POWER YOUR WAY
Discover Independence Through The Power Of Solar
PRODUCTS & SOLUTIONS
Working in cooperation with international research centers, Coulee Tech keeps developing and manufacturing innovative solar panels, solar LED Lights, and other solar products using only the up-to-date technologies and premium materials.
Share Your Idea With Us
Your initial idea could be a hand-drawn sketch, a picture, a description, or any detailed requirements. Whatever it is, we will protect your originality and provide you with a comprehensive professional feasibility assessment. We will help you improve it towards a real hands-on solar product.
Perfect The Design
Based on our comprehensive knowledge of solar products, PV materials, manufacturing, project management, and innovation capability, we will provide you with the most professional advice and help optimize your product design.
Before mass production, we will first produce samples to check the specifications, materials, and process requirements of the final products or make 3D models for your reference. The samples of the custom solar products will be subjected to a dozen professional tests in our laboratory.
At the stage of mass production, one of our dedicated project teams will be responsible for perfecting your design into real solar products. We will optimize the production line based on the process design and product features. At the same time, a specialized team will perform quality control on-site and deliver a complete product test report.
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SOLAR 101 & FAQ
All the basic principles and concepts as well as the most frequent questions and answers
Virtually unlimited power is available from our nearest star, the Sun. In just one hour, our planet receives more energy from the sun than the entire world uses during an entire year. Electricity-producing solar panels have only been around for the last 60 years, yet they have completely transformed how we harness solar energy.
The first solar modules were only efficient enough for space applications, where the Sun’s radiation is much stronger. Eventually satellite research paved the way for Earth-based technology. The 1990’s were pivotal years for photovoltaic technology. Innovations in solar cells allowed for greater efficiency while lowering the cost of production. Germany and Japan led the way with long-term solar power incentive programs helping lower the cost to the public, and spurring the growth of a robust Photovoltaic industry in both countries.
The heart of a solar electric system is the solar panel itself. There are various types of solar panels, most commonly they are classified into three classes: mono-crystalline (single crystal), poly-crystalline (multiple crystals), or amorphous silicon.
Solar panels or, more accurately, photovoltaic solar panels, generate electricity from the sun. The more powerful the sun’s energy, the more power you get, although solar panels continue to generate small amounts of electricity in the shade. Most solar panels are made up of individual solar cells connected together. A typical solar cell will only produce around 0.55V, so by connecting them together in series inside the panel, a more useful voltage is achieved.
Solar panels can be linked together to create a solar array. Connecting multiple panels together allows you to produce a higher current or to run at a higher voltage.
Each solar panel is estimated to last at least twenty-five years. Instead of stopping production completely, electricity production will decline a little, gradually, over decades. The longevity of a solar panel refers to the number of years before the unit starts producing only 80 percent of its original power rating. The industry standard for warranties is 25 to 30 years, although it is not uncommon for panels to produce adequate power for over 30 years.
Creating energy with solar is not only environmentally friendly, it can also be good for your bank account too. Whether you want to offset your electricity bill in your home or business, or if you want to avoid the high cost of connection to the electricity grid for a new building, solar can often save you money. In addition, there are often subsidies, grants, or other financial incentives available to make solar a more attractive purchase. In some cases, these incentives alone are sufficient to pay for your solar installation over a period of a few years.
If you are looking to install an electricity connection to a new building, installing your own solar power station can often be cheaper than installing the power lines. This is particularly true if you live in a rural location where power lines may not run close to the building. Even simple connections to a roadside property can easily cost several thousand, and if your property is suitable for solar power it can quite easily become more cost effective to go completely ‘off grid’ and create all your own power from solar.
Of course, there are limitations to this approach. You need to produce all the energy that you use, and you will need a watchful eye on your electricity usage to make sure you do not run out. You may need to supplement solar with other forms of power generation, such as a wind turbine or a small generator for emergency use. Yet this can be a practical option for many locations where a conventional electricity connection is otherwise unaffordable.
Photovoltaic solar panels are composed of multiple, interconnected solar cells, which effectively trap photon energy between layers of silicon wafers. Negatively charged electrons are then knocked loose from their atoms, allowing them to flow freely through the semiconductors. Separate diodes, and P-N junctions prevent reverse currents and reduce loss of power on partially shaded panels.
Since the flow of electrical current is going in one direction, like a battery, the electricity generated is called direct current (DC). Sunlight conversion rates are typically in the 10 to 23 percent range, with some laboratory experiments reaching efficiencies as high as 30 percent. Future possibilities include the development of multi-junction solar cells that are capable of harnessing a wider bandwidth of useable light. We are still considered to be in the “early” stages of solar cell technology.
There are different battery technologies available for solar energy storage. Traditionally, ‘deep cycle’ lead-acid batteries have been used. These batteries look like car batteries but have a different internal design. This design allows them to be heavily discharged and recharged hundreds of times or several thousand times over. More recently, lithium-ion batteries have become more popular thanks to their longer life and better performance.
Like solar panels, batteries can be connected together to form a larger battery bank. Like solar panels, multiple batteries used in series increase the capacity and the voltage of a battery bank. Multiple batteries connected in parallel increase the capacity whilst keeping the voltage the same.
Lead-acid battery systems have the benefit of simplicity, safety, and price. They are robust and can be adapted to most applications. Lithium-ion batteries are vastly more volatile and expensive and require significantly better control to keep them safe. Typically, most lithium-ion battery systems designed for solar are pre-configured by the manufacturer to a specific capacity and performance. These systems provide a safe way of storing energy but may limit you in how you use the battery storage.
If you are using batteries, your solar electric system is going to require a controller to manage the flow of electricity (the current) into and out of the battery. If your system overcharges the batteries, this will damage and eventually destroy them. Likewise, if your system completely discharges the batteries, this will quite rapidly destroy them. A solar controller prevents this from happening.
There are a few instances where a small solar electric system does not require a controller. An example of this is a small ‘battery top-up’ solar panel that is used to keep a car battery in peak condition when the car is not being used. These solar panels are too small to damage the battery when the battery is fully charged. In most other cases a solar electric system will require a controller to manage the charge and discharge of batteries and keep them in good condition.
The electricity generated by a solar electric system is direct current (DC). Electricity from the grid is a high-voltage alternating current (AC). If you are planning to run equipment that runs from grid-voltage electricity from your solar electric system, you will need an inverter to convert the current from DC to AC and convert the voltage to the same voltage as you get from the grid.
Normally, there are two options for an inverter: you can have one central inverter in your solar system, either connecting directly to the solar array in a grid-tie system or to the battery pack in an off-grid system. Alternatively, you can have a ‘microinverter’ system where each solar panel has its own inverter and a separate inverter controller manages all the different inverters in your system to provide a harmonized high voltage AC output.
Solar panels with micro-inverters are typically only used with grid-tie systems and are not suitable for PV systems with battery backup. For grid-tie systems, they do offer some significant benefits over the more traditional ‘big box’ inverter, although the up-front cost is higher.
There are two established cell technologies that dominate the market: monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells (mono and poly, for short).
Mono cells are cut from a single source of silicon, while poly cells are made by blending multiple bits of silicon into a single cell.
Since the composition of poly cells is less ‘pure’,they tend to be slightly less efficient on average. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, since other factors affect solar cell efficiency as well.
In addition to mono and poly panels, there are several emerging technologies to keep an eye out for, like thin film and bifacial panels.
Power optimizers can be attached to your solar panels, allowing the system to control each panel’s output independently from the rest of the string. If a single panel under-produces, optimizers ensure the other panels in the string are not affected.
We recommend adding power optimizers to mitigate shade from obstructions and overcast weather.