Company Updates

Solar Plants install battery testing facility

As a company, we pride ourselves on the quality of the solar PV equipment we install. A homeowner’s investment in solar PV technology is considerable and therefore require the reassurance that the system has been designed to last for the long-term.

Whilst a number installation companies often offer the ‘bargain of a lifetime’, we know that you definitely get what you pay for, and, as we have seen, it will not last a lifetime; we are currently upgrading 100’s of systems a month as a result of poor technology and bad workmanship.

We were the first company in the UK to set up a panel test rig that allows us to continuously test solar modules. We replace poor-performing modules as new ones arrive to help us compare against the rest, to ensure that we are recommending the best performing panels at different price points.

We also have an inverter test rig at our offices in Baglan Energy Park, where we are comparing a standard stringed inverter against a SolarEdge Power Optimiser system and Micro Inverter system. The SolarEdge system that we have been installing since we formed in 2011 is out-performing the stringed inverter by a whopping 13%, on a non-shaded roof!

The latest in our quest for technical excellence is to ensure that the storage equipment we recommend lives up to the performance stated, and to help our energy advisers build an accurate understanding of the functionality of the different brands and types of battery available.

Solar Plants engineer Ian Hewson has designed and installed a battery testing system. Using a Victron Energy Management system, Ian is product testing one battery product at a time to produce a report and educate our Energy Advisers on:

Speed of charging
Actual capacity v stated
Depth of discharge
Peak power

Commenting on the system, Ian said, “Being able to test established and new innovations in the rapidly evolving battery storage market is invaluable. It allows me to test new battery technologies on the ground, and compare them with manufacturers stated performance (datasheets) before deploying in the field.

“Being a ‘beta tester’ for Victron also allows me to test new firmware such as advanced ‘time of use tariffs’ before they are generally released so that I can give valuable feedback to manufacturers for general release.

“Batteries we have already successfully tested is Pylontech, BYD, and Aquion and we are looking at more types of product to test including Lithium/titanium batteries and flow batteries.

“Advanced knowledge of the performance of new emerging battery technologies allows us to remain at the cutting edge of the rapidly expanding home/commercial storage market.”

For more information about battery storage, please get in touch via web chat in the bottom right corner, freephone 0800 856 2200, or email us at info@solarplants.org.uk.

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