Why do solar street lights fail in Ghana ?Why are our streets so dark? Why are we not seeing working solar street lights in our streets today?

The answer is simple: some stand-alone solar street lights cause more problems than they solve. In some cases they don’t solve any problems at all.In Ghana a lot of streetlights are installed during  the election year ,streets are kept lit constantly and then all of a sudden the lights go out and never come on again.In recent times regular streetlights have been replaced with stand alone solar streetlights and some of them are quite fancy.

Smart Solar Street Light installation in Antigua and Barbuda

The real question is still whether this technology is economically feasible right now or whether we should wait for technology to evolve further before we take the inevitable plunge.The question of feasibility has reared its head due to bad decisions on the implementation of inadequate solar
components combined with “quick fix” solutions versus sustainable, long-term solutions.
The solar street light is a prime example of this. How many solar street lights have you seen that are not in working order? If you haven’t seen any solar street lights at all, it may be that the local municipality has not been convinced of the feasibility of these systems because so many systems have failed to date.
The solar street light is mostly sold as an LED street light with a battery box and a solar panel mounted on top of a 6 – 9 m pole. This is known as a “stand-alone” solar street light. The theory is that the solar panel will charge the battery during the day and, at night, the light will use the power stored in the battery to provide light.This idea should be considered a match made in heaven and a solution to many problems: streets lights use a lot of electricity and eliminating even only half of this consumption would lighten the strain burden on the grid. LED has a much longer life expectancy, so maintenance costs on the lights should
be minimal. So why do we not see this exciting development in our streets today? The answer lies with a combination of quality and longevity and with an understanding of the products.

Victron Energy’s highly efficient, ultra fast MPPT Solar Charge Controllers provide more efficiency in solar street lighting

The lighting units use quality components. The solar panels are 24% efficient (about as good as you can get commercially) and the LED lights are among the best at 160 lumens per watt (lm/W). The more lm/W a lamp produces the more efficient it is.A traditional incandescent light is around 15 lm/W, an energy-saving fluorescent bulb is around 60 lm/W. Easy then to see the attraction of solar power for free and lamps that are over 10 times as efficient as old fashioned bulbs – all which nicely meets companies requirements for improvements in sustainability and efficiency.

EnGoPlanet Inc ,a New York based company chose to use Victron Energy’s highly efficient, ultra fast MPPT Solar Charge Controllers, plus Victron batteries together with lighting options such as:

  • Wireless internet connection for remote control and management.
  • Smart Cameras.
  • Sensors for collecting various environmental data.
  • Mobile phone charging stations.

Their Smart Solar Street Lights are used in the Kuwait project, where 140 units have been installed. Petar Mirovic, CEO of EnGoPlanet tells me that the success of the project has interested other oil companies too, such as Saudi Aramco who are considering an installation of over 1,000 units in the coming months.

Well – that all sounds to me like a recipe for success!


When it comes to the buying decision for solar inverters, some buyers might be inclined to only look at pricing and spec sheets. While these are certainly buying criteria that should not be neglected, it is just a small portion of the bigger picture that needs to be looked at when choosing an inverter brand – because an inverter is more than what’s in the box.But why should you even consider Fronius Solar inverter?

As the solar inverter industry is becoming more commodified every year, inverter spec sheets are starting to look a lot more similar. Many inverter capabilities are driven by the same market requests and NEC code regulations, making features and pricing very similar across all inverter brands in the market. Therefore, a buyer could think that the only thing to look at is the price tag. However, it’s crucial to actually look past the spec sheet and the initial purchase price. When picking an inverter, you not only chose a piece of equipment, you are choosing a partner to work with for the next 20+ years. Thus, you might want to look into more than just “the box” and its price.

So what specific buying criteria is there beyond specs and price? The inverter is a critical component of a solar system, as it is not just responsible for DC to AC conversion, but also for the safety of a system, maximum power point tracking, grid interconnection and system monitoring. It is obvious that the inverter and its performance have a big impact on a system’s Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) and profitability – inverter uptime, operation & maintenance (O&M) programs and warranty matter in that regard, and this is where the company behind the inverter plays a crucial role.

