FLI Solar Electric Power System Owner`s Manual
GE Energy
Solar Electric Power System
Owner’s Manual
v4.2nmtr
Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Congratulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Principles of Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Measuring Your Power and Energy . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Estimating Your System Energy Production . . . 8
Effect of Array Orientation on
Annual Energy Output . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Estimating Your Systems “Peak” Power . . . . . . 10
Understanding Variations in
Power Output . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Maintenance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Identify Typical System Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Shutdown Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Startup Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Before Calling for Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Codes and Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Table of
Contents
General Safety Instructions
WARNING
•
Read this entire manual and associated product manuals before using your system.
•
SAVE THESE INSTRUCTIONS. This manual contains important guidelines that should
be followed when maintaining your system.
•
There are no user serviceable parts in your system. Only qualified personnel should service
your GE Energy solar electric power system.
•
Use GE Energy solar modules for their intended use only. Follow all manufacturer instructions.
Do not disassemble the module, or remove any part installed by the manufacturer, as this will
void any manufacturer warranties and UL listings.
•
Do not drop, allow objects to fall on, stand or step on solar modules.
•
Do not concentrate sunlight on modules with mirrors, reflectors or lenses, or in any other
manner. Doing so voids any warranty and the UL listing for the module.
•
Do not touch the solar modules or the mounting structure once installed. When these
surfaces are exposed to sunlight they can become extremely hot.
•
Do not walk, lean, sit or rest heavy objects on solar panels.
•
Solar modules have a protective glass front. Broken solar module glass is an electrical safety
hazard (electric shock and fire). These modules cannot be repaired and must be replaced
immediately. If you have a broken module turn your system off.
•
Do not store anything in front of the inverter or system disconnects.
•
Do not store anything above or below the inverter. A minimum of 12" of clearance must be
maintained to allow heat to naturally flow from the inverter.
•
Call for service immediately if the inverter indicates a Ground Fault Error. Refer to the
troubleshooting section found in this manual to determine if the inverter has a ground fault.
Documents
It is recommended that you keep the following documents with this manual for easy reference.
Please note that these documents may not apply to your system as installation requirements vary:
•
Electrical permit and documentation
•
Utility interconnection agreement and net metering agreement
•
Electrical schematic
•
Product manuals, warranties and specification sheets
Congratulations
Your solar electric power system from GE Energy enables your home to generate a
portion of its own electrical power from sunlight. Your GE Energy solar electric system
has been engineered to provide many years of automatic operation without producing
noise or air emissions and without requiring fuel or extensive mechanical maintenance.
The benefits of solar electric power
are now yours
•
Reduced Pollution and Environmental Protection
Solar energy uses the sun to generate clean renewable power. Power produced
by a solar electric system displaces the need for conventional power generation.
It is estimated that every kilowatt of installed solar generation prevents 14,000
pounds of CO2 (associated with global warming) and 30 pounds of NOX (one
source of smog) during its operating life.
•
Reduced Utility Bills
Every kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated by the system means less energy needed
from the electric utility, and that means lower electric bills from your utility.
Principles of Operation
Solar Modules
Power Flow
Solar modules are typically either roof mounted or
Wiring carries the DC power from the solar panels
ground mounted. During daylight hours, the solar
(1) to a DC-AC “inverter” (2) that automatically
modules instantly convert sunlight energy into
converts the solar- generated DC power into
direct current (DC) electrical energy. Modules are
common household alternating current (AC). The AC
connected in series (positive to negative), making
output from the inverter may pass through an
“panels” with enough DC voltage to operate the
optional external lockable visible disconnect switch
inverter (discussed below). The DC current (amps)
(your local utility may require this) and then
output of a solar module is directly proportional to
connect to a new breaker installed in the house
sunlight intensity. Output varies with sun angle,
utility power panel (3). If the system includes more
shadows and shading - all of which can greatly
solar power than one inverter can handle, several
impact electricity output.
inverters will be wired in parallel into the utility
power panel. If your local utility accepts excess
generated power back onto their grid, your electric
utility meter will spin backward when they are
accepting power (4), thereby generating a credit
toward electricity purchased from the utility.
