Question: Why do you charge for Solar 101?
Answer: Solar 101 is not a mindless sales seminar or an infomercial, it’s actually moderately technical and goes over the fundamentals of PV based energy and load calculations taught by professionals in the industry. Seminar is always fully booked because of its reputation as the place to learn about solar can and cannot do. If you are serious about solar and gunning to buy, we do give a large discount voucher worth way more than the P5K seminar fee.
Question: I want to be a dealer, where do I start?
Answer: To be an effective dealer we find these are the key ingredients for success and we look for these capabilities before you can become a dealer or an installer. Attendance in Solar 101 is a must as we will go over the basic fundamentals of solar and pitfalls, next would be technical training which in a minimum is at least 10kW of solar connected under OJT program.
The drive – we measure this by your success in present or past businesses.
Capital – ability to have starting capital, stock and inventory. This is a must for a dealer.
Resources and Logistics – you must have vehicles, technical people, sales team, retail space etc.
Question: Hi Solaric PH, how much will it cost for 2X 1hp aircon, 8cu ft auto defrost ref and total of 100watts total of LED house lighting?
Answer: Assuming the air conditioners are run during the day for 8 hours a day and the above appliances we compute base load as 2 x 750 X 8 hours + ref ( 150W* 6 hours) + 100w X 8 hours= 13.7kWh daytime consumption. To produce that much power it would take a 3kWp to match that load at roughly 12kWh daily production. Any shortfall will be provided by the grid; any surplus such as when you turn off the aircon will be exported or sold back at the grid with Net Metering. A 3kWp system is optimal, but if the aircon use is mostly at night, then a much smaller system would make sense as daytime loads are much less. Probably a 1.5kWp or smaller system would be appropriate. Look at page for popular packages
If aircon use is at night, then it will be twice as hard to power or take out from your bill because it’s either a lot of batteries or export a lot of power under net metering credits.
Question: Is there bank financing available?
Answer: For large projects like 100kWp and above, we can have it financed by the bank. However, terms vary depending on the credit worthiness of the end user and, of course, if there is a relationship with end user and bank.
Question: Can your solar power industrial plants or large 3 phase equipment?
Answer: Absolutely. Solaric actually designs Solar Power plants and Solar farms of all sizes and we are behind many large PV solar farms that are coming online. 3 Phase 440v is no problem for us.
Question: Why should I get from you if I can buy from Raon or get grey import via balikbayan box?
Answer: As I tell clients you can always buy "cheaper" but not necessarily better. We won’t carry certain types of inverters, charge controllers or "toys" because it fails our first requirement. We provide the customer a reliable product with value. The fake or the cheap won't take you there; and since we are dealing with electrical products, the consequences of substandard may result to fire or loss of life.
Question: Do you have the Sunpower panels?
Answer: Of course. We are an official distributor and installer for Sunpower panels, arguably the most space efficient commercially available solar panels in the planet. It’s made in the Philippines and as an authorized seller and installer, you will have its renowned 25-year warranty.
Question: Why do you sell products from China?
Answer: At Solaric, we do not discriminate by nationality, race, or color. We do offer our customers a choice if they want to get China, Germany, or US-sourced equipment. We do sell quite a bit of China panels, but just like all of our products, they have to go through our rigorous testing protocol—must pass global standards, reputable supplier, or used worldwide in countries like Australia, UK, or Germany as it has to pass their stringent quality standards for product safety and quality. You may do a Google search on the brands and products we carry; it's the good stuff – nothing but the best at Solaric.
Question: How can I use my solar during a brownout?
Answer: At Solaric, we are masters of making solar electricity work anywhere as long as there is Sun.
We realize the price of no power is the most expensive power; and after volunteering for six weeks in Tacloban right after Yolanda, we know a thing or two what works and what fails. For Metro Manila, most sought after system is the Grid tie system. Recently, with power outages caused by shortages or natural calamities, we are offering Hybrid systems that can do grid tie, store some excess power in batteries and run emergency loads from these batteries. From our extensive experience, we find L.F.R.C (Lights, Fan, Ref, Computer) is the most attainable loads to run from batteries without resorting to massive amounts of energy storage. During power outages, a Hybrid system isolates core electrical loads to run directly from Solar and battery. We have some prototypes of these systems still doing this nonstop operation since Yolanda and keep on running as long as it is taken cared of and not overloaded.
Hybrid grid tie units cost about 30-40% more mainly because of the batteries needed, but it negates the need to buy a generator and is used a hundred times more than a generator.
Question: Does Grid tie work during brownout?