54kw fronius solar power system installed in Accra

When choosing an inverter partner for the long term, it is crucial that this partner is around beyond the lifetime of a system. Therefore, financial stability and bankability, as well as a global footprint with a local support infrastructure are key aspects to look at. There is no doubt that the fairly fragmented inverter market will see further consolidation, given the ongoing price pressure. This increases the risk of certain manufacturers going out of business and leaving both installers and system owners in the lurch.

Furthermore, an easy to reach manufacturer support hotline and personal, long-lasting relationships on manufacturer’s level help installers through the entire process from designing systems to after-sales service for 20+ years – ensuring uptime and quick service. Since all power electronics can fail at some point, customer-friendly warranty terms and an easy RMA process are making a big difference. Power electronics manufacturers from advanced industries even offer spare part kits among certifications for contractors to conduct repairs cost-effectively in the field and within one truck-roll – a big impact on the profitability of a system.

All these aspects make a big difference and cannot be found on a spec sheet or on the price tag. Make a smart choice. Do not just look at the spec sheet and the price tag, when picking your  solar inverter. It’s a decision that will impact you over the next 20+ years and you want to be sure that your considerations are aimed at this period of time too.That is why Fronius solar inverters is a great choice.

NOCHESKI – YOUR INVERTER PARTNER FOR THE LONG TERM

Fronius has been in business for more than 70 years and shows a proven track record of long-lasting customer relationships and ongoing support for every product ever shipped. The company is privately held and cash operated, providing highest bankability. Fronius business is based on three independent business units which focus on completely different industrial sectors (Welding, Solar, Battery Charging) – yet they are based on a common technological focus on energy conversion. The Fronius 24/7 Service Solutions for inverters include online monitoring, Solar Online Support around the clock and the Fronius Solutions Provider program, a network of certified installers with direct access to Fronius.

To learn more about the Fronius Solar Solutions, contact [email protected] today or call 0244270092 to speak to our product specialist


Newly completed Mother & Baby unit at KATH,Kumasi-Ghana

The recently constructed Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi has five different sources of power, namely national electricity grid (ECG), backup battery bank, the KATH’s main generators, the facility’s own generator and a state of the art Grid-tied solar power system.The MBU’s power system is configured to prioritize solar as  the main power source. In the heart of the solar design is a 3 phase 20Kw Fronuis Symo inverter. Grid-tied solar power systems dont require batteries and are  the most cost effective to install.

 

 

Why The Fronuis Symo Inverter ?

The transformerless Fronius Symo is the ideal compact three-phase solar inverter for commercial applications of all sizes. The Fronius Symo is the clear commercial choice, boasting power classes from 10 kW to 25 kW, necessary features fully integrated, Fronius SuperFlex Design with dual MPPT, and a streamlined installation process. The SnapINverter hinge mounting system, lightweight inverter and easy commissioning app make installation possible in under fifteen minutes.

The installed solar power system is expected to save the hospital at least  U$D 50,000 in electricity bills over the next five years.The savings could be utilized by other operations of the facility such as drugs,salaries and vehicle  maintenance.

                                                                           Ghana has The only Green hospital in Africa

polycrystalline solar panels installed on the roof of KATH,Kumasi

The USD 2.5 million ultra-modern facility, built in a record of five months, was spearheaded by Mrs Akufo-Addo and her team at the Rebecca Foundation, following the Multimedia’s Seth Kwame Boateng’s “Next to die” documentary on the deplorable conditions mothers and babies who attended the hospital for healthcare were going through.The world class facility that had earned EDGE certification, from a group affiliated to the IFC/ World Bank, for being the only green hospital in Africa, covers a total build area of 2,722 square meters, with an internal indoor area of 1,724 metre square, instead of the old MBU that had 350 metre square.

The building, which would house the Maternity, Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive care and operating theatres of the Hospital, had been built to withstand earthquakes, fires and explosions and has temperature insulation and noise isolation capabilities.It also has been well equipped with nine birthing beds instead of the former two at the old MBU, with three operating theatres, 130 baby cots.

                                                                             What can Ghana learn from this project ?

