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10: Benefits of SunWare Solar Panels

SunWare modules are specifically designed and developed for the several applications. We focus mainly at the marine, motorhome, automotive industries, professional and industrial applications.

Safe und unbreakable: The usage of aluminum framed modules, due to the extremely sharp module corners and slippery glass surface is on boats very dangerous.

Therefore, the foil and textile modules from Sunware have no sharp corners. From the unbreakable ETFE surface layer no danger goes out. The surface is - thanks to the special surface structure - in the wet much slip safer than a glass surface.

Superior quality and salt water resistance: The cable outlet at the SunWare modules is made compact, rounded, very robust and completely waterproof. Aggressive salt water in conjunction with DC quickly leads many modules to oxidation of the terminals - at SunWare the salt water has no chance.

High efficient solar cells, the construction prevents failures: Crystalline solar cells are made of silicon, which can be thought of as an approximately 0.2 mm thick glass sheet. The silicon endures even small deformations easily. Silicon is limited flexible and therefore fragile.

Extreme curvatures of modules go therefore in the long run always at the expense of performance. In SunWare solar modules the carrier plate in the modules prevents this excessive curvature as long as no extreme force is used.

Therefore SunWare modules are constructed with such high quality and are suitable for permanent use.


20: Components and the function of a Solar System

A typical solar system consists of 3 components:

1. solar module(s)
2. charge controller
3. battery(ies)

Operation without a charge controller is only for very small solar system (<10Wp) a solution.

The solar system may consist of one or more in series connected or parallel connected modules. This allows also very large and powerful solar sytems. The larger the area of ​​the installed modules, the greater the performance of the solar system. The nature of the interconnection of the modules is determined by the system voltage of the battery.

The charge controller is mounted between the module(s) and battery(ies). The task of the charge controller is to regulate the charging current of the modules so that overcharging of the battery is prevented. Charge controller for 2 battery systems can also distribute the charge current of the modules on several independent battery system.

Charge controller with deep discharge protection prevent excessive discharge of the battery. However, to use the function, the consumer must be connected directly to the charge controller. Only in this case the consumer can be switched off due to excessive discharge. In praxis this is very often not feasible.


30: Why are SunWare panels relatively more expensive?

SunWare analyses that at the end the customers who buys this type of modules wants to have value for money. Our solar module is made for long life. SunWare is a product with a well thought and designed product special for (sea water) marine application. Made for leisure but also professional users.

Some notes about quality:
Unlike many competitors, we use for many detail components in-house developed solutions. An example the cable exit: The tightness of the cable entry is critical to the life of the module (avoid corrosion). Simultaneously, the cable outlet is compact but not sharp and be a strain relief for the cable. The cable outlet must be walked on and can not be knocked off by a feet, is a matter of course at SunWare.

For this reason SunWare has its own cable output developed and manufactured tools. This approach can be found in many details of SunWare modules, eg. laminate structure, type of intercell connector, surface treatment of the front and back sheet ... .

This extra effort requires its price, but also leads to a high quality product that the user feels when he holds a SunWare product in hand or he looks in detail.


40: How much power do I need to recharge my batteries?

A lead battery can be loaded useful with a stream of about 0.005*C to 0.2*C. This corresponds to a battery with C = 100 Ah capacity a charging current of 0.5A to 20A.

However, these values should be understood only as a rough guide and always be checked against the specification of the manufacturer.

In particular, too high charging current elevated to a temperature load on the battery and thus lead to a reduced service life.

In cycling operation, the balancing of daily necessities is sought. The fastest possible recharging is required. Here our recommended range is up to about 0.1*C in accordance with the maximum of 10A per 100Ah battery capacity.

Thus, the maximum solar power yields to:

Battery capacity [Ah] x System Voltage [V] / 10 [h] = P solar [Wp] Torrent Operating cycles: 100 Ah x 12 V / 10h = * ~ 120 Wp *

To take into account here, however, that the solar modules in the real application due to various influences (shading, non-optimal orientation to the sun, etc.) are seldom provide the theoretical nominal capacity. Therefore more solar power can be provided to be on the safe side, a faktor of 1.5 can be used - here then ~190Wp
.
In this case, the battery would recharged without additional consumption in about 1 day to 3 days.


50: How long does it take to charge my batteries?

The time until a battery is fully recharged depends on many factors and can not be explained in "3 lines".

Here the most important relationships:
A 100Ah battery is considered fully discharged when 80% of the rated capacity of the battery was removed. In real life only 80Ah can be taken until the deep discharge protection disconnects.
A 100 Wp solar module provides daily 24Ah-30Ah in the battery (North Sea - Mediterranean, in the period May-Sept)

That after about 3.5 days in the North Sea region and by 2.5 days in the Mediterranean, the 100h battery is fully recharged.

