Recordings of interviews on Gold Coast Radio 4CRB. These discuss the solar industry, emerging technologies, and details of the system installed at Radio 4CRB. Select from the list below.
SOLAR POWER OVERVIEW
Central Solar Systems has been providing energy efficient solutions since 1978.
Our company director was born on the Gold Coast. He is an electrical engineer and Clean Energy Council accredited designer of solar power systems. All of our consultants are highly trained and are experienced in realistic estimates of power usage and possible power savings. When we meet with customers we don't try to confuse by rattling off so called "facts and benefits" of a particular product. We discuss your needs, we listen to your concerns and we help you to understand if a solar power system is suitable for you, and if so, we will suggest some options and provide a realistic expectation of what a system might earn for you. Our electrical engineer has evaluated and selected an excellent range of panels, inverters and other components to allow us to tailor a system for any requirement and for most budgets.
Most solar power systems that have been installed in the past are "basic". A basic solar power system includes solar power panels, an inverter, a mounting system to fasten the panels to the roof or other structure, and the balance of system components which include cables, conduit, isolators and circuit breakers. A basic solar power system can range from low end to the best of the best in the world.
A basic solar power system can be enhanced by adding other capabilities including power maximisers, monitoring systems, battery storage and power management. A lot of people are now installing solar power systems with one or more of the enhancements. We are able to provide proper advice on all of these enhancements.
Why are some solar power systems cheaper?
There is an increasing number of companies offering the cheapest system. Why are these systems cheap? In most cases the companies import outdated bargain priced components directly from China from manufacturers that don't have a support office in Australia. If you have a problem in the future it's unlikely that you'll get support and the warranty is worthless. Other reasons include that some companies are cheating the GST rules to make systems appear cheaper and some companies are cutting corners on installations.
Central Solar Systems only purchases components through the proper channels. We only purchase through the Australian office of the manufacturer or through the channel endorsed by the manufacturer. We also price our systems correctly according to GST rules and ensure that our installations are compliant so that warranties are not compromised. This ensures that we will be around in the future and that your warranty is valid.
The following is an example of a recent bad installation on the Gold Coast:
1. Water pooling on the panels has a severe negative affect on power generated. When the panels dry there will be a buildup of dirty watermarks that will affect performance even during sunny days. According to Clean Energy Council guidelines, panels should be installed at a minimum tilt of 10 degrees.
2. Shading from vent pipes has a severe negative effect on power generated
3. Non compliant positioning of mounting system will void panel warranty. Given the elevation of the panels above the roof it appears as though the feet of the mounting system have been installed in the pans of the roof profile, which is not compliant but saves the installer a lot of money
4. Untidy electrical conduit around the outside of the gutter
No manufacturer support office in Australia? Don't buy!
A lot cheaper than other systems? Don't buy!
BASIC SOLAR POWER SYSTEM
The solar panel takes light and turns this light into electricity. Panels need to last many years in very harsh conditions. There is a big difference between panels. Lower cost panels degrade faster and don't generate as much power over time. Some other panels generate a lot more power over time. We offer a few panel brands including SunPower, Winaico, Phono Solar and Opal Solar panels. Some are chosen because they are the best panels available and all are chosen because there is a proven manufacturer owned support capability in Australia. We can help you to choose the best panel for your needs and budget.
The inverter takes the power generated by the solar panels and turns this into power that we can use in the home or business. There are low cost inverters which are very basic, through to high quality inverters that are more efficient and/or may be ready for batteries in the future. We can help you to choose the best inverter for your needs and budget.
The mounting system is a very under-rated part of the system. The mounting system needs to hold the panels in place for many years, through very hot and very cold weather, cyclones, rain, etc. As with the other components there is a wide range of quality and life expectancy. We use a high quality mounting system that has been proven over many years of use.
BALANCE OF SYSTEM
A solar power system should also include high quality cables, isolators, circuit breakers, etc. We source all of our balance of system components from reputable, well known Australian based distributors.
ENHANCING A SOLAR POWER SYSTEM
Power maximisers are the latest generation in optimising the power from a solar power system. As with micro-inverters they allow each panel to operate individually to ensure optimum power. Power Maximisers have many benefits over micro-inverters, including: improved efficiency because no inverter on the roof, no capping of power at a panel level for greater system efficiency and they are more efficient with new generation high efficiency panels.
There are many different forms of monitoring available. These can provide visibility of the following:
Power produced by the solar power system
Household/Commercial energy consumption
Power flow from battery storage
We can advise on the best monitoring for your needs.