Electricity from the sun Solar PV systems explained
Electricity from the sun
Solar PV systems explained
3rd Edition, June 2008
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Produced by
Clean Energy Council
18 Kavanagh Street
Southbank Victoria 3006
Australia
Phone: 03 9929 4100
www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au
Major contributors
Brad Shone, Alternative
Technology Association (ATA)
Geoff Stapleton, Global
Sustainable Energy Solutions
Mike Russell, Clean Energy
Council
Nigel Wilmot, Research
Institute for Sustainable
Energy (RISE)
ISBN: 978-0-9802806-7-8
The information in this guide
has been provided as a
guide to solar PV systems.
While every effort has been
made to ensure the content
is useful and relevant, no
responsibility for any
purchasing decision based
on this information is
accepted by the Clean
Energy Council or other
contributors.
Australian Government
funding through the
Department of the
Environment, Water, Heritage
and the Arts supports this
project.
The views expressed herein
are not necessarily the
views of the Commonwealth,
and the Commonwealth
does not accept
responsibility for any
information or advice
contained herein.
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Contents
Solar photovoltaic
(PV) systems
2
Solar modules
3
Choosing the right system 4
Choosing a designer/
installer
4
Do you need a stand-alone
or grid-connected solar
PV system?
6
A: Grid-connected
solar PV systems
7
A grid-connected
solar PV system
8
System size
9
Reducing demand
10
The meter
11
When the grid goes down 11
Design
12
Location
12
Orientation
12
Elevation
13
Customisation
13
Annual production
13
Quotation
14
Australian Standards
and industry guidelines 15
Documentation
15
Preventative maintenance 15
Electricity distributors
16
Electricity retailers
16
Feed-in tariffs
16
B: Stand-alone
solar PV systems
17
A stand-alone solar
PV system
18
System size
20
Design
20
Load analysis
21
Reducing demand
22
Location
22
Orientation
23
Elevation
23
Customisation
24
Annual production
24
Quotation
25
Australian Standards
and industry guidelines 26
Documentation
27
Preventative maintenance 27
Breakdowns
27
Maintenance contracts 28
Alternative renewable
energy resources
28
Wind turbines and
pico-hydro
28
Further information
Glossary
30
31
2
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems
The aim of this guide is to provide some background information
to assist purchasers in making an informed choice about solar
photovoltaic (PV) systems.
Solar PV systems:
• use sunlight to generate electricity for your domestic use, and
• store excess electricity in batteries for later use, or
• feed into the electricity grid to reduce
your electricity bill.
A solar electric system is different
to a solar water heater. This guide
deals only with solar electricity.
Solar water heaters use heat
from the sun and/or
surrounding air to heat water;
they do not produce
electricity.
Benefits of a solar PV system to the householder
3 Solar PV systems generate
3 Solar modules can be integrated into
n
n
electricity
the building in the form of windows,
3 Once the system has been purchased, walls, roof tiles or pergolas
n
electricity is generated from a ‘free’
3 Solar electricity can supplement or
n
resource—the sun
provide all your electrical consumption
3 Solar electricity is generated without n
3 Solar electricity can be fed into
n
3 Solar panels or modules are silent,
n
without any moving parts
3 Solar modules are generally
n
emitting greenhouse gases
unobtrusively mounted on an existing
roof
3 Additional solar modules can be
n
added later as demand or budget
the grid
3 A solar module should last for
n
at least 20–30 years.
grows
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Solar modules
Solar modules are
generally flat panels
mounted on roofs or
other structures.
Solar modules convert energy from sunlight into direct
current (DC) electricity.
+
More energy is generated
• in areas of strong solar
radiation
• on long, sunny days.
–
Less energy is generated
• in cloudy or rainy weather
• when the panels are
shaded by trees or other
obstructions
• when the panels become
hot.
3
4
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
The right system
A designer/installer
Factors to consider:
• your electricity demand—how much you
use. The more electricity you demand, the
larger the system and the greater the cost
• your budget—how much are you prepared
to invest. Your budget may create limits
on the size of the system
• your location—whether the mains
electricity grid is available and, if so, how
much would it cost to bring power out to
your property and pay for ongoing
maintenance of poles and cables on your
property
• aspect—there needs to be sufficient
space on your roof for the mounting of
north-facing modules
• rebates—Commonwealth and/or state
government rebates provide an incentive
to householders to invest in solar.
