Solar panels are incredibly useful and green additions to any home — but only when they are used and installed correctly. As vendors of premium building estimating services, we have had experience dealing with solar panel solutions and contractors across Australia. If you are interested in becoming a certified solar panel installer or are just looking for some more information, then keep reading to ensure that you know the ins and outs of solar panels for future construction projects.
Know your photovoltaic panels
Photovoltaic solar panels — come in two varieties: thin-film modules and crystalline modules. The latter is the most well-known and more efficient of the two; it is covered with tempered glass on the sun-facing side and a resin material made from ethylene-vinyl acetate on the other. Thin-film modules are exactly what the name suggests and are easier to install; unfortunately, they also have a lower power output and are therefore inferior to crystalline modules.
Batteries are optional features of residential solar systems that store energy that is not used. This is beneficial as it guarantees that solar power can still be leveraged even when there is no sunlight present. Without a battery, the occupants will only be able to use the green energy when the sun is out; this is a popular option.
However, having a battery for the PV solar panels as well as being connected to the grid is even more beneficial; when there is no green energy left, the main grid will kick in. It is also worth noting that if your client chooses not to use a battery, then the energy they do not use is fed back into the grid — meaning they could potentially be reimbursed for the energy they produce but do not use.
Arguably the most vital aspect of a solar system, the inverter is responsible for converting the direct current (DC) from the solar panels into 240V alternating current (AC) which is what homes in Australia use. Inverters are available in two varieties: string and micro. String inverters convert an entire group, or string, of solar panels since the string is plugged into the single inverter. Micro-inverters, however, are placed on each panel and convert each one individually. The pitfall of micro-inverters is that it is more difficult to detect should one fail.
Positioning the solar panels correctly
Solar panels absorb the sun’s rays, so their position on the rooftop is everything. They must be aligned to ensure maximum exposure from the sun all day round. To start, north-facing solar panels are ideal for the greatest exposure throughout the day, though if this is unachievable you can still leverage solar power for east or west-facing panels (south-facing panels will have the lowest power yield and are not recommended).
In terms of the roof angle, anywhere between 10° and 35° is acceptable with optimal efficiency sitting between 20°–30°. Because solar panels work best when the sun is perpendicular to them, north-facing panels on a roof angled between 20°–30° will guarantee full exposure throughout the day.
When is the most electricity required?
If your client is looking at a hybrid solar system that does not use a battery, then it is important to find out when they will be using their power the most as this will affect the placement of the panels. For example, whilst east and west-facing panels absorb 5–15% less than the north-facing panels, if they are going to be using more electricity in the mornings, then east-facing panels are beneficial (as the sun rises in the east).
If your clients rise early to go to work, or, will not have any kids in the house until after school, then west-facing panels may be more beneficial. As we mentioned above, however, north-facing panels are still the best in terms of absorption and for all-day usage.
Professional building estimating services
Whether your next construction project involves solar panels or not, you are going to need experienced and professional cost estimators to ensure all your numbers are in order; Accent Estimating employs those professionals.
By engaging in certified building estimating services, you can dedicate more time to other aspects of the project and rest assured knowing your cost estimations are in qualified hands. Our extensive resources allow us to take on all types of estimating jobs from around Australia and provide accurate and true cost estimates.