Understand AC- and DC-coupled storage options

As the energy storage market grows rapidly, technology diversifies. Battery chemistry, PV integration and hardware layout are all critical factors to consider when managing customers expectations and ensuring their needs are met. System considerations For example, there are two ways solar is integrated with the energy storage system (ESS)—either AC- or DC-coupled. Each has strengths

Reference manufacturer recommendations before installing batteries

Proper installation, connection and ongoing care of your deep-cycle batteries will directly impact performance, amp-hour capacity and cycle life. When setting up a new bank of flooded lead-acid batteries, consider installation requirements and safety. In renewable energy applications, battery banks are often housed in utility rooms or battery boxes. Flooded batteries should not be installed

Understand how flashing codes affect roofing warranties

There is no specific standard when it comes to solar PV and flashing, but it’s understood that flashing must be installed in a way to prevent water intrusion. The 2015 IBC code says to follow individual shingle manufacturers’ instructions, and many roofing manufacturers refer to best practices and guidelines from the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer’s Association (ARMA)

Avoid broken tiles on rooftop PV installations

From the earliest days of rooftop PV, installers have struggled with tile roofs. Broken tile is a reality that solar installers learn to live with. Repairs can be time-consuming, difficult, expensive and unattractive—but there are options out there to repair broken tile. Reduce potential for breakage Though it’s almost impossible to avoid breaking tiles, installers

Install hybrid inverters to simplify adding batteries

When it comes to energy storage, you don’t want science projects and unhappy customers. Ensure a near-future revenue stream by offering storage-ready hybrid inverters. Batteries with grid-tied PV will soon be the standard offering, as customers increasingly recognize the benefits of storing local behind-the-meter energy. Pricing on lithium-ion smart batteries is projected to fall rapidly

Take time to correctly size battery banks

Sizing your battery bank can be confusing and stressful, considering batteries are one of the most expensive investments in your system, second only to the panels. There are, however, many advantages to adding battery backup, such as the ability to maintain power to a separate sub-panel in the event of a grid outage, as well

Install the wire box before the string inverter

Contractors can install string inverters with integrated, but separable, wire boxes more efficiently by installing the wire box first and then focusing on the inverters. Employing the appropriate skilled workers to align all wire boxes is essential to quickly complete DC and AC wire termination and connection. Once the wire boxes are in, less-skilled, lower-cost

Address connectivity issues to reduce trips to solar sites

You’re a solar installer, not “the IT guy,” so why spend time dealing with connectivity issues, rebooting customers’ Wi-Fi networks? While real-time monitoring is an essential feature of today’s PV systems, communication between system monitoring devices and the customer’s router is often overlooked. Understanding the options for today’s connectivity—and making smart choices for your customers—can

Avoid mis-wiring an east-west array

As east-west arrays become increasingly common, they bring an important additional requirement: The modules on the east and west orientations need to be wired to different inverter MPP zones, or different inverters entirely. This can slow down electrical installation and, more importantly, create opportunities for installation mistakes. These mistakes—specifically, when east- and west-facing modules are

Penetrations don’t have to be the enemy of flat-roof solar

Holes in commercial rooftops are often considered the enemy of solar installations. Building owners don’t want them; installers don’t want to make them. So fully ballasted systems have become the norm for commercial roofs. No holes are needed if a solar system is held down by enough concrete blocks. But today’s commercial roofs are not