What is solar energy?
Solar energy is energy provided by the Sun. When converted into solar power, it can be used for heating or electricity by private households as well as businesses. Domestically or commercially. Solar power is generated by
1: a surface that collects solar energy (silicon base product) and
2: a method of converting the captured energy into electricity or heat.
Converting Solar energy into Solar power
There are 2 main methods of converting solar energy into solar power:
- Direct or photovoltaic (PV) conversion. In this case, you would use solar panels (or solar PV) for generating electricity.
- Indirect or solar thermal conversion. In this case, you would use a solar thermal collector to generate heat. This is also known as solar water heating.
Options of Solar hot water are usually flat panel collectors and the newer technology Evacuated tubes, depending on the climate and site different options or suited for each client. In Geelong Evacuated tubes work very efficiently.
Consumers have long embraced solar-powered technology as a somewhat “futuristic” way to help power and heat their homes. It’s hard to drive through today’s neighborhoods without spotting at least one home with a roof decked out in solar panels. But now, solar power has found its place on the road.
There are plenty of startup success stories that have emerged from tiny garages, and yet most people fixate on the creation of the Macintosh computer. But have you heard the story of the exciting innovations that were sparked – not literally – from someone’s oil-spilled garage?
Julie and Scott Brusaw co-founded Solar Roadways after recognizing a need for an electric car-charging road that collects energy from the sun, helping power the entire U.S. grid.
It’s easy to hear the phrase “illuminated roadway” and think back to a movie likeTron, but thanks to modern innovation, Solar Roadways might become a reality. Solar Roadways are made up of photovoltaic cells and tempered glass that canwithstand the weight of a 125 ton vehicle and offer enough traction to stop a car traveling at 128 kph on a wet surface. These roadways cover the solar cells and circuit boards with LED lights that can be programmed to light roads from the surface to help indicate lane lines, speed limits, even upcoming slow traffic. The hexagonal solar panels are connected to one another so if one stops working, the others will be able to communicate the problem to an engineer. Solar Roadways offer a solution to weather-related driving hazards, as they generate enough heat to melt ice and snow in colder climates, and could be used to collect and recycle runoff from the roads to ensure filtration.
While Solar Roadways are in testing, solar roads are already being implemented in Oregon. The Oregon Solar Highway project doesn’t cover a huge stretch of highway, yet the power generated from it already provides more than a third of the energy required to light the highway. If this technology continues to grow and all of the roads in the United States were replaced by effective solar-powered roads, Scott Brusaw believes we could “theoretically cut greenhouse gas emission by up to 75%” and provide a cleaner, greener future around the world.
Solar Bike Paths
If transitioning US roadways to solar-powered roads cuts 75% of greenhouse gas emissions, imagine what changing all of the roads and paths around the world could do. A Netherlands-based company called SolaRoad currently uses safety glass-covered solar cells placed in concrete to collect energy from a bike path connecting two Amsterdam suburbs, and their success might be a strong global example. Out of the 150,000 cyclists who have already tested the new path, there have been few complaints aside from a few maintenance issues with peeling laminate.
The path has generated 3,000 kWh of electricity in its first six months of use and hopes to improve upon that number in its next two and a half years of monitored use. The US has taken note, with California agreeing to cooperate with SolaRoad for future projects, making this an international effort.
Whether or not solar power is the perfect clean energy solution remains to be seen, but considering the large area taken up by roads and paths, and the ease of including solar cells in heavily-populated areas, solar powered roads and paths could represent at least one element of the perfect solution in our search for cleaner energy.
August 30, 2015
Lithium Ion batteries scaling up and costs could drop to $100 per kwh
Tech giant Google has a secretive team building better batteries, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Analysts speculate that Apple is doing the same, based on the company’s job postings. Nearly every major automaker has an electric vehicle for sale and many – notably Toyota and General Motors – are investing millions in designing new batteries to power them. It’s a veritable moon race to see who can build the first affordable electric vehicle to drive 200 miles on a single charge. Many analysts believe hitting that mark would dramatically accelerate a global transition from fossil fuels to electricity as the energy of choice for the automotive world.
