Warranty Solar Panels
Residential Solar Energy

Glossary-of-terms

Bronze, Silver and Gold packages:  These were put together with the average Wide Bay electricity usage in mind.  Based upon Ergon Energy figures the average household uses 15.5kwh per day averaged over 365 days.  The Bronze package will produce on average 6.3 kwh’s per day.  The Silver package will produce 12.6 kwh’s per day and the Gold package 18.9 kwh’s per day.  Go to here for more information.


Watt: What is a watt?  It is a unit of measurement of energy conversion.  Our electricity consumption of a device is measured in watts. i.e. 60w Light bulb, 280w Plasma TV, 1500w Air conditioner.  An electricity retailer charges its customers in terms of kw/h or 1000w/h.  In simple terms 1kwh would be the equivalent of having a 100w light globe on for 10 hours or a 250w TV on for 4 hours.  So the higher power usage the shorter time it takes for it to use 1 kw/h of electricity.


Monocrystalline Cells: This refers to the type of solar cell that is used to make up the solar panel.  These panels are characterised by the small corners that are shaved off each cell.   This is due to the fact that the thin wafer that makes up the cell is cut from a cylindrical ingot.  Mono cells are made from single crystal silicon and more efficient (22% efficiency in production) than polycrystalline cells but are quite often more expensive to make.  The advantage of mono panels is that they usually take a little less roof area to achieve the same result.


Polycrystalline Cells: These cells are made from smaller crystals compared to the mono cells and therefore give a fractured appearance instead of the clean cut appearance of the mono panel.  Usually less energy is required to produce a poly panels but they are less efficient than the mono panels.  Both mono and polycrystalline technologies have been in production for well over 35 years.  Which type of panels that get used on a roof may well come down to the look of the panels for the ground and the space available.  Poly panels are just under 1000mm wide as opposed to the mono panels which are just over 800mm wide.

Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels produce DC volts in small volumes.  These are added together to make the total DC voltage output 200v or higher.


Clean Energy Council: Is a not-for-profit industry body in Australia that oversees the development and implementation of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.  Its job in relation Solar energy is to ensure that the products that are used in Australia are of a certain quality.  Inverters are tested independently for conformity to AS4777.2 requirements and the PV panels have to be internationally verified to IEC 61730 and IEC 61215 or IEC61646 standards.  It is also oversees the accreditation of installers as well as receiving installer complaints.  For more information click http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/cec/home.html


IP65: The IP stands for International Protection rating.  The 6 stands for the unit being completely dust tight.  The 5 stands for the water jets sprayed from any direction not having any harmful effects.  The rating can be applied to any enclosure or piece of electronic equipment.  When specifically applied to inverters the unit can be mounted outside with no detrimental effects.  There are two caveats here.  The first one is that the LCD screens of all inverters are not designed to be directed exposed to UV light (there are simple ways to overcome this).  Also it is not a good idea to mount the inverters on a post exposed to all the elements.  Ideally the south wall of a dwelling is suitable unless the other sides of a house are in shade all year round.  Otherwise indoors is the best place for an inverter.  An important note to make is that for coastal regions is best to have an IP54/65 rated inverter even if it will be installed indoors.


Inverter: This is the brains of the Solar system that is installed.  Its job is to convert the DC voltage from the Solar panels to produce 240v AC voltage that is connected directly to the existing power utility supply.  As mentioned above there are indoor and outdoor rated inverters with the greater percentage being of the outdoor kind.  Also there are grid connected and off grid inverters but we will only discuss grid connected inverters here.  The main function of the inverter is to continually make sure that the output of the Solar panels is being turned into the maximum amount of grid connected (AC) power.  In the domestic market transformerless inverters offer the greatest efficiency (95% and above) and hence are the best at converting DC in to AC.  SMA do not make a transformerless Inverter below 3kw so their entry level inverter (1700W) is not as efficient (93%) but still meets the CEC guidelines for power output.


All inverters will usually provide daily, monthly and annual statistics of power output.  The added features of the more expensive inverters are usually more money spent on research and development, higher quality components. longer times between failure times, more options for remote logging and better support.


Anodised: Anodising increases the thickness of the natural oxide layer of the aluminium.  This is necessary to further protect the aluminium in harsh coastal environments.  Some aluminium products that get imported from overseas are anodised before being cut to length.  Some products may not be anodised at all.  One of the reasons we have chosen the Alzone racking system is because the rails are anodised after being cut.


Wind Region C
: Australia is divided up into 4 wind regions with A being the easiest wind conditions and Wind Region D being the most difficult. i.e. cyclonic.  Our region is on the edge of Wind Region C and therefore can be subjected to some very harsh wind conditions.  Again our choice of racking system is based upon the design of the racking system for Australian conditions.  It can also be used to the edge of the roof which many racking systems available can not but maybe incorrectly installed due to a lack of available roof area.  The Alzone racking system comes with an engineering certificate.

Cable Losses (<1%): 
All cables produce losses when electricity is passed through them.  The larger the cable the lower the loss.  When designing a system the guidelines state to keep overall cable losses to below 1%.  In most cases this is straightforward.  In some cases this is not possible as the place where the panels/inverter is placed is a long distance to the meterbox.  We will advise if is not possible to keep the overall loss to under 1%.  1% cable losses on our Gold package means a loss of $26/year which is very small in the scheme of things.

Installation:
  Good equipment will only function as well as it is designed and installed.  All work is carried out in accordance with the following Australian standards -

- AS/NZS 5033:2005  Installation of photovoltaic arrays (PV arrays)
- AS 4777.1-2005  Grid Connection of energy systems via inverters
- AS/NZS 1170.2:2002  Structural design actions – Wind Actions
- AS/NZS 3000:2007  Electrical Installations

Also all work carried out on roofs is in accordance with Australian Construction industry working safely at heights procedures.  All electrical work is carried out by a CEC certified Electrician.


Commissioning, documentation and training: Our commissioning document is based upon the latest CEC Design and Grid Connect guide and is provided in your information pack when the installation is complete.   A sample of our Documentation guide is found here.  Training takes about 10 minutes and is very straightforward.


Paperwork: Before a solar system can be connected to the local electricity network a network connection agreement has to be completed.  This letters the uitlity know what size system that you plan to connect.  If the system size is under 5kw and not on a SWER line then it is normally an automatic process.  For larger systems then it will take longet.


By choosing a local installer you are working with someone who is constantly doing work in your area and knows what is happening and will be able to best advise you.  Some of the national companies do not follow this through for you.