Alexa Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

How To Clean and Maintain Your Solar Light or Power System

Posted by SEPCO

8/19/14 9:30 AM

Solar Light Cleaning and Maintaining

Since there are no moving parts to a solar lighting or solar power system, maintenance is quite easy and doesn’t need to be performed often. Even if your system is at a slope and it rains often where you live, buildup of dirt and debris can still accumulate on the solar panels. There are a few things to do once a year to ensure the system runs at peak performance year after year.

Clean the Solar Panels

Cleaning the solar panels on any system is quite easy and does not take much time. Creating a solution of soap and water, using a soft brush and squeegee will get your solar panels back to their installed luster. You need to do this early in the day, before they start to really heat up from the sun. This is similar to washing your car, and with the steps below, you will be done in no time.

  1. Hose off the panels to wet them down and wash off any loose dirt and dust.
  2. Take your soft bristle brush and soapy water and scrub down the panels. Take mind to any hard to get off spots by gently using your finger or allowing the soap to soak for a minute or two and try again.
  3. Rinse the panels off thoroughly making sure to leave no soapy residue.
  4. Use the squeegee to remove all water to leave no water spots when it dries.

Other Maintenance

While you are there working on cleaning the panels, this is a great time to check all connections for any problems such as chewed wires or conduit, inspect the light fixture (if there is one) for any problems from weather, vandalism or wildlife, and make any replacement or repairs as needed. This is also a great time to replace the batteries if it has been between five and seven years.

That is all there is to cleaning and maintaining your solar light or power system. If you discover any issues, you can contact the manufacturer to troubleshoot the system further or purchase replacement parts. You can also check out our quick and easy troubleshooting guide for more information on any issues you may come across.
Read More

Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Power

6 Questions to Ask Before Going Solar

Posted by SEPCO

7/24/14 9:30 AM

Before_Going_SolarAs with any investment, purchasing solar panels for your home is a decision that shouldn't be made lightly. You will need to consider many factors and avoid the numerous pitfalls. By hiring the right company and asking the right questions, you'll be able to benefit greatly from solar panels.

It is important to decide if having solar panels installed on your house is the right decision for your situation wants and needs. Solar panels offer many impressive benefits, but there are other factors to consider. We take a look at what questions you should ask before you make the switch, and the pitfalls to avoid.

1. Is the company and brand of solar panels you’re considering reputable?

You should ask the companies if they use a reputable brand of solar panels. If you can't find much information about the brand or manufacturer, then you shouldn't use those particular types of solar panels. The solar company you go through should have fully trained employees, with skilled technicians and installers to help you with the process.

Don’t be afraid to ask how long the company has been in the business. An established company that has served many customers with a portfolio of work and testimonials tends to be a company that you’re able to trust and relay on. Years of satisfied customers means good work and a reputable company will be more than willing to show off their good work and previous clientele.

In the solar business, there are unfortunately many people trying to sell cheaply made solar panels and rip customers off. Opting for a cheaper solution or a company that doesn’t appear reputable will only lead to inexperienced installer doing the job for you, additional and costly repairs, and a service that won’t follow up on you and the product after it’s installed.

By concentrating on quality above anything else and working with the right company, you’ll be able to determine whether solar panels is a good investment for your home and avoid costly mistakes.

2. Should you lease or buy solar panels?

Depending on your goals, there difference between purchasing your own solar panels and leasing can vary dramatically. Because every homeowner has different goals, the “right” payment option for each person can change.

Whilst the initial cost of purchasing solar panels yourself can be expensive, most homeowners prefer to do so. The ongoing savings on power bills solar panels offer ensure the initial expensive of them are paid off in 10 years, depending on the home. Cash rebates can also reduce the cost of the system by 10%-50% and with government incentives in place, tends to be the better option for most people.

For those that choose to lease solar panels, the long-term financial benefits will be less than those of purchasing. The advantage though is that the upfront costs are lower and any maintenance or repairs become responsibility of the leasing company, not you. Lease terms are generally for 20 years but some can range from 10-20. To find out what option is best for you, it’s best to speak with the solar power company about your specific situation.

3. Does the cost outweigh the benefits?

There is no point in investing in something that doesn’t serve you and so weighing up the cost and benefits is crucial. For homeowners that haven’t yet experienced the benefits of solar power firsthand, making the switch can be fairly daunting with the costs involved.

