the data available via the Global Solar Atlas is suitable only for preliminary analysis.

The Global Solar Atlas provides an opportunity to do site prospection and pre-evaluation of the potential of solar energy in different countries and areas. For instance, in our context, you can check the solar energy potential for a specific site for instance for your home or business. In this case, you can determine how much electricity will be generated and in what time. Also, analysis of the averaged solar radiation components for specific locations helps with planning and pre-evaluation of opportunities for solar energy projects.

3. Determine capacity of solar panels or how many solar panels you need
Once you have determined the solar insolation which is sometimes referred to as “peak sun hours” measured in kWh/m2 per day, it is easy to estimate the capacity of solar panels or how many solar panels are needed. The term “peak sun hours” refers to the solar insolation which a particular location would receive if the sun were shining at its maximum value for a certain number of hours. Each peak sun hour is defined as one hour when the intensity of sunlight (solar irradiance) reaches an average of 1,000 watts of energy per square meter (roughly 10.5 feet). Since the peak solar radiation is 1 kW/m2, the number of peak sun hours is numerically identical to the average daily solar insolation. For example, a location that receives 8 kWh/m2 per day can be said to have received 8 hours of sun per day at 1 kW/m2. Being able to calculate the peak sun hours is useful because PV modules are often rated at an input rating of 1kW/m2.

Also, there are various solar panels out there of different sizes ranging from 500-watt solar panels, 300-watt solar panels, 250-watt solar panels to 1watt solar panels, and so on. However, it is good to know what size of solar panels to pick depending on the size of your rooftop or anywhere that you want to place them to harvest solar energy.

Once you have estimated your average kWh used monthly in step one (1) above, it is easy to estimate the capacity of solar panels needed in your building. Let us say that you use an average of 1000kWh per month, to get the daily kWh usage divide 1000kWh by 30 to get about 34 kWh daily usage. Assuming you want to off-set the 34 kWh daily electricity usage with solar panels at 100%, using a 250-watt solar panel and your site location is getting 4 hours of sunlight per day that means 250W multiplied by 4 hours which is 1000 watt-hours per day or 1kWh a day.

Since you are consuming 34kWh daily, then you need 34 solar panels each with a 250-watt power rating. This is just a rough estimate and a lot of other factors such as cloud cover, system design, etc. will affect the sizing of your system. However, to help you make the decision to contact a solar installer in your local area, doing a preliminary feasibility study will help you to make a good decision on whether to pursue solar for your home or business. Other factors such as solar panel efficiency and whether your solar panels come with warranties are important while conducting your research.

Remember, the above example assumes you are going solar 100% however, considering you have a net-metering arrangement in your area, you can decide to off-set your current usage at 75%, 50%, 30%, and so on. For instance, if you decide to off-set your current electricity usage at 50%, this means 34kwh/day multiplied by 0.50 which is equal to 17kWh/day which means you will only need 17 solar panels each with a 250-watt power rating.  

Depending on the amount of electricity usage you want to offset using solar panels, you will probably need to invest in some additional equipment often referred to as balance-of-system
to condition the electricity, safely transmit the electricity to the load that will use it, and or store the electricity for future use. For off-grid systems or those not connected to the grid, you will need batteries and a charge controller to store excess power produced during the day and use it at night when there is no sunshine. Grid-connected PV systems you will need power conditioning equipment such as solar inverters to convert your DC generated power to AC to comply with your power provider’s grid connection requirements.

This article just provides the initial steps that can help you figure out how to go solar. To get specific information about solar panels and balance of system, please contact a solar installer in the local area. If you are in the USA, this solar calculator can help you locate a solar panel cost calculator and obtain multiple solar quotes from your local area. Learn more here.