Answer: No it does not. I know you are thinking…but I have so much solar and its sunny, so why don't I have power? The answer is because of the design and safety of a grid tie must shutdown automatically and within 3 seconds. Because grid tie systems can and will export power if the house is not using it all up, this export can harm or kill linemen if they are working in restoring power in your neighborhood. If you export power you just energized the once grid dead line with 220v or even 14.5kV as it goes through a transformer.
MERALCO and any utility for that matter will test your solar system for what they call Anti-Islanding, which is the ability of your inverter to shutdown once power is cut. You can make your solar work in brownout if you physically isolate its output from the grid, these are called the Hybrid grid tie HAGRID (TM) or using the Solaric HOG (TM). It is important if you use a grid tie system to use certified equipment. This equipment must have third party certification passing VDE 4105, UL, or IEC 62109 would have these grid safety protocols built in and also have longevity in design and proper power quality so it won’t ruin your appliances.
Question: Our cooperative or electric company has no NET metering program. What do I do?
Answer: Net metering is now the LAW of the country and no one can opt out of the law. The utility cannot say we don't have a program and not do it. There are hefty penalties for non-compliance and the ERC will and already have given them stiff penalties for ignorance or apathy to this law.
You see our forward thinking senators and congress adopted the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 and Net metering is one of the products of the law. Basically every Distribution utility has to buy back your excess surplus solar power at generation charge. If your utility does not offer it, ask them in writing specifically that you as a qualified end user or customer would like to avail of net metering. Have them receive a copy of your request and have them signed received for an extra copy, send us one so we can forward it to ERC if they take more than 15 days to reply. Solaric has helped many utilities and cooperatives be compliant with ERC and the RE Act but more importantly hooked up many home and business owners with Net Meters outside of Meralco.
Chances are if you are not in Cebu, Dumaguete, Davao, Metro Manila, Clark, or Dagupan – you may not have a net metering program in place but your utility provider should and will be able to get it to you. Just be patient because the first one is always the hardest but most rewarding.
Question: How do I run my aircon at night with solar?
Answer: Here lies the engineering problem. There is no solar at night so there are two options to make this feasible: storage or batteries. If you are going to use batteries, then you are going to require a lot of it. P11k per HP of aircon per hour of runtime and replace batteries every 5 years, or Net metering, the utility only pays for half for export but its still better than batteries since there is no maintenance involved and system is a lot simpler without batteries. Round trip cost of storing and using batteries is P4 to P11k per Kwh so the economics of it doesn't make sense. We assume that you have appliances on during the day, like washing machine, refrigerator, lights, and fans. These loads can range from P800 pesos a month to P18K /mo for very busy households, we focus on powering these loads with Grid tied solar and having any incidental export credited via Net Metering as there are times we are on vacation or turn of the aircon during the day and go shopping.
We normally size our builds to export 20-30% of solar production. We do have some clients who HATE paying for electricity bills so we put larger than usual builds that amass so much net metering credits that at times they have a NEGATIVE electric bill. These households, of course, run their aircon.
Question: How much solar should I put in my house?
Answer: Its up to you and what can fit on your roof. We first advocate putting enough solar to cancel out what you USUALLY run during the daytime and if you want, an aircon or two if that is the intention to run the aircon with Solar for free during the day (1.5kWp and up can easily do this). For us to have an idea we will ask what are the usual appliances turned on. Refrigerator, Pool pump, water pump, koi pond etc.. If you want to be accurate, then take out a log book and take a meter reading in the morning around 7 to 8am and at late afternoon around 5 to 6pm. This will give us an idea what is your DAYTIME Running load. This is called daytime baseload and this is the load that solar can effortlessly power without going into battery storage or amassing a horde of net metering credits ( some meters have a multiplier, normally very large houses, it is shown in bill as a multiplier, or above your meter a big steel box on top of your service drop. )
Next question is how much is your current electric bill so we can get you in the ballpark of what can fit, no point in overbuilding as the utility only buys excess for half value.
Lastly, it is the available sun power falling on your roof. Sqm of roof space and if it’s facing East, South, etc. Sorry condominium and apartment dwellers, no roof means no power. We did installations in condos, but it's the condominium association using it to power elevators and lights.
Question: How do I only power my 5 lights and fridge on solar? How do I only power my aircon on solar?
Answer: For grid tie solar, it will energize the entire house for what it can produce. The Solar grid tie power will spread through the entire electrical network in the house powering all loads, from cellphone to aircon and is only limited by the size of the system and intensity of the sun. If there is not enough sun, then the utility power will flow in. This tug of war happens many times during the day and system automatically mixes Solar and Utility power. This does not give any change in running the appliances by the user.
Question: What is grid tie and why don't I need batteries?