20kva Fronuis inverter comes with 5 year warranty & was commissioned by Nocheski Solar

With 11 paediatric beds, two infant ventilators, filtered fresh air and independent post-delivery and post operatory rooms while the faucets, showers and toilets use low volume of water.The 2.5 million dollar facility is expected to help reduce the high infant and maternal mortality that is being recorded by the KATH over the years due to lack of space and hospital equipment.The First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and her Foundation partnered The Multimedia Group and many other partners  to raise funds for the project.Nocheski Solar would like to congratulate H.E Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo,Rebecca Foundation and all the project partners for investing in a Fronuis Grid-tied solar power system for the project.We believe this is worthy of emulation by other organizations  across the nation who may want to make enormous savings on electricity  in the future.Further enquiries may be made by calling a product specialist on +233244270092 or email [email protected]

Take a glimpse of the installation in Kumasi in this short video

 


The conversation was getting heated and it ended with the statement “Diesel Generators are cheaper than the Electricity Company of Ghana (E.C.G) and some businesses in Ghana run on generator power even when the grid is available”……………………..

This was what I learnt from a conversation I had in 2014 with an associate of mine who ran a medical practice in East Legon at the time.I was actually doubtful of his claims because of his political affiliation and therefore brushed these claims aside.

Whilst Ghana appears to have recovered, somewhat, from the power crisis, many businesses are, ironically, turning to generators which they find to be cheaper than the national grid. Fast forward to 2017 ,whilst running several power audits across Ghana ,I  come across several businesses who run on diesel generator power 2-3 times weekly as a cost cutting strategy for electricity. Some of these business claim to be able to save up to 25% on power costs by this strategy alone.

With Ghana’s prepaid metering system, it’s easy to compare how much is spent on either generators or the national grid on weekly or even daily basis .The bare facts are that  that solar  has gotten cheaper today than it was years ago and with an average 5.5 hours of effective sunshine daily in Ghana, businesses  should seriously consider quality Grid-tied solar power systems such as Fronius .With these solar power systems you don’t need to even worry about rising utility tariffs  or fuel prices.

Most Ghana based business shy away from Solar power because of the perceived high initial costs. Grid-tied solar often has fewer upfront costs than an off-grid system. For one, it can cost less to install a grid-tied system because it does not require batteries, as off-grid does. For another, it’s more flexible, as you don’t necessarily have to install the number of panels you will need to produce all your energy needs right away. people choose grid-tied solar power  systems when they know they could only afford a certain number of panels at a given time, so their goal is to lower their electricity bills—but not eliminate them entirely just yet.

A fully installed 20Kw Fronius Grid-tied solar inverter in Accra-Ghana

Over time, you can always add more panels as you find the financial resources to do so.This solar power option is excellent  for  commercial operations that have a high power demand during daytime hours.Up to 65% percent of power demand for most offices in Ghana is for air-conditioning /cooling due to high daytime temperatures  and humidity.  Our research indicates that grid tied solar can be at least 45% cheaper than off grid solar power systems and you can save Ghc 24,000 per annum by the deployment of just 10kwp.We are able to calculate the savings because of the inbuilt monitoring systems in these intelligent devices built by Fronius BV of Austria.

Nocheski Solar is dedicated to using products  that have a strong, unrivalled reputation for technical innovation, reliability, and build quality. Our products are widely considered to be the professional choice for independent electric power.You may call +233244270092  email for further information


Punjo is not Puna : Not All Solar Panels Are Equal

Nii koi’s wife was pregnant with their third child, and as usual her food cravings seemed to change by the hour. This morning she wanted Pona yams with smoked fish light soup. Being a great husband Nii Koi dashes  to the nearby  grocery down the road  and ends up being sold Punjo yams ,a lower priced ,larger variety of yam. Most Ghanaians prefer the higher sugar content and finer texture in Pona yams even though they can be quite pricey especially when yams are not in season. Thinking he had found a great deal Nii Koi proceeded to complete his assignment.

His wife was very furious, I will not eat this yam

“All yam be yam he exclaimed” and she hissed back, Punjo is not Pona

To cut a long story short his wife refused to eat the Punjo yams and insisted that he get Pona yams to satisfy her cravings

Jinko Solar panels are durable and efficient

Selling Solar in a harsh economic climate like Ghana can be quite challenging ,it’s not unusual for prospective customers to ask questions such as  “why your solar panels cost Ghc X when so and so in the market is selling it for so much less at Ghc. Y.”

The simple answer is – Not All Solar Panels Are Equal.

Punjo is not Puna : Not All Solar Panels Are Equal

So when you compare prices for solar panels (and we do encourage you to shop around), you do need to pay attention to 2 key aspects of the panel’s quality – GRADE and MANUFACTURER TIER.