On the brightside though, (pun intended) the savings through solar power are significant – not to mention the environmental impact it has too. Over the last few years, everyone has fallen victim to the ongoing utility costs on the rise and we’re all looking for ways to cut down on how much we spend. Installing solar powers and taking advantage of the sun’s energy is one of the best ways to do this.

Government incentives and tax breaks sweeten the deal for homeowners wanting solar a little more, the system and panels add value to your home and the sustainable energy is a growing and beneficial industry. Whilst the initial cost can seem like disadvantage, solar power systems are one investment that will pay off and give years of enjoyment. Always ask your solar company to go through the individual costs with you. You can bring a copy of the last few utility bills too to determine if the cost will really outweigh the benefits in your home.

4. What is the type of panel mounting system that’ll be used?

Understanding the type of panel mounting system for your home, and the materials it’s made of will ensure you’re getting a durable system. Look for mounting systems that are made from either stainless steel or aluminium.

When solar panels are installed, the mounting system is what balances everything and holds it into place. Check with the company whether roof mounts, ground mounts or pole mounts would be best for your home and how this can impact on the system quality and price. The most common style of system mounting is on the roof and this is held together by metal brackets between the solar panels and roof to ensure the panels do not overheat.

5. Will you be able to produce enough power in your location?

The biggest advantage of solar power is that it relies on the sun for its power source, making it absolutely free. But, this would be pretty useless if your sun gets little to no sun right? Cloudy days can be an issue and locations that suffer all year round winters can be very indecisive about making the switch.

To accommodate for lack of sun, a large number of solar powers can be needed to produce greater amounts of electricity. This can require more roof space and money so it’s best to check with your company if this will affect you.  If you’re unsure, ask a reputable solar power company. Most companies will come to your home and conduct a site examination, including shade analysis which helps to determine whether solar is the best solution for you.

6. How long will the solar panels last for?

No homeowner wants to fork out money for an investment that won’t last the distance. This is why choosing a company that is reputable and trustworthy, and that uses quality a product is of the upmost importance. 

The lifespan of solar panels depends on several factors including the quality of the materials, and the specific manufacturer. Look for products that come with a long warranty, and this shows the manufactures commit and belief in the product. Companies that offer only a few years warranty on their products is best to stay away from, you should be looking at least 10 years.  A durable and reliable solar panel inverter and mounting system will last the distance.

Author Bio: This article is written by Aidan Jenkins , Managing Director of Infinite Energy, Australia’s market leader in quality solar power systems. 

Read More

Topics: Guest Post, Green Ideas, Solar Power, Clean Energy, Off Grid Solar PV

Safety with Solar Powered Vehicle Overheight Detection Systems

Posted by SEPCO

5/27/14 9:30 AM

Vehicle-Overheight-3The National highway system is a great way to get from one place to another in a short amount of time. Running all over the country, highways are full of travelers, including our busy truckers bringing product to its final destination. There are many areas that have not been updated to changing sizes of vehicles over the years. Overheight vehicle detection systems provides safety to truckers and other travelers on the road by making sure they can get through the area safely, or provide information for a detour to safely route the larger trucks around the obstacle.

A lot of these low lying bridges and overpasses are in rural areas where power does not exist. Solar powered vehicle overheight detection systems provide the needed power to these areas to power the systems to alert truckers on size restrictions. If the truck is detected to be too high for an upcoming bridge or overpass, a message will show with flashing beacons to attract the attention of the truckers allowing them to safely exit the highway and go through the detour. These systems can be installed in any location and use the solar power system to provide the power to the flashers, message board and detection systems.

The solar panel can be installed on the same pole with all other equipment necessary for this type of application. We work alongside companies to provide these DOT certified systems for installations all over the US. Our solar electric power assemblies are supplied to companies to provide power to their equipment in installations such as this. Since solar power is a great way to get energy where standard grid does not exist, providing a durable, long lasting solar power system with a minimum of 5 days backup storage is key to keeping our highways safe for truckers and travelers alike.
Read More

Topics: Solar Power, Solar Powered Traffic Flasher

Why a Minimum of Five Days Autonomy is Important for Off Grid Solar

Posted by SEPCO

5/13/14 9:30 AM

Off-Grid-SolarI am often asked why a minimum of five days autonomy is used when sizing off grid solar power systems for lighting or remote power locations is used, so I figured I’d write a quick post about this to explain. There are a lot of factors that go into sizing off grid solar lighting systems, but one of the most important factors is autonomy. Here’s why:

Sometimes the sun doesn’t come out tomorrow

There are times where it is overcast or rainy all day. There is always some solar radiation hitting the earth no matter what, but you can’t always guarantee it will fully charge the battery back to full. At night, the lights will turn on, and by ensuring there is at least five days autonomy will ensure that your lights will run still even after a couple overcast and cloudy days. No one wants to be left in the dark after some bad weather.

