Table of Contents
Global Solar Installer Training June 7-9, 2016…
GLOBAL SOLAR (PVT) LTD.’s INTRO TO:
- SOLAR SYSTEM DESIGN
- SITE SELECTION
- SYSTEM SIZING
- MATERIALS REQUIRED AND
- SOLAR INSTALLATION DEMO
SOLAR HOME SYSTEM SYSTEM DESIGN AND INSTALLATION (by Jody Graham of solarhomestead.com)
On day one our focus was residential sized solar systems whether off the grid, pure grid tie or grid tie with battery back up. Our many topics included:
- BASICS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY INCLUDING TERMINOLOGY
- OFF-GRID VS. ON GRID SYSTEMS
- HEALTH, SAFETY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
- SOLAR TERMINOLOGY
- INSTALLER’S TOOL BOX
- SYSTEM SIZING INCLUDING SOLAR ARRAYS, INVERTER(S), CHARGE CONTROLLER(S) AND BATTERY BANKS.
During the day we discussed the basics on solar energy, how it works, why it is such a good idea in the rural and urban areas of Zimbabwe. We also discussed the difference between volts, amps, watts, kilowatts, KVA, and how they relate to system design.
We also comprehensively discussed every component of an active successful solar system and how each part is integral to proper and reliable solar systems. We learned about solar module efficiency and how it factors into your individual solar system.
TRAINING DAY #1 also included the difference between square wave, modified sine wave and pure sine wave inverters, differences between PWM & MPPT charge controllers and when using MPPT (maximum power point tracking) charge controllers justifies the extra expense, as well as the different types of batteries (AGM, wet lead acid, other sealed batteries as well as non deep cycle batteries) and how they should be chosen for your individual install and how to make your battery bank last as long as possible.
Some batteries are perfect for solar in Zambia and Zimbabwe (and beyond) such as a Trojan T105s and Global Solar’s 100 AH (C20 rate) 12 volt deep cycle batteries and some are not such as car starting batteries and marine type batteries.
We also discussed the differences between magnetic north, true north and compared them to solar north (and how to find solar north without expensive tools) as well as discussed the tilt of your solar array for maximum output. Solar trackers were another topic discussed and whether or not they are a good idea in southern Africa.
Solar modules are expensive. You NEED to maximize the output of your solar array no matter where you are on the globe.
We learned how to design everything from the solar array to the battery bank (depending on where you live), using your solar isolation to choose your array, inverter and battery bank depending on your customer’s electricity needs, what you (or your customer) can afford and how to find find a balance in between.
Another misunderstood topic covered during the training is the fact that all batteries have a C5, C10, C20 or even C100 rate. Why is this and why should we care?
EVERY SOLAR ELECTRICAL SYSTEM IS DIFFERENT!
Solar electrical systems are not easily designed and one small mistake can be the difference between success and failure. The last thing we want to do is make promises we can’t keep. This does more damage to the solar industry than even big oil.
Here is how the typical damaging solar installation works.
Someone who is not properly trained quotes a solar system for a typical customer who either lives to far from mains power or wants to live of the grid for energy independence, or they just don’t want to depend on a government for their electricity.
The customer looks on Google or asks around and finds an installer. The inexperienced or untrained installer “under-quotes” an experienced solar installer and gets the contract. However during the install, prices go up as potential problems are uncovered that could have been anticipated by an experienced installer.
The system end up costing sometimes double the original quote and even worse the system doesn’t work or catches fire.
Now this “customer” spreads to everyone he sees that “SOLAR DOESN’T WORK. I TRIED IT, IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA”.
WE MUST STOP THIS FOR GOOD!!!
This could have all been prevented by proper training, integrity and honesty. No one knows everything.
- There will always be a question that is difficult to answer but once you complete a training with Global Solar, you have an another resource…you can ask any question you wish.
- Jeffree Rugare and his staff can answer almost every question and if they can’t, they will be honest about it and find the answer for you.
This is an extra bonus all trainees receive for one full year from the date of training!!!
At the end of day one we actually installed a real solar system using:
- 4 x 80 watt solar modules
- 2400 watt 24 volt inverter
- 50 amp PWM charge controller
- 4 x 100 AH 12 V AGM batteries
- various wiring and fuses/breakers
- MC4 connectors and crimpers
- various AC and DC Distribution Boxes (DBs) and breaker panels
- a laptop for system management and setting adjustment
The system worked flawlessly and is what you would expect from small to medium sized home solar power system.
The best way to learn is by actually physically installing a system and getting comfortable with each component!
Advance to day two…