Month: December 2013
Join us in welcoming a new year. 2014. This is a year full of promise and an opportunity to make a difference.
We want to thank you for your emails and questions. We will answer the most immediate and then create a FAQ section to cover the most commonly asked questions.
Is Solar Power reliable?
Yes: It has very few moving parts. With advances in electronics the main system the Inverter and Charge controller are pretty durable. It is important you purchase a quality product. You get what you pay for. The Solar panels or PV’s usually last 20 to 25 years with very minimal maintenance. The batteries last between 4 to 5 years. Some systems have had batteries last longer than 8 years. Batteries require monthly checks.
Are the lights as bright as what I get from the grid or a generator?
Yes: Most high quality Inverters are pure sine wave systems. They work best on your lights and sensitive electronics. You will not experience any flickering or spikes. As long as you have enough energy stored in your batteries, the inverter will provide clean strong AC power.
Can I increase capacity in the future?
Yes the system is fully scalable. Some inverters allow you to chain them so you can double the capacity of the system. You can also add additional solar panels (PV) and batteries to increase the capacity and efficiency of your system.
Please watch this short video from the US Department of Energy that tells you more about Solar Power.
Let us help you harness the power of the Sun. Email us at email@example.com for more information on our solutions. We can also design a custom system for your home in Nigeria.
How do solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity?
The sun transmits energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation. When this radiation is absorbed by the solar cells, a chemical reaction occurs, causing rapid electron movement. Because of the way the cells are manufactured with layers of material with differing atomic structures, the electrons are forced to move in one direction, creating direct current, or DC. It then flows into an inverter which converts the DC into alternating current, or AC, to be usable in your home or business.
How does a power inverter work?
A power inverter converts DC power into conventional AC power allowing you to use your favorite devices when an AC outlet is not available. Simply connect an inverter to a battery source, plug your appliance into the inverter and you’re set!
How does a off grid solar power system work?
Sun shines on the solar panels generating DC electricity
The DC electricity is fed into a charge controller which controls the amount of charge Deep cycle batteries are charged
12 volt appliances can be run directly off the batteries or the current routed through an inverter which converts it to 110 60hz or 240V 50Hz AC electricity; suitable for running standard home appliances.
Here is everything ties together. You have your solar panels, your system with a charge controller and inverter built in and your batteries.
We offer the RaLiza residential systems from 600W to 20,000 Watts and Minona Commercial systems up to 200,000 Watts
Click on http://atlanticwastepower.com/catalogue to see our current offerings. If you don’t see a system that meets your needs email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few months ago, I heard off and saw a new device in Nigeria called an Inverter. I was visiting a friend of mine who lived in Gbagada phase 2 and as I was leaving I noticed a battery box and an electronic device in her foyer. I asked her what it was and she told me that it was an Inverter. She bought one to minimize using her generator. The system is plugged into the grid and recharges the battery when there is electricity and then when “NEPA takes light” the inverter takes over.
The definition of an Inverter as per Wikipedia. ” inverter, is an electronic device or circuitry that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC)”.
So what you have is a device that takes the juice from your battery which is DC and converts it to AC. AC is what most electronic devices use.
Here is a picture of one such device.
When you add batteries to it, it becomes a battery back up or UPS. UPS does not stand for United Parcel Service. It means uninterruptible power supply. You have it in your offices or in your data rooms at work. I have a couple in my house for my desk tops.
A UPS or battery back up has an Inverter and battery inside the box. The bigger the box the higher the capacity. The battery determines how long the plugged in device can stay active. If you have used one of these, they start to beep after 30 minutes to tell you to shut off your devices safely.
Our Nigerian business people have coined a term that people can buy and relate too. An Inverter which is a fancy name for a battery back up system.
What are the benefits of a traditional battery back up?
It is what it says it is. It is back up power. When the power fails it will power your home devices till power is restored. What if power does not come back one within the operating window of the battery back up or Inverter? Pray or use your generator to charge it. This has worked in places like Lagos or Abuja where you get power daily. For people who live in states that don’t see power for extended periods of time, an Inverter or battery back up will not meet the needs of the household or business.
There you have it. Inverter Nigerian style 101.
We will discuss alternatives in our next post and also highlight products that we sell. I hope this was informative and helped you get closer to making a decision about alternatives to gas or diesel generators.
|Criteria||Diesel Generator||Solar Generator|
|System Type||Portable diesel generator set||Portable Solar generator|
|Cost||Lower initial cost, high running costs due to fuel consumption||High initial cost, virtually free for lifetime.|
|Maintenance||Require periodic maintenance such as oiling of parts and replacement of moving parts||Minimum maintenance required due to no moving parts.|
|Pollution||Noisy, smoke discharge and greasy residues.Also harmful for the environment||Soundless, no discharges.Environmentally friendly.|
|Efficiency||Will consume fuel and produce constant energy regardless of load consumption. Most of this energy is wasted.||Will store extra energy and supply it when required. All energy is utilized.|
|Cost per kWh||Increases with fuel prices||Free after sometime.|
|Return on Investment||None||Cheaper than grid power over its lifetime.|
|Reliability in Rugged Conditions||Will function when required, but lifetime will be shortened by environment.||Will function when required, and is ideal for sunny countries.|
|Fueling Costs||Requires fuel to be transported to location and manually inserted into tank||No cost for fuel. It is automatically charging at all times in the sun.|
|Set Up Time||Will have to be refueled before being used||Deployed in a few minutes.|
|When Not in Use||Nothing will happen, though fuel level will have to be checked before reuse||The generator will retain charge. It will continue to charge as long as exposed to sunlight.|
|Towing from Location to New Location||Refueling needed when moved to a new location||Generator will charge en-route, ready to be used when arriving at new location.|
|Life Time||3-5 years with daily use||Up to 25 years.|
A few weeks ago I read that Nigeria had more than 60 million generators. Considering that the average Nigerian experiences less that 3 hours of electricity, you can begin to imagine the noise. I was in Lagos in September and October and I can tell you that it took me over 3 days to sleep through the night. The noise was over whelming.
I am sure you can begin to imagine the pollution from these noise makers. At night the smells from the improperly tuned engines assaults the eyes and the nose. You begin to understand the reason people have perpetual colds. The cost in fuel and repairs are never considered by the average Nigerian. What he looks at is his upfront cost. For N35000 they can purchase a generator. What nobody tells them is that those cheap generators are deadly for laptops, TV and sensitive electronic devices. The power supply for my laptop caught fire while using one of these cheap generators. The other one destroyed my fathers phones and would not charge my Kindle.
How do we resolve this challenge using a renewable resource? The ideal would be for many of these homes to have a permanent and complete Solar installation. The challenge is that most people are very reluctant to cough up the upfront cash. In America we have finance and tax mechanisms that makes Solar affordable. With net metering you get a reduction in your electric bills. In Nigeria there is no such mechanism.
So our solution is a hybrid. A solar generator. It offers portability, lower upfront cost and very minimal cost to run.
What is a Solar Generator?
A solar generator is a box that you can plug into an outlet to provide power to your home. In place of a gasoline or diesel motor, it uses solar panels to generate the power that you use. You purchase a generator, hang the panels outside and you are ready to go. Think about a solar generator as a shrunken version of a complete solar installation.
We carry solar generators. Like gasoline generators they come in different capacities. They are pure sine wave generators that work well with sensitive electronics. Reach out to us for yours..