GRADE refers to the quality of solar cell used in the solar panel, and are categorized as A, B, C, or D. Grade A cells are the highest quality, in that they are tested against highest quality criteria to ensure there are no micro-cracks in the solar cell, and all the cells are of the same type. The quality diminishes for grade B, which may have micro cracks and not all cells are of the same type (they sometimes mix and match). Grades C and D are much worse quality with larger cracks and chips, and the cell mismatch is even worse.A typical solar cell will be exposed to sunlight throughout its lifetime. Sunlight contains harmful ultraviolet (UV) light that deteriorates all materials, including solar cells. The tiny flaws in the material become worse after prolonged exposure to sunlight, and its power output reduces over time.As a grade A cell has the least flaws to start with, its deterioration will be the slowest.

MANUFACTURER TIER refers to how automated a manufacturer is in its manufacturing process, its manufacturing volume, how long it has been in the industry, and how much it invests in R&D. There are 3 tiers to classify this:

certified engineers installing Jinko Panels in the heart of Ghana capital city,Accra

Tier 1 manufacturers are the top 2% of solar manufacturers, normally producing over 1 GW of solar panels in a year. They are vertically integrated meaning they make their own cells and wafers. They invest heavily in R&D, and have advanced robotic processes for manufacturing. They have been manufacturing panels for longer than 5 years. Tier 2 manufacturers are small to medium scale manufacturers, with little or no investment in R&D. They only use partial robotics in their manufacturing process, and rely more on manual work from human production lines. They have been producing panels for 2 to 5 years. Tier 3 manufacturers are actually just Assemblers – i.e. they assemble other manufacturer’s cells into a panel. This is 90% of the new solar PV companies, with no investment in R&D, and they use human production lines for manual soldering of solar cells instead of advanced robotics. They have been assembling panels for 1-2 years. You get best (and consistent) results from Grade A panels manufactured by a Tier 1 manufacturer. They may cost a little more on a per-watt basis, but when you consider the energy output and the longevity of their panels, you actually get more energy out of Tier 1 / Grade A panels than anyone else. And ultimately, you have to ask yourself what matters to you more — the total number of watts of a solar panel, or the actual kWh (units) of energy produced by the panel?

That’s why we at Nocheski Solar use Grade A solar panels from Tier 1 manufacturers like Jinko Solar, which ensures the best overall value in terms overall electricity output and long-term high quality.Hope this helps you when you compare solar panel prices.Let us know your feedback.All that being said, its  prudent to watch out for unscrupulous industry players  who may be selling counterfeited solar products but that is another whole discussion for another day.

Punjo is not Puna : Not All Solar Panels Are Equal

 

 

 


Working with the charity Assolidafrica 07, a group of teachers and students from the French High School Iscles Manosque have been to install lighting and electricity; computers and a photocopier, in two remote schools in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso is a landlocked African country just north of the equator whose 17 million people are spread out over 100,000 square miles, and whose official language is French. The two remote schools to benefit from this equipment were College de Boulma and College de Kapon (440 students) – separated by an hour’s drive through the bush by car.

 

Being so remote, on arriving the French students confessed that their first thought was ‘What are we doing here? Is this really a school – where donkeys wander in and out, laundry hangs out to dry right there in the grounds, and villagers are pumping water from a well?’ Assolidafrica 07 have been slowly building the schools for five years whilst lessons to classes of up to 100 pupils proceed.

In a project they named ‘Solaire et Solidaire’, as part of their own education the French students, guided by tutors, designed the off-grid Photovoltaic power supply and lighting/electrical systems they would install. Victron provided training and some of the equipment, and the students approached industry themselves for sponsorship …experience which will be invaluable to them later in their own lives.

The project included the installation of high-quality suspended lighting systems, very professionally wired in trunking; fabrication of roof-top mounting system for the Solar Panels; and the technical installation of PV panels cabled to Charge Controllers, Inverters and the Consumer unit (distribution panel/fuse board).

One of the volunteers, Thomas Tsamen commented: We didn’t have all the tools we needed so we figured it out with the means we did have.’ A point which illustrates the double-benefit of this volunteer program; the volunteers learn as they build projects which provide so much benefit for the African Schools. And as for team-building, working outside handling tools and equipment which the sun has heated to 60 degrees has it’s own challenges! They’re harsh conditions in which students and teachers alike quickly learn that diplomacy is the key to the continuance of smooth relations!

