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Estimating power production of a solar PV system

asked 2013-04-18 15:58:03 -0500

Victor gravatar image

updated 2013-04-22 09:16:20 -0500

tom gravatar image

I just got a quote for a solar power system. The production estimates provided by the contractor are significantly higher than what PVWatts tool suggested PVWatts. How can I reconcile the difference and determine how much energy my system will produce?

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answered 2013-04-18 15:59:27 -0500

phelsingius gravatar image

Generation Numbers I have had the same experience. My built in skepticism would make me tend to believe the PVWatts number more than the dealer. I have a couple recommendations: 1) get proposals from different vendors and compare the numbers - you can certainly use competing bids to get a more realistic number; 2) get a bid from dealer that guarantees generation numbers. The number they give you is likely to be quite accurate as they would have to pay for difference if actual generation is less.

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answered 2014-02-08 10:29:11 -0500

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updated 2014-02-08 10:29:11 -0500

There are a few things at play here and a few of them could be 1) system size - are they exactly the same 2) where the system is installed 3) are they taking into account the same amount of shade 4) are they using the same equipment (micro-inverters will yield much more electricity - especially when shade is nearby).

We like to be conservative in our estimates and to beat them. It makes for happy customers. So one of the dealers may be doing the same.

There is a button on the pvwatts labeled "derate". Here you can adjust the factor by changing the parameters. For instance micro-inverters will have a derate of .819 or .832 while central inverters may stay at .77. If you use the adjusted derate on the pvwatts page you may see your production kWh go up.

You can also do this - adjust the derate up until you get the output that matches the dealer quote - then ask them how they justify using the derate?

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Asked: 2013-04-18 15:58:03 -0500

Seen: 7,072 times

Last updated: Feb 08 '14