APS Micro Inverters

Micro Inverters and Optimisers are the latest Solar technology to help increase Solar panel performance, micro inverters and optimisers while similar and achieve similar results they function differently, micro inverters turn DC power to AC power which we generally use in the home of commercial facility optimisers produce DC power and still need an inverter to convert this DC power to usable AC power, the advantage they both offer is that they separate the solar panels into individuals enabling better monitoring and control of the solar system through micro inverters and solar optimisers, the installation of micro inverters and solar optimisers operate like any other inverter except for the fact that there is one to each panel, this enables each panel to work at its best under all conditions, when there is a shading issue this is where micro inverters and solar optimisers really come into their own allowing the shaded panel to produce reduced energy while the rest of the solar panels work at there best without micro inverters or solar optimisers the whole solar system would operate at the strength of the weakest panels significantly reducing solar system performance and energy production.
The products are online at www.reti.com.au, this site will enable you to compare the micro inverter results in good conditions and shade conditions to see the actual gains or loses over the traditional central inverters, take the time to look at RETI its well worth the site visit.

Micro Inverter    

This graph highlights the impressive results of Micro inverters against a central inverter system.

Micro inverters   Online solar data


The information  was supplied by APS inverters, the actual results in Australian conditions can be seen at www.reti.com.au

                                                             The flexibility

The APS Micro-inverter is small inverter which attached in the back of each panel in order to handle the output of a single panel.  It produces grid-matching power directly at the back of the panel. This has the major advantage that a single failing panel or inverter will not take the entire string offline.

2.      Higher generating power

The efficiency of Micro-Inverter is in fact 5% higher than it of traditional inverter at a minimum, and up to 25% better in some cases.

For traditional inverter, if a panel is shaded of as little as 9% of the entire surface array of a PV system can, in some circumstances, lead to a system-wide power loss of as much as 54%.

In contrast, a micro-inverter attached to a single panel allows it to isolate and tune the output of that panel. With micro-inverters any panel that is under-performing will have no effect on the panels around it. Thus, when shadowing is factored in, if present, these gains can become considerable.

3.      Mixable and can easily upgrade system

With micro-inverters, different ratings of solar panels can be added to an array even if they don't match the original types. For instance, 190w panel can be added with 250w panels in a same array.

It is also more convenient to upgrade systems by just adding extra panels with extra Micro-Inverters instead of changing inverter and adding extra panels in the traditional way.

4.      Warranty

The APS Micro-Inverter provides 15 years warranty which is 3 times as the market standard of string inverter.



Micro inverters can increase a Solar Power System substantially immediate and more importantly over the the longer time frame, Micro inverters have a longer warranty than the traditional Central Inverters currently used and require less maintenance s a result.
Micro inverters work simply by providing each panel with its own power management system, the management of each panel in a system is key to greater results when using solar power, the isolation of each panel enables the system to perform at it optimum 100% of the time, the traditional method of using a central inverter has the affect of reducing the power gain to the weakest link in the system (Solar ARRAY) were as when Micro Inverters are installed the fact that each panel has its own invert eliminates this totally, if one panel in a solar array or string is at 80% as result of failure, shading, clouding or any manner of power production interference this issue is isolated to the panel in question allowing the other panels to perform at there optimum with out reducing production to the weakest link, in some cases this can be extreme and reduce potential income substantially as result.

Micro Inverters and general performance against a Central Inverter.

Typically a solar inverter is used to convert the direct current (DC) generated by the solar PV panels to an alternating current (AC), in order to power suitable electrical appliances or feed excess power to the grid.  The inverters are also useful for maintenance, testing or troubleshooting and system upgrade, since they allow switching off all electrical current. 

Although the micro inverters have been available since 1993, their introduction only recently has been considered as one of the biggest technology shifts in the PV industry. Since the performance of a solar panel is dependent on the voltage load that is applied from the inverter, for maximum power output the voltage needs to be adjusted to incident light intensity.  The use of micro inverters allows each module to be optimized to perform at their maximum potential.

