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.

Five factors to consider when interested in renewable energy

renewable energy resourcesHere at reneenergy.com, we strive to provide information to help you with your going solar or other renewable energy options that are available to you. Most resources shared on our blogs are USA based and hence are specific to the US context.

However, we have received questions recently from people who are not from the USA about how to go solar specifically in their respective countries. As a result, this blog attempts to generalize some aspects of knowing how to adopt solar or other renewable energy technologies based on socioeconomic, clean energy technological options as well as policy and regulatory frameworks that affect how you benefit or install renewable energy technologies for your home or business. This particular blog will just capture these factors in general and we will attempt to be specific and capture more details in our future blogs:

  1. Before adopting clean energy resources, you want to assess whether this is the right decision for your household or business. Any renewable energy option adopted is based on your energy needs and its applications and whether it makes economic sense. Environmental or sustainability reasons are other aspects that affect, especially businesses to adopt renewable energy in order to reduce their carbon footprint and help to achieve their sustainability goals. For instance, assessing whether solar is right for your home or business can be determined by how much you can save with going solar or whether you have a reliable source of power. Power outages are one issue that causes people and businesses to look for alternative sources of energy like solar plus battery energy storage. Many power outages occur during peak hours when there is very high energy demand that cannot be met by the existing capacity on the grid.
  2. Many rural communities remain not connected to the grid due to the scattered nature of these rural communities. As a result, many private companies in the energy business may find it unprofitable to invest in building the grid infrastructure. As such, these communities rely on government or donors to build this infrastructure which may take years to construct and it requires a lot of investment because the grid has to be extended at long distances with scattered households. Renewable energy resources come in handy in such a context. Consequently, many governments and donor programs such as the World Bank targets these rural communities with clean energy solutions such as solar photovoltaics (PV). For instance, the World Bank has conducted various studies and implemented many programs for rural electrification using solar photovoltaics for years.
  3. The policy and regulatory framework for renewable energy technologies vary from one country to another. For instance, some countries don’t have the net-metering policy—an arrangement for grid-connected solar photovoltaics that allows the solar host to obtain credit towards their electric bill by installing a bi-directional power meter. There are much other policy and regulatory issues that vary in from the country to country.
  4. Renewable energy technologies have different characteristics that enable them to fit in different settings based on affordability, site-specific parameters, design, and energy requirements in question. For instance, because of the intermittent nature of solar/wind and perhaps not connected to the grid; a battery energy storage system may be needed in some cases.
  5. The socioeconomic factors also determine the various types of renewable energy resources or sustainable technology that can be implemented, for instance, to solve lighting and cooking issues using clean technologies:
      – Solar PV comes with different solar technologies to solve lighting and other energy needs.

      – Biofuels including biodiesel and bioethanol provide cooking energy solutions and other clean energy solutions such as for productive use and agriculture. For instance, using sustainable biofuels to power gen-sets for pumping water or irrigation.

      – Wind-powered solutions for residential, commercial and farms in the rural areas.

      – Energy efficiency solutions for homes and commercial places.

Lithium-ion batteries for your solar PV system

Lithium-ion batteries are now widely used in very many applications and hence are becoming an everyday part of our lives. These applications include but not limited to laptops, electric vehicles to stationary and building-sized applications. This rapid change has been enabled by the reducing price of lithium-ion batteries which has dropped more than 70% between 2010 and 2016. 

Battery electricity storage (BES) using lithium-ion batteries seem to have a similar story of price reduction just like solar photovoltaics (PV) which dropped in price with over 60% in the last decade. As a result, solar + storage is now a common product sold to businesses and homes by solar companies such as Tesla that are able to provide the Tesla power wall and solar panels. Other quality solar battery power systems offering reasonable prices are the Enphase AC Battery and SonnenBatterie Eco.

The lithium-ion batteries are the new generation of battery energy storage advancing from the traditional lead-acid based deep cycle battery technology. Lead-acid batteries are widely used in many sectors because they cost less upfront, but they have a shorter lifespan and require regular maintenance to keep them running properly unlike lithium-ion batteries which are more expensive up front, but maintenance-free and have a longer lifespan. According to EnergySage, a lead-acid battery system cost a few hundred or thousands less than a similarly sized lithium-ion setup. Lithium-ion batteries for solar power systems can cost anywhere from $5000 to $15000 including installation and this is dependent on the size of the PV system.

Based on chemistry there are various types of lithium-ion for battery electricity storage that are produced by different battery manufacturers such as Discover, SimpliPhi, etc. The term “lithium-ion” refers not to a single electrochemical couple but to a wide array of different chemistries, all of which are characterized by the transfer of lithium ions between the electrodes during the charge and discharge reactions. Li-ion cells do not contain metallic lithium; rather, the ions are inserted into the structure of other materials, such as lithiated metal oxides or phosphates in the positive electrode (cathode) and carbon (typically graphite) or lithium titanate in the negative (anode). Lithium-ion chemistry combinations include Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP); nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC);lithium manganese oxide (LMO ), nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA) and lithium titanate (LTO). Generally, the various material combinations or chemistry of lithium-ion batteries yield unique performance cost and safety characteristics.

