Our Solar PV Design Process
Corporate Electric has been working on renewable energy projects in Cayman for several years. We understand the issues and only recommend proven and reliable equipment that we have evaluated ourselves. We can help you with a free no-obligation initial consultation.
Renewable energy is derived from natural resources that will not be depleted, such as solar and wind energy. Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year, although the technology currently fulfills less than one tenth of one percent of global energy demand. Apart from tidal and geothermal power, the sun provides us with all of the world’s renewable energy sources.
Solar technology is used to harness the sun’s energy and make it useable, such as solar heating for producing hot water and solar photovoltaics (PV) for the production of electricity. Of course, the sun does not always shine and the wind is not always blowing, so in locations where there is a mains electricity supply available the renewable energy generating equipment is connected to the electricity supply grid (i.e. “grid tied”) so that electricity consumption can be maintained at all times. In Grand Cayman, the CORE program (CORE = Consumer Owned Renewable Energy) supports residential and commercial consumers making investment in renewable energy generating equipment highly attractive through the payment of a guaranteed tariff over a 20-year period. This enables the consumer to either fix or eliminate their energy bill. The initial investment is also reflected in increased property values.
If you are concerned for the environment, it doesn’t get any better than solar. Burning fossil fuels to create energy will eventually be history – either we will just run out of affordable fossil fuels to burn, or we can make ‘alternative’ energies the new ‘standard’. Investment in renewable technology is also an investment in local employment. Clearly, the solar power business is here for good.Read more
We are a local company with an enviable track-record stretching back over many years. We seek to deploy the best affordable technology, so whilst we may not be the cheapest you can be assured of a service level commitment for your renewable energy project that is second to none.Come visit our premises in Kingbird Drive to review our 20kW solar PV system mounted on the roof of our warehouse building. Talk to our designers and see how we approach the design and optimization of solar PV projects, and take a look at how the installation has been carried out.
Our Solar PV Design Process
Our initial consultation and site survey will generate the information to enable us to provide you with a detailed performance assessment and price quotation. The site survey will determine:
- Optimum location and orientation for PV array in order to minimise shading and maximize PV electrical output. This may entail consideration of one or more options for the location of the PV modules.
- PV array mounting and electrical installation arrangements.
- Computer modelling using the US Department of Energy “System Advisor Model” (SAM).
SAM is a performance and economic model which calculates the value of electricity generated based on a system’s physical configuration, its location, and the cost of installing and operating the system. SAM consists of a performance model and financial model. The performance model calculates a system’s energy output on an hourly basis. The financial model calculates annual project cash flows over a period of years for residential, commercial, and utility projects. This information provides the cost and revenue information to enable the customer to make an informed decision to proceed.
The next step in the design process is the production of electrical and mechanical design information required in order to obtain a permit from the CI Building Control Unit (BCU) as well as CUC. This will include an inspection by an independent structural engineer to determine details of the roof mounting arrangements. Once all detailed design information has been produced the information is submitted for permit approval which Corporate Electric manages and co-ordinates in order to obtain timely agreement.
Once all permits and approvals have been obtained, detailed bills of materials are prepared for all electrical, mechanical and other items, and parts are ordered. As soon as this equipment arrives on-island, our installation team commences the site installation:
- Any necessary reinforcement of the roof structure is carried out first;
- The solar PV mounting equipment (“racking”) is then fixed to the roof structure;
- The conduit and wiring runs are then neatly installed;
- The inverter, disconnects, meter and other electrical items are fixed and all interconnections made;
- The PV modules are carefully taken onto the roof and fixed in position, and then electrical connections made;
- The systems then undergoes testing and commissioning before inspection by BCU;
- At this stage the system is fully energized and connected to the CUC supply and starts producing power and generating income.
Solar PV installations make a sound investment since under the CUC CORE program, electricity consumers get paid at a higher rate for the electricity they produce from solar panels than they are charged by CUC for the electricity they purchase.
By way of example, for a residential consumer with a monthly electricity bill of around CI$700 then an 8kW PV system (40 solar panels) will over the course of a year generate around 17,500kWh of electricity – equal to 75% of the consumer’s annual electricity consumption. This will produce an annual income of around CI$6,500, and the system will pay for itself in a little over 5 years. The life of the PV installation should exceed 20 years. Over this period the total amount that would otherwise be spent on electricity bills amounts to CI$168,000 – ignoring inflation and assuming power bills do not rise. On this basis the PV will generate a saving of around CI$126,000!
Photovoltaic cells, or solar panels, are becoming increasingly familiar. Initially used for applications such as powering spacecraft, the technology is now in widespread use with PV panels mounted on rooftops and areas of open ground. The PV cells are made of semiconductor materials like those found in computer chips. When sunlight hits the cells, it knocks electrons loose from their atoms. As the electrons flow through the cell, they generate electricity.
Solar powered water-heating systems represent one of the most widely-implemented technologies in the solar world. The concept is simple: pump water through heat-collecting panels on the roof and the water gets hot – then use that heat (instead of expensive electricity) to warm the water in your tank. Companies are continually improving the efficiency of these systems and making them cheaper to install.
Corporate Electric can assist your renewable energy project by:
- Optimising site selection;
- Quantifying energy production;
- Cost-benefit analysis including Return on Investment (ROI) analysis
- Selection of equipment suitable for use in Caribbean locations;
- Design of roof and ground mounting systems;
- Obtaining CI Government permits for construction;
- Gaining CUC Agreement for grid-connection under the CORE program;
- Installation, test and commissioning;
- On-going service support.
- Residential and commercial
- Grid-tied and off-grid applications
- Solar PV modules meeting IEC 61701*, UL and other listing standards
- String inverter and micro-inverter technology
- Structural assessments
- Wind load calculations
- Design and permitting
- CORE program
- Test and commissioning
- On-going support
Solar PV Applications
- Solar-powered pool pumps
- Eliminate your second-biggest electricity usage
- For residential and commercial pools
- Free water pumping from dawn until dusk
- Solar-powered irrigation pumps
- Solar-powered exhaust fans
- The more the sun shines, the more air is extracted
- Solar-powered outside lighting
- Save energy cost
- Save installation site wiring
Solar Water Heating
- Get “free” hot water direct from the sun
- Residential and commercial applications
- Evacuated tube technology provides plentiful hot water all year round
- Evacuated tubes present minimal wind uplift and are replaceable in case of damage
*IEC 61701: Salt Mist Corrosion Testing of photovoltaic (PV) modules.