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You may not have come across solar panel inverters before. Yet without them, your rooftop solar panels wouldn’t produce any usable energy. Inverters sit underneath or next to your solar panels and convert the DC power supply from sunlight into AC power, which is the electricity your home appliances use.

Why is my solar inverter choice important?

Rooftop solar systems comprise three main parts: the solar panels, the racking attaching them to your roof, and an inverter. It’s the inverter that’s most likely to suffer a failure, says Dan Glaser, Panasonic Senior Sales Engineer of Solar and Storage. This means you need to choose the right one in order to maximize the performance and reliability of your system.

Manufacturers typically sell inverters separately from solar panels, but they’re increasingly being integrated and sold as a single product, says Glaser. “This makes it much simpler to choose; it’s also logistically easier and makes the collaboration between homeowner and manufacturer more streamlined.” Panasonic recently launched its own integrated inverter module (solar panel with built-in inverter).

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What types of inverters are available?

There are three main types of inverters:

  • String inverters  A single inverter for all your solar panels that takes the DC power supply from the sun and converts it into AC power for the home.
  • Microinverters  Multiple small inverters that sit underneath or next to each individual panel.
  • Optimizers  Similar to microinverters, these attach to each panel. The difference is they don’t convert the DC power supply into AC at the panel site. Instead, they send it to a central inverter.

What are the pros and cons of each type?

String inverters are the oldest and therefore the most proven of the inverter technologies. Since a single inverter controls all the solar panels together, it’s the easiest to install and reduces points of failure. But problems arise if it fails, as this will knockout your entire system. Likewise, if your roof has panels in shady areas, it’s not just the efficiency of those panels that is affected, but all panels on the system.

The key advantage to microinverters and optimizers is that they operate independently, so if there’s a problem with one, your remaining solar panels will continue to work. You can also monitor the power of each panel individually to ensure maximum efficiency at all times. What’s more, there’s now little difference in price between inverter types, Glaser says.

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Which is the best solar inverter for you?

Microinverters and optimizers are particularly well-suited to roofs that experience shading, or where the solar panels are angled in different directions. “As soon as shading is involved, optimizers and microinverters make a huge difference,” Glaser says. That’s because the efficiency of one solar panel doesn’t affect the efficiency of the others.

The size of your installation also plays a role in your choice of inverter. For smaller systems, microinverters are a good choice, as you can have as few as one on your roof. For string inverters and optimizers, you need at least six to eight solar panels. In general, you also can’t fit as many solar panels on your roof using microinverters.

Another consideration is whether you plan to implement an energy storage solution either now or in the future, says Glaser, as some inverters are inherently better suited for this. He advises making your installer aware of this from the outset.

Family couple consultations with a lawyer or insurance agent.

What questions should I be asking?

Considering inverters sit on your roof and are exposed to the elements for some 25-years, you need to understand the warranty, says Glaser. This should include who covers the warranty and whether it includes replacement products as well as labor. Inverter warranties are typically about 25 years.

Understanding how to monitor your solar panels is also valuable, says Glaser. For example, is there an app available or a website to login to? Can you see how much energy it’s producing? For microinverters or optimizers, ask how you will be notified if there’s a problem.

Finally, solar panel installers typically work with their own qualified inverter technologies and brands. Therefore, understanding your options is important from the outset as it can inform your choice of installer. Panasonic’s directory of authorized installers is a great place to begin, as all their providers have been rigorously vetted.

By: Panasonic Life Solutions

The solar industry is constantly advancing and adapting to its source, the sun. Today technology can track the sun with solar tracking systems. In Texas, solar tracking is easier than tracking your vehicle in the parking lot of a packed HEB grocery store.

A solar tracking array can optimize energy production. That’s right, optimize energy production. A well-known solar tracking and racking systems manufacture are Sun Action Trackers. The company was established in 2014 and is headquartered in San Antonio, TX.

Since inception, SAT is one of the New Energy Economy Consortium Partners of CPS Energy. “Sun Action Trackers helped deploy over 500MW of Tracking Technology for various CPS projects throughout Texas,” said Israel Roman, Director Project Execution with Sun Action Trackers.

