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Knowing the Different Types of Solar Panel – A Quick Guide

With the increasing popularity of solar power in New Zealand, it becomes more important to know a
thing or two about it. For starters, it would be nice to learn the solar energy fundamentals, such as how you can harness the sun’s energy and convert it into a usable form for your household. Nowadays, there are three types of technologies used to capture solar energy. Among the three, the use of solar panels remains the most widely used option.
Essentially, you can think of a solar panel as an energy harvester of some sort. It has solar modules comprised of solar cells that can catch sunlight then shortly, convert it into usable power. Now as the solar cells in each solar module get energized, electrons flow, producing an electric current.

 

Types of Solar Panels and their Uses

Over the years, various types of solar panels have been made available to the public – each featuring varying pros and cons. If you’re planning to switch to solar power in the near future, knowing the differences between the solar panel types can help you decide the best option to install in your house or commercial space.

Generally, we classify solar panels into three, namely thin film, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline. Out of the three, the monocrystalline type is the top choice of many consumers. Let’s get to know a bit more about these three main solar panel types below:

  1. Monocrystalline

As the name suggests, monocrystalline solar panels comprise one pure silicon crystal. It’s the oldest type of panel, and it’s widely recognized for its efficiency in converting solar power into electricity. The main advantages of using this type of panel are its high energy yield, durability, and eco-friendly material. However, if you choose to use this type of panel, you will need to shell out a bit more money compare when using the other two options.

  1. Polycrystalline

Polycrystalline panels feature a mosaic of silicone crystals. They’re molted into one and shaped using a cast. They make the perfect option especially if you’re looking for a budget-friendly setup. Many residential properties make use of a polycrystalline panel to power their homes. The only setback of this option is its low energy efficiency. In fact, compared to a monocrystalline panel which has an energy efficiency of about 22 percent, this type only has around 15 to 17 percent.

  1. Thin Film

Unlike the two options discussed above, the thin-film type doesn’t come with a silicone cell outline. This is why, it’s flexible and ultra-lightweight, making it quite convenient to install on virtually any surface. This type also doesn’t cost a lot of money. However, it’s crucial to note that they’re quite short-lived and less efficient compared to monocrystalline and polycrystalline.

Choosing the right type of solar panel – Practical Tips

Now that you know a bit more about the key types of solar panels, let’s deep dive into how you can select the best option for your property. What factors should you consider? Should you choose a foreign or a local brand? What about the tier system?

When shopping for a solar panel for your property, here are the critical things you need to look into:

  • The energy efficiency – Select one that best suits your household or property’s energy demands. Don’t forget to take into consideration the roofing space available when you look into the efficiency of the panels.
  • The cost – Solar panels can be quite an investment especially if you’re serious about transitioning to a cleaner and greener form of the power source. Hence, it’s a good practice to think about the overall costs of the options available to you.
  • Product quality and warranty – Needless to say, you should spend your budget on a product that can last long and has at least a 10-year product warranty. And, make sure that the product warranty doesn’t tie you to a costly service contract.
  • Brand and make of the panels – Sometimes, it pays to note the brand and make of the product you will purchase. At times, there are brands that are made with better materials than the rest. Some are also more cost-effective compare to other options.
  • Tier system – The tier refers to the ranking of the manufacturers. It’s a system designed by Pike Research to determine how well a manufacturer controls the materials used. Tier 1 installers are at the highest level and they have their own R&D team. Their products are also well-known for the quality and designs and have at least 5-years of experience and background in the industry. To know the tier system of your chosen product, you can inquire from your chosen solar panel supplier or installer.

Solar power continues to grow more and more popular in New Zealand. If you wish to install a solar power system on your property, we at eSolar can help you find the right choice. Get in touch with us today for more information about a solar panel installation!

Your Complete Guide to Grid-Tied Solar Heating

Solar power is among the many indigenous renewable resources in New Zealand. According to data from the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment, solar energy use has significantly increased from 2002 to 2019. It can be attributed to the decreasing cost of solar energy systems and the rapidly improving innovations in the tech industry. 

There are different systems used to harness the power of the sun, namely, grid-tied, off-grid, and hybrid. Among the three, the grid-tied type is the most widely used, both in residential and commercial applications. This is mostly because the off-grid type does not use batteries which helps consumers save a lot of money money. 

