SunWize Tech Notes

SunWize Tech Note pages are a one-stop resource for your off-grid power education needs! With decades of off-grid solar system design engineering experience, SunWize is one of North America’s premier industrial off-grid power providers. Below you will find information regarding many important off-grid topics regarding solar modules, batteries, charge controllers, and much more.

60-Cell Modules & Off-Grid Applications

Discussion on the best practices of 60-Cell Photovoltaic modules in off-grid applications using batteries. SunWize recommends always using MPPT controllers when charging batteries using 60-cell Modules.

Battery Temperature Compensation

Discussion on battery temperature and the effects of warm and cold weather on battery charging setpoints. If your batteries are exposed to warm or cold weather, it’s important that your battery charger has temperature compensation in order to maximize the life of the batteries by assuring that they’re receiving the proper recharge setpoints in all weather conditions.

Charge Controller Types

Solar charge controllers are essential in off-grid solar systems. This page will provide an overview of different charge controller types and their uses. Knowing what type of charge controller you have and how it operates can help you to troubleshoot and understand if your controller is functioning correctly.

Choosing a Battery Enclosure

~ Okay, so you’ve made the jump towards utilizing solar, but now what? An important next step in utilizing solar effectively for your business is to choose the system you need and the proper method to protect it. What is a Battery Enclosure? Why do I need one? Which type is right for me?

Combiner Box Requirements

Discussion on the requirements for combining multiple solar array strings using a combiner box.

Considerations for Solar in Tiny Houses

Renewed interest in environmental concerns has resulted in many varied approaches to individual impact on the environment including, but not limited to, Tiny Houses. For others, Tiny Houses simply mean living independently. Regardless of the motivations surrounding them, Tiny Houses mean having the opportunity to work with solar.

Gel vs AGM Batteries – Which to Choose?

Discussion on some general guidelines and considerations when deciding whether to purchase a Gel or AGM VRLA Battery! While each battery does have certain advantages, for solar applications in general, the quality of the manufacturer and specific battery is usually more important than a Gel vs AGM distinction.

Module Shading

Discussion on the shading effects of Photovoltaic modules applies only to single and multi-crystalline silicone modules, and does not apply to thin-film modules.

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

~ Okay, so you’ve made the jump towards utilizing solar, but now what? An important next step in utilizing solar effectively for your business is to choose the system you need and the proper method to protect it. What is a Battery Enclosure? Why do I need one? Which type is right for me?

PV Module Bypass Diodes

Bypass diodes, also known as free-wheeling diodes, are wired within the PV module and provide an alternate current when a cell or panel becomes open-circuited or faulty. Diodes themselves are simply devices which enable current to flow in a single direction. Bypass diodes then are exactly as they sound: devices for channeling current by bypassing the solar panel itself.

Should I add Solar to my UPS System?

A UPS system, or uninterruptible power supply system, is an electrical aid that assists in power fails. A UPS system runs for only a short time, but it is sufficient enough to either turn on and protect the equipment or start a standby power source.

Solar Battery Basics

Overview of the most important introductory topics on solar batteries (batteries in cycling applications). From Safety and terminology to voltage set points and temperature de-rate information, you can find lots of great knowledge here on how to get the most out of your batteries.

Solar Sizing – IEEE 1562

The IEEE standard 1562:2007 is a comprehensive overview on the sizing of array and batteries in stand-alone PhotoVoltaic (“PV”) systems. These off-grid solar systems are considered to have PV as their only incoming power source while using the batteries to store the energy produced by the solar panels.

System Troubleshooting

Discussion on troubleshooting stand-alone PV power systems. We discuss major system components, required equipment, recommended equipment, preliminary considerations, and technical troubleshooting. Learn from ou identify potential issues in your solar system.identify potential issues in your solar system.

Temperature Effects on PV Modules

The following is a discussion on temperature and how it affects solar module voltages and power output. This is particularly important in solar-battery applications because not properly accounting for temperature effects may leave your modules with insufficient voltage to properly charge the batteries. This will result in costly and premature battery failures.

Testing PV Modules

One of the most frequent questions SunWize receives is, “Are my modules working properly?” SunWize is here to help you answer that question with a Tech-Note on how to perform basic Voc and Isc testing on your solar modules, charge controller, combiner box, or array strings. Testing for Voc and Isc will quickly and easily tell you if your modules are performing as they should be!

Understanding Loads

In solar terminology, the term “load” refers to the power consumption of the device(s) that are being used in the system. Understanding your loads is critical to maintaining a well functioning power system, as we will explain in this article. Many of the customer issues SunWize sees are not because of anything to do with the power system itself, but because customer’s don’t understand their own loads!!

Looking for our Engineering Bulletins Section? Find lots more technical and education information related to off-grid power!