The provision of power is the lynchpin that binds together the three components of sustainability—economic success, social advancement, and observing environmental restrictions. The majority of the world’s population without access to modern electricity is found in Sub-Saharan Africa, with low-income and rural populations suffering the most. For instance, just 36% of rural populations in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to electricity, compared to 85% in developing Asia. Compared to a few years ago, technology has developed much more quickly in recent years. As a result of this development, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have adjusted energy equipment, and in some cases, completely altered the machines and technology that power it. OEMs are mostly based in wealthy countries with the financial resources to do so. OEMs are largely domiciled in developed countries which have the capacity to deal with issues of rapid changes in technology. In addition, the maintenance and at times, the required regular calibration become more problematic compared.
Industrial and commercial businesses are now using industrial PV systems and solar arrays to prevent power outages brought on by grid supply issues. In the paper, steel, chemical, textile, cement, dairy, and ceramic industries, solar power panels are swiftly moving from being an option to the standard. This has been made possible by the widespread use of open access grids across the nation’s states. The majority of solar equipment purchases require recurring inspections to ensure maximum performance and security. The type of business solar installation, system configuration, and location affect the frequency and breadth of solar array monitoring and solar panel purchases.
Finding, acquiring, and purchasing goods and services from a third party is required to get an effective solar system. This is typically done through a tendering or competitive bidding method. Sometimes, mini-grid component tenders are issued by solar system developers before the system is built and turned on. As an alternative, they may offer a turnkey option, where the contractor would deliver a finished product. The latter is typically more expensive. Projects supported by the government and by foreign donors must often follow rules for open procurement, like the EU’s PRAG regulations. Finding the ideal system for you requires first understanding what goes into a solar power system. The components of a grid-tied home solar power system include Solar Panels, batteries, Solar inverters, Net meters and Charge controllers.
Purchasing solar system materials should only be carried out under the guidance of qualified and experienced experts. It is critical that the expert has established legal rights to the solar system site before beginning installation. It’s also critical that they do quality checks on delivered equipment and locally made products (such as foundations, channels, and bricks) before starting work, and that all personnel, including local support staff, receive safety training. For equipment installation, specialised installation tools and local language instruction manuals must be provided and used appropriately. For reporting purposes, installation protocols and photographs should be taken. All packaging and other waste materials must be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner and must meet the environmental impact assessment’s requirements.
EPA provides 24/7 customer support via our network operations centre. We provide in-depth business insights in the form of value-added services to our corporate customers and industry-based clients as a company that takes responsibility for monitoring operations and managing solar rooftop upkeep. The necessity for regular and optimal solar system management has made it necessary for African communities and enterprises to rely on the EPA‘s solar energy O&M expertise. We undertake highly standard O&M at EPA with our engineers, who have received thorough solar maintenance training and are well qualified to maintain solar systems and perform corrective measures as needed. EPA performs automatic as well as efficient system assessments to ensure that solar power plants are appraised in accordance with international standards, thanks to years of field training. When your solar isn’t performing as intended, our constant monitoring and inspections ensure prompt action. In general, our O&M teams handle all areas of solar power plant maintenance, ensuring that the plant runs well and that our clients receive uninterrupted power.
Solar Panels – what to look for when buying Solar PV Panels
Solar or photovoltaic (PV) panels collect energy from the sun through their cells. The energy is collected and converted into Direct Current (DC) electricity by circuits within the cells. Poly-crystalline or mono-crystalline solar panels are the most prevalent types of panels available today. The key difference is the type of silicon solar cell used; mono-crystalline solar panels utilize solar cells formed from a single silicon crystal, whereas poly-crystalline solar panels use solar cells made from several silicon pieces melted together. Mono-crystalline panels are more expensive than poly-crystalline panels but offer higher efficiency and sleeker looks. The blueish color of poly-crystalline panels distinguishes them. Your decision is based on your personal tastes, space limits, and budget.
All solar panels are given a power rating that indicates how much energy they produce under regular test settings and can be used to compare panels. The majority of solar panels on the market have peak output ratings of 150 to 420 watts (Wp). A higher power rating indicates that the panels are more efficient in generating electricity. These are ideal-condition outputs, and you’ll probably discover that the panels don’t achieve these ratings under regular circumstances. Installing a solar energy system with as much power output as you can afford is a good rule of thumb (or that your roof can accommodate).
The efficiency of a solar panel refers to how well it converts solar energy into electricity. The most efficient commercially accessible solar panels now have a solar panel efficiency of less than 23%. If you have limited roof space and high energy expenditures, efficiency is very vital.
The ISO 9000 series of quality assurance standards for the manufacturing industry was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Manufacturers of solar panels can be certified ISO 9000 compliant to show that they satisfy the standards. Solar panel durability measures assess how well panels will stand up in real-world situations over time. The International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) 61215 dependability standard analyzes solar panels by undertaking stress tests that simulate decades of outside wear and tear. These tests are used to discover potential solar panel premature failure issues, and panels that pass them are more likely to last in the field.