Additionally, as its name suggests, it’s connected to the grid. Hence, if the system produces excess power, it gets exported to the national grid and you get credits that can be subtracted to your electric bill.

Are you considering to use an on-grid system to generate electricity for your property? Learn more about how the system works and how you can benefit from it on the guide below.

Grid-tied solar heating – how does it work?

Photovoltaic systems generate energy in the same manner: by using the panels to transform the power of the sun into direct current. However, for the grid-tied model, there are some minor distinguishing factors:

  • It uses a power inverter to enable the transfer of energy from the installed panels to the grid and vice versa.
  • In the absence of a battery storage, the system relies on the grid for back-up.

With it installed, you can generate enough energy to power your property and make sure that surplus energy doesn’t go to waste. You also ensure that you never run out of power because you have the national grid as your back-up source.  

Here’s how a grid-tied solar power system works:

  • The PV panels collect sunlight to produce DC.
  • The power inverter transforms DC into AC so your household/property can make use of the energy.
  • In case your system produces excess energy, it sends it to the grid. Then, your meter spins backwards to credit your contribution.

Is on-grid solar heating the right choice for me?

Even with the overwhelming number of benefits that solar energy offers, a lot of people still aren’t sure if they should use one for their homes. Their biggest concern is whether New Zealand gets enough sunlight to power solar heating systems in he first place. 

So, does it really make sense to install one? Based on the exisiting evidence, the answer is yes. 

The climate in the country tends to vary a lot, but most places get around 2,000 hours worth of sunshine per year. NewZealand.com shares that areas like Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty and Marlborough receive more than 2,350 hours of sunlight.

Besides these sunny areas in NZ, reports from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research claim that the country has been getting more sunny days compared to the previous decades. This is why installing solar panels, like grid-tied solar heating systems, presents a practical solution for those who want a cleaner and more sustainable source of energy.  

Aside from helping you minimise your carbon footprint, on-grid solar heating systems also allow you to save money through buy-back rates or feed-in tariffs. Buy-back rates or feed-in tariffs are what the electric retailers pay customers when they have excess solar energy.

How many PV panels should I install?

Ready to start setting up your grid-tied solar heating system? The first thing you need to decide upon is how many panels you need to power your house. How big do you need your solar heating system to be? To do this, you need to consider the following factors:

    • The size of your roof – Determine how much space you have for the panels. Do you have enough space for large panels? For 3kWp systems, you may need to have around 24 square metres of space for the installation. If the roof area is limited, you may need to install smaller and more energy efficient PV panels. 
  • How much solar power do you need – Look through your previous utility bills to check your average energy requirement. Then, multiply that by the peak hours of sunlight then divide it by the wattage of your chosen solar panel. 
  • The panel’s wattage – Check the wattage of the solar panels so you know how much energy they can produce. Generally, installers offer 2kW on-grid systems for small households, but the size can reach up to 10kW, depending on the energy requirement. 

If you need more help or guidance in selecting a panel to use, you can call for a quote from a local solar heating installer. This way, you can have a more thorough assessment of the property. Also, if you’d like to test the waters first, you can start with a small system, then scale up after two years.  

Cost of installing a grid-tied solar power in New Zealand

The installation cost varies depending on whether you need it for a residential or commercial property and the wattage of the system. 

For example, if you want to power a household that has an energy requirement of around 5,200 to 6000 kWh per annum, you need a 4kWp grid-tied solar system. The cost would start at around $12,000 inclusive of GST. For homes with lower energy consumption rates, you can opt to install a 2kWp solar power system which costs around $7,200 with GST.

If you are eyeing on a solar PV system designed for commercial properties such as warehouses, adventure lodges, schools, dairy farms or vineyards, you may need to prepare around $22,990 for a 10kWp system or $98,990 for a 50kWp system. 

Using the factors discussed above, your expected return of investment, and the installer’s advice, you can pinpoint which option would suit you best.       

Ready to install on-grid solar heating?  

There are plenty of reasons why a grid-tied system makes a good energy source for a commercial or residential building. Are you ready to install an on-grid solar heating system today? 

Your best choice to help you with the job is a professional solar heating system installer. With the help of an experienced installer, you can have the system reconfigured according to your needs. Get in touch with our team at Esolar today to get a quote for your grid-tied solar heating system.     

