Here is a pretty simple explanation of how solar panels work and how to save money with solar power.
Our solar panel installations include only the highest quality panels and inverters, meaning your solar power system will run efficiently.Positronic has over 30 years of experience installing solar, check out ‘About’ for more information.
Solar Power Systems for Home
Positronic Solar has installed thousands of residential solar arrays. Our sales team will provide you with an honest, individualised analysis of your energy use and how solar will help decrease your power bill. As well as providing you with tips of how to save energy.
Solar Power Systems for Business
Positronic Solar understands that rising energy prices are hurting businesses. The cost of running computers, air conditioners and lights continuously can really hurt the accounts. Our sales team will give you an honest, individualised analysis of your current energy use and how solar can reduce your costs.
Battery Solar Power Systems
Positronic spent years developing a ‘Energy Storage Systems’, comprised of LiFePo battery and inverter units to store electricity generated by solar. These systems work for both off and on-grid solar.
It starts with the panels
Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. Shade from trees, buildings, satellite dishes etc will drastically reduce their performance. A properly designed system hasn’t got any panels in permanent shade. Early morning or late afternoon shade may be unavoidable but as part of our quote you will receive a system performance estimate that takes shading into account.
North facing panels will produce the most electricity over a year. However if most of your energy use occurs in the afternoon it may be worthwhile facing most of your panels west so they produce power when you need it. Facing panels east or west only reduces the annual output by 10%. Panels facing anywhere but north have less output in winter. East, west and south panels actually produce more power in summer than north panels. Click on these links to see system performance estimates of north, south, east and west panels.
A typical DC solar panel array produces 350-600 volts dc, which needs to be handled carefully. The cable is a special double insulated cable which is enclosed in conduit all the way to the inverter.
One point of difference with our string systems was the dc isolators we used. There have been many recalls and misadventures involving dc isolators, which we have avoided because we test all our equipment to destruction before we sell them on our ‘wall of death’.
We’ve had no misadventures but we’ve decided the risks inherent in DC string systems are too high and now exclusively supply Enphase microinverter systems.
Positronic Solar is a supporter of safer solar
Then the inverter
Each panel has it’s own microinverter. The Enphase microinverter turns the dc electricity from the solar panel into grid quality ac electricity and incorporates a ‘maximum power point tracker’ (MPPT) which acts like an automatic gearbox for the solar power. When the sun goes behind a cloud, for example, the MPPT drops the voltage coming from the panels to maximise the available power from the array. If the panel is producing more power than the inverter needs, the MPPT raises the panel voltage to reduce the power. This will happen when your panel is in stroong sunlight or if your inverter is ‘export limited’ due to supply authority requirements. If there is a blackout or the inverter senses a fault with the system the inverter switches off. If there is a fault the inverter will send you an email describing the fault.
If you generate more electricity than you use, the power is fed back to the grid for other homes to use. Your energy retailer will pay you for this power. If you don’t generate enough electricity to power your premises then you will draw energy from the grid. However, only the difference between the demand and the solar generation will be drawn from the grid.
The system logs production data to pvoutput.org every five minutes. This allows you to keep track of your production over the years. You can compare this years data with last years. You can also compare your production with other (not necessarily Positronic) systems in your neighbourhood or anywhere in the world. Your Enphase system also logs to MyEnlighten, giving you per panel monitoring and consumption monitoring, which assists in maximising the return from your investment. Here’s an example of MyEnlighten. The public view doesn’t show consumption monitoring due to privacy issues. Energy management can also be included so that loads like hot water or pools can be turned on when the solar panels are producing enough energy to power them.
But why Positronic?
Photovoltaic systems become cheaper and cheaper every year. There are huge differences in prices and quality. The durability and yield of different systems as well as the service from the manufacturers and the suppliers, for example in reference to the warranty, differ greatly.
The cheapest offer is not always the best offer.
The price of a solar system is an important part of the decision, but not the only one. With an expected life of at least 20 years for panels and at least 15 years for the microinverters, the quality of the components and installation work is a very significant factor.
You should look for good manufacturing quality of the panels, inverter and switchgear. To get an idea of the offer, you should require the presentation of warranties and certificates as well as reference projects and real yield data of existing photovoltaic systems. As an Enphase Platinum installer we offer 15 years warranty on microinverters.We offer 10 years warranty on installation quality. You’re welcome to visit Positronic to see panels and inverters first hand.
If there are problems with your system you need to know that your installer will stand by the product. Positronic has a reputation for rapid resolution of warranty claims and holds stocks of panels and inverters for speedy warranty replacements. We’ve been doing this for over 30 years.
All Positronic systems log their data to pvoutput.org and MyEnlighten. MyEnlighten will send you notifications if a fault develops. If one of your microinverters or panels develops a fault this does not affect the rest of the system. If, despite the care and attention spent on installation and selection of equipment, there is an issue then it has minimal impact on the system’s production.
We pay attention to design issues such as shading, panel string length and direction, your loads and grid voltage rise. We use twice as much copper for the run to the roof than other companies, minimising losses and voltage rise. Positronic designs tailor made systems to suit your house and your energy requirements. We will strive to ensure your system runs as efficiently as possible and if there are unavoidable issues (such as shading) you will be advised during the quoting process.
Our energy management devices maximise your ability to shift loads to the sunshine hours. Solar power works out to ~12c/kWh, a lot cheaper than grid power. It makes sense to use it when it’s there, rather than export it for ~6c/kWh and pay 35c/kWh at night.
A lot of thought and experience goes into designing and building a Positronic Solar system.