1
3
4
2
Power Usage
During the day, the AC power produced by the
Automatic Shut-off During
Outages (“Anti-Islanding”)
inverter can be consumed immediately for power
To prevent injury to utility personnel working on
needs within the residence. The solar power is
power lines, power from the inverter to the home’s
displacing power that would have been provided by
electric panel is shut off immediately when there is
the utility. If more power is needed than the solar
a utility outage. No power is allowed to flow out of
modules can produce, the extra power needed is
the inverter into the utility grid from the system.
drawn from the utility.
This means that the house will have no electric
At night or during periods of low sunlight, the solar
power, either from the solar panels or from the
modules do not produce power, and the residence
utility, during a utility outage.
operates completely on utility power.
The inverter will automatically re-start when utility
During each day, if the residence is not consuming
power is restored. There is a five-minute delay
all of the electricity produced by the solar power
before the inverter returns to normal operation,
system, and the homeowner and utility company
during which it synchronizes with the utility power.
have entered into a “net metering” agreement, then
the excess power is sent out through the utility
meter to the utility company. This generates a
credit against what will be consumed by the
residence at night. The residential monthly electric
utility bill will be reduced by the power generated
by the solar electric system during that month,
either through displacing power that would have
been consumed or through sending excess power
to the utility. Many states have implemented net
metering laws that require electric utilities to
purchase your solar system’s excess power at the
same rate the utility sells its power. Utilities will
normally require some form of Interconnection
Agreement and Metering Agreement for residential
solar power systems before interconnection is
allowed.
Measuring Your Power and Energy
Power
is a rate
To prevent injury to utility personnel working on
power lines, power from the inverter to the home’s
electric panel is shut off immediately when there is
a utility outage. No power is allowed to flow out of
the inverter into the utility grid from the system.
This means that the house will have no electric
power, either from the solar panels or from the
utility, during a utility outage.
The inverter will automatically re-start when utility
power is restored. There is a five-minute delay
before the inverter returns to normal operation,
during which it synchronizes with the utility power.
Energy
Power x Time = Energy
is an amount
Energy is the actual work that is done by electricity.
(watts) x (hours) = (watt-hours or kilowatt-hours, kWh)
It is the heat, motion, or sound that results from
electrical activity. Energy is measured in watt-hours
or kilowatt-hours (kWh). This is what a customer
pays for on their utility bill. Utilities charge for how
much power is consumed over a certain period of
time not the amount of energy being consumed at
any one particular moment. The amount of energy
consumed, or generated, is the product of the rate
of power times the amount of time it flows.
For example
A solar electric power system producing 1,000 watts and operating at this rate for five hours would
generate a total amount of energy of: 1,000 watts X 5 hours = 5,000 watt-hours or 5 kWh.
An incandescent lamp consuming 150 watts and operating for three hours would consume a total
amount of energy of: 150 watts X 3 hours = 450 watt-hours or 0.45 kWh.
Estimating System Energy Production
To assist you in estimating the energy output of
two zones.) The output of the system will be lower in
your system and your monthly savings, GE Energy
winter and higher in summer, with the table value
provides the following map showing the average
representing the average. GE Energy has tried to
annual energy output of a solar power system in
take into account normal effects such as heat and
kWh/month. Find your climate zone on the map
inverter efficiency, but the values listed may be
and then read across to find the estimated average
different from your particular system’s performance.
monthly output of 1kW of array. Multiply this by the
Actual performance depends on array orientation,
size of your array (in kW) to estimate your system
shading, climate and other factors
average output. (If your location is near the border
of two zones, use the average of the values in those
Average Monthly Energy Production*
Average Monthly Output (kW AC)
of 1kW DC Solar Array
Zone
1
80-90
2
90-100
3
105-115
4
115-125
5
125-135
6
135-145
Example Calculation
Home is located in Zone 5 with (24) 110-watt modules.
Array Size = 24 X 110 = 2640 watts or 2.64 kW
135 kWh AC/kW DC x 2.64 kW DC = 356 kWh AC
Maximum average
monthly output.
Estimated maximum
average monthly output
* PVGrid™ computer simulation calculations. Estimated AC kWh from inverter. Assumes
clean solar panels, no shading, true south orientation, solar panels tilted to latitude angle;
includes typical estimated inverter DC/AC conversion efficiency and other system losses
such as wiring and connections that are typical of all solar electric power systems. Actual
values may vary +/- 50% monthly and +/- 25% annually due to weather fluctuations,
array orientation, shading, soiling and other site and installation factors. Calculations
subject to change without notice due to improved engineering analysis, product changes,
and other factors.
