- premium components are used to withstand island conditions. See below for the components we use. The design of these systems ( AC Coupled) means, whilst initially more expensive, they deliver better performance and allow for lower cost future expansion.
- system capacity well exceeds the school’s current needs so significant amounts of additional electrical devices, such as computers, can be added without the need to modify the power system.
- strategic LED lighting installation. Replacement of much of the existing fleuro lighting with LEDs can more than halve system loads.
- energy efficiency education for teachers and students (and posters) to further reduce loads and enhance the value of the solar system.
- agreement with the school that fuel savings are directed to increasing education resources for students — with preference for computers and related resources.
- most schools have staff quarters using diesel power for limited periods in the evenings. Effective system design allows excess daytime power to be available to meet those needs. Therefore enhanced quality of life for the teachers and more money diverted to education.
- Regular communication is established with the schools so we gain feedback regarding the performance of their system and the impact it is having on education.
Energy is collected from the sun by high quality Yingli solar panels and either delivered directly for use in the school or, if not required, it is stored. The size of the solar array is determined by the power needs of the school and whether or not teachers quarters are also being supplied.
The systems have two types of SMA inverter to manage the power flow from the panels and to the school. This AC Coupled design is a more efficient system and is more easily expanded in the future.
Long lasting high quality Simpliphi lithium batteries are installed to store excess power and deliver it later when the sun is not shining. These are also much safer than traditional lead acid batteries. The school generator remains available for back up.
Usually Clenergy ground mounted high wind rated systems. These mountings allow simple expansion of solar arrays by bolting on extra mounting components and adding more panels. Ground mounting also removes the uncertainties associated with fixing to old school roof structures.
Education and Appliances
Schools are asked to commit to learning about renewable energy and energy efficiency. The systems provide a hands-on opportunity to do this. We are now installing VIRIBRIGHT LED lighting to enhance the results of the power system; LED globes = more money saved for education.
Not left and forgotten!
The schools agree to various commitments including collection daily battery charge data. That provides us with useful information, but it also keeps the school engaged with Its Time Foundation. They are also required to provide a report every term.