However these are subject to change from
time to time. Please check with the
Australian Greenhouse Office or your local
BCSC Accredited designer/installer.
BCSC Accreditation ensures that those
holding Accreditation:
Note: To be eligible for existing rebates, your
system must be designed and installed by a
BCSC Accredited installer
The above bill shows a peak daily
I
consumption of 12.5kWh in January 2006.
June 2006 was 6.3kWh per day.
have undergone the necessary
I
professional training
follow industry best practice
I
must adhere to Australian Standards
I
routinely update their skills and
I
product knowledge.
It is also wise to:
• consider the recommendations of others
who have purchased a similar system
to the one you require
• engage someone with whom you’re
happy to work, and
• look for designing and installing
experience in the industry, not just
a retail outlet.
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Stand-alone or grid-connected
Is the mains electrical supply
available at an affordable price?
Yes Ü
No Ü
5
6
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
If Yes then you should
consider a gridconnected power
system — GC
See page 7 Ü
If No then you should
consider a stand-alone
power system — SPS
See page 17 Ü
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
A: Grid-connected solar PV systems
If…
• you’re passionate about
renewable energy
• you would like to reduce your
power bill
• you’re worried about the
environment
• you wish to add value to your
home
then…
a gridconnected
solar PV
system may be
for you
7
8
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
A grid-connected solar PV system
A grid-connected solar PV system is
an array of photovoltaic modules
connected via an inverter to provide
power for your home, with excess
production feeding into the grid.
At night, when the solar modules are not
producing electricity, the electricity comes
to you from the grid. If you export enough
energy during the day, it will balance or
exceed the amount you draw from the grid
at night.
Sunlight
•
1
PV
A R R AY
Electricity
to House (AC)
•
Grid
electricity
import
3
PV
electricity
output (DC)
•
1
Solar PV
modules
supplying
DC power.
•
2
•
INVERTER
METER
•
2
An inverter
changing the
solar DC
power into
240V
alternating
current (AC)
suitable for
your
household
appliances
and feeding
into the grid.
•
5
4
•
3
Your home
uses
electricity
firstly from
the solar PV
modules
with
additional
demand
supplied
from the grid.
•
PV
electricity
export
4
A meter
measuring
your electricity
production
and
consumption.
ELECTRICITY
NETWORK
(GRID)
•
5
Any excess
is ‘exported’
to the
electricity
grid.
A: Grid-connected solar PV systems
Choosing the System size
While the ideal outcome is to
provide enough energy to run all
your electrical appliances all year
round, the reality is that your
electricity usage and your budget
may not always coincide.
Often the compromise means that the solar
PV system will supply only part of your total
electricity demand, however, you can always
add to it later.
Simply put, if you can minimise your
consumption of electricity, and you are able
to purchase a large system, you may be
able to meet all or most of your electricity
demand. Therefore your on-going electricity
bills could be close to zero. However, if you
use a lot of electricity, and are only able to
purchase a small system, the saving on your
electricity bill will be not as great.
For this reason, you may wish to consider
some energy conservation and energy
efficiency measures to reduce your
electricity consumption, and replace a larger
portion of your electricity bill with your solar
PV system.
What will I need to power
a 3-bedroom home?
There’s no easy answer to this
question.
Everyone’s electrical usage is
different—it depends on:
• patterns of energy use in your
household
• number of occupants
• types of appliances, gas or electric.
The size of the system will depend on:
• the physical un-shaded space
available for the installation of your
modules
• how much you are prepared to
spend, and
• what portion of your electrical
demand you wish to generate.
9
10
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Reducing demand
While the power you generate can help offset electricity charges, it
is important that you also consider other cost-effective alternatives.
These alternatives include:
• using the most energy
efficient appliances
• replacing incandescent
light globes with compact
fluoros
• avoiding quartz halogen
downlights as most are very
inefficient
• switching off stand-by loads
such as those consumed by
DVDs and computers when
not in use
• installing a solar water
heater, preferably with gas
boosting—this will cut
electrical costs.