Warranties from manufacturers are a valuable addition because they detail both technical standards and commercial operations. A strong warranty ensures that your service and support needs are covered in the unusual event that an issue arises after installation. Output warranties can last up to 25 years, implying that the panel will continue to produce at least 80% after that time. Material guarantees can last anywhere from 10 to 12 years, ensuring that the materials will not fail during that time.
Batteries and energy storage- What to Look For When Purchasing Solar System
Energy storage systems (batteries) have become an important component of sustainable renewable energy systems. The ability of renewable technologies, such as solar, to store energy during periods of low demand and release energy during periods of high demand, allows technology to be successfully integrated into energy infrastructure. To address this demand, battery technology has progressed to include big and small-scale battery solutions that may provide storage capacity for technologies ranging in size from multi-megawatt production assets to small-scale solar solutions. Batteries are important for completing the energy transition and expanding global access to sustainable energy, particularly for off-grid residents in African communities and business units. Until recently, practically all energy-access programs used lead-acid batteries because they are widely available, reliable, and inexpensive. In recent years, the advancement of Lithium battery technology, combined with lowering prices, has resulted in numerous projects considering the usage of Li-based battery technologies. Different types of batteries include Lead-acid and lithium batteries.
Lead-acid batteries (LABs) are used in a variety of applications, including automotive and stationary power storage. It’s worth noting that starting batteries for automotive applications are designed to give short bursts of power rather than continuous power. As a result, automotive LABs are unsuitable for solar power applications. Battery life-times are sometimes as low as 1 or 2 years when such batteries are used for SHS (despite their limits). Despite this drawback, automobile LABs are frequently utilized in SHS purchased and installed by private users who are not affiliated with energy-access schemes. This is primarily due to widespread availability and lower purchase prices. Deep-cycle LABs are available for solar power applications and are extensively used in related projects. The cost of such batteries is typically roughly 20% more than that of automotive LABs due to the presence of more active material (lead). The typical battery life span is between 2 and 5 years.
Lithium-ion batteries are a great alternative to lead-acid batteries since they are more ecologically friendly and can store up to six times as much energy. Lithium batteries are also safer to use than lead-acid batteries. Lithium-Ion Batteries were created as a result of the discovery of lithium cobalt oxide. Intercalation of lithium ions between layers of graphene occurs when a lithium cobalt oxide cathode and a graphite anode are used together (in most situations). This occurs in the intervals between single hexagonal rings of carbon atoms, which are enclosed sites. When charging a lithium-ion battery, lithium ions pass from the positive electrode, or cathode, to the negative electrode, or graphite anode, via a solid/liquid electrolyte.
Overcharging, high temperatures and physical stress on battery cells can produce thermal runaway, which can result in the battery being destroyed, a fire, or even an explosion. The deep discharge might potentially result in battery fires.
Despite the distinctions between lead-acid and lithium batteries, none are clearly preferable in terms of end-of-life management, as both battery types have characteristics that may cause negative environmental impacts and/or health and safety issues during use, recycling, and disposal.
The Energy Project Africa (EPA) is often involved directly in procuring components and delivering either lead-acid or lithium batteries for African communities and businesses’ uses. This is accomplished with the affiliation of battery manufacturers for African use. The procurement is actualised with work by European and American manufacturers, including Pylontech, which focuses on developing new lithium battery solutions, Schneider, Fullriver; Index-Exide; and Deka. Many African communities and businesses are hampered by insecure and unsustainable grid supplies, as well as excessive electricity prices. We are proud to be a Nigerian firm, and we aspire to construct a future in which the local energy storage sector becomes more cost-effective, innovative, and competitive; we also hope to develop products that help both the communities and businesses in Africa.
Inverters are the mechanisms that convert the direct current (DC) produced by the solar panels into the alternating current (AC) that homes require. There are three types of inverters: The least expensive inverters are string or centralized inverters, however, they can be inefficient. This is because there is a risk of production loss if the roof is shaded. Micro inverters are more expensive, but they are linked to each solar panel, allowing for smooth functioning even when some panels are shaded. Installed in each panel, power optimizers optimize the DC output of each PV module before sending it to a string inverter for conversion to AC power. They cost less than micro inverters but significantly more than string inverters. You should estimate your power requirements before purchasing an inverter. You can’t power and run your entire home with an ordinary inverter. On the off chance that your energy prerequisite is more than 4000 VA, at that point, an inverter alone can’t cater to your requests viably. Most likely a powerful inverter can run your fridge and AC, but to what extent? Here your battery won’t last over a couple of hours. Henceforth it’s ideal to go for high-capacity solar panels.
Types of solar inverters
Different types of inverters are available on the market. Sine wave inverters, square wave inverters, and stepped sine wave inverters are among them. The sort of inverter that generates a sine wave for which an appliance is intended is known as a sine wave inverter. Most appliances can be safely operated on this current output. On the other hand, a square wave inverter is also known as a digital inverter. It produces square wave AC output, which is insufficient to power all types of home appliances, which are designed to work on a sine wave AC pattern alone. Some of the devices will also emit a humming sound. The devices can bear this but still, this square wave is not recommended to run your home appliances, based on reasons best known by EPA. The stepped sine wave inverter falls in between the above two types. This type of inverter is apparently a low-cost power solution for running computers and other types of electronic gadgets. Getting the right product becomes quite a bit of an exercise as there are loads of options for Solar inverters available in the market. Some people can even mislead you with aggressive marketing. So, before getting into buying, you need an expert to make the right choice for you. EPA has purchasing skills in terms of quality and efficiency of inverters that can suit your requirement. With our knowledge of how various inverters converts and supply power to appliances, be rest assured that you get nothing but the best.
