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How do I Store by Solar Energy? Understanding the Solar Battery Pack

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We’ve explained how Solar Energy works in a previous post, but what actually happens when Solar Panels harvest energy?

Once the Solar Panels have harvested energy, it needs somewhere to go. This is where your solar battery pack comes in. The battery is the store of the system. It contains your harvested energy for utilization.

You may choose to utilise the harvested energy immediately when solar energy is plentiful (great for summer months). You can also store energy for use down the line. The battery pack of your system can be used as an energy deposit box, saving energy for later utilization. Having a well working solar battery pack enables you to keep your building powered year round.

Batteries act as a bank for your solar energy. Once the sun’s rays are converted into electricity, your batteries receive a charge. Any power used in your building comes from these batteries. If you’re using a lot of power, your batteries will keep receiving electricity to charge. Once these batteries are fully charged, your system stops taking in energy. This is important so that your circuit does not get overloaded.

Solar Panel - Solar One - Solar Battery - Inverter - BahrainFirst off its important to understand that the energy being generated from your solar panels in known as Direct Current (DC) and needs to be converted to Alternating Current (AC) which is suitable to use at home and office.

Solar One creates Photo Voltaic panels that are customizable to fit different sized systems. With this in mind, finding the right battery type for your power requirements is needed to ensure a good fit.

There are a few different types of batteries. For kitchen appliances for instance, you’ll probably need a 12-volt DC battery. However, this is too small to power a building.

A good fit with Solar One panels would be an inverter battery system. These can convert 12, 24 or 48 Direct Current battery voltage into a 120V AC. This can operate larger household appliances such as your electric stove, fridge and TV.

You should ensure that your battery is the appropriate size to fit your solar powered system’s needs. It is essential for your batteries to be able to handle the energetic output of your system. Your batteries need to be up to storing the correct amount of energy.

Talk to your solar system dealer and find a good fit. Using too large of a battery is ineffective. Using too small of a battery is dangerous. Find a happy medium.

Solar One’s Photo Voltaic panels can last up to two decades with minimal maintenance. This is not the case with your system’s batteries. Regular maintenance is required, and timely replacement is needed to ensure safety.

Store your batteries in a safe, closed off location that is both well ventilated and non metallic. Always check your batteries for wear and tear, and replace at the first sign of damage.

Finding a good battery system to store said power is an essential part of your energy equation.

 

What Dust means for Your Solar PV Panels’ Performance?

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On average Bahrain enjoys 8 months of sunny days – but that does come with its fair share of dust weather. As a desert island, we are constantly surrounded by sand and dust.

We take steps to avoid being sandblasted. We coat our cars in protective gel before road trips. We also keep windows closed, and stay inside during dust storms. But, our PV solar panels need the protection too. Dust and other elements such as bird droppings, leaves and sand affect how your panels work – and even though our panels are made to work in extreme difficult weather conditions, care must be taken.

Solar panels left to accumulate dirt end up much less effective. Dust promotes dust, and sticky or dirty panels are no exception to this. Our Solar One panels are set to last for up to 25 years with minimal maintenance. Regular cleaning falls under this minimal maintenance.

If neglected and uncleaned; your panels will without a doubt be prone to damage above any usual wear and tear. Some studies put dust as a culprit of decreasing solar capacity of up to 32% over 8 months. Regular cleaning can save you one third of wasted energy production! Seasonal changes are sure to effect this too. With the minimal rainfall we see in Bahrain that could act as a relief to dust, you’ll need to step up the cleaning schedule.

Luckily, our solar PV panels are easy to clean. You can clean your panels yourself, or have someone do them for you. Cleaning your panels takes minimal effort. This ensures that they are working at their best capacity.

If you opt to clean your panels yourself, you need to occasionally wipe them down. You can do this just like you would a windshield. A sponge and soapy water with some rags to dry will do just fine. After particularly dusty days or sandstorms, a wipe down is especially important.

You can check if your panels need cleaning in one of two ways.

First, you can physically check them:

Go outside and have a look if they need cleaning. If so, you’ll know – they’ll be dusty. This is probably the best especially after a dust storm.

Second, you can buy a monitor:

These help to check for dust that has accumulated over time. Monitors are available that check your panel’s output capacity. They keep tabs on how much electricity they are producing. These monitors will allow for a comparison over time. First, you need to know your panel’s baseline electricity production level.  When the production level dips below the baseline, you’ll know it’s time to clean your panel. This is a good option as you are able to consistently check your panel’s production levels.

In Bahrain, dust is prevalent every day. These monitors allow you to keep an eye on dust build up and clean your panels accordingly.