• utilising off-peak tariffs for
any large electrical loads eg:
pool pumps
• utilising motion sensors,
timers and home
automation systems
• positioning summer
shading or reflective
coatings on west facing
windows
• reducing electricity
demand for space-heating
and cooling (eg: by
dressing for the climate,
judicious setting of
thermostats, use of
curtains and incorporating
energy efficiency features
into new buildings, such
as lights, insulation,
summer shading etc.), and
• ensuring there’s adequate
solar access in winter to
provide passive heating.
The most common and accurate
method used to determine your
energy usage is to review your
electricity supply bills for the past
12 months and calculate your
average annual daily consumption.
Use the bar graph to calculate
your annual average daily use.
You can then compare this with
the production figures, for your
location, on page 13.
By the way this user does not
use off-peak electricity.
A: Grid-connected solar PV systems
The meter
When the grid
goes down
Ô Left: Modern digital meter.
n
Right: Old-fashioned meter
In most cases the electricity meter
records the energy sent to the grid
as well as the energy consumed
from the grid.
However, in some cases it may instead
record all the energy produced from the
solar modules as well as all the energy
consumed by the house. Your electricity
distributor reads the meter and determines
your balance. Your electricity retailer then
bills for the energy consumed OR makes
payment for the excess production.
Note: You need to check with your electricity
retailer for their ’feed-in‘ rate, supply
charges and billing periods. Arrangements
differ with each retailer and differ between
states. You should shop around for the best
deal. Your installer will be able to advise
you.
For safety reasons, when the
grid goes down your solar PV
system must automatically and
immediately turn off.
It is possible to have a system
that will provide emergency
electricity when the grid is
interrupted. This necessitates
the additional installation of a
suitable inverter, a battery bank
and possibly changes to the
house wiring. The benefit is it
will provide the security of a
continuous electricity supply in
the event of blackouts.
11
12
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Design
Location
A BCSE Accredited designer will provide you
with the system design and specification.
The system’s location
requires consultation with
your Accredited installer.
The system
designer will:
• determine the
configuration
and number of
solar modules
• select an
appropriate
inverter
• determine
whether the PV
modules will fit
on the
roof or structure
• determine
constraints
caused by
shading.
Suitable areas are required
for the solar modules and
the inverter. For example:
• The PV modules may be
fixed onto the roof or a
ground-mounted frame or
integrated into the fabric
of the building using PV
roofing tiles or windows.
For best performance, a
north facing area, free
from shading, is
recommended.
• The inverter should not be
exposed to the elements,
though weather-proof
models are available.
Orientation
Solar modules
produce most electricity
when they are pointed directly at the
sun. It is important to install them so that they
receive maximum sunlight. Ideally they should be in full sun at
least from 9am to 3pm. In Australia, solar modules should face
north for optimum electricity production.
A: Grid-connected solar PV systems
Elevation
Customisation
For grid-connected systems the angle should
equal the latitude to maximise the amount of
energy produced annually.
Latitude adjustments for grid connected systems in
most climates fit within an acceptable roof pitch range
(eg: for Sydney’s latitude this is 22 degrees, a common
roof pitch).
However,
if the electricity
load is significantly
higher in summer, your
installer may consider
angling the modules to
maximize electricity production
to match this load.
Average daily production
The following figures indicate
the average kilowatt hours (kWh)
of energy you can produce in
one day from a 1 kilowatt (kW)
solar electric power system in
various parts of Australia.
Electricity is metered in kilowatt
hours (kWh) where 1kWh =
1000Wh. Hence if you use 1 kW
for 1 hour you have consumed
1kWh of energy. Some electrical
retailers refer to 1 kWh as
1 unit.
CITY
Adelaide
Alice Springs
Brisbane
Cairns
Canberra
Darwin
Geraldton
Hobart
Melbourne
Oodnadatta
Perth
Sydney
Tennant Creek
Wagga Wagga
kWh
4.03
4.56
3.85
3.70
3.97
4.30
4.62
3.24
3.38
4.66
3.71
4.00
4.33
4.06
If your roof’s slope is not
ideal, your designer can
create an appropriate
mounting frame to correct
the orientation and
elevation of your array.
Failing this, the designer
can advise you on how
much output you are
sacrificing from the array.
13
14
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Quotation
Following the design
and specification you
may request a
quotation for the supply
and installation of the
system.
The quotation should provide
specifications, quantity, size,
capacity and output for the
major components, including:
• solar PV modules
• mounting frames or
structure
• inverter
• any additional metering or
data-logging
• travel and transport
requirements
• other equipment needed
• any trench digging
• a system user manual.
