Power plant system questions
Our recommendation is to use the grid-tied system if utility power is available, and to use the battery-tied system for off-grid installations without access to utility power. The main reasons for this is that the grid-tied system is simpler to install and allows you to automatically utilize 100% of your produced electricity. Furthermore, the grid tied system is more affordable.
For off-grid cottages a 5 kWh battery bank (4x 12V 110Ah) is the recommended minimum when used together with a PV-650, or 10 kWh when used together with a PV-1300. This allows you to store one full day’s solar energy production for use during nights and cloudy days. Additional battery capacity allows for a greater buffer during rainy days.
We recommend deep cycle gel batteries for solar battery systems. They are maintenance free, can be used indoors, have a long design life, and are made to withstand deep discharge cycles. Deep Cycle Gel batteries generally have better cycle capacity and longer service life than deep cycle AGM batteries, both under float and cycling conditions.
We recommend the power plant is placed within 100 meters of where the power will be used. The cable size can be adjusted to keep transmission losses low between the power plant and the inverter/charger. Transmission losses are proportional to the ampere so to keep losses low the voltage is kept high. The PV-1300 system runs at 220 VDC and up to 6 ampere. Using for example 4mm2 wires the losses will be at most 2% at 40 meters, or 4% at 80 meters. Doubling the cross-sectional area of the wire will halve the losses.
The grid-tied inverter is fanless and makes virtually no noise. The battery-tied inverter has fans which kick in progressivly as the inverter load increases, so it should be placed somewhere where the sound doesn’t bother anyone, such as a garage, a shed or a cabinet. The tracker itself is very silent and sounds like a distant cicada every 7 minutes or so when it updates its position.
Yes. In addition to the PV-series we provide the TC-1000 and TC-2000 (TC for thermal collector), which include the tracker as well as the thermal collector. To this we also sell the complete pump system including everything you need: the circulation pump, air vent, pressure relief valve, refill valve, pressure gauges, temperature sensor, flow sensor, pump regulator (Resol CS Plus) and expansion vessel. The tracker comes with an integrated safety feature for the thermal collector: if the temperature in the heat transfer liquid exceeds a set value (for example if nobody is tapping any warm water and the whole system keeps getting hotter) the tracker will turn away from the sun to prevent the collector from overheating. After the system has cooled down sufficiently the tracker will return to the position where it is programmed to be at that time.
When you buy a Heliomotion you have the choice to buy just the unit itself (tracker, framework and panels) or to buy the complete package including inverter, cables, breaker box etc. We sell packages for on grid installations as well as off grid installations complete with batteries and charger/inverter solar stations. We also sell Heliomotions equipped with thermal solar collectors, complete with pumping stations, regulators and controllers. Some customers prefer to use inverters and other equipment from other suppliers, but in most cases our customers prefer to buy the complete packages from us, knowing that we have selected and optimized all components to match together. On our product page we show different options and packages. For our export sales we expect that most resellers/customers will buy the panels and inverters locally and just buy the tracker with framework from us. You can install a Heliomotion at quite long distances from the inverter; using our 4×2,5mm2 cable you will have only minimal losses up to 100 meters distance. At longer distances we recommend to increase the cable diameter. We advise against installing a Heliomotion on the roof – one of the advantages of a Heliomotion is that it is easily installed and serviceable on the ground. Our wind resistance calculations are based on ground installations – not roof installations.
The Heliomotion tracker is designed to last for as long as the panels last, typically 25-40 years. We give a 3 year warranty to provide free replacement parts. The panels have a 10 years guarantee on materials and workmanship, and a 95% output guarantee the first 5 years and 87% up to 25 years.
Heliomotion solar tracker questions
The tracker has an integrated GPS module used for determining the time, latitude and longitude. Using that information it calculates the sun’s position in the sky in order to follow it.
It can be powered from any constant 24 VDC power source, either using the included 24 VDC power adapter or by connecting it to a 24 V battery bank. The input voltage range is 24 VDC ± 20%.
In climates with snow the foundation column should be at least 1 meter above ground level to prevent the tracker from getting stuck in the snow during winter. As the panels are at a steep angle in the tracker’s morning and evening positions, most snow falls off the unit and there is usually no need to remove the snow manually. As an added safety feature the tracker will pause its tracking if it finds itself unable to move, for example due to excessive snow or vegetation blocking its path.
Yes. Keep in mind that in dry regions it may be necessary to wash the panels every couple of months to prevent dust and sand from building up on the panels. In regions with rain the solar panels are typically self-cleaned and do not require additional cleaning.
The tracker and solar panels are engineered to withstand high wind-loads and survive wind speeds up to 30 m/s. Should you expect winds of 25-30 m/s, it is recommended that you stop the tracker in the noon position until the storm passes, as this is the position where the tracker and panels are best able to resist high wind loads. If wind speeds are expected to go beyond 30 m/s, it is recommended that you remove the panels, in order to protect the installation.
A tracking solar panel on our latitude (latitude 60) produces approximately 50% more output than a stationary solar panel facing straight South, (and more than 50% when compared to a stationary solar panel facing another direction). For example the Heliomotion PV-1300 (4 panels of 335Wp) installed at our facilities produces the same amount of kWh per day as a nearby stationary 2080Wp roof installation (8 panels of 260Wp). Not only does the tracking functionality give a 50% increase in total electricity production; what’s even more important is that this increase takes place in the morning and in the evening to match the consumption curve of the household. (Adding more panels to a stationary installation increases the midday peak but does little to increase the morning and evening production). Please take a look at the section “Why are tracking panels better than stationary?” and the graph next to it in the flyer ”Solar tracking power plant for home owners”. Please also take a look at heliomotion.com/logging where the electricity production of our installation is monitored. The days May 1 through May 4 were particularly sunny and show clearly the production (15 kWh/day) starting early in the morning, levelling out and continuing until late evening.