Between 2007 and 2014, electric car battery costs dropped by more than half – from more than $1,000 per kilowatt-hour to around $410 per kWh. By 2025, the cost of batteries in electric vehicles will drop to as low as $172 per kWh, according to Lux.
Energy storage is a $33 billion global industry that generates nearly 100 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year, according to Boston-based Lux Research. By the end of the decade, it is expected to be worth more than $50 billion and generate 160 GWh. That’s still just the equivalent of a AAAA battery in the sprawling energy industry, but it’s enough to attract the attention of major companies that might not otherwise be interested in a decidedly pedestrian technology. Even utilities, which have long viewed batteries and the alternative forms of energy they support as a threat, are learning to embrace the technologies as “enabling” rather than “disruptive.”
Tesla Motors is among those pushing the battery era the hardest. The California-based company has spent the past 12 years doing to electric vehicles what Apple did to early MP3 players – making them cool. It already has a battery-powered car that goes 200 miles on a single charge – the Model S – but its $70,000-plus price tag keeps it beyond the reach of most drivers.
Most analysts expect the Powerwall, Tesla’s battery for homes, to appeal to only a small number of people, at least until the price and associated costs drop further. With a capacity of between only 7 and 10 kWh, and a price tag ranging from $3,000 to $3,500, the economics just don’t make sense for most consumers across the US. But the larger-sized Powerpacks are already proving attractive to businesses and utilities, which have more of a financial incentive to avoid the violent fluctuations in energy supply and demand. And when the gigafactory comes on line in 2017, Tesla hopes the economies of scale will drive prices down to a point where home batteries entice a lot of people.
For Musk, “a lot of people” means just about everyone. At April’s launch, Musk calculated it would take roughly 2 billion Powerpacks to electrify the entire world. That sounds like a lot, but, as Musk noted, it’s on par with the number of cars and trucks on the road.
Navigant estimates the cost of materials going into a battery at the Tesla Gigafactory on a processed chemical basis (not the raw ore) is $69/kWh [this metric is per kW per hour of operation].
The cost of the battery is only ~10-20% higher than the bill of materials – suggesting a potential long-term competitive price for lithium-ion batteries could approach ~$100 per kWh. Tesla currently pays Panasonic $180/kW for their batteries, although conventional systems are still selling for $500-700/kWh. But Navigant says that the broader marketplace will reach the levels Tesla is paying in the next two to three years.
SOURCES – Christian Science Monitor
Velocity Solar don’t take chances when it comes to solar panels and only recommend Tier 1 Solar Panel Manufacturers – these are quality manufacturers that are recognised by the industry as producing panels that offer:
Efficient production of energy for maximum power output.
Panels with quality components – not all solar panel manufacturers produce each of the components that make up their panels. It’s important to not only have an understanding of who the panel manufacturer is, but also where they source their materials and components.
A commitment to research and development. The solar industry is fast-moving with new technological advances improving the efficiency of energy collection, as well as the longevity of systems. You want panels from manufacturers committed to using the latest, proven technologies.
A solid company that offers a long warranty. A 20 or 25-year performance warranty is only of any use if the manufacturer is still around to honor the warranty if something should go wrong.
So how can YOU know which are the best solar panel manufacturers? If you’re not part of the solar industry, good chance you’re going to have a lot of difficulty working that out.
Geelong solar company Velocity Solar don’t expect families and businesses looking to invest in solar energy to know the answers. We find the answers for you and only recommend quality solar panels from quality manufacturers so you can make your investment with peace-of-mind.
If you’re thinking of solar and are not sure what you’re being offered is quality – our Geelong solar experts would welcome a call and the opportunity to provide great advice on the best panels on the market.