A net meter is a key component of solar systems that are connected to the grid if your utility offers net metering. Any solar electricity you produce that you don’t consume (or store in your battery) is sent to the grid if your utility provider supports net metering and you have grid-connected solar, with or without a battery. To keep track of how much electricity your solar panels create and how much electricity you use from the utility, the EPA recommends and assists you in purchasing a quality net meter. The EPA will also educate you on why a net meter is required for the small grids but not for off-grid. The EPA has kept this information hidden so that our solar competitors do not take advantage of it. EPA as a solar system expert gives you the best quality net meter that will keep tracking your energy usage even if your energy is used wastefully without you knowing.
Solar performance monitoring
A solar monitoring system works through the solar system’s inverter. In most cases, manufacturers include unique monitoring software with their inverters. Solar monitoring devices that provide a more in-depth study of your system’s health and performance are important but not adequate. The EPA suggests a monitoring system evaluate the operation of your PV system, which will show you how much electricity is generated per hour, per day, or per year. The device can also detect potential changes in performance. Solar monitoring systems were created to help communities and businesses maximize the performance of their solar systems and, in turn, save money. Depending on your requirement, EPA will provide you with solar monitoring that can give you historical and real-time data on everything from how much electricity your panels are producing and how much you’re using from the grid to the temperature of your panels, and how much impact shade has on their output. It can also alert you to problems with your system that you’d otherwise miss until you receive an unexpectedly high power bill.
A solar charge controller manages the power going into the battery bank from the solar array. It prevents the deep cycle batteries from being overcharged during the day and prevents power from flowing backwards to the solar panels overnight, draining the batteries. Although some charge controllers include extra features such as lighting and load management, their primary function is to manage electricity. PWM and MPPT are two alternative technologies for solar charge controllers. They are significantly different in how they operate in a system. Although an MPPT charge controller is more expensive than a PWM charge controller, the extra cost is often justified. Charge controllers are exclusively used in solar power systems with batteries. A charge controller is not required for grid-tied systems without batteries. Between the solar panels and the battery, charge controllers are built to prevent the batteries from being overcharged and to ensure that the battery is charged at the correct voltage level. Batteries can catch fire if they are overcharged, thus a charge controller is necessary to keep your battery system safe and long-lasting.
Perhaps, little you may know that your solar equipment needs maintenance for efficient energy production and for you to derive maximum satisfaction for what you have spent your hard-earned currency to acquire. You deserve to enjoy your solar system to give you optimal satisfaction. EPA ensures that you derive maximum utility from each penny you spent on your solar system. This is the reason why you need to perform an energy audit of your solar system. Oh! You do not know what is meant by an energy audit. Do not worry, you have EPA by your side and we are 24/7 available to attend to your need. An energy audit is a survey and analysis of energy flows in a building with the purpose of energy conservation. It could involve a technique or system that reduces the amount of energy input while maintaining the system’s output. It is a way of using your solar system efficiently so that you do not waste the energy you paid for unnecessarily. At EPA we are excellently good at what we do, this is why we do not just obtain energy equipment from roadside sellers or African-situated markets. We are affiliated with the European and American manufacturers, Pylontech, Schneider, Fullriver; Index-Exide; and Deka which gives many years of warranty on solar equipment we procure. For this reason, our clients rest assured that their energy OPM is of quality and high standard.
Solar systems purchases are best carried out by qualified and professional installers who are conversant with PV components and their safety procedures. The Energy Project Africa (EPA) is often involved in directly ineffective solar systems for African communities and businesses’ uses. This is accomplished with the affiliation of energy equipment manufacturers for African use. We actualized purchases from our European and American manufacturers, Pylontech, Schneider, Fullriver; Index-Exide; and Deka which focus on developing quality and high standard energy equipment for the whole world. Many African communities and businesses are hampered by insecure and unsustainable supplies, as well as excessive electricity prices. We are proud to be a Nigerian firm, and we aspire to construct a future in which the energy OPM becomes more cost-effective, innovative, and competitive; we develop products that help both the communities and businesses in Africa. EPA takes care of solar equipment services that range from PV maintenance processes that include:
- Carrying out visual inspections
- Conducting verifications of the PV system operations
- Taking corrective actions
- Monitoring and verifying how effective the corrective actions are.
Energy Project Africa is a leading renewable energy business in Lagos, Nigeria with expertise in procurement of energy equipment, energy audit and feasibility solutions for mini-grid and solar farms. Supply by EPA provides solar products and equipment for corporate and institutional clients for the project and operational needs. If you need a partner with hands-on local expertise in the renewable energy space or any of our bespoke solutions/services, kindly visit:
https://www.energy-projects.africa/ourservices/corporate-sourcing-and-procurement/ to learn more.