Τhe comfort of the house is closely related to the climate in the space. Whether it is a centralised HVAC system or individual split units in each room the target is to maintain stable temperature in our house. In combination with the rest of the systems implemented in a smart home, like blind/curtain control and light control, stable temperatures can be achieved with significant savings in energy consumption using climate control technology. Remotely or physically smart home systems are informed whether we are leaving or entering the property in order to alter the temperatures in it and set it according to preconfigured scenarios.
Blind & curtain control is another capability in smart home systems. Blind control is usually used in lighting scenes for home cinema and controlled daylight penetration. Controlled daylight penetration can result in energy savings for lighting and also can support the climate control of the house. In Cyprus during sunny days in winter, it would be ideal to let the sun enter and warm up the rooms of the house and definitely in summer we need to block out the sun. In this way, blind control manages the heat transfer in and out of the house, depending on the season, and keeps the in-house temperature close to the setpoint of the heating or cooling systems.
Security and surveillance systems in houses are installed in almost all the new houses being built in Cyprus today. The integration of security and surveillance system in residential premises with home automation enables the owner to control and survey the property remotely from anywhere around the world, activate and deactivate alarms with the push of a button, match the activation of alarm with the lighting control for indoor and outdoor lights to turn on and many more.
Lighting control systems are made of a control unit that manages the status of lighting fixtures in a room or a premise. Light level at a space is an important part of our everyday life and in most cases it is not taken in consideration. The quality and level of the light affects the appearance, creates atmosphere and saves energy according to the use. In common households the light switches have only two states, on/off positions. There are many times throughout the day that the lights are ON but the luminance of the room is at such level that they do not make such difference. At those periods of time excess energy is wasted.
Imagine if the lights in your house were dimmable and they were controlled with the reference of the daylight harvesting of the building and the needs of the room, in such scenario the energy consumed would have been the minimum required and the capabilities of creating scenarios will be unlimited. Similar methods that can be applied in smart home systems minimise the waste of energy and reduce drastically the energy consumption of the property. Nowadays, architecture is focusing on the eco-friendly design of a house with specific house orientation for maximum daylight penetration during winter period and sun blocking during summer period. Lighting control gives the sense of luxury in an area and at the same time optimises the energy usage and the provision of comfort.
Lighting control can also be your security guard when you go on vacation. Smart home systems can keep in memory the sequence of light usage in the house for several hours up to several days long and replay this pattern when the system is set on ‘vacation mode’. This function sends the message of occupancy and can prevent burglars or vandals from approaching and entering.
The term photovoltaics derives from the Greek word ‘phos’ meaning light and the word ‘volt’, unit for electrical voltage named by Alessandro Volta. Photovoltaics is a science, which examines light-electricity conversion, respectively, photon energy-electric current conversion. In other words it stands for light-current conversion. The light to current conversion takes place within solar cells, which can be thin-film, polycrystalline or monocrystalline, according to their structure. In most cases they are made of silicon. Solar-module consists of many solar cells, which are electrically connected and placed between glass and tedlar plate, and framed by an (usualy) aluminium frame. A number of solar-modules and other components (batteries, charge regulators, inverters…) can form large photovoltaic systems.
In photovoltaic (solar) module light energy converts into electricity. A photovoltaic module is the basic element of each photovoltaic system. It consists of many jointly connected solar cells. According to the solar cell technology we distinguish monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film modules. Most commercial crystalline modules consist of 36, of 60 or of 72 cells. Solar cells are connected and placed between a tedlar plate on the bottom and a tempered glass on the top. Placed between the solar cells and the glass there is a thin usually EVA foil. Solar cells are interconnected with thin contacts on the upper side of the semiconductor material, which can be seen as a metal net on the solar cells. The net must be as thin as possible allowing a disturbance free incidence photon stream. Usually a module is framed with an aluminium frame, occasionally with a stainless steel or with a plastic frame. Special flexible modules are designed for use on boats that can be walked upon without causing any damage to the modules. The typical crystalline modules power ranges from several W to up to 300 W/module. Some producers produce preassembled panels with several 100 Wp. Over its estimated life a photovoltaic module will produce much more electricity than used in its production and a 100 W module will prevent the emission of over two tones of CO2.
Commercial crystalline photovoltaic modules efficiency typically ranges from 12 to 17%. However, you must be aware, that the solar cell efficiency doesn’t equal the module efficiency. The module efficiency is usually 1 to 3 % lower than the solar cell efficiency due to glass reflection, frame shadowing, higher temperatures etc. Thin-film modules have the lowest price, yet their lifetime is shorter and their efficiency is up to 12 % only.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline photovoltaic electric solar energy panels have been the go-to choice for many years. They are among the oldest, most efficient and most dependable ways to produce electricity from the sun.