Contact Us or see more about solar panels.
FRONIUS – SOLAR INVERTERS
Fronius was founded back in 1945 with a background in Welding and battery charging systems. In 1995 they moved alot of there vocus into a division ( solar electronics) and have never looked back from here. There dedication to improvements and customer service have made Fronius a house hold name in the Solar industry. There motto “Shifting the limits”
Production plants in
Austria: Sattledt, Pettenbach, Wels
Czech Republic: Krumlov
Fronius decided that the Australian market showed great potential for solar PV installations, with the abundance of solar harvesting options and a large market share already in Australia. IT was time to open and start Fronius Australia in 2010. From here Fronius has had a good point of call for all customers and a great customer service capacity to look after all existing customers.
“At Fronius Australia, we offer comprehensive training courses, product demonstrations, servicing and ongoing technical support for our Fronius Service Partners.” Velocity Solar has an affiliation to gain this ability to offer the best service for all our customers. With a head office in melbourne not to far from Geelong it makes for good logistics as well.
What differentiates Fronius from other solar companies.
10 year warranty promotion
Register your string inverter and get a 10 year warranty for free in 2015!
/ All Fronius string inverters come with 5 years Fronius Warranty Plus. Upon registration the end customer can obtain an additional 5 years Fronius Warranty under the current promotion.
/ Offer valid for all string inverters installed & registered between 01/01/2015 and 31/12/2015.
– To redeem the 10 year warranty inverters have to be registered online by the end customer at www.solarweb.com
– In addition to the warranty certificate (obtained via online registration), the purchase invoice and commissioning record will have to be provided to make a claim under the 10 year warranty offer.
/ Under the Fronius Warranty Plus transport (within Australia), labour and material costs will be covered by Fronius.
/ Under the Fronius Warranty material costs will be covered by Fronius.
Fronius Smart Meter 63A-1
Fronius Product Range
Cleaning solar panels
Solar panels are the best and most efficient form of renewable energy for domestic houses in the Geelong and Surf coast area.
There is no set golden rule as to how to clean your solar panels. There are some simple rules to follow but its comment sense. You wouldn’t clean your glass splash back with steel wool therefore this still applies for solar panels.
Solar panel manufacturers may have requirements to make sure that you will not void their warranty policy. For these reasons we suggest ourselves at Velocity Solar that no chemicals need to be used therefor are not used. We have been cleaning solar panels for other 3-4 years now and have found that most installed can be cleaning using Clean tap water (any temperature apart from very cold to avoid any possible glass cracking due to temp mismatch) but luke warm to hot seems to work well on stubborn dirt and bird droppings.
If you treat the panels like your glass splash back in your house and / or like your car window it will give you a good understanding of how to clean your panels. A non abrasive cloth is the safest option and Elbow Grease (hard manual labor) will always give a great result.
After panels have been cleaned depending on the amount of dirt and debris on the panels the efficiency of the panels in some instances could be improved by between 3 and 30 % in some instances.
Do I need a Solar professional to clean my panels
A solar professional , should know the best ways to clean your panels and should have their working at heights certification. If you choose to not use a solar professional to clean your panels then there are a couple of things to take into consideration. As mentioned please make sure that who ever goes onto the roof has his working at heights certification and works safely as roofs and water are not a great combination if not taking care. Secondly there is a right way to move around a solar panel. If not required it is best to stay off the solar panels but if there is no other options than certain areas of the panels are better to put weight on than others. Specifically the points of the panels where mid clamps are connected have a better load distribution and support.
When Solar panels get moss and Lichen built up.
This is not a common occurrence across the board but there are specific areas that are prone to moss and lichen build up. They seem to be more likely with the older Amorphous solar cells and roof surfaces that have a light colour. This is a lot harder to clean off your panels and should be done by solar companies that know what their doing, as utensils may be needed that could cause issues with the panels if not used correctly. Unfortunately moss and Lichen cause large amounts of shading to panels and can have a detrimental effect on the performance of the solar panels.
