Solar PV for the self builder -Part 2b

Analysing a Solar PV quotation.

PV Panel Options-Output wattage of pv panels are typically available in the range 270 Watt, 340 Watt, 375 Watt, 455 Watt. A manufacturer’s brand name will add to the price. Some brands names are LG, QCELL, LONGI, REC etc. A manufacturer warranty can be up to 25 years. A performance warranty of up to 25 years is available.

Example -A Qcell 340 W , 25 year manufacturer warranty and performance warranty can be purchased for €60 ex vat, a REC 365W for €165, a LG 440W for €261. Some manufacturers are now including a labour warranty of between 10 and 25 years.

Inverters Options-The standalone single inverter price varies from around €160 for a 1.5kw system and increases to approximately €1,300 for a 10kw inverter for the domestic market (single phase). The number of MPPT channels provided in the inverter changes the price-a single MPPT channel inverter will usually be cheaper than a dual MPPT channel inverter. MPPT methods also affect the price (a list of the mppt types available are listed herefor the techies.) As above the manufacturer brand name and the length of the manufacturers warranty also dictate the price you pay.

Hybrid Inverters (those that charge batteries) start at around €600 for a 3kw system and increase to €1600 for a 5kw system. The warranty varies from about 2 years to 25 years. When purchasing an inverter one must ensure that it has a certificate of compliance to match the national grid profile (a grid profile determines when the inverter should switch off and on if there was a power failure) . So purchasing a cheaper inverter online might not be compatible with the national standards required in each country. This grid profile is usually programmed/selected when installing the inverter.

Another option when purchasing a central inverter is to install optimizers . These provide as a means to improve the solar output if shading exists when using a central inverter. These cost around €50 each.

Microinverters prices start at around €100 for a 350 watt pv panel and increase to approximately €160. Warranty’s vary from 10 years to 25 years. Some brand names that exist are Enphase, TSUN , BPE. They require a single management control unit that controls, configures and allows one to monitor the performance remotely on a desktop or mobile phone App. The brand name also carries a cost. The microinverter is able to monitor the performance of each individual solar panel and inform you about an individual failure or issues. They also offer one of the best ways to manage shading from trees, chimneys, etc., or different orientations as stated earlier. This single control unit costs approximately €140 to €280 depending on the functions you require. These unit types generally have an AC charging function similar to the Tesla battery systems.

Part 3 to follow….

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