When The Australian division of Toyota Motor Corporation decided to install an industrial-scale photovoltaic solar power system in Melbourne, they turned to Autonomous Energy. The project ultimately produced a 500 kW system installed on the Powertrain Factory building at the car maker’s Altona North plant.
This major solar undertaking got started in 2013 following extensive planning, design, and engineering preparation. The system was completed and activated in May of 2014. This large-scale system represents several firsts for the Australian solar industry. The individual solar panels used for the installation are Kyocera, the voltage network is Toyota’s own, and the inverter/transformer is a groundbreaking centralized unit created by ABB.
The new Toyota installation becomes Australia’s third-largest roof mounted PV system, and the largest PV system of any kind located in Victoria. The successful completion of this project depended in large part upon the professional and technical expertise displayed by the Autonomous Energy team.
Technical Details of the Project
Many factors of this massive undertaking presented new challenges that required creative solutions. Many of these problems fell outside the realm of ordinary solar power installations, but they were nevertheless overcome to complete the Toyota array as promised.
As one example, simply installing PV modules on the roof of the factory required a serious overhaul of the access routes available on the roof. Autonomous Energy ended up constructing more than a kilometre of brand new walkways to make the new array accessible.
A delicate balance had to be maintained throughout all parts of the installation project that respected the safety both of our own installation teams and the Toyota employees working inside the building. Moving equipment onto the roof, for instance, required careful coordination with the factory’s production schedule to avoid interrupting ongoing work.
Even the pure logistics of handling the large number of PV modules required called for innovative solutions. Panels were stored on the roof prior to installation, which required the construction of custom stillages designed and placed to ensure a safe distribution of weight down to the factory structure below. Custom trolleys were also designed to maneuver individual solar modules around the new rooftop walkways with minimal risk of injury or equipment damage. If you nee help with a similar project preston Hire provides Melbourne and Sydney crane hire services for projects just like this one.
Each string of solar modules tied into the larger system had to be electrically isolated by an ABB combiner box to allow it to be taken out of the system for maintenance. The combiner boxes were mounted in custom-built frames that are adjustable to match the heights of the building’s different roof sections. The power cables running throughout the system had to be clearly and consistently labeled to make it feasible to identify and maintain individual strings.
Toyota’s Specific Safety Concerns
Safety management is one of the areas of industrial practice where Toyota enjoys a well-earned reputation as a world leader. This is why Autonomous Energy developed a unique plan for managing Health and Safety throughout the solar installation process. Solar professionals, in-house safety experts, and outside consultants were all called in to ensure that every aspect of the installation project was made as safe as possible.
In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the cost of conventional energy. The rising cost is due to environmental degradation and the rapid consumption of fossil fuels. The increased costs have led many individuals, governments, and private enterprises to seek alternative forms of energy in order to save money and reduce any further depletion of the world’s natural resources.
There are many companies with the expertise to help commercial businesses plan to meet their energy needs by using solar power. By making an investment in solar energy can allow a business to save thousands of dollars annually. Since many private businesses remain in the same location for years, solar power is a sensible investment. Solar power can be effective in providing for the energy needs of various types of businesses.
Here is a list of of the types of businesses that would benefit most from solar:
Laundromats are completely dependent on electricity to carry out their business. Whenever there is an increase in the price of energy, a laundromat’s overhead costs will rise. The world’s largest laundromat is located in Berwyn, Illinois. It has almost 300 washers and dryers and is spread across 13,500 square feet. The CEO of the company invested in solar power back in 2004. Solar energy is used to heat the water and is able to reduce energy costs to a large extent. He plans on opening a new outlet in Chicago and plans to install photovoltaic panels, which will perform the tasks of generating electricity and heating the water, which will help save more money.
Data Storage Units
With the increase in the popularity of cloud computing, more firms depend on third-party companies to maintain their stored data and information. A large amount of energy is required in order to maintain large servers, which work 24/7 to keep information updated. Global giants like Microsoft, Google, and Apple, are investing in solar energy to run their US based data centers. Intel already handles energy shortages during the summer with a 10 kW solar plant. Apple’s California data center only uses renewable energy.
