Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Things Commercial Solar Customers Should Keep in Mind When Installing a Solar PV System on their Rooftop

The output of the photovoltaic modules is proportional to the amount of solar radiation that is received. The modules produce electricity when the photons pass through silicon cells and excite the electrons which creates voltage and current. When photons hit the PV cell, some electrons get excited thereby generating incremental amount of electricity. Where obstacles such as trees or other roof structures cast shadows on the panels, energy yields are reduced - sometimes close to zero until the shadow has passed.

Hence, businesses which want to install a solar PV system on their rooftop, should first note that anunobstructed exposure to sunlight all through the year is vital. Any obstruction in its way is going to create a shadow. Small or partial shading of solar molecules can also cause a significant reduction in the output.  Modern micro inverters or DC controllers can alleviate the impacts, however a reduction in yield still occurs.

The installer will have to select a proper site with minimal or no shading or have to be up front about yield losses if he/she finds some shading that can’t be avoided.

Other risks include structurally unsuitable roof types which cannot safely withstand forces or ‘loads’ which the panels will exert through its weight and wind loads.

To reduce the risk of sub-optimal system design, a good approach is to have an independent solar assessment undertaken by an expert solar consultant. The consultant will identify the best location within your roof for the solar panels, and exclude unsuitable areas. 

You can contact a professional solar consultant in Australia like Enhar to undertake a thorough assessment of your rooftop, prior to inviting solar installers to quote and install. A solar consultant can check your site for the shading obstacles and recommend the best location for the solar panels to optimize energy yield through the whole year. 

Evaluating the shading profile at the installation site is an essential part of solar design as well as installation. Actually, the entire system’s performance may be greatly diminished & investment of home owners considerably undermined if shading effects are underestimated.

Today, a lot of Australian PV developers are conscious of the shading issues and many manufacturers are even making use of bypass diodes.

However, if you have a solar photovoltaic system installed and a neighbor proposed for constructing a new structure, which may impact your site, you must be able to object formally based on a reduction in your income from the solar array.

Again, a solar consultant can assist you with a shading impact assessment so you can seek suitable compensation for any yield lost through shading from newly constructed neighboring buildings.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Government Grants for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy have Stimulated a Fascinating Range of Projects in Australia

Grant funding in recent years includes federal schemes such Clean Technology Investment Program (CTIP) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).  CTIP has been very successful in stimulating industrial energy efficiency and solar photovoltaic projects throughout Australia. A list of funded projects is provided on the Ausindustry website.

Energy related grant programs are generally designed to
  • Increase the efficiency and therefore competitiveness of businesses
  • Increase the use of latest efficient technology and migrate away from outdated, more wasteful technology
  • Create pioneering examples demonstrating successful use of new efficient technology
  • Increase confidence among Australian market sectors in the use of new more efficient technology
  • Create improved environmental outcomes

If a business has a project in mind which achieves these kinds of goals, it may be that a grant exists which can suit the project.

Finding the right grant to suit the business project involves being aware of all currently active government schemes.  Since grant programs come and go over time, keeping abreast of what is available can be challenging.

Expert companies which specialise in energy efficiency grants and renewable energy grants can be very useful for identifying which grant opportunities suit the business and the project.

Once a specific grant opportunity has been identified, the quality of the application is key to success.

The proposed project must meet the aims of the grant program in order to be awarded funding.  Some grant funding seeks to avoid certain types of projects which are deemed to be already competitive without grant funding. While grant guidelines normally spell out clearly the criteria, sometimes it can be helpful to understand the remit and aims of the grant-awarding body.  Political priorities normally precede a grant program, and sometimes a change of government or policy can change the course or move the goalposts.

State Governments also support energy efficiency and renewable energy through grants, rebates and certificate schemes in Australia.

In Victoria, Sustainability Victoria has provided a number of schemes that are related to energy efficiency grant in Victoria over many years. In 2013-2014, the ‘Smarter Resources Smarter Business’ SRSB scheme supported hundreds of small and medium businesses to improve efficiency.

Application forms are usually clear and often allow supporting attachments.

To succeed, projects must be well planned and have concrete price quotations in place for the specific work being proposed.

Proponents must be prepared to work with the grant approving body’s timeframes, including pausing their project while they await the grant decision.  If a project cannot be postponed then the organisation should consider not applying for a grant in order to have the freedom to proceed at its own preferred pace.

The process of applying should be done methodically. Again, expert assistance from specialist companies such as Enhar Pty Ltd www.enhar.com.au  can make the process smoother and increase the chances of success.