Answer: Traditional solar and the solar your engineer or architect probably knows is the old school system in which there is a manual transfer switch to toggle solar and grid/generator sourced power, a solar panel charging a battery and an offgrid inverter supplying loads. A daily tug of war is made by switching solar or utility etc based on battery charge condition. Drawback for this system is that it uses batteries heavily and just when you recovered your" cost" you will probably have run down your batteries and need to replace the battery bank. This is a drawback because battery banks is about 40% of system cost and over the life of the panels you would have replaced your battery bank 3x to 4x. Cost per kWh to store power in a battery is about P7-11 kWh so it is not really a thinking man's build and charging and discharging batteries has inefficiencies. 100kWh placed in a battery and later discharged will only yield 85 to 91kWh of power, we call this round trip efficiency. Grid tie has an efficiency of about 96-97% in DC to AC conversion.
Don't get me wrong, battery bank is an excellent system if you live in a lighthouse or a small island off Spratleys, or must have some power on at all costs. The solar we install or 95% of our installation capacity is GRID tie or Grid intertied solar.
Grid tie solar, means solar is inter tied or interacts with Grid power. It has no manual transfer switch, no batteries, no switching. Your house will be powered by two sources simultaneously during the day but by design, it will use solar before utility because solar is providing power at half a volt more than the utility. Being half a volt higher, your appliances will use Solar first before Utility power. If you use less power than what solar is producing this excess is EXPORTED to Meralco or utility and they buy back or credit this power under Net Metering ( a program that is now part of the Renewable energy law in the Philippines)
Solaric is the first to get Net Metering with peak and off peak and pioneer installer in many electrical cooperatives around the Philippines.
Question: Why do I have to tell you what I run during the day and my monthly bill to get a quote?
Answer: Our philosophy is that our solar has to give you maximum benefits and financial returns and for that we would need to know how you use electricity or any future needs
We custom build your personal SOLARIC power plant that will match your daytime loads closely as this brings you the most return on investment, under 5 years in most cases. Putting appropriate amounts of solar during its time of use gives the fastest return as power storage requirements aren't needed, powering loads at night is twice as difficult because you will either rely on batteries (power storage not cost effective if aircons are involved) or Net metering credits ( utility credits you on generation charge rate so it takes more power to offset evening use). Secondly we also ask secondary concerns such as importance of backup power for your home and any special conditions, IE :Elderly parent who needs vital medical equipment on, Koi fish who will die in a prolonged outage etc.
Question: I only have budget to put 1.5kW solar but eventually would want 3kwP system, can I upgrade when I have more budget?
Yes, actually our grid tie setups are highly scalable. You can add one panel at the time using the micro grid tie technology or 6 to 12 panels at a time using the string grid tie inverters. You can put 1.5kWp of panels on a 3kW grid tie inverter or 2.5kW on a 5kW system etc. Ideally we want to put at least six panels or more on a string. 12 panels being optimal for residential builds. A common option for large homes it to put 2-3kWp of solar on a 5kWp inverter while waiting for net metering or more budget.
Question: How net metering will help me get the most from my solar investment?
Answer: It makes sure that you get compensated for every watt of power you send back to the grid. Just as you pay every centavo of power you get from your utility. Your power company would credit you the same for the power you return to them as a surplus. That is the essence of net metering. what is the net cost or power consumption you have with your utility after deducting the credits or surplus you send back to them. A hypothetical scenario, If your solar array produces 3kwh per hour but you were out of the house shopping and your house was only using 1Kwh for refs, lights etc, the other 2 Kwh being produced is a SURPLUS and will be pumped back into the meralco grid. The surplus power will be reflected as a credit to you via Meralco's Export Meter. Later that evening when you get home, there is no more solar power ( no sun) but you accrued 12Kwh hour in your export meter. You can use up that 12 Kwh credit before you effectively get billed by the input or import meter for your air conditioner before the sun comes up the next day and repeat the cycle. The Utility will compute at year end or billing cycle on how much credit you had vs consumption. They will NOT however honor something that you actually have a bigger credit or surplus than your total year end consumption from them. That is already being an independent power producer and a whole different ball game. In most cases we aim to reduce our electric bills to something saner and of course be good environmentally conscious citizens. We would assist in your application for net metering if needed. If your system is closely matched to your average daily loads and a consistent lifestyle, it would not be that necessary . There are many factors to be considered. the first one is what is your monthly electric bill, or average. also what is your most brutal electric bill, normally the months of April and May when the kids are back and the sun is brutal. If your bill is 4-8K a month. I would recommend a 1.5Kwh system.
Question: What is Net Metering?
Answer: Net Metering is a power program offered by the utility to buy back or credit you power that you export or send back to the grid (or Meralco). It is now technically feasible to send power back to the grid by the use of an approved Grid tie inverter and, of course, having a power surplus generated by your solar power or wind turbine. First World countries such as Germany, Australia, and the United States have these programs in place and gave incentives for Eco Minded people to reduce and almost eliminate their utility costs by allowing them to sell back home brewed power back to the utility. Under net metering, Meralco will install two meters on your feeder line: One to measure how much power your home consumed from meralco and another to measure how much SURPLUS power you credited or gave Meralco when you generated more power than you consumed.