Batteries need to last to make the system cost efficient

Rechargeable batteries come with a number of cycles. To make the batteries last, using only a fraction of the power out of them before recharging them will make sure they last longer than if drained to completion after every use. Using such items as a low voltage disconnect and oversizing the batteries for at least five days, seven or more in areas with low sun, can ensure the batteries will last the full five to seven years. This lowers the maintenance of the system and reduces the number of times you have to replace the batteries.

Temperature will affect your battery

Heat and cold both effect battery life and need to be considered when sizing off grid solar. Sizing for a minimum of five days makes sure there is plenty of power for times of extreme heat and cold, making sure the systems work properly.

After all is said and done, a minimum of five days autonomy will ensure your systems work under almost any condition. Remember, if you are in the far north, sizing for seven days or more would be recommended as the winter provides less sun and harsher conditions than southern areas. So next time you are looking for an off grid solar light or power system, make sure you are getting a properly sized battery bank to keep the system running perfectly all year round.

Read More

Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Power, Battery Storage, Solar Lighting Design

What is Included in a Remote Solar Power System Package

Posted by SEPCO

5/8/14 4:35 PM

Atlantic-Group-5

Remote solar power systems provide power to areas where power doesn’t already exist or is difficult to bring out the grid. These types of systems can operate anything from a small light to large scale applications. Every system should be built to specification of the device they are operating and provide enough backup power for times of bad weather.

When purchasing your remote solar power system package, make sure to understand exactly what is included and what you should expect to receive. Different manufacturers may include different brand of components, but the standard complete system should be comprised of the same type of parts.

Solar Panels – The first and biggest component of a remote solar power system is the solar panels. Each panel is able to produce a certain amount of power, so make sure to get specifications on the panel to find out exactly what you should expect. A solar panel is comprised of silicon cells placed on a grid and protected by glass and framing. Additional panel protection is useful in areas where there are high chances of vandalism or wind-blown debris. The protection can be in the form of Lexan on the top of the solar or aluminum riveted to the back of the solar.

Battery Assembly – The next component to pay close attention to is the battery assembly. Making sure there is enough power in the battery to handle the load can make or break the system. You never want the battery to completely deplete down to zero, especially not every day, due to cycling of the battery. Batteries only hold a number of cycles, and if you deplete your battery to nothing every day, your battery system will only last a short amount of time. This also does not provide backup for times of little sun due to inclement weather. A minimum of five days autonomy is best for most applications, more for areas with a lot of snow or bad weather.

Charge Controller – The charge controller tells the system when to charge the battery and when to utilize the power. Your charge controller should always have a LVD Low Voltage Disconnect so that if the batteries get below a certain point, they will no longer pull the power and wait for the batteries to be recharged by the solar. The charge controller also tells the battery when night has come and to turn on the system when you have dusk to dawn system. Additional control options can be used to provide different operating requirements.

Making sure all components of your remote solar power system’s package are high grade and can meet the specifications of the load will ensure your system will run reliably for years. Remember, solar panels last 25 or more years, batteries should be replaced every five to seven years and your charge controller varies, but should be good for about 10 years or more. Researching companies and getting the specifications and warranty information of each component will help you choose the best system for your application.

Read More

Topics: Solar Power, Off Grid Solar PV, Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy

We Need More Solar Canopies in Parking Lots in the South

Posted by SEPCO

4/17/14 9:30 AM

Solar_Canopies_in_Parking_LotsSEPCO is located in south Florida and it is hot almost year round here. One thing that I have noticed is gaining popularity is solar canopies to provide power to businesses. The other thing I have noticed is that there are not that many installations of solar canopies, at least not here in south Florida. As an advocate of solar and shade for our hot days, I would think that more businesses would install these types of systems. Think of all the benefits that a solar canopy in a parking lot could provide.

Solar Power to the Business

Solar power is free energy to the business. This can lower the overall grid power usage; therefore, lower electric bill. With Federal tax incentives, solar is a win-win for companies. The systems can also be customized to fit the architectural design of the company so that it blends well with the existing building. A lot of companies are starting to do this. Even Zoo's such as San Diego and Cincinnati are starting to take advantage of solar installed in parking lots for comfort of vititors while providing the electricity needed to run the zoo.

