The full scope of the solar install at the Litecast site includes 1,019 solar panels, 511 SolarEdge Power Optimizers, nine SolarEdge inverters and a SolarEdge weather station. SolarEdge Power Optimizers increase energy output from PV systems by constantly tracking the maximum power point (MPPT) of each module individually. This eliminates the energy mismatch that typically occurs in traditional string inverter systems, potentially increasing energy output between two and 10% over the system’s lifetime. Furthermore, the Power Optimizers monitor the performance of each module in real time and communicate performance data to the SolarEdge monitoring platform, meaning that Litecast will enjoy enhanced, cost-effective module-level maintenance.
“The ability to monitor the performance of the install in real time was particularly important to Litecast as it is keen to use the energy produced onsite as efficiently as possible,” explains Spicer. “While in linear terms the PV system will supply enough electricity to meet the site’s entire annual energy requirements, with no battery currently in place to provide energy storage any unused energy would have to be sent to the grid. Litecast plans to overcome this by integrating information from the monitoring system and weather station to identify times of peak energy generation. It will then move production schedules to coincide with these times, ensuring it is able to use as much of the solar energy as possible.”
SolarEdge’s advanced safety features, including SafeDC, which automatically reduces output voltage to a touch-safe 1V during maintenance, and arc fault detection, were other important factors for LiteCast in its decision to choose a SolarEdge DC-optimised solution. Meanwhile, further peace of mind is provided by the long warranties offered on both the inverters and Power Optimizers – 12 years and 25 years, respectively.
Spicer concludes: “The construction industry has a reputation for being slow to embrace energy–efficient technologies, but Litecast is completely turning this notion on its head. Very soon, the company will install a battery at the Nuneaton site to provide essential energy storage, bringing it another step close to its 100% carbon neutral goal. In the meantime, it will continue to utilise the features of SolarEdge’s DC-optimised solution to ensure that it is not only able to generate the most energy possible, but also that it can use that energy in the most efficient way.”