How often should I clean my solar panels?
This is not a straight forward question. Every site is completely different, some variations that would alter the a timing of cleaning our panels can be the angle of the panels on the roof, The lower the pitch the harder it is for the panels to self clean, New estates unfortunately usually get more dust build up, in coastal areas salt build up could be an issue and as mentioned earlier the style of solar cells will have an impact.
The standard answer to the question is vague but the cleaner you keep your panels the better the solar production that the solar panels will produce. The thing to remember when deciding how often to clean your panels is yes the cleaner they are the better the energy yield but also if you’re paying a tradesman money to complete this service you don’t want to pay this person more money than your solar panels can recoup due to being cleaner. If Lichen or moss is present and in large amounts that this becomes more warranted, as loss of performance will start to make a significant difference of your production if gets to large.
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HYBRID SOLAR SYSTEMS
This year is fastly becoming the year of the Hybrid solar system. With the press release from Tesla – regarding the solar battery wall system. Alot of enquiries have been coming through.
We have seen in the last few months the release of
SMA’s TL Hybrid,
Samsung’s ESS system,
Schneider Electric XW range.
Nearly all of the major companies in the market have just released or and in the process of releasing their own options in the market. These include ABB Aurora, Bosch and BYD.
Definition and Costs associated?
To change a normal solar installation into a Hybrid Solar system just add batteries. No its not that simple but for all intensive purposes adding batteries to an existing solar system gives the system the ability use use an alternative source of power and making it a Hybrid solar system, often used to store excess power so that it can be used to offset peak load or night time use. Hybrid Solar systems are not intended to be off grid solar systems though, they may have capability to be adapted in the future but require the supply of solar from the grid.
Solar power – PV (Photovoltaic) refers to the solar panels, domestically these would normally be placed on a roof or a household, these are connected to a standard inverter and this system is called a ‘Grid tie Solar PV’ system. A slight alteration on this setup is a Micro inverter AC solar system where each individual solar system has its own inverter to produce power. The best example on the Aus Market is the Enphase micro inverters
Choosing the correct solar system for you
Why install hybrid?
Which batteries suit your purpose?
Setting up a standard standard solar system ( already existing solar systems for most people will be the common scenario going forward . With the purchase of a Hybrid solar system such as a Schneider Connect XW allowing the facility of battery connection and ability to be fully off the grid compatibility in the future.
1 Max draw required. Use from solar system
Solar power is measured in KWH (kilowatt hours)
It is important to know how much power is required to supply the maximum power of your household. imagine you have a pool pump running a cloths dryer and general appliances. This will be a large draw on the inverter. This makes for a limiting factor when designing a hybrid system.
2 Battery Storage Required
There is 2 parts deciding what battery storage is required. If is a necessity to know what draw from the battery is expected overnight when the sun goes down and the solar is no longer available sufficient power can be drawn from the batteries until the sun comes back up again in the morning.
Secondly the terminology ‘days of autonomy’ refers to the amount of days that the battery has to last if there was poor solar production due to bad weather conditions and you had to rely purely on battery storage. This is a lot more important if looking at going fully of the grid in the future.
Storage is generally measured in amp hours, but can easily be converted to kWhrs by multiplying amp hours by the battery bank voltage. Example a 100AH battery at 48V gives 4.8kWhrs of storage.
3 Battery Life – Depth of Discharge (DOD)
Depth of discharge – One of the most important things to get your head around, without knowledge of this installation companies could take advantage of your limited knowledge. The basics are as such, the standard concept and industry standard is that a 20 % discharge will give you the best and longest lifespan out of a lead acid battery system. It is also denoted that lead acid batteries should not be taken below 50 % discharge on a regular basis as the differential in life span of a battery set could be depleted by 3 times. There is economical benefit from depleting the batteries to 50% but a customized approach should be taken with every installation.