The different chemistries allow for battery energy storage optimization to meet various performance and operational objectives (IRENA, 2017). As such, different electrode or electrolyte selections may be used to design for different applications where reduced costs or high power or high density is required. For instance, lithium titanate (LTO) batteries have very good thermal stability, long cycle life-time, high rate discharge capability and has no solid electrolyte interphase issues (IRENA, 2017). However, LTO batteries will be cost-prohibitive because of the high cost of titanium and will have reduced cell voltage and low energy density compared to lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide which can be tailored for high power or high energy stable thermal profile and can operate at high voltage.

EnergySage Buyer’s Guide for Solar Batteries

EnergySage has prepared a comprehensive solar batteries guide where consumers can browse hundreds of solar batteries from top manufacturers around the world. Solar batteries can provide numerous benefits, especially for property owners in areas that experience demand or time-of-use charges or where net-metering policies are limited in terms of compensation from the grid. Essentially, electricity demand tracks the total amount of energy that is being consumed at a given time. The more devices using electricity at the same time, the higher the customer’s demand charge.

As such, solar batteries can reduce demand charges and provide resiliency, while adding value to solar installations at the same time. When you install a solar battery alongside a solar panel system, you can store extra solar electricity produced by your panels for later use after the sun goes down. Learn more about other aspects of going solar such as obtaining solar quotes and using the EnergySage buyer’s guide for solar panels, solar batteries, and solar inverters. See this solar resource for more details.


Reference:

IRENA (2017), Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030, International Renewable Energy Agency.

Why energy storage systems make sense for renewables

energy storage systems

Energy storage systems enable the ability to store excess renewable electricity for use at a later date. For instance, when it comes to solar power, energy storage is used within off-grid or hybrid solar power systems, which require power to be used at night when there is no sunlight or as a backup solution during power outages.
There are various technologies for energy storage depending on how energy is stored for later use, including but not limited to pumped-hydro, compressed air, flywheels, batteries, and thermal energy storage. In addition, new energy storage technologies are currently under development such as flow batteries, supercapacitors, and superconducting magnetic energy storage. You can learn more about these energy storage systems at EPA.gov.

Batteries as energy storage technologies are becoming increasingly important to the power industry and for powering electric vehicles. One of the batteries that have become widely used is the lithium-ion battery which has been implemented in many locations, especially in the USA. The Tesla Gigafactory is one example where batteries are produced for energy storage systems for solar PV systems and electric vehicles. As such, solar produces clean energy during the day and Tesla’s Powerwall can store energy to power your home at night or during an outage.

When it comes to batteries, there are various types of battery storage systems that use different technologies based on chemistry that enables energy storage capability. For instance, solar batteries used to store excess solar power include four (4) types of batteries, including AGM, GEL, Flooded, and Lithium-ion batteries. These solar batteries use different chemistry or chemical composition to enable energy storage capability. For example, lithium-ion batteries as a group have the advantage of high specific energy as well as high energy and power density relative to other battery technologies because of their chemistry. Lithium-ion batteries usually have a cathode made of a lithium metal oxide, while the anode is often made of graphite.

The advantages of Li-Ion batteries are that they last longer, are more efficient, have a greater energy density, and require no maintenance compared to traditional lead-acid batteries. Great applications for li-ion batteries include backup energy storage for residential and commercial places. Lithium-ion batteries are also used by installers and power utilities to ensure a long-term, hassle-free, emergency backup power supply. In general, energy storage has become an important component for variable renewables such as solar and wind to enable excess power to be stored in batteries when solar or wind generation is high to be later used when power generation is low.

Against this background, this blog attempts to capture about four (4) reasons why energy storage systems are increasingly used with renewable energy systems:

energy storage systems

1. The reducing cost of energy storage systems and the increasing demand of variable renewable energy

    Because of the increasing demand of energy storage technologies, their cost has been falling rapidly and by the year 2030, IRENA estimates that the installed cost of battery storage systems could fall by over 50%. The declining cost in the wind and solar and the increased focus on adding renewables to the grid is driving the interest to lower the cost of energy storage. For instance, the price of lithium-ion batteries has fallen by about 80% over the last five years according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) enabling the integration of storage into solar power systems. Also, there has been a tremendous increase in the amount of energy storage that is been deployed. A market research firm, Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables has forecast that energy storage systems will increase to top 5.4 gigawatts and the market value is forecast to increase from $720 million today to $5.1 billion in 2024.

    energy storage systems

    2. To increase solar and wind penetration in the grid

      With the increasing penetration of renewable energy into the grid, energy storage has become an important component for variable renewables such as wind and solar. Utilities are using energy storage systems to counter the intermittent nature of variable renewable energy. Energy storage systems store excess electricity during off-peak periods and use it when the demand for electricity is high. Using energy storage systems help to stabilize the grid with the increasing penetration of variable renewable energy.