Regardless of whether solar tracking has been used or not, the maximum power point tracking technique is used to find the right voltage to insure possible power from solar panels.  So, when micro inverters are used, the maximum power point tracking technique is applied to each individual module. In addition, the low power exposure of the micro inverters allow longer warranty than that of when central inverter is installed. In case of single point of failure the rest of the system is unaffected.

If the above mentioned benefits outweigh the extra cost of the micro inverters, they can be become a preferred option.

 

Recently RETI has conducted several observations of Micro Inverters installed alongside a PV system of the same size and components, our finding may surprise some but may not come unexpectedly to others in this new market.

Both the micro inverters and Central inverters are installed in the field with the same installation conditions and to exacting standards.

 

Day of full sun generation and High Solar Irradiance (SI): (13 November 2012 - SI-43,250 watts)

The micro inverters tend to perform better during the early part of the day and trump central inverters by around 5%. When the central inverter and micro inverters reach around 700 watts of AC output the Central inverter takes the lead, this trend happens during the peak part of the day but again during lower light (hence less power production) the Micro inverter takes the lead and starts to become more efficient than the central inverter.

The overall result meant that the 2 systems balanced out and very closely matched at the end of day, (light cycle) no significant advantage has been observed.

Graph 13 November 2012

  Micro Inverters and central inverters

Day of low light, Clouding and or rain: (10 November 2012 – SI-7,204 watts)

 As explained above the micro inverters work well, but under low light conditions (clouding, Rain) this is where we saw the biggest gains in performance against the traditional central inverters. At no point during this period did the central inverter outperform the micro inverters.

 

Graph 5 November 2012

Micro Inverters and central inverters

Day of big results? (November 2012 – SI-43,250 watts)

 While there has been a lot of discussion about Micro Inverter emerging technologies and the varying views and expectations of performance constantly handed out, the one most touted by the Micro Inverters is the ability to work better under shade conditions. We put this to the test and have the results.

 Micro Inverters show great promise

 The result of partial shading through a full day of full sun, the micro inverters really came to the front with an overall gain of around 7.5 %, making the micro inverters a clear preference in low light or shade conditions. The graph on the day of testing will show more than one interesting result. You can clearly see the effect of bypass diodes working within the panels and the stepped affect on the graph. You can also see clearly the micro inverters ability to separate each panel and keep the system overall performing at a higher efficiency, this performance is what has been claimed by these manufacturers and seems to be clearly possible.

 

BUT what does that mean over all?

Clear days:  Our initial results show that if we were to take out the standby use from each unit’s totals that the Central inverter is ahead by around 1%

Cloudy low light days: Showed significant gains over the traditional central inverter.

Shading Results: If a system has partial shade during the course of the day Micro inverters seem to have the edge, but of course shade should be avoided.

Other advantages/disadvantages?

  1. The new electrical requirements recently put in place make central inverters more expensive to install due to the added insulation protection required within the roof space.
  2. Most Micro inverters are offering 15 to 20 year limited warranty as a standard Central Inverters tend to have a limited warranty of between 5 and 10 years.
  3. Central inverters have a LED display for simple monitoring of PV performance, with the capacity to have external monitoring incorporated into the design, Micro inverters have no simplified display and require an added ECU or monitoring device installed. The data is generally stored at the server of the inverter manufacturer for his reference at a later point; this can assist with warranty or performance comparisons.

Things to consider:

The results were performed on 2 selected brands of Central Invert and Micro Inverters, we believe that the results will vary from different manufacturers of both central and micro inverters and the results may vary. The only way we can assist in the better evaluation of a product is to invite manufactures to place their products online at RETI and do the direct in the field comparisons; there is no better way to support a product than with independent live field data? It’s no good talking about it lets, see results.

The Renewable Energy Testing Initiative (RETI) has been established in Australia initially to test and monitor the performance of solar PV panels – and will soon commence testing other renewable energy technologies. Solar Australia presents the first in a series of publications illustrating some of the results, observations and information from the testing facility, and explains the philosophy behind its photovoltaic testing.