Effect Of Array Orientation on
Annual Energy Output
Most houses are not built with roof surfaces facing
directly south. As a result, the solar array usually
faces slightly east or west of true south. The effect
of orientation on total energy production is actually
quite small for most installations. Installations with
a true eastern or western orientation generally
produce more than 80% of the potential capacity of
a true southern facing installation. In most cases, a
slight orientation to the east or west will have a very
small reducing effect on average annual output
Local weather patterns will influence the effect of
orientation. For example, if there is morning fog,
a slightly western orientation would actually be
an advantage, as the array would be positioned
to capture more of the clear afternoon sun.
100%
90%
Normalized Annual Output
(% of true south output)
A solar array generally produces maximum annual
energy if it is facing directly south. True south
orientation is assumed in generating the energy
output values above.
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
Western
Orientation
Southern
Orientation
Eastern
Orientation
Data is a simplification based on typical Southern
California climate with solar array on a 4:12 roof pitch.
Other locations and roof pitches will result in slightly
different values.
Estimating System “Peak” Power
The difference between a solar arrays “DC rating”
These real operating conditions typically result in
and the actual power output indicated by the
peak AC output power that is about 60-70% of the
inverter is caused by variations in real world
artificial room temperature “DC rating” of the solar
conditions as opposed to standard test conditions.
array alone. The kilowatt-hour energy estimates
The “DC rating” refers to the DC power (direct
presented earlier are all based on the expected
current) measured by manufacturers when
field AC output of the GE Energy solar electric
classifying modules during manufacturing. The
power system.
standard measurement uses ideal noon-day
sunlight and solar modules operating at room
temperature (25ºC or 77ºF). Standard
measurements do not include the real-world effects
of heat, dirt and dust, DC-to-AC inverter conversion
efficiency, wiring, off-south orientation, non-optimal
For example, a system with 48, 100-watt solar
modules could be expected to have a peak output
of approximately 2,900 to 3,400 watts of power
under typical operating conditions with the sun
directly over the modules.
roof pitch angle, and weather conditions. This DC
rating value is used by manufacturers to measure
and ensure quality control prior to shipping.
The actual typical peak AC (alternating current)
power generated by your system under real
Estimated Peak AC Output From Inverter1
Hot Hazy Summer2
Mild Clear
Spring/Fall3
1200 DC watts
700 AC watts
800 AC watts
2400 DC watts
1400 AC watts
1700 AC watts
3600 DC watts
2200 AC watts
2500 AC watts
than ideal due to the angle of the sun and sky
4800 DC watts
2900 AC watts
3400 AC watts
conditions (haze, fog, smog)
7200 DC watts
4300 AC watts
5100 AC watts
power is lost when the inverter changes the
9600 DC watts
5700 AC watts
6800 AC watts
outdoor operating conditions will be less than this
rating due to several factors:
•
System
“DC Rating”
the solar modules are operating hot on your
roof (typically above 50ºC or 120ºF); the solar
energy shining on the modules may be less
•
solar DC power to common household AC
power.
(1) Estimated output, delivered as utility grid compatible AC power.
Generally applicable to peak clear sky conditions in spring, summer, fall
only. Assumes clean array, no shading, direct perpendicular sun angle;
includes estimated typical inverter DC/AC conversion and other system
losses such as wiring and connections that are typical of all solar
electric systems. Actual values may vary +/-25% because of prevailing
climactic conditions, array orientation, measurement uncertainty,
shading, soiling and other site-specific factors. (2) Hot hazy summer:
900 watts/m2 solar irradiance, 32ºC (90ºF) air temperature, 1 m/s wind
speed. (3) Mild clear spring/fall: 1000 watts/m2 solar irradiance, 20ºC
(68ºF) air temperature, 1 m/s wind speed.
Understanding Variations
In Power Output
The power output [measured in watts or kilowatts (kW)] from your system at any moment will vary
throughout each day, and the patterns and peak values will vary with the seasons. It is important to
understand these normal variations in system performance.
Daily Output Power Profiles
The momentary output of your system depends on
to a peak value near noon. As the sun begins its
the angle of the sun and the clearness of the sky as
decent, the angle of the sun to the panels gets
well as the temperature and the cleanliness of the
lower and reduces the power output of the system.
solar module glass. An idealized “typical” profile of
system output during a day is shown.