This statement is valid if the load is not at the same moment during removed and electricity.


60: How much power do I need for trickle charge my batteries?

Even a small module is completely sufficient for trickle charge the battery.

Based on the battery capacity, the required solar power can be estimated:
Battery capacity [Ah] x System Voltage [V] / 200 [h] = P solar [Wp]

Example: 200 Ah x 12 V / 200 = 12 Wp


65: How could I extend the life-time of my batteries?

The life-time of a battery is measured in cycles. The deeper a battery is discharged, the faster the battery ages. That as early as possible the batteries recharged again. For this reason, a solar system is ideal for maintaining the battery capacity.

For a long life batteries should never be deeply discharged. Even a once deeply discharged battery (U <9V, 12V @ System) loses measurable at capacity.

The information is valid for lead-acid, gel or AGM batteries.


70: Why are SunWare panels not super flexible?

Crystalline solar cells are made of silicon, which can be thought of as an approximately 0.2 mm thick glass pane. The silicon endures uniform slight bends easily. Silicon is limited flexible and therefore fragile.

More bending will reduce in the long run the cell performance because of cell breakages. In SunWare solar modules prevents the carrier plate in the modules this excessive curvature as long as no extreme force is used. Therefore SunWare modules are stronger and perfectly suitable for permanent use.
Thus a solar module can deliver a lot of power, all the solar cells of the module must be equal illuminated by the sun. With strongly curved modules, may show a cell to "north" the other to "South". The module can then only give the power that a cell that can be produced oriented to the north.

See also in the link "Technology" in the menu tree.


80: Why do I need a charge regulator?

When a solar module is permanently connected to the battery, the battery is charged always at day time. After a certain time, the battery is fully charged. Thereafter, the battery must be protected against overcharge.

Overcharging reduces the battery life, in addition toxic and corrosive gases comes out of the batteries. Even if these are declared as "closed".

"Sealed batteries" always have a sort of relief valve.


90: Where is the benefit of using a two-battery-regulator?

If the solar system contains two independent battery systems, eg living area and motor battery, a controller for 2 batteries is required.

Depending on the type of regulator the solar power is distributed to the battery systems. This ensured a the trickle charge of the battery systems over winter time.

As a result, the battery life is significantly increased and the solar system will pay for itself by the longer life of the batteries.


100: How much energy delivers the sun?

For optimum power output, the sun has to insulate rectangular onto the module on a very clear mid-Summer. The insulation on Earth amounts under these conditions about 1000W/m²

The worldwide standardized measurement of solar modules is carried out at 1000W/m² insulation and 25°C cell temperature (+ various tech. details). That only under ideal conditions, the services specified in the data sheets of the modules can be achieved.

For the practical application should remember:
In North-/Baltic sea can be expected with a daily yield of about 4 x the rated power, in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, California, this factor increases to 5.


110: Could I walk over my SunWare panels?

If SunWare film modules are mounted on a rigid surface, the modules can also be walked on. Attention must be paid to footwear with soft smooth soles.

On a stiff underground, the ground deformed undetectable when applying full load upon the occurrence of foot.

Basically, solar modules should never be installed in a running zone.


120: What is the meaning of Uoc and Isc?

Uoc = open-circuit voltage. This is the voltage at the outlet of the module when no consumer is connected and thus no current is flowing. This voltage can be measured at the cable end of the module when the module is in direct sunlight. For this purpose, the module may NOT be connected to the controller.

Isc = short circuit current. This module is directly clamped to the ampere meter (eg Multimeter) (range: 10A/DC or larger). Here, the voltage of the module in nearly zero volts and the short circuit current is flowing. Only with a strong and direct sunlight, rectangular incidence to the module, the value of Isc like specified in the datasheet can be measured.


130: Function of the cell-protector

The cell-protector includes 2 bypass diodes which prevent the cells from overheating when parts of the module are shaded.

A simplistic explanation:
Shaded cells can not produce as much power as the fully illuminated cells. The fully illuminated cells will then press the current through the shadowed cell. This then leads to a strong heating of the shaded cells.

For large roof modules this bypass-diodes are housed in the junction box on the back of the solar modules.


135: What is the purpose of the cell-protector?

The purpose of the cell-protector is to prevent overheating of the solar cells when the solar module is partially shaded. Thus all SunWare modules that are fitted with a 3-wire cable may not run without this cell protector.

