New Year, New Era! w/ aTec
- January 24th, 2016
- in PROPERTY
Photography courtesy of aTec
We all need to save money more than ever; but why not choose to save the world at the same time?
aTec—who are currently leading the ‘power revolution’ in the BVI—are a company advocating the benefits of alternative energy solutions that not only conserve finances, but contribute to the preservation of the globe’s natural resources.
Keeping abreast of the latest technological advances, aTec provide a value service for their clients’ investment into alternative energy supplies. Specialising in solar, wind, battery, and fossil fuel resources, they determine the best method to minimise a client’s reliance on utility or fossil fuel power generation, maximising their client’s financial savings.
The company promotes the strategy of micro-grids, a localised and cost effective form of power production comprised of the aforementioned sustainable technologies. These revolutionary power sources constantly evolve and aTec prosper in maintaining the cutting-edge peak of this tech, taking the BVI into the future.
Solar panel technologies have improved in their energy to electricity conversion efficiency, lowered in price, and offer a range of options for maintaining a property’s aesthetically pleasing exterior.
“The standard efficiency remains around 15% for crystalline solar panels, but can go as high as 22%,” said aTec Managing Director Dana Miller.
Solar panel diversity remains present with some panels being rated for seaside applications and hurricane zones, and Building Integrated Photo Voltaics—BIPV—available, supplying a way of creating energy generating glass structures like walls or floors. Additionally, BiFacial solar—doubled sided—achieves a higher conversion efficiency and amorphous silicon panels can be formed in a variety of shapes and sizes, including solar roofing tiles.
Manufacturers include SunPower, Panasonic, Lumos Solar, Onyx Solar, and Prism Solar.
“For the majority of residential or commercial scenarios, the standard crystalline silicone module is the way forward, offering the best energy return for the dollar,” said the aTec MD.
Solar inverters emerge in several forms; there is the centralised grid-tie inverter, which converts energy from the solar panels directly for home-use or storage in the grid. Also, there are micro-inverters that additionally offer enhanced efficiency in areas with shade. Micro-inverters are often accompanied with a built-in monitoring system, which invites clients to review their solar array performance online.
“Battery backup inverters combine grid-tie functionality with the ability to charge a battery bank and convert battery power to power that can be used in your home,” explained Dana, referencing another type of inverter. “With battery backup inverter/chargers, one can have the financial benefits of solar power coupled with the security of backup power in the event of a power outage. Residential and commercial properties can benefit from this, permitting the potential of eliminating their electricity bills.”
The MD affirmed that the relatively low cost to install grid-tie renewable energy, will enable individuals or companies to invest in their future, placing them on the path to energy independence.
Monitoring systems for these technologies are available, useful, and cost effective for those who would like to assess their home’s energy.
“Whether you would like to know when the generator is running, the level of power production, or be able to remotely start and stop generators from phones, there are solutions available,” said Dana.
eGuage, ComAp, are manufacturers for general electrical and diesel generator monitoring systems. Enphase, and SolarEdge are examples of grid-tie inverter creators, which have their own solar module level monitoring and are free to the customer after installation.
“The data that is collected from these monitoring systems can help technicians improve your power production system,” said aTec’s MD. “In renewable energy systems, the data collected from monitoring can aid the reduction of the energy payback period on a client’s investment.”
aTec advise that any individual who would like to build their home or business in a remote location, can create their own power with ready-for-market products at a cost that makes this a viable option.
“Now, companies like Outback Power are in competition with SMA, Schneider Electric, and Tesla for off-grid systems and they are becoming more user friendly and simple to operate,” said Dana.
Off-grid systems can establish the grid voltage and frequency, and integrate several forms of the previously mentioned energy sources to create reliable electricity for a home, business, or community.
New battery technologies are creating an innovative future for the industry. “The financial and environmental implications of lithium ion and aqueous hybrid technologies are huge,” said Dana. “Lead-acid batteries are still the most common battery to find in renewable energy systems on the small scale. At the larger scale, the movement is toward lithium ion batteries and a very new battery technology called aqueous-hybrid or colloquially as salt-water batteries. The Aqueous-Hybrid batteries use a saline solution surrounding a carbon and synthetic cotton core. These batteries work well in warm weather climates, have a long life span, and require very little maintenance.”
A new battery bank installation using Aquion Energy—aqueous-hybrid–batteries is in the works at Cooper Island Beach Club, which aTec hopes to have completed by the end of May this year.
The BVI has the opportunity to reduce its costs for energy production by forming smaller grids at strategic locations around the islands.
“The outlying islands are already doing so,” said Dana. “Residences, resorts, and businesses in the BVI can also create their own micro-grids for power generation and look forward to a future where power is independently owned, operated, and less costly.”
If you are interested in the possibility of solar power in your home or business and would like to discuss the options please contact aTec