 

Getting to Know the 4 Types of Solar Panels

Solar energy is among the most abundant and commonly used renewable energy sources in the world. It’s a clean energy source that can be tapped by using solar panels. In the earlier years, solar power was only utilised in a commercial setting. The expensive costs of installing the systems and the limited option were among the few reasons why only business could afford to invest in such as energy source.
Fast forward to modern day, solar power has amassed great demand and support from residential customers. If you’re among the many who want to switch to solar energy, it would be best to learn more about the main types of solar panels. This way you get to select an option that would cater to your needs.

Most Common Types of Solar Panels

The effectiveness of a photovoltaic technology highly depends on its ability to convert sunlight into a usable form of energy. Over the years, manufacturers were able to develop various types of solar energy panels. Below are the four main types of solar panels you can find in the market today.

Concentrated PV Cells

The concentrated PV cell or CPV was introduced back in 1970s but has only gained more traction in the recent years. The CPV system is mostly used in a residential setting when installed on roofs. But they can also be utilised for large commercial projects located in remote sites. It offers a number of advantages including high energy efficiency rate, zero thermal mass and scalability. However, for it to be efficient, you need to install it in a spacious area that’s completely exposed to the sun.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Some of the key distinguishing characteristics of the polycrystalline panel is its rectangular shape, speckled appearance and blue colour. The panels are made from melted silicone crystals so they’re cheaper and more eco-friendly compared to the monocrystalline solar panel. However, because the material isn’t made from pure silicone, it has a relatively shorter lifespan. Also, it is not as energy efficient and heat tolerant compared to the monocrystalline type.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Mono-SI or monocrystalline solar panels are made from 100 percent single crystal silicone. It is best distinguished by its dark color and rounded edges. Unlike the polycrystalline type, it’s has a higher energy efficient rate. Also, it has the highest heat resistance and durability. This ensures that you get to use them for a very long time. The only disadvantage of using this type of solar panel is its expensive cost. You may need to shell out a large sum of money for the panels and the installation. But, if you’re looking for an excellent long-term investment, it’s definitely the perfect choice.

Thin Film Solar Panels

If you are keen on using the least expensive option, you can try the thin-film solar cells (TFSC). Among all the types of solar panels, the TFSC is the easiest to make. As a result, they’re cheaper alternatives especially if you’re new to solar energy and you’re still considering it as your power source. Even with its cheap price, this type of panel is made more flexible and heat resistant, so it offers good value for your money. The only cons to using it are its large size and short lifespan and product warranty.   

How do you choose the best type of solar power panel?

Picking a solar power system is a great investment regardless if you need it for a house or a commercial property. When you consider any of the options above, it’s crucial that you weigh in on some factors. Focus on these main deciding factors:

  • Solar panel energy efficiency – It should be no less than 16 percent, the industry standard.
  • Costeffectiveness of the product – Check the product’s energy efficiency against its pricing. Does the pricing work for you? Is it worth your money? Which one makes more financial sense to you? You can compare the costs by asking for a free solar panel quote.
  • The product warranty – The majority of manufacturers of solar panels provide offer warranty anywhere between 10 to 25 years.
  • Your peak power consumption – Each type of panel can produce a maximum amount of energy. Hence, when you shop for a solar panel, make sure to compute for your household or building’s average peak power consumption.

How installation of solar panels works

Once you know which type of solar power panel you should use, you need to figure out how you want to install the system. Would you need it to be grid connected? The grid connected solar system is suitable if your annual energy consumption amounts to around 2600 to 3000kWh. It includes includes an inverter, Wi-Fi monitoring system and mounting frames.   

If your average daily energy consumption amounts up to 2kWh or if you have a small property, you can opt for a off grid power system. Besides the PV panels, the system includes an inverter, back-up generator, battery bank and solar controller.

Are you looking to use your solar panels for water heating? You can opt for the solar water heating system. The sunsaver collector is connected to a system which includes a temperature sensor, pump, digital controller and water cylinder.

Here if you need assistance for your solar panel system

If you wish to switch to solar energy for a cleaner and greener power source for your home or commercial property, our experts can help. Esolar.co.nz can assist you regardless of what type of panel you choose or how you intend to use them. Contact us today for more information!

Electric Solar Panels around the world

The human race needs energy. We need energy to power our cars, power plants, water systems, cook our food, and basically to do anything in our daily lives. Energy has always been around. In fact, our ancestors have used fire to cook their food and to ward off unwanted animals.

In the earlier industrial revolution, energy has been used to run power plants and machines that help society function more efficiently. This practice has continued today, as well. Efficiency continues to rise rapidly as we continue to use energy, replacing or further improving the many ways we do our work.

Solar Installation Germany

10KW Solar bank Electric in France

Modern Day Energy Use

In modern society, it is no longer a question that we need so much energy to power the many things we have today. From the small scale energy use in our houses, to the power plants that power companies big and small.

Although we have moved on from using the nomadic types of energy, we continue to use energy that harms our environment. Fossil fuels have been used in our society, powering our cars, and our day-to-day needs. It has been over a century and burning fossil fuels continue to generate the most energy required to power everything.

Oil, coal, and gas make up 80 percent of our needs in terms of energy. This comes at a great cost for us and for our environment – gravely polluting our seas, lands, and air. If we were to continue with the scale we have today, we will surely perish.

The Solution? Alternative Energy!

With this problem comes a solution, and that is the use of alternative energy. This type of energy does not require the use of any oasis fuels. Instead, alternative energy makes use of wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal, biomass, hydrogen, and solar power.

Solar Power

One of the most common and arguably the easiest way to help the environment and to cut costs on energy use is through solar power. Coming from the word solar, this uses the light energy emitted from the sun as energy, therefore powering our homes and establishments.

How Solar Power Works

Essentially, a solar panel works by allowing particles of light to knock on electrons free from atoms, inducing electricity flow. A solar panel is made of many small units called photovoltaic cells (meaning they convert sunlight into electricity). Linking these cells up makes a solar panel.

That is not the only important part of a solar panel. A solar panel is also comprised of an inverter – used to transform DC (Direct Current) into AC (Alternating Current). This, in turn, is used in grids needed to be able to feed electricity into national grids.

Why Use Solar Panels?

Having a solar panel (system) significantly decreases your spending on electricity. In New Zealand, prices of such have fallen dramatically, making them much more accessible to the many people who want cheaper electricity. When connected to the grid, solar power systems cost less than a quarter of the prices before. A standard 3kW system that used to amount to a total of $40,000 back in 2008, now only cost $8,500.

Solar PowerSystem SizeNumber of Solar Panels Cost
2kWSeven290W panels*$6,000 inc GST, fully installed.
3 kW   Ten300W panels  *$8,300 inc GST, fully installed.
4kWFourteen290W panels*$11,000 inc GST, fully installed.
5kWSeventeen290W panels*$12,700 inc GST, fully installed.
6kWTwenty300W panels*$14,000 inc GST, fully installed
10kWTwenty Eight355W panels*$24,500 inc GST, fully installed.

(Taken from general online resources in NZ. Call Esolar for a more tailored price)

Why Choose Esolar?

Once you’ve decided to install solar panels into your establishment or home, know that we at Esolar have the perfect unit for you. We have been in the business for over 20 years and are pioneers in the game. Our expert technicians have installed over 1,000 units of renewable energy systems (solar power, hot water, wind, mini-hydro systems) in both New Zealand and Australia, making us a trusted name in the industry.

We offer both home and business installation and units and are very happy to assist and help you determine which solar panel unit is best for you and fits your personal needs. We provide you with system design, installation, and after- sales services. In the hopes of servicing you better, we have partnered up exclusively with companies in the building sector like Bunnings, Competitive Homes, Golden Homes, Hybrid Homes, David Reid Homes, and Eco Tech Homes.

In an effort to help you, we have developed a pyramid that explains the different tiers there are to solar panels. In this diagram, we use the quality of the components used as the main pinpoint. Differentiating from brands will be difficult as there are so many to choose from. The tier system is used by solar panel manufacturers as a way of differentiation.

True to quality, Esolar uses a tier 1 supplier of photovoltaic modules, and that is Renesola. Not only are they a tier 1 company, they also provide many more to the clients like they also have a number of additional benefits which provide value to our clients, including;

Advanced Virtus II technology, highly efficient (16%), 260watt peak output, 25 year linear performance warranty, Powerguard insurance to back the 25-year performance warranty provided, Low cost, Fire tested, Certified to NZ standards, and Mechanical load capability of up to 5400Pa.

When it comes to choosing what’s best for you, always take note about how solar panels have been helpful not just for you personally, but for the environment as well. As prices go down, solar panels become more accessible and easier to obtain. At Esolar, we make it easier for you.