Alan Morel and Jean Paul Nabaloum

In traditional African society the Tribal Chiefs are guarantors of customs and habits. They’re the ones who regulate society and decide all matters relating to development and problem-resolution. The chief of Kapon – dressed in the robes of his office – said ‘Studying is what’s going to save us. If we stay ignorant, there is no development …I’m so glad to receive these panels and this equipment which will light our classrooms and help our education.’

The lighting now installed allows the schools to extend their curriculum into the evening. Speaking at the Completion of the work tutor Rasmané Ouedraogo said: ‘I’m speechless really. Students will have light and electricity to study for their diploma. And with the computer equipment we are making a giant step.’ In Burkina Faso, where a Broadband subscription costs more than the average annual salary, fewer than 5% of the population have access to the internet.

The President of the Parents and Teacher association makes the point that the installation takes a big worry away from parents – about how they would afford an electricity supply.

And the principal of the French High School Iscles Manosque, Cyrille Seguin, acknowledging the commitment of both teachers and students who ‘dared’ to bring the project to his attention …and then carry it out, said of his students: They will carry the richness of this experience with them all their lives.

Boulma middle school supervisor Mr. Kabore

Source:victron energy


Erratic power supply AKA Dumsor has always been hot topic these past few  years .Pronounced “doom-sore” (or more appropriately dum sɔ, “off and on”) is a popular Ghanaian term used to describe persistent, irregular and unpredictable electric power outages. Everybody from businesses to households has been affected one way or the other. In addition to this most Ghana residents have had to spend 200-300% more than what they used to spend on electricity five years ago.

2016 Its an election year in Ghana and I hear lot of promises from political parties and politicians alike. These promises include, good roads, education, health, jobs and of course Energy .

Can we be brutally honest with each other as Ghana residents?

  • Our energy demands have risen over the years and we require more capacity
  • Energy prices have risen all over the world and reliance on only hydro isn’t sufficient for Ghana anymore
  • There is no political party that can reduce electricity tariffs to rates that were being paid 5-10 years ago. Even if anybody tried, it wouldn’t be sustainable
  • Electricity prices will continue to rise in the coming years and the time to change our mindset is now
  • Ghana needs a serious national policy plan /implementation on energy matters

I have to admit times are pretty hard in Ghana these days. A lot of people are unable to pay their utility bills. Some have actually resorted to either connecting utilities illegally or using less. A good number of people have been caught some of them being foreign business and all .I also know a few people who switch off their refrigerators or deep freezers at night.

Another interesting fact is that for those who are buying new electrical appliances, price becomes the most important or deciding factor so much  such that efficiency is thrown out of the window.

While interacting with people we get these statements quite frequently: So you tell people to use less electricity and conserve it?” or “Your website has ideas on how to buy appliances, how does that relate to saving electricity?” The easiest way to save energy (or electricity) is to use less of it, but we have to be realistic in our approach. Our lifestyles are changing, and with increased pace of development, our need for appliances is increasing and so is our need for energy.  Thus the ideal mix to save energy will involve both conservation and efficiency. Now let us look at what is the difference between the two.

What is Energy Conservation?

Whenever you use less of something that means that you are trying to conserve it. So if you use a 1100cc vehicle instead of a V8 vehicle, it means that you are trying to conserve fuel (among many other reasons why you would prefer to use 1100CC over a V8 motor vehicle). If you switch off lights when they are not needed, then you are conserving energy. When you increase the temperature at which you operate your air conditioner from say, 24 degrees to 25 degrees, you are conserving energy. You also conserve energy when you switch off your DSTV decoder boxes and TVs when they are not in use.

Energy Conservation is all about using energy only when it is required and using it as much as needed for the job and not wasting any amount of it. It requires a conscious effort from the user of energy to make sure that there is no wastage on a regular basis. It requires a lot of behavioral change and needs effort. It may not need any investment always.

So what is Energy Efficiency?

Energy efficiency in contrast means using lesser energy to do the same job. When you buy a car that gives more mileage, you use less fuel to travel the same distance. When you buy a 5 star rated air conditioner instead of a 3 or 2 star rated air conditioner, it means that for the same usage and in same conditions, you use less electricity (for the same temperature at which you operate them). If you use a 5 star rated air conditioner at higher temperature, you double the effect and combine energy efficiency with energy conservation.