The quotation should also
specify a total price, together
with proposed start and
completion dates. The
quotation should form a
basis for your contract with
the designer/installer.
In addition, a contract for
the supply and installation of
the power system should be
included with the quotation.
Whilst the initial cost is very
important, it is wise to
consider all the costs and
benefits over the life of the
system, together with the
service you expect from the
system designer and
installer.
Ô Sample of a quotation pad available from the Clean
n
Energy Council
The contract should include:
• an estimate of the average daily electricity output (in
kWh)
• the estimated annual production
• the estimated production in the best and worst months
• the responsibilities of each party
• warranties and guarantees, including installer
workmanship
• a schedule of deposit and progress payments.
It is important to remember
that a good relationship with
a reputable, experienced,
quality installer may be more
valuable than a few dollars
saved on a quote. This will
be a significant investment
so you should ensure the
decision you make is the
best.
A: Grid-connected solar PV systems
Australian Standards
and industry guidelines
Solar grid-connected power systems must
comply with a range of Australian Standards
covering the grid connection of energy
systems via inverters, the installation of PV
modules and The BCSE Design and
Installation Guidelines.
Documentation
A system manual that provides operation,
maintenance and safety information should
be provided by your installer. This must also
include a design of the system. Also ensure
you obtain written confirmation of statements
made by your installer, performance claims,
guarantees and warranties.
Documentation will be essential when you
need to make warranty or insurance claims.
Preventative maintenance
After installation, the owner is responsible for
ensuring the equipment is maintained in good working order.
Please note that appropriate instruction by the installer, backed up by maintenance
information in the system manual, should be
provided. Safe work practices for any
maintenance tasks must be followed.
For further information on the future
maintenance of your system please refer
to the BCSE’s guide “Solar PV Systems
Maintenance Guide For System Owners”
ISBN: 978-0-9802806-9-2.
15
16
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Electricity distributors
Electricity retailers
Electricity itself is sold to you, or
bought from you, by an electricity
retailer. In most states you can
choose your retailer although not all
will agree to sell or buy from a solar
powered generator.
It is important to shop around for the best
deal including buying rates and conditions.
Before signing with a retailer,
check all the following:
3 Cost of electricity you purchase in
n
cents per kWh
3 Price they will pay per kWh for
n
3 Whether your metering registers the
n
total production from your solar panels
electricity you feed into the grid
All poles, lines and meters are
provided by an electricity
distribution business. You cannot
choose your distributor as they are
allocated geographically throughout
Australia.
or just the excess, (beyond what is
consumed in your home)
3 Penalty clauses including termination
n
costs
3 Billing/payment periods.
n
Feed-in tariffs
A mandatory feed-in tariff is a
rate (in cents per kWh) at which
the electricity retailers are obliged
to purchase electricity from your
system.
Some states are in the process of
introducing mandatory feed-in tariffs.
Check with your installer on developments
in your state.
B: Stand-alone solar PV systems
B: Stand-alone solar PV systems
If…
• you need 24-hour power but
you’re a long way from the
electricity grid, or
• you’re passionate about
renewable energy, or
• you dislike using diesel, petrol
or LPG generators
then…
a stand-alone
solar PV
system may be
for you.
17
18
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
A stand-alone solar PV system
A stand-alone solar PV system (SPS) is not
connected to the electricity grid.
Together, the battery bank and the inverter supply electricity
to your appliances. But, if you try to use more electrical
energy than the battery bank holds, you will run the
batteries too low and reduce their life expectancy.
The number of solar modules and the size of the battery
bank can be increased to generate and store more energy,
or you may decide to include a diesel, petrol or LPG
generator. In areas of high wind, a small wind turbine could
also be an option. Such systems, which use a variety of
generating technologies, are called hybrid systems.
Sunlight
•
1
PV
A R R AY
PV electricity
to house (AC)
•
•
4
•
2
PV
electricity
output (DC)
•
B AT T E R I E S
1
Solar modules
providing direct
current (DC)
power to the
battery
•
2
The battery
bank is the
heart of the
system;
it stores the
electrical
energy
3
INVERTER
•
3
•
The inverter converts the DC power
of the battery to 240V alternating
current (AC) power for use by your
appliances
4
The power
generated
and stored
is used in
your home.