A few years ago, CPS Energy committed to providing 400 MW of renewable power, known as the “Alamo Projects”. With plans to construct seven different Alamo Project locations, the development of the project was through a public-private partnership with OCI Solar Power, a parent company of SAT.

“Sun Action Tracking Systems use patented real-time sensors to capture the highest point of irradiance of the sun moving throughout the day, optimizing energy production,” explained Roman.

According to the CPS Energy Newsroom website, in an article titled “ConEdison Development joins CPS Energy to dedicate Alamo 5” from the year 2016, “Because of its dual-axis trackers, Alamo 5 generates power with high efficiency.

Such trackers allow for optimum solar energy output because of their ability to follow the sun both vertically and horizontally. The dual-axis trackers, which utilize a patented “solar-sensing” technology to capture maximum solar resource, were produced by Sun Action Trackers, a San Antonio-based manufacturer of solar tracking and racking systems.”

Solar tracking popularity is slowly becoming more known to consumers, as well as its uses. “We employ some of the industry’s most innovative tracking and carport solutions, which have been proven and deployed worldwide.

Both our PST-2AL (Dual-Axis) and PST-1AX6 (Single-Axis) trackers utilize Sun Action Trackers’ Real-Time Solar Sensing Technology. Our steel is made from a revolutionary product known as Magnesium Alloy Coated steel which will stand up to the rigors of the elements,” added Roman.

A dual-axis tracker uses independent systems that use two motors, moving in from East to West and North to South.

Roman explained, “Dual Axis Tracking Technology is independent systems that use two motors moving 42 to 24 modules (72 cell) in the East to West direction with rotating angles of +135 to -135 degrees and in the North to South direction with rotating angles of 0 to +60 degrees.

The Tracker uses patented real-time solar sensors, along with magnesium alloy coated steel to optimize energy production and the system is structurally rated to 105mph in stow.” Whereas single-axis tracking technology only uses one motor. “Single Axis Tracking Technology is a linked row system that uses one drive motor to moving 399 modules (72 cell) in the East to West direction with rotating angles of +45 to -45 degrees.

The Tracker uses patented real-time solar sensors, along with magnesium alloy coated steel to optimize energy production and the system is structurally rated to 110mph in stow.”

Solar tracking in Texas is beneficial to consumers seeking to receive an additional 25 to 45 percent of production while saving on the system-level costs.

Roman said, “The additional generation from the tracking systems also reduces the system-level costs for the same output, for example – the amount of racking, number of modules, and inverter sizing.”

The solar industry is helping to reduce our carbon footprint, saving consumers money on their utility bills, and following the sun to a brighter future.

Solar installations in San Antonio have become purchasable and that may have been due to the Energy Efficiency Fund.

The fund was passed by the City Council in August of 2011, “to fund energy conservation projects in its facilities that reduce utility expenditures. The fund was designed to receive utility saving dollars from completed utility conservation projects as well as project incentives or rebates received from CPS Energy and SAWS,” according to the City of San Antonio website. 

https://www.sanantonio.gov/sustainability/Energy-Efficiency

While this funding has been beneficial to residential and commercial consumers, there are other terms of funding that are also leaning toward sustainability. 

Today, the city of San Antonio is on a revenue fund, but when it comes to our Regional Storm Water Management Program, the city of San Antonio finds that the stormwater regional fund, also known as fee in-lieu-of (FILO), lies a benefit. 

The Transportation and Capital Improvements – Stormwater City of San Antonio Assistant Director, Nefi Garza, PE, spoke on the matter of low impact development, its expectations, and successful examples in the city.

He explained that we live in an area known as “Flash Flood Alley”. “The reason it is called flash flood alley is that the National Weather Service cannot give us good predictions of river and stream increases,” said Garza. 

While we do have many low water crossings; by implementing low impact development (LID) practices throughout the city, the city can be able to absorb some of that water. LID is a practice that mimics mother nature. 

