Your roof top is valuable real estate, so use it wisely and buy quality solar photovoltaic panels., inverters and battery storage.
Quality panels and installation make economic sense. Saving you money and setting you up for the exciting energy future. As a general rule they pay for themselves in usually 5-9 years, then produce you free electricity for the next 15 plus years.
Always install quality panels. The manufacturers warranty is a good guide and protection in buying solar panels. A production warranty does NOT guarantee the panels will still be producing your useable electricity as some sales people try to make you believe.
Quality installation – choose reputable installers who have a good reputation in our region. Always try to get three quotes
Quality Brands include: Sunpower, LG, Winaico, REC, Trinia and Jinko. (Source: https://www.cleanenergyreviews.info/solar-panels)
The Clean Energy Council has published a Guide to Improving Electricity Use in Your Business
Quality inverters and installation are very important as they have a far higher failure rate than quality solar PV panels.
Types of inverters include:
a) String inverter – is a group of solar PV panels all connected on the same wire(string) to the inverter mounted on your wall.
Pros: a string inverter is cheaper than a microinverter on a roof that does not getting shading from trees, buildings, TV aerials, etc
Cons: – if one panel in the string power output drops (shadow on a panel, dirt, a panel fails, etc) all the panels drop to the same level.
Restricted in the direction panels can face, say north and west.
Monitoring of individual panels is not easily done and faulty panels are harder to locate.
Significant failure rates of string inverters have occurred 13-19% in quality systems and far higher in cheaper ones 33%. Cheaper brands can be difficult to get to honour the warrantee.
Quality Brands include: Fronius, SMA (Sonny boy), SolarEdge
b) Microinverter: is a small inverter that is attached to the back of each solar PV cell. Each solar PV panel acts independently of all the others.
Pros: – Each solar PV panel acts independently of all the rest.
Panels can face in any as many directions as desired.
Microinverters monitor the performance of every solar PV panel making detection of problems and output easier
Electricity output is about 10-12% higher than for string inverters
Failure rate of microinverters has been small 3%
Cons: microinverter system is about 20-25% more expensive than a string inverter.
Quality Brands include: Enphase
c) Optimizers: are added to string inverters to minimize the effects of shading on some panels.
Pros: reduce the effect of a power drop in one or more panels affecting the whole string. May only need to be added to panels subjected to shading not all the panels
Cons: cost about the same as a microinverter
Install quality inverters with a minimum 10 year manufacturer’s warranty.
When it comes to battery storage, it’s important to do your homework thoroughly.
Similarly, quality installation is important. Check the installers experience and history as this a specialist new field. Speak to people who have already installed batteries.
Quality batteries and the manufacturer’s warranty are very important.
Join Renew.org.au and get the free advice their service offers as part of your membership. This will be a cheap investment in getting a quality battery system. Renew publishes the Renew and Sanctuary magazines and is a not-for- profit organisation.