Question: Do you use batteries for your system?
For 95% of the people who were asking about using solar, it is no longer needed! The classic sense of using Solar is that you collect your harvested solar power into a big battery or battery bank then later draw on those charged batteries to supply your normal AC appliances such as TV, Lights and Air condtioner ( must be a huge battery bank!). This has been the model for decades. However the battery storage is now obsolete with Meralco approving Net Metering. Instead of storing your excess power in a battery, Meralco will give you a credit for every watt you send back to their grid as SURPLUS power. Maintaining a battery bank is no fun. The affordable versions last 2-3 years due to our hot and humid weather in the Philippines, and need maintenance. And then – 20-30% of its power gets wasted as heat while charging or discharging the battery. It is however the only option if grid power is not available, you are in some bundok or island or grid power is unreliable like in Mindanao, or if you rely on using a generator during peak hours and coast the quiet night using battery stored power. I do have a couple of formidable Off Grid inverters in stock for some special application projects or rural electrification projects in my pipeline. If the prophets of doom are correct or if we find ourselves in another power crisis, your investment in solar can easily be retooled to accept batteries and operate like a standby generator.
Question: Do you always have stock of panels or systems?
Answer: We try to have lots of inventory but this will simply increase the price of our products and overhead. We do have some in stock but they sometimes get taken by clients, so best to order with conviction. We give discounts for indent orders or large orders. It only takes us less than a month to reorder and in the meantime we can do things such as site preparation, planning and permitting if needed. Our panels are all made with the same batch or lot; this will simplify warranty claims, and insure that they are voltage matched to each other. We also special order our inverters to comply with RP specifications and climates.
Question: What's better- Mono or Poly? Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline?
We carry both kinds- Poly panels provide the best price point for pesos spent and watts produced because it is simply a lower cost panel to produce, the slightly costlier Mono panels produce a bit more output for the same size but at an added cost since it is more material intensive to manufacture. A majority of our customers choose Monocrystalline because it performs better in high heat, high humidity, and are more efficient – a standard 60-cell (roughly 1.6m x 1m) solar panel can get you 290W while the highest regularly available poly is only 265W in the same space.
Question: How do I match the panels to the grid tie inverter?
Truth be told, only a few days a year will reach or exceed those levels. It is common in the industry to over clock the number of panels or rated capacity to the inverter by as much as 10-20%, this can be safely done as per request. Putting 3300-3600watts of panels to a 3000 inverter is routine practice to get maximum yields per system. If the inverter cannot handle the power it goes to a process called de-rating, which the inverter self regulates output to a temperature it can safely handle. For quotations and simplicity we quote a 1:1 ratio and upon customers request we can add an extra panel here and there to make the system more responsive.
Question: I have so many questions, what will I save, what can be installed etc
Answer: Just send us a message and I will call and explain how it goes. If you like what you hear, we can come over and give you a free estimate or survey. Not all homes, roofs and electric bills are the same.
Question: How are your systems rated?
Answer: Our systems are rated on what they can produce on what the industry calls Standard Test Conditions – when the sun’s iridescence is at peak strength, air temperature at 25c and sea level, and solar radiation is at 1,000 watts per sq meter. From these standardized test conditions, the solar panel manufacturer gets a rating for their panels. Our most common panels have a rating of 250w of output under Standard Test Conditions or STC.
Question: What is the ROI for putting solar in my house or business?
Answer: It used to be a very long ROI cycle, but with mass production, global competition and improvement of technologies, the ROI is as short as 4-6 years. Hundreds of thousands of installs are done around the world because it made economic sense in Germany, Australia and the USA. Their electric rates are almost half and installation costs are x4 than the Philippines but they still do it because it makes economic and social sense. The Philippines has one the highest electricity costs in Asia because we have to burn oil for our power and we have no doubt no shortage of sunshine. If you look at your power bill there are all these add on charges such as system losses( euphemism for power loses caused by illegal connections and bad equipment), random fees plus 12% VAT at the end of it. In short we are paying way too much with nothing to show for it after everything. With solar you are increasing the value of your home or business, you are slowly but effectively reducing your power consumption and pollution caused by traditional power generation. It makes economic sense to own your own power instead of renting it. The PV system will last up to 25 years or even more, key components has a warranty for 5 years and chances are power rates will only go up as they are oil based commodities. We can plan systems to have scalability in mind and can easily add on more capacity as your budget grows or you get convinced on the value of free air conditioning.