B: Stand-alone solar PV systems
A generator and battery
charger are normally part of an
SPS so that, when extended
bad weather occurs, you have
a back-up supply which helps
safe-guard your batteries.
To reduce load requirements, make
sure that all your lights and appliances
are the most energy efficient
available.
Ô A large diesel generator
n
Generators
•3
Sunlight
PV
A R R AY
PV electricity
to house (AC)
• •
1
2
G E N E R AT O R
B AT T E R Y
CHARGER
• •
PV
electricity B AT T E R I E S
output (DC)
1
2
A petrol,
diesel or
LPG
fuelled
generator
(genset)
A battery
charger to
charge the
battery on
demand.
INVERTER
The advantages of
an SPS with a
generator is that
electricity is
available during
prolonged periods
of overcast / rainy
weather, or when
big power loads
are required. It
may also allow for
a smaller battery
bank and inverter
to be used.
•7
The main
disadvantages are
the higher capital
cost for the genset
and battery
charger, and the
ongoing fuel and
maintenance
costs.
19
20
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
System size
What will I need to
power a 3-bedroom
home?
There’s no easy answer
to this question.
Design
A BCSE Accredited designer will provide you with the system
design and specification.
3 perform a load analysis n
3 select a suitable
n
on the use of your
battery bank
household appliances
3 select a suitable
n
genset
determine the
3
n configuration and
3 advise on any other
number of solar
n
appropriate
The system designer will:
3 select an appropriate
n
inverter
modules
technologies, eg:
solar water heater,
wind turbine, etc.
Everyone’s electrical
usage is different—it
depends on:
• patterns of energy use
in your household
• number of occupants
• types of appliances,
eg: gas or electric
fridge, hot water
system, etc.
The size of the system
will depend on:
• the quantity of
electricity you wish to
consume
• how much you are
prepared to spend.
B: Stand-alone solar PV systems
Load analysis
The first step in the
design process is to
establish your
electrical loads over an
average day using a
load analysis.
The system designer uses
the load analysis to:
3 calculate the daily
n
energy demand
3 recommend where
n
energy savings can be
made
3 determine the peak
n
power demand
3 select the system
n
3 determine the
n
configuration and
voltage
number of solar PV
modules
3 select an appropriate
n
inverter—power output
3 calculate the battery
n
size
3 determine size and type
n
and surge
3 estimate genset use—
n
maximum and minimum
of genset
run times.
Ô An example of a load assessment form
n
The system design may
need to be repeated before
an economic and
satisfactory ‘agreed load’ is
established.
21
22
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Reducing demand
It is important that you consider cost-effective methods of reducing
your electricity demand.
• installing solar water
heating—preferably with
gas boosting
• reducing electricity
demand for space-heating
and cooling (eg: by
dressing for the climate,
judicious setting of
thermostats, use of
curtains and incorporating
energy efficiency features
into new buildings, eg:
lights, insulation, summer
shading etc.
• ensuring there’s adequate
solar access in winter to
provide passive heating.
These methods include:
• using the most energy
efficient appliances,
especially for refrigeration
• replacing incandescent
light globes with compact
fluoros
• avoiding quartz-halogen
downlights; most are very
inefficient
• using LPG for some loads
such as cooking and hot
water
• switching off stand-by
loads such as DVD players
• utilising sensors, timeswitches and a home
automation system
Locating the system
roofing tiles or windows.
For best performance, a
north facing area, free
from shading is
recommended
ideally the inverter should
not be exposed to the
elements, though weatherproof models are available
• the battery bank must be
in a separate, lockable
and well-ventilated battery
enclosure
The system’s location requires
consultation with your
Accredited installer. Suitable
areas are required for the
solar modules, inverter,
•
battery bank and genset.
For example:
• the PV modules may be
fixed onto the roof, a
ground-mounted frame or
integrated into the fabric of
the building using PV
• the inverter and battery
charger should also be in a
secure, weatherproof and
well ventilated enclosure
• the generator should be
situated out of ear-shot and
with adequate ventilation
• if system components are
located a long way from the
house, the cost of
trenching needs to be
considered.
B: Stand-alone solar PV systems
Orientation, elevation and customisation
Solar modules produce
most power when they
are pointed directly at
the sun.