Solar monitoring systems also provide other valuable information. You can monitor how much energy you’ve produced, see how much CO2 emissions you’ve saved and, importantly, how much money you’ve saved.

Installing solar panels is the renewable way to power homes and businesses. Taking the time to clean your panels of dust and debris ensures that they work to their highest capacity.

In a dusty country like Bahrain, regular panel cleanings are essential. Solar One’s PV panels are built to last, with minimal upkeep and maintenance. This makes sure that you get the most for what you are paying and your panels are working at highest efficiency.

In the Middle East : 5 Solar Architecture Projects that will Amaze

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Solar Architecture is leading the way in the Middle East. This sun rich area has become a hot spot sustainable, solar design at work.

With reports forecasting approximately 4 gigawatts of solar power projects planned across the Middle East for 2016,  developers, architects and engineers are harnessing the power of solar.  Sustainable Architecture is becoming the next thing to look out for, and solar is being incorporated into some amazing feats of modern architecture.

Here are 5 solar architecture projects that amaze us and are true examples of the potential for more Solar Architecture in the Middle East.

1. Dubai Vertical Village – United Arab Emirates

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Dubai Vertical Village

The architects at Graft Lab have created the incredible Vertical Village.  This is a commercial, residential and entertainment development. The Vertical Village uses a Solar powered “skirt” to harness it’s energy. The village’s solar roof emulates a leaf. It has “veins” which break the solar field up into serviceable units. They also transport energy back to the building. It is used to provide hot water and power for air conditioning. There is an entertainment district, with shops, cinemas and restaurants. The north strip of the development is home to hotels and residential towers. In trusted Dubai style, the Vertical Village has it all – Solar Architecture excellence!

 

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Al Meisan Tower

2. Al Meisan Tower – United Arab Emirates

Also in Dubai, the Almeisan Tower is designed by architect Robert Perry.  This stunning tower will provide its own energy, as well as enough energy for the rest of the Za’abeel Park! 224 heliostatic polished mirrors on the top platform track the sun.  These reflect the beams of light into a central collector at the tower’s tip.  This magnified sunlight is harnessed and used to generate steam to power a turbine! Almeisan, is the Arabic name for one of the brightest starts in the Gemini constellation. It is a fitting name.  The tower’s defining feature is the sunlight that beams out from its tip. A beacon for Dubai and for sustainable energy.

 

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Kuwait International Airport

3. Kuwait International Airport

Architects at Foster + Partners  have designed the new Kuwait International Airport. With this, they are aiming for the for the LEED Gold Sustainability Award. This amazing airport features concrete pillars that cool and protect the airport’s interior. They do this by providing thermal mass. The roof is a canopy fitted with PV solar panels. 13 million passengers will flow through this airport. They will be able to see sustainability implemented with style and grace.  Initial designs call for 3 wings of the airport ,each a mile long. They connect with a grand 82 foot dome. There will even be cooling waterfalls by the baggage claim! There is flexibility in the design for large scale expansion. In the future, Kuwait international Airport will be able to accommodate 50 million passengers.

4. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology – Kingdom of Saudi ArabiaSaudi- solar-University KAU

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Jeddah features two solar towers. These use the sun and prevailing winds to create a passive pressure difference. This keeps a continuous breeze blowing across the shaded courtyards. The towers feature two “skins”. The outer is completely transparent. This allows the maximum amount of sunlight to pass through to the inner “skin”. The inner skin consists of a highly absorbent tinted glass. This gathers up solar energy and maximizes hot air in the tower.  As hot air rises, it exits the top of the tower. This is then replaced with cooler air from the courtyard.

This technology keeps the campus courtyard comfortable and cool for more than 75% of the year. The roof of the KAUST building has been designed to incorporate solar panels. These work to provide the entire campus with power and hot water on demand. An amazing example of solar energy at work.

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ABC Mall Achrafieh – Lebanon

5. ABC Achrafieh Mall – Lebanon

The ABC Achrafieh Mall in Beirut is paving the way for sustainability. They installed the largest solar PV plant in Lebanon on its rooftop. This covers up to 4000 square meters and can power the ABC department store. This is equal to supplying 500 houses with power.

This is an incredible way for a busy mall to cut down on the need for electricity. At the same time, harnessing the sun’s renewable energy. We consider this a true pioneering approach to sustainable architecture and power saving at a time where an uninterrupted source of electricity and power are a luxury in Lebanon.

 

Architectural projects like these are why Solar One came to being. We believe that sustainable architecture and specifically harnessing Solar Power is no longer a hope in the future but is very much our present. By manufacturing these panels locally right here in Bahrain,  and competing with international prices, we will soon see Bahrain and more Middle East Projects on other lists of Sustainable Architecture.