 

The Renewable Energy Testing Initiative (RETI) is located at Brisbane Technology Park in Queensland and is the first independent testing and monitoring facility in the Southern Hemisphere. It provides real-time, in-the-field solar PV panel monitoring – available online 24 hours per day, seven days a week through its user-friendly website.

 

The facility features a large, un-shaded testing field in conditions representative of the typical climate experienced in Australian communities. It also incorporates a conference auditorium that can seat more than 750 people, conference centers and board rooms with audio visual conferencing capabilities, and a show room with an interactive display of all of the systems being monitored at the facility. Its staff is available to help the public and wider solar community with any enquiries about the testing and monitoring of solar products.

 

References

[1]          Energy in Australia 2009, ABARE Department of Resources Energy and Tourism, Commonwealth of Australia 2009

[2]          Renewables 2010 Global Status Report, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21 Century

[3]          Administration of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program, The Auditor-General Audit Report No.1 2012–13 Performance Audit, Australian National Audit Office, 2012

[4]          Renewables 2011 Global Status Report, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21 Century, 2011

[5]          Renewables 2012 Global Status Report, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21 Century, 2012

[6]          Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Energy Update 2011 Internet], ABARES 2011

[7]          ENERGY PRODUCTION FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES, Measures of Australia’s Progress, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010

Disclaimer:

The products tested were randomly selected and in no way reflect all products of similar design and results on different manufacturer’s products and design may have a different result. This information is provided as an indication only.

See the actual performance at www.reti.com.au

 

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This is averaging out you Peak and off peak at $0.15 pr kW. With 6 hours of sunlight each day

Solar Panels & Tesla

As Solar Power Brisbane specialists in solar power, whether its grid connect or off grid power system design, we service a national client base with world leading solar panels, inverters and Tesla batteries and Powerwall. Solar power installed nationally for residential and commercial sites.
 We provide German inverters and Solar panels, we design and install solar specific to your needs.
The products we use are exactly what we offer on our commercial solar installations.
We also offer the latest solar technology in the form of micro inverters and solar optimisers designed to increase solar panel performance by as much as 17%.
We have recently included Solaredge to our commercial installations with great success and now offer these systems to solar power Brisbane residential homes.

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Stand alone batteries and stand alone solar systems are now making ground in the market and removing the need to be grid connected. Whether your are in a remote area, building a new home and would like to consider your power options we have systems to meet all stand alone power needs for residential or commercial.
To find out more about how our battery units can be fitted directly to your current solar power system for little effort and cost, please visit our Off Grid Solar Power Units page. For new solar power systems, and full details on stand alone battery units please visit our Group Partner's page.

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Poultry Lighting & Power Factor

LED Lighting, Voltage Optimisation and Power Factor correction will significantly reduce operational costs, our observations have seen most sites running a Power factor of .72 to .88 which will see an increase of operating costs between 12% to 30% on most sites, our Voltage optimisation units, LED lights with built in sunrise sunset controllers coupled with our variable speed drives that operate the fans reduce power factor. VSDs will help stabilise the growing condition and improve returns, fans don't have to run at 1005 to get the best results through 80% of the growing cycle, if we reduce fans speed by 25 we increase savings by 20%.
Chicken farms are at the mercy of the energy providers and retailers, better energy supply and a controlled voltage equals better returns, less light failure, less burnt out or failing fans, less heat, and better overall growing conditions.

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About Energy Wise Group

Energy Wise Group are Solar Power Brisbane specialists with a national installation and distribution group, operating out of the  Brisbane Technology Park (head office) Eight Mile Plains we offer energy specialists certified and recognised as system designers and integrators of not only solar power Brisbane, but also in energy reduction and integration, solar power Brisbane, voltage optimisation Brisbane, power factor correction and variable speed drives is just part of what we offer, experienced advice and installations for everything solar and energy. We use only the highest quality solar panels and electrical equipment, we will not install based on price alone.
This is truly a family business built on the back of quality service and products. we make no apologies for not being the cheapest in the market, we simply don't offer products or service that don't meet our expectations to many companies make this mistake and wont be around when they are needed.

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