It is important to install
them so that they receive
maximum sunlight. Ideally
they should be in full sun
from at least 9am to 3pm.
In Australia, solar modules
should face north for
optimum electricity
production.
Elevation
Customisation
For stand alone power
systems, where winter
operation is crucial, the
angle should be the latitude
plus 15 degrees.
If your roof’s slope is not
ideal, your designer can
create a suitable mounting
frame to correct the
orientation and elevation of
your array. Failing this, the
designer can advise you on
how much output you are
sacrificing from the array.
23
24
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Average daily production
The following figures
indicate the average kilowatt
hours (kWh) of energy you
can produce in one day from
a 1 kilowatt (kW) solar
electric power system in
various parts of Australia.
Electricity is metered in
kilowatt hours (kWh) where
1kWh = 1000Wh. Hence if
you use 1 kW for 1 hour you
have consumed 1kWh of
energy. Some electrical
retailers refer to 1 kWh as
1 unit.
CITY
Adelaide
Alice Springs
Brisbane
Cairns
Canberra
Darwin
Geraldton
Hobart
Melbourne
Oodnadatta
Perth
Sydney
Tennant Creek
Wagga Wagga
kWh
3.08
3.62
3.00
2.93
3.00
3.47
3.61
2.42
2.57
3.70
3.27
2.84
3.50
3.12
per day
B: Stand-alone solar PV systems
Quotation
Following the design
and specification you
may request a
quotation for the supply
and installation of the
system.
In addition to the quotation,
a contract for the supply and
installation of the power
system should be included
with each quotation. (There’s
a sample on the BCSE website at http://
www.bcse.org.au/default.asp
?id=96 )
The quotation should provide
specifications, quantity, size,
capacity and output for the
major components, including:
• PV modules
• mounting frames or
structure
• battery
• inverter
• design, travel and
transport costs.
• installation and other
equipment costs
• carpentry such as building
a battery enclosure
• generator (if required)
• any trench digging
• battery charger
• system user manual.
The quotation should also
specify a total price, together
with proposed start and
completion dates. The
quotation should form a
basis for your contract with
the designer/installer.
Ô Sample of a quotation pad available from the BCSE
n
The contract should include:
• an estimate of the average daily energy output (in kWh)
• the estimated annual production
• the estimated production in the best
and worst months
• the responsibilities of each party
• warranties and guarantees, including installer
workmanship
• a schedule of deposit and progress payments
• expected operator run times in hours per month.
Whilst the initial cost is very
important, it is wise to
consider all the costs and
benefits over the life of the
system, including
replacement, maintenance
and fuel costs.
The renewable energy
resource data used should
be identified.
It is important to remember
that a good relationship with
a reputable, experienced,
Accredited installer may be
more valuable than a few
dollars saved on a quote.
This will be a significant
investment so you should
ensure the decision you
make is the best.
25
26
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Australian Standards and industry guidelines
Stand-alone solar PV systems must comply with a range of Australian
Standards covering stand-alone power systems, batteries, the installation
of photovoltaic arrays, together with The BCSE Design and Installation
Guidelines.
Ô A range of safety signs required under the Standards
n
Breakdowns — emergency call out
The system installer should be able to
offer a quick response for any major
system problems, for instance, equipment
failure.
B: Stand-alone solar PV systems
Documentation
Preventative
maintenance
A system manual that provides
operation, maintenance and safety
information should be provided by
your installer.
After installation, the owner is
responsible for ensuring the
equipment is maintained in good
working order.
Also ensure you obtain written confirmation
of statements made by your installer,
performance claims, guarantees and
manufacturers’ warranties.
This will include checking the water in the
batteries, cleaning modules and visually
checking the wiring.
Please note that appropriate instruction by
the installer, backed up by maintenance
information in the system manual, should be
provided.
Safe work practices for any maintenance
tasks must be followed.
Maintenance contracts
The system installer can offer a maintenance contract. This will usually include
regular maintenance visits, at agreed intervals, to ensure that your power system
is performing optimally.
27
28
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Alternative renewable energy resources
Like solar modules,
that require full sun, all
renewable energy
devices must have
access to a reliable
energy source.
There is no point in installing
a wind turbine in a low wind
area or a pico-hydro system
in an area prone to drought.
B: Stand-alone solar PV systems
Wind turbines and pico-hydro
As with solar PV, wind and hydro
can be used to charge your
batteries.
