5 mistakes in planning your company’s solar energy installation
Solar energy installations help business owners save a lot of money. With energy costs on the rise, more and more companies are installing solar panels for their own energy consumption. Are you also interested in installing a photovoltaic solar energy system in your company? Then it is best to inform yourself before you make costly mistakes in your planning and installation.
Learn how to avoid the top 5 mistakes in planning your company’s solar energy installation. In this article, we will look at five frequent mistakes in planning a solar energy installation and explain how to avoid them.
The site is not suitable for solar energy use
It is clear that a photovoltaic solar energy system must capture energy from the sun. This is only possible if the chosen site is not shaded by neighbouring trees, houses or structures, such as chimneys, masts or antennas. It is therefore crucial to consider the shading of the site, not only in winter when trees are defoliated, but also in summer. Also consider that trees grow over the years and that the construction around the site chosen for the installation may eventually change.
If the installation is planned on a flat ground or roof, it is important to ensure that no vegetation grows on top of the photovoltaic panels.
For the best performance of the installation, a certain angle of inclination is necessary. If a sloping roof is available, the existing slope is generally used. In case of a flat roof or ground, it should ideally be raised to an angle of 30°.
The perfect orientation of the solar energy installation for self-consumption is east-west. Harnessing the solar energy for direct consumption during the day will be ideal. If you want to inject the solar energy into the public grid and maximise its sale, a south-facing orientation is the best way to obtain the highest yield.
Not all roofs or terrains are suitable for a photovoltaic system. To make sure your choice is the right one, use a trusted professional to carry out a site visit before planning the installation.
The sizing does not respect the purpose of the solar installation
Another source of mistake is in the design of the system: the dimensioning has, in the first place, to follow the purpose of the use of the solar energy generated. Currently, in Portugal, you can choose the UPAC regime (Self-consumption Production Unit) or the UPP regime (Small Production Unit).
In the case where the solar energy installation is planned to inject 100% of the electricity into the grid, theoretically, it can never be too big. However, in practice, the sales tariff nowadays is lower compared to a few years ago and the size in Portugal is limited to 1MW. The compensatory level of each Small Generation Unit (UPP) has to be calculated individually for each case.
A UPAC allows you to replace part of the energy normally purchased from the grid and obtain a significant reduction in your company’s electricity bill. In this case, sizing depends mainly on your consumption profile throughout the year. To do this, you need to consider your company’s current electricity consumption and estimate future consumption. Consider, for example, upcoming actions such as the possible purchase of an electric fleet or the increase of electric consumers. And this is precisely where another common mistake occurs: if the system is only geared to current consumption, in many cases it quickly becomes too small.
Choosing inappropriate and/or low-quality technology
The financial return on your company’s solar installation starts with the choice of the right equipment. A reliable installation company will always present you with technical data sheets and guarantee certificates.
The solar panels are the heart of the solar energy system and represent the greatest weight in the budget. The performance of the solar panel is essential to optimise energy production and consequently increase the return on investment.
To maintain a high performance you should consider a low coefficient of power loss with increasing temperature, as happens for example in summer. A low quality panel easily loses 20% of its power with the increase in temperature.
Since photovoltaic panels produce direct current but the public grid is based on alternating current, you will need an inverter to convert the current. This involves slight losses of about 3%, which is acceptable. However, the inverter must also adapt to the size of the photovoltaic system, otherwise there is a risk of a greater loss of yield.
Wrong arrangement of solar panels on the roof
Incorrect arrangement of solar panels on the roof often causes future problems. The static of the roof and the placement of the panels must be checked precisely at the planning stage. Loads, shadows and strong winds are factors to consider.
Solar panels must be placed in such a way as to allow a good arrangement of electrical cables. Routing of cables should be done straight and at right angles – not always the shortest distance, but the safest. When routing the cables inside the building no fire protection walls may be used.
Lack of documentation and maintenance
System documentation should start at the planning stage. This is often forgotten. This is a mistake which can lead to a serious consequence. In case of equipment breakdown, accurate documentation of the system, including all panels, cables and inverter, is often the only way to locate the source of failure. In addition, photovoltaic solar energy systems should be regularly checked by a qualified technician. Regular and professional cleaning is an important measure to ensure the best performance of the installation over the years.
Solar energy brings many advantages to Portuguese companies. The planning, installation and maintenance of solar energy installation are always in good hands with an experienced professional. Ask a specialist in advance.
SOLVasto offers turnkey solar installations in Portugal that include licensing, investment, installation and performance monitoring of the solar installation. Always focusing on your performance. Please contact us.