At the city’s development services building there is a parking lot across the street. “There is a beautiful lid feature that does its job. It collects trash and water. There are other features like that throughout the city and we are learning from them,” added Garza.

On the other hand, some LID features didn’t reach the city’s expectations. 

There is a policy on LID, but Garza acknowledges that it can be strengthened. 

Sustainable Landscape Ecologist at the San Antonio River Authority (SARA), Lee Marlowe, BS, says SARA has been trying to promote LID practices for a while now. “We realized if we are going to be telling other people to do this, we need to do it ourselves,” said Marlowe.

SARA has, in fact, converted landscapes to retrofit LID. 

At their  main office location on the river, Marlowe explained how they received a 319 grant through the EPA and TCEQ. “We retrofitted that facility and we incorporated these three practices: rainwater capture, permeable pavement, and bioretention,” added Marlowe. The practices were installed to slow down and clean the stormwater runoff before it enters the San Antonio River.

While LID is implemented to retain stormwater and improve water quality, there are also low-impact solar development practices that could benefit the city of San Antonio. 

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) publication, in an article written by Harrison Dreves, titled Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity Sprout, Dreves acknowledges the research of an ongoing study in central Minnesota. The study is “To quantify the benefits of a new approach to solar installations: low-impact solar development,” wrote Dreves. 

The article states, “To better understand the benefits of—and barriers to—low-impact solar development, the Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE) project brings together researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, universities, local governments, environmental and clean energy groups, and industry partners. The project is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.” 

If the San Antonio LID policy ever strengthens the thought process of implementing solar installations to a “Flash Flood Alley” can be beneficial to the sunshine state too. 

Picture yourself stepping outside with the sun out; you feel recharged and energized.

The sun is that battery we like to call everlasting.

In today’s technologically advanced world we’ve come up with solar energy solutions.

These solutions on a smaller scale are helping us save money on our energy bill, but on a larger scale, these solutions are helping omit the heavy use of fossil fuels all throughout the globe.

     The question: Is solar worth it? Is being asked by homeowners and businesses because going solar involves change.

Change is deliberately infused in our everyday lives. Without change, we wouldn’t have Facebook, Netflix or Amazon.

Oh, my! It just so happens that the alternative energy solution, such as solar energy is geared toward our favor too.

When you say, “I’m going solar,” it doesn’t just sound like you are about to embark into space; it means you’ll have renewable energy being produced on your rooftop.

Solar energy is also financially beneficial, helping you save on your energy bill.

A solar panel system can bring value to your home.

  Oh, and how’s this for change, there are some cities across Texas that are met with solar tax credits and rebates.

The next time you hear someone ask “Is solar worth it?” you know the right answer is yes.

     Solar in Texas is happening as fast as you can say the name of the best solar company in San Antonio, South Texas Solar Systems.

Texas is a big state with an even bigger source of sunshine. Going solar in Texas only makes sense.

Now that the solar industry is becoming more and more recognizable, we want to make sure you understand all the moving parts in solar with the best solar company in San Antonio.

South Texas Solar Systems serves all of south Texas.

The Alamo City is ranked No. 7 in the United States and No. 1 in Texas for solar energy capacity, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center.

The rankings come on the heels of the city’s solar energy capacity growing in 2018 to 186.9 megawatts from 161 megawatts in 2017, CPS Energy said in a news release.

The achievement was celebrated Tuesday at Palm Heights Community Center, which was one of the City of San Antonio’s facilities that is participating in CPS Energy’s Solar Host program.

CPS Energy announced an additional $15 million for its solar rebate program in December 2018. Since the announcement, the company has continued to see growth in commercial and residential customers applying to participate.

“Each year we harness more and more of the enormous solar energy potential in Texas,” said Emma Pabst, clean energy associate of Environment Texas. “We still have a long way to go, but leaders like San Antonio and CPS Energy are taking the steps necessary to power more homes, schools and businesses with clean energy from the sun.” 

Utility officials said the increase speaks to interest in solar energy by CPS Energy customers.

Source: Ksat

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