Shade for the Customers

With the hot sun beating down all day, shaded parking is a great way to keep your vehicle cooler. Shaded parking is sought after in the south as a car can heat up to over 110 degrees very quickly. This is harmful to the interior of the car and almost anything left inside. Even leaving the windows cracked does not help cool the car as much as shaded parking. (Please remember to never leave children or animals inside a parked car for any length of time no matter what!)

Power for Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular and many solar canopies can be integrated with a charger for these vehicles. While the person is inside the building, their car can charge by sunlight. What a great way to increase the benefit for stopping at that particular establishment.

Solar canopies allow businesses to take advantage of all that space in their parking lots to provide energy, an additional comfort to customers and power for electric vehicles that are gaining popularity. Why not install solar canopies, especially in the south, to take advantage of all the good that the sun can provide.

Img Credit: ASES

Read More

Topics: Solar Power

Stand Alone Solar Power Systems Provide Energy Security

Posted by SEPCO

4/3/14 9:30 AM

You may not realize this, but we rely on grid power for just about everything. If the grid fails, we are left in the dark, in more ways than one. Stand alone solar power systems provide reliable power and energy security for applications that cannot have failures.

Stand Alone Solar Power for Homes

Stand_Alone_Solar_Power_Systems_Provide_Energy_Security

Putting your home on an off grid solar power system is not feasible in most cases; however, having an off grid backup system can make a huge difference in many instances. It would be like having a backup generator without relying on gas, only the sun. If the power fails due to a natural disaster or grid interference, important equipment can still operate off the backup power stored in batteries. The batteries will recharge during the day and be able to keep going for quite some time.

 

 

Stand Alone Solar Power for Security Cameras

Solar-Camera-3Cameras need to be active for security at all times. If the grid fails, or someone cuts the power to the area for malicious reasons, security cameras cannot operate as needed. Instead, using off grid solar power for the camera systems will ensure their operation during these times. The solar will charge the batteries during the day to make sure the camera has enough power at night. Specialized cameras are designed to operate specifically from solar power, but have all the features of standard electric security camera systems.

 

 

Stand Alone Solar Power for Lighting

VA-Temple-TX-5Lighting can provide security to many applications. Making sure the lights are on when they are needed is important to ensuring the security measures are all in place. Stand alone solar powered light systems provide lighting no matter what is going on. They are specifically helpful during times of natural disasters such as hurricanes and blackouts or brownouts. The lights will operate seamlessly without additional power from the grid providing safety and security to the installation area.

 

 

Utilizing stand alone solar systems for backup or high security applications can ensure that no matter what the grid power is doing, there will always be power to the applications that matter the most. Remember, all you have to rely on is the sun to come up tomorrow to provide you power.

Read More

Topics: Solar Power

Solar Powered Network Camera Provides Security to Job Sites

Posted by SEPCO

3/18/14 9:30 AM

A recent trend has developed in job site security: solar powered security cameras. But solar powered security cameras aren't just small ways to lessen your carbon footprint; the reality is, they can be extremely beneficial for myriad different reasons. Solar powered security cameras are more efficient, more useful, and more convenient.  Need further proof? Here are a few reasons why solar powered security cameras are the way to go for your job site. 

Ease of movement 

Presuming that you hook your solar powered security camera up to a Wi-Fi network, you will be able to run the entire system without cables. This means that, anytime you feel the need to move the location of your camera, you can do so very easily. It won't require the hassle of moving wires and cables, which often have to be installed underground. With a solar powered security camera, you can simply place it where you need it, anytime you need it, and you'll be ready to go.

SolarCamera1.jpg

Added security 

Solar powered cameras actually offer better security than their traditional counterparts. The reasoning is pretty simple:  traditional security cameras require an infrastructure.  In general, they have to be attached to a building, which is insecure for two reasons. First, it limits the amount of places that you can put them.  Usually there are better camera locations closer than the infrastructure; these provide more security, but can't be reached with a traditional, wired camera. And second, security cameras on infrastructures are in plain sight, which allows vandals and thieves the opportunity to work around them, or cut them off. Without wires, you can place your security cameras in trees or bushes or fences, and no criminal will ever know that they are there. 

SolarCamera2.jpg

Save money 

The amount of money saved by switching to a solar powered security system may seem negligible, but take into account the fact that security cameras run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and you'll quickly realize just how much money you can save. The fiscal benefit of switching to a solar powered security camera will add up very quickly.