In case that you want to connect several modules in parallel or in series please consider that each solar module with a 3-wire cable has to be fitted with its own cell protector.


140: Could I run my air condition with solar energy?

The operation of an air conditioner in mobile devices is normally not economic with a solar system.

Air conditioning is a very huge electricity consumers. In mobile applications there is not enough space for the modules normally.

In contrast, the operation of a 12V/24V compressor refrigerator or a small freezer is a very common and reliable application.


150: I have a 24V battery system, what can I do?

Solar modules are normally designed for 12V systems or roof-mounted systems with 600V/1000V operating voltages. Solar modules for roof-mounted systems usually provide an unsuitable voltage for 12V/24V.

12V solar modules can be connected in series, so that the modules can be clamped to a 24V system.

In the series connection "-" from the first module is connected with "+" from the second module. Then there are 24V between the open ends of. The current remains the same, the voltage and power doubles.


160: What is the right combination of modules to be connected to the charge regulator?

If modules are connected in series (plus-pole module 1 on charge regulator terminal „+“, minus-pole module 1 on pus-pole module 2, minus-pole module 2 on regulator terminal „-“) the voltages of each are added (12V + 12V = 24V). So with two modules of 12V each, you can also load a 24V battery.

If the modules are connected in parallel (connect all plus-poles to terminal „+“ and connect all minus-poles to terminal „-“) to the charge regulator, the voltage of each module has to be equal.

Both connections type can also be combined if required (e.g.: one 24V module parallel to two x 12V module in series = 24V at the charge regulator).


170: Is it possible to connect two modules with different power in series together?

No!

In a series connection the current of the more powerful module has to go through the less powerful one. That may cause an overload on the lower rated module!

Series connection only works with two identical (identical current) solar modules.


180: Could I charge with an 24V module a 12V battery?

In can general the 24V module could also charge a 12V battery. However, then the charging power is about half the module rated power.

The charge controller recognize the 12V battery and adjust the maximum charging voltage accordingly. To ensure efficient charging, we recommend modules with the same system voltage as the battery to be charged.


180: Kann ich mit einem 24V Modul Batterien mit einer Spannung von 12V laden?

Generell kann man das 24V Modul auch für die Ladung einer 12V Batterie verwenden, allerdings wird dann die Ladeleistung etwa auf die Hälfte der Nennleistung begrenzt (Bsp.: SW-3266 gibt nur noch die halbe Nennleistung ab → ~35Wp anstatt 70Wp). Die Laderegler erkennen die 12V der Batterie und stellen die Ladeleistung entsprechend ein. Um eine effiziente Ladung zu gewährleisten, empfehlen wir Module mit einer gleichen Spannung wie die zu ladenden Batteriesysteme.


190: What is the difference between 36 and 40 cell modules?

Thanks to the 4 additional cells the SunWare solar modules are fitted with, the solar modules have a higher open circuit voltage. Herewith the voltage drop of the cells could be compensated.

Due to the solar radiation the cells of a solar module that is mounted plane without any rear ventilation, can heat up to 75 °C. And if the cell temperature is rising the efficiency and the voltage of the solar cells decrease and the battery will not be fully charged.

The increased cell number means that the voltage of the SunWare modules is added by 2 Volts. This buffer warrants that the battery will be fully charged even at high cell temperatures.

Accordingly the SunWare solar modules can be glued or screwed without any rear ventilation. And you are even in the position to walk on the modules with boat shoes provided that the solar modules are mounted on a rigid and stable surface.


200: How do I check the function of a solar panel?

If you want to check whether the solar module works at all, you can make on a sunny day with a multimeter the voltage measurement.

To exclude all other sources of error, the measurement should be carried out directly at the end of the connecting line of the module. If the module is connected via a cell protector, loosen the connecting cable at the input of the cell protector, otherwise disconnect the connecting cable in the junction box or from the charge controller.

Set the multimeter to 20V, 100V or 200V DC (direct current) and connect the cable from the module with "COM" and "V". Panel with a three-wire connection cable, the voltage between the wires "red" and "blue" is measured.

In this position, the actual voltage of the module is measured. A functional module for 12V systems supplies a voltage of 16V to 24V.

This measurement should only be done by someone who has been frequently performed measurements with a multimeter!


210: How do I check the charge controller?

A 100% verification of the charge controller is possible only by the manufacturer.

For this reason, we recommend that the charge controller to submit for review to the manufacturer.


220: How do I clean the solar modules?

Solar modules should be cleaned only with water - use a soft sponge - WITHOUT detergent. Soak stubborn dirt and wipe later.

Never clean the modules with harsh chemicals or tools. This can lead to undesired reactions and cause permanent damage in the worst case.


