In the four months of operation, our solar PV system at Infinity Foods Wholesale warehouse has been outperforming expectations. Generation is of course lowest through December and January, but we are now starting to see clean energy output increase as the days slowly get longer.

Have a look at the chart below. As you can see, the blue bars rise regularly above our monthly expectations of the system (green) – great news for BEC members and Infinity themselves.

It’s always good to understand how our systems are working, below is a bit of detail about how our solar system at Infinity works.

The setup is strung across two roofs: a rear roof and the office block. The rear system consists of two lots of 96 panels, each divided into five strings. These five strings connect to one Hauwei inverter. This system is the most productive – over the winter it’s been operating 20% better than our most productive system to date (Shed 10 at Shoreham Port).

The other system is on the Infinity office: half the size, and using just one inverter to handle the load

Infinity Wholesale’s office block. Is an errant tree casting shade across the site (solar system not shown)?

Since the rear systems is performing better than the front, it may be that a tree near the front system is casting shade. Shade operates like a blockage in a river: water downstream holds back water upstream. A solar system can only operate at the level of its weakest unit, the ‘upstream’ electricity creating heat instead of electricity.

Panels have a way of handling shade – the blue squares on the face of a panel are grouped into units of twenty, with each unit connected via what’s called a bypass diode – basically a way that the panel can shut down any of its units. So if shading occurs, the diode takes the shaded unit out of action, instead of the whole panel.

We continually monitor all our systems for issues like the shading at Infinity, to ensure that both our sites and members get the best from the kit that we are busy installing!

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