Check out more storage options, follow link below thanks for taking the time to read this blog
Solar panels – N Type Silicon
A lot of research is being conducted on n-type silicon-based photovoltaic technologies. The results look promising and it should take a large slice of the market pie in the years to come.
More and more companies are considering n-type solar cells because of the higher efficiency potential of these concepts. Most recently Trina Solar has applied allot of their research and development budget in this technology. Hopefully making commercial solar power even more affordable into the future
N Type Silicon has increased cell efficiency of Solar Panels
The aim is to increase the efficiency of the cells as in the case of the Panda. Yingli has had the Panda product on the market for over 18 months now and has a proven history in the field.We at Velocity Solar have personally installed many Yingli Panda systems over the last 2 Years with greater yields.
Why research N-Type Silicon wafers
The main objective of technology development in the photovoltaics sector is to reduce costs in order to achieve grid parity. Reaching grid parity is becoming more urgent as the incentives in various leading PV markets start getting greatly reduced with the target of being completely eliminated within three to four years. Provided that the additional production costs related to more complex cell and module processes can be limited, targeting high solar cell efficiencies will be a very effective way to strongly reduce the cost of PV modules in terms of dollars per kilowatt peak. Savings that are made in the cost of balance of systems lead to reduced electricity generation costs ($/kWh).
In 2011, around 84 percent of PV module production was based on p-type crystalline silicon (Si) technology. N-type monocrystalline Si had a market share of around four percent. The remaining 12 percent was occupied by thin film PV (CdTe, a-Si, etc.). The p-type versus n-type Si technology scenario has historical reasons. The very first solar cell – fabricated in 1954 in the Bell-Labs – was made of a monocrystalline n-type Si wafer.
Until the 1980s, the main industrial application of PV was for space applications in the form of satellites and so on. P-type Si proved to be less sensitive to degradation caused by exposure to cosmic rays (high-energy particles such as protons and electrons). Thus for decades, all industrial PV cell development was based on p-type silicon.
Consequently, on an industrial level the key processes such as emitter diffusion and metallization were available only for p-type Si wafer substrates. In the last decade, a lot of research has been done in the field of n-type Si-based PV. The results have proven its potential to outperform compared with the standard p-type Si PV in terms of efficiency. As a consequence, there is a growing interest in the development and the industrial implementation of n-type Si based cell and module technologies. According to the latest edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV 03/2012), its share could reach around 30 percent of the monocrystalline silicon solar module market by 2015.
N-type silicon material
The starting material (Si feedstock) for producing n-type silicon crystals is the same type of polysilicon as that used for p-type Si crystals (based on the Siemens process). The difference is in the doping process during crystallization: while for p-type Si usually boron is used as a dopant, for n-type Si crystals usually phosphorus is added to the Si melt.
In the past 10 years, a lot of scientific research has been carried out on n-type (mainly phosphorus-doped) Si material and related cell processes. This confirmed that compared to standard p-type (boron-doped) Si solar cells, n-type silicon cells feature two important advantages. First, they do not suffer from light induced degradation (LID) caused by the simultaneous presence of boron and oxygen in the wafers, a phenomenon that in standard p-type silicon solar cells leads to a reduction of the module power output by usually two to three percent within the first weeks of installation. Second, n-type Si wafers are less sensitive to impurities that are usually present in silicon feedstock; consequently, less efforts have to be made to obtain n-type Si wafers with a high electronic quality. Accordingly, n-type wafers featuring high solar cell efficiency potential can be produced more cost effectively than high quality p-type wafers. This is in spite of the fact that n-type multicrystalline Si has not yet been studied exhaustively.