Electricity is needed to run the machines used to process materials. Manufacturing units also need powerful HVAC systems and lighting to keep work area safe. The amount of carbon dioxide that can be produced by a manufacturing unit can wreak havoc on the environment after a period of time. San Francisco-based, Kortick Manufacturing installed a rooftop 128.2 kW solar power system which has helped the firm meet nearly 100 percent of its energy needs and reduced 140 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The system, which was installed by Vista Solar, is comprised of 392 solar roof tiles spread of cross 8,426 square feet.
Restaurants often have large energy expenses due to refrigeration, cooking, air-conditioning, lighting, and washing activities. Solar energy can help reduce this cost to a large extent. Al of the energy used in a restaurant can also leave a large carbon footprint. This can also be reduced with the use of solar energy since solar power has relatively low or no emissions. Restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill started a solar project, where all of its restaurants will be fitted with solar panels. The goal is to help the chain produce 500 kW of electricity and reducing each restaurant’s CO2 emissions. Aaron from Massive Solar which is a Sydney solar power company says that Cafes and fast-food places are actually more suited to solar over restaurants as they tend to run more during the day, whereas restaurants are more of a night time operation.
Most breweries have numerous energy intensive operations being carried out nonstop. In a brewery, ingredients must be processed in order to produce the final product. Processing ingredients can require a large amount of energy. DeRose vineyards, a renowned brewery has been able to reduce water consumption at its farms using dry farming. They enlisted the help of Vista Solar, to assist them in finding clean energy alternatives for to meet their energy requirements. Vista Solar was able to help DeRose winery become the first fully solar powered winery in San Benito. The 28 kW solar power system has helped to cut energy bills by almost 80 percent.
The Tesla battery is by far the most exciting product release in the retail market – and not just because of the passion of their charismatic CEO Elon Musk. Here are some things you need to know about the new Tesla battery – the Powerwall.
The Heliac solar foils consist of a series of polymer sheets that are nano-structured and micro with Fresnel lenses. This is yet another technology created on the path to making solar power cheaper than fossil fuels. Check it out!
Another Nanotechnology project in the solar industry. as far as making solar more efficient, smaller and more affordable, many out there in the science community believe that nanotech holds the keys to such advancements. Jonathan Strickland more about how, with more understanding, nanotechnology will reshape the way we make solar panels.
A team of scientists at Michigan University has created a clear surface that is able to collect solar energy, the surface is completely clear and opens up many possibilities for solar design in city spaces.
Thinking of investing on solar panels to start cutting down your utility expenses? If you want to see favorable results within a given period, then you need to buy high quality solar power systems that yield the best returns on your investment. So, learn more about the nitty-gritty when buying the right solar electric system that suits your budget and needs.
How Efficient Are the Solar Panels?
To get to the bottom of this, you need to check the material used in the solar panels, which should be high quality silicon or monocrystalline. Solar power systems with high efficiency level are made from expensive and single chunks of silicon that are capable of producing more power per panel. On the other hand, low-cost systems are manufactured from polycrystalline, which are not as efficient in generating electricity as panels made of pricier and higher quality silicon.
Although your initial investment may seem lower when you go for cheaper solar panels, you may end up spending more in the long run due to greater negative power loss. So, it is a much better decision to think about long-term benefits to avoid any regrets eventually.
What’s the PTC Rating?
PTC or PVUsa Test Conditions is the rating that serves as the highest benchmark for solar panels. All solar electric systems manufactured in the United States must have their specific PTC rating before they are made available in the market. The rating also serves as a means to protect cosumers from buying low quality panels that fall below their standards.
Generally, the higher the PTC rating of the system, the better it is. It does not matter whether the STC or Standard Testing Conditions rating is high or low, since the main basis is on the PTC rating. If you rely on a system with low PTC rating, you may end up buying more panels in the future, which can cost you more than investing initially on panels with higher ratings.
Does It Come with a Warranty?
As when shopping for any appliances, a waranty is an important feature of solar panels. Although solar power systems can last for over 25 years, it helps to have a lifetime warranty for your panels in case there are factory defects. Fortunately, most manufacturers offer warranties to customers, and that should save you from any hassles when you need to have the system repaired. Just be sure to buy from a reputable manufacturer that is well known for its quality products at reasonable prices.
Can I Use Solar at Night?
Not traditionally, however with battery technology advancing at a rapid rate, this option is becoming very affordable for homeowners – particularly with options like the Tesla Powerwall: