Commercial solar panel installations can be used for a range of different businesses. From bowling clubs and car dealers to schools and farms and everything in between. There will always be a solution that Tru Blu Solar Co can provide so that your organization can go green and save money! Tru Blu Solar Co has worked for a range of commercial clients as shown below. We design, supply, install and maintain the systems. We use our own quality tradesman and engineers that are employees of our company. This allows us to provide quality and service like no other. Let’s talk about a few of the important practical considerations to get started.
When commissioning a commercial solar panel system we have to ensure that we work safely. This means our CEC Accredited Installation team will need to perform a shutdown on your site. As a result, there will be no power for a considerable amount of time. Anywhere from 30 mins to half a day can be expected for a standard shutdown. So we make sure we discuss this with our clients and work around their productivity periods to ensure the least amount of disruption to the operational efficiency of the organisation.
Site access is an important aspect for the installation procedure. For our solar installation we need a restricted work zone where we can use our power tools and store equipment. You will also need to provide a bathroom facility at minimum for our staff. Ideally, we’d have about a 150m^2 area fenced off. This would be beside the building where the solar panels are to be installed. There would be a scissor lift in that area that our installation team will use to access your roof. It is also ideal to have our vehicles within or directly beside this area to work efficiently.
Delivery of materials such as pallets of solar panels, aluminium solar racking structural elements, cable, inverters and other items are normally delivered with a pantech truck. To minimise the installation costs we need to get the truck as close as we can to the dedicated site access zone as previously discussed. This will reduce the amount of labour required for handling materials around the site. If your organization has dense traffic periods we will organise our delivery truck to arrive outside of the peak traffic time frame to avoid disruption and minimise the associated safety risks.
Safe work practices are a key element with our project delivery. Prior to the installation our team will complete a safe work method statement and provide it to your organization as a record of safe work practices that will be implemented throughout the duration of the project. This ensures that you have confidence in our project delivery and our employees stay safe whilst completing their daily tasks. Working safely at heights is one of the key considerations and another very important aspect is working with electricity. All members of our team are trained in both working safely at heights and working safely with electricity.
Check out the video we put together of a central coast commercial solar installation that we completed for Brian Hilton Toyota back in June 2021. You will be able to see for yourself the safe work practices and installation procedures we have just discussed. The job required the installation of 90 x 370W Jinko Solar Panels that were connected to a 30kW SolarEdge 3 Phase Inverter. If you want to do something similar with your organization please get in touch with us!
There are four key criteria that we consider when carrying out a commercial solar feasibility assessment and quote. The aim here is to consider all four key criteria and discuss this with our client in order to provide a project proposal in-line with the organizational goals. It might sound a little complex but our aim is to make this process streamlined and easy to digest. Often the first project proposal is used as a guide and then re-evaluated to suit the customers individual needs. This is the best way to achieve and execute a successful project plan. Creating a worthwhile experience for the lifetime of the system and a long lasting financial benefit to your organization.
The first thing we look at is the sites historical energy consumption. We send a request for meter data to your energy retailer and use the actual data that was recorded for your last 12 months worth of electricity bills and model this against the production of the solar panels. This will allow our in house solar design engineers to optimise the solar panel design. The aim is to achieve a fit for purpose design that offsets the largest amount of electricity usage for the least amount of cost. Using 12 months meter data provides you with a reference point so that you can make an informed decision as to what size system you might want in order to achieve a certain outcome. This will be balanced against the other key criteria.
Meter data analysis is far more accurate in calculating the right sized system than a simple power bill review. Why? Well for example, most businesses work 5 days a week. Powerbills only give us a daily average usage. In effect, you might use far more power for 5 days a week than you do for the other 2. As a result, a larger solar system is required to provide enough production to offset the usage on work days.
Once we have assessed the sites consumption characteristics we can have a look at the roof. From here we will start designing the solar panel array layout. Taking into consideration the structural adequacy of the roof and ensuring that the design is able to comply with AS/NZS 1170. Our solar designs will then follow the solar racking manufacturers installation manual specifications. Underneath your solar panels and within the solar racking structure is our solar cabling systems.
The solar panel layout is also optimised to ensure that the design specifies an efficient cabling system installation that can easily be accessed for future use and maintenance if required. The amount of solar panels required for the installation will have already been determined during the meter data analysis. We would then fit these panels on the roof in the most convenient place for the installation. Taking into consideration a number of factors particularly concerning cost and energy yield. Of course, if there is adequate space available you can always ask us to put the panels in a place that better suits the architectural design of the building but this may incur some additional costs. If the roof is too small, we do what we can! Some solar is always better than no solar!
Your solar panels will all be directly connected to either one or numerous inverters. The inverter(s) then tie in with the rest of the electrical installation. The grid supply connection to a commercial premises can be straightforward or very complicated. Basically, the electricity grid comes in off the street into your main switchboard and then out to your distribution boards and finally the cables are distributed out to their individual appliances. The solar inverter can be connected at any distribution board or at the main switchboard. From any of these switchboards the solar system will be able to power the entire premises regardless of where the appliances are located. The hardware that we use to monitor the sites consumption needs to be installed in the main switchboard.
All switchboard connections need to be done in compliance with AS/NZS 61439. Particular care needs to be taken around that standard. The design of this requires electrical engineering and documentation which is completed prior to the installation. After the installation is completed, an independent electrical contractor will be engaged to carry out injection testing on the secondary protection switchgear. Finally, Ausgrid (or your local DNSP) will inspect the installation if your solar panels require an inverter that is larger than 30kW. If the DNSP finds that the installation is not compliant with AS/NZS 61439 it is likely they will defect the job and require a switchboard upgrade which as you could image can be costly. If the inverter is under 30kW then the DNSP inspector and the independent testing contractor is not required for grid connection. The photo below shows a 50kW Fronius Inverter that Tru Blu Solar Co installed for Maroubra Junction Public School. The stainless steel switchboard holds the secondary protection switchgear which was custom designed by Tru Blu Solar Co. This is commonly called a PV-DB which stands for photovoltaic distribution board.
After the three key considerations above have been discussed, there is one final piece to the puzzle. Let’s consider the following; EV charging, expandability and battery storage. Should we install a solar system large enough to cope with additional loads in the future? Or if you expect that your business will increase its electricity consumption in the near future can the proposed solar installation easily be expanded to create more power and meet this demand?
Many Australian businesses are installing powerful electric vehicle chargers to provide their customers or employees with this facility. This can be a value add to your business model in many ways. Free electric vehicle charging has been a great marketing tool for many organisations such as the NRMA for example. Electric vehicle charging can also be capitalized on and easily charged to the user through an application that we can easily setup for you. Does your business operate or consume considerable amounts of electricity at night? Well battery storage is the perfect solution. Battery storage is also perfect for businesses that require a backup power facility. If your operational efficiency is harmed in grid outages the investment into a battery backup power facility can easily eliminate this risk factor. If you wish to proceed further, we recommend that you get in touch with us for a discovery call to discuss your options. We would love to assist you.
The easiest way to maintain your solar is to use a good monitoring solution. A good monitoring solution should include; solar production, total electricity consumption, granular historical data for the production and consumption, and, some technical aspects such as string monitoring or panel level monitoring. Solar production data will allow you to view the performance of the solar panels. Total electricity consumption data will allow you to view when and how much electricity you use. It will also be able to show you whether you use it from the grid or the solar panels and how much excess solar is being pushed into the grid. Granular historical data in the monitoring device will allow you to view the last quarter or month and compare it to your electricity bill. This will also give you the information you need to renegotiate your electricity contract prices in order to achieve the best fit for purpose billing structure. You will see the most significant cost savings as a result. Panel level monitoring from SolarEdge is a great way to monitor a commercial solar system. It allows the customer and the installer to see everything in the system and a fault can easily be identified.
Solar panels can occasionally require cleaning. Some never get cleaned and perform perfectly well for the lifetime of the system. It depends heavily upon the environment of the site. If the panels are close to a highway or an industrial area there may be smog settlement that builds up over time and it may be beneficial to have the panels cleaned once a year. To clean solar panels we recommend engaging a professional. The system shall be isolated, then washed with chemical free soap and water with a soft brush. Tru Blu Solar Co recommend that you have us inspect your electrical connections and enclosures about once every two years for preventative maintenance. As a result, any foreseeable risks can be delt with prior to system faults.
Here at Tru Blu Solar Co we back our installation and products for their entire lifetime. This means that if there are any failures you will have a hassle free service at no cost to get things back up and running. You can refer to the warranty documentation attached to your quote for the details. Basically, under Australian Consumer Law the solar installer you buy your panels off has to warrant the product they install. Not the manufacturer. For example if we sell you a solar panel with a 25 year product warranty, we have to warrant that product for 25 years. From memory I believe that the minimum guarantee on any electrical installation is 2 years. Tru Blu Solar Co provide a 10 year warranty on the installation of all of the associated electrical equipment within the system. There is one exception however, if the manufacturer backs their product for less than 10 years than Tru Blu Solar Co will warrant it for an equal amount of time or a minimum of 5 years. If you have a commercial enquiry please give us a call or drop an enquiry.