Is Solar Heating Sustainable Energy?

What does it matter? Of course solar heating is sustainable… isn’t it? First of all, we need to understand what Sustainable Energy means. What sets sustainable energy apart from other energy sources is that it can only be naturally replenished, and it causes no harm to the environment. The endeavour is to use energy sources that allow Earth to sustain balanced, healthy ecosystems and human life. 

Sustainable energy can also be achieved through energy conservation and efficiency. The worry is that if we do not start investing in sustainable energy sources, the sources of energy most commonly used will run out. If this happens, our future generations will then be forced to do what we are already doing—finding new ways to generate energy.

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The sun is one of the most important sources of renewable energy available.
Scientists and engineers have studied in depth the process of photosynthesis and have observed how plants absorb sunlight and convert it into stored energy for development and growth. Viewing this incredible process, and recognising the benefits that could be found if humans copied this, scientists and engineers have created a sustainable energy formula and can now convert sunlight into useful heat or electricity. This is otherwise known as Solar Energy.

So when it comes to using solar energy for heating, what sustainable options are available? There are two main types of solar energy heating systems: photovoltaics, and thermal systems.

Photovoltaic

What a name. As previously mentioned in our blog “WHAT DOES PV OR PHOTOVOLTAIC MEAN?”

Photovoltaic (PV) essentially means electricity from the energy of the sun and is derived from the words “photo” with the Greek meaning light and “voltaic” meaning voltage. The term “photovoltaic” is used to describe a process known as the “photovoltaic effect” the process by which a material such as silicon converts sunlight into electricity.

These systems can be built as small as to fit on a hand held device, you can have a building-integrated system with capacities from a few to several tens of kilowatts, or they can run large utility-scale power stations creating and using hundreds of megawatts. Most PV systems are grid-connected, while off-grid or stand-alone (hybrid) systems only account for a small portion of the market. PV systems are one of the most flexible systems available.

A photovoltaic (PV) solar system requires solar panels, racks for putting the panels on your roof, electrical wiring, and an inverter. These systems are silent and have no moving parts. Best of all there are no environmental emissions.

A photovoltaic system is especially valuable for remote rural applications where it would be incredibly expensive to connect electricity from the main grid.

With these systems, you can choose to be “On-Grid” or “Off-Grid”

On-grid means that you tie your solar to your local power provider’s system. Most homes will use an On-grid connection because you are then covered if your system under or over-produces energy. Being on-grid means that you don’t have the added outlay in purchasing a battery back-up system to store any excess energy which can be very expensive. An On-Grid Photovoltaic system are the simplest systems and the most cost effective to install.  These systems will pay for themselves by offsetting power bills in 3-8 yrs. These systems however do not provide power during a grid outage.

Off-grid means you are not connected in any way to an external power system or utility company. This can be appealing because you are 100% self-sustaining your energy use. If the power network goes down or, if you have chosen not to be on the grid – these systems allow you to store your solar power in batteries for use.   Off-Grid systems however require a lot more specialized equipment to function and with that comes high costs and more complexities when it comes to installation.

Thermal systems

Solar Thermal Systems seek to store heat from the sun. They differ from Photovoltaic systems. Photovoltaic systems create electricity – Thermal systems heat water. You still have solar panels installed say on a roof, or other location to absorb sunlight. There are active systems like a solar water heater and passive systems like greenhouses. They both collect solar energy on sunny days and utilize it later for warmth.

Solar heating is appropriate for nearly every household. Access to good sunlight is mandatory but in New Zealand most people have enough of it. Solar heating is clean, it can operate independently or in conjunction with traditional power sources, and it is remarkably renewable.  Besides having to manufacture the equipment needed to capture the sun’s heat, there is no environmental impact from making solar energy at your home. Heating your water with solar energy can be a rewarding venture. Solar heating is indeed sustainable energy and a great option for you to consider.

Why Might You Need A Power Generator?

You may be looking at getting a solar system and will no doubt have come across power generators. But if you have a solar system, why would you need a power generator?

Power generators are very useful as a backup system, especially in an off grid solar situation. They are also great for when you cannot afford to lose power, whatever the reason may be. Because solar power depends on external elements of nature to produce the power, there is always a possibility that your system may not produce enough power. Here you will need a backup until the solar system can continue to produce the power you need.

solar_power_generatorsPower generators are an excellent backup system because they rely on petrol or diesel, which means there are no external variables and they can just produce power as long as they are running and have the petrol or diesel.

Power generators are also excellent as a back up if you have a grid connected power system, should a natural disaster happen or other occurrence where you go not get your power supply. For our range of power generators, click here.

 

Why Would You Need A Power Generator With Solar?

If you are looking into an off grid power system, one thing you should consider including in your solar system is a power generator.

Why do you need a power generator? By nature, solar PV systems are dependent on may factors to produce your electricity such as available sunlight, the design of the system, the size of the system and so forth. It is very difficult to guarantee that you will always have enough power generated for your needs, unless your system is oversized for the regular demand.

Having a backup is never a bad option, and a power generator is a good solution in the case that you do need extra power. They are an efficient option and can be either petrol or diesel. We supply Pramac generators which can be tailored to fit your requirements.

If you need a power generator, visit our power generators page for more information or call us on
0800 765 270.

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Despite Buy-back Drop Solar PV Still Works

Contact Energy and Meridian’s announcement to significantly lower buy-back rates from solar PV this week has caught the headlines and created a bit of storm. While it’s disappointing that power companies keep shifting the goal posts on buy-back rates, thus complicating peoples’ investment decisions, solar still makes a lot of financial sense.

There’s been a bit of hysteria from people exclaiming the reductions equates to some sort of mortal wound to the solar industry. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While a higher buy-back rate would improve the business case for solar PV, it’s already exceptional without subsidies.

Every week Solar Electric Technology installs systems with returns on investment ranging from 10-20%! Pay back periods are now down to six or seven years, sometimes lower. The most important aspect of making solar PV financially attractive is using the power produced onsite. If this can be achieved the majority of the time, it will work, if it can’t it probably won’t – it’s not rocket science.

There are new technologies such as the NZ made ImmerSUN from Enasolar which work with appliances such as hot water cylinders to make sure they are charging on solar power during the day to minimise the amount of power exported to the grid. Clothes washing, dish washing, and electronic charging can all be done during the day. Solar can be made to work for most households.

Businesses primarily use power during the day and their returns from solar are generally better than for households. Businesses hit the sweet spot of being able to install larger systems, meaning less expensive per unit costs and economies of scale combined with power being consumed onsite during the day.

It would be great if power companies stopped changing their minds every five minutes so better informed market decisions could be made. In the meantime – just cut the power companies out during the day by going solar. Make a sound financial investment and lower your carbon foot print. It’s a win-win.

Interested in how solar cold work for you? Check out our solar PV packages.

Using A Solar Inverter For Your System

Firstly, what is a solar inverter? A solar inverter is a device that converts the variable direct current (DC) produced by solar panels into alternating current (AC), so that the power can be used in your home or put into the power grid network. Solar panels can't produce AC power, so therefore, a solar inverter is necessary for a solar installation.

There are 3 types of solar inverter: Grid tie inverter, stand-alone inverter and battery backup inverter. Each of these inverters serves a different purpose and must be selected based on the type of solar installation it is being used with.

A grid tie inverter match phase with sine wave power supplied by the power utility. They are designed to shut down automatically, for safety resons, should there be a power loss. They also don't provide backup during power outages.

Stand-alone inverters use DC power and draw the power from batteries which are charged by the solar panels. They work on stand-alone applications, however some are built with a charger that can charge the batteries with AC power if needed. Almost always, they have no connection to the main grid.

Battery backup inverters are designed to draw power from a battery, manage the battery charge level and export excess power to the utility grid. These inverters are able to supply AC power in the instance of a power outage.

If you are trying to decide on a power inverter for your system but don't know which one you need, get in touch with us today!

 

Is Solar Really A Good Investment?

Many people often wonder whether solar really is worth the money to install. Just search the internet and you will see how many different answer and “solar vs normal power” discuss there have been, and are still going. Many people say yes, many people say no. And there are good points for both sides. So what is the answer?

Solar is a technology that allows free power to be developed from the sun. The basis behind the theory is essentially flawless. The arguements occur most about the systems themselves, whether they can produce power efficiently and are reliable and cost effective. Many say that to get a good system which will last, you will be paying a rather hefty inital cost. But is that really the case?

We at Solar Electric Technology supply only top quality solar electric systems which have been working for our customers for years without fault. There are many very satisfied and slightly richer people around the country because of the solar systems we have installed for them. Our systems are European design and technology, meaning you can be sure you are getting the very best product, but at low cost.

Talk to us today about how you can benefit from a solar electric system and start seeing that it is really worth it!

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Now is the perfect time to get solar!

It's getting hot here in New Zealand and summer is just around the corner. This is the perfect time to invest in a solar electric or heating system. Why so? Solar electric systems, as you'll surely know, rely on the sun shine to produce there power. Ad as we all know, summer is the season of sun!

Does this sound appealing to you? We at Solar Electric Technology are ready and waiting to design and install a system which will help you to take advantage of the free energy that the sun provides. Having an efficient system is a must so that you can benefit fully from your solar system and produce the power needed to run your home. With enough sun, it may even be possible to fully run your home from solar! So you can forget your power bill.

Give us a call now to discuss the solar electric system that you need for this summer and get ready to power your home in the most efficient, eco friendly and cost effective manner possible!

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Are solar panels worth it for my home?

There are many people who are skeptical about solar panel systems and other solar power generation, often claiming that these systems are not worth the cost and time and that it's much more worth putting your concentration on another method of saving power. But is this really true?

There are a lot of rumours going around about how much it will cost to have solar installed and how long it will take to pay itself back and so forth. However, many people have chosen to go with the solar energy route and have benefited greatly. A well designed system can do wonders for your power generation. Why wouldn't you want to have something that can power your home for free? It is even possible to design and build a systems which will fully power your home by itself, no need for mains electricity. Well designed solar energy systems are incredibly efficient and can save you a lot of money on power, both in the short and especially in the long term.

Investing in a solar energy system is something that should be considered by every home owner. It is the way of the future and the answer to efficiently powering your home in an eco friendly manner while saving your large amounts on your power bill. We at Solar Electric Technology have designed and installed many solar electric systems all over New Zealand for customers who are now reaping the benefits of a solar system on their homes. You can benefit too. All you need to do is give us a call.

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