Each module is made from a single silicon crystal, and is more efficient, though more expensive, than the newer and cheaper polycrystalline and thin-film PV panel technologies. You can typically recognize them by their colour which is typically black or iridescent blue.
Efficiency of commercial monocrystalline solar panels reaches up to 22.5%. According to various researchers, it is not theoretically possible to convert more than 29 percent of the light into energy using crystalline solar cells. Realistically, the limit for a PV panel is likely closer to 24 to 25 percent because of factors like heat.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline solar panels are the most common because they are often the least expensive. They are the middle choice in the marketplace … almost as good as single cell silicon panels but generally with a better efficiency than thin film solar panels.
Polycrystalline cells can be recognized by a visible grain, a “metal flake effect”. The solar cells are generally square in shape, and may have a surface that looks somewhat like a mosaic. That’s because of all the different crystals that make up the module.
Efficiency of commercial polycrystalline solar panels goes up to 19.3%. In general polycrystalline panels have an efficiency that is about 70% to 80% of a comparable monocrystalline solar panel.
Thin-film Solar Panels
The term “Thin film solar panels” refers to the fact that these types of solar panels use a much thinner level of photovoltaic material then mono-crystalline or polycrystalline solar panels.The primary objective of manufacturers of these solar panels is to reduce the overall price per watt. While these thin-film modules are much lower in price, they also have lower module efficiency up to 12%.
Investors in Photovoltaic (solar) Industry want to be sure that their system generates the maximum possible energy yield under any specific conditions, whether this is a small residential of several kWp or large scale of several MWp. Monitoring solar systems are installed by K-Energy on every single Photovoltaic installation in Cyprus. These systems can be controlled locally or remotely enabling the customer to follow the progress of its investment and our technical team to ensure that everything is functioning properly. Peripherals like insolation and solar module temperature sensors are integrated as references of the weather conditions on site in order to analyse and evaluate the solar system production. All these and more can be monitored from anywhere around the globe over the net
Charge regulators are installed on solar systems in Cyprus where generated power in stored in battery cells. This is the case with the stand alone systems where excess power is stored in order to be used over the night or during cloudy days where the production is limited. Battery cells shall be charged and discharged under controlled procedures in order to comply with the terms of usage given by the manufacturer and the guarantee policy. Excess charging and discharging can lead to shortening of the life cycle of your batteries. This is the exact role of the charge regulators.
The objective for every photovoltaic system is to achieve the optimum efficiency and this can only be obtained at optimum orientation and inclination. Solar Mounting Systems help the installer to achieve this objective. Mounting Systems being used in the Solar Industry are classified in categories depending on the type of surface that the Photovoltaic System will be installed. Solar Mounting Systems being used by K-Energy Ltd are made from aluminium of galvanised steel, with 20 year guarantee.
Photovoltaic Systems on inclined or pitched roof in Cyprus shall follow the orientation and inclination of the roof according to the Town Planning regulations. Special mounting brackets are used for the installation of the PV System above the roof tiles.
Photovoltaic Systems on flat roofs are installed on metal triangles made of aluminium, screwed on concrete blocks or directly on the roof. Such PV Systems can be optimised to return the maximum from your investment.
Roof Integrated Photovoltaic Systems deploy a method of installation that replaces the use of roof tiles on residential premises.
Building Integrated Photovoltaics or BIPV are solar cells integrated in double glazing applications and are installed on buildings in place of windows or as facades. The energy generation of BIPV is limited compared to optimised photovoltaic systems on flat roofs and out in the fields, but in countries with high solar irradiation like Cyprus such systems can be feasible.
Freestanding Photovoltaic Systems are integrated on the ground in rural areas. This is the method used in large scale photovoltaic systems all around the globe and in photovoltaic parks in Cyprus. The mounting systems are made of aluminium or galvanised steel and are fixed on the ground either with the use of concrete blocks or ground pile or ground screws.
Solar Tracking Systems are metallic systems, made of aluminium or galvanised steel, which the follow the sun path either with sensors or preconfigured algorithm (based on the coordinates of the installation site). There are single or double axis systems. Single axis can move either from east to west or changing the angle of inclination of the solar module whereas the double axis system moves from east to south at various angles in order to align the cells perpendicular to the sun path. Both technologies have been used and tested in Cyprus by K-Energy Ltd and they have caused an increase in the yield of the photovoltaic system from 15-20% for single axis and 35-40% for double axis mechanisms.
Nowadays there are many good and reliable solar inverters in the market. Our experience and the high level technical know-how of our personnel leads us to the choice of the most appropriate hardware for Cyprus. We collaborate with all the leading companies in the market and through our pilot systems we test and analyse what is the best solution for our customers.