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Utility & Program Manager

Remote monitoring provides a platform to evaluate solar thermal systems

Evaluate Systems

Performance is temperature and load dependent in terms

of actual output of solar thermal systems. The same

system in two different applications will produce and

displace different amounts of energy.

So how do you evaluate your program?

1. Measure all the energy produced with certified

heat-meters provided by independent contractors evaluating performance. This can be an expensive method. While it can be done in limited cases, it can cost more than the value of the energy produced in small to midsize systems. 

2.  Practical methods depend upon the scale of your program, but all share some basic strategies.

  • Collect your data using a platform that it can be openly reviewed, as you learn the next questions to ask.

  • Create a means to judge performance (an operational rating system with a small measured sample)

  • Verify operations of your portfolio and calculate output using a rating system

Understand  your systems.

The goal at the end of the day is to end up with more clean energy produced at a lower cost. The system must be running for it to produce energy. The more efficient the operations the greater the production. Cost per BTU matters.

 

What new questions do you wish you knew at the beginning of a program?

  • Might a different installation practice make the panels perform better?

  • Is conventional wisdom of the installers based on engineering wisdom or do they set controllers to the default because they don't read the instructions?

  • Would systems perform better if installed and controlled correctly?

 

While solar collectors, tanks, pump-stations, heat-exchanger and controllers are all tested, rated and certified, the real test is how they perform in live applications. Real-life applications where collectors are delivering energy to a storage tank to be either lost to the air in the room or consumed in the building provides a platform to test the viability of your product.  Comparing flat-plates to evacuated tubes or closed loop to drain-back systems, along with various controller setups, gives you the opportunity to assess and develop better performing products.

 

There are many details involved with assessing systems, it all starts with data and the experience to understand its meaning.

Note: Monitoring does not make any system work, it only verifies it and alerts people to their tasks. Our system allows you to check if systems are working to optimize a programs worth.

Send us your data for evaluation or use our tools to collect more data to run your program.

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