Greater Efficiency gained from N Type solar panels
p-type solar cell with a homogeneous emitter and aluminum back surface field (Al-BSF) has an efficiency limit of about 19 percent with the current passivation and metallization concepts. If selective emitters are applied, 19.5 percent is feasible and if additional changes are made on the rear side (so called passivated emitter and rear cell, or PERC concept), 20 percent can be reached, as centrotherm has shown in their Centaurus concept. Using open metal rear side (H-pattern) cells with passivated regions between fingers, such as in the Panda n-type approach, rear side reflection and the passivation ability increase the potential of such cells to 21 percent. Additionally, such cells can be used for bifacial installations, which can boost the energy yield (kWh/kWpeak) by up to 25 percent. The cells with the highest efficiency potential are the Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer (HIT) and Interdigitated Back Contact (IBC) concepts reaching efficiencies above 23 percent. However, these cell concepts from Sanyo and SunPower are of a very high complexity resulting in high costs per watt peak.
Most of the solar cells produced currently are p-type based, processed with a standard selective emitter and with the tendency to move towards the PERC concept. However, more and more companies are considering n-type solar cells because of the higher efficiency potential of these concepts. The following n-type solar cell concepts can be found on the PV market currently:
- Sanyo (HIT)
- Roth and Rau (HELiA)
- Yingli – Panda N-Type
- PVGS (EarthON)
- SunPower (IBC)
Additionally, many PV companies’ R&D departments are working on all the aforementioned concepts, with the idea of bringing these technologies into pilot production soon. Examples are:
- BOSCH, Trina and others
- Sunways and Suniva (Phostop) and others
- Silfab (ZEBRA), Siliken, Trina
Of course all cell concepts have their own advantages and challenges, not only with regards to the cell but also at the substrate and module levels. However, this article will focus on the cell level issues only.
For an indepth look at the above mentioned information please follow link below
For those contemplating Solar power. Now is an ideal time to go solar, with looming price hikes of Solar panels and railing solar could provide the price of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels are rising sharply due to the big drop in the $AU vs th $US impackty greatly on the cost of Solar systems , Velocity Solar has tried to keep the cot of solar systems the same low price for over months and has absorbed a lot of the price rises, Prices will have to go up soon making this month a good time to go solar for your home.
Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the low prices that have almost become the norm, as higher prices hit our shores. You may not be aware that with the industry’s current low prices the majority of manufacturers are sustaining significant losses on their products – making price increases inevitable as this cannot be sustained.
An enlightening analysis provided by Nigel Morris from Solar Business Services (a solar industry expert for 20 years) attributes the price increase of PV to reduced global demand in conjunction with several panel manufacturers exiting the market. With market factors as they are, prices will be increasing.
The $AU has been hit hard and pricing of all solar panels has risen as much as 15% over the last 2 months.
What Does This Mean For Me?
Velocity Solar expects this change to have knock-on effects to customers as Feb 1, 2015. With energy costs continually rising, those who purchase a solar system before this time will dodge price increases on PV, while also enjoying the benefits of solar with its increased returns in the face of high energy costs.
Velocity Solar proudly supporting Geelong Solar industry for last 4 Years.
We pride our selves on offering the best Quality Solar Inverters on the market from SMA to ABB- Aurora inverters and Enphase Micro Inverters. Also in conjunction with tier One solar panels. Velocity Solar will offer a supperior service to all clients. Enquire now to discuss whether Solar Power will suit your installation in Geelong.
Velocity Solar in Geelong is looking for a CEC accredited Solar installer (SUB CONTRACTOR)
Velocity Solar has always taken pride in the work that we do.
The whole process is important from the initial consultation through to the design of the system. All the way through to install, commissioning and paperwork. Velocity Solar is growing at a nice level through our ability to sustain a very high level of customer service and quality installations in Geelong.
Due to this Velocity Solar has gained a largerporion of solar installations in the Geelong region and Is looking for a highly motivated and customer orientated Solar installer to join our great team and become part of a great localy owned and opperated family business servicing Geelong and the surf coast.
If this is yourself or you know of a highly quality focused Clean Energy Council accredited solar installer who would be a great asset to our business please get them to visit our website and send there enquiry of interest through