Energy efficiency has more impact on your personal finances. An efficient appliance may cost more than an inefficient appliance. Although the additional capital cost may get recovered in form of electricity savings. Energy efficiency may not require physical effort but requires change in people’s buying patterns. It requires knowledge of various products and their efficiencies. If people start buying more of efficient products, manufacturers will start producing more of them.

Conclusion

Both energy efficiency and energy conservation have the same goal: to save energy and the same impact: saves money. Both can individually save energy but when coupled together can save double the amount of energy and money. It depends on your choices as to which one you like to do. A good mix of the two can ensure high savings with low investments and efforts.


Apparently the economics for backup power alone just aren’t that attractive.

Tesla has quietly removed all references to its 10-kilowatt-hour residential battery from the Powerwall website, as well as the company’s press kit. The company’s smaller battery designed for daily cycling is all that remains.

The change was initially made without explanation, which prompted industry insiders to speculate. Today, a Tesla representative confirmed the 10-kilowatt-hour option has been discontinued.

“We have seen enormous interest in the Daily Powerwall worldwide,” according to an emailed statement to GTM. “The Daily Powerwall supports daily use applications like solar self-consumption plus backup power applications, and can offer backup simply by modifying the way it is installed in a home. Due to the interest, we have decided to focus entirely on building and deploying the 7-kilowatt-hour Daily Powerwall at this time.”

The 10-kilowatt-hour option was marketed as a backup power supply capable of 500 cycles, at a price to installers of $3,500. Tesla was angling to sell the battery to consumers that want peace of mind in the event the grid goes down, like during another Superstorm Sandy. The problem is that the economics for a lithium-ion backup battery just aren’t that attractive.

Even at Tesla’s low wholesale price, a 500-cycle battery just doesn’t pencil out against the alternatives, especially once the inverter and other system costs are included. State-of-the-art backup generators from companies like Generac and Cummins sell for $5,000 or less. These companies also offer financing, which removes any advantage Tesla might claim with that tactic, as GTM’s Jeff St. John pointed out last spring.

“Even some of the deep cycling lead acid batteries offer 1,000 cycles and cost less than half of the $3,500 price tag for Tesla Powerwall,” said Ravi Manghani, senior energy storage analyst at GTM Research. “For pure backup applications only providing 500 cycles, lead acid batteries or gensets are way more economical.”In Ghana  good  quality lead acid batteries such as the AGM telecom batteries retail at $219/Kw/hr and can be purchased at nocheski Solar (Victron Energy partner ) in the port city of  Tema. These AGM batteries have 1800 cycles at a D.O.D of 30% or 750 cycles at a D.O.D of 50%

 AGM telecom battery by victron energy

AGM telecom battery by victron energy

In California, batteries can benefit from the state’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). But California regulators have indicated that battery systems need to be able to cycle five times a week in order to be eligible, which would exclude Tesla’s bigger battery.

“In current discussions on SGIP program overhaul, it is very likely that stronger performance requirements may get added, which will make a 10-kilowatt-hour/500 cycles product outright ineligible (if cycled only once a week), or last only 2 years (if cycled every weekday for about 500 cycles over 2 years),” said Manghani. “In short, the market’s expectation is that for a $3,500 price tag, the product needs to have more than just 500 cycles (i.e., only backup capabilities).”

Backup power alone simply doesn’t have as strong a case as using a battery for self-consumption. That said, the opportunities for self-consumption are still few and far between.

A GTM Research analysis for residential storage, purely for time-of-use shifting or self-consumption. found that the economics only pan out in certain conditions. In Hawaii, for instance, the economics of solar-plus-storage under the state’s new self supply tariff looks only slightly more attractive than solar alone under the grid supply option.

“So it comes down to the question of customer adoption of a relatively new technology for only slightly improved economics,” said Manghani. “This doesn’t mean residential customers are not deploying energy storage,” but he noted that these were the early adopters.

Tesla appears to be focusing its efforts on first movers and the markets where storage for energy arbitrage and self-consumption makes economic sense.

While the 10-kilowatt-hour option has been removed, the Powerwall website continues to offer specifications for Tesla’s 6.4-kilowatt-hour battery designed for daily cycling applications, such as load shifting. The battery is warrantied for 10 years, or roughly 5,000 cycles, with a 100 percent depth of discharge. The wholesale price to installers is $3,000.

