Power consumption is modest, and as a result the home required a moderate solar power system. The home uses 240 volt AC appliances including fans, microwave oven, a refrigerator, a medium sized chest freezer and washing machine. Hot water is supplied by solar with an electric boost 1800watt element.
The majority of electricity is generated by an array of sixteen 123 watt SHARP photovoltaic modules mounted on array frames above the equipment enclosure. This 2kW array feeds power into a battery bank consisting of four EXIDE 6 volt, 1330 amp-hour batteries via an OUTBACK Maximum Power Point Tracking Regulator.
A 2.3kw OUTBACK sinewave inverter/charger converts the extra low voltage DC electricity from the batteries to 240 volt AC electricity to power the house. This combined inverter/charger also allows the batteries to be charged from the backup generator during times of low solar input or excessive power usage.
The system has performed reliably, with the solar array providing around 90% of the energy required to run the house. The only maintenance required has been the routine topping-up of battery electrolyte levels, washing the panels when there is no rain or morning dew.
Owner’s Comments on the Power System performance and SolarWorks Service
“Since commissioning the solar system the main problems I came across in the early stages were ones that I could have fixed myself if I had taken the time to read the manual supplied by SolarWorks. Instead, I rang Nick often and he helped me understand how the system works. The following figures show generator run time 320kW versus system run time 2970 amp hours for 758 days of operation. In the aftermath of Cyclone Larry we still had continuous power. We are planning an upgrade for the future.
The BCSE paid a visit in January 2007, checked the serial numbers of the solar panels, batteries and Outback equipment, and checked the overall neatness of the installation of the system. We are pleased to say they have given the system a 10 out of 10 in all the categories including visible warning signs so Thank you Nick and SolarWorks.”