In May 2016, we got a call from a prospective client in Sparklight Estate in Magboro, Ogun State right by Mountain Of Fire Church. He moved into his home in 2011 and there was no grid connection. He had purchased a Mercury 3.5 kva Inverter with 4 200 AH batteries. He spent two thousand Naira every day to charge his batteries. He was referred by his colleague and neighbor who was a happy AWPS Renewable Energy customer. #Solar Power.
After doing load calculations we sent him an estimate and did not hear from him again. In July he called and asked us to look at the solar power solution that a competitor had installed for him to see why it did not work. The pictures below are a clue.
The panels were installed directly on the roof and the roof was leaking. The PWM controller which cost him N80,000 could not extract enough from the panels because the batteries were in a constant state of discharge. The client could not get what he paid for and continued to spend money buying fuel.
The professionals at AWPS Renewable energy, removed the panels from the roof and a applied professional strength all weather roof cement.
Our team installed a roof rack and then placed the panels on the rack. It is critical that the panels have space between them and the roof so that air can flow and cool the panels down. Performance falls as they get hot. They replaced the substandard wiring and protected them by inserting them in PVC piping. They replaced the PWM controller with an MPPT controller. The PWM looks at the battery voltage and then multiplies it by the current or amps from the panels to determine the watts or output. Since our client had discharged batteries, the panels never produced anywhere close to the 1800 watts installed. An MPPT controller on the other hands looks at the same battery voltage steps down the PV voltage and increases the current by a factor of up to two times. So your MPPT produces up to 30% more than your PWM. This means that your batteries will charge faster. Also on cloudy days the algorithm on an MPPT controller allows it to track the maximum power point of the panels and respond much quicker to changing conditions. More power equals happier batteries and a happy client.
We took a historical log from the controller and the 1800 watts in panels barely cracked 1100 watts in production. Probably substandard or mislabeled panels
We now go back to the beginning of our narrative. N2000 (6 hours) per day times 365 days times 5 years is N3,650,000 for fuel. It does not include the cost of the generator, repairs and service. In addition he spent at least N500,000 for shoddy service and installation by going to a sub standard contractor.
He could have spent less that N1,500,000 in 2011 to get good quality solar and pocketed over N3,000,000 in savings.
Moral of the story it is never too early or late to go solar, prices are not coming down, they are going up and most important, please hire good quality people and supervise the work they do.