As mine sites realise the positive impact on the operating costs and affect that using renewable energy has on the environment, the more they will start using solar farms. Solar farms consist of many solar panels for collecting solar energy and converting it into electric power. The sun provides approximately 1,000 watts of power per square meter and the solar panel transforms that power into approximately 130W per square meter. The low cost-efficient solar panels are being sourced out of China at prices significantly lower than in the past.

This is not new technology. Edmond Becquerel first discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839 by generating electricity from sunlight. Over 100 years later, researchers understood what this meant on an atomic level and discovered a way to develop a device that could provide the transformation of sun power to electric power.

Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Panel

Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are of high quality and are capable of producing 0.60 volts in an open circuit at 25°C. They can be connected in series to produce higher levels of voltages and in parallel to increase amperage. Solar panels are normally connected in series and therefore produce about 20volts on a clear and sunny day. The operation to efficiency performance is indirectly proportional. That is when the operating temperature increases, the panel efficiency decreases.

A maximum power point tracking (MPPT) device is used as an advanced charge controller. Its purpose is to track power by measuring the voltage and adjusting the current in order to get maximum power transfer with given light conditions.

Solar is not just happening on residential rooftops, businesses are getting in on it too. Over the past few years, thousands of WA homeowners have added solar panels to their rooftops. Around 1 in 3 homes in WA has solar panels, which is the highest adoption rate in the country. However, it’s not just residential customers, over the past five years, an increasing number of WA businesses are taking advantage of their commercial rooftop space and installing solar power to complement existing grid connection.

Powering up Businesses

The number of approved solar installations onto commercial premises connected to the grid have soared from just two applications in 2013 to 144 in 2021. The volume of PV requested has also increased.

Business Variety

Shopping centres have long been at the forefront of the commercial solar push, with large retail centres providing plenty of rooftop space for solar panels. Many were also early adopters of batteries, and other innovations such as adding solar panels to the tops of undercover public carparks.

Although retail trade (18%) is the biggest adopter of commercial solar, other industries are not far behind, including manufacturing (13%), wholesale trade (13%) and mining (11%). Another 11 industry categories are also represented, demonstrating the wide penetration of solar into the commercial space.