Over the years, photovoltaic modules have become one of the most popular renewable energy sources. In the era of the ecological energy revolution, solar energy is becoming a real alternative to mains or battery power supply. That is why the TME offer includes, among others Cellevia Power solar modules. In combination with a range of photovoltaic accessories and related products they enable the manufacture of various devices powered by ”green” energy.
Types of photovoltaic panels
Photovoltaic panels can be divided into monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Both types are available in the TME catalogue. The latter can be distinguished at first glance because they are a lighter, blue colour - in contrast to monocrystalline ones, which are black and dark blue. Polycrystalline panels also have a distinctive shape with cut corners. Polycrystalline panels, although slightly cheaper, have a few percent lower efficiency. This may be a key factor in the construction of compact devices, where the size of the power supply module is of vital importance.
It is also worth mentioning that the popular opinion that polycrystalline solar cells are characterized by a lower power temperature coefficient than monocrystalline ones is not substantiated by module specifications. Although, of course, it is true that as the temperature increases, the power of all photovoltaic panels, decreases slightly, by a maximum of 0.55% for each degree above the test conditions (about 25°C).
The TME offer includes 3, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60W solar panels, i.e. low power cells. However, Cellevia Power modules are applied in a variety of devices, e.g. solar lamps, backlighting systems for signs, banners etc. They are also suitable for powering city installations (e.g. bicycle rental points), as well as weather stations located far from the power supply network – wherever the size of an open-air device allows the installation of a cell and, if necessary, a battery.
Solar system accessories
Limited access to conventional energy sources is only one of the reasons why developers are turning to the renewable ones. Often, the ecological aspect is already a sufficient reason for the implementation of such solutions. Their another significant advantage is simply the economy. To make it easier for our customers to switch to “green electricity”, we have added to our offer a range of products for building solar-powered equipment and systems.
The TME catalogue includes cables intended specifically for building solar installations – this category features products from three manufacturers (LAPP KABEL, HELUKABEL and BITNER). All of these are cables with copper wire, in the form of whitewashed, multiwire cable, fitted with double insulation, whose outer sheath is resistant to UV radiation and other weather factors, such as temperature. These cables are used to connect a series of modules with regulators and converters, while their maximum operating voltage is 1.5kV.
In the case of systems and installations that combine solar power supply with a back-up battery source, the key element of the system is the charging regulator. It controls the current flow between the panels, the battery and the target device/installation. The choice of the regulator always depends on the characteristics of the whole system, i.e. input and output voltage, maximum charging current, type of battery, among others. These devices are very simple to use, usually fitted with protection against backward wiring – the so called reverse polarity – overheating or short circuit. The operation of the controller can be monitored by means of LEDs located on the front panel or an LCD display (depending on the model). Some products available at TME, e.g. SOL-10A by VOLT POLSKA, are additionally equipped with a built-in USB charger for phones, tablets, etc.
Solar systems can be based on many types of batteries, but components dedicated to photovoltaic applications should always be the first choice. They are usually characterized by resistance to deep discharge and frequent charge/discharge cycles. A maintenance-free battery connected to a charging regulator should guarantee a lifetime of at least 1400 cycles. As far as the choice of a specific model is concerned, it depends on the requirements – although in the case of mobile/movable devices, the “golden mean” between the capacity of the battery and its weight turns out to be the most important one.
Last but not least, one more necessary component for building a home solar system should be mentioned, namely, an inverter. TME catalogue includes 500W-3000W mains inverters with 230VAC output voltage. These devices are suitable for building small systems (e.g. in a holiday cottage or a caravan), as well as for mobile applications.