The smaller battery is often marketed as 7 kilowatt-hours, which would appear to have a price of $429 per kilowatt-hour. In realty, it’s a 6.4 kilowatt-hour battery at a price of $469 per kilowatt-hour.

A bigger, cheaper or more integrated battery product could soon be added to Tesla’s lineup. In January, CEO Elon Musk announced a new Powerwall option will be released this summer.

“We’ve got the Tesla Powerwall and Powerpack, which we have a lot of trials underway right now around the world. We’ve seen very good results,” said Musk during a talk to Tesla car owners in Paris, The Verge reports. “We’ll be coming out with version two of the Powerwall probably around July, August this year, which will see [a] further step-change in capabilities.”

At this point, it’s unclear what the “step-change” will be.

 

 


Why your Lead Acid Battery is all Swollen Up

Working in the solar Energy industry in Ghana, I often come across several batteries that are swollen up .These mostly lead acid batteries have often than not, been purchased at very high prices not too long ago. On this particular occasion our team was conducting a survey at a prospects home in Tema when I noticed that all of her eight 100Ah batteries were swollen.

Typically a 100Ah battery will cost between $200-$300 depending on quality .In addition to this, most suppliers in Ghana give little or no warranty even though some global brands like Victron Energy give up to two year warranty on their batteries .This article aims to reveal to the public why lead acid batteries swell-up and how to avoid the problem.

Sealed lead acid batteries – both AGM and gelled electrolyte can swell up and expand sometimes. This happens due to the construction of lead acid batteries which is referred to as “recombinant”. They are constructed in such a way to allow absorption of gasses released during the chemical process inside the battery.

The positive and negative plates are placed very close together with only the thickness of the divider separating them. They are tightly secured in the cell cavity resulting in very little extra space inside the battery. When the cell plates expand, it exerts pressure on the inside walls of the battery. This situation can cause the battery case to swell resulting in possible splits and cracks at various points of the battery.

Why Do Battery Cell Plates Expand?

The cell plates most often expand due to overcharging of the battery. The battery may also expand due to shorting of the terminals of the battery. Both these situations results in heating up of the cell plates inside the battery. The lead of the cell plates has a high expansion rate when heated.

The outcome is that the battery experiences extreme pressure inside that swells up and deforms it. The swelling-up of the battery may also cause great damage to the internal components and parts.

Why your Lead Acid Battery is all Swollen Up ,How to Avoid Swelling Up of the Battery?

Overcharging or short-circuiting of the battery is the only reason for swelling up of the lead acid battery. The problem is not inherent in the battery itself. In order to avoid swelling up of the battery you need to tackle the underlying cause of the problem.

You need to follow proper instructions in charging the battery. The culprit may be that you are using a wrong charger when charging the battery. If the charger is providing too much current, this may be the cause for battery swelling up. For instance, if you used 24V charger to charge a 12V battery it will most probably result in overcharging of the battery.

Whatever the reason for overcharging of the device, the end result is the swelling up of the battery. To avoid the prospect of overcharging or short-circuiting of the battery, you need to take the following precautions:

  • Use the right type of charger that is fully compatible with the battery.
  • Ensure proper polarity when connecting the charger to the battery
  • Shield the battery terminals to avoid short-circuiting of the battery
  • Use a charger whose maximum charging capacity is lower than the battery
  • Using a good quality charger
Victron Energy Blue smart charger is a good choice for small battery banks in Ghana

Victron Energy Blue smart charger is a good choice for small battery banks in Ghana

 Battery charging tip: increase battery life with Victron 4-step adaptive charging

Victron developed the adaptive charge curve. The 4-step adaptive charge curve is the result of years of research and testing.

The Victron four-step adaptive charge curve solves the 3 main problems of the 3 step curve:

  • Battery Safe mode

In order to prevent excessive gassing, Victron has invented the ‘Battery Safe Mode’. The battery Safe Mode will limit the rate of voltage increase once the gassing voltage has been reached. Research has shown that this will reduce internal gassing to a safe level.

  • Variable absorption time

Based on the duration of the bulk stage, the charger calculates how long the absorption time should be in order to fully charge the battery. If the bulk time is short, this means the battery was already charged and the resulting absorption time will also be short, whereas a longer bulk time will also result in a longer absorption time.