Some actual daily profiles are shown here to
illustrate the effects of sky conditions on output.
In the early morning, even though the day is
Notice how the real profiles vary moment to
“bright” to the eye, the angle of the sun to the solar
moment compared to the smooth idealized profile
modules is very low resulting in a reduced power
shown above. This is a more true representation of
output. As the sun rises in the sky, it moves more
how your system output will vary during a day.
directly in front of the modules and the output rises
Actual Daily Output Variations
Idealized Daily Profile
— Clear
— Overcast
Morning
AC Power (kW)
Power Output (kW)
— Rainy
Noon
Evening
Time of Day
East-West Orientation
— East Facing
Some actual daily profiles are shown here to
illustrate the effects of sky conditions on output.
Notice how the real profiles vary moment to
moment compared to the smooth idealized profile
shown above. This is a more true representation of
how your system output will vary during a day.
Seasonal Variation
Morning
Evening
Noon
Evening
June
December
— Summer
— Winter
During winter months the sun shines for fewer
hours of the day and has a lower angle in the sky.
This results in a generally lower daily output profile
than in summer, when there are more hours of
sunshine and the angle of the sun is higher during
the day. A simplified comparison of how output will
differ from summer to winter is shown.
Morning
— Loacation A
— Location B
- - Average Monthly
Energy Production
Energy Production
Seasonal variations and local conditions can have a
large effect on the output of your solar electric
system. Some areas will have a simple profile where
the winter output is low and the summer output is
high (Location A). Others may have a more complex
profile, with spring and fall being high and summer
being lower due to high temperatures or hazy
summer sun (Location B).
Noon
Power Output (kW)
In the early morning, even though the day is
“bright” to the eye, the angle of the sun to the solar
modules is very low resulting in a reduced power
output. As the sun rises in the sky, it moves more
directly in front of the modules and the output rises
to a peak value near noon. As the sun begins its
decent, the angle of the sun to the panels gets
lower and reduces the power output of the system.
Power Output (kW)
— West Facing
The momentary output of your system depends on
the angle of the sun and the clearness of the sky as
well as the temperature and the cleanliness of the
solar module glass. An idealized “typical” profile of
system output during a day is shown.
January
Maintenance
Monthly
WARNING
Monthly inspections should be performed from the ground.
Solar Array
•
Check that the solar array is not being shaded between 9am and 3pm by vegetation or
building structures. Trim vegetation if necessary.
•
Visually inspect the solar array from the ground for damage. Solar modules have a protective
glass front that can break from excessive loading (greater then 50 pounds per square foot),
from hail (greater then 1" traveling at 50 MPH), or from other causes such as vandalism. When
the glass breaks the module will typically look different than the other solar modules. If broken
glass is discovered, call for service immediately and turn your system off.
•
Optional: Check solar array glass surface for debris, dirt, or severe soiling from bird droppings.
It is not necessary to clean the module glass, as seasonal rains should wash away most
normal soiling, but you may choose to do so. To clean module surfaces. First verify there are
no broken solar modules in your array. Then remain on the ground and spray the glass with
water from a hose.
WARNING
DO NOT clean during the middle of the day when the glass is hot. The thermal shock of cold water
on hot, tempered glass could shatter the glass. Clean only at dawn or dusk when the module glass
is cool.
WARNING
Solar modules have a protective glass front. Broken solar module glass is an electrical safety
hazard (electric shock and fire). These modules cannot be repaired and must be replaced
immediately. If you have a broken module turn your system off.
WARNING
DO NOT clean the solar modules if your inverter reads a “Ground Fault Error”. Call for service
immediately if the inverter indicates a Ground Fault Error. Refer to the inverter manual for
additional details.
Maintenance
Annual
WARNING
Annual Service should be performed by qualified
service personnel only!
Solar Array
•
Check all solar array wiring to confirm no loose connections or insulation wear.
•
Check all module mounting to confirm all bolting is secure.
Power Electronics
•
Check all wiring to confirm no loose connections or insulation wear
Identify Typical System Parts*
House Circuit
Breaker Panel
Solar Array
DC Disconnect
SMA Inverter
AC Disconnect House Loads
Utility Meter
Shutdown Procedure
Startup Procedure
If for any reason you feel that your solar system is
not operating safely, the system should be shut
down. To shut your system down, follow the steps
detailed below.