      3. To reduce time of use (TOU) charges and other charges

        Energy storage for renewable energy consumers can help to save more energy when the utility bill charges such as consumption, demand, and time of use (TOU) charges are well applied and understood. Energy storage systems can help to reduce demand charges by charging for instance batteries when the demand at the facility is low and discharging when the demand at the facility is peaking or high i.e. applying peak saving. Also, energy storage can reduce TOU charges by charging when the energy cost is low (e.g. in the middle of the night) and discharging when the energy cost is high (e.g. late afternoon). By reducing demand charges and TOUs, renewable energy consumers can reduce their utility bills significantly by charging and discharging when it is needed.

        4. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel sourced electricity

          energy storage systems
          Energy storage can allow renewable energy consumers to displace more fossil fuel sourced electricity by storing any excess power generated during the day in the case of solar power and discharging during peak hours when it is highly needed. New energy storage systems can allow storage of electricity generated from wind and solar on shorter time frames to smooth variability, and on longer cycles to replace even more fossil fuels. For instance, new energy storage systems like flow batteries have relatively little degradation of their fluids or electrolyte solutions giving them longer charge-discharge cycles and longer life spans. They can also be scaled to match growing needs relatively by increasing the amount of fluid in the tanks. As such, reducing electricity sourced from fossil-fuels or reducing fossil fuel dependence will eventually help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

          How to know whether your property is solar-friendly?

          what is the cost of installing solar panels inIt is one thing to want to switch to solar, but it is another thing to make sure you are making the right decision before embarking to going solar.

          As such, you want to make sure your home property has excellent solar potential and tapped cost-effectively. Going solar is a great idea, but it works best only under certain conditions.

          In what conditions is going solar a good option?

          1. If you intend to stay in your current home for at least 15 years

          Well, going solar is a great idea when you are a homeowner that wants to live in his or her house for at least 15 years. However, this might change in the future with the decreasing solar panel cost that will enable solar investments to pay themselves quickly, hence reducing the payback period to somewhat around 3 to 5 years.

          Currently, based on the current solar panels cost, the average solar payback is around 5 to 10 years, which is dependent on unique characteristics such as your solar power potential, your energy costs, etc. The best way to get an accurate or personalized payback period is to use a solar panel cost calculator or get in touch with a solar installer in your local area.

          At 15 years, estimates show that you will get the full benefit of going solar by obtaining free solar power once the system has paid itself after its payback period. Some of the states with the lowest payback periods include California (6 years), Idaho (5 years), South Carolina (5 years).

          States with the highest payback periods include Georgia (12 years), Virginia (12 years), Delaware (11 years), etc. The best way to get an accurate or personalized payback period is to use a solar panel cost calculator or get in touch with a solar installer in your local area.

          Also, solar panels have a significant benefit in increasing the value of your home in the event you intend to sell your house in the long-term. According to Wholesale Solar, the research finds that, on average, solar panels increase home value by $14,329 – or 3.74% more than their non-PV counterparts. The average system costs $10,000-$18,000 in materials; homeowners can reasonably expect to recoup the cost of the hardware when they choose to sell their home.

          2. You have enough room for solar panels and in a good location and free of obstructions.

          In addition to staying in your home for some time to get the full benefit of solar power, you should have enough roof space to install solar panels. Your home should also be a geographical location with great solar power potential.

          In the US, a tremendous solar power potential characterized by roof facing the south that is free of roof obstructions such as trees or nearby buildings that would prevent your solar panels from receiving a significant amount of sunlight to produce solar electricity. The quickest way to determine whether your rooftop has good solar potential is by using a LIDAR powered solar panel calculator that can tell you how much solar potential is on your roof. Such a solar panel calculator personalized because it asks you for the address and can provide you with your solar potential.

          LIDAR means Light Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and is a technology that scans to capture detailed data accurately measuring distances and angles of rooftops, while also mapping trees that need to be removed or trimmed to maximize sun exposure, all in a matter of minutes.

          After a scan is complete, 3D models are produced, allowing a solar PV system designed on a virtual replica of a home. The LIDAR technology can also enable the user to generate accurate shade reports, even after removing trees.

          So, what is the cost of installing solar panels in your local area?

          The cost of installing solar panels varies from state to state, and every installation is unique based on several factors, including where you source your solar panels, your PV system design parameters and potential solar factors. To estimate your solar panel cost, you can get started using this solar panel cost calculator.