  • Storage mode

After completion of the absorption period the battery should be fully charged, and the voltage is lowered to the

float or standby level. If no discharge occurs during the next 24 hours, the voltage is reduced even further and the battery goes into storage mode. The lower storage voltage reduces corrosion of the positive plates.

Once every week the charge voltage is increased to the absorption level for a short period to compensate for selfdischarge (Battery Refresh mode

The above tips will help you to protect your battery from swelling up and expanding. Taking precautions will not only protect your battery from being damaged but it will also minimize the threat of fire caused due to overheating of the battery.

Click here for more information on Victron Energy AGM & Gel batteries


Air conditioning & the rising electricity tariffs in Ghana

My Nigerian friends often say Ghanaian folk have a signature look, very dark skin and red eyes. This they claim is as a result of the scorching sun in Ghana. Ghana is hot o…….

Average temperatures often range between  35-40 degree Celsius with high levels of humidity . Due to the nature of the weather in Ghana Air-conditioning is no longer a luxury.Most homes and offices who can afford , have invested in one form of cooling or the other while those who cant have settled for fans.But what happens when there is erratic power supply and load shedding  AKA Dumsor  in Ghana? I bet that is another topic for another day.

little children cooling off in bowls of water at home on a sunny day in Accra

Recent electricity price hikes in Ghana have made Air Conditioners a pain point for most who are concerned about their electricity bills. Electricity bills increase significantly when an air conditioner is added to the list of appliances in a household. Although it is difficult to significantly reduce the “big” impact of an air conditioner on your electricity bills, it can be managed by choosing the right technology, and following the right installation/maintenance/operation procedure and also putting into consideration the insulation of room where the air conditioner is being operated.The latest and the most efficient technology that is available on market today is the Inverter Technology for air conditioners. Inverter technology is designed in such a way as to save 30-50% of electricity (units consumed) compared to regular air conditioning systems.At Nocheski ,we live up to our promise of driving your business with technology and we recommend the use of energy efficient appliances such as inverter Air-conditioners from brands including LG,Daikin and Samsung , Gencool just to name a few.

How do air conditioners work?

For most people, air conditioner just throws cool air at the temperature one sets it at. But does it really work that way? In principle, an air-conditioner during the cooling process, takes the indoor air, cools it by passing it through evaporator and releases it back in the room. It is quite opposite to how our good old air coolers used to work. Air coolers used to take outside air, cool it with water and throw it in. But air conditioners just work on internal air. Along with evaporator an air conditioner also has a compressor that compresses the gas (refrigerant) in the AC to cool it that in turn cools the incoming internal air from the room.

In a regular air conditioner:

The compressor is either off or on. When it is on, it works at full capacity and consumes the maximum electricity it is designed to consume. When the thermostat reaches the temperature level set in the AC, the compressor stops and the fan (in AC) continues to operate. When the thermostat senses that the temperature has increased, the compressor starts again.

Air Conditioners with Inverter Technology

The inverter technology works like an accelerator in a car. When compressor needs more power, it gives it more power. When it needs less power, it gives less power. With this technology, the compressor is always on, but draws less power or more power depending on the temperature of the incoming air and the level set in the thermostat. The speed and power of the compressor is adjusted appropriately. Originally developed in Japan for use in air-conditioning systems, digital inverter technology is now applied globally in appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and even microwave ovens.

Samsung has a new line-up of household appliances for the digital home that saves on cost and offers more features.

Samsung has a new line-up of household appliances for the digital home that saves on cost and offers more features.

What is benefit of Inverter Technology?

Every air conditioner is designed for a maximum peak load. So a 1.5hp AC is designed for a certain size of room and 1 hp for a different size. But not all rooms are of same size. A regular air conditioner of 1.5hp capacity will always run at peak power requirement when the compressor is running. An air conditioner with inverter technology will run continuously but will draw only that much power that is required to keep the temperature stable at the level desired. So it kind of automatically adjusts its capacity based on the requirement of the room it is cooling thus requiring less electricity for efficient operation although air conditioner with Inverter Technology adjusts its capacity based on the room requirement, it is very important to install a right sized air conditioner in a room. Please make sure that you evaluate the room and air conditioner capacity before you make a purchase.For further clarifications on this subject ,you may contact our produuct specialist in Tema  here