230: Custom-made solar modules

We still produce custom-made solar modules and realize even small series but the minimum order quantity is 100 pcs. Please contact us to check the possibility to manufacture your special solution.


240: Fixing clips for solar modules

SunWare offers special fixing clips for the SunWare solar modules. The clips are available for being mounted at the side of the module (= SideClip) or between two modules (= MidClip). The clips have to be screwed.
Depending on the dimensions/size of the solar module we recommend to use 2 or 3 clips for each side.


250: How do I get the cable below deck?

The nature of the deck passage is very dependent on the installation of the modules.

Situation 1: single module, permanently installed
If possible, one should try to get close to the edge of the module through the deck into the cabin. For this purpose, the interior trim is removed at the appropriate place and the deck for the cable bushing drilled (d = 9mm). Seal the grommet and cable passage with polyurethane adhesive eg. Swift Seal, etc. Sikaflex (see accessories).

At the cable coming out a cap is screwed (see accessories) and also sealed with the polyurethane adhesive.

The result is a flat, reliable and durable watertight deck passage.

Situation 2: several modules permanently installed, close together
Either as described under situation 1, for each module performing a screwed cable hood or install a junction box on deck. The cables are then guided laterally by the modules into the junction box and through the bottom of the junction box leads to the cable in the interior. The junction box builds on of course much higher and is therefore mostly used in mobile homes.

Situation 3: modules can be used mobile, for example, TX, RX modules
These modules are usually clipped onto the sprayhood or bimini. The 10m long cable leads down to the deck on or within the strands. If in this area on deck no free socket is available, another should be installed . There a flange socket is used and screwed directly into the deck. The flange is then also the deck passage. At the end of cable a cable connector will be installed. If the cable connector should not come out vertically from the deck, the 90° angle housing may alternatively be used in addition.
Below decks, the connecting cable will be led to the charge controller.


260: What happens when panel is shaded?

In the menu under Technology -> Shadow we have presented the issue comprehensively.


270: Do I need special "Solar" batteries?

There are no special "solar batteries" required!

It should be used only deep cycle batteries and no starter batteries.


280: What type of glue I have to choose?

For gluing of the module 1-component polyurethane adhesive should be used, for example, Swift Seal (see accessories) or Sikaflex.

Definitely pay attention to clean and grease-free adhesive surfaces as with any bond. Before applying the glue should always do a test bonding!


290: Could I really charge also over the 12V socket?

Yes - but there are a few details to consider

In the boot and in the living area at the Caravan sockets are normally connected permanently to the battery. Then just the battery can be charged from any regular outlet.

In motor vehicles or in the cab should check whether the ignition switched off, the socket has contact with battery. If after switching off the ignition turns off the LED on the charge controller FOX-062, the socket is switched off with the ignition, and can not be used for charging.

In a few types of cars the onboard electronics disallow loading on the sockets and switches off the socket, then the LED goes out on the controller.


Glossary

Short explantions of the photovoltaic related terms.

Wp

Unit of the module performance under standard condition - maximum performance.

Isc

Kurzschlussstrom, der Strom der fließt wenn die Kabelenden eines mit Normbedingungen beleuchteten Moduls kurz geschlossen werden.

Isc

Short circuit current, the flowing current when the ends of the cables from a solar module are directly connected together and the panel is iluminated unter standard conditions.

Pmax

Rated power, is the under standard conditions measured module performance. The module power must be specified by the manufacturer that way.

Solar modules are measured at 1000W/m² irradiation, vertical incidence, 25°C cell temperature and the color spectrum 1.5. In actual operation, a module can deliver only very rarely this performance. Neither the sunlight falls perpendicular to the module, nor is the cell temperature 25°C when the modules is in the sun.

Following relationship exists between P max, Imax and Umax:
Pmax = Umax * Imax.

Umax

the voltage of the module at the point of maximum power. This measurement is carried out under standard conditions.

Imax

the current generated by the module at MPP. This measurement is carried out under standard conditions.

Uoc

Open-Circuit Voltage, open circuit voltage of the module. The open circuit voltage can be measured when the module is illuminated under standard conditions between the cableends of the module. For an 12V module the open circuit voltage should be greater than 20V and less than 25V.

Uoc

Open-Circuit Voltage, Leerlaufspannung des Moduls. Die Leerlaufspannung kann gemessen werden, wenn das Modul unter Normbedingungen beleuchtet wird und am offen Kabelende des Moduls die Spannung gemessen wird. Bei 12V Modulen sollte die Leerlaufspannung grösser 20V und kleiner 25V sein.