For these reasons - and others - solar powered security cameras are the new best way to secure your job site. They're more efficient, more cost effective, and more secure than the traditional models.

Read More

Topics: Solar Power, Solar Camera

Recent Advances In Green Technology

Posted by SEPCO

3/13/14 9:30 AM

Solar_System

Attempting to make the world an improved and pollution-free place to live is not a straightforward task, and there are no settled principles. This is one of the tests we confront when making, executing and depending on different sources of energy; since no single source of energy is 100% 'clean'. Nonetheless, year-after-year we continue to make great strides along the difficult road to environmentally responsible energy sources.

As temperatures increases and population gets bigger, it’s clear that green engineering holds the way to the survival of Earth and all the species that live on it. Luckily, innovators all around the globe are endeavoring to create headways that will slow down or perhaps reduce the harm caused due to our over-reliance on fossil-powers.

According to Liberty Power, in a few cases, progress in green technology is dependent upon new discoveries and developments in science, physics and engineering. On the other hand, these advancements have been dead set generally by shift in thought processes. However, the thought of "green’’ is gaining popularity among people.

Several recent innovations are based on a century-old concept: that of using tidal power to generate electricity. Harnessing this renewable resource is rapidly becoming more practical and cost-effective. In the area of solar power, the use of copper-indium-gallium-selenide compounds in solar panels substantially increases the electrical power generating efficiency of these panels, plus the compounds make construction of the panels far easier. Bladeless wind turbine designs, based on the physics of ships sails, are expected to significantly reduce the number of deaths of birds and bats. Wind turbine technology is also continuing to evolve.

Some innovative advancement in green technology are as follows:

Marine Renewable Energy: Marine renewable energy works by harnessing the power of the ocean tides and currents; a continuous source of kinetic energy that can be used to power turbines which in turn produce electricity.

Solar Power: The sun provides enough energy in the form of light to supply the world with much more energy than we currently use globally.  Certain materials produce an electric current when exposed to light, and we can harness that current to generate electricity.

Algae-Based Biofuel: Algae is a simple organism ranging from single-celled to multi-cellular forms, and is typically thought of as a kind of plant due to its ability to perform photosynthesis. Using chemical and mechanical methods, oil can be extracted from algae and converted into fuel that acts in the same way as traditional petroleum fuels

Green Roof: Different countries are rapidly adopting idea of keeping their roofs planted with grass. It not only minimizes the heat effect but also reduce summer air conditioning usage.

With this transformation in green technology it is expected that we would not only be able to generate enough energy to fulfill our needs but also keep our planet safe and healthy.

Author’s Bio: Adam Prattler is an expert in geography and writes from time to time for different information sources. He is also fond of natural beauty so much that he prefers to have fake grass around his house since natural cannot grow.

Photo Credit: www.greenerideal.com

Read More

Topics: Guest Post, Green Ideas, Solar Power, Renewable Energy

Making Your Off Grid Solar Power Work Reliably

Posted by SEPCO

3/11/14 9:30 AM

Off grid solar power provides power at night when there is not sun and uses the sun during the day to charge a battery bank. The battery bank is what the device runs on at night, or when the power is needed. As long as power isn’t needed 24/7, off grid solar power is a great and viable choice.

Solar

There are ways to do 24/7 power with off grid solar; however, the battery bank and solar needs to be much larger. Since you only want to take your battery system down 20 per cent per day / use to ensure the batteries last, the solar and battery backup needs to be large enough to handle the load for days. This also will allow your off grid solar system to work during times of bad weather.

Battery

Sizing the system is a pretty easy task. Take the total load required on an average day and multiply that by the number of days the system needs to operate; typically 5 days is long enough. Add for a little overage, say 20 percent or so for times with bad weather. Finally, find out the number of sun hours you have available in your area in the dead of winter (the shortest day of the year) and you will have the total number of amps you need to run the load for the 5 days.

Find out how many amps are provided by the solar and the amp size of the battery system. You need enough power generated by the solar panel and enough storage in the battery to make sure the system lasts. To find out more about how solar power is generated, check out this video from the DOE:

 

 

That’s about how simple off grids solar power is. Making sure you have enough power being generated and stored is the key to making the system last. You can cut corners by lowering the power or sizing for the summer sun hours, but then you will be sitting in the dark when the sun decides to hide behind a storm or in the middle of winter. Best bet; make sure you have sized your system properly to always have the sun shining on you.

Read More

Topics: Solar Power

Subscribe to Email Updates