Northpower Goes Solar

Photovoltaic InstallationNorthpower has recently installed three 2kW banks of solar panels on the Whangarei depot roof, to study the practicalities and efficiencies of grid connected photo-voltaic electricity generation (which is in simple terms – solar power hooked up to power supply).

How does it work?

When the sun shines, the system will generate a maximum of 6kW (2kW per phase) into the local LV network - about 2.5% of the depot’s daily average demand.

Photovoltaics Diagram

Electrical, sunshine and temperature measurement data is being collected from the system and logged on a computer database for analysis and reporting.
The next stage will involve presenting the live data on our internet to inform customers of the system performance and the benefits of photo-voltaic generation.

Why are we doing this?

Solar PanelsA system like this would take about 15 years to pay for itself at current solar gear prices. However, material costs for solar equipment are dropping all the time and with developing supply and installation competition, photo-voltaic (solar) generation will become increasingly more viable. The panels have a power warranty of 25 years and will probably last 40 years.
In short, we are trying to stay ahead of the game, using and testing the equipment so we know how it works and how to maintain it when the time comes.

Also, it’s a great way to save power!

The equipment

The three banks are made up of:

The three inverters are:

At some time in the future, the community will also be able to view real time data showing the power produced by the photovoltaic equipment.