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INVESTMENT SAFETY

Safe solar systems inherently outperform conventional DC solar systems, harvesting more power from solar modules, with a longer lifespan and superior problem detection.

Getting the most from your solar investment

Not all solar power systems are equal – in fact, AC solar and safe solar technologies have a typical payback period of between three and six years, with a lifespan of at least 20 years. In comparison, conventional DC solar systems typically degrade quicker and supply less energy over the course of their lives.

AC and DC optimised solar systems produce 5-10% more energy than DC systems when installed in un-shaded, north-facing locations. In some specific cases, this can increase to up to 25% more energy.

As DC solar systems are made up of a connected series of modules (think daisy-chained Christmas lights), if one panel isn't working, it affects every other panel in the chain. To put it simply, a DC solar system is only as good as its weakest link.

How AC and some optimised DC solar systems outperform conventional DC systems

  • AC and some optimised DC solar systems provide power optimisation at a module level, which enables more power to be harvested from the solar modules over the life of the system.
  • Safe solar systems provide remote monitoring of individual panel power output, making it easy to identify and rectify any shading or performance issues.
  • The solar modules in AC and some optimised DC solar systems are designed to operate independently, making the whole system more resilient to variations in the output of individual modules.
  • Safe solar systems are more durable and reliable, reducing repair and replacement costs over the life of the system.

Common causes of module output variations

AC Solar Panels - Percentages

FACTORS THAT IMPACT OUTPUT

Solar panels are exposed to a range of environmental elements that affect each module.

A: Ageing

All solar panels lose effectiveness over time, but each individual module degrades at a different rate. This is even true for modules of the same make. For example, say a particular brand guarantees a drop of no more than 20% in power output over 20 years. By the end of this time, some modules might be performing at just 80% of their original capacity, whilst others could still be performing at 95%.

B: Soiling

Soiling from dirt, leaves, bird droppings and dust build-up limits the amount of sunlight a module is exposed to. As with shading, modules are almost never affected equally, meaning the power generated by each module in an array can vary quite a lot.

C: Shading

Modules are often exposed to shading from clouds, trees, chimneys and other obstacles, and the amount of shading for each module can change throughout the day.

D: Temperature Variation

The amount of energy generated by each module is affected by its temperature. Most modules become less effective as their temperature increases, which is significantly influenced by its location within the array. Modules on the outside of the array are exposed to more airflow, so they're often cooler than modules that are in the middle.

E: Manufacturing Variations

Solar modules are typically rated accordingly to their DC power output, with a measurement tolerance of a few percent (eg. +/- 3%). This means that for a 250W module with a +5% tolerance, each module's output could still vary from 250-262.5W.

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