Only qualified personnel should perform the
startup procedures. Please contact your installer
for assistance in turning your system on
1. Disconnect DC power
SMA Sunny Boy* inverters: switch DC
1. Disconnect AC power
Set the utility AC disconnect switch to
On position .
disconnect switch(es) to Off position. The DC
disconnect switch is typically located next to
The AC disconnect switch is typically
the inverter and should be labeled “DC
located next to the utility meter and should
be labeled “Solar AC Disconnect” or “Solar
Disconnect”.
Disconnect”.
2. Disconnect AC power
Set the utility AC disconnect switch to Off
position
The AC disconnect switch is typically located
2. Disconnect DC power
SMA Sunny Boy* inverters: switch DC
disconnect switch(es) to On position.
next to the utility meter and should be labeled
The DC disconnect switch is typically
“Solar AC Disconnect” or “Solar Disconnect”.
located next to the inverter and should be
labeled “DC Disconnect”.
* “Sunny Boy” is a trademark of the SMA Regelsysteme GmbH company
Troubleshooting
LED (Light Emitting Diodes) are located on the face of the SMA inverter.
Problem
What to do
Utility Failed, Power Outage, Blackout
No problem
Do nothing; the inverter will automatically
restart 5 minutes after the utility returns.
SMA Inverter, Steady on Green LED
No problem
The inverter is working correctly.
SMA Inverter
The inverter detected a utility fault
Flashing Green LED
or the inverter is waking up.
This occurs whenever the inverter detects
a power interruption from the utility and
every morning, it means the inverter is
processing its starting conditions and will
start in 5 minutes
once per second
SMA Inverter
It is night
At night the inverter enters a sleep mode
to conserve power.
It is a bright sunny day
The DC disconnect and possibly the AC
disconnects are turned off. Turning these
on will allow the inverter to restart. Refer
to start up procedure for power up
instructions. (Page 15).
No indicator lights
SMA Inverter
Read the LCD inverter display, It will cycle through several displays.
Yellow LED is steady on
One display will read an error message.
SMA Inverter
Steady on Yellow LED
~
Call your installer. A 15-minute field reset
of the internal computer chips is required.
Error = EEPROM_d error
SMA Inverter
Utility failed
Steady on Yellow LED
Error = Vac Bfr or Vac Srr
The error will clear when utility power is
restored. No action is required.
Utility has problems and is
out of tolerance
Utility is ok
Check the AC disconnect and AC circuit
breaker in your main load panel. If these
are off the inverter thinks the utility has
failed. If these are on, wait a couple of
hours to verify the utility is not having
problems then contact your installer.
A ground fault was detected
Contact your installer immediately.
SMA Inverter
Steady on Red LED
Error = GFDI Fuse Open
Or
Error = EarthCurMax
The error will clear when the utility returns
to providing quality power. No action is
required.
For errors that are not listed above or when the red LED is on, your installer should be contacted immediately.
Before Calling for Service
1. Write down the error message that is displayed.
2. Have this manual with you so the information on the cover can be supplied.
Codes and Standards
Product Safety
National Electrical Code
and Underwriter’s
(NEC)
Laboratories Certifications The National Electrical Code covers the installation
of solar power systems and should be adhered to
The inverters used in solar electric power systems
are UL-Listed. Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
Standard 1741 covers inverters that convert DC
electric power from photovoltaic arrays to AC
electric power intended for use in parallel with an
electric utility to supply common loads (utility
interactive).
The GE Energy solar modules used in our systems
are UL listed to applicable Underwriters
Laboratories Inc. standards and requirements. The
photovoltaic modules are intended for installation
on buildings, or to be ground mounted (that is, not
attached to buildings), in accordance with the
National Electrical Code, NFPA 70, and Building
Codes. The photovoltaic modules have a Class "C"
Fire Rating, and must be installed over a roof of
appropriate fire resistance. Do not install the solar
module integral with a roof or wall of a habitable
structure. Modules are not rated as roofing material.
when systems are designed and installed. Article
690, Solar Photovoltaic Systems, applies “to solar
photovoltaic electrical energy systems including the
array circuit(s), power conditioning unit(s), and
controller(s) for such systems.”
GE Energy
231 Lake Drive
Newark, DE 19702
USA
T 302.451.7400
F 302.451.7501
For more information on Solar contact us at
gepower.com/solar
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