If you wish to incorporate solar panels in your large or small architectural designs, keep an eye out for our distributors and contact us today.

 

Saving Money with Solar Energy

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We’ve been hearing a lot about Solar Energy in recent years – we’ve also heard about saving money with Solar Energy – but is it all just hype?

Renewable Energy is the way forward but you might be wondering whether investing in Solar Panels is the best choice for you, or perhaps you are a bit skeptical about it all… is it worth the money? How will it benefit me? How will I be saving money with Solar Energy? How efficient is it? Will money be spent on maintenance?

Let’s answer your questions and reassure you that becoming eco-friendly is the way to go.

Is it a reliable investment ?

Firstly let’s just clarify that Solar Energy systems still gain energy even on a cloudy day, it does not have to be in direct sunlight all day, so you wont be wasting money if the weather happens to be awful frequently. However, we are lucky here in Bahrain that the sun loves to be out and about – did you know on average we enjoy 8 months of sunny days!

Is it worth the money? How will it benefit me? How will I be saving money with Solar Energy?

Is it worth the money? Yes it is! It’s great to be energy independent. Once you install your Solar Panels they will last for approximately 25 years, the more you invest in panels the more money you will save.

For instance, 8 panels will cost 480BD but you will save 100.572BD a year and if you buy 100 panels it will cost 6,000BD, while you will be saving 1,257.672BD a year, so the money spent will be worth it, consider it as a great long term investment.

Another reason why you would want to consider Solar Energy is because utility companies depend themselves on oil, coal and other fossil fuels which means utility rates are unpredictable and rise. However, by installing Solar Panels you secure yourself a low and most importantly predictable electricity cost which means that your savings can continue to grow throughout the years.

Will I be spending more money on maintenance?

You may be telling yourself “Well it can’t be possible to save that much money. Probably a lot of money will be spent on maintenance.” But that’s incorrect! The great thing about Solar Power systems is that they require a very small amount of maintenance so you do not have to worry about spending extra money to upkeep them.

Saving Money with Solar Energy is a sure thing! Its up to you to decide just how much you are willing to spend to save.

The What and How of Solar Power

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Solar Power. What?

Solar Power is the process of turning sunlight into energy. Plants, animals and our planet do this daily! Why not humans?

The sun is like a giant power plant in the sky, bathing the earth in energy on a constant basis while we’re in orbit. In Bahrain, we enjoy 8 months on average of sunny days. Our natural solar power plant is running at full capacity for most of the year. Plants convert the sun’s rays into energy through photosynthesis. Likewise, we can convert solar power into electricity through the use of solar panels.

In Bahrain, we enjoy 8 months on average of sunny days.

Solar power. How?

You can think of solar panels like the leaves on a plant. They draw in the sun’s energy, and convert this energy into a form we can use – electricity. The more efficient your panel, the more energy they absorb. At Solar One, we take pride in producing the highest efficiency panels available. We use international expertise and standards to make sure of this.

Converting the sun’s energy to electricity is a simple process. A circuit connected to the panels are able to generate a current out of solar energy for use as electricity. Batteries store the power collected by the panels. The more you store, the more you can use on the (rare) cases that there is no sun. The huge supply of Bahraini sunshine means a huge supply of solar energy. You can use this energy year round.

The huge supply of Bahraini sunshine means a huge supply of solar energy. 

The regulator is the brain of your system. This controls how much your batteries can charge. When the batteries reach their optimum storage limit, the regulator stops power coming in. This prevents the batteries from overloading. Finally, the inverter converts your energy  to voltage that is suitable to use in your home. Solar cells generate energy as a direct current (DC). However, most household appliances run on alternate current (AC). Direct current runs from the solar cells to the inverter. This converts the energy to alternate current for use in most homes.

This simple process benefits everyone, from you – the consumer  – to our planet as a whole. Solar Power generates Renewable Energy from a natural resource. We harness the Sun’s power without hurting the earth. No emissions are created from the electricity production of panels. This reduces your carbon footprint and is non-pollutive. Solar panels are durable. There are no moving parts to keep servicing and they are low maintenance. With proper installation and minimal upkeep needed, they can last up to 25 years!  A natural by product of using renewable energy is that it makes you much more energy aware. Using natural processes to generate energy leads to a greener outlook. This green outlook also translates to a more economical perspective.

The transition is easy. You can buy a smaller system and then build on it as you move away from non-renewable energy to a solar powered home.

The power is in your hands.