For reliable power, the resource should be
located close to your power system.
Ô Some properties have sufficient wind to
n
propel a small wind turbine,
Other properties may have access to rivers
and creeks to propel a pico-hydro
generator.
29
30
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Further information
Sections A and B were written to provide you
with an overview of PV systems to enable
you to make an informed purchasing
decision.
For more detailed information on the
following contents, please refer to the CEC
website at www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au
The Department of the Environment,
Water, Heritage and the Arts
http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/energy/
index.html
http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/appliances/
index.html
Your Home Technical Manual
http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/yourhome/
technical/ fs00.htm
Research Institute for Sustainable Energy
(RISE)
http://www.rise.org.au/
Contents on web
http://www.bcse.org.au/default.asp?id=310
• What is renewable energy?
— RE resources
• What is a stand-alone power system?
— Genset only
— Genset—battery charger—battery—
inverter
— SPS configurations
• Solar modules
• Batteries
• Inverters
• Gensets
• Battery chargers
• Wind turbines
• Pico-hydro generators
• Input regulators and controllers
• Power and energy
— Energy services
• Extra Low Voltage (ELV) and Low Voltage
(LV)
• Power system quotes
• Australian Standards
— System documentation
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
State Agencies
Queensland
http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/ environmental_management/sustainability/ energy/
renewable_energy_rebate_ programs/
Western Australia
http://www1.sedo.energy. wa.gov.au/pages/rrpgp.asp
South Australia
http://www.sustainable. energy.sa.gov.au/pages/ programs/electricity_
supplies/renewable_energy/renewable_energy.htm
Tasmania
http://www.dier.tas.gov.au/ energy/rebates
Victoria
http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/www/html/1388-photovoltaic-rebateprogram.asp?intSiteID=4
New South Wales
http://www.deus.nsw.gov.au/energy/Renewable%20 Energy/Solar%20Power/
Solar%20Power%20Rebates.asp#TopOfPage
Australian Capital Territory
Phone: 02 6247 2099
31
32
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
Glossary
BCSC Accredited deemed qualified to
design / install by the Clean Energy
Council, 4
agreed load production output that matches
your budget, 26
array a collection of modules, 14
Australian Standards mandatory electrical
safety requirements, 6
battery bank group of battery cells, 25
compact fluoros electrically economical light
globe, 12
configuration layout pattern, 14
data-logging system generated data, 16
electricity retailer company selling and
buying electricity, 13
elements unprotected weather such as rain
and sun, 14
excess production power left over after your
home’s consumption, 13
feed-in rate price paid for excess power, 13
generator petrol, diesel or LPG powered
240 V electrical source, 21
genset electrical generator powered by
fossil fuels, 25
greenhouse gases gases emitted that
contribute towards global warming, 3
grid the poles and wires forming a city’s
electrical network, 3
home automation systems computerised
system controlling windows, etc., 12
hybrid using more than one generating
technology, 21
incandescent light element that used in
conventional light bulbs, 12
inverter device for converting from DC to
AC, 9
kilowatt 1000 watts, 15
kilowatt hours power in kilowatts multiplied
by time in hours, 15
load analysis analysis of power
requirements, 25
loads power requirements, 25
mandatory compulsory, 19
meter meter recording electricity movement,
13
off-peak tariffs incentive to delay power use
for quiet time, 12
out of ear-shot placing a noise source
where it can’t be heard, 28
peak power demand maximum electrical
power required, 26
penalty clauses payments owed when a
contractor fails to perform or deliver
services, 19
quartz halogen downlights an uneconomical
low voltage light, 12
rebates financial incentives offered by
governments, 5
runtimes length of generator running time,
26
solar access letting the sunshine in, 12
solar water heater hot water system heated
by the sun’s energy, 3
solar panel converts solar energy into
electrical energy, 3
specification module and inverter models,
14
SPS stand-alone power system, 23
stand-alone solar PV system power system
independent of the mains grid, 23
stand-by loads power to keep an appliance
warmed up for a quick start, 12
surge additional power required to start
motors, 26
system design number of modules, size of
inverter and cables, 14
system voltage voltage of battery and
inverter, usually 12V, 24V or 48V, 26
termination costs costs incurred in
severing